web stats

CSBG Archive

Top 125 Comic Book Writers Master List

Here is the master list of the writers voted by you by your ballots (over one thousand ballots cast!) as your favorite writers of all-time! Here is the Top 125 Comic Book Artists Master List! Click on any name below for more information about the writer listed!


NOTE: We’re still filling in the list between #125 and #51, five writers every other day in April (with five artists being counted down the other day).

125 Zeb Wells – 51 points

124 Pat Mills – 54 points

123 Tony Bedard – 55 points

122 Bryan Q. Miller – 57 points (1 first place vote)

121 Allan Heinberg – 59 points (1 first place vote)

120 Mike Baron – 64 points

119 William Messner-Loebs – 66 points (3 first place votes)

118 Andy Diggle – 67 points

117 Arnold Drake – 69 points

116 Kevin Smith – 70 points

115 Erik Larsen – 71 points

114 Alan Grant – 73 points

113 Al Feldstein – 75 points (1 first place vote)

112 Howard Chaykin – 76 points

111 John Arcudi – 78 points (2 first place votes)

110 Evan Dorkin – 79 points (1 first place vote)

109 Ron Marz – 80 points

108 Bob Haney – 82 points

107 Brad Meltzer – 86 points

106 Joe Hill – 87 (3 first place votes)

105 Dwayne McDuffie – 88 points (1 first place vote)

104 David Michelinie – 89 points

103 Rick Remender – 91 points (1 first place votes)

102 Larry Hama – 92 points (3 first place votes)

101 John Broome – 93 points

100 Tom DeFalco – 95 points (1 first place vote)

99 Otto Binder – 97 points

98 John Wagner – 99 points (3 first place votes)

97 Christos Gage – 101 points

96 Christopher Priest – 102 points (1 first place vote)

95 Archie Goodwin – 104 points

94 Judd Winick – 106 points

93 Kieron Gillen – 107 points (1 first place vote)

92 Scott Lobdell – 109 points

91 David Lapham – 110 points (1 first place vote)

90 Peter Tomasi – 111 points (1 first place vote)

89 Kazuo Koike – 112 points

88 Jeff Lemire – 113 points (1 first place vote)

87 Robert Kanigher – 115 points

86 Harvey Pekar – 116 points

85 Bill Mantlo – 118 points

84 Darwyn Cooke – 119 points (1 first place vote)

83 Marjorie Liu – 121 points (5 first place votes)

82 Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray – 122 points (2 first place votes)

81 Terry Moore – 124 points (2 first place votes)

80 Alejandro Jodorowsky – 125 points (1 first place vote)

79 Gerry Conway – 127 points (1 first place vote)

78 Herge – 129 points

77 Greg Pak – 130 points (1 first place vote)

76 Mark Gruenwald – 132 points (1 first place vote)

75 Fred Van Lente – 133 points (1 first place vote)

74 Jeff Parker – 136 points (3 first place votes)

73 Harvey Kurtzman – 137 points (1 first place vote)

72 Bill Finger – 139 points (1 first place vote)

71 Doug Moench – 141 points

70 Chuck Dixon – 143 points (2 first place votes)

69 Chris Ware – 144 points

68 Joe Casey – 146 points (2 first place votes)

67 Matt Wagner – 148 points (1 first place vote)

66 art spiegelman – 149 points (1 first place vote)

65 Joe Kelly – 151 points (1 first place vote)

64 Carl Barks – 152 points (3 first place votes)

63 Len Wein – 154 points

62 Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost – 163 points (4 first place votes)

61 Bryan Lee O’Malley – 165 points (1 first place vote)

60 Paul Cornell – 168 points

59 Gardner Fox – 169 points

58 Jaime Hernandez – 170 points (2 first place votes)

57 Jim Shooter – 171 points (1 first place vote)

56 Fabian Nicieza – 173 points

55 Jeff Smith – 175 points (1 first place vote)

54 Rene Goscinny – 177 points (1 first place vote)

53 Dave Sim – 178 points (2 first place votes)

52 Paul Levitz – 179 points (2 first place votes)

51 Paul Dini – 180 points (3 first place votes)

50 Walter Simonson – 181 points (2 first place votes)

49 Gilbert Hernandez – 182 points (3 first place votes)

48 Daniel Clowes – 185 points (1 first place vote)

47 James Robinson – 187 points (1 first place vote)

46 Jim Starlin – 221 points (2 first place votes)

45 Dan Slott – 224 points (1 first place vote)

44 Jeph Loeb – 230 points (3 first place votes)

43 John Ostrander – 240 points (2 first place votes)

42 Brian Azzarello – 275 points (3 first place votes)

41 Peter Milligan – 292 points (2 first place votes)

40 Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – 310 points (5 first place votes)

39 Brian Wood – 311 points (4 first place votes)

38 Will Eisner – 332 points (2 first place votes)

37 Mike Mignola – 357 points (3 first place votes)

36 Jonathan Hickman – 367 points (7 first place votes)

35. Gail Simone – 385 points (13 first place votes)

34. Steve Gerber – 388 points (10 first place votes)

33. Joss Whedon – 390 points (1 first place vote)

32. Bill Willingham – 392 points (3 first place votes)

31. Mike Carey – 396 points (7 first place votes)

30 Jack Kirby – 398 points (12 first place votes)

29 J.M. DeMatteis – 399 points (5 first place votes)

28 Denny O’Neil – 401 points (3 first place votes)

27 Keith Giffen – 403 points (3 first place votes)

26 J. Michael Straczynski – 420 points (2 first place votes)

25 Marv Wolfman – 425 points (4 first place votes)

24 John Byrne – 429 points (3 first place votes)

23 Steve Englehart – 442 points (7 first place votes)

22 Jason Aaron – 517 points (5 first place votes)

21 Roger Stern – 526 points (9 first place votes)

20 Roy Thomas – 540 points (8 first place votes)

19 Matt Fraction – 699 points (9 first place votes)

18 Greg Rucka – 808 points (16 first place votes)

17 Mark Millar – 822 points (11 first place votes)

16 Kurt Busiek – 834 points (11 first place votes)

15 Robert Kirkman – 854 points (14 first place votes)

14 Peter David – 1040 points (17 first place votes)

13 Brian K. Vaughan – 1069 points (21 first place votes)

12 Mark Waid – 1077 points (10 first place votes)

11 Chris Claremont – 1110 points (26 first place votes)

10 Geoff Johns – 1408 points (19 first place votes)

9 Ed Brubaker – 1437 points (18 first place votes)

8 Garth Ennis – 1442 points (23 first place votes)

7 Brian Michael Bendis – 1611 points (25 first place votes)

6 Frank Miller – 1628 points (21 first place votes)

5 Stan Lee – 1662 points (63 first place votes)

4 Warren Ellis – 2338 points (39 first place votes)

3 Neil Gaiman – 2395 points (40 first place votes)

2 Grant Morrison – 4102 points (163 first place votes)

1 Alan Moore – 4551 points (183 first place votes)

As a general note, do not use the comments here to bash creators. It seems that a lot of posters need to tone their rhetoric down about 150 notches. If you think a creator is too high or too low, feel free to say it, but just keep it civil. -BC


I only see to 36. is it supposed to be the whole thing? Sorry, I’m just confused!

oh, I guess I’ve figured it out. The others aren’t posted yet, yes? I haven’t been paying close enough attention, sorry.

Yep, that’s it exactly! As the list is updated, the master list will expand.

I’m personally interested to see where Grant Morrison ends up on the list. I never LOVE his work, but I’m always reading his stuff because it’s so unique. It make me think, but I just don’t get completely lost in his worlds. I respect his vision, but a lot of his stuff since New X-Men seem to have structural flaws or seem insulting (ie how Phoenix died, Lilandra’s characterization–or lack thereof) which undermine the brilliance of it.

Robert Crumb for the number 4 Slot yo’.

5 fake bucks says the top 5 in no particular order are Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, and Grant Morrison.


Frank Miller will be in the top 5, probably top 3. I don’t think Claremont will be top 5, but he should still make top ten. His problem is that his legacy is so tied up to one group of characters, that he won’t be able to collect votes from a wide variety of demographics.

i am really astonished that jack kirby isn’t even in the top 20.

Oh, JMS made the list of Jack Kirby….the end times….I do hate to see some of these new guys on the list simply because they are fresh in everyone’s minds. Hickman, really isn’t a top 50 all time writer.

And apparently with my lack of proofreading my own comment, I am definitely not worthy of a top 50 vote.

i wonder if people are basing this on past or current work. i guess i’ll know when i see where frank miller or jeph loeb falls in the list.

d’oh! jeph loeb’s already on the list. note to self: read BEFORE posting.

I’m astonished James Robinson still made on this list at all. I’m not talking about Lian Harper, I can imagine a lot of people weren’t happy with most of the stuff he pulled in Cry for Justice.

I really hope Harvey Pekar makes the top 5.

1 word………..bendis

Stan Lee’s placement is going to be interesting. I do not enjoy his writing and yet his ideas and characters have withstood the test of time rather nicely (somehow surviving the kool 90s and the dark days of 2000). Should writers be placed based on influence or on how readable and enjoyable their work is now?

(That being said, Stan Lee’s later issues of Spider-man are the only ones I truely enjoyed)

The fact that Jack Kirby is only #30 pretty much guarantees this is going to be an idiotic list.

I’m guessing that most people voted for Kirby as an artist rather than a writer, and I expect him to place much higher there than here. There’s also the problem that, with the exception of his Fourth World work, most of Kirby’s most influential work was done in collaboration with other writers (mainly Joe Simon and Stan Lee) making it difficult to determine who exactly was responsible for what.

I voted for Kirby only in the artist category, and the same goes for Eisner and Miller. I didn’t mean this as slight to them as writers, as I count them all as greats. I wanted to avoid overlap in my lists, and there are essential creators like Alex Toth and Steve Gerber who would have been left out had I stacked the majority of both lists with the same collection of writer/artists. And that’s what would have happened without the division, with people like Ware, Barks, Los Bros Hernandez, etc.

On an aside, I’m calling the #1 writer spot for Alan Moore. I just have a feeling that he’s going to beat out Gaiman this time.


Thanks for leaving a meaningful comment. That is what I assumed had happened, people consider Kirby an artist first, writer second. I would argue that point, but we’re here to see what the majority opinion is, so I will let it slide. But I would hold up any issue of Kirby’s 4th World, including Jimmy Olsen, as a better comic than anything Straczynski has done.

it’s also interesting to note that Kirby had more first place votes than any writer, other than Gail Simone, currently on the list.

Fact. Gail Simone is beloved.

She has the most first place votes so far.

Kirby is overrated.

I, for one, am completely content with these listings, based on my impression of the current comic industry. While I’m no fan of Jeph Loeb, I understand that there ARE enough fans to routinely give him #1s. I’m pulling for Fabian Nicieza, but if he’s on the top half, then the Deadpool fans deserve more respect than I’ve been giving them.

I think B2quared is either right or close with the guess that Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, and Grant Morrison will be in the top five. But, if the voting skews toward the last 10-20 years, then I wonder how folks like Brian K. Vaughan, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, and Geoff Johns will affect the top ten.

I don’t think enough people recognize that Jack was responsible for a lot of the plotting in Thor and FF, even though Stan was getting writing credit. I don’t want to discount Stan’s contribution, but Jack was doing a lot of the heavy lifting on those books. So I think Jack Kirby should be higher on the list. His work at DC in the 70’s speaks for itself. Especially when you take into consideration what his contemporaries were doing. Jack was always ahead of the curve creatively.

I would have also ranked Walt Simonson and Will Eisner higher, but not as dramatically as Jack.

I will be curious to see the next 34 names….I am certain that there will be several whom I would rate lower that both of these gentlemen.

Glad to see Keith Giffen ranked. His LOSH is my favorite run on my favorite team book. Also really have dug almost anything else he’s written. At the very least he’s entertaining and brings a fresh perspective to his stories.

Kicking myself for missed voting for Brian Wood. I’ve liked everything he’s done too.

I assume my mini-rant on the 50-41 list regarding Clowes would show my hand, but I’m disappointed that my surprise felt on the artist lists relative quality is not represented here, as of #26. Some great writers are represented here for sure, and I have not read everything, but I am reasonably sure I would only approve of maybe 1/2 being in the top 50. And I will never understand Clowes place on the list. He made No. 6 on a Time Magazine top 10 books of 2010. The only comic to make the list. In other words, he has penetrated respect, a respect comics desperately needs, but so often ignores when it arrives.

Walt Simonson is so far the only one I voted for that showed up but for the wrong list.

With regard to top honors and present or past work, I am not sure either Miller or Claremont will make the top five just because they have both produced work that undermine their achievements in recent years.

I would say Gaiman, Moore, Morrison, and Lee are absolutely guranteed to be top 5 for writing, and if there were any justice, Kirby’s name would be up there as well.

Miller could easily be top five for art.

Ben Cohen, the problem with Clowes and some others is the weird difference in what is mainstream from POV of comics and POV of others, especially literati (there is some of this everywhere but the difference is largest in US).
Clowes, and brothers Hernandez, and Spiegelman, and Bechdel, and Pekar, and some others (I should mention that the second female writer I had on my list was Roberta Gregory, and big chance of her showing up in here) are as comics creators marginal. Majority of “people who read comics” don’t read their stuff, and might be only barely aware that there are such creators (I should mention that once I started to follow more closely US comics fandom I was somewhat surprised of some people’s notion that Image, Dark Horse, Top Cow and CrossGen were “alternative” publishers…apparently in this world Fanta, Last Gasp and such don’t even exist).

Meanwhile, those are the type of artists who have better chance of making a strong impression for “people who don’t read comics” instead of increasingly idiosyncratic world of superhero comics (to draw comparisons, people who have no experience of, say, noh theatre or modern classical music probably will also have trouble getting or enjoying those in their first performance).
I admit that the fashion for superhero movies has brought new visibility and recognizability for superhero comics too, though I’d still argue that those movies do not tickle the literati the right way, and even in general public the fact that superhero movies are mainstream has not lead to superhero comics becoming mainstream.

Thus it comes as no surprise that Clowes and nobody else will make it on Time list (or in past, Spiegelman or Bechdel and nobody else). Time is a magazine for “people who don’t read comics”, while CSBG is a forum for “people who read comics”.

For me there are few big surprises so far on the list. To be honest, I’m happy that Beto Hernandez and Clowes made it at all.
Though it is amusing to notice that Simone, Kirby and Gerber have pulled quite a strong lead on the number of first place nominations :)

Jack Krby is going to be the Nº1 penciler… he should be higher on the writters count however… at least on the top 8.

BradRzanka: The deck was stacked as soon as we had to choose between writer and artist. There should have been a cartoonist category as well. I know more work, but if we are going to make it fare to the writers, we might as well make fare to the cartoonists. Students at SCAD, SVA, CCS ect…are being trained to do it all from plot to colors. As we move on, it will become increasingly hard to choose. Kirby, Ware, Clowes, Los Hernandez Bro. and Simonson won’t be the only tough choices.

AS: Oh, don’t I know it. However, I don’t have to like it, and I can kovetch, like a mother. I truly love Walter Simonson, Jim Starlin, Will Eisner, Gail Simone and Denny O’Neil, but this is Comics Should Be Good, not Superhero/Sci-Fi comics should be good. So PEOPLE go spread the love a little.

That said, I fully support those who are upset about Kirby’s place on this list. Ridiculousness!

It’s funny, I don’t even know how to categorize my own work, because the term “Alternative” has been co-oped. Same thing happened to Alternative Music in the 1990’s here in the states.

[EDITED by Brian Cronin: Ben spent a nice chunk of this reply responding to a troll whose post is now gone, making Ben’s well-thought out reply now sort of out of place]

In the bottom 30, 5 of my votes made the list… so I’ll be interested to see where the other 5 will place (if at all). I think Miller was probably a better choice than Claremont in retrospect for the top 5.

In regards to someone who posted about Robinson’s Cry for Justice, I voted him on my list and it had nothing to do with his C4J work. He DID write probably my favorite run in comics (Starman) after all. My list was based on how many good comics the specific authors wrote and I really didn’t take in to consideration their bad stuff. Therefore, Robinson ranked on my list.

My guess is that the top two will be: Moore and Miller, with Gaiman, Bendis, Johns, Morrison, and Stan Lee in no particular order rounding out the Top 7.

I am still hopeful that Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman will make the list.

I did not vote for Garth Ennis, but I should have based upon Dangerous Habits (his first Hellblazer arc) alone.

I’ll also throw in that I care much more about this list than I care about the artist’s list. I’m just much more interested in the results on this one.

Byrne deserves to be a bit higher on the writer list, and close to the top on the artist list. Wolfman certainly deserves a spot. Nevertheless, this list seems to be getting worse, not better, unlike the artist list.

Hmm, looks like I have to agree with Ben, artist list keeps on getting better while here higher positions are quite underwhelming. People who I know to make generally entertaining comics but who I have hard time to muster any kind of enthusiasm about.

Brian, is there any chance we could see 100 – 51 in both categories, even just the names? Looking at who has and hasn’t made the top 50 you realise how deep the talent runs in comics

So I have to ask: was Brian Clevinger not on the list as an option? Didn’t make the top 50? Or is he somewhere in the top 10 which at this time has yet to be published?

So 7 of my top ten are on the list as of #s 50-11. Pretty sure the other 3 are going to be in the Top 5. And I bet Gaiman will be number 1 or 2.

I’d be willing to bet Gaiman does not crack the top 2. #3 is where I’d guess.

Palmiotti and Gray didn’t even crack the top 50? Seems like a pretty silly list without those two, in my opinion (biased as it may be). Anyway, good job on the compiling. Seems like it would be a nightmare to count all the votes. Good on you for taking this on!

Joss Whedon being that high is complete bullcrap. all those people below him have mountains of work compared to to him. Astonishing x-men was good, and his other work is probably average, but come on.

Glad to see Greg Rucka there. Still not impressed…this list is proving the effect the Senate Hearing had in 1954 on undermining the progress of comics literary potential; well as far as mainstream consumption is concerned.

I’m surprised and delighted that Chris Claremont made is as high as he did!

No Erik Larsen or Dave Sim yet. Unless they broke the top 10, which would be sweet. It’s almost a given that Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, Johns and Bendis will be in the top 10 so that leaves 5 slots left.

No Erik Larsen or Dave Sim yet. Unless they broke the top 10, which would be sweet. It’s almost a given that Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, Johns and Bendis will be in the top 10 so that leaves 5 slots left.

EDIT: Make that four slots. I forgot Miller.

Yes, I think we can all agree that J Michael Straczynski is a much better writer than Joss Whedon, who is a far greater comic writer than WILL FUCKING EISNER.

What an epic failure. This site should seriously be embarrassed. Wow. What a trainwreck.

Next time you want to do one of these lists to drum up traffic, why not pair it with weighted votes from actual comic book writers?

Did you really just say that both them is better than Eisner?

I think he may have been just a tad slightly sarcastic, there, but wouldn’t get any closer just now.
He’s dropping weighted votes onto trainwrecks and should probably be left alone.

Y’know, technically I’m sure he wouldn’t be considered a great, but my wild vote for just pure enjoyment went to Bill Mantlo. I thought of the large library of work he had produced and how so many of them were so enjoyable to me. Hardly ever a story that wasn’t memorable to me, even now decades later.

Wow, I didn’t think Miller would be as low as #6 these days. I guess people haven’t really enjoyed his more recent stuff.

With four spots left, I’m guessing they’re going to be Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, for sure, and then maybe Paul Levitz? Art Spiegelman? Or maybe someone like Gardner Fox?

The suspect is Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis. In that order, likely.

The top four should be Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis. In that order, likely.


December 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

The top four writers will most likely be Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, and Ellis. It’s only a question of which order they’ll be in.

I’m disappointed that none of the writers or artists who worked for EC Comics in the 1950s made the list except for Joe Kubert and Gene Colan, who only drew a few stories for EC and are better known for other work. EC published some of the best horror, science fiction, suspense, war, and humor comics.

Matching my lists (glad I saved ‘em) against the results, and I’ve done much better synching writers than artists. All of my writers have appeared save three; two of them are shoo-ins (Moore and Morrison, and I’m excited to find out where they rank). But can we all take a moment to remember the late Arnold Drake? He’s sadly overlooked, but the Silver Age wouldn’t have shined nearly so bright without him.

Ahh, Arnold, you gave us the Doom Patrol and Deadman, along with so many surreal storylines and outrageous concepts. Some of us love you still. Thank you, sir.http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/themes/csbg/images/button-publish.jpg

“Ahh, Arnold, you gave us the Doom Patrol and Deadman”

And the first graphic novel!


That leaves #2 for Alan Moore and #1 for Grant Morrison. The reverse will probably occur, but still glad to see that’s our top 2.

Just two left, certain to be Morrison and Moore, and no place in the top 50 for one of the best comic book writers of all time. Doug Moench produced ground-breaking, seminal runs on titles such as Moon Knight, Werewolf and Batman as well as partnering Gulacy (also criminally overlooked on the artist list) on a number of classic comics over the years, inlcuding the brilliant Master of Kung Fu. How can the man responsible for Master of Kung Fu 38 and 39 not feature on a list like this? Bizarre, but perhaps it’s an age thing coupled with the short-term nature of many of these polls (JH Williams at number 3 on the all-time artists list? Right….) Indeed, any list on which Morrison features above Stan Lee and Bendis is at number 7 rather than 777, where he belongs, has got to be veering towards the decidely dodgy.

These lists are a travesty. If I could I would destroy both CBR and CBSG’s servers. They at least deserve an month long Internet suspension for not including Erik Larson.

Seriously, stop pining for the OK writings of Werewolf by Night and the EC horror writers of the 50’s. Really? Reeaaaallllyyyy?


December 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

“Doug Moench produced ground-breaking, seminal runs on titles such as Moon Knight, Werewolf and Batman as well as partnering Gulacy (also criminally overlooked on the artist list) on a number of classic comics over the years, inlcuding the brilliant Master of Kung Fu. How can the man responsible for Master of Kung Fu 38 and 39 not feature on a list like this?”

Unfortunately, “Master of Kung Fu” hasn’t been reprinted, so the only people whose votes would be influenced by it would be those who read it when it was published in the 1970s and early ’80s or those who sought out the back issues. Voters can’t judge what they haven’t read.

@Neil64 (&Bicycle-Repairman)

Agree somewhat with Moench based on the strength of Moon Knight and Batman: Prey, but the lack of readability for Shang-Chi is doing the man no favors. I’ve never read a single issue but I’ve always wanted to. Isn’t there some legal issue blocking the Essential treatment? Does anyone know the scoop on this? The character appeared in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, which wasn’t blocked from appearing in trades, so what’s the deal?

Number One: Jim Shooter!! C’mon, gang – Secret Wars 2, right???


December 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

The original “Master of Kung Fu” series featured licensed characters from Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu novels. Marvel no longer has the license to the Rohmer characters and can’t reprint stories containing them without permission, but Marvel owns the rights to Shang-Chi and other original characters created for the comic.

Ronald Kearschner

December 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I found this site too late to vote. I was happy to see Steve Gerber and Steve Englehart on the list. But I was also disappointed that Doug Moench didn’t make the list. MASTER OF KUNG FU is my all time favorite. I don’t know if Sax Roehmer’s characters will ever go into the public domain, and I don’t expect Marvel to give up their rights to Shang Chi. But those back issues are worth seeking out. The rest of my top five would be Don McGregor for his Killraven and Black Panther, and Chuck Dixon for BIRDS OF PREY and basically everything else he wrote.

Mr. Kearschner, I agree with you. MoKF and Black Panther were decades ahead of their time.

My problem with Moench is that he was amazing when he wrote stuff he seemed to care about (MOKF, Moon Knight), but a lot of his other writing runs the gamut from workmanlike to horrible. His FF run is horrible, one of the worst ever. He wrote very unremarkable stories with the Inhumans and Captain Mar-Vell.

Don McGregor was a genius decades ahead of his time, perhaps only rivalled by Steve Gerber and Jim Steranko as the guy most ahead of his time. But he wrote comparatively little. And as good as he was, McGregor could be very self-indulgent too, perhaps he was too aware that he was so ahead of the pack. I used to dislike when his stories would grind to a halt so that one of his characters could give a philosophy lesson.

But I totally agree that Don McGregor is unfairly ignored by too many modern readers. Just don’t think he is Top 10 material. Perhaps Top 25.

I didn’t really expect Gerry Conway (one of the most under-appreciated Batman writers ever, in my opinion) to make it, but I have to say I’m a bit surprised by the absence of Len Wein, co-creator of the new X-men, Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Human Target and a prolific writer/editor at Marvel and DC during the 70s and 80s who worked on pretty much all of both companies major characters. He wrote a lot of great stories, but aside from the original Swamp Thing stuff, I guess he never really had a signature run. Still, I thought the sheer volume of his stuff and the status of some of his creations might get him a nod.

I am very surprised that Louise Simonson did not make the top 50 writers and Ramona Fradon did not make the top 50 artists.

I also believe that popularity and not the body of a persons work has a lot to do with particular choices on this poll. If this were the mid ninties, I am sure Brandon Choi would have made the list, simply because of who he was assosciated with.

I do believe Grant Morrison belongs on the list, but I think he doesn’t deserve the position he enjoys. Several writers listed have larger, and more influential bodies of work. It will be interesting to see how this list changes in the next 10 years.

I think I voted for these, cannot recall exactly, in alphabetical order:

Carl Barks
Andre Franquin
Rene Goscinny
Roberta Gregory
Gilbert Hernandez (#49)
Guido Martina
Alan Moore (#1)
Grant Morrison (#2)
Hugo Pratt (the only one I voted for as both writer and artist)
Gail Simone (#35)

Barks, Franquin and Goscinny were the positions 1-3, others in some order (after a bit of thinking I noted I placed Franquin too high, for big part of his appeal is Gaston which would count as comic strip. Apologies.)
Yeah, should have had Eisner, and Milligan and Gerber, and Gaiman probably too…Crumb is important and probably good but not my favorite.

Note: I am posting this on both writer and artist “Master” list plus the winners pages for both. 

I myself have been agitated by both these list. As noted previously more so on the writers side then the artist. Perhaps that is do to the history of this medium being an appreciated visual storytelling medium, but one that until late was never seriously considered a literary art form (although in terms of visual fine arts, outside of Crumb, there has not been much fuss in the fine arts world either).

I digress, I want to underscore before I fly off the handle, Brian is right. Each of these cartoonist are worthy of our respect. As a lifelong cartoonist, student of the craft and fan I can’t stress enough how much hard work, intelligence, talent and grit it takes to even approach cartooning, let alone be on these lists. Very few art forms, literary and storytelling mediums are as complex and tough.  And don’t get me started on pay, longevity, quality of life and copy rights. When I teach about comics, I use these men’s work to show how to do it, even those I am about to wish lower on the list or even off the list. I also use examples of many others, including (gasp) women. Many of whom diserve more consideration here (I need to check out Jill Thompson). That said, if I know their work well, that’s one thing. But I confess, many I do not know well enough. And people throwing out names I am unfamiliar with helps. It means I get to go read more comics. Yippee!

If this list was compiled in a different time, it would reflect those times. If it was created in Belgium, Argentina or Japan then it would reflection that. So it is somewhat acceptable that there are an overrepresentation of what is consumed here. But I am disturbed by the idea that what is our favorite is not, in my judgment, what is the best. Anyway, I am also frustrated by unclear lack of knowledge on both the historical greats in comics and the contemporary greats outside of the superhero genres. This implies popularity and commerce, not quality, influence, genius and expertise run armpit here at CBR and CSBG, among it’s readers. And I believe that this is not, because of the bloggers. I read The Comics Journal, but often need to not take my comics so seriously. I wish there was a better bridge between the two worlds. And this list proves despite some efforts, that CBR is not it. I love great old comics, great superhero comics, great comics in other genre and great comics that take their artistic approach and literary approach more intellectually then some.

I would note, my friend and former classmate Kelly Thompson’s blog here at CBR attempts to diversify the readership here, and she is not alone in this concern, otherwise she would not have been asked to join. 

In my male feminist opinion, one of the reason’s women are not represented here and I am not presenting a strong argument in favor of a particular one (Wendy Pini!), is because, while women have been making comics since the late 1800’s, they have always have opportunities stacked against them to reach greatness. This reality and the 1962-1990’s male centered market has diminished their collective longevity and growth despite some exemplary female cartoonist. This is changing and it is my hope when my daughter is an adult they will be right there in the fray of this type of discussion. An aesthetic and subject mater collective consciousness shift will need to occur. In comics education circles an effort has been afoot for over a decade to push for opportunities for female cartoonist. While occasionally I feel my toes being stepped on, I welcome it. Our industry will die without efforts like these, and our art has suffered without it.

So on with my fighting over names on this list (sorry if I have mentioned some of this before)…gotta geek now!

On the artist list I count 2 artist (Mazzucchelli, Jamie Hernandez) who I would consider to fall in that artsy side of comics. Obviously both have done SciFi/Superhero work. I had both of them on my list. I did not have Berto on my list, but was glad to see he made it as a writer.

It is often inferred or assumed the men and women who work outside of sups comics simply can’t draw or design comics well. This is simple nonsense from a historical and contemporary perspective. First off most genre’s where either created or improved by Jack Kirby…which is why he is King and No. 1. So in other words, once upon a time a cartoonist, was not pidgin-hold by a singular genre like Superheroes. This practice is returning, thank goodness. But the king is dead and the new King’s of comics are Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes. I can understand arguments about their comics being the antithesis of superhero comics and just as limited due to that. But it is my impression most people working in the field believe they are the best working today, even if most readers don’t. Some would argue Crumb, as well. I would suggest he has ascended beyond comics and has just transcends other new important work, with Genesis after being outpaced by Clowes and Ware. Same goes for Spiegleman. It is not just Clowes and Ware’s writing. I am appalled at Clowes place on the writers list and can not understand Ware’s absence. Both men should have been top 5. However, it is thier mastery of visual storytelling, craftsmanship, page design, illustrative technique, inking, lettering, coloring and drawing skills that make them deserving of the same position on the artist list, top 5. Of course they are absent.

There are others besides Ware, Clowes who should of minimally appeared on these lists and are from the more artsy and literary world of contemporary comic books. Crumb should have made the artist list and Spiegalman the writers list. Who else on the  artist list has been compared with Goya? Who else has won a Pulitzer? Oh yeah, NONE! While the rest of the world slowly opens their arms to comics after discriminating against them. Nationally covering a few outstanding cartoonist. These are the names that surface, Clowes, Ware, Crumb, Spiegleman, James Sturm, and Kurtzman for their comics. Siegel, Shuster, Bob Kane, Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Eisner, Gaiman and Moore as much due to films based of their comics as the source material., Oh ,and Todd McFarlane, because he bought a baseball. All 17 deserve a place in the top 20 of at least one of these lists, even McFarlin. Well perhaps not Sturm. However, a strong argument could be made for top 100. Only 8 of 16 made it at all. I am hypocritical of course, in that I think I only had 3 of the 17 on my list.

Sure, if you kill off Superman or Captain America for  a few months, it brakes a headline, or if Batwomen comes out of the closet. But this did not bring Rucha or Williams III notoriety. In their case I support strongly their presence on these list for their bodies of work and influence in propelling the medium forward.

The only other national story I can think of that poked it’s head out and into the big wide world was  the tragic murder of Steve Perry, which shed a much needed light on the day to day challenges most cartoonist live, as the destitute creators of comics which help broadly shape our culture. But his life story would not warrant a presence on this list.

Now, my number one Jim Woodring did not make it. However, given the competition, I am not alarmed by his absence. Just because I think Frank is the greatest comic ever made, does not make it so. Few people in comics are influenced and driven by his presence in the comics community. I was introduced to him by James Sturm at a Jack Davis lecture. James and I may love Jim’s work, and in my case even love it more then Jack Davis’s. I can love it more then James work. However, I can admit that James through his teaching is more influential then Jim and Jack Davis through his comics is far more influential, even on my work, then James (my former teacher) and Jim (my favorite cartoonist). So there are plenty of artsy or literary personal favorite cartoonist I would have loved to have seen make it (Adrian Tomine,  Seth, Jessica Abel, Robynn Chapman, Ben Towle, Max Clotfelter, Jason, Jordan Carine, David Cooper, Bernetti, Steven Weismann and Joe Sacco ). For everyone of these there are others in this corner of comics I don’t personally value as much, but are equally valued by others and share the same stature. None however even Jim, can compete with Jack Davis.

Because prior to 1969, let alone 1980, 1993, 2000, or 2010 there was Kirby, EC Comics and Jack Cole. Jack Davis and Frezetta where my favorites from EC, but an argument could be made for any of them to brake the top 25 artists. But for the sake of my bias, I would add Davis, Frazetta and the non-EC cartoonist Cole to represent what most Artsy, Literary and Popular corners of comics consider to be the bar they are attempting to reach, the mid 20th Century cartooning.

Now I had accepted this list would be American centrist. However given the influence, quality and popularity, I second the frustration with absence of a minimally broader international cartoonist and Manga in general. Of those the biggest omission is Hergé. He should have made top 5 on the artist list along with Clowes, Ware, Kirby and Crumb. Moebius presence does not cut it…and hello Akira!

Ok, so this sounds like I am a superhero hater. This is not the case. I have been reading Superhero comics almost daily since I was 4. I had Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alan Davis, Darwyn Cooke, John Byrne and Bryan Hitch on my lists (in addition to some already mentioned). I support the presence of others that made it. I am baffled by the omission of Mark Shultz. I wish Mark Silvestri made it, he is my favorite of the Image founders, or the creators of DP7 my all-time favorite superhero series, but like Woodring, do they actually deserve it?

As mentioned, I have been surprised by the few I was not aware of, like Stuart Immonen. I wrote a scathing critique of his sample page, but I admit I am unfamilure and one page can not make or brake a cartoonist.

(Sorry about this next one Brian and Frank) Nevertheless, I am familiar enough with Frank Quitely strongly object to his place behind Kirby. When he replaced Hitch on the Authority I mark that as point similar to when Larson took over Amazing Spider-Man. I stopped buying them. I have since understood Larson’s competence outside his drawing style. I have gotten over my objection to Quitely’s style, but not enough to put him above 30-31 artist I have been trying to bump up or simply put on the list of 100. Certainly not number 2. It just happen’s I am retracing one of his books over the holiday, so if I change, I will let you all know.

I look forward to checking out others suggestions. I would hope we all will.

No Archie Goodwin???
Jack Kirby is only 30th but Stan Lee is 5th!??!
No Carl Barks?
No EC writer?!?
No DC writer from the Silver Age? No Gardner Fox? No John Broome?
This list should be called “Best Writers as voted by people who have read nothing except super-hero comics from the last 10 years”…

I thought very hard about both Don McGregor and Doug Moench, but couldn’t squeeze them in without dropping Veitch and Claremont. It was tough but I ultimately went with my heart over my head on those ones. Rick Veitch was the only writer on my list who didn’t place in the top fifty (he also didn’t place for artists, which sucks terribly). I’ll be curious to see how many votes he did get.
When Brian shows us the remaining top one hundreds, of course, which I am looking forward to on Christmas morning, thank you so much, I hope.

Man, I forgot all about Archie Goodwin.

Nice rant Ben, and you make some good points. But……this countdown was about favorites, nothing else.

You see, believe it or not, most people don’t care for Dan Clowes or Ware or Crumb, not because they aren’t accomplished artists/writers or masters of their profession. Its the subject matter. Its too much of a niche. They can’t build an audience (for the most part). I certainly have no interest in reading their works of emo/despair. I get enough of that shit in my life.

Each reader gets what he wants out of comics. For example, I feel tv and movies do crime drama better than comics. Some may have it the other way around.

Len Wien has a tremendous amount of fans, as do Doug Mench, I’ll admit, its readers who read their work in the 70’s. Its no shame that they would fall at number 20 or 23 or 13 on many voters lists. alas that would leave them off of the final tally. Thats just what happens in these lists. My god if Kirby is still your favorite, if nothing wowed you the past 50 years, to knock him down, what can I say to that? Nothing.

Every medium would skew to the modern on internet voting.

And to think that every writer and artist from the past should be on the list in the top 20 in fact, is incredibly, old-man-yelling-about-the-lawn

Ronald Kearschner

December 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I think the point of these lists is not to denegrate or insult any creator, but for people to promote the creators they love. I missed out on Roger Stern’s Avengers run, but reading the positive comments all over this site about it, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait til The Essentials get to it. I would love it if this created a groundswell for MASTER OF KUNG FU Essentials.

People have already said it before, I think, but the reason why Marvel can’t do a Master of Kung Fu Essentials is because Fu Manchu, Sir Denys Nayland Smith, Fah Lo Sue, and other characters aren’t licensed to Marvel any longer.

Trey: thanks.  I did mention that I submitted a list based on my favorites, not my assessment of who deserves the top spots. I am adding my voice to the frustrations of some here, who feel this list reflects a limited perspective. Populist perhaps, but narrow and a result of the 1954 Senate Hearings, the direct marketing, a geek boys club (I am) and the collectors market crash. 

I don’t remember precisely how I voted, but I started with a list of my favorites and it went something like this. I only wish there were more diversity on the list, especially women.

1) Jim Woodring
2) Jamie Hernandez
3) Chris Ware
4) Daniel Clowes
5) Alan Davis
6) Darwyn Cooke
7) Adrian Tomine
8) Jack Davis
9) Hergé
10) J H Williams III
11) John Byrne
12) Jason
13) Frank Frazetta
14) David Mazzucchelli
15) Alan Moore
16) Chris Sprouse
17) Bill Sienkiewicz
18) Bryan Hitch
19) Mark Gruenwald
20) Chris Claremont
21) Mark Silvestri
22) Jack Kirby
23) Frank Miller
24) Paul Ryan
25) Mark Shultz
26) Jack Cole

I get the Clowes and Ware argument. I am not immune, but As a cartoonist and teacher, I am to ensnared with the mechanics and execution to be bothered by Clowe’s ego and Ware self-pitty. 

I reject this idea that comics are better at one genre. This idea only exists because of outside sources limiting the mediums potential and inside conditioning (I.E. 1954…). The list of cartoonist above may not cast the widest net, but it should indicate a variety of genre and emotional depictions of the human condition can vary in comics with best practices.

I submitted my votes off the top of my head, which I felt was fair but not as thorough on my part, and want to revise and post it, though I know it certainly won’t be counted.

The way I gauge it is, how much of what I’ve seen of this person’s work resonates strongly with me and how likely would I be to follow this person’s work ?

I understand Brian’s writer / artist division, but to simplify things for all the creators who’ve written, drawn, inked, plotted or otherwise contributed directly to a story (gonna exclude editors, letterers and colorists… feel kinda guilty but feel I have to), I’m throwing them all together and going to put my personal Top 100 creators.

Who is this Jason guy on Ben Cohens list above? I’m now curious.

Trey: check it…

He is Norwgian and has been one of Fantagraphics best reads this past decade. Often silent, always anthramorphic comics (with a twist on familure materials) that you can’t put down till your done. Fun, smart, brilliantly paced, easily read, accessible and clever stories that read like fast paced mysteries that puts the fun back in sex and violence. I like the style of illustration, which is fundimental basic and contemporarily graphic designed. Some might see it as to wonky, but once you start reading, you won’t pay it no mind. It is pitch perfect with the stories. Plus he can be and is prolific. Unusual for Fantagraphics. The best I have seen from Europe since Asterix and Tin Tin.

I always find it odd to see Doug Moench love. I’ll admit that Prey was very good, but everything else I’ve read by him (which admittedly does not include Master of Kung Fu or Moon Knight) has varied from mediocre to terrible.

My no-shows are:
10 – Dave Lapham
9 – David Hine
7 – Junji Ito

I guess people don’t like the more twisted stuff

Hey, did anybody try to stuff the ballot box by voting for the same person in all 10 spots? Would you have counted them if they did? Just curious.

No, Harvey Pekar. This list is a joke.

No Jeff Smith?! FFS!

Brian, thanks so much for all your hard work on this and the other lists. They are a lot of fun!

Any chance we can expect #100-51 on each list? Even just the names work would be great!

None of the people I had on my list made it… Then again looking at this list, so many I didn’t think of I would have put before them anyway. I can’t believe it didn’t dawn on me to put whedon down among others.

Seriously? Fraction at 19?!? Has he written anything anyone will remember in 3 years?

And Jason Aaron ahead of Englehart, Stern, Wolfman, etc.? Has this guy written anything worth reading now (let alone memorable)?

Geez. Nothing like a poll to open one’s eyes to how wrong a lot of people around him are…

Okay, lots of things on this list are really, really bad, but I’ll focus on three things:
1. Few choices that are older than the 70s or 80s.
2. Few choices from genres other than superhero comics.
3. NO choices (as far as I can tell) from languages other than English.

This is a sad list. Seriously? Kirby and Eisner are behind Millar, Bendis and Ellis?
I have to say that Miler and Moore would probably be ashamed with this list. If the others had any sense, they would as well.

Geez. Nothing like a poll to open one’s eyes to how wrong a lot of people around him are…

Fraction’s only written the best comic of the decade (Casanova), and Aaron’s only got the best Vertigo series (Scalped) and a couple classics in his past (The Other Side, for one).

It helps to know what you’re talking about before calling others “wrong” in their opinions.

I’ve found the comments made throughout the countdowns to be just as entertaining as the countdowns themselves. It’s really interested how much of a personal interest fans take in the creators and their ranks on the lists.

As for myself, I admit to have a relatively recent respect for the creators. I say this because when I first started reading comics around 7-8 years old, I paid no attention to creator credits. It wasn’t until I was in college and I began to talk to other comics fans my attention to creators increased. Today, after 30 years of reading comics and at the age of 38, my main rule is (as it’s been since I first began reading) to read a comic because of the characters, not because of the creators. I don’t consider myself to follow creators from book to book, and I’m interested to know who does. For example, I’ve been reading the Avengers titles since the Steve Englehart and Roger Stern days. I now know, honor, and respect the work of the comic book creator since they’re the ones who make the characters I read interesting.

I thank Brian Cronin for initiating these polls and for keeping the guidelines simple: vote for your favorite creator. There are other artists and writers I wished would’ve rank on the poll, but the 50 most voted are just that: the 50 with the most votes. Many have asked for an #51-100 ranking, but after reading the comments, I think we fans have created our own (LOL).

I voted for Doug Moench JUST for his Master of Kung Fu. It’s just one of my favorite runs ever, the whole 115 issues.
He came after Moore, Busiek, and Stern.
I didn’t put Lee or Claremont. I like other writers more.

Funny how this list contains the usual mixed bag of 2000AD alumni yet, predictably, rather misses its proper greats. John Wagner is easily the best writer currently involved in comics but he doesn’t warrant a mention, even in passing. Ditto with Pat Mills. Honestly? I don’t think you get it. You simply don’t understand what 2000AD is, or what its contribution is. Nor do you have the foggiest notion beyond “Judge Dread (sic)” what’s been printed between it’s covers for the past 33 years. Ignorance, in this instance at least, appears to be manifest bliss.

I guess ignorance is bliss. The top 4 were my top 4, and I am OK with that. Admittedly, I have never read any 2000AD, so I’m sure I’ve missed quite a bit. However, Sandman, Promethea, the Invisibles, Watchmen, Planetary, Transmet, ane even Grant’s New X-Men have had greater impact on me than any other comic works, so that’s how I voted. It’s probably the same with everybody. The indignation isn’t doing anyone any favors, especially the creators people are getting indignant about. Instead of stamping your feet or wasting all of our time on essay-length posts, how about providing links to creator profiles or reviews of their works? That’s how you encourage and promote appreciation of underrated and overlooked creators.

Christopher O'Bannon

December 27, 2010 at 7:05 am

The above post is mine. I did not intend to publish it anonymously.

Dr. Horrible

Seriously? Fraction at 19?!? Has he written anything anyone will remember in 3 years?

And Jason Aaron ahead of Englehart, Stern, Wolfman, etc.? Has this guy written anything worth reading now (let alone memorable)?

Geez. Nothing like a poll to open one’s eyes to how wrong a lot of people around him are

I don’t like Fraction either, but he has too much respect from too many of the right people so there’s obviously something about him.

Your other choices though… Aaron is one of the brightest new stars in comics. Nothing I’ve read by Stern or Englehart was better than mediocre and Wolfman (though I loved CoIE back in the day) dates really badly.

There are inclusions and ommissions on this list that I can understand complaining about, but I really thin you’ve chosen the wrong ones.

Sixtyten – like or not, this blog is largely dominated by American readers of American comics. Work – no matter how good – in a British comic that has only had spotty distribution outside the country isn’t going to get you as many votes as work in an American comic. Especially when that comic is an anthology which forces you to buy a load of strips you might not like that much just to get the ones you do like.


So my comment is “time wasting” and “essay length” despite it being shorter than your indignant response? Right.


That’s a fair comment. However with Clickwheel, (which admittedly isn’t the greatest means of “digital comic” distribution) the availability of 2000AD to a US audience has never been greater. Ditto with the Simon and Shuster reprints of 2000AD material. The anthology criticism is one I’ve read before. There’s no easy anwser to this, beyond saying that it is default format for UK comics. Even Mark Millar’s recently launched “Clint” follows in this tradition.

Is Alan Moore even relevant in comics anymore?

Christopher O'Bannon

December 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

That comment wasn’t directed at you, Sixtyten, and I’m not indignant. I apologize for any confusion.

@ Sixtyten : As has been pointed out, the vast majority of respondents on this list are American, myself included. I luvs me some Judge Dredd and some of the other British characters including Captain Britain, Axel Pressbutton, Marvelman, Zenith, etc. There’s no question the British invasion has changed comics over here for the better. Distribution of all of those characters is extremely sporadic and collecting them not easy for us Americans. Why someone doesn’t import them has been a mystery to me for years.

Chris Claremont should of been higher than number 11… Higher than Stan Lee anyway.. Yes I know Stan created x-men etc, but x-men wouldn’t be what it was today if not for the brilliance of Chris Claremont….

Shane – You’re funny.

Grant, you’re the top! Alan is the past, Grant is the past, the present and the future. Time will make you justice. Stan Lee is overrated. Unfortunately Hugo Pratt didn’t make the list because he is an italian writer. Pratt and Kirby should be in the top ten.

NO PAUL DINI????????

are you kiddin me??

Wrong Wrong Wrong …..

My Top 50 Comic Writers in no particular order

Carl Barks
C. C. Beck
David Boswell
John Broome
Ed Brubaker
John Byrne
Howard Chaykin
Chris Claremont
Dan Clowes
Jack Cole
Darwyn Cooke
Robert Crumb
Kim Deitch
Steve Ditko
Will Eisner
Warren Ellis
Garth Ennis
Michael Fleisher
Gardner Fox
Steve Gerber
Keith Giffen
Archie Goodwin
The Hernandez Bros
Geoff Johns
Jack Kirby
Harvey Kurtzman
Stan Lee
Paul Levitz
Bill Mantlo
Mark Millar
Frank Miller
Alan Moore
Grant Morrison
Denny O’Neil
John Ostrander
Marjane Satrapi
Gilbert Shelton
Jim Shooter
Dave Sim
Art Spiegelman
Jim Starlin
Roger Stern
J. Michael Straczynski
Roy Thomas
Brian K. Vaughan
Rick Veitch
Len Wein
Barry Windsor-Smith
Marv Wolfman
Brian Wood


NO PAUL DINI????????

are you kiddin me??

Wrong Wrong Wrong …..

Actually yeah that is quite surprising. I personally find him incredibly bland, but at his current level of popularity I’d have expected him to place somewhere in the top 50.


Nice list (imperfections aside; all lists are flawed). Seriously, nice list.

Thx Ben

Yeah, no 2 lists will ever be alike, but it’s interesting to note the similarities and differences.

Meaning no disrespect, but you’ll notice that Bendis didn’t make my Top 50 writers. Is he horrible ? No, but he’s not nearly as high on my list as many people’s.

OTOH, I’m not surprised that Gardner Fox didn’t make the official Top 50. The majority of his work was a few generations back in storytelling techniques and simpler times. Many readers have never read his work or didn’t note that he had written it. The DCU wouldn’t be what it is today with his talents ranging from :

His Golden Age work including the JSA in All Star Comics,
Black Canary,
the earliest issues of Batman,
the introduction of both the Golden Age Flash and Hawkman in Flash # 1,

and then in the Silver Age introducing Earth-2 and linking the original Golden Age characters with the then current “Silver Age” versions while keeping them both distinct and somewhat similar but different,

being the original scribe of the JLA,

and contributing greatly to the Atom, GL, Hawkman, and Adam Strange.

Besides all that, those stories, roughly half a century later and more sometimes, are still entertaining and fun.

Grant Morrison #2 higher then Stan Lee? Seriously? Did the whole world lose it mind? If it was writers of all time list maybe #2 or #1.

[…] Book Resources – Top 125 Comic Book Writers Master List – Who are your favorite […]

…Peter Milligan should be in the Top 5 ..

I think Robert Crumb, Will Einser, Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Kirby should be at least in the top 10. I agree with Moore at first flace tough.

[…] a lista completa aqui.   E a lista dos 125 artistas aqui.     […]

I honestly don’t think aggregating writers, and artists into the same list does any of the creators justice in their placement. I also feel that this list is remarkably one sided towards creators that have been in the public comic consciousness heavily for the past 5 to 20 years. It seems to almost ignore creators from further back than 1977, so I’m going to have to agree with Erik Larsen on this one.

Well, if you have to, who can blame you?

Pat Mills is 124. There are no words…

One thing that people have to remember is that these polls are always fixed by the fans themselves. They will use whatever method to make sure that their favorites get more votes. Even going as far as using numerous e-mail addresses, usernames, computers, and whatever. Yes, it is sad, but true. Thus just becoming a fixed popularity poll (fixed not by CBR, but the fans). I am sure CBR did thier best to weed out duplicate votes as much as they could, but ultimately it is not possible.

This is why various polls and awards that are legitimate, like the Eisners and Inkwell Awards for example, are done by those within the industry itself. So please keep in mind that when votes are left up to the fans, they generally vote based on who they like or dislike instead of who should actually be voted on. Props to CBR for going through a poll like this, but I just wanted to mention this since I see a lot of comments that someone should be at a higher number. So yes, there are plenty that “should” be at a higher number, but again… this is a popularity contest.

A good example of popularity over substance and facts. While it wasn’t mentioned here, but on Newsarama’s article on Ultimate Spider-man, I find it funny that some people and what is sad, even online news “reporters” (only quoted because they often get research wrong and go with their fandom instead of news), claim that Bendis has a record breaking run on Ultimate Spider-man. Which is completely false, but because they “report” it as record breaking, it is incorrectly spread online as record breaking.

Chris Claremont holds the record at Marvel on the longest run on a title (Uncanny X-Men) and Dave Sim holds the record on on the longest run as a writer on a title (Cerebus with 300 issues). Now this isn’t meant as a anything bad about Bendis’ run (which is still years away from being the longest run at Marvel) because it is others who claim this, but lets give the props to those that came before Bendis and get facts correct when reporting on it (again, not that CBR is doing it, but there are other sites that still claim this). I just want to make sure that the incorrect “information” is spread instead of the fandom of some reporters.

I think the record breaking is accounted to the other milestones in comics (Kirby and Stan’s 103 consecutive ishes for instance). But yes, he has a looooooooong way to go to get to Dave Sim let alone Claremont’s 200-plus. Heck, as long as LArsen keeps doing Savage Dragon (another one missing from this list…ugh!), Bendis will never hit the top as Savage Dragon currently is on 170 and counting (and Larsen has said he intends to keep doing Dragon until he dies). And really (no disrespect intended to Bendis) both Claremont’s X-men, Sim’s Cerebus, and Erik’s Dragon all weren’t preconcieved characters like Spidey (with a built in Rogue’s gallery) to feed off of, making the uniqueness and longevity of Cerebus and Dragon all the more amazing.

And good call on this being a popularity contest. I didn’t know folks were spamming their favs with different emails.

What I’d be interested in is a top 50 list composed by the pros/folks within the industry like you mentioned. I’d be curious to see who would make the list, in what order, etc.

*EDIT* I was going off the original list. Didn’t see Larsen in the expanded list. Still, 115?

Good to see Steve Gerber get a decent spot

I didn’t know folks were spamming their favs with different emails.

You didn’t know that because it didn’t happen.

So please keep in mind that when votes are left up to the fans, they generally vote based on who they like or dislike instead of who should actually be voted on.

Agreed, but “who they like or dislike” is what we were measuring here.

And of course, “who should actually be voted on” is JUST as subjective as “who they like or dislike”. Jeez.

If people WERE spamming, the way Brian tallied the votes, he would have been quite suspicious to see multiple top 10 lists with the EXACT SAME CREATORS on them. It obviously didn’t happen that way.

On the topic of long runs, I believe that the Ultimate Spider-Man “stat” I was hearing was that Bendis and Bagley had the longest writer/artist teamup. Which applies to Marvel only. And I forgot, myself, about Claremont having a longer run on Uncanny.

But we’ve got Larsen on the Dragon, Evanier/Aragones on Groo, and Stan Sakai on Usagi Yojimbo who are all chasing 200 now. Which is still a ways to go to beat the 234 that Dave Sim and Gerhard did together on Cerebus, let alone the 300 total that Dave drew and wrote.

And Brian, John Arcudi is STILL somewhere crying that he’s not in his proper spot on this list. Howard Chaykin is listed twice.

Kevin Smith and Allan Heinberg? Really?

Uh, there’s a mistake. Not only am I not in the top ten, I’m not even on the list!

What the “H”?

@Brian Cronin – of course it happened. It always happens when you let fans do any sort of voting. They will do whatever they can to make their favorites look better. This is not all fans, just obsessive fans. And sorry, but you would have to be ingnorant to think that someone wouldn’t use different e-mails/computers/ISPs to do something like that, because they do. In an age where people have wireless internet where they can log onto free wifi nearly anywhere they go, including McDonalds or even a local gerocery store, itis easy to look like you are sending an e-mail as a different person.

@Travis Pelkie – really? You’d think that they would actually vote the exact sameway in every vote? Voting for the top few favorites and then changing the others in the list is quite easy to do. Even mixing them up, while leaving the top writer (whom they want to win the most) in the top spot is not hard to do.

I think I’ll take the word of the guy who tallied the votes over some anonymous poster. If Brian says there were no shenanigans, I believe it.

If you don’t vote all the same, why bother “ballot box stuffing”?

Given how the voting went, to vote for anyone other than the top 5 or 10 in either category wouldn’t have done a damn thing. We voted Moore, Morrison, Gaiman, Stan the Man, and so on BECAUSE WE LIKE THEM. In this top 20, I see a few that I don’t personally like, but given the sales figures lately, and what writers are praised here on CSBG, there weren’t any real “surprises”.

And to complain about a popularity contest turning out to be a…popularity contest is to willfully ignore what this list is. “Voted by you as your favorite writers of all time!”

To be fair to some of the people who have complained about this being a popularity contest, I think it’s not even the fact that certain writers got a lot of love while their pick was far down the line/didn’t place at all. To some degree it seems that a lot of people are upset at the “flavor of the moment” guys getting more respect/love than guys that have been doing it for career lengths. Or to put it more bluntly, anyone who Wizard regularly pumps up/shows up on their top 10 lists that almost always never feature indy guys, Euro and Manga artists, etc. They also seem to (rightly) be upset at America’s inability to think of comic books being anything other than superheroes.

Where da Layman?

I think that the thing about the argument about the poll being rigged is that it is pretty much what you would expect to me. The top 15 is full of big, popular creators who did popular books, if we had to guess who would make the 15 before the poll started I would think that we would be in agreement on most of them.

Where da Layman?

You JUST missed the list! #127, right behind Sean McKeever. I would bet anything you’ll be a lot higher the next time this poll is taken.

I like how John Layman asked where he was on the list and Cronin was like,”You just missed the list…”. Hope that makes you feel better Layman. lol

I am happy for Kazuo Koike (#89), but I miss the presence of Hugo Pratt in the list.

Grant Morrison in second place? Bendis even being in the Top 10? Numbers REALLY don’t reflect quality. I don’t understand how the readers of today function. How can you vote someone like Fraction over Kirby, Walter Simonson, Ostrander etc.?I know it’s all opinion and taste but….ugh. Sometimes I honestly believe comics are going to die out.

Sad not to see Don McGregor somewhere on this list. I won’t complain too loudly, because he didn’t quite make my cut either. I think finished up as my #12.
But for a couple of memorable years in the seventies he did some incredible work, unlike anything I’d ever seen to that point. His Killraven was a breathtakingly memorable personal vision, and his Luke Cage combined with Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy and Omega the Unknown made me go hang around Hell’s Kitchen. Oh yeah, and his Black Panther was also pretty special.
Shit, now I’m wishing that I had squeezed him in somehow. Sorry, Don.

Think I did pretty good with my choices

11 Chris Claremont – 1110 points (26 first place votes)
12 Mark Waid – 1077 points (10 first place votes)
14 Peter David – 1040 points (17 first place votes)
16 Kurt Busiek – 834 points (11 first place votes)
20 Roy Thomas – 540 points (8 first place votes)
25 Marv Wolfman – 425 points (4 first place votes)
57 Jim Shooter – 171 points (1 first place vote)
79 Gerry Conway – 127 points (1 first place vote)
109 Ron Marz – 80 points
Gerard Jones

What, no Gardner Fox?

Sorry, finally saw his name.

Stan lee no 5 cmon the man has done more for comics than any other writer

Roberto Briceno

May 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Yeah, I’m really not that surprise that TODAY writers take up almost the top 10t. It seems that comic book fans have a story term or really don’t know the history of comic books. Allen Sant hit the nail on the head by mentioning about a Golden Age Creator. Where is Bill Finger, Cole Cole, Mort Weisinger to name a few?

This was a complete over the top fanboy list that really doesn’t care about the people that laid the foundation since the start of comic books.

I would love to ask the 37 writers listed before Will Eisner if they believed they are better writers than he was.

Off-the-record, I bet some would say yes, unfortunately.

Bill Finger,

# 72

Cole Cole

Doesn’t exist.

Mort Weisinger

Really? You a huge fan of Real Fact Comics? What else has he scripted?

Roberto Briceno

May 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

oops. Meant JACK Cole.

oops. Meant JACK Cole.

Then I completely agree. I’m not sure that his Plastic Man run isn’t my favorite superhero comic of all time – And I honestly can’t think of a better, more all-’round capable artist.

Of the ten people I voted for, four were in top 50 (Moore, Morrison, Simone and Hernandez) and two more (Barks and Goscinny) showed up on lower rungs. Still no Andre Franquin, Roberta Gregory, Guido Martina or Hugo Pratt, but I’m not that surprised of those being no-shows anyway…
Did Pratt get more than negligible support? I started again to read some of the early South American adventures of Corto Maltese and damn, still they are great (art too, that’s why I voted for him also as artist).

About the fixing, wouldn’t be surprised if some people might have voted two or three times, but flooding is pretty easy to notice if one person is doing all the tallying. And the top positions are close to expected, considering that this is indeed a popularity contest and was that from the beginning. I’d still like to suggest everyone to read more comics, also outside their immediate comfort zones (I’m doing my best).
And there were many fine creators who I would have liked to see in higher positions, but to me they were among #11-30 so I didn’t vote for them, and I guess there were other who thought so too. And if you are everyone’s #11 favorite writer, it means you score same amount of points as the writer everyone has forgotten and the writer everyone hates.

[…] link: The Top 125 Comic Book Writers Add a comment var addthis_config = { username: "flavorwire" } Email to a friend […]

Dave Elliott

May 2, 2011 at 8:05 am

To me the vote for Stan Lee is a split vote for also Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (if not others). I also think people were voting for current faves not necessarily all time greats, only thing that explains Archie Goodwin not being in the top ten. But it still makes interesting viewing as a snap shot of people’s current tastes.

I would put every single comic book writer known and unknown, past, present and future ahead of Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison. Every time either of them start writing on a book, it’s within 5 issues that I can’t stand the constant meandering and convoluted storylines and quit reading it. And no, I don’t actively know that they are writing it going in (I honestly don’t pay that close attention). I realize that a book has gone severely downhill and then I go back and check and sure enough, Morrison or Johns started writing it right around the downturn.

And I think Alan Moore gets top spot more because of his quirky personality than his writing. Sure, he’s good, but not THAT good.

Alison Bechdel?

Nice. Many of my favorites are right up there where I’d hoped, but where is David Mack?

Any list where Jack Kirby is not 1 ……is crap..!

Charles Boyung,

Some people like complexity and depth. Others don’t.

Look at that..
First four positions are british authors.
I recommend everyone to check out european comics, especially franco-belgian BD –> Bande Desinée.

No Paul Jenkins? Soooo underrated.

[…] been a year since CBR published their top ten comic book writers, as voted for by the readers. I was talking with my friend Gav about our respective lists, which […]

[…] names” have become big names by writing those serialized, ongoing comic books. One glance at the Comics Should Be Good “Top 125 Writers Master List” and you’ll see what I […]

[…] that there is literally no one else could have brought that level of buzz to the Superman comics. According to a CBR poll last year, Morrison is the second most popular writer in the comic book medi… behind Alan Moore, who is unlikely to write a superhero title for either Marvel or […]

[…] to Comic Book Resources’ Master List of 125 Greatest Writers of All Time, Warren Ellis placed 4th, beating out comic-giants like Frank Miller, Stan Lee and Brian Michael […]

Matt Wagner should be higher. With Mage and Grendel he set the definition of what the comic medium could be in the early 80’s. Comics went dark and it was led by Wagner.

Why is scott snyder not in the list?

[…] 2010 the website Comic Book Resources conducted a readers poll ranking the top 250 Greatest Comic Book Writers of All Time. It is of no surprise if you are aware of the comic books of Alan Moore:Watchmen; V For Vendetta; […]

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives