Yes, I agree that Breeding really enhanced Jurgens' pencils. I think that tandem struck gold and was difficult to match. When Breeding inked Grummet's work in "Superman: The Man of Tomorrow" result is not as appealing as the Jurgens/Breeding tandem. That's just my opinion, though.
I wonder why he's not the inker following Jurgens these days ... why'd he part from one of the strongest Superman artist-teams in history? (Am I trying to derail this into a Brett Breeding appreciation? Aw, geez, I'm sorry ... but inkers get so little credit...)
I think, it's okay. Jurgens' pencils were really good if you happen to see some samples. It was his collaboration with Breeding, however, that made it really shine through. There was actually a time when I thought Jurgens' pencils were inconsistent but looking at the results of the inking of Art Thibert and Rick Burchett I noticed that the shadows, crosshatches and fine lines were always there. This made me realize that the inker really influences the pencils. As I mentioned before Perez's inking of Jurgens' pencils were also good, almost up to par with the Jurgens/Breeding team.
When Breeding was inking the work of Bob McLeod before he worked with Jurgens you can see that the result was also ala Jurgens. Maybe we can say that Jurgens also learned a thing or two from Breeding.
I also wonder why they no longer work together anymore. Maybe somebody here in CBR can ask any of them : p
And you're right inkers (like colorists and letters) are underrated. Look at Scott Williams, I think he's the one that truly brings out the best of Jim Lee's pencils.
Having said that, I wouldn't mind seeing Jurgens inked by guys like Randy Emberlin (Bagley and Butler's inker on Spider-Man), Bob Almond, Cam Smith, and Tim Townsend -- inkers with a smooth, slick approach all around. I'd even be up for seeing him paired with Dexter Vines, just to see what would transpire.
Jurgen's art never worked with digital coloring. I really love his organic 90's art, but when DC transitioned into digital inking and coloring(around the time of the electric Superman), Jurgen's style didn't work anymore.
Sometimes you can find Sandra Hope inking Jim Lee's pencils. There was an X-Men poster years ago where Lee himself inked his work and it was not as awesome compared when Williams embellished his work. This is not a knock on Lee because he's really good.
I agree with your observation. I think the perfect example will be the way Jurgens draws heat vision. It was cool in the early 90s (example will be when Superman ordered the Justice League to focus their energies against Doomsday) but the improvement in digital coloring made it obsolete. Instead of looking like an energy the recent coloring scheme make the heat vision look like a mask glued onto Superman's face. However, I think colorists can still get around with the problem since Jurgens' pencils work quite well in Hunter/Prey.
Rick Burchett did the inks (I think Burchett also pencilled The Batman Adventures). When Jurgens' pencilled for Solar: Man of the Atom the late Giordano inked his work and the result was like Rubenstein's. I think it just depends on the style of penciling being compatible with the inker. Giordano was perfect for Byrne IMHO and Rubenstein was perfect for Neal Adams (Armageddon: The Alien Agenda).
I loved Jurgens/Breeding, but also really liked Jurgens/Ordway in Zero Hour.
Pull List; seems to be too long to fit in my sig...