Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of 2019. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Comic Series,Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, and Most Progressive Comics.
Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards this year include: Brendan Allen, James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Noah Sharma, Rachel Bellwoar, Tito James, Tony Thornley, Richard Bruton, and Erik Amaya.
The following are Comicon’s Best Comic Colorists of 2019.
5. Michael Walsh for Black Hammer/Justice League (Dark Horse Comics)
The heroes of Black Hammer farm come from a dreary and depressing landscape which is the polar opposite of Metropolis and the DC Universe (except for Gotham City, of course). In the epic crossover Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice!, Michael Walsh works to differentiate each separate world and character set with a unique color palette. There is no doubt as to where you are on each page. This also makes the characters stand out when they switch places. Superman doesn’t belong on this farm — his light shines through despite the darkness all around him. The opposite is true back in the DCU, where Abraham Slam and the others are like a dark cloud on a sunny day.
— James Ferguson
4. Fico Ossio for No One Left to Fight (Dark Horse Comics)
Establishing an entire universe is difficult, yet Fico Ossio did it with style in No One Left to Fight. The comic is set in a world with a deep history of monsters, villains, and super powered heroes who shoot energy blasts from their hands. We only scrape the surface of all this in the all-too-brief limited series, yet we understand just how far this mythos reaches. Ossio imbues each page with vibrant energy. This is a land bursting with life and excitement so when darkness falls, you notice in a big way. It’s a threat that could destroy this paradise our heroes have worked so hard to create and that just will not stand.
— James Ferguson
3. Jason Wordie for Resonant (Vault Comics)
In Resonant, one of the ways the characters know when a wave is coming is that these bugs, called chirpers, start chirping. Both with the chirpers and without them, though, it’s Wordie’s colors that put you in a state of fear and alarm. So much of the series rides on readers grasping the seriousness of these waves. It’s not just violence, because there are scenes, like in issue three, where one of the characters starts a fight and the colors remain serene because this person is trained and controlled in their movements. The waves are about the loss of control and you get a taste of that just from the colors Wordie uses for the covers — these sharp contrasts that are eye catching but unpredictable. That’s what really sells these waves, too. It’s such a dramatic shift. Wordie’s colors for the outdoors make these locations look like paradise. They would be if the situation was different. This is the power of the waves and what Wordie’s colors are able bring to this series.
Similarly, for the characters, Bec and her brother have a fight and it’s depicted as that same loss of control. There’s no wave but Wordie uses the same colors. That’s how you know how close these two are. Only siblings who love each other could wound so effectively.
— Rachel Bellwoar
2. Marte Gracia for House of X and Powers of X (Marvel Comics)
It’s impossible to point out any one moment as Gracia’s best work in this past year because any example of his color art, particularly from House of X and Powers of X, could be used to show how it should be done. While his collaborators Pepe Larraz and RB Silva put in the line work of their careers, Gracia brought them to cinematic life. He filled every page with light and color, bringing the new nation of Krakoa to life just as much as the designs of the line art did.
Even more stunning was that he did all twelve issues of the HoX/PoX event without any delays until a sudden illness sidelined him just before the finish line. He’s shown exactly how much colors can add to a story and, in the process, he’s shown why he’s one of the best in the industry right now.
— Tony Thornley
1. Jordie Bellaire for John Constantine: Hellblazer, Batman, Legion of Superheroes (DC Comics) and many, many more
One of the most prolific comics creators — not just colorists — out there, Jordie Bellaire does it all. You want horror? Here’s some stunning and chilling work on John Constantine: Hellblazer. What about noir? Well, there’s Batman with its moody atmosphere and street level action. If you’re looking for pure super hero fun, there’s Legion of Super Heroes with it’s vibrant palette hitting the page like an explosion of color. And that’s just in the past few months. Bellaire is a versatile colorist, bringing every book she touches to another level by establishing the tone in an instant, creating a visual soundtrack of sorts and completing each title’s emotional landscape.
— James Ferguson