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A Month of Writing Stars – Louise Simonson

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 a veteran writer who is still doing strong work!

Enjoy!

Louise Simonson originally worked as an editor, although she had some writing work over at Eerie, under her former married name, Louise Jones.

When she began editing at Marvel, she also had some credits here and there…

Although I believe the following comic was her first as a freelance writer under her current married name.

Soon after, she came out with perhaps her best comic book work, the superpowered siblings known as the Power Pack (along with the great June Brigman on art)…

Power Pack was a realistic, heartfelt character piece. The book was so good that the other Marvel creators of the day bent over backwards to help the sales on the book. Chris Claremont had the Pack (or at least members of the Pack) guest star in the X-Men twice. John Byrne devoted a whole five-page sequence in an issue of Fantastic Four to promoting the storyline going on in Power Pack at the time.

Soon, though, Simonson would move on to more popular titles. First, she took over X-Factor…

Then she took over New Mutants from Claremont…

In both cases, Simonson brought her standard character-driven stories to the comics in question. Simonson is ALL about characterization.

When the X-Books became a bit more geared towards the young artists doing the books, Simonson moved over to DC, where she began a long run on a new Superman title, along with artist Jon Bogdanove (the pair had worked together on Power Pack after Brigman had left the book – Bogdanove actually followed Simonson as writer on the title, and did a good job – not as good as her, but still quite good).

These stories were also, naturally, character-driven pieces. She did a lot of work with the supporting cast in the comic, particularly a young boy from the streets, Keith.

She’s done a number of different comic work (and novel writing, as well) since then, but just the other day, I saw her writing a new comic! An issue of Marvel Adventures: Super-Heroes.

It was a good book!

I look forward to more work from her.

26 Comments

Her X-Factor stuff was some of the first stuff I really got into as a kid (I was probably about 9 or 10 when it was out). I haven’t gone back and re-read it lately, so I’m not sure how well it holds up, but I certainly have fond memories of those stories.

She had a long run on Steel also, which I really enjoyed.

her run on superman: man of steel was consistently good. even her issues involved in ludicrous storylines (worlds collide), managed to shine above the rest.

Wow! The Lando vs. Lobot issue was her? That’s one of my favourites! Cool!

Didn’t she co-write the excellent “Meltdowns” mini as well?

Isn’t she kind of very well known?

Anyway, I have a couple of her issues of Power Pack. I don’t remember if it was her who wrote the story, but I always thought that having the kids of PP involved with the Mutant Massacre was kind of…grim.

Used to read the Mew Nutants. The scene where Doug Ramsay died was one of my favorites.

Wasn’t there another popular female writer by the name of Ann Nocenti? Who did a terrific run with John Romita, Jr. on Daredevil.

Whatever happened to her?

Man of Steel was always the Superman book I’d look for first in the 90′s. Louise and Bogdanove were my favorite of the creative teams, although Jurgens’ work was a close second. Good to see some love here.

Isn’t she kind of very well known?

She hasn’t had a regular series from Marvel or DC in about a decade and then she JUST did a Marvel comic last week! Seemed topical!

Louise Simonson’s a great writer who definitely needs to be offered more work.

(One tiny factual correction; Louise Jones isn’t her “maiden name.” Jones was her first married name from when she was married to artist Jeff Jones.)

D’oh!

I totally knew that, too, Greg (it came up in an old comic book legends) – my bad! What a brain fart. I’ll correct that right now.

Ugh. The scenes with Keith always felt tacked on, and I disliked SMOS the most out of the four, as it felt the most incongruent with the rest of the titles DC was putting out at the time.

Weezie’s DC work, especially her Superman writing, is severely underrated. Along with John Bogdonove, the Man of Steel was one of the underrated Superman triangle noted books. Also she wrote the definitive Steel before Chris Priest and Denys Cown ruined the look of Steel.

Another fine selection.

If she’s all about characterization, Chuck Dixon must hate her work!

Random Stranger

January 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Power Pack might be the most underrated gem in Marvel history. Simonson did a spectacular job at presenting children as superheroes. It’s also one of the few times that I found having a book in a constant state of crossover worked because she played her very different characters off the rest of the Marvel universe very well.

They really need to make an Essential Power Pack just so that some people can finally see what they’ve been missing.

If she’s all about characterization, Chuck Dixon must hate her work!

I’ll admit, as I was writing characterization so many times, I did think about that piece! :)

I can’t speak for her other work, but she pretty much killed New Mutants. With a few exceptions, her writing there spiraled the book downwards.

That Thor comic was really cool. I actually got most of her X-Factor and New Mutants work last and some of her Superman stuff last year. She’s kinda forgotten when people talk about 80s Marvel, and that’s a shame. That and what Shaq did to her Steel character.

Slight correction: Bogdanove didn’t follow Simonson as the writer of MAN OF STEEL. He did two fill-ins (#75 and #85) and co-wrote five issues (#78-82), but was never the regular writer. Mark Schultz was the regular writer after Simonson wrote her final issue of the title with #86.

I was referring to him following her on Power Pack, Mike. Looking back, I can definitely see how you would think I was referring to Man of Steel, though!

Great choice. Always loved her X-Factor issues and have only very recently read the first 26 issues of her Power Pack run for the first time and I have to say they are brillant. Very under-rated.

(Have to say as well I echo the call for Ann Nocenti on the list her Daredevil run is actually my favourite of all the great Daredevil runs)

I love the first couple of years on POWER PACK with June Brigman’s art (whatever happened to June? She just disappeared after PP). I admired Louise Simonson realistic way of writing children characters. As an educator, I can recognize that Weezie was very good at expressing how children behave and react. Kids really were kids, with kids emotions and preoccupations in POWER PACK.

I’ve usually liked Louise Simonson’s writing. her work on X-factor & New Mutants was solid stuff, and she knows how to write a scene.

I am shocked to hear the praise for Jon Bogdanove, though. He turned in some of the worst art on the mutant books I’ve ever seen during his run (total bait & switch when they ran a Jim Lee cover and his interiors!) and I was never impressed with his Superman work, either. It was sloppy and the anatomy was brutally bad. Maybe it was just deadline pressure, but I thought he was an anvil around the ankle of a good writer…

That Star Wars cover is AWESOME. No wonder she married Walt. hehe.

I remember reading that back during then Weezie was the crush of most of the male artists then. Could this be the subject of another Comic Book Legend? :)

Power Pack was (and still is) a great read. I just didn’t like it when they shoehorned the whole Mutant Massacre bit.

And count me as one of the fellows who likes Jon Bogdanove’s work. His anatomy was exaggerated, but it worked. Also, among the Superman titles during those times, his pages were the most dynamic and action-packed. Just my opinion, though.

I agree with DubipR’s assessment of Simonson’s contribution to the Superman titles. I recently re-read my ‘World Without Superman’ (a foolish buy as a child) and her issues were definitely the stand-outs.

And she definitely saved the day on X-Factor – which was such a horrible mess from the outset I fail to understand how it was even greenlit – and once husband Walt took over the art the book really became outstanding. BTW, #26 was my first my first superhero comic ever – before that it was issues of ‘Tale Spin’.

But I don’t think I can ever forgive Weezy for what she did to the New Mutants. The book quickly went from awesome (under Claremont) to bad to straight horrible. I sill cannot reconcile the fact that she was writing decent issues of X-Factor and the latest New Mutant atrocity in the same month. And she totally fucked over Magneto. The book only becomes readable – you may laugh – once Rob Liefeld comes onboard.

When Claremont gave up that book, IMO, was the beginning of the end for the X-Men.

but yeah, apparently she was a total babe

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