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CSBG Archive

A Month of Writing Stars – John Arcudi

Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book writing “star,” someone who I think is a very good writer.

I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?

Here is the archive of previously featured writers.

Today we look at one of the most prolific Dark Horse writers in the company’s history.


In the late 80s and early 90s, you couldn’t turn around without bumping into a Dark Horse comic book written by John Arcudi (who broke into the comic industry in the mid-80s at Malibu and Marvel).

His biggest success at this time was the Mask, which he helped create (with a bunch of other folks).

It was mostly Arcudi’s stories that made it into the blockbuster film starring Jim Carrey (that was the film debut of some model/wannabe actress who didn’t do much after the film).

Arcudi wrote for basically all of Dark Horse’s licensed projects, as well as introducing his own works like Barb Wire and The Machine…

This was all solid work, but I dunno, I don’t think it really got the full spectrum of Arcudi’s skills as much as he showed on the projects where he was given free reign (with Barb Wire, of course, being a notable exception – except it was, well, Barb Wire).

Arcudi’s past writing for Cracked magazine and The Mask helped him with his slacker superhero, Major Bummer, for DC.

He had similarly offbeat (and, like Major Bummer, sadly short-lived) runs on Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts (where he turned the book into a bizarre wrestling series that was quite cool).

He had a notable run on Gen13 (one of the best Gen13 runs period, I would say)

And a good run on Aquaman (although I still don’t get why Will Pfeifer was taken off of Aquaman)…

Hey, I totally don’t remember this JLA mini-series…anyone remember this one he wrote in 2002?

Anyhow, Arcudi’s best work I think is definitely his work on B.P.R.D. with the amazing Guy Davis as his art partner and the equally amazing Mike Mignola as his writing partner.

B.P.R.D. is madcap, it’s bizarre, it’s compelling, it’s serious, it’s wacky, it’s tinged with familiar pulp tones while possessing a unique feel of its very own – it’s a great, great series with an amazing artist helping to bring Arcudi and Mignola’s vision to bear.


Tom Fitzpatrick

January 15, 2009 at 4:12 am

I loved Major Bummer.
Why can’t DC re-unite the creative team to do some mini-series?

Been reading his BPRD series, not bad!

Wow! John Arcudi doesn’t count as already famous enough?? Mind you I suppose he’s never really had much “Big Two” exposure…

His Terminator stuff was brilliant (the idea of smuggling a gun through time by hiding it in a body cavity was such a great idea – remember this was when the canon said “metal can only travel through time if it is covered by living flesh” – before the T-1000 changed that rule)

And I loved his Doom Patrol and Aquaman. Why John Byrne was allowed to reboot DP I’ll never understand…

And B.P.R.D. continues to be one of the best titles on the shelves… I only wish it was an ongoing with seperate arcs, rather than multiple minis…

Not even a mention of Lobo/The Mask, the best use of Lobo from someone other than Giffen?

I like John Arcudi.

I admit I haven’t read most of his stuff, but his Mask and Doom Patrol were good and is JLA: Superpower one-shot is excellent.

That “Anonymous” is me.

(Has anyone else found that the comment box has stopped remembering their name?)

Arcudi is great. I loved his Doom Patrol (the Seth Fischer drawn issues are particularly good) and B.P.R.D. is consistently great.

>>(Has anyone else found that the comment box has stopped remembering their name?)

Have you changed browsers recently? Ever since I went to Opera at home (replacing Internet Explorer) a couple of weeks ago, it’s been happening to me. Here at work on Firefox &/or IE, it’s not a problem. Offhand, I think this is the only site where I’ve noticed it occurring.

I am sorry, guys, the site just hates Dans.

That is why Apodaca just goes by his last name.

Seriously, I have no idea why you two in particular seem to keep having issues.

Mark The Man-Thing

January 15, 2009 at 7:20 am

Great Arcudi article…I thought his Thunderbolts run was pretty fun; you never knew what to expect.

Any chance we’ll see profiles on Len Kaminski, John Jackson Miller, or John Ostrander?

Another fine choice showcasing Arcudi. I loved a lot of his Dark Horse work (yes, even his Barb Wire was good), but his DC output is overlooked and well done, its a shame that more people didn’t pick up Major Bummer or his Doom Patrol. As for remembering the JLA mini, you bet I did…. Arcudi and Tom Mandrake (one of my all time favorite artists!).

I look forward to more.

Which explains why Brian has yet to become celebrated for provoking a flame war with Dan Slott, unlike certain other online personalities I could name.

Otherwise, I guess I know Arcudi (whose name I keep wanting to type as “Alcucard,” which he’s probably used to, especially given his BPRD credits) almost solely for BPRD, which I’ve definitely enjoyed.

I do own the entire short MAJOR BUMMER run, but I’ve noted at least once before that I’ve been able to endure only the first 3 or 4 issues, because the main character strikes me as being deliberately crafted as an idiot, which for some reason I never like. I don’t even like Mahnke’s art on that series, though from what I can tell he got a lot better later. Looking back, I was probably just in a bad mood when I read those ishes — the creators were/are obviously quite talented.

Hmmm. The issue of THUNDERBOLTS pictured above is the only one of that series I own, courtesy of a random 50-cent-box snag a few years ago.

And speaking of GEN13, does anyone have any thoughts on what runs are particularly good? Purely from glancing briefly at a few (I think) late-’90s or early ’00s ishes at an LCS a few weeks ago, I find the series somewhat intriguing, but it’s been around so long & featured so many creators that I’m at a loss as to what might be worth tracking down, especially given its beginnings (I take it) back in the days early Image were purveyors of absolute garbage. I’ve got a TPB featuring an Adam Warren run, & I’ve read his MAGICAL DRAMA QUEEN ROXY mini (which I found fun & somewhat evocative of his later EMPOWERED, of which I’m quite fond), but that’s it so far.

Ummm … make that “Alucard.” *sigh*

The comment box was giving me trouble earlier today too. It automatically filled in DanCJ for me, but I caught it before I posted. Definitely an anti-Dan conspiracy.

Liked The Mask, Loved Gen13, and REALLY Loved Major Bummer!

I liked most of Arcudi’s work, but some of the Dark Horse stuff like Will to Power and X was just really hard to get into. The Mask was pretty good.

My only real exposure is to his work is the Doom Patrol series, which I quite enjoyed, despite being a devotee to Morrison’s version of the team. I was sad when it was cancelled and even sadder to see John Byrne wipe out the series and almost ruin the franchise until Johns brought it back from the brink…

I forgot he did that weird wrestler version of Thunderbolts. I had been a fan of the Busiek/Bagley characters and was not too happy at the time to see the series receive a weird…and pointless…overhaul.

Re the comment thing: For the past week or so, there has oftentimes (not always) been a grayed-out name in the “Your Name” field on various posts that seemed to be totally random posters at CSBG (ala the DanCJ thing that DanLarkin mentioned) and not anything I had ever typed before in that field. It just sometimes comes up whenever I pull up a posting. It did not happen on this post and I’m on an old version of Firefox. The “Your Name” field was previously blank at all times for me.

Huh. I’d never seen what you describe happen before, Da Fug, but just now I looked at the “Your Name” field & saw “stealthwise.”


Mignola/ Arcudi/ Davis on BPRD are just awesome. A perfect triumvirate. BPRD is one of the best books on the market.

So weird to look back at that cover talking about Afghanistan, dripping in genocidal horror, before it was “our” war.

I actually went to college with John Arcudi in the early 80s. He seemed very intimidating until he noticed I was reading a comic and he struck up a conversation. Nice guy and very intelligent.

Have you changed browsers recently? Ever since I went to Opera at home (replacing Internet Explorer) a couple of weeks ago, it’s been happening to me. Here at work on Firefox &/or IE, it’s not a problem. Offhand, I think this is the only site where I’ve noticed it occurring.

I have just upgraded to Firefox 3 (from Firefox 2), but this started happening before that.

And I also had someone else’s name appear in that box recently.

In fact right now one of my Firefox tabs has put the name “Cass” into the box for me…

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