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The Top 10 Artists to Watch for in 2013

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With a new year comes new comics and with new comics comes amazing talent. As we get ready for another year of exciting stories from the comics industry there are plenty of great artists to watch out for. It is time to take a look at The Top 10 Artists to watch for in 2013!

#10 Jamie McKelvie

 YA2McKelvie

McKelvie caught my attention a couple years back when he draw the Siege: Loki one-shot with his regular collaborator Kieron Gillen. The two have worked together several times from their book Phonogram at Image to multiple projects at Marvel. With their latest work being the relaunch for one of my favorite comics of the last decade, Young Avengers.

The previous volume of Young Avengers took the world by storm and took a bunch of new characters (or sort of new) and made them work in a world full of characters that have been around for decades. Then it ended. Then we had some great mini's here and there. Now the series is finally back in ongoing form with new members and with Gillen/McKelvie to give us a fresh new take on the series.

I really dig McKelvie's work from what I have seen. Though I have not read much of his stuff, what I have seen tells me that he is a perfect fit for the Young Avengers. His ability to capture big emotional moments will be key for a series about young adults who, let's be honest, often have their emotions on high. McKelvie is the main reason I am so excited for the new Young Avengers and I look forward to what he does with the characters I have loved for years.

 

#9 Axel Medellin

 ElephantmenMedellin

One of the two returning artists from last year. I put Medellin lower on the list since he was so high last year and I want mostly new picks in this list. But after having such a stellar year on Elephantmen, helping make it my #1 book of 2012, his place was secured on this list. Medellin's amazing artwork is half of what made Elephantmen such a fantastic comic in 2012 and, as I have said before, it will continue to make it a great comic in 2013.

Elephantmen is in a very big arc right now. “Sleep Partners” is slower than the previous “Killing Season” arc but in doing so its developing things carefully and effectively. Helping build up the emotional core of the series even more. And Medellin's artwork furthers that build up when we see anger, sadness and hope in the character's eyes and its all believable. After 2012, I am more than certain that Medellin will impress even more in 2013.

 

#8 Leinil Yu

 IndestructibleHulk3cover

I confess I was not always a fan of Yu's work. I felt he over did it a lot with the line work on New Avengers. It was not until Secret Invasion that I saw the real talent that was under all those lines and how great his art could be. Since then I have been keeping an eye on his work to see what he does here and there. But Indestructible Hulk is the first book I am buying that he has drawn in a while and he is still doing a great job like he did on Secret Invasion. 

The biggest strength of Yu is that he can capture big, intense explosive action and make it look like we're literally there, the action on freeze frame as everything is going crazy around us. He is a perfect fit for one of my favorite super heroes, the Hulk. Hopefully, his and Mark Waid's run on Indestructible Hulk will be a long one. 

(Update: As I was writing this it was announced Walter Simonson will be coming onto Indestructible Hulk as artist. It does not seem like he is replacing Yu long term though.)

 

#7 Todd Nauck

 NauckGtG

Drawing a sister book to any comic can be difficult for an artist. No matter how different your style may be, there will always be the comparison to the artist of the main title. Similarities, why this artist was chosen or this or that reason, etc. And if the artist looks incredibly similar then the comparisons become even more frequent.

What helps is to have an artist that while the style itself is distinct from the original series, there's still an echo of that art style to help them feel close. In that regard, they could not have picked a better artist for Guarding the Globe than Todd Nauck. His style stands out enough on its own, but has an animated quality like Ottley's does. Its the perfect fit for the sister book to Invincible. Similar, but still great on its own.

Nauck's work on Guarding the Globe has been nothing short of fantastic. He captures the big action of super heroes clashing with villains but also the smaller moments. The moments with two people just talking in a room. Nauck's artwork along with Hester's story telling have made Guarding the Globe one of the strongest spin-off comics in ages and are helping it stand tall and be a great book all on its own.

 

#6 Amy Reeder

 AmyReederArt1

I do not know how I went so long without recognizing the genius that is Amy Reeder. I knew she'd done some covers at DC and heard she was going to do some work on Batwoman, but somehow I was still in the dark on her artwork. Until Halloween Eve late last year. A book funded by Kickstarter then brought to Image Comics, it was my first experience with Reeder's artwork but it will certainly not be my last. 

Then she outdid herself in such a short amount of time during a short story in the Ghosts anthology from Vertigo that came out on Halloween. Telling a story about art, through art. It was beautiful work. I am not sure what Reeder is doing next, sadly. But whatever it is I will be there. She stole my attention in late 2012 and will have it all through 2013.

 

#5 Ryan Ottley

 Invincible100coverA

Ryan Ottley is the incredible artist of Invincible, my favorite super hero ongoing. Ottley has been drawing Invincible since the 8th issue. That is a long time of drawing one comic with only a few issues where he was not drawing it. This year is a huge one for Invincible as the series reaches its big 100th issue. Joining Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade, the Darkness and Kirkman's other hit series Walking Dead as one of the few Image titles to make it to that big number.

Ottley has continued to be near-perfect every month on Invincible. Bringing Kirkman's huge world of super heroics to life like no other. Now that Invincible is almost at that big milestone I think Ottley deserves a round of applause for sticking with it so long and being part of what has made it great for 100 issues. Let's hope he is still there by issue #200.

 

#4 Sean Murphy

 TheWakeMurphy

My introduction to Murphy's artwork was the 2011 mini-series American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest and his art was the best part of that mini. Now he is teaming up with Scott Snyder for another Vertigo horror series The Wake. We do not really know much about The Wake yet. But the promise of these two incredible talents together again is enough to get me excited for it.

Murphy really impressed me with the little touches he can add to a moment. The way we'll get a close up on someone's face and there is such a strong echo of emotion that it hits you hard. He excelled at making every panel mean something and adding a lot more emotion to the story than what the dialogue alone could. Whatever he does during the Wake and after it I'm sure it will look incredible.

 

#3 Becky Cloonan

 DraculaCloonan

After a big year in 2012 with working on the new Conan series at Dark Horse, doing some solo work at DC and her awesome illustrated edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Cloonan should be high on everyone's watch list. This year she's got a new series with Gerard Way, The Amazing Killjoys and while I'm not familiar with Way's writing, I am already considering checking it out for her artwork. 

Cloonan's manga influenced style is obvious at first and one may write that off as a bad thing. But if you take a moment to really look at her work you will see a unique style of art that has tons of energy in every page. She can do the personal interesting character moments well and still handle exciting action perfectly. Whether she's drawing Batman or brand new characters, whatever she does in 2013 you should be watching for.

 

#2 Stjepan Sejic

 SejicAphrodite

Sejic has been doing regular work at Top Cow for years now. I first saw his work on a preview for Witchblade #118 and his art looked like nothing I had ever seen. The smooth painted work and attention for detail is amazing. I've been following him since then. He had a great run on Witchblade with Ron Marz and then joined the writer over at Artifacts. Continuing his Top Cow work later this year, he will be joining Matt Hawkins on the reboot of Aphrodite IX.

Sejic's work is unlike most painted artwork because of its detail. He pays very good attention to the tiny lines and small turns of a figure that you otherwise wouldn't notice anyway. But this detail makes his painted work that much more impressive. He's able to incorporate the digital painting in with his pencils so tightly that it blends together perfectly.

I am always excited whenever Sejic is announced on a new project. He's been the best artist in Top Cow's stable for years and seeing him do more is always great. With the reboot of Aphrodite IX starting with a free first issue on Free Comic Book Day, everyone should give it a shot. I've been praising his work for years and he's the artist that got me into Top Cow, he definitely deserves your attention.

 

#1 Dustin Nguyen

 NguyenLilGotham

Easily one of the biggest talents DC comics has today. Nguyen has been a regular artist mostly for Batman since he joined up. Doing great work with Paul Dini especially. But recently he has been doing some other projects. Last year he drew the second American Vampire mini-series, Lord of Nightmares where he took his normally very animated looking style and made it much rougher and sketch-like, making for an interesting take on Snyder's world of blood suckers. 

I have enjoyed Nguyen's work ever since I found him and Dini working together on Detective Comics and later Streets of Gotham. Nguyen is a naturally perfect artist for the world of Batman. His animated style lends to some of the stranger elements in Batman's world while he can still capture the darker emotions that come with reading most Batman comics.

Late last year, Nguyen debuted his dream project digitally. Batman: Li'l Gotham which has been a huge hit for me so far. Taking the dark and serious world of Batman and putting it in a blender with Saturday Morning Cartoons and keeping everything in tact that's great about Gotham while still giving us a unique take on Batman's world.

Nguyen is an amazing artist for so many reasons. He can do dark and serious moments or fun comical bits and it all works. His work on Li'l Gotham allows him to do every panel in beautiful water colors making the series even more unique. He's been one of DC's best artists for years and seeing him get to do a project he loves so much is great. If you're going to watch one artist in 2013, make it Dustin Nguyen.

And so there are my picks for the 10 artists to watch for in 2013. Apologies if an artist who's work you like did not make it. But that is the fun of making lists. Almost everyone's will differ in some ways. Feel free to let me know what artists you are most excited to watch for in the comments section!

Runner Ups: Amanda Conner, Ross Campbell, Michael Allred, Kris Anka, Corey Hamscher, Greg Capullo, Patrick Gleason, Stefano Caselli, Darwyn Cooke, Charlie Adlard and Moritat.

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Andrenn got back into comics years ago with a random issue of Spawn. From there he was hooked and a couple years later he had to share his thoughts with the world at his old blog New Age Comics with Andrenn. Now a huge Image fan and a horror geek, Andrenn writes for the Comic Book Revolution. You can follow Andrenn's ramblings and thoughts from the links below.

Twitter: @Andrenn

Formspring: Andrenn

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