Artists whose older work you prefer to their newer
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Posted (edited)

Are there any artists whose style has changed enough that you actually prefer their old look to the new? I can name 3 that come to my mind:

1. Art Adams. I loved his stuff in the 90s on the X-Men, and the New Fantastic Four. Those were his golden years for me. His stuff is still great now but he started making his characters' faces wider at some point, and it just isn't as appealing to me now as it was back then.

2. Tony S. Daniel: I first discovered his art from his book, The Tenth, in the late 90s, and while it fit the typical Image mold of flashy, posy, anatomically incorrect art that was everywhere, I still really felt like his stood out from the pack. Now, his artistic ability has certainly gotten better, but it looks very different from his Tenth days, and I prefer his old, less-experienced ways.

3. Takeshi Miyazawa: His art is reminiscent of manga, but his newer stuff seems more loose. He used to take more time, it seems like, as the art was more careful. This is especially true in his faces, which used to be rounder. His looser current style works well in action scenes, but it loses some of the detail his older work had in the human moments. His technical ability has gotten better, though.

adams.jpg

 

 

tenth.jpg

miyazawa.jpg

Edited by BuraddoRun

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2 hours ago, Brian Peck said:

John Romita Jr I prefere his Spider-Man and X-Men over his recent works

Agreed.

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Posted (edited)

Yessss good topic!  Respect to the artists I'm about to name across each's every era, just being nitpicky here:

Art Adams, Bagley, DeCarlo, Lim, Jae Lee, Jim Lee, Romita Jr., Portacio

 

Edited by exitmusicblue

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Posted (edited)

I tend to differentiate between two cases.

The first (and most frequent) lot is artists who have more or less kept the same style, but they have evolved it over time:   you can clearly recognise it is them at any given point in their career.  In this case, you normally have a beginning, a peak and then a  plateu or decline.  And often times the "decline" is in the eye of the viewer, driven more by nostalgia than by objective artistic merits: Byrne used to insist that his later work was superior to his UXM work technically; I seem to recollect having read somewhere that Silvestri said he "did not know what he was doing when he was doing XM" (but I might be misquoting....apolgies to Marc if that is the case).  I include in this category artists like Byrne, Art Adams, Jim Lee, Alan Davis, Marc Silvestri, just to name a few I really like.  You look at their early work and late work and you do see a development, but you can't pinpoint a precise moment when they changed style.  Even Kirby, different as his late work appears compared to his early work, belongs in my mind to this type of steady and subtle evolution over time.  In this case, I normally like the "early peak"  work, normally because of nostalgia or simply because that style felt different at the begininng.  So in the cases above I would say  XM / NM Annuals for Art Adams, UXM for Byrne, UXM and Hush for J Lee, UXM for Silvestri, Captain Britain and Excalibur for Alan Davis.  As to Kirby, my preference goes to late silver Age (FF circa 80) to the mid '70s.

Then you have cases where the artist has abruptly and conscously changed style: some names that come to mind, of course of very different quality, include Sienkiewickz with NM, Giffen, Trimpe (with his late Image style), Romita Jr .  In the case of Romita JR you would be hard pressed to see how his early ASM work comes from the same artist as his late ASM work.  In this case, in addition to nostalgia, there might be an objective evolution of quality.  JR JR's early work was clearly derivative of his father's style.  His last style is definitely his own, like it or not.  I would be interested in hearing other examples of artists who belong to this category.

Edited by Carlo M
Typo

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7 hours ago, Brian Peck said:

John Romita Jr I prefere his Spider-Man and X-Men over his recent works

I also loved early Romita Jr, especially his first run on Iron Man. Disclaimer: saying I like it better doesn't mean I don't like both. 

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I think "vintage" George Perez's look (e.g. Avengers) had a lot to do with inkers with brushes.  Later in the New Teen Titans run, Perez wanted Romeo Tanghal to use pens.  For example, compare NTT covers (penciled and inked by Perez) with the interiors.  I think Perez's later looks really depended on him trying to depict more detail.  But I think sometimes things kind of looked off (e.g. faces).

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John Byrne (his 70s, 80s stuff is, for me, his high water mark)
Frank Miller (the less said about his recent stuff the better)
Neal Adams :sick:
Mike Grell (look at his 70s stuff when it wasn't being ruined by Coletta)
John Romita Jr (WTF happened??)
Sal Buscema (I really like his 70s and early 80s stuff. It's when he took over for Simonson on Thor and his stuff got really jagged and angular with thicker lines that I started to lose interest)

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17 minutes ago, Andahaion said:

Anyone mention Frank Miller yet?  Cause...Frank Miller.

+1000.

Loved his work on Daredevil and even the highly stylized Dark Knight Returns.

He lost me with Sin City.

Yeah - I *get it* but it's like he took the style he'd started in Dark Knight Returns and blew up into crazy caricatures.

Haven't seen any of his *actually* recent stuff (last 20 years), but Daredevil vs. Sin City is like two separate artists.

And Neal Adams. *Loved* his pre-1980 work, couldn't stand his more recent style, that I think started with Continuity.

His more recent work can be excellent (The All-Star Superman # 1 variant) or horrid (Batman: Odyssey # 1 nearly made my eyes bleed).

I'll go the other way, too, though.

Mike Mignola improved to me once he developed his unique style - basically starting with Hellboy. That said, I'd put his career-best work as the covers to Death in the Family, back when he was still in his "mainstream artist" mode.

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This is a great topic. When making your point don’t forget the influence inkers may have had on your “declining” artist of choice. Carlo started to touch on that.

For Byrne it’s easier as he did a lot of later work ALL without an inker. While I do see work I didn’t like as much with John I did find his Spider-Man Chapter One work charming.

Pablo Marcos (good man) as an inker I think ruined a few Pollard and Perez pages. Jack Abel mauled John Buscema’s Marvel Fanfare Silver Surfer art.

Vinnie “the eraser” Colletta erased many of Jacks intricate background pencils on books like Thor to save time 😭

With that in mind imagine Jack Kirby with Joe Sinnott excellent. Then seventies Giacoia Very Very good. Then D Bruce Berry. An inker can contribute to an artists decline.

 

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Are there any artists who have gotten BETTER with time? Or even maintained a level of excellence? Maybe I shouldn't derail the thread with these questions but...

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As with rock stars, most of them who keep at it  for decades are not able to sustain the excellence of their peak period. Voices creak, hands get arthritic, vision fails. Would anyone rather have an 80s Kirby or Infantino over a comparable 60s sample? Or a 2010 Neal Adams over a 70s one? 

It's the exceptions that interest me. I enjoy Byrne's recent Elsewhen pencils as much as his early 80s Marvel work. 

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i like Art's art now but appreciate the older stuff

Campbell is my one artist who i feel has really gone down the drain in the past 2-3 years

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11 minutes ago, comicginger1789 said:

Are there any artists who have gotten BETTER with time? Or even maintained a level of excellence? Maybe I shouldn't derail the thread with these questions but...

I actually like Arthur Adams now (and that's something as I love the early stuff as well). 

Joe Bennett on Immortal Hulk is at his peak as a penciller 

Ed McGuinness continues to get better (example - early Hulk vs Red Hulk run)

 

There are a lot more examples

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46 minutes ago, comicginger1789 said:

Are there any artists who have gotten BETTER with time? Or even maintained a level of excellence? Maybe I shouldn't derail the thread with these questions but...

I may get flack for this but I think Mignola and Sakai have improved gradually but significantly over the years. I really enjoy the strength of storytelling, page composition and subtlety in their recent work. They both have always been great but I think they are just so so much better now than they were 20 years ago...

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