The X-Men have been shattering sales records for decades. Their books are always among Marvel’s hottest, and X-Men fans are known for being both a discerning and demanding lot. They want the best talent on their books, and Marvel has obliged them over the years, putting their best writing and artistic talent on the various X-Men titles.
The X-Men books’ art has long been top-notch, with some of the greatest artists of all time working on the team’s adventures. These amazing visuals have been very important to the success of the franchise, grabbing readers’ attention and never letting go.
10 Dave Cockrum Created Iconic Looks For The Greatest X-Men
There are few artists more important to X-Men history than Dave Cockrum. As the artist on Giant-Size X-Men #1, his visuals were what made people interested in the team again. He designed characters like Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird, with his mistake drawing Wolverine’s mask leading to a change that would stick.
Cockrum drew Uncanny X-Men #94-107, 110, 145-150, 153-158, and 161-164. His art was a huge part of the team’s early successes, working well with writers Len Wein and Chris Claremont. Cockrum may not be the flashiest artist, but his style and eye for design set the stage for the future.
9 John Romita Jr. Had several Runs On Uncanny X-Men
As the son of Marvel legend John Romita, John Romita Jr. grew up around the Marvel offices, with his first published work coming at the age of 13. He’d work on multiple titles for Marvel in the ’80s, with a run on Uncanny X-Men showing just how great he was. He’d return to the book in the early ’90s, showing off his unique style.
Romita Jr. drew Uncanny X-Men #175-185, 187-197, 199-200, 202-203, 206-211, 287, 300-302, and 306-311. A Marvel legend in his own right, Romita Jr. always had a distinctive style that worked very well with the X-Men, and his action penciling is among the best.
8 Marc Silvestri’s Clean Pencils Graced Uncanny X-Men In The Late ’80s
Marc Silvestri is an icon in the comic industry, largely thanks to his work on the X-Men. The eventual Image co-founder joined Uncanny X-Men during its most fertile period in the late ’80s. Silvestri impressed everyone, his clean line work gracing stories like “Inferno” and defining the Outback era of the team.
Silvestri drew Uncanny X-Men #218, 220-222, 224-227, 229, 230, 232-234, 236, 238-244, 246, 247, 249-251, 253-255, and 259-261. His art set the standard for the coming artistic revolution that would overtake the X-Men books and stands up wonderfully even today.
7 Chris Bachalo Brought A Quirky Sensibility To The X-Men
Chris Bachalo made a name for himself working at DC on books like The Sandman, Shade: The Changing Man, and the two Death miniseries. He moved to Marvel to co-create Generation X and eventually got a job on the main X-Men books, supplying amazing stories and penciling multiple X-Men series.
Bachalo drew Uncanny X-Men #349, 353-356, 362-365,464-468, 472, 600, Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #1-4, 8-9, 12,16, and 42, New X-Men #142-145, X-Men 188-190, 192-193, 197-200, and 205-207, Wolverine and the X-Men, #1-3, 8-10, 12,16, 24, X-Men (Vol. 3) #7-10, and Ultimate X-Men #18-19. Bachalo worked with the best X-Men writers ever, his quirky style wowing audiences.
6 Andy Kubert Filled Some Massive Shoes
The ’90s were the decade of the X-Men. The team was defined by superstar artists in the early years of the decade, all of whom would leave and form Image Comics. Marvel had to replace them, and Andy Kubert got the nod on X-Men after some promising fill-in at work. Uncanny X-Men in 1991. As the son of comics legend Joe Kubert, Andy would impress everyone with his run on the mutants.
Kubert drew Uncanny X-Men #279-280, and 288, X-Men #14-20, 22-26, 28-34, 36-38, 40-41, 44-47, 50, 52-57, and 59, Ultimate X-Men #5-6, and 50-53as well as Amazing X-Men (Vol. 1) #1-4 for The Age Of Apocalypse. Kubert had some big shoes to fill, but he knocked it out of the park.
5 Paul Smith’s Simple Elegant Pencils Graced Uncanny X-Men For A Short Run
Chris Claremont is Marvel’s longest-tenured writer and worked with a lot of amazing artists during his many years writing the X-Men. One of the most underrated, yet one of the best, is Paul Smith. Smith didn’t have a long run on Uncanny X-Men, drawing issues 165-170, 172-175, and 278, but it was enough to make an impression on X-Men fans.
Smith’s pencils aren’t flashy, but they don’t need to be. Their greatest strength, with Smith’s eye for detail and character acting selling every panel he drew. He’s responsible for some iconic X-Men imagery, his elegant pencils melding well with the stories.
4 Adam Kubert Is An X-Men Expert
Adam Kubert’s family pedigree is impeccable. Son of the legend Joe Kubert and older brother of Andy Kubert, Adam hit it big penciling wolverine, a job that would eventually lead to stints on multiple X-Men books, his art a highlight of ’90s Marvel. Kubert is one of the industry’s best, his style mixing the classic and modern, always experimenting with his pencils.
Kubert drew Uncanny X-Men #339, 368-370, 372-373, 375, 378, 381, 383-384, X-Men #81-84, Ultimate X-Men #1-4, 7-8, 10-12, 15-17, 20-22, 25, 29, and 31-33. Kubert’s style blended perfectly with the X-Men and his time on the book helped build his legend.
3 John Byrne Supplied Visuals For Iconic X-Men Tales
The X-Men have some amazing runs for fans to read, full of dynamic writer/artist teams. One of the most important to X-Men history was when writer Chris Claremont teamed up with artist/co-plotter John Byrne. Claremont and Byrne created timeless stories together, their work truly elevating Uncanny X-Men into one of the greatest comics of all time.
Byrne drew and co-plotted Uncanny X-Men #108, 109, and 111-143. This time included both “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days Of Future Past,” among other masterpieces. Byrne’s dynamic artwork and plotting ability helped create stories that would define the X-Men for years to come.
2 Frank Quitely’s Unconventional Style Was Brilliant On New X-Men
Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was revolutionary. However, without the work of Morrison’s frequent artistic collaborator Frank Quitely, there’s a good chance it would be perceived very differently. Quitely’s style was unlike anyone who had drawn the team before, and his pencils and character designs helped define what Morrison’s bold new era would look like.
Quitely drew New X-Men #114-116, 121-122, 126, and 135-135. Quitely was always able to take everything in Morrison’s scripts and bring it to life. His imagery succeeded where a more conventional artist’s might have failed, and his work is stronger because of how different it is.
1 Jim Lee Redefined The X-Men For The ’90s
Jim Lee got his job on the X-Men after working on The Punisher War Journal. His time on Uncanny X-Men made him into one of the industry’s most popular, if not the most popular, artists. His stylistic pencils combined amazing character acting, brilliant detail, and dynamic action. He designed some of the X-Men’s most iconic costumes and contributed to the best X-Men stories ever.
Lee drew Uncanny X-Men #248, 256-258,267-277, and X-Men #1-11. His stardom is what got X-Men launched, as he’d take over co-plotting duties after Claremont left the book with issue three. Lee became a superstar with the X-Men, parlaying that into co-founding Image, eventually moving his WildStorm Studios to DC, and becoming one of the most powerful people in the industry in his current role at DC.