Top 50 Comic Book Writers #35-31
Here are the next five writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the artists #35-31 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all writers listed so far.
Okay, new format! The comprehensive career retrospective was taking way too long (and for some of these people, it was getting nuts detailing their decades long career in comics), so now for each writer and artist, I’ll detail “Five Notable Works” by them.
35. Gail Simone – 385 points (13 first place votes)
After her initial success with her humor column on Comic Book Resources. Gail Simone first cracked into comics working for Bongo on their Simpsons line of books. I suppose I could/should pick one of those comics, but I think her debut on Deadpool for Marvel was a bit more notable, as that was her first run on a Marvel or DC series.
She wrote Deadpool into its transformation into Agent X, but then left Marvel and began writing for DC, beginning with Birds of Prey.
It’s rare to see a modern comic that was so defined by one writer (its creator, Chuck Dixon) become so identified by another writer, but that’s exactly what happened with Birds of Prey as Simone did such a strong job on the book that it was no longer considered “Dixon’s book.”
Tying in with the Infinite Crisis crossover, Simone did Villains United, which launched her Secret Six series of books (starring a team of “villains”) that continues to this day.
I go with Welcome to Tranquility over the All-New Atom because Simone (and artist Neil Googe) did such a great job introducing impressive characters that even after the initial series ended, Simone was able to recently pick up the title again for a mini-series and it was like nothing had even changed! In particular, Sheriff “Tommy” Lindo won the Glyph Award for the best female character!
Outside of Birds of Prey, probably the most notable single run by Simone was her long run on Wonder Woman.
Nowadays, Simone writes Secret Six and Birds of Prey (after she left the original series, it was eventually canceled. Simone has re-launched the title) plus a recently completed Welcome to Tranquility mini-series. I’m sure she has some more projects lined up!
34. Steve Gerber – 388 points (10 first place votes)
When Steve Gerber started writing for Marvel Comics, he worked on a number of comics. I suppose any one of them could be called “notable,” but he had such a varied career I don’t think I’d pick either his Daredevil run or his Marvel Two-in-One as representative of his career.
The first run that I WOULD single out would be his Defenders run. His work on the book was intriguingly offbeat.
Gerber also significantly brought the Guardians of the Galaxy to the forefront of the Marvel Universe.
I think his Guardians work is notable enough to spotlight here, as Marvel has recently re-issued these stories in hardcover.
Gerber’s most famous creation is certainly Howard the Duck, who first appeared as a supporting character in Gerber’s Man-Thing run.
After he left Howard the Duck over a dispute over his rights to the character, Gerber had a long spell where he worked on a number of small, really good comics. He eventually returned to Marvel and had some good runs on some lower-rung titles (Avengers Spotlight, She-Hulk, etc.). So it’s hard to pick on book from this period, but I guess I’m going with his epic mini-series Void Indigo.
This was considered quite controversial for the time, so I guess that would make it the pick for me, but really, you can pick any number of series (Nevada? Destroyer Duck? Foolkiller?) in its place.
Finally, Gerber’s last great comic book work was Hard Time, a book about a young man unjustly sentenced to life in prison. The young man discovers he has strange powers. Drawn by the great Brian Hurtt, the book was an impressive examination of prison life (with a nice slice of the bizarre, of course).
Sadly, Gerber passed away in 2008, while in the middle of a good introduction of a new Dr. Fate.
33. Joss Whedon – 390 points (1 first place vote)
Joss Whedon is world renowned as the creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
His entry into comics was with a series about a vampire slayer in the FUTURE called Fray (with artist Karl Moline).
Whedon later began to populate the comics world with adaptations/expansions of his TV universe.
He took the comics world by storm, though, when he wrote Astonishing X-Men with artist John Cassaday, as a follow-up to Grant Morrison’s X-Men run.
The book was a massive success.
More recently, Whedon decided to continue Buffy’s story through a very popular comic book series, titled Season 8 (Buffy the show, naturally, ended with their 7th season).
He also did a web comic, Sugarshock, that won an Eisner Award!
32. Bill Willingham – 392 points (3 first place votes)
Bill Willingham first made a name for himself in comics with his series Elementals for Comico in the 1980s. He wrote the series (and its spin-offs) for most of the decade.
In the late 80s into the mid-90s, he had a slightly lower profile, although he kept working, including a series for Eros Comix…
He showed up at Vertigo in the mid-to-late 1990s with an acclaimed mini-series, Proposition Player…
which eventually led to his most notable work yet, his still-running series, Fables…
The success of Fables also brought Willingham into DC’s “regular” comics, including a long run on a book he created made up of disparate DC characters called Shadowpact.
Willingham also writes a spin-off of Fables, Jack of Fables, with his co-writer Matthew Sturges. The pair also worked on Justice Society of America. Willingham recently finished a run on Angel for IDW.
31. Mike Carey – 396 points (7 first place votes)
Mike Carey worked on some comics during the early 1990s, but his first major work was for Vertigo, where he did a spin-off mini-series from Sandman in the late 1990s starring Lucifer.
This mini-series eventually led to an acclaimed ongoing series that Carey wrote for a long time (basically as long as Neil Gaiman did Sandman).
Buoyed by his success in the States, Carey began to do new series back in his home country of England, as he contributed a few notable series in 2000 AD, including Carver Hale…
Soon afterwards, Carey began a long stint on Vertigo’s flagship title, Hellblazer.
Carey has had great success in the world of superheroes, as well. He took over X-Men with #188 and has written the book ever since (even as it changed its name to X-Men Legacy with #208, which it has remained for the past 30-plus issues).
Recently, Carey has debuted a new creator-owned series for Vertigo called Unwritten, with his former Lucifer collaborator, Peter Gross.
Carey has done a number of other series over the years.
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