It all comes down to cycles and cash.
People purchase comic books for several reasons.
First and foremost: they buy them because the like the stories and art.
Second: they love to collect.
Third: they are in it for the cash.
Forth: Comic book buyers are in it for the combination of part or all of the reasons listed above.
When I was young I had my favorite artists: Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Barry Smith and Gene Colan-among others.
As I grew older I enjoyed the art of George Perez, John Byrne, Jim Starlin, Mike Ploog, Jerry Ordway, etc.
Nowadays a whole new generation of artists has emerged.
Most peak in about three to five years and then a whole new batch comes along.
Why is that? Simple, talent and taste cycle. Artists mature and move on and artistic tastes of the comic book reading/collecting community change.
The other, more ominous reason is as artists refine their craft they become more expensive to hire. Plain and simple. Show me they money!
Some big names from the past still dabble in comic books, but most ‘hot’ artist of years gone past have expanded their artistic outlets, established profitable career and charge larger fees.
Comic book publishing is about making money-despite what fans may think.
If it costs too much to produce a product, that product is either discontinued or forced to take cost-cutting measures.
There is a reason why the big names of long ago only occasionally do covers or rarely draw entire comic books.
Money-they want a bigger cut. Simple economics.
Despite comic book companies touting ‘new and fresh talent‘, what they are doing is paying young talent low page rates and once they become popular (and demand more money) the publishers move onto a new batch of new comic book artist wannabes.
Less overhead-more profit. It’s the way of the world and publishing comic books is a business like any other-money rules.