Usually with Artist of the Week I feature a single artists and give you an in-depth gallery and recommendations list. But as this week is Batman Week, I have decided to do things a bit differently by featuring multiple artists. All of these Batman artists have contributed the character in one way or another, pushing him forward and adding their own personal touch. As normal, I will include reading recommendations so you can go on to read these artist work on Batman.
I hope you enjoy the wide breadth of artists and don’t forget to let me know which is your favourite in the comments.
Dick Sprang was one of the early Batman artists and definitely one of the first to put his unique take on the character in the Golden Age. Sprang’s Batman was known for his barrelled chest and square jaw, which made the character look fun even when the story had its dark moments.
You can see Dick Sprang’s Batman work in “The Batman Chronicles” volumes #10 and #11. You can also find his work digitally.
While Carmine Infantino is better know for his work on The Flash, his work with Batman is also important. In 1964 he spearheaded a change in direction that would remove some of the sillier aspects of Batman and make more of a detective again. In the late 60 he became Art Director at DC Comics and then later on Editorial Director. In these positions he hired many well respected creators including Neal Adams and Joe Kubert.
You can find Carmine Infantino’s Batman work in “Tales of the Batman: Carmine Infantino”, which is available in print and digitally.
In the latter half of the 1960 Batman had been heavily influenced by the Batman television series, giving it a camp feel. In 1971 Batman was given a darker direction under the watch of writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams. Neal Adam’s dark and brooding Batman has became very influential and much of its elements are still seen today.
You can find Neal Adam’s Batman work in “Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams” volumes 1-3.
David Mazzucchelli collaborated with Frank Miller on Batman: Year One, which is considered to be one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. Mazzucchelli’s art is dynamic and powerful and well suited to the dark tones of the narrative. That being said, he does this in his own unique style which is full of soft lines and high contrast.
You can find David Mazzucchelli’s Batman work in “Batman: Year One”. You can also find it digitally here.
Another Batman artist known for his high contrast style is Frank Miller, whose Batman is has similar features to Dick Sprang’s although in a much more grittier package. His Batman comics were also known for his panel construction, which paced the action fast and added to the intensity.
You can read Frank Miller’s Batman work in “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again.” Both can be found digitally.
Norm Breyfogle is one of those underrated Batman artists, who worked through much of the early 90s on Batman and Detective Comics. This art was dark, brooding and atmospheric but also full of action. His action sequences are petty cool, which can be seen in the above image of Batman swinging at The Joker through a car. Sadly, I couldn’t find a larger version of this.
In a time where many artist were trying to recreate the success of the Image founders, Kelley Jones was able to make his mark with a unique version of Batman. The most notable element of his Batman for me are the tall ears, which look almost look like horns. Secondly, his cape flows with sharp edges in a way that is reminiscent of a Tim Burton design. In the context of his run with Doug Moench, which features many supernatural elements, this works great in creating a dark and spooky atmosphere.
You can read Kelley Jones’ Batman work in “Batman by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones volume 1”. You can also find much of their run digitally.
Eisner Award-winning artist Tim Sale has a high contrast style which has a slightly distorted feel when compared to many artists on this list. Saying it is distorted is not a negative in this context as it allows for plenty of expression and interesting takes on characters. Also, as can be seen above, he know to use interesting panel layouts, which help set the tone for the reader.
You can read the majority of Tim Sale’s Batman work in “Batman: Haunted Knight”, “Batman: The Long Halloween” and “Batman: Dark Victory.” Most of it can be found digitally.
When Jim Lee was announced to be working on Batman it was a huge deal and his run on the character sold very well. Lee’s style on Batman is one that is full of detail and blockbuster action. During his run he experimented with watercolours for the flashbacks which create a nostalgic tone for the story.
Jim Lee’s best known Batman work is “Batman: Hush”, which is available in print and digitally.
Greg Capullo is the current artist on Batman and has been since the start of the New 52 relaunch in late 2011. Similar to Jim Lee, his art is full of dynamic action that bursts off the page. He has also created a Gotham City that is old and lived in, full of dark alleys and secrets.
Greg Capullo’s Batman work can be see in the trade paperbacks of the New 52 Batman series, which is also available digitally.