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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Popa's 10 Favorite Wolverine Artists

I couldn't pass up the trend of favorite artist lists - the only catch is I don't really have one main character that I'm associated with - and the characters I am associated with probably don't even have 10 artists that have drawn them!  I mean - the 10 favorite Tiger Shark artists would be pretty short.

I thought about doing just X-Men artists but that's pretty broad and I trying to figure out what books to count and which not annoyed me so I went a LITTLE smaller - but not much.


In as much an order as these things can be.

10. Andy Kubert

I love the dynamics of Andy's style - his faces can be a little off sometimes but when he's drawing a costumed Wolverine in full bad assery, he's pretty tough to beat.

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9. Jim Lee

Jim Lee drew the Wolverine of record in the 90's and it's tough to dispute that he drew a pretty fine one.  Jim Lee's Wolverine was always in full pin-up action mode.

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8. Marc Silvestri

By contrast, finding a big splash of Wolverine by Silvestri was tougher than I imagined (at least finding one online anyway.) Silvestri didn't get really splashy with his art until he left for Image.  Still, his Wolverine was top notch and I've always thought Jim Lee's X-Stuff was heavily influenced by Silvestri.  And I'll always like Marc better.

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7. Rick Leonardi

While Leonardi only did fill-in work on X-Men he did so much of it that I consider him a regular X-Men artist.  And he drew the first big Wolverine/Sabretooth fight to boot!  Leonardi's stuff was loose and sketchy but his Wolverine was always right on.

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6. Frank Miller

Frank made Wolverine his own and really created the out of costume Wolverine look that most artists still use today.  He also gave him the Samurai sword claws.   Frank added a lot of depth, shadow and mood to Wolverine, which made him a different super hero than a lot of people were used to.

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5. John Buscema

Big John Buscema draws everything right, especially tough guys.  He drew the first Marvel Comics Presents arcs with Wolvie as well as the beginning of Wolverine's solo series.  Everyone looks tougher when John Buscema draws them.

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4. Paul Smith

On the other hand, Paul Smith draws everyone sleek and clean and his Wolverine is no different.  But who doesn't love a Paul Smith Wolverine?

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3. Art Adams

Well, this is the Wolverine shot heard 'round the world, right?  Art gave Wolvie this perfect pose and always gave us a kinetic and intense Wolverine.  Asgardian Wars, baby.  ASGARDIAN WARS.  (And those spectacular Classic X-Men covers.)

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2. John Byrne

No matter what people do with Wolverine, it really all starts with John Byrne.  He not only gave the character his brown (and still best) costume, he also drew the classic X-Men stories that took Wolverine from one guy on the team to the break-out star of the book.  The Hellfire Club story should keep Byrne near the top of this list pretty much forever.

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1. John Romita Jr.

As much as I go crazy for everyone on this list, John Romita Jr. drew the Wolverine of my youth when I started reading comics and that'll always be the tops for me.  Romita Jr. draws a thick and powerhouse Wolverine that is just the right combination of Byrne's splashy superheroics and Miller's street-level ninja warrior.  Claremont and Romita Jr. put Wolverine through the ringer and you could see it in Romita's Jr.'s art - this wasn't invincible sociopath Wolverine, this was tough as nails Wolverine who took his licks but kept coming, even when he could barely get up afterward.

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In fact, I found a page from Uncanny 195 to show off more what I mean - there's so much character in this page - Wolverine in a tracking pose, but also sly and charismatic as he talks to Katie Power and, thanks to Claremont, still busting Kitty's balls as she leads her first mission.  (Also note Kitty's correct costume, but that's a blog post for another day.)

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HONORABLE MENTIONS - Lee Weeks and Steve Epting have drawn great Wolverine images but not a lot of them, Mike Zeck drew that classic cover of Wolverine and Captain America but, again, not a lot more.  Alan Davis has drawn a ton of Wolverine but just missed the cut, same with Mark Texeira who was over the top but that's what I like about Tex.

Lots of guys left off, of course, but with a character this popular, everyone's gotten their shot.


  1. What a kick ass list!! Not only do I agree with everyone on it (the list of Honorable Mentions alone is worthwhile), this list has me wanting to dive into all of those incredible X-Men stories! Thanks, Popa!

  2. I love this list! Like Shane said, this really has me wanting to go back and re-read some X-Men comics!