Our Favorite Comic Book Cover Artists of All Time

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Mac Raboy:


Chosen to make the "Captain Marvel Jr." spinoff distinct from the cartoony style of C.C. Beck's work on the original Big Red Cheese, Raboy brought the look of Norman Rockwell and classic picture books to the comic book covers of the 1940s. With vivid colors, realistic figures and unique uses of perspective, his work provided a major influence on Alex Ross and generations of artists to come. Small wonder he was hand-picked to take over the Flash Gordon comic strip when Alex Raymond left—who better to fill the shoes of one of the most legendary illustrators ever? Zack Smith

Amy Reeder:


The characters on Amy Reeder's comic covers are always a millisecond from doing something spectacular, whether they're swooping, stabbing or reflecting on an epic battle or crippling defeat. Reeder knows how to yank you into her world via the power of media res. Even within the flurry of action, these characters hold a fleeting grace, camera poised to catch a moment of visual perfection for staples like Kate Kane and Rocket Girl DaYoung Johansson. Backgrounds of soft gradients and wispy clouds enhance these portraits, calling direct attention to the spectacular beings in center frame. Sean Edgar

Paolo Rivera:


Paolo Rivera's art has evolved over the decades into an dizzying exercise of experimentation and skill. From his classic paints on Mythos to the oh-dear-lord-how-long-did-that-take-you hatching on Daredevil #10, Rivera doesn't stand still or fall on a defining "style." His art also transcends simple posturing for symbolism; Magneto melds barbed wire around the anti-hero's head in the shape of his helmet, performing a touching and sad tribute to the character's sympathetic origins. Rivera's recent output on The Valiant confirms a dedication to clean storytelling and emotional body language. Sean Edgar

John Romita Sr.:


Picking up where Steve Ditko left off, John Romita subsequently came to define the look of Spider-Man, transforming the character into a bona fide cultural phenomenon in the process. His ascent to fame as one of the first true rock star comic book artists was certainly well-earned, as he delivered some of the most unmistakably iconic cover work in the history of the medium. Just take a look at his resume—"The Night Gwen Stacey Died," "Spider-Man No More!", the creator (and co-creator) of Bullseye, Luke Cage, Kingpin, Rhino, Mary Jane Watson and Wolverine. As his former colleague would say, "Nuff said!" Mark Rozeman

Alex Ross:


As an interior artist, Ross' brand of Norman Rockwell-inspired photorealism may be a bit of an acquired taste. As a cover artist, however, there's no denying the lush, meticulous work and sheer cinematic sheen of his designs. In an industry where even the most talented artists are content to build upon (or even flat-out copy) what worked before, Ross marches to the beat of his own drum. One thing's for sure—you can never mistake a Ross cover as coming from any other pen. Mark Rozeman

Tim Sale:


Tim Sale's seductive pencils helped redefine comicdom's (arguably) most popular character, sending him back to his detective routes in the Haunted Knight/Long Halloween/Dark Victory trilogy with writer Jeph Loeb. Sale's minimal line work and engulfing shadows sustained a noir world that demanded meticulous acting and storytelling for a whodunnit that's become one of the most revered chapter's in Batman's library. But to limit Sale's expertise to the Batcave would be folly. The artist has shown his skill at bright, gorgeous superhero nostalgia in Marvel's color series (Captain American: White #1 is out this month) and Superman For All Seasons. These covers don't just invite the reader into the story, they lure the reader into a mood. Sean Edgar

Alex Schomburg:


Stan Lee once stated that Alex Schomburg was to comics what Norman Rockwell was to the Saturday Evening Post. And while the early architects of Golden Age of Comics art are often unfairly overlooked, Schomburg's distinctive, vibrant covers often carry as much power now as they did 80 years prior. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the covers are just so busy. Indeed, it's not uncommon for a Schomburg original to feature more than a dozen characters in various states of flying, punching or kicking. What's all the more impressive is that, despite the visceral movement on display, the cover never feels overwhelming or cluttered. Rather, it makes you want to look closer and discern the elaborate choreography that Schomburg has laid before you. Mark Rozeman

Declan Shalvey:


The key to Declan Shalvey's memorable cover work—most of it on Marvel titles featuring his interiors as well—is his perfect alchemy with Eisner-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire. While Shalvey has honed his pools of deep black over years of published work, it's the trust he places in longtime creative collaborator Bellaire to complement his ink washes with bursts of unexpected color that earns him a spot on this list. Shalvey also displays an impressive range in his cover art, nailing the ethereal vibe of Moon Knight, the tragicomedy of his brief stint on Deadpool and even the unexpectedly heartwarming humor of Groot. Injection, his current collaboration with Warren Ellis, has displayed a whole new side to Shalvey's cover work, a sparse, atmospheric vibe rarely seen on comic racks. This Irish artist has nowhere to go but up. Steve Foxe

Yuko Shimizu:


Illustrator Yuko Shimizu is known primarily for her work on a single series, but her tone-setting contribution to Mike Carey and Peter Gross' The Unwritten more than earns her a spot on this list. The recently concluded Vertigo title follows a sort of meta-fictional Harry Potter, and across more than 70 issues and an OGN, Shimuzu brought this concept to life with covers that blend the literary with the mythical and feel ripped out of the ancient history wing of a museum, earning her an Eisner nomination in the process. The Unwritten is over, but Shimizu's ghost variant for Sex Criminals makes us hopeful that the fine artist won't fully leave the comic world behind any time soon. Steve Foxe

Bill Sienkiewicz:


I came of age reading a lot of early-to-mid-80s Marvel comics, and it's hard to emphasize just how utterly bonkers Bill Sienkiewicz's covers for New Mutants looked beside everything Marvel was doing at the time. Close to 30 years later, they still look like nothing else. It's as if someone took the styles of Steadman and Schiele and mashed them together, using them to showcase shape-changing aliens, demonic bears, Disney-inspired reveries and more. Tobias Carroll