9. The Greatest X-Men Artists
Most of the great X-Men artists contributed to the X-Men during this run. John Byrne began the run from 122 to 143, which includes The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past. Byrne’s very big shoes were filled by the very capable late Dave Cockrum from 145 to 164, with some guest artists. Byrne and Cockrum are widely regarded as two of the greatest and most influential comic artists. Their drawings are beautiful, well-proportioned and realistic, yet very dramatic and powerful.
These two were followed by the underrated Paul Smith from 165 to 175, who draws in a more cartoon like style, but is also very beautiful, particularly female characters. Paul Smith was followed by John Romita Jr. (JRJR) from 175 through to 200, with 201 done by a guest penciller. JRJR’s art is more gritty, less polished and very appropriate to reflect the change in the X-Men team during this stage in the run. There are also some fantastic one-off issues pencilled by Barry Windsor Smith.
The most notable X-Men artists missing during this period are Jim Lee and John Cassaday. Jim Lee started pencilling X-Men in the 90s where the stories were much less profound and succinct. Stories would overlap multiple X-Men comics and be very expensive and drawn out. John Cassaday’s X-Men run is much more recent, but only ran for 24 issues. The run from 122 to 143 showcases a variety of the greatest X-Men artists in one continuous run.
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