It was a real shocker to me when I first started looking through the potential list of candidates for this list, as I did not know there was as many well known and influentital Canadians who have worked in the industry as there were and it's a shame this is only a top 10 list as there are many more I would have liked to have featured here, including Bryan Lee O'Malley, Steve Skroce, Adrian Alphona, Kaare Andrews and so on.
While this is a "10 Greatest" list, I'd rather think of it as just a sampling of the many creators to come out of Canada who have contributed to the hobby we all love. As such, I'd love to hear who everyone's favourite Canadian creators are or see some discussion on other, lesser known indy Canadian creators or anyone else I may have overlooked.
I don't think I even have to explain this choice, but, for the few out there who don't know who Joe Shuster is, he was the artist and co-creator of a relatively unknown comic book character named Superman. You may have heard of him. I think that more than qualifies Shuster as one of the greatest Canadian comic book creators.
Also, I'm pretty sure every Canadian viewing this has seen the Heritage commercial showing Shuster getting on a train while describing Superman to one of his relatives, but, for those who haven't, you can view the short clip below in tribute to one of the two men responsible for the most famous comic book character in the world.
I know it's the cool thing to hate on Todd McFarlane these days and say what you will about his art and business practices, but his accomplishments speak for themselves. He helped redefine the way people draw comics, for good or for ill, was one of the most popular artists of his time, helped launch Image Comics, created his own toy company, launched one of the most successful independant comics ever, Spawn, and has had movies, cartoons, video games and a slew of other successes throughout the years.
While he's no longer as involved in comics as he once was, McFarlane is definitely one of the greatest comic book creators to come out of Canada in a long time.
David Sim is best known for his work on the indy comic, Cerebus, and helped spearhead, along with Scott McCloud, and Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the creator rights movement.
While many of Sim's personal views came under fire, specifically in regards to feminism, his accomplishments in regards to Cerebus and creator rights cannot be denied and he has even gone so far as to ensure that the rights to Cerebus fall into the public domain upon his death.
For this and everything else he's accomplished in his comic book career, Sim gets a place on my Greatest Canadian Comic Book Creators list.
Darwyn Cooke is one of the few comic book creators who's work I am typically willing to buy based on his involvement alone. I don't think I've ever honestly read a book written or drawn by him that I did not love. Whether it was one of my all time favourite comics, DC: The New Frontier, or his work with Ed Brubaker on redesigning and relaunching DC's Catwoman series or even his work on Will Eisner's The Spirit, pretty much anything Cooke touches turns to gold.
However, what some people may not know is that Cooke was also responsible for several comic book animated projects, including work on Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, designing the Batman Beyond opening sequence and many more.
As one of the few remaining creators that can competently handle both writer and artist duties and for such classics as New Frontier, Batman: Ego and his animation work, Cooke easily earns his place on this list.
Sure, Byrne was born in England, but he moved to Canada when he was eight years old and, as such, we're claiming him as our own! With how controversial Byrne has been throughout his storied history, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but his body of work is staggering and few creators can boast as many achievements as Byrne, including his career defining work with Chris Claremont on the X-Men, relaunching Superman post-Crisis with what many consider the definitive Superman origin in his Man of Steel title or his innovations as an artist and writer throughout the years, including numerous cover images and layouts that are paid homage to to this very day.
Tom Grummett isn't as famous or praised as often as Shuster, Cooke, McFarlane or other members on this list, but he is still one of the comic greats and one of Canada's best. His artwork has graced the pages of several major comic book events, including The Death & Return of Superman, where he was even responsible for the creation of Conner Kent, the most recent incarnation of Superboy, and the breaking of the Batman in DC's Knightfall storylines, and his most recent work was with Fabian Nicieza on Marvel's New Thunderbolts title.
Dale Eaglesham is one of the most acclaimed artists and winner of multiple awards for his work. He has worked on such titles as Green Lantern, Batman: Gotham Knights, 52, and The Savage Sword of Conan and is currently one half of the creative team responsible for DC's Justice Society of America.
Immonen is the successor to Mark Bagley on Marvel Comics' Ultimate Spider-Man title and is one of the fastest and most prolific artists currently working in the medium. Where most struggle to meet a monthly deadline, Immonen, much like Bagley before him, has managed to keep Ultimate Spider-Man's fast paced schedule. With work on popular and critically acclaimed titles, such as Nextwave, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men, Final Night and more, Immonen, who's still quite early on in his career, has years of output left to add to his already impressive body of work.
Bachalo's polarizing style, whereby it seems you either love it or hate it, has graced the pages of such modern classics as Neil Gaiman's Sandman and Death mini-series as well mainstream work on many of Marvel Comics' X-titles, including X-Men, Generation X and Uncanny X-Men, and other Marvel properties, such as Captain America.
While he has yet to achieve the critical success of other artists on this list, it's hard to argue with the work he has managed to output and anyone that's worked with Neil Gaiman is probably guaranteed a free pass in my book.
Finch is very much an "Image baby", in my eyes, as his art is heavily influenced by the likes of Marc Silvestri and other Image creators. A relatively new face in comics, he's already achieved great success in the field, seeing his work gracing the pages of titles such as Ultimate X-Men, Moon Knight, New Avengers, which he helped launch with Brian Bendis, Fallen Son, the tribute to the death of Captain America, and is even scheduled to be the artist on the Ultimate Universe line altering event, Ultimatum, with Jeph Loeb.
It's a hefty resume for one as young and new to the industry as David Finch and he is only set to go further in the future.