Comicon’s 5 Best Colorists Of 2021

by Erik Amaya

Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of the strange year that was 2021. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Comic Series, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, and Most Progressive Comics.

Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards this year include: Oliver MacNamee, Brendan M. Allen, Rachel BellwoarScott Redmond, Benjamin Hall, Tito James, Tony Thornley, and Richard Bruton.

The following are Comicon’s 5 Best Colorists of 2021.

5. Tomeu Morey

Some art looks perfect no matter who colored it, or perhaps if it isn’t colored at all. Morey stepped in with his work this year and made it clear that not only were his colors important, they were essential. Morey’s color art made the Gotham of Batman come to life, and revitalized the DC Comics locale to drag it out of 30-plus years of black-and-grey into a colorful and vibrant landscape. Without him, we’d still be thinking of the Gotham of Frank Miller and not the city of the twenty-first century.

— Tony Thornley

4. Nikolas Draper-Ivey

To understand why Draper-Ivey is on this list one just needs go open any of the issues of the current Static: Season One series; it’s pretty clear why. While he’s a fantastic artist all around, in this instance we’re specifically pointing at the coloring aspects of his work. No matter what the scene is calling for, there is just such a crackling kinetic energy to the colors. There is no fear of bringing the overly bright popping colors that are a delight to see in superhero books, while still having a ‘heaviness’ to them from the shadows that help keep it grounded in that ‘world outside your window’ sort of space.

— Scott Redmond

3. Matheus Lopes

Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land doesn’t look like any other Marvel series. It also, thanks to Lopes’ colors, doesn’t look like another pulp, Tarzan comic. Where you might expect a jungle to feature a lot of dark greens and browns, Lopes makes yellow the dominant color, like when you first wake up in the morning and have to squint because everything’s a little too bright and hazy. Given that Ka-Zar just came back from the dead, it’s the perfect subtext — along with yellow being sour as Ka-Zar hasn’t quite found his bearings yet. Lopes also draws a strong contrast between the purples and reds of horror and the pastels of normal life. It makes the horror moments feel like even more of an intrusion on Ka-Zar’s day.

— Rachel Bellwoar

2. Tamra Bonvillain

One of the go-to colourist for many comic book creators working today. On Once and Future, Tamra Bonvillain’s colours are as integral an element as Dan Mora’s art to the establishment and sustainment of the horror-fantasy’s series’ ethereal and oft-times malevolent tones it’s taken on in the past year.

— Olly MacNamee

1. Jordie Bellaire

It’s not easy to introduce a new character into the DC Universe, but it sure helps to have a talented colorist. Bellaire’s colors are a huge part of why Yara Flor’s debut in Future State: Wonder Woman and the subsequent Wonder Girl series felt so substantial. She made Wonder Girl the focus of every panel. It’s like she’s in the foreground and everything else is background, and instead of being presented as this hero in the making, she’s a star from the start. As such, she demands the reader’s full attention. Bellaire’s colors show complete confidence in Yara’s abilities to command a series and, now that she has one, hopefully it will go on for some time.

— Rachell Bellwoar

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