ComicsAlliance’s Best Of 2016: Breakthrough Talent Of 2016
Our writers and editors have made their picks of the breakthrough talents of the past year --- the creators who have made a big splash in the industry or jumped to the next level in their careers --- and you, the readers of ComicsAlliance, have voted for your favorites.
Check out the breakthrough talents of 2016, including our critics’ picks, listed in alphabetical order, and the creators you voted the runners up and winner in this category! This is the very best of 2016!
Critics' Pick: Brittney Williams
There’s a lot to love about Brittney Williams' work on both Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat and Goldie Vance this year. Both books feature characters that are expressive, emotive, and immediately relatable. Williams' eye for detail in character size, stance and wardrobe, has each scene brimming with personality. Her artwork gives you a greater understanding of who these characters are, whether they're running around in tights or solving mysteries. Williams shines on these projects, and shows she's more than capable of composing great stories in any genre. [Luke Brown]
Critics' Pick: Otto Schmidt
While the Siberian-born Otto Schmidt’s pin-up work put him on many peoples' radars, it was his work on DC's Rebirth relaunch of Green Arrow that brought him to a wider audience, and the comic world is all the richer for it. Showcasing a loose and lively approach, his characters feel fun and cartoony, but also raw and "grown-up." His work manages an amazing dichotomy of somehow looking cute and dangerous at the same time, like there's a barely perceptible buzz of adrenaline and electricity humming just under the surface of a Disney movie. [Chris Haley]
Critics' Pick: Rian Sygh
It’s difficult to discuss The Backstagers, Boom Studios' high school theater fantasy adventure, without stumbling over ways to describe co-creator Rian Sygh's superlative art. Sygh's designs explode with pure imagination, especially when it comes to exploring the shifting, magical backstage worlds. Sygh's skill with fantastical images is balanced by his adeptness at capturing the vivid and relatable emotions of his characters. The magic works because Sygh grounds it so beautifully. [James Leask]
Third Place: Magdalene Visaggio
Magdalene Visaggio had a heck of a good year in comics, and it's because she brings something much-needed to the table. I don’t say that because she’s a rare trans voice in comics, although that’s important to me too. I say it because she's invested in a kind of rollicking fun sci fi adventure writing that comics have far too little of these days, to their detriment. More comics about queer rock and roll bounty hunters in outer space, that's all I want in 2017. [Elle Collins]
Runner-Up: Nick Derington
2016 was a good year for Nick Derington, as his comic Doom Patrol, with Gerard Way, launched Way's Young Animal imprint from DC. Doom Patrol could feel like a rehash of the classic run from the '80s, but Derington's art keeps it fresh and modern with an almost indie comic aesthetic. He produces both detailed backgrounds and gorgeous facial acting, and he seems to thrive on the pace and pressure of illustrating such an unpredictable series. [Emma Lawson]
Winner: Chelsea Cain
Chelsea Cain is ridiculously awesome. Her take on Mockingbird --- starting with a 2015 one-shot and continuing on to the recently-concluded ongoing series --- is hilarious, entertaining, and full of adorable Welsh Pembrokeshire corgis. I adore this book, and I adore Chelsea Cain for writing it. Hopefully, Mockingbird won't be her last ongoing series for Marvel, and we'll see much more of her in comics generally, because she's got so much talent, and a wit and a voice that the industry desperately needs. [Zina H.]