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Your Favourite Creators and What Work Made You A Fan?

How about we talk about comics for a bit?

We all have our favourite writers and artists. Those who we follow from project to project, buy the collected editions of, and argue with each other about for hours. But, what inspired that dedication from you?

So, name a creator, the work that made you a fan, and describe why that work made the difference for you.

Not what’s their best work. Not what’s your favourite. Not even what did you read first.

What made you a fan?

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I’ll throw an example out there as a thought starter …

Peter David’s Supergirl.

As a DC fanboy, PAD was always a “Marvel Guy” to me, and despite the good press he was getting for his Incredible Hulk run (and others) I didn’t really give him the time of day back in my bipartisan times.

Then Supergirl launched, with Gary Frank and Cam Smith on art. I liked the character a lot from her guest appearances in the Superman books, and loved the art team. So, thought, why the hell not?

The first few issues of the series blew me away. I really wasn’t expecting the directions that PAD took it in - he took a very clean cut, superhero icon, and gave us a supernatural epic, that wasn’t afraid to go to some really dark places.

This was Buffy pre- Buffy.

The series made me a huge fan. I stayed long after Gary Frank left, and I rabidly sought out everything that Peter David had written after that. Hulk, Aquaman, Young Justice, Captain Marvel, Spider-man 2099 and on, and on.

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Pat Mills made me love comics.

Todd McFarlane made me want to create them.

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Jim Lee on Uncanny X-Men #275 - This was the first comic I ever picked up and it blew my mind. I had long been into superheroes, namely Superman, due to Superfriends the Christopher Reeve films and other source. I was also strongly into sci-fi novels at the time. So this issue with the X-Men in the Shi’ar territory hit a lot of sweet spots with Jim Lee’s art being a huge stand out. The first encounter with Wolverine fighting Deathbird, the huge double page spread of the X-Men, Starjammers and Shi’ar Imperial Guard and the Magneto/Rogue portions of the issue were all stand outs. It was seriously an all killer, no filler issue.

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Not long after that X-Men started and I was hooked. I’ve followed most of his work ever since.

Rob Liefeld on New Mutants #100 - Shortly after reading Uncanny X-Men #275 I was looking for other books along similar lines and came across this issue. Once again, the characters and settings really caught my interest with their superhero/sci-fi themes. The real hook for this issue were the Shatterstar fight scenes (especially the Frank Miller homage) and the last page where it’s revealed that Stryfe and Cable have the same face.

Like Uncanny X-Men #275, New Mutants #100 fed even more directly into a new #1 issue with X-Force. After that I was sold on Liefeld and followed him to Youngblood and other projects. I was out of comics for a bit after the Image guys became more sporadic and don’t pick up everything he’s done but really do love seeing his work when it’s obvious it has that magic from this time period.

Mark Millar on Ultimate X-Men #1 - I had been out of comics for a while but just gotten back in through Kevin Smith’s run on Daredevil and looking for other books to read. The Ultimate line relaunches of Spider-Man and X-Men sounded interesting. So I thought I would revisit an old favorite team from previous comic reading experience. The first few issues blew me away. I loved the way he wrote the characters with subtle but significant changes in who each were like Wolverine being an assassin sent by Magneto to kill Professor X or Cyclops defecting to Magneto. Somewhere in those first few issues was an incredible image of the team at that early point standing in front of their Blackbird that was my desktop background for a good long while.

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Mark did an incredible job reinventing the X-Men and eventually introducing the Ultimates which made me love the Avengers for the first time. After that, I picked up most of his work. I doubted Mark once with 1985 but later picked it up in trade and was sorry that I initially slept on it. Ever since then, Mark has been at the top of my list of creators as he continues to tell compelling stories and tempt the best creative talent (especially artists) to collaborate with him.

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Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Year One. That’s what made me a lifelong comics fan. It was after the first Batman movie and I wanted to buy some Batman comics so I went to a Dutch comic con and bought them. That was a revelation.

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Thanks, Ronnie. I have a very similar story with Jim Lee, but mine was a few months later with the big X-Men #1 launch.

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Anytime. Great thread.

Also, I think the reason Mark stood out to me on Ultimate X-Men instead of the artist(s) like with previously mentioned creators was that they switched between Adam and Andy Kubert. They were both good but my personal taste leaned toward Adam over Andy and Mark was the constant telling great stories no matter who the artist was.

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Jim Starlin: Strange Tales #178

The entire Warlock arc, really, but this is where it started, and this is the one I read first. It was rare enough to get in at the start of a storyline in those days, and it took me many years to painstakingly collect the full storyline, but this was all I needed to make me a fan. This single issue blew my mind, more than any other comic I had read up to that point.

I’m not sure if it was the first Starlin issue I read (I may have read an issue of his Captain Mar-Vell first), but it was the one that made me look for everything else that had his name on it.

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I had read American comics before, but DKR was the definitive one. I think the first American comics were black and white translated reprints of some DC stories, one of which was a Neal Adams drawn Batman tale in some haunted house. I also have a distinct memory of my grandfather buying me a Superman book which was great. I think it was two stories in one book, a Brainiac story and a Superman Blue/Superman Red story. I wish I still had that book, it was beautiful. That must have been an early eighties Superman story.

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When a lot of you talk about your love for Jim Lee, I feel the same way about George Perez. He started with the Avengers in the 70s and drew them for years.
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Then he switched companies and drew JLA


then he hit the big time with New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths, etc.etc.
He is one of the main reasons I started following certain titles on a monthly basis.

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Jack Kirby made me want to draw comics:

Barry Windsor-Smith made me want to draw art:

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Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely - New X-Men. This comic blew my 12-year-old mind. I had never seen art or writing like it before. I follow their work religiously to this day.

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Alan Moore - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. My dad bought the issues when I was around the same age and let me read them even with all the violence and sex. I couldn’t watch R movies but somehow he didn’t have a problem with LOEG. Anyway, I thought it was awesome and a few years later read Watchmen and V for Vendetta and saw what Moore can really do.

Frank Miller - Wolverine. The fight choreography is stunning. Sin City: The Hard Goodbye turned me into an uber-fan though. It’s the pinnacle of Miller’s art as far as I’m concerned.

Peter Milligan - Enigma. I read this when I was first getting into 90s Vertigo comics, which is still my sweet spot even though I missed out on them as they were being published. Enigma is one of the first adult superhero comics I read and is still one of the best. Milligan has always liked to explore weird psychology and the kinky stuff people don’t like to admit and Enigma is probably the best example of that. No one else really writes like he does.

Bill Sienkiewicz - Elektra: Assassin. Arguably the best comic Marvel has produced. I like Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men a little better because of the characters and soap opera but as good as the art is in that, few artists in American comics can compare to Sienkiewicz.

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As a 2000AD reader back in the mid- 90’s I knew of Garth Ennis, but I wouldn’t say I was a fan. Judgment Day was great fun, and I liked his Strontium Dogs, but he wasn’t John Wagner or Alan Grant, if you know what I mean.

I did really like Steve Dillon though. So, when Preacher launched I was buying it more for the art than the writing. I wasn’t too keen on it to begin with. The first story arc was fine. The second almost lost me, and I dropped the book.

I picked up the last copy of #8 left at London’s Forbidden Planet on a whim, I turned the page, and saw this.

It’s such a visceral gut punch. It’s probably a little tame today, but at the time it was shocking. Amazingly, the rest of the issue (and story arc) backed up that panel with a heart breaking story of evil, love, and the power of one decent man. All themes that sang to my soul, and proved that despite appearances to the contrary Ennis wasn’t just a potty mouth.

I stayed with Preacher to the end after that, and have picked up everything else Garth has done before and since. It’s not his best work, nor my favourite. But that panel is why I’m a fan.

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What?
Don’t be silly Will.
You cannot of possibly been 12 years old when New X-men came out.
I mean it was only…OH MY GOD IT WAS 18 YEARS AGO!!!

NEW X-MEN #114

Shipment Date
5/16/2001

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The guys I listed above I encountered as a child or teenager. Here’s a more recent one:

I picked up The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane a couple years ago after seeing some of it on Tumblr and now rank Philippe Druillet as one of the greatest comic book artists of all time. Titan Comics is putting out affordable English-language collections of his material, unfortunately the paper’s too glossy and the translated lettering doesn’t mesh well with the page, but the art is so fantastic that it compensates for the flaws.

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Wowza! That is impressive!

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This is a great idea for a thread, and it deserves more posts!

I’m going to do a few.

Warren Ellis - Planetary

Planetary was one of those books that got me enthused about comics in a whole new way. While Cassaday’s art was a big part of that, Ellis’ tight writing and his brilliant way of drawing in an entire universe of pulp storytelling made the book sing, and put him on my list of all-time great writers.

I’d read some of his stuff before, but nothing blew me away like this. As well as the done-in-one nature of the stories - that gave Ellis the chance to explore multiple different genres and story types from issue to issue - the lead characters were all brilliantly conceived and brought to the page fully-formed in a remarkably efficient way. Planetary wasn’t a very wordy comic, but every word counted. ‘Headlines by poets’, as the old saying goes.

Combining all this with the overarching mysteries and subplots that underpinned the entire series, the whole thing was a fantastic read. I remember finishing the first TPB and immediately going out to seek out the next book at my LCS - one of those great comics that just makes you want to read more and more.

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Frank Quitely - All-Star Superman

Again, I’d read Frank Quitely comics before, but it wasn’t until I looked at his ASS that I really fell in love with him. We all remember the big moments - like the opening double-page splash of Superman flying under the yellow sun:

But it’s the smaller stuff that really made me realise what a genius he is. There’s a wonderful sequence towards the end of the first issue where Clark is chatting to Lois as they cross the street, while a completely wordless second story plays out (involving Clark seeing that a piece of machinery is about to fall off a monorail and hit a stranger walking his dog, and klutz-ing around with a bag of groceries to disguise the fact that he’s saving someone from being crushed by it).

It’s almost invisibly clever stuff like this that shows just how much thought he puts into a page or even a single panel, and it offers so much more than most comics artists.

Also, his command of body language is fantastic in that book. This is one of the standout images in the whole series for me - not a big moment, just a silly gag, but the sense of motion (or lack of it) that Quitely puts into Bizarro-Flash always slays me.

Ever since All-Star Superman I’ve picked up everything he’s done. One of a handful of truly unmissable artists.

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Bryan Hitch - Ultimates

Having missed Authority as it originally came out, this was actually my first exposure to Hitch’s art. I actually started the series with issue #3 (after which I immediately went back to pick up the first two issues), and it’s the issue where Cap wakes up, tries to escape, gets pinned by Giant-Man, meets old-Bucky, and ends the issue telling President George W Bush how cool the 21st century is. You know the one.

And Hitch just made it all look fantastic. Giant-Man striding around in his leathers, the hospital breakout, the big reveal of Cap’s new costume at the end… it was like watching the movie version of these characters (and how ironic would that feeling turn out to be) - a more realistic, modern take on the costumes and concepts that still retained the heart of the original, but made it all feel fresh and cool again. And such detailed backgrounds and architecture that made it feel like it was all taking place in the real world.

Most of all, I was impressed by how he turned Captain America - who I had until then always considered slightly naff and old-fashioned and silly - into such an effortlessly cool hero.

This was the Ultimate universe at its best, and Hitch’s talents and designs were a huge part of what made it work.

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Thanks, Dave - great posts too!

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