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CSBG Archive

Top 50 Comic Book Writers: #15-11

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 #15-11 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all writers listed so far.

NOTE: I’m fill in the five notable works per creator later on Friday, I figure you folks have waited long enough for the results. I’ll give you one cover each writer, though, just so it’s not totally blank.

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)


Words cannot describe my thoughts upon viewing this section. Poor RKV. This will forever more be known as the Joe Rice Wasteland, where his tears go to die.

Wow, surprised Mark Waid placed so high. At least in comparison to many of the people who ranked below him that I thought were so much better. Kirkman is good but lately the more I read of his writing the more flawed I see it is. And he seems to be getting more violent and depressing in everything he writes lately.

I have still not read many Brian K Vaughan stories, and I have to remedy that soon. Peter David and Chris Claremont are solid choices of course, although I’m surprised Claremont didn’t rate even higher. I think the top 10 really will be a UK-fest.

(They die of awful dialogue.)

13th in a poll of over a thousand comic book fans is pretty good, I think! Be proud, BKV, be proud!!!

Oh, I don’t mean that’s too low a rating for him. I just mean the company in this post is less than illustrious. It seems a little PADDED if I’m making myself CLARE! (See what I did there?! Punny!)

Waid a second there, I want to reiterate that I’m not trying to robert RKV of any credit.

One of mine in here… Brian K. Vaughan was my #7. (5 more for me… will they all be in the Top 10? They could be…)

It would have been nice to have BKV show up a bit higher on the list but I guess this is his punishment for running off to Lost and doing who knows what right now. Come back and right some awesome creator-own comics!!

Joe, why do you keep writing RKV instead of BKV? I’m confused?

I never did understand all the hubbub over Claremont. Different strokes for different folks.
Kingdom Come was cool.
I still need to read Y and Walking Dead. I’m looking forward to it.

I believe BKV and PAD are the first to show up form my writers list. I’m fairly confident that my others will still appear. So I guess I’m fairly mainstream in my preferences for writers.

The good news is that BKV and Mark Waid were on my list. The bad is that now I know that Bendis is going to be in the Top 10. (yeah, I’m a hater yadda yadda)

@Joe Rice: can you explain your comments? I’m not being snarky, I just feel like I’m missing on a good joke :-)

Claremont is not top 5???!!! Blapshemy

T: I have no idea . . .oops.

Yeah, other than BKV, none of these guys are noted for particularly strong dialogue. I’d actually go out on a limb that suggest that Kirkman’s is the worst, mostly because even though it’s not overwrought or particularly cheesy like Claremont’s can be, it’s even worse because it has no style to it whatsoever. Everything I’ve seen, whether it’s Marvel Team-Up, Irredeemable Ant-Man, Invincible or Walking Dead, has the same voice for each character. Really irritating stuff.

Wow, I can’t believe it, but it looks like Charles Biro must be in the top ten since he hasn’t appeared yet. I knew I wasn’t the only fan, but it’s good to see how much support he has out there!

Or… wait a minute…

I had Kirkman and BKV on my top 10. Kirkman because I enjoy Walking Dead and Invincible, BKV because I love Y, his run on Buffy (which got me to try more comics), Runaways and most of Ex Machina. I also really like Pride of Baghdad. If this poll had been 1 year ago, he would have been my first place on the poll. However, when I submitted my list he had moved down to 4th.

I’m surprised Chris Claremont isn’t higher, but his output since leaving Uncanny has brought him down a few notches I guess. A number of peoples ratings seem to be on a “what have you done for me lately” scale. Makes me wonder Stan Lee will end up. Glad to see Peter David here, he’s done a lot of good work but never really on the big name books so he gets under-appreciated.

I had Waid on my list. Either 3 or 4. He writes some of the most consistently entertaining super hero stories out there. Kingdom Come and JLA: Year One are the highlights for me.

BKV just missed my list. He was tough not to put in the top 10.

Thank you, TC88, “blapshemy” is my new word for the day.

Blapshemy: Sex act whereupon a dominating female spouts horrible dialogue and borderline-offensive accents at washed-up writers.

“I never did understand all the hubbub over Claremont”

How old are you, Thomas?

I think Claremont is a sort of “you had to be there” writer. People who started reading comics after 1992 or so can’t understand his appeal. But for about 10 years, from 1978 to 1988 or so, UNCANNY X-MEN was huge. In retrospect, I think what Claremont did was to take the Marvel Method created by Stan Lee and take it to its logical extremes (even more extreme than Thomas or Englehart).

If Stan had persecuted heroes, Claremont made it into his major theme.

If Stan had at one maverick per team that was contrasted with the “conventionaly heroic” heroes (The Thing in FF, Hawkeye in the Avengers), Claremont wrote an entire team of maverick, unconventional heroes.

If Stan had continuity, Claremont wrote stories that were like pieces of a puzzle slowly being assembled, with one detail in issue #130 being fully explained in issue #186, and stories that expanded on the character’s past as much as their present.

If Stan had sympathetic villains, Claremont tried to redeem the team’s archenemy.

The irony of it all is that many of Claremont’s strengths in UNCANNY X-MEN would later be regarded as weaknesses, because his influence was so huge that soon everyone was doing it, and people became sick and tired of later heroes being mired in continuity, extremely complex pasts, persecution complexes, angst, and anti-heroism.

None of these guys were in my Top 10, but they’re all writers whose work I’ve sought out just because they wrote it at some point in my life (although I outgrew Claremont at 13 or so, and I can’t even read his old “good” stuff anymore without wincing). Last thing by PAD I really liked was the end of his Supergirl run, but I have fond memories of his (first) Hulk run.

I had Claremont and David on my list. David’s work speaks for itself. Claremont’s early stuff is all very high quality. Obviously the early Uncanny X-Men is legendary, but even work on Marvel Team Up & Iron Fist are very good. The longer he went on X-Men the less I liked his writing. All in all though his early stuff is so strong, for me it made it an easy vote.

I was there and Claremont was that good. He always fired better with a good artist – Cokcrum’s first run, Byrne, Smith, JrJr and for a brief final flash at the end Lee. This is especially obvious in his more recent Xtreme X-Men work: The LaRocca issues are great, what follows isn’t.

I’d agree with the Iron Fist & Marvel Team Up Comments above – both drawn by Byrne. Treat yourself to an Essential Iron Fist or Essential MTU 3 and see.

Man, I loved Claremont & Byrne’s work on MTU and Iron Fist back in the day. That’s why it was so disconcerting to reread the stories again recently in Essential Iron Fist and find that they really didn’t hold up for me. I would have preferred to just cherish my memories of how much I loved that stuff when I was 10 or 11.

Rene – “If Stan had continuity, Claremont wrote stories that were like pieces of a puzzle slowly being assembled, with one detail in issue #130 being fully explained in issue #186, and stories that expanded on the character’s past as much as their present.”

Translated into – He loved to start stories and never finish them. His stories were basically unreadable in the mid 80’s.

The book that got me started on collecting comics was X-Men #183. After about 10 issues I got really tired of it’s started plot threads never going anywhere but I stuck it out because it was the comic that got me started and it was a popular book. I even collected his New Mutants and other Claremont mutant books like Black Dragon and magik. By the time the Mutant massacre came along, I felt it was Claremont’s moment to really shine and tie up some of these threads that he had started. Well to my great disappointment, it was more of the same garbage. I wasn’t about to waste another cent on that guys unfinished stuff. It just wasn’t worth it.

Since then I have read some of his 70’s stuff like Iron Fist and really liked it. He can even be credited with being one of the first writers to write strong female characters. Believe me, I want to like him, and believe me, I’ve tried, I’ve given him many, many chances but I’m sorry but nothing I’ve read has changed my mind.

Now Rene, take a work like Magik and try to defend it. I know, maybe it’s not his best work, but when I think of Chris, this is a typical example of what I see.

I’m a fan of Claremont – Before his X-men days he did really good work on a buncha tough-to-write and unconventional books: Iron Fist, Marvel Team-Up, Man-Thing, Star Lord.

But his major impact (it seems to me) is that he re-wrote the Marvel style without any sense of irony, absurdity, or humor. He did it really well (at least for a while) and I can see how it made the stories easier to get into and more intenseBut

To me (the English Major, the Thomas Pynchon fan) it felt like a regression from the extremely literary self-aware style of writing that Stan pioneered.

Yay! Peter David and Mark Waid barely missed my top ten. BKV was my #5, and Claremont my #4. But now I’m starting to worry about some of my picks. Robinson, Simone, BKV, and Claremont have made it. Gaiman, Moore, and Morrison were obvious top ten placements. I never expected Nicieza to make it, but I’m starting to think that Ennis and Ellis, especially Ellis, might be shut out.

@Rene: I wouldn’t say you had to be there. I wasn’t even born until 1989 and I love all that stuff about Claremont. I think the trick is that you have to read more than just Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, Mutant Massacre, and the first three issues of the 1991 series to appreciate the scope of his work, and most people haven’t done that.

Thomas, I’m not a fanatical about Claremont. For instance, I hate ALL of his post-1992 stuff, and agree that his post-1988 stuff already showed some decline.

I agree also that every one of his strengths was a double-edged sword, and as time went on, the flaws started to become more and more apparent. But when he started, and for quite some time afterward, he was a very unique voice in superhero comics, the guy that seeemed like he took the genre to a whole other level.

His long-term plots seemed unbelieavably exciting and new circa 1980, and whenever he revealed more scraps of data about the mysteries, I rejoiced. But I admit that, as time went on, it became apparent that he had no control over his thousands of plots.

But I still think he is the most influential superhero comic book writer after Stan Lee. More than Alan Moore, even. Though he doesn’t have 1/100 of Moore’s talent.

And I still think most of his X-men run was damn good.

I believe I had four of these guys in my top ten (Waid, BKV, Kirkman, and David — I wish I had saved it somewhere since I forget), and Claremont is just as deserving. The rest of mine like Johns, Bendis, and Morrison will probably show up soon.

T. –

I’m not surprised about Waid’s placement. He is clearly a fan favorite and (to some readers) a defender of the true spirit of nostalgic heroism in superhero comics. I enjoy his writing most of the time, maybe not as much as readers that are bigger fans of the Silver Age, but I still think he is a good writer. IRREDEEMABLE is awesome.

PAD is another fan favorite writer, no surprises here. I tend to enjoy most of his writing, while being very aware that he has some writing tics that can be annoying to people who dislike him.

Rene, well put. I would agree that his 70’s work was some of the strongest work out there. I think Claremont could easily said to be to Marvel what Wolfman is to DC. They are about equal in my book.

Also shocked Claremont didn’t crack the top 10 (or possibly top 5). After seeing the Claremont/Byrne X-men rank number 2 on the Top 100 Comic Book Runs, I expected a stronger showing, but it’s becoming clear these lists are a different kettle of fish!

Otherwise, this batch is pretty much exactly what I guessed, but instead of Claremont, I thought we’d see Brubaker. Guess he’s up next!

I think Claremont went downhill very fast starting around 1987 (with the exception of the early Excalibur), but some of his X-Men stuff from a few years ago was pretty good. I think he just burnt himself out for a while.
Peter David should be in the top five, along with Stan and Roy (who we already know scored too low). He writes some of the greatest dialogue ever, and his humor is always present, even when the story is very serious.
I don’t see what’s so great about Brian K Vaughan, but the only things I’ve read by him are a few Mystique issues. I’ll assume he’s better with other stuff.

I read Claremont’s Uncanny, within the last decade, and it holds up well. Yeah lots of words, and most issues would remind you about powers, etc. But it has stood the test of time.

Read some other superhero work of the 70s/80s and see how really dated they are.

Some internet pundits rag on his bad work the last 20 years, and they have tried to make the case that his earlier stuff wasn’t good, when in fact its the best superhero/teen/drama in history.

I’ll always love PAD’s Impulse in Young Justice, and his Young Justice, and that alone makes me happy to see him on the list. Maybe not #14 only due to that, but I haven’t read much PAD other than YJ and Aquaman, so I can’t really speak about his placing.

It’s totally insane for a flash in the pan like Vaughn, who’s had a grand total of TWO good stories, to place next to people like Claremont, David and Waid.

Kirkman has no range. One of his two big series is a rip-off of the most cliche horror tropes. And the other series is the most bland routine “coming of age” super-hero comic you can get. Neither Walking Dead nor Invincible is BAD, but they’re not original at all. Add to that the fact that Kirkman’s fallen on his face every time he’s tried something else (Ultimate X-Men, etc.).

Yikes, things are hairy on this list.

The Crazed Spruce

December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Haven’t seen enough of Kirkman’s work to judge.

Peter David was my #3. I’ve enjoyed pretty much every single story of his that I’ve read.

BKV, Waid, and Claremont were part of my 11th place tie. (I guess with Claremont it all depends on when you started reading comics. I started in the early 80’s, but I can see how someone who started in the mid 90’s can think of him as overrated. Towards the end of his X-Men run, he was pretty much buried by the weight of his own gravitas, and a lot of his work was overwritten and a little hard to get into.)

When Claremont worked with Cockrum (1st run), Byrne, Smith, Lee, Alan Davis, Art Adams, Sienkiewicz, and Silvestri (especially the Genosha story) his writing’s strengths were more apparent. All of those artists brought more to the plotting and pacing. Paul Smith and Jim Lee crafted or co-crafted action-packed stories. Adams’ work made everything that much more fun. Cockrum was a solid super-hero artist with some impressive flourishes. Silvestri was good with grit. Sienkiewicz was adept at the bizarre and fantastic. Byrne & Davis could do it all.

Without his best collaborators, the weaknesses were more visible. As he got older, the strengths fell away, even with artists as skilled as Bachalo, Yu, Adam Kubert, and Alan Davis. It’s sad, but Claremont’s legacy (impressive as it is) would be much stronger if he’d never returned to comics.

Peter David was the first writer I noticed and followed. His work entertained me more than any other writer in my younger days. I still enjoy his writing. I’m happy IDW for put out the Fallen Angel Omnibuses. His Hulk run remains a favorite.

Among his many, many accomplishments, Mark Waid made Impulse one of my favorite super-hero comics, and Empire was one of my favorite dark super-human comics. Irredeemable is on my to-read list.

Y, Pride of Baghdad, & Runaways are all worth reading. I hope BKV comes back to comics soon.

Despite some problems I have with characterization and a few storytelling missteps, The Walking Dead is a series I pick up every time a new trade is released. Robert Kirkman has created a world that draws me in, no matter how depressing it gets, and that’s no small feat.

Waid was my #1, and while I realize that was a dream, I’m a little surprised that he only got 10 first place votes. For me, it boiled down to the man’s resume and what exactly he’s done not only in the mainstream, big 2 super-hero genre, but also outside of it.

For DC, he literally put the Wally Flash on the map as a hero in his own right and wrote one of the definitive Flash stories of all time while doing it. He has Kingdom Come under his belt, a number of very good JLA stories during and after the Morrison run, and he has JLA: Year One, the Barry/Hal Brave and the Bold mini (solid silver age storytelling), and Impulse, among others, on his resume.

For Marvel, that Captain America run is awesome; he’s also had stints on Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men; not saying that they were all great stories, but to me, there are very few writers who can claim that.

Outside of the big two, you’re looking at Empire and Irredeemable, both of which are great and both of which push standard superhero fare in different directions.

Granted, the list is a matter of tastes, but for me, I figured he’s done enough for top 10. I also had Claremont, Busiek, and a few others here (and am slowly wondering if a guy like Gaiman will make it).

And it’s killing me that this means that Johns is probably top ten because I can’t imagine he’s left off…

The case for Claremont:

Three main points I want to make…


For the last twenty years, X-Men has been the biggest franchise in comics and almost nobody has understood why. It’s just simply the way it is, the way it has been, and seemingly the way it will always be, and everyone accepts it. But other than the brief Morrison tenure (and arguably the Whedon tenure), there hasn’t really been a lot of justification in the product. Many of the issues have been horrid, many have been average, and some have been above average… but how did we get here? How did the X-Universe become so huge?

Chris Claremont = the George Lucas of the mutant cottage industry.

During the Claremont era, EVERYONE understood why X-Men was always at the top. It was there on merit, and the justification was on the stand every 30 days. Claremont wrote Uncanny for fifteen years, and there wasn’t a single year in that span that it wasn’t one of the five best books being published by the big two. It might not always have been #1 (it wasn’t as good as Daredevil in 1982, or Swamp Thing in 1984), but it was always a top 5 book, for fifteen straight years. That is pretty goddamn amazing.


Prepare for some hyperbole here, but I truly believe it’s justified… Besides Alan Moore, no comics writer in history has EVER been as good at writing for his artist, and bringing out their very best. Consider the following 14 issues, each by a different major artist, 10 of whom are on or about to appear on the Top 50 artist list:

Uncanny Annual #3 (Greek mythology story, art by George Perez)
Uncanny #137 (X-Men vs. Starjammers, death of Phoenix, art by John Byrne)
Avengers Annual #10 (1st appearance of Rogue, art by Michael Golden)
Uncanny #166 (final battle vs. the brood, art by Paul Smith)
Wolverine (mini-series) #4 (Logan vs. Shingen, art by Frank Miller)
Uncanny #186 (“Lifedeath,” Storm & Forge love story, art by Barry Windsor-Smith)
New Mutants #28 (vs. Legion on the astral plane, art by Bill Sienkiewicz)
Uncanny #211 (vs. Marauders in the Moorlock tunnels, art by John Romita Jr.)
Uncanny Annual #10 (Longshot joins team, X-Babies vs. Mojo, art by Art Adams)
Excalibur #1 (start of JLI-esque comedy series w/ Alan Moore continuity, art by Alan Davis)
Wolverine (ongoing) #1 (in Madripoor as Patch, art by John Buscema)
Uncanny # 251 (Wolverine hallucinates after being nearly killed by the Reavers, art by Marc SIlvestri)
Uncanny #274 (Rogue & Magneto in the Savage Land, art by Jim Lee)
X-Factor #67 (vs. Apocalypse, Cable baby sent to future, art by Whilce Portacio)

How many of those comics feel like they’re by the same writer? Aside from they all contain x-characters, how similar are any of them? And consider this: other than Buscema and Perez, it could at least be argued that the other 11 artists are represented above with the best work of their careers. Seriously think about that. Has any other writer brought out the best in so many great (and so many dissimilar) artists? Alan Moore, yes. Anyone else, no. How different would some of those guys’ careers have been if not for the good fortune to work with Claremont?


Very few writers have ever written women as well as Claremont. Think about the sheer number of strong female characters either created, or much more highly developed, under Claremont: Phoenix, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Storm, Psylocke, Jubilee, Dazzler, Mystique, Emma Frost, Rachel, Wolfsbane, Spider-Woman, and Ms. Marvel. How many other writers can match a list like that?

And none of those three points even touch on how many different and influential super-hero story conventions were established and/or popularized by Claremont. Even Alan Moore has said that Days of Future Past was extremely influential on him.

So anyways, Claremont was #5 on my list (behind Moore, Miller, Gaiman, and Morrison), and I suspect for as long as people read comics, his legacy is more than secure.

And while I’m thinking of it… I haven’t tried out X-Men Forever yet, but keep meaning to. Has anyone read it? Thoughts?

Oh, and for anyone that thinks Peter David is overrated, or hasn’t read much of his stuff, check out X-Factor #87, one of my top ten favorite ever single issues. It features the team in therapy with Doc Samson, and each of their personal insecurities and psychoses come out to play. Nice Quesada art, too. I’m sure the issue can be found in a dollar bin.

If this poll was conducted sometime in the early ’80s, I would have ranked Claremont no. 1 without even thinking about it; as it is, I put him at no. 10, just barely, because it would have felt wrong not to vote for him given how much I used to like his work. Personally, I think he hit his peak in the early ’80s and pretty much passed it by the mid-80s (about when I stopped reading X-men). I think Rene really hit the nail on the head when he noted that Claremont’s initial strengths became his weaknesses. That said, I think his best work holds up well, esp. in both Uncanny and Man-thing (both of which I recently re-read in Essentials).
By the way, Third Man, when you say “Uncanny Annual #3,” I’m assuming you mean Uncanny X-men Annual #3, which is truly my favorite annual of any title, ever, so I have to ask: Greek mythology? I don’t know of any Greek myths that mention Arkon and his extra-dimensional planet (although admittedly, that would be cool. . .)

@Stram B: I think that’s a really unfair take on Kirkman. The reason people love The Walking Dead so much is that it constantly breaks free from the “cliche horror tropes” that define the zombie genre. No one has really tried making a long running zombie serial before (the original Dawn of the Dead movie comes close) and, to me anyway, it really does represent a new take on the otherwise cliche zombie genre. The thing about horror stories is that they’re almost always told over a short timeframe, The Walking Dead unfolds gradually and you really get a sense of how the characters change over time.

As for Invincible, I can concede that it doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground. It’s clearly a story that’s been told before but the thing is that it’s a story that Kirkman tells really, really, really, well. If I had to give a single book to a young teenager interested in getting into comics without a doubt Invincible would be my top choice. The story stays very true to it’s internal continuity and constantly rewards long term readers. Plus Ottley’s art is absolutely killer which doesn’t hurt.

I guess the main thing with Kirkman is that he likes to work on a large canvas; give him 3 issues to tell a story and he’ll underwhelm, give him 60 issues to tell a story and he’ll kill it.

Kirkman’s decent from what I’ve read, no surprise he’s up here.

PAD is hit or miss for me. I dig a lot of the Hulk and some other stuff, but a lot is also blah. Plus, given the stuff talked about in Meta Messages (#6, I think), I’m less of a fan.

BKV has earned a spot. The gf read the first volume of Y and was quite impressed, and I’ve certainly enjoyed his other stuff, especially Runaways, I think. He’s no slouch.

Claremont — well, I recently read the first few issues of Sovereign Seven, and PU. I understand the love for XMen, though. Great run, and a shame they kicked him off without even a farewell to the fans.

2 quick Claremont bits, from Jim Shooter’s mouth (actually, 3, I think): Shooter was sitting next to Roger Stern when he told this to some fans at Ithacon, a year or 2 back. Either Shooter or Stern had put in a description of Storm, “Mutant Weather Witch”, in the notes on a splash or something. Claremont questioned this, but Shooter as EIC wanted something for a capsule summary of who was who. He said Claremont could change it if he wanted. Claremont came back a while later, defeated, saying, I can’t think of anything better.

Claremont also apparently, according to Shooter, shared some of his royalties on XMen with the letterer (Orz) and colorist (Glynis Oliver, iirc) in order to keep them on the team and keep a consistent look despite the artistic changes.

Also, Shooter and Claremont notably butted heads during their time together. Apparently after Shooter left Marvel, he and Claremont encountered each other at a con, where Claremont said something to the effect that while they may have butted heads, Shooter at least was trying to make the story better. (mind you, this is from Shooter, so who knows what was necessarily said between the two. It seems believable given other things I’ve heard about Marvel post-Shooter)

And Mark Waid, my #9. I’d just read Flash not long before voting, so perhaps he got up a little higher than he might have, but damn was Flash one of my first must have comics. Wally IS the Flash thanks to Waid. As someone mentioned, his Cap was great too. Anything he’s done is enjoyable, and the FCBD Irreedeemable/Incorruptible book makes me want to follow those series. Great stuff. (funnily enough, one of his most popular works, Kingdom Come, is one of my least favorites, but I loves me the Hypertime concept and wish more had been done with it.)

I’ve never understood the Claremont hate. And I really don’t understand the worn-out “Claremont used to be good, but he lost it” mantra. Claremont never lost anything. The READER has changed. The READER has gotten older. The INDUSTRY has changed. Claremont is far closer to being the same as he ever was than is the audience who reads the books, or the company that publishes them. It’s careless and disrespectful to ignore that side of it and simply point the finger at Claremont.

Third Man, after I read X-Men Forever #1, I immediately wanted to read the next issue. Thing is, I really hadn’t experienced that feeling in years and had forgotten just how nice it is. Is the series mindblowing, groundbreaking stuff? No. But I found it to be engaging and fun, and I had forgotten how much I missed that style of pacing and how easily my curiosity was piqued as to what happens next. The caveat is that I pretty much stopped reading X-books shortly after he left in the 90s, so it’s the type of book that, I think, is designed for readers like me that haven’t been fully engaged in the last couple decades of “true 616″ events

Mark Waid was low on my list. Surprised that Claremont is so high, I first read his first Uncanny run about ten years ago and it is awesome BUT you could tell by the end of his first tenure he was starting to get tired. Everything he’s done in the last twenty years has stunk, and the X-Men is in such a funkbecause the characters were put into a corner by CC that they just can’t get out of. The X-Men as victims, it provides good drama but it gets old-most everything since has felt somewhat recycled in tone and nature.

The top 10, since no one has bothered to just spell it out yet, are


I’m disappointed by three of these (not much of a Brubaker fan, sorry) but that is definitely how it’s going to go.

Hrm, I guess I agree with this.

These are 5 writers I truly enjoy. A child of the 80’s, I was a devotee of Uncanny X-Men. Peter David is prolific and solid, as well as hilarious. BKV is possibly my favorite newer writer, with his Runaways, Y, and Ex Machina…followed by Kirkman, whose Invincible, Walking Dead, and Marvel Zombies to a degree are truly excellent. I’ve never been a huge DC guy and have never read Waid’s Flash, but I have read Irredeemable and Kingdom Come, and he has always delivered for me.

None of these guys is my “Best Ever” with the possible exception of Claremont when I was 12, but each is a fantastic creator. Claremont is hurt by his last 20 years; in 1989 he makes the top 5 without trouble.

PAD is the only one here in my top ten writers.

Visit Geoff Klock’s “Remarkable” blog for an issue by issue analysis of every issue of Claremont’s original run on X-Men, including the Classic X-Men backups (Vignettes). It’s fantastic:


Claremont was so bold with what he was willing to do with characters and situations, and the fact that he was always back next month to sleep in the bed he’d made makes it that much better. When Comics Should Be Good did a poll of what readers favorite storylines were; Dark Phoenix Saga made number 2. There were a lot of closed stories in there, though. It’s different writing an open-ended story. Sure, “Watchmen” is awesome, but what would Alan Moore write for “Watchmen” #13? What about Grant Morrison’s legendary “WE3″ issue #4? Even Morrison’s “JLA” tenure always built to the planned end of “WWIII”. There’s a real difference in what someone writing a discrete story can do vs. what someone writing a true neverending serial can get away with. And Claremont? He didn’t care. He had one of his main characters EAT A SUN. Not as the lead up to the final battle that would end the book, but as part of a story inside of that title. He slaughtered an entire secret alcove of mutants and came back to tell us what happened next. He ripped apart his titular team and was back the next month with all of the other characters he’d worked with over the years. The man was bold with what he was willing to do.

Third Man has it right in the first point of his December 18, 2010, 12:33 am post.

“During the Claremont era, EVERYONE understood why X-Men was always at the top. It was there on merit, and the justification was on the stand every 30 days. Claremont wrote Uncanny for fifteen years, and there wasn’t a single year in that span that it wasn’t one of the five best books being published by the big two.”

Except that Claremont was on Uncanny for 16 years. Other than that, he’s spot on. Without Chris Claremont, there would be no X-Men fans.

Ever gonna backfill works/comments for writers and artists15-11?

Claremont was so bold with what he was willing to do with characters and situations, and the fact that he was always back next month to sleep in the bed he’d made makes it that much better. When Comics Should Be Good did a poll of what readers favorite storylines were; Dark Phoenix Saga made number 2. There were a lot of closed stories in there, though. It’s different writing an open-ended story. Sure, “Watchmen” is awesome, but what would Alan Moore write for “Watchmen” #13? What about Grant Morrison’s legendary “WE3? issue #4? Even Morrison’s “JLA” tenure always built to the planned end of “WWIII”. There’s a real difference in what someone writing a discrete story can do vs. what someone writing a true neverending serial can get away with. And Claremont? He didn’t care

This is very true, and a point I always make with Frank Miller’s Born Again, both in regards to how bold a movie it was by Miller and in regards to how bad the later Daredevil runs supposedly were. My point has always been, it’s easy to praise a writer for shaking up the status quo when the writer never actually has to deal with the new status quo himself. And it’s easy to bash someone when we don’t take into account what it’s like for them to inherit a bad new status quo.

T. – I’ve seen that opinion from you on Born Again previously, and it is, in fact, one of the things that advises my opinion of Chris Claremont’s tenure on X-Men.

It’s great to see so much love for Claremont.

I really hate it that it’s become fashionable to bash and mock the guy. He did too much for the industry to be treated like this. Shame on the internets.

ookerdookers – Maybe you’re right, it’s not that Claremont has changed, but the rest of the comic book world that has throughly absorbed everything that he’s done, so that he doesn’t look groundbreaking anymore.

Still (and it’s ironic that I am saying this after praising Claremont so much before), is it too much to expect a top notch writer like Claremont to keep re-inventing himself?

Sometimes it seems to me like the way he was booted from the mutant titles after 15 years of establishing the greatest franchise of American superhero comics may have affected his later output, that and the fatigue he was already showing in his last couple of years in the X-Men (reputedly he was being plagued by editorial interference, and not the tough-but-good interference of Shooter either).

Thanks for the plug, Gary!

waiting for 5 best works from each!!!

Lee Edward McIlmoyle

February 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Ooo… at the risk of thread necro, I’d just like to say that the top four out of five (Moore, Morrison, Gaiman and Ellis) would have been on my list, too, but I’m answering it on this page because my #5 would have been Chris. Despite all of his much-lamented Claremontisms and the fact that he hasn’t had a true runaway hit in two decades, he’s still the absolute master of telling five issues’ worth of plot in a single issue, and building a web of intrigue that could carry a reader for five years without losing a beat.

The twin horns of his downfall were simply that, by the end, he was writing too many series at once (without editorial control of the x-books as a whole), and that the editorial focus on the main X-titles was becoming so corporate that his best work started to appear in the margins instead (early Excalibur), while the interminable bummer trip the X-Men were on just ground to a halt. Sadly,t he best and worst thing that could happen to him then was Jim Lee, whom I ultimately have little good to say about, even though he really isn’t a bad guy.

And Roy Thomas was robbed, but that was to be expected, because really, who remembers Roy’s contribution now? His work with Neal Adams formed the bedrock of what would become the very approach that Claremont perfected with Byrne and Smith. The eighties high point couldn’t have happened without him.

All in all, though, nice work, Brian.

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