Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > Commentary and Features

Five For Friday #67—The Joy of Discovery
posted March 17, 2006

Name Five Cartoonists Whose Work You Discovered Without Having Heard of Them First

1. Jules Feiffer
2. Saul Steinberg
3. Peter Arno
4. Rowland Emett
5. Percy Crosby

This category is now closed.

Matthew Wanderski

As best as my piss-poor memory can inform me, I had not known of these folks when I first laid eyes on one of their actual comic book stories (altho there might've been a mention in a solicitation in Previews for one or two of 'em). Seeing their work for the first time definitely felt like the discovery of something entirely new, previously unknown to me...

1) Cliff Chiang
2) Miriam Kitan
3) Jamie Tanner
4) Carel Moiseiwitsch (and a truckload of others in Weirdo, truth to tell -- but Moiseiwitsch was my favorite Weirdo contributor)
5) Sam Hester

And it's entirely possible that, years ago as a kid, I first saw the work of my favorite cartoonist, Joe Kubert, before I ever heard of him, even from DC ads and editorial/letters pages. I probably first saw the work of a number of mainstream artists in this manner, back before the days when I actively tried to learn about comic books and the people who made them. Who knows if I heard of Schulz before I actually read a Peanuts?


Dave Knott

Whoah... way too many to choose from this time around

* Gahan Wilson - his work stood out for me as decidedly askew from the rest of the cartoonists in Playboy
* Drew Friedman - one look at that stippling and that was it
* Peter Kuper - through "The System", a DC Vertigo comic that was unlike anything else they've ever published
* Curt Swan - one of his Supermans was my first comic as a child, and I never put a name to the artist until much later
* Harvey Kurtzman - through Mad Super Specials from the 70s that had inserts reprinting the 50s stuff. Only many years later did I discover who was responsible for this old material that was somehow so much better than the what was in the newer Mads.



1. Ben Jones (scanned over randomly for the first time in the EXPO 2001 book, which I bought on a whim shortly after getting back into comics in 2002 because it was big and cheap)
2. Francois Schuiten (and Benoit Peeters - happened upon The Tower in bargain bin back issues of Cheval Noir, caught my eye instantly)
3. Erik Larsen (my great aunt bought me issue #3 of the original Savage Dragon miniseries by mistake - my first Image book)
4. Gary Spencer Millidge (which is a little funny, as there clearly were people talking about him online at the time... but I saw the first two Strangehaven trades in a store and they looked different, and only after I looked the author's name up did I learn more)
5. Jack T. Chick (literally discovered his work tucked away in a dark corner of a pizza shop when I was around 10, as it should be)


Art Baxter

1. Harvey Kurtzman
2. R. Crumb
3. Alex Toth
4. Hideshi Hino
5. Steve Rude


Gary Esposito

1. Chester Gould
2. Charles Schulz
3. G. B. Trudeau
4. Dik Browne
5. Russell Myers

This is my local paper's comics page when I opened it up for the first time, waaaay back in the early 1970's.


Christopher Duffy

Not including cartoonists I discoverd as a wee kid (cuz I hadn't heard of anyone before I was born).

1. Leunig (found two collections in a bookstore outside of Harvard Square)
2. Bode (found his comic "the man" at back of store at Million Year Picnic)
3. Roz Chast (read a collection at Wordsworth in Harvard Square with my high school girlfriend)
4. Peter Bagge (bought first issue of Neat Stuff based on the wacky cover)
5. Tom Gauld. (randomly bought an anthology of English comics, read his story and thought "why haven't I heard of this guy?")


Rob Ullman

In chronological order, most recent discovery first:

1. Jimmy Beaulieu (-22°C)
2. Yves Chaland (Chaland Anthology #2)
3. Darwyn Cooke (Batman: Ego)
4. David Collier (Collier's)
5. Jeff Levine (No Hope)


Steve Block

E.H. Shepherd
Posy Simmonds

Although I'm not sure how you qualify discovering them. Most of them were through reading their strips in the newspapers when I was a kid, and Shepherd was through his Pooh and Wind in the Willows work. Daumier was one I discovered through buying a collection of his stuff in a second hand book shop. Never heard of him before.