I was born in the summer of '78, but I was exposed to comic books pretty early on via my grandfather, who is the sci fi nerd's sci fi nerd. His house was literally a live-in gallery for his various collections of Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia, signed fantasy art prints and originals, collectible pocket knives and plates, resin gnome sculptures, extensive VHS collection (so much good stuff), and so many other things. His comic book collection -- I can't say how many thousands of issues there were -- was kept in a room in the finished cellar. I spent many, many weekends poring over the stuff down there. I'm pretty sure this early exposure to classic Marvel titles like Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man, Conan the Barbarian and its companion magazine Savage Sword of Conan have fixed my personal "golden age" a little earlier than other guys from my generation. Visually I'm all about the three Johns: Buscema, Romita and Byrne. Their visions are the Look I judge all other comic art by.
I became aware of Bart Sears through his regular "how to draw" column in Wizard. While he failed miserably at teaching me anything, I'm still utterly impressed by his refined, elastic style. Some pin-ups: