Being the GI Joe fan that I am, I thought I'd put together a list of my favorite artists from the series. I started reading GI Joe with issue 8 but had recently discovered a Comic Book Store in town so I was able to pick up back issues and collect on a monthly basis. Honestly, making this list brought back a lot of memories of reading the title as a kid and it was cool to kind of look at the series with those eyes, again.
10. Frank Springer. GI Joe was probably the book where I started noticing different artists and their styles. Frank Springer brought a simple look to the book but stayed honest to the characters. He reminded me a lot of the traditional comic style of the 70's.
9. Robert Atkins. I won't make excuses, Robert didn't draw any of the original GI Joe series. He was a main player in IDW's reboot of the series and he did an amazing job of making everything fresh and modern while keeping the feel of the original run. On top of that, Robert gave the action scenes a very big budget movie feel!
8. Herb Trimpe. In many ways, Herb is GI Joe! Herb drew issue #1, many issues of the original run, all of the Special Missions series and numerous additional stories, covers and pin ups. His style really set the tone for the characters and storytelling of the book and I can't imagine what GI Joe would be without him!
7. Ron Wagner. I think Ron gets the credit for making GI Joe feel real. His detail was gritty and everything had a weight to it. Something about his style made the book feel less and more like a comic book at the same time.
6. Steve Leialoha. Let me start by saying my complaint about Steve Leialoha is that he didn't draw enough GI Joe. The issues he did draw couldn't have been bigger, though. Issue 21, the Silent Issue (over layouts by Larry Hama), and the Origin of Snake Eyes. I can't imagine reading the Origin of Snake Eyes as drawn by anyone else. The weight of the story, the way the characters looked and moved, it was all exactly right.
5. Michael Golden. As a kid, Michael Golden's animated pencils stood out to me way before I knew his name. I tried to keep this list to people who drew stories, not just covers and while Michael is known for his covers, he gave us some killer pages, as well! Fast paced and energetic, Michael Golden was a perfect fit for GI Joe!
4. Mike Vosburg. It was Mike Vosburg's pencils that made me view GI Joe as a comic book and not a silly cartoon. People bled. Clothes were torn. Muscles flexed. These were soldiers with guns and gear, not super heroes.
3. Rod Whigham. Rod Whigham came onto the series when I was a little older and starting to catch on to the different artists and their styles. Rod had a slick style that still fit the rough and wild world of GI Joe. His characters all looked distinct and accurate to their toys while fitting into this comic book where characters died and could be killed.
2. Mark Bright. One of my favorite aspects of Mark Bright's style is the unique faces and expressions he gives to everyone. GI Joe is the book where I discovered Mark and I've always been excited to see him on a book, since. Mark had a fresh style for GI Joe, it was cleaner and more "comic book" than it had been and Mark pulled it off flawlessly!
1. Mike Zeck. No one draws more intense action than Mike Zeck! When he started drawing covers for the series it looked like the books were literally going to explode! Every cover was a commercial that made me want to read not only this issue but the next! Mike's covers on GI Joe Special Missions are some of my Favorite Joe covers, ever!
Honorable Mention, Larry Hama. Larry Hama is known for writing the entirety of the GI Joe run, as well as the File Cards for the Hasbro figures, however, Larry is also an artist. Larry has done layouts or rough pencils for numerous books over the years, including GI Joe! He continues to write their adventures for IDW and does pencil layouts for the covers to that book, too!