¦ Features ¦ 2006AD
Fiends of the Eastern Front by Colin MacNeil
Gavin Hanly: This
is quite possibly the hardest category to pick this year, as there has been some
excellent work on show. Simon Coleby has gone from strength to strength
with particular highlights for him being both Malone and the excellent Dredd
wraparound cover. his apparent ability stick to deadlines - unlike some other
artists this year - won't do him any harm either. Carlos Ezquerra has proved
to be as dependable as ever on the Origins marathon and he even
managed produce the odd American comic this year too. It was wonderful to see
Simon Fraser back on Dante, and I'm very tempted to give him the award for that
alone. Also, Clint Langley did a decent job on Slaine: Carnival but has turned
in an amazing piece of work with the first episode's worth of the ABC Warriors,
on which Henry Flint also turned in some characteristically mad art.
But this year, I'm going to vote for Colin
MacNeil as best
artist for some excellent covers, but more importantly for his work on Fiends
of the Eastern Front, Shimura and Cadet for the Megazine. His work there has
helped to lift the ailing Megazine and although Fiends would have ben best suited
to a weekly run, you can't deny the loving touch that MacNeil gave the series.
He's had an excellent year and hopefully we'll see a lot more of him in 2007.
James Mackay: I’ve
rather loved the pseudonymous Smudge’s
work on Chiaroscuro. In some ways very old-fashioned, it’s also the
first work in a while that’s really felt in tune with the world of today. I
love the shadowed eyes, the monster designs, and the way in which he can draw
a man being shot through the head without making it exploitative and cheap. An
astonishing, assured debut.
That said, Langley’s work on the ABC Warriors will
undoubtedly top my choices next year: I just don’t want to choose it after
only one episode.
Simply because of his huge contribution to Caballistics, Dom Reardon. I can’t
think of another current artist who’s made a strip so much his own or so
dramatically added to the overall feel.
Stone Island by Simon Davis
Alex Frith: For four outstanding covers (including
my favourite Christmas Prog cover so far), and for pushing the boundaries of
eyeball-churning gore in Stone Island, it has to be Simon Davis.
And while his Black Siddha isn't his best work in storytelling terms, it does
showcase his talent for comedy.
Stephen Watson: Last years winner for me,
Arthur Ranson, was unseated as he
only produced a few pages and the odd cover. Hopefully he’ll regain the
crown next year for Buttonman 4 but for now the laurels go to Steve
Steve has produced dozens of top pages in his distinctive and exciting
style. His colour Dredd was a misstep but can be forgiven for being out with
his usual domain. Tharg’s finest and most consistent.
As fans, we spend a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of writers and artists,
but don't tend to concentrate on either the colourists or letterers, who contribute
a massive (and vital) effort towards our enjoyment of each and every issue. Tom
Frame died in July, and there was a moving tribute to him in prog
included a link to the charity Marie
Curie Cancer Care. As
it says on his 2000ADonline profile: "Tom Frame has worked on more
2000AD stories than any other creator with his first work published in Prog 4.
He will be sorely missed."
Andrew Howe: I’d
love to give this to Karl Richardson, but he’s disqualified
for failing to make it to the end of either of his outings this year. Old
favourite Arthur Ranson was absent without leave, Boo Cook and Simon Davis turned
in fine work for strips I had to force myself to read, and our exposure to Langley
and Harrison was all too brief.
Which leaves the obvious choice, Carlos
without whom Strontium
Dog, Cursed Earth Koburn and Origins would have been unthinkable.
Long may he reign.
Cursed Earth Koburn by Carlos Ezquerra
but still goldie: Carlos Ezquerra. I have the personal
opinion that the only reason he's not been half-inched by DC is because he draws
his women with faces like a bag of spanners that's been set alight and then put
out with another bag of spanners and then thrown in a ditch, but his storytelling
is top notch. I prefer
his black and white work to his digitally-coloured stuff, but he's a welcome
sight in the books.
Adam Crabtree: Kev Walker’s work on
The Connection for Dredd is as exceptional as we’ve come to expect, but
only five episodes! This Mignola-rivaller needs a steadier gig at the Galaxy’s
Greatest! Boo Cook and Carl Critchlow have done incredible works as well; competence
can be learned, but style is a little more alchemical in nature, and these two
have style by the mile. Special mentions for Inaki Miranda and Eve de la Cruz
for their atmospheric and cinematic work on Regime Change for the Megazine; Cuidad
Baranquilla is brought to dusty, sweltering life herein.
David Knight: It’s
tough to decide between them when so many superb artists worked on 2000ad in
2006 – the names Carlos Ezquerra and Henry Flint immediately
spring to mind – but what really impressed me about Steve
work was the tight control and discipline in his pen strokes, giving a heightened
sense of authenticity to pirates, jungles, dinosaurs and artificial moons in The
I doubt that many people will be voting for this
artist, but I thought Anthony Williams did a great
job this year and contributed very well indeed. The great art on The VCs was
almost completely perfect with some great panels with some lovely drawn characters
and some great colouring and shading. We saw some great art in The VC's (final
book ever! *sniff*) and Sinister Dexter and I hope to see plenty more of Mr Williams
in the near future!
Nikolai Dante by Simon Fraser
Martin Charlton: Carlos is going to walk this
one, really, isn’t he? He’s not getting
my vote though. I’d normally go for Henry Flint but he’s been awfully
quiet of late, meaning my only choice is Simon Fraser. When you read a strip
and get Goosebumps, that’s the artist’s job done, isn’t it?
The prospect of having him back of Dante was what got me through all those interminably
static Burns pages that bleed the strip dry of its enthusiasm and its madcap
humour. A welcome return, if one that Tharg could have made more of.
WR Logan: Easy one this, Carlos
Ezquerra. Is there another droid ever created that can be this
consistent and regularly turn in the goods and at the quality that he does. Simply
one of the best steam driven droids there is and let’s hope
we still see his work appearing with the pages of the galaxies greatest comic
for many years to come.
Pete McCosh: A tricky one this, as there’s
been a lot of decent art but not a lot that really made me sit up and take note.
The return of both D’Israeli
and Clint Langley in Prog 2007 promises much for next year and the brief bit
of Dom Reardon we got to see was up to his usual high standards, but I’m
going to go with Steve Yeowell for consistently being able to
produce work of the highest quality while actually putting a lot less pencil
on the paper than a lot of other artists. Some of the big spreads he gets to
do in Red Seas are awesome.
Joseph Saxton: Looking back through the year,
there's not much where the art was bad. High points include Simon Davis’s
gore fest in Stone Island and Kev Walker’s work on The Connection. Initially
Boo Cook’s Kipling work was lovely but after the third story it started
to look a bit scrappy. Looking back through my prog’s I reckon I’m
going to vote for Dom Reardon, he’s a fantastically
talented artist with an unmistakable style. To pick an example his Tales
of the Black Museum stands out head and shoulders above most of the others. A
huge asset to the prog I look forward to what he’ll bring in 2007.