Comicon’s 7 Best Colorists Of 2020
by Erik Amaya
Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of the strange year that was 2020. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Comic Series, 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: James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Cesareo Garasa, Rachel Bellwoar, Scott Redmond, Tito James, Gary Catig, Tony Thornley, Richard Bruton, and Erik Amaya.
The following are Comicon’s 7 Best Colorists of 2020.
7. Brahm Revel for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika (IDW)
Revel is one of those creators who can execute every artistic job which brings comic pages to life and do it well. The two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika series from this year puts that talent on full display. His coloring stands out with a truly vibrant palette with explosions of color everywhere — whether it be eye-catching backgrounds or on pages where those background detail is sacrificed to bring focus to the characters and action in the forefront. At the same time, the colors indicating the present time stand out from those of flashbacks with a bright, but slightly muted red filter placed over past scenes. It instantly trains the eye to realize it’s a flashback without having to fully spell things out with dialogue or captions.
— Scott Redmond
6. Erica Henderson for Dracula Motherf**ker!, (Image Comics)
Henderson is a great artist, sure enough, and her book with Alex de Campi, Dracula Motherf**ker!, made our best of year lists as a whole thing — story and art — but it was her colouring on that book that stood out as one of the best bits of colour art all year. She takes a tale naturally of darkness and sheds all notions of realism to colour it in bold, glorious strokes; filling the book with an abstract sensibility that makes every page a stunning example of how a great colourist can give a book so much. Henderson uses colour to set mood and tone, eschewing the darkness to deliver beautiful, expressive, and vibrant colours that can both lull you into the horror and/or leap off the page, right for your jugular. Whether it’s the black and white noir with colour pops, the darkroom plot-point reds, or the cool blue noir scenes, she seems to effortlessly make them work in a book where colour is absolutely everything.
— Richard Bruton
5. Jordie Bellaire for Black Hammer (Dark Horse), Legion of Super-Heroes (DC Comics), Black Widow (Marvel Comics), and many more.
Color sets the tone for a comic scene and few do it better than Jordie Bellaire. She sets the stage for everything from moody horror to bombastic super heroes and everything in between. Most recently, in Barbalien: Red Planet, she does all of it in one book as we jump between timelines and worlds, each with its own unique palette. Bellaire differentiates the mood for each one with deft precision, shifting from quiet moments of reflection to outpouring of affection to sci-fi action.
— James Ferguson
4. Ronda Pattison for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW)
While the line artists might rotate per story arc, Ronda Pattison has been one of the steadfast members of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creative team since the recent changeover, bringing her amazing coloring work along for each and every issue. No matter the line artist’s style, Pattison’s colors remain bright and detailed, and dark when needed with just slight alterations so that they sync up perfectly with the rest of the art. There would be no way to pick out a particular issue as her best work because it’s all amazing. That being said, there is especially a harmony when Pattison’s colors are paired together with Sophie Campbell or Jodi Nishijima’s artwork in the series. It is the proverbial music to our ears.
— Scott Redmond
3. Tamra Bonvillian for Once & Future (Boom! Studios), et al
While Bonvillian has coloured a good deal of various titles throughout this past year, her work on Once & Future really stands out to me. Her use of colour instills a certainly aura of the ethereal and the magical that has become as much a part of this series stunning, supernatural aesthetic as Dan Mora’s magical art.
— Olly MacNamee
2. David Curiel for Hellions (Marvel Comics), et al
A book like Hellions straddles a line between dark/serious but also hilarious; the tone shifting as much as the moods or alliances of the broken characters within its pages. In order to make that work, one has to strike the right tone with all facets of the art and Curiel nails it when it comes to the book’s coloring. Just glancing at the pages one can see the somewhat muted darker tones added to a page but also the use of brighter colors in the background and edges that helps bring to life the mixed tone of the series. At the same time, Curiel has leapt to various other books where his colors can take on a more bright and colorful tone to match the character — showcasing a great range which the best types of artists have.
— Scott Redmond
1. Marte Gracia for X-Men line, X of Swords, Empyre (Marvel Comics)
If 2019 was Gracia coming into his own as a color artist, 2020 was him handing the industry — as a whole — a beer and saying “you ain’t seen nothing yet, watch this.” Every time his name showed up in the credits, you knew you would be in for a breathtaking issue. Whether it’s the Avengers arriving in the lush green home of the Cotati on the moon or a literal legion of X-Men bursting through a portal, he stunned readers with gorgeous painterly colors that filled his collaborators’ line work with light, life and color.
— Tony Thornley