The Decade That Was, According to the SKTCHD Forum Members: Creators Edition

After yesterday’s initial entry looking at the best comics of the decade in the eyes of the members of the SKTCHD forums, we’re back today with part two of two. This time? It’s all about the creators, as the crew from the forums shared their picks for their favorites in seven different categories. It’s an excellent tour of the 2010s, with some brilliant picks to this crew.

Let’s get to the picks, and major shouts to the folks who put this together. It was a lot of work, but they did a crack job at highlighting the people who made the 2010s great.

Best Line Artists

“What are line artists?” you might be wondering. It’s pretty straightforward. They’re the pencillers or inkers, or pencillers AND inkers, depending on the person. They’re the “artists” of comics, as we often call them, but more narrowly defined to delineate between this and other, later categories.

Runners Up

  • Fiona Staples
  • Javier Rodriguez
  • Esad Ribic
  • David Marquez
  • Pepe Larraz
  • Erica Henderson
  • Marcos Martin
  • Sean Phillips 
The cover to The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies, art by Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson

3. Jamie McKelvie 

When I was reading a ton of mangas, I liked mangakas who would pay special attention to clothes and haircuts, and how they inform our perception of the characters (like Mari Okazaki). I’m also here for the emotions first, and for me there’s generally a direct link with how accurate the facial expressions and body language are. And since Jamie McKelvie is a master of all of that, he’s my obvious first choice. – Llaverac

From All-New X-Men, art by Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia

2. Stuart Immonen 

Stuart Immonen drew Leia, threepio, and Spider-Man this decade and somehow made all three look better than ever. He drew the X-Men and the Avengers. He drew some of the best graphic novels and a wonderful webcomic on Instagram. Immonen has been one of the best artists across two decades, and he’s done so by continually working on his craft, changing his style to fit the story, and doing things differently than what’s expected of him. Immonen had a wild decade with some of the biggest characters being highlighted, and with his short retirement seemingly over, I’m excited to see what this legend puts out next. – Keigen Rea

From Captain America #696, art by Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson

1. Chris Samnee

Chris Samnee is a true artist’s artist. His art is equally interesting for the things he doesn’t draw as the things he does draw, as he is a true master of minimalism, only drawing what needs to be there.

He kills on everything from his “doodles”, to his commissions and especially to his sequential pages. He is a master illustrator, able to compose an arresting image, that is both pleasing and tells a story (see his Batman Inktober sketches for perfect examples of this).

For his covers, he has an ability to craft images that are evocative of the story within, while still standing on their own. The way he uses negative space to compose an image is probably only surpassed by Alex Toth.

All of these skills combine in Samnee’s amazing storytelling skills in his sequential work. The way he leads the eye through his pages, always placing the focus right where wants it, giving the reader all the information she needs, while making her feel every emotion that the script calls for, is second to none. – Rasmus Lykke

Best Letter Artists 

Letter artists are pretty obvious, but let’s explain it anyways: they’re letterers. The folks who literally give characters voice, and define our read in subtle and unexpected ways.

Runners Up

  • Cory Petit
  • Joe Caramagna
  • John Layman
  • Janice Chiang 
  • Steve Wands
  • Todd Klein 
  • Jared K Fletcher 
  • Rus Wooton 
From Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #4, art by Caspar Wijngaard and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

3. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

The reason I like Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is because there’s proof of what his thought process is when lettering comics. Many comic professionals don’t have the time to talk about comics craft, but Hass clearly exists in some sort of place where time doesn’t exist, and as such can show how lettering works on a seemingly weekly basis on his Twitter. By showing us his thought process, it helps me to have confidence in his abilities as a letterer. Alongside that, it helps me to focus on lettering in my favorite comics and learn how it is affecting my reading more than before. Hass is the reason I’ve started seeing letters as a piece of art on the page, instead of being something that gets in the way of the art. He’s redefined how I read and process comics, and I’m thankful for that. – Keigen Rea

From Little Bird #4, art by Ian Bertram, Matt Hollingsworth and Aditya Bidikar

2. Aditya Bidikar

Aditya Bidikar is one of the most interesting letterers working today.

His work on Little Bird, White Trees or Isola would be enough to earn him this spot alone, as he aptly shifts his style to match with each individual artist. But factor in how he also constantly pushes the envelope of what comic book lettering can do, doing truly innovative things with every new project he undertakes, and he deserves all the praise he gets. – Rasmus Lykke

From The Vision #2, art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles

1. Clayton Cowles 

The sheer number of amazing books that Cowles has been involved in would be enough to earn him this spot. But once you start to factor in just how good his work on those titles are, it becomes clear how much he deserves it. Just look at how many of the comics on the “Best of” list he lettered!

The amazing work on Vision , the numerous styles and sheer degree of formalistic fuckery that he had to use on The Wicked + The Divine , the amazing work he did on Young Avengers (especially on the credits pages) and so much more. He’s simply the best. – Rasmus Lykke

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