My latest comic book artist post – where I talk about a comic book artist whose work I like and post some of their art – is about Carlos Pacheco, the superstar Spanish artist who first arrived on the scene in 1994 and was an instant smash and who has been at the top of the comic book artist leagues ever since. His lovely line work is a mix of European style and influences of great artists in the superhero world (I can see Alan Davis and Neal Adams in there, for example) – it started out with more angles and extra lines, but it has refined throughout the years to a purer, cleaner style that is perfect for superheroes.
His first big work was for Marvel with the Bishop mini-series in 1994, although he would also draw a few issues of The Flash for DC in the same year (on Mark Waid’s run), and he has kept his foot in both camps ever since. His next major work was on the Warren Ellis-written Starjammers limited series in 1995/1996, which is probably where I first saw his work and fell in love with it; he would also work with Ellis on Excalibur in the same year, so that probably cemented his work in my affections.
He became a big name quickly – within a couple of years of starting out, he was working on X-Men, one of the main titles at the time; you don’t get that sort of promotion without major skills and being considered a hot comic book artist. He followed that with the Avengers Forever limited series (as I talked about in my post about Kurt Busiek’s work recently), where he could have a lot of fun with the history and variety of Marvel comics universe. Following that, he co-wrote and drew Fantastic Four, another big title, demonstrating his level and his desire to write as well.
After this long stint at Marvel, Pacheco moved to DC to draw the JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice graphic novel in 2002. He didn’t stay for long because he moved into the world of creator-owned comic books with Kurt Busiek on one of my favourite books, Arrowsmith, in which magic is real and the First World War is being fought with spells and dragons and such like. It’s a great book and I wish that there was more.
After that, Pacheco returned to DC to draw Absolute Power (a Superman/Batman story – see my review), pencilling alternate months on the new Green Lantern written by Geoff Johns, then pencilling Superman written by Busiek (collected in two volumes as Camelot Falls – see my reviews of volume 1 and volume 2), and helping JG Jones on Final Crisis in 2008/2009. Pacheco’s work is perfectly suited to drawing the noble, cleaner, purer world of DC superheroes (which is probably why he was asked to draw the covers for Trinity, the weekly series featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman).
After this, Pacheco signed an exclusive contract with Marvel – he has drawn Ultimate Comics: Avengers, part of Age of Ultron, and Captain America written by Rick Remender, as well as Ultimate Comics: Thor, Squadron Sinister, Uncanny X-Men, Uncanny Inhumans and Occupy Avengers; there doesn’t seem to be anything he hasn’t drawn. This is in contrast with many of the other comic book artists I’ve talked about so far: they had a particular title with which they were intrinsically linked, or perhaps a character, through a long run on the book. Pacheco seems to enjoy the ability to draw absolutely everything. Long may it and his delightful art continue.