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A Month of Writing Stars – Jonathan Hickman

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 writer who is soon going to be a really big name (he might be too big already!)


I’ve avoided using Hickman to this point because I wondered if he was too big, but ultimately, he’s probably JUST on the cusp of being like a Jason Aaron or a Matt Fraction. Once his new book that he is co-writing with Brian Michael Bendis comes out, Secret Warriors, I imagine we will see more and more of him, which is great, as he is a good writer. Not only is he a good writer, but like quite a few writers that I have mentioned this month, Hickman is a CHALLENGING writer, which I may admire more than I do he actual skills as a writer.

Hickman first came to prominence when he came in second in the first Comic Book Idol competition. At the time, Hickman was “my guy” in the competition, but I also really liked the guy who beat him, Patrick Scherberger. The idea that we got those two guys in the same competition is truly awesome to me.

And as an artist, Hickman might actually be even better than he is an artist – his intricate lines and evocative use of negative space is absolutely stunning.

As a writer, though, Hickman is also great. His main style, so far, has been to tell intensely dense stories where he looks at society through fairly recognizable genre tropes that are, of course, never as simple as they might sound from the first description…

The Nightly News

A man ruined by the media joins a group devoted to “fighting” the media.

Pax Romana

A group of soldiers sent back in time to affect the end of the Catholic Roman Empire.

Red Mass for Mars

Can a small group of people actually save an entire planet?


The politics of becoming more than human.

All simple enough ideas that are never really that simple once Hickman gets through with them.

He’s also done short story work in Comic Book Tattoo…

Legion of Monsters…

and just recently, he joined forces with Brian Michael Bendis to launch a new group of (third? fourth?) generation heroes led by Nick Fury.

They had a short story here…

and the series begins in its own book soon.

Expect it to be complicated as all hell, and yet be absolutely awesome.

Here‘s his website (which may or may not be working right now).


Hickman was one of the writers I hoped to see here, as his work for Image comics has really been some of my favorite stuff released in the past few years, The Nightly News especially. His short in the Popgun anthology was also pretty impressive in how much information he was able to convey in such a short span (I think it was only about 4-6 pages).

I was also a huge fan of his Living Mummy short in the Satana one-shot, and I hope he gets to develop that as a series someday, I’d be interested in reading his take on the character.

Anyway, I’d encourage anybody who hasn’t read his work yet to check it out. Moreso than any other young writer right now, this guy has the potential to be the future of comics.

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I’ve read both The Nightly News and Pax Romana. I was more impressed with the former than the latter mainly due to the consistently lateness of P.R.

Haven’t tried the other titles yet, tho’.

Has there been any works by Patrick Scherberger?

What Dave said.

Hickman is easily one of my favourites working today.

Hickman is phenomenal, no doubt.

I’m continually impressed by his willingness to jump from genre to genre with his Image projects. From media criticism to speculative historical fiction to superheroes to science mockumentary — each one a 180 degree turn from the last and all worth while. In today’s market, that’s pretty fearless. Hell, writing anything — let alone three out of four mini series — without spandex is pretty fearless.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he can do with an ongoing series and the Marvel Universe. Should be good.

Has there been any works by Patrick Scherberger?

He’s a staple of the Marvel Adventures line, and he’s currently working on the Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil mini series, on sale now.

God, I’m a huuuuuuuuge fan of Jonathan Hickman. I picked up the first issue of Pax Romana after hearing good things about his stuff and was blown away! Nightly News is even better .

I’m really excited to see what he has planned for Secret Warriors.

Seriously, check out Nightly News in trade. It’s honest to God, one of the best books I’ve read in many, many years…

So Nightly News gets better after the first issue? I read it for free on the Image website and was… underwhelmed, at best.

Nightly News definitely is worth reading. I’m not sure if being underwhelmed by the first issue would change in subsequent issues… but I’d say at least check the TPB out of your local library or something. It’s not some epic, Watchmenesque deconstruction of the industry; it’s just unique storytelling portrayed in a raw, visual way.

Nightly News was great. I didn’t discover it until the trade came out but, had I started with the singles, I’d be singing its praises anyway. With all the rampant decompression plaguing comics now it’s nice to see a book that actually feels like it’s worth the cover price. Seriously, I haven’t seen that much information crammed on to a page since they cancelled the Intimates.

“Pilot Season: The Core” #1 : another hook written by Hickman.

Ian A.’s genre-jump observation: very correct. i remember (during last year when i was reading his books/issues in the order of their release, sometimes within months or weeks) thinking to myself something like “wow this is the SAME guy writing this other series?”

guerilla run-‘n-gun shot-thoughts goin on; even his sense of symbol-design at least slightly manages to convey some sort of curious important meaning, history (repeat-itself?-challenge), and/or regretless purpose

Yo, Brian, you forgot to mention the one-shot he did for Top Cow’s Pilot Season “The Core”.

I wasn’t originally planning on getting Secret Warriors, but with your endorsement I think I’ll at least get the trades.

Loved the design of all covers.

Hickman is the man.

A group of soldiers sent back in time to affect the end of the Catholic Roman Empire.

That should be “effect”. But really don’t use “effect” as a verb at all – not for grammatical reasons. I just really hate it.

That should be “effect”.

That is of course I misunderstood the sentence and the soldiers were sent back to influence the end of the Catholic Roman Empire rather than cause it…

Really didn’t realise he’d done much beyond Nightly News…

Which I loved.

Dang, time to look for some cheap trades…

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