Comicon’s 5 Best Colorists Of 2022
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 2021. 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: Oliver MacNamee, Rachel Bellwoar, Richard Bruton, Scott Redmond, Tito James, Tom Smithyman, and Tony Thornley.
The following are Comicon’s 5 Colorists of 2022.
5. Mike Spicer
Mike Spicer is an industry leader when it comes to colouring. On The Swamp Thing, Spicer was able to add depth and differentiate details on pages often swamped with foliage, fauna and so much more besides, with his keen sense of colour. A huge part of the comics aesthetics, always complementing the art of Mike Perkins, and making it shine even more. He brought a lush richness to the greenery of the series while also contributing to the sense of cold brought on by the rise of the Parliament of Gears.
— Olly MacNamee
4. INJ Culbard
Frankly, INJ Culbard could easily have been the winner in so many categories … best artist for sure and best cover artist. Then Brink could/should have won the best comic series for Culbard and writer Dan Abnett. Not to mention his work as writer/artist/creator of the original graphic novel Salamandre for Dark Horse. But anyway, Culbard’s one of those artists whose ability to craft a world comes through the entirety of his art, with the gorgeous line complimented so well with his rich colors, no matter what he’s working on. Just taking Brink as an example, the colors through every series have been stellar, so effective in establishing tone and mood. Culbard’s choices not just establish a look, but add layer upon layer to the visual imagery. It’s essential work, not just coloring as an isolated stage, but a final step into creating some perfection on page after page.
— Richard Bruton
3. Matt Herms
Boom! Studios’ All New Firefly. IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game. DC’s Black Adam. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of some of the titles Herms has colored this year. For the purposes of this blurb, though, I’d like to draw special attention to the incredible work Herms has been doing for Archie Comics, specifically their anthology oneshots. By nature of them being anthologies, you really get to see what color brings to each story, like in Fear the Funhouse, where the texture of the wraparound story gives the feel of watching a horror film on an old VHS tape, whereas the colors for “Suburban Legend” are glossy and make the horror feel out of place and unexpected. There’s never any confusion about when one story starts and the other begins because the colors are so distinct.
— Rachel Bellwoar
2. Tamra Bonvillain
Bonvillain was quietly one of the most reliable color artists in comics for a long time. Then she was paired with Dan Mora, and became one of the best. She gave Once & Future’s fantasy world its own distinct palette. She made Gotham and Metropolis in World’s Finest both visually distinct and all on her own. She brought a signature iconic look to the entirety of DC’s pantheon, too. She’s capable of elevating every issue she works on, and is continuing to grow as she does it.
— Tony Thornley
1. Jordie Bellaire
Bellaire is a colorist who has such a distinctive, vibrant, and beautiful style to coloring a comic book, yet at the same time she’s a chameleon. Even though Bellaire has that distinctive style, it is one that is able to morph and change to add in variety that always matches whatever the artist brings to the page. It can be smooth in one issue and then change to something a bit rougher the next, popping with vibrant powerful colors to set the tone or toned down more grounded colors that set a totally different tone. Colors very much help set the mood for any comic book and Bellaire is one of the best at setting or enhancing a mood. There is a reason that her colors are found on so many high-profile books out there.
— Scott Redmond