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In Praise of Comic Artist June Brigman

For a generation of comic book fans, June Brigman’s name conjures a particular accolade that – while entirely deserved – undermines the impressive body of work that she’s built up across a career that’s lasted 39 years at the time of this article being written. But before we address that dubious honor, however, let’s appreciate her for the entirety of her portfolio.

Despite these early breaks, though, she wouldn’t come to most fans’ attention until she moved to Marvel Comics to co-create the series she’s most commonly associated with.

Power Pack was unlike anything else at the company. Created by Brigman and writer Louise Simonson, it was the logical endpoint of both the soap operatic approach of the then-dominant X-Men books and the “superhero family” dynamic of Marvel’s first superhero title, Fantastic Four: a group of superheroes who all happen to be brothers and sisters.

   
Power Pack © Marvel Entertainment

It’s not simply that her line work is beautifully clean, as wonderful (and wonderfully rare) as that may be; she’s also that unusual artist whose layouts are expressly, immediately clear to the eye upon first glance. No matter what might be happening in any scene – and Power Pack regularly juggled pages where all four members of the team used their very visually different powers surrounded by either similarly uniquely designed villains or any number of welcome guest-star heroes from other Marvel titles – Brigman had the talent to ensure that pages never seemed cluttered or confusing. Every page was a masterclass in what a comic page should look like.


Brenda Starr © Tribune Content Agency; Mary Worth © North America Syndicate

Whether it was illustrating a Supergirl miniseries for DC or working on Star Wars projects – a miniseries for Dark Horse Comics and illustrations for Bantam’s prose novels – Brigman excelled at what she did. She kept looking for new challenges as she worked, creating Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego comics for National Geographic World magazine for six years starting in 1992, or shifting her primary focus to newspaper comics upon becoming the artist on Brenda Starr, Reporter in 1995 – a gig she maintained until the strip ended in 2011. She didn’t leave newspapers after that, though; five years later, she’d take on Mary Worth, a job she continues to this day.

Chloe Maveal, at NeoText Review, really likes June Brigman art 
(and, yes, that “particular accolade” is revealed in the article).

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#1 Rich Furman
May/14/2022
@ 8:15 pm

My personal secret wish is that the tell-don’t-show esthetic of the current Mary Worth story line is giving Brigman plenty of opportunity to feed my unslaked Captain Ginger addiction.

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