Atlas Comics presents


Known best for his intense and serendipitous pairing with Frank Miller, Klaus Janson has been doing outstanding work for Marvel, DC and others since the mid seventies. With a bold, heavy, thick brushstroke, Janson followed Tom Palmer's lead away from the Sinnott / Anderson style back to a darker image reminiscent of the greats of the past: Mort Meskin, George Roussos and early Kubert. In recent years he has proved himself a fine penciler as well, creating projects primarily for DC. Janson's world is invariably dark, shadowy, and fat with the same kind of visual energy which typifies noir thrillers like The Killers or Touch of Evil.

SEE: Janson's run with Frank Miller on Daredevil (issues 158-190), and The Dark Knight Returns; What If? (1st series) #3 over Gil Kane's pencils is terrific, as are his other collaborations with Gil on John Carter and many covers.

An outstanding example of the Miller / Janson pairing from Daredevil #164. Note the attention to detail in the lighting of Urich's spiral notepad in Panels 3 -6. Eleven panels on this page and no confusion.

Ask 100 fans who began collecting comics during the late 70's or 80's who their favorite inker is, and 80 will probably answer Terry Austin. With John Byrne, he crafted some of the eras best remembered comics, in the process moving away from the illustrative Tom Palmer influence back toward the more direct line look of Murphy Anderson and Joe Sinnott. This style, developed primarily by working with technical pens of varying line weights, became a template for aspiring inkers for a number of years. His influence can be seen in the work of Scott Williams, among others.

SEE: Uncanny X-Men with John Byrne (issues 109 - 143) is a great modern age teaming; Terry also produced a fabulous job over Frank Miller on Daredevil #191.

A fantastic example of Terry Austin's perfectly controlled tech-pen Linework on the Alex Toth-pencilled Superman Annual #9

If you ever have a chance to see a Nowlan original, you'll appreciate even more the care and detail he puts on every page of inks. The contrast of bold, meaty brush strokes against elegant linework is an absolute pleasure to behold. Simple shadows and perfectly controlled lineweights give his figure WEIGHT, and the space around them volume. He features aspects of some of the great inkers: the ethereal line of a John Bolton; the precise hand of a Brian Bolland; the sharp contrasts of a Wally Wood and the confidence and conviction of a Klaus Janson. Still reletively young, he exhibits a mastery of his two-dimensional medium far beyond his years.

SEE: Superman vs. Aliens; Superman: Distant Fires, a prestige-format DC book with Gil Kane (anything over Gil Kane - what a team!); Jack B. Quick in Tomorrow Stories (which he pencils himself).

Kevin has it all - full command of complex lighting effects; natural, organic looking linework and solid, well rounded forms. From Moon Knight (third series) #1.

The more you look at the career of John Severin, the better it gets. After a long and distinguished run during the 50's penciling and inking fantastic jobs for Atlas and EC, he turned in the 60's to some top flight inking over Jack Kirby and others, then teamed up with his sister Marie (a fine artist in her own right) for some beautiful Kull stories during the 70's - all this while still producing hilarious jobs for Cracked magazine! Influenced by Roy Crane, his inks have a bit of the Crane quality in them: direct, elegantly rendered without being overwrought, and above all, authentic. John has continued doing work into the 80's and 90's, each job just as painstanking as the others. If there's one thing John Severin never does, it is cut corners.

SEE: A nice run with Dick Ayers on Sgt. Fury #39 - 79--this is an outstanding example of a fine inker helping out a good storyteller but less than inspiring penciler; issues of Kull (first series) with his sister Marie; John's finishes over Kirby on early SHIELD issues of Strange Tales.

Here Severin loosens up Dick Ayers' excellent, but sometimes stiff pencils. From Sgt. Fury #72.


Dick Ayers belongs on this list, if only for his prolific output. By his own count, he produced almost 20,000 inked pages from his earliest days in the industry (1947) until 1989. But the quality during those many years remained uniformly excellent, if not always spectacular. Like most inkers who began before the 1970's, the idea was to use the inks to clarify and enhance the storytelling - not to make beautiful pictures. This Ayers did to supreme effect for DC, Skywald, Charlton, ACG and his most loyal employer, Marvel Comics. His collaborations with Jack Kirby (hundreds upon hundreds of pages during the 50's and early 60's) stand as one of the great teamings in the history of comics.

SEE: Fantastic Four # 6 - 20 (Except for #13 - a rare beauty by Steve Ditko!)

Probably King Kirby's most prolific partner, Ayers inked hundreds upon hundreds of pages of Jack's quickie western and monster stories before the Marvel super-hero era began.