The 2021 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Artist

Another year is in the books as 2021 has come to an end. It's been another long one, but now it is time to look back at some of our favorite entertainment from the past year. The ComicBook.com team came together to vote on the best in television, movies, and comic books from the past 12 months. Nominees were selected, and we voted for our winners from those groups. Here we're going to discuss our favorite comic book artist of the year, choosing which artists provided some of the best visual storytelling and memorable moments in comic books in the year 2021. 

There was no shortage of excellent artists to choose from this year. The winner of the 2021 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Artist is...

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Daniel Warren Johnson!

Daniel Warren Johnson doesn't draw with a pen, ink, or digital tools alone. He draws with energy. His past comics like Murder Falcon, Extremity, and Wonder Woman: Dead Earth radiate power, motion, and force, keeping the stylistic legacy of comics giants like Jack Kirby and Walter Simonson alive.

The influence Johnson takes from Simonson made him the perfect choice to create this year's Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star miniseries. It's a comic book that sees a cybernetic, horse-faced alien traveling on the starship that is his home to a hell dimension to fight a demon and claim the power of a magical sword.

On the surface, this is the kind of subject matter that someone could spray paint on the side of a van. One might thus dismiss Johnson's work as a metal, "dudes rock" style flimsy. While the comparison wouldn't be unfair, it misses the details and how Johnson elevates the work with carefully crafted cartooning.

As much as Johnson draws inspiration from the likes of Kirby and Simonson with how he weighs his fight scenes, he also innovates, bringing superpowered professional wrestling moves to the table. His ability to work lettering directly into his art -- sometimes with small, subtle panels of nothing but -- makes him as much a master of sound as of space. Conversely, the storytelling details put into a single cross-section of Bill's ship, Skuttlebutt, tells readers everything they want to know about the comics' creator and its hero without saying a word.

But arguably, no single panel from Johnson's Beta Ray Bill is as impactful as Bill turning over his shoulder and -- his forlorn, otherworldly profile on display -- vowing to make himself beautiful again. Only a handful of comics artists working today can match Warren's talent for drawing action. Fewer still can pair that ability with such an empathetic touch.

Energy and empathy. That's what you get from Daniel Warren Johnson's comics. Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star is no different. That potent blend is why Johnson is our winner.

Congrats to Daniel Warren Johnson on his Golden Issue Awards win!

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The nominees for Best Artist are:

  • Dani (Arkham City: Order of the World)
  • Daniel Warren Johnson (Beta Ray Bill) -- WINNER
  • Joelle Jones (Wonder Girl)
  • Bruno Redondo (Nightwing)
  • Chris Samnee (Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters)