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Top 50 Comic Book Writers: #10-8

Here are the next three writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the artists #10-8 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all writers listed so far.

NOTE: Five notable works per creator

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

Geoff Johns’ first major series was Stars and STRIPE, starring his own creation, Star Girl.

Soon he began getting more and more work at DC, including an acclaimed run on Flash following Mark Waid’s run…

Eventually, Johns became one of DC’s biggest writers, even writing their company-wide crossover, Infinite Crisis.

Johns was one of the four writers on 52. Really, he has worked on a number of series for DC Comics. One of his most notable, though, was when he brought Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern, making Green Lantern one of DC’s biggest titles…

in fact, his work on Green Lantern eventually led to another major DC crossover, Blackest Night…

Currently, Johns is doing to Barry Allen (the Flash) the same thing he did for Hal Jordan. Johns was also recently named DC’s Chief Creative Officer. He is also a consultant on the upcoming Green Lantern film. Add in the TV episodes he has written and he’s all over every medium!

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

Ed Brubaker was making independent comics for most of the 1990s before his career began to break open a bit with the release of Scene of the Crime for Vertigo…

He began to get more work for Vertigo and in 2000, he became the ongoing writer on Batman. Once he was involved in the Bat-books, he helped launch the critically acclaimed Gotham Central series with Greg Rucka.

Brubaker expanded his work at DC into the Wildstorm line, including another acclaimed series, Sleeper, where Brubaker was re-united with his Scene of the Crime collaborator, Sean Phillips.

Brubaker and Phillips have gone on to do a number of acclaimed series, including Criminal and Incognito for Marvel’s ICON line of comics.

Once Brubaker moved from DC to Marvel in 2005, he began an epic run on Captain America that is still going on to this day…

Recently, he launched a new Avengers title, Secret Avengers…

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

Garth Ennis started his career in England in the late 1980s with a series of acclaimed stories for the short-lived Crisis anthology. He then went on to work for 2000 A.D.

In 1991, he began a three-year run on Hellblazer that really established Ennis as a major writing star.

He followed Hellblazer up with an even MORE popular run on the Vertigo title, Preacher (with his Hellblazer artist, Steve Dillon)…

Ennis also produced a great series for DC with artist John McCrea (the two had worked together on The Demon)…

Ennis and Dillon moved to Marvel after Preacher to do ANOTHER critically-acclaimed run, the offbeat Punisher series.

Ennis followed up that offbeat series with a much darker take on the Punisher that was also brilliant…

Recently, Ennis and Darick Robertson produced the creator-owned series, The Boys, that is still going strong…

Also, Ennis has written lots and lots of war comics for different companies. He is really good at war comics.

94 Comments

Ennis was my number 1. Still, I can’t complain about the placement; there’s a lot of heavy hitters coming.

Brubaker was my number 1, also voted for Johns as my #10

My #9 comes in at… #9!

I’m just glad Brubaker beat Johns.

Ennis was also on my list (though I had forgotten about him up till now, whoops!). Looking back on his works, I wonder if I shouldn’t have put him at #1 as well — he’s got a back catalog full of incredible runs and stories, including a few all-time classics. I’m glad to hear The Boys is going to be going past its original planned 60 issues as the story he’s begun there has just started really heating up.

Johns should be no higher than number 30

No real surprises here. Brubaker was on my list. I enjoy Ennis even though about half his work isn’t particularly to my taste. And like Bendis, you gotta figure Johns wouldn’t be writing half of his company’s books if he wasn’t popular (as much as both may bug some other fans, like me at least half the time).

I had Ennis 1, Brubaker at 2, and Johns at 7. All outstanding writers in my opinion.

I swear to God if Bendis is in the top 3, it is proof the world is full of idiots. He hasn’t had a quality story since Avengers Disassembled and everything he promised to be groundbreaking or shake up the Marvelverse status quo has been like a silent, wet, rip straight from his rear. And we’re lead to believe it’s pure ambrosia straight from Mt. Olympus. He’s a hack. 7 year buildup for Sentry and he’s a junkie injected with the angel of death? Promised major comebacks and deaths in Secret Invasion and we got Mockingbird Back and had to kill Wasp to do it? Oh and let’s not forget Civil War with everyone turning against Cap and only real death was a few C list villains Punisher whacks and Goliath. Call me impressed. He has turned Marvel’s premiere team into Avengers-less. No wonder the only books from Marvel I read anymore is Wolverine and that’s just out of a sense of loyalty. The writing there is a joke too.

Sad Johns placed so high. I had both Ennis and Brubaker in my top ten. Brubaker to me is still just starting out. Ennis has one of the best back catalogs in comics. Just seeing those covers makes me want to re-read those series.

I don’t hate Geoff Johns, but I agree that he is ranked too high. I’d be okay with him in the 30s, maybe even in the 20s if not for the total disaster that was INFINITE CRISIS.

Garth Ennis, I dunno. Love some of his stuff, and yes, he is a pretty unique voice to boot. But he seems to have only one kind of story to tell, even though he tells it extraordinarily well.

Bru is awesome, most of the time. Few writers could get away with bringing Bucky back as a cyborg anti-hero and make it so most people are okay with it. That is quite a feat. Almost enough to make me forgive him for Vulcan.

Ennis was my #2. I’m actually kind of surprised he didn’t make top 5, but this isn’t exactly a shabby placement.

I am currently loving Bru’s run on Cap and Secret Avengers, but that’s all I’ve ever read by him. I still considered him for my top 10, but felt I hadn’t read enough of his stuff to make the list. Nice to see him place so high.

I can get some of the hate for Johns, but I’ve liked his writing overall. The GL titles are about the only in-universe DC titles I still buy. He has his flaws, some of them pretty major, but I think he’s overall a pretty good writer. Not top 10, but he belongs somewhere on this countdown.

I’ve read Powers, Sam & Twitch, Goldfish, Torso, Alias, Ultimate Spider-Man, Fortue & Glory and pretty much everything else the man has written including Avengers which I like alot. He deserves to be very high on this list. Go whine somewhere else.

@photodude: You are reading the wrong Bendis books. Ultimate Spider-man and Powers have been fantastic. And he did not write Civil War.

I dont see the reason for Ennis popularity. His War comics are FANTASTIC, but his Superhero work is condescending, gratuitous and downright badly written. He self-admittedly “takes the piss” on all his mainstream work.

And You failed to mention Criminal for Brubaker. For shame, for shame!

Except for his (usually) horrible AVENGERS stories, Bendis has a very respectable body of work.

Wow, never thought Bendis would beat Ennis.

Anyway, this is a very good top ten!

I haven’t read a lot of these guys. I read Johns JSA run. It was OK super hero fare but not spectacular by any means. The one thing that I can give him credit for is creating Star Girl and the new Crimson Avenger. They are fantastic characters. I just wish someone would use them.

I still need to read the Preacher and Gotham Central.

Photodude716 – “The shake(ing) up (of) the Marvelverse status quo has been like a silent, wet, rip straight from his rear.”

lol

I haven’t read very much of Bendis work, but what I read was really underwhelming. And I can’t tell you how much I hate him for destroying my favorite team, only to replace them with Marvels most popular characters. Is he pandering? No, definitely not.

Jesus, what a mess. Brubaker’s solid but unremarkable. Ennis is a shock jock among comic writers, and Johns is just mediocre. How these guys beat Mark Waid, I’ll never know.

Okay, now I’m feeling really old.

Before today, I’d have bet my right arm that Garth Ennis would’ve made the top 5. Clearly, the “Battlefield” from Dynamite isn’t as widely read as it should’ve been. That was well within my top 5 (if not top 3) graphic novel of 2010. All in all, I guess I should count myself lucky that I’m left handed…

Bru and Johns are great writers who knows the craft, but I do question the wisdom of them being this high up the list. I’ll grant that they are the most prolific writer today, but there are quite a few I’d rate higher than these two.

Looking forward to see what tomorrow brings.

Too bad the great Peter David didn’t break the Top Ten but Geoff Johns did. Ugh. Ok, so now this leaves Bendis, Miller, Gaiman, Ellis, Morrison, and Moore (I know I’m missing someone). Pulling for my boy Warren Ellis to place at number two (everybody knows who’ll be Number One, right?)

I had Ennis as my #1
Brubaker as #6
Johns as #8

Still holding out on Warren Ellis making the Top 5, I had him at #2

My favorite Ennis work is Pun MAX and his war comics.

Johns is ok

Bru is decent, not really a great writer. Severe pacing problems and plain, matter of fact, dialogue. See any conversion involving Bucky and his girlfriend.

Dennis – yeah, there’s one guy your’e missing. He mostly does movies and tv appearances now, but his name still adorns lots of books. His brother, Larry, wrote a bunch of books for him.
But if you’re right, that means “older” people like Shooter and Siegel and Kanigher and Finger and Barks and Fox, and Drake and Broome aren’t going to make the list at all. I’ll refrain from a value judgment – since this is a “favorites” list.

Top Five: Gaiman, Miller, Moore, Lee, Morrison

When I first read of this poll, I got my notebook and wrote Garth Ennis #1, then spent hours debating my other 9 picks. Hands down my favorite. The easiest choice on either list.

Hitman is such a rich, deep, funny, exciting and truly moving series. My favorite ever, and I’ve been reading comics for almost 50 years. Tommy Monaghan seems more like a real person to me than any other comic character I’ve ever read. Hitman also has a large supporting cast that is more fully-realized and human after just five years of Ennis’ writing them than Jimmy, Perry and Lois are after seventy years of stories.

And Hitman #34 is easily the greatest Superman story ever written. Take that, all of you that say Garth hates superheroes.

His war comics are outstanding, and I cut my teeth on the classic DC war comics from the sixties.

On top of that, he also wrote the funniest Punisher comics ever, as well as the most tragic and horrifying ones.

Bueno! Excellente!

I am surprised that people thought Ennis would be top 5. When Moore,Miller and Morrison are locks and Gaiman is another top 5 contender. It is not that surprising to have Ennis not crack the top 5.

Brubaker was my top choice, I am glad he cracked the top 10. Sleeper is one of my favorite books.

Brubaker and Ennis were on my list.

Brubaker actually got me into reading comics when I sat down with the Captain America Omnibus one day at Books-a-Million. “I heard this is good, guess I’ll read an issue or two”. 18 issues and several hours later, I’m still sitting in that damn chair being blown away at how good this run was and knew I needed to start reading comic books regularly. He’s also done my favorite Daredevil run, an awesome run on Immortal Iron Fist with Fraction/Aja, and the greatness of Gotham Central. I still haven’t read Criminal yet(Yeah, I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me!), but I love the man’s work.

I’m a huge stickler for dialog, more so than artwork even. If Frank Quitely is on a book(my #1 artist, btw), and Kirkman is writing it, I probably won’t even glance at it. Garth Ennis might have the best handle on dialog I’ve ever seen. Which bugs me why he goes for that shock value bullshit which made me drop The Boys. He doesn’t need to do that because his characters are so real and so human. Like the Mutt said above, I feel like I really know Tommy Monaghan, or Jesse Custer, or the large variety of characters Ennis has a handle on. He even makes a one-dimensional caricature like Frank Castle someone you can’t take your eyes off of because of the characters around him. I need to read his war stories, sometime.

Yes, HITMAN was a great comic. The comic is usually considered a comedy, but I think it was much better when it was a serious drama, like in the final 20 or so issues.

Mutt, I think Ennis’s relationship with superheroes is more complex than simple hate. For one, he spends a lot of time dealing with superheroes, so something in the concept must drawn him. But really, the HITMAN storylines with Batman and Green Lantern could be considered a Take That too, against anyone who doesn’t think Ennis has a lot of… negative feelings about superheroes.

How long until the #11-15 posts get their 5 notable works stuck in, since you went ahead and already did it for #8-10?

The Mutt, with that Bueno! Excelente! you have forced me to reread Hitman once again since I cannot help it, I love it too much (and was probably subconsciously waiting for an excuse), although I wouldn´t say that it´s my favorite. Maybe it will become it at some point in the thirty years remaining for the 50year mark, I wouldn’t be so surprised, I suppose it’s a matter of which type of “grandpa” I’ll grow to be (;P). It’s definitely up there, well over great works like Sandman or Preacher and countless others, which have different qualities, but I don’t enjoy them nearly as much.

Regarding the list, I’m glad that Geoff Johns at least didn’t make it past 10, since I thought that he had a good chance of ending higher up. Regardless of GL and Flash Rebirth and my opinion of the whole deal, I haven’t read a single Johns story that impressed me or moved me or made me jump in my chair from excitement and that’s what I expect from every entry in the TOP10 Comic Writers of all time. I have read some Johns stories that I’ve mildly enjoyed, in his JSA and Flash runs, and I haven’t read things like his Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. or The Possesed, and most of his last 4 years output, so I can’t say with all certainty that there isn’t a Geoff Johns story that I would really enjoy out there. He made it to #10 because of a large portion of voters having him between his favorites, and got 19 1st place votes, and I suppose that those fans are glad to see him there at least, like I will be when I see the God of All Comics show up (that moniker just cracks me up, I couldn’t resist writing it), so I suppose that it’s just a matter of personal tastes (specially at this point in the list).

Brubaker – I just realized that I basically haven’t read any Brubaker book for some reason, I avoided them entirely, I need to remedy that. Maybe Scene of the Crime first, if I can get it from Amazon, or Sleeper, which is probably better collected and available.

Ennis was in my Top 5 or 6, I’ve loved and/or enjoyed a lot of things by him, although I think his Hellblazer run is a bit overrated (with few standout moments, like “Forty”, which was an offbeat issue, and the relationship with Kit and it’s development and end), and I think Preacher falters a bit in some places.

I like Johns. I like Bendis. I’d put them both around number 30.

That said, anyone who puts them on their personal top ten list has an alarmingly myopic idea of what comic books are. Their range is so shockingly limited. Their flaws are so overwhelming to any reader with such discernment.

But we don’t have a community of people with discernment. We have a community of people who are content to say things like “Geoff Johns?? WoW good ol’ space cowboy ZOWWY action!!! FUN!!! Blackest NIght wuz TEH AWESOME! COOOL ZOMBIESSS!! YESSSS!” or “Bendis??? AW man he’s so smart!! Funny jokes where all characters talk the same!!! Plus ‘street-level’ tropes!! OH SO COOL!!! His Peter Parker talks like ADHD sufferer! SO FUNNN!!!!”

No matter how much people bash Bendis’s Avengers, and I admit it has its problems, compared to how bad it was under Busiek I’ll always be grateful for it. Busiek’s run was a real low point for me with that book.

Busiek run on Avengers was one of the all-time great runs of any comic by a writer, Bendis Avengers are a joke compared to what Kurt brought to the table hell it’s not even an Avengers book it’s a Marvel all-stars book posing as The Avengers.

Far as the list goes, Johns placed about where I thought he would. I mean he should be at least top 3 but considering who votes on most of these top 10 is fine. Though I am surprised that Brubaker beat him because for the life of me I can’t figure out what people see in him Captain America run which I think is average as hell yet gets tons of hype. And Ennis has never been my cup of tea, so it’s no wonder he’s doesn’t rank high on my list as a comic book writer.

The Crazed Spruce

December 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I liked a lot of Geoff Johns’ early work (especially his early JSA run), but his recent tendency to restore continuity back to the status quo from when he first started reading comics, and basically stomping on whatever came after, kept him off of my list.

Haven’t read enough of Brubaker’s stuff to vote for him, but I’ve liked what I’ve read so far. If I had access to more than a handful of new comics in the past decade or so, things might’ve been different.

Garth Ennis was my #7.

I’ve got five writers left on my list, and it would positively shock me if they didn’t all wind up in the top 7.

The biggest complaint that I hear about Garth Ennis is that he uses “shock humor” or “gross-out humor” too often. I might agree, except that he does it sooo well.

I’m old enough to remember when even George Carlin and Richard Pryor were doing standard “my wife is a bad cook” jokes. You youngsters can’t possibly imagine how devastatingly funny the swordfight with the Black Knight in Holy Grail was to an audience who had never seen anything like that ever before. It destroyed the audience, not just because it was a million miles over the top, but because the writing that went along with the spewing blood was so brilliant.

Which brings us to The Boys. I have several friends who were big Ennis fans, but hate The Boys. The aren’t just indifferent to it. They hate it.

I don’t understand.

The idea that a comic book character’s girlfriend got killed in the crossfire of a superhero battle is not groundbreaking. If the scene had been written any time over the last six decades, it would have been HERO PUNCHES VILLAIN. VILLAIN CRASHES THROUGH BUILDING. CONCRETE FALLS. GIRL LOOKS UP AND SCREAMS. CRASH OF DUST AND SMOKE.

Seeing Wee Hughie standing there with his girl’s severed arms in his hands was at the same time emotionally devastating and hysterically funny. There aren’t many writers who can pull that off.

I don’t like shocking-for-the-sake-of-being-shocking. You have to earn it. I think Ennis does.

It’s the difference between John Carpenter’s The Thing and Saw 6.

What! Johns should be higher then 10th considering how much the DC universe was affected by his work.

Yay! Ennis made it at exactly the number I put him at! Brubaker was part of my giant tie for 11, and Johns would have been in in the top 15 or so.

Ennis is so awesome. It takes a ton of talent to do as much as he did with the Punisher. He made a fairly one-dimensional character into a two-dimensional one (I mean that as a compliment of course).

Johns will be interesting to see over the years, given how far he’s risen. Usually we see high-profile writers and artists fall out of favour or have their style become dated, and I doubt he’ll be any exception, so we’ll see if his workload will decrease over time. He doesn’t really have much in terms of stylistic tics as a writer, as his focus seems to be on blood and guts as well as continuity-fetishes. The actual STYLE of the writing though, not really all that distinct from your average scribe.

Dont understand how Johns is in the top ten. More evidence of the unfortunate flavor of the month ness of these votes.
Ennis and brubaker arent perfect but can write war crime&satire as opposed to just retcon after superhero retcon.
Is there anyone whot thinks infinite crisis was better (or even as good as) COIE????

Ennis was top 5 for me, if I remember my vote. I actually have Frank Miller after him (as I wrote, I’d rather have all of Hellblazer, Punisher Max, Hitman, and Preacher than DKR, Batman: Year One, 300 and Born Again…but that’s me and the crazy talk).

Johns is a disappointment, but I’m not shocked, and my usual ripping of him aside, his early work is solid.

None of these make it to my top ten.

Love these lists, Brian. As a new comic book reader, they are my go to sources for material. I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned Don McGregor in any of the comments I’ve seen. I’ve read his Black Panther and Killraven runs and was blown away. I have Sabre and am very excited to dig into it.

Tab – yes I think Don McGregger is a highly underated writer of the 70′s and 80′s. his 70′s work was unique, ambitious and bold, addressing controversial subjects of the day (like Racism).

I don’t see how Geoff Johns is a flavor of the month when he’s been a major writer for the past decade. That’s a longer time on top than a lot of older writers. I’m not a huge fan of his current stuff, but I can certainly understand why people voted for him.

I don’t know why so many of you seem to take a personal affront when a creator you like finishes low or one you don’t like finishes high. This isn’t the end all be all all universe list for comic creators. It’s just for fun and hopefully will introduce readers to a writer/artist they may not have read before. It’s alright for someone to have a different opinion than you, especially when it’s comparing A or B level talent.

AverageJoeEveryman

December 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I’ll put money on Warren Ellis (who I haven’t heard anyone mention for some reason) knocking either Lee, Miller, or Gaiman out of the top 5. Most everyone here worships Nextwave ( I like it but not that much) and the rest of his work is incredible (even Ultraforce). Also I think Millers recent work will work against him.

Ennis is my #3 so it’s good to see him getting his props. I have the feeling that none of the manga writers I voted for are making it in though :(

Busiek run on Avengers was one of the all-time great runs of any comic by a writer, Bendis Avengers are a joke compared to what Kurt brought to the table hell it’s not even an Avengers book it’s a Marvel all-stars book posing as The Avengers.

That’s the original Lee/Kirby concept of the Avengers. I can dig that.

I feel Busiek’s Avengers seriously benefited from timing. After 90s Deathcry and Leather Jackets Avengers, followed by Liefeld Avengers, Avengers fans were so demoralized that any half-decent run that had ANY sense of tradition would have been wildly overrated. Which is what Busiek’s was to me. It wasn’t HORRIBLE, at least not all the time, but it wasn’t great either. It was just bland. And directionless. Subplots got introduced randomly, then either meandered or became immediately forgotten, like Vision courting Warbird or Ms Marvel’s alcoholism or the Justice and Firestar subplots.

At least the Harras, Kavanagh and Austen and Johns stuff had the distinction of being ambitiously bad. The Busiek stuff was too boring and bland to be get much of a reaction from me either way. If I was into Roy Thomas nostalgia or 23 page explanations of decades old continuity masquerading as a story, it would have been right up my alley.

I’m personally surprised Johns isn’t higher even though I don’t care for his work. He’s done lots of popular recent work and it is fresh in people’s minds. This is a “favorite” list so I would expect more current readership to like him. I think Ennis did pretty well considering his most high profile work was a bit ago. I wonder if Bendis will make the top 5. There are few people that it will kill me if he ranks higher than them (Morrison, Moore, Stan Lee).

Geoff Johns made my list, and pretty high if I recall correctly. For me, he’s the gold standard for modern superheros, utilizing DC’s great history to his advantage in his stories. Some argue that it’s because he’s in the driver’s seat, so to speak, and is able to make large sweeping effects to the DCU as a whole. But he got to that position through good writing, starting out on books like Stars and STRIPE and JSA, the latter of which he helped turn from a near-forgotten franchise into a monthly best-seller. He’s did the same with the Teen Titans, bringing those characters back into the spotlight along with characters previously drifting in limbo, like Ravager and Kid Devil. Booster Gold, Superman, the Legion, Hawkman; he’s had well-received runs with all these characters. My personal favorite was his lengthy stay on the Flash during the time of Wally West — he did more for Wally’s world and the characters in it than any writer before next to Mark Waid. It’s Green Lantern which he’s most famous for, and as a massive fan of Kyle Rayner before Johns took over, even I can admit that GL has been phenomenal. He’s added a wealth of interesting characters not just through GL, but through all his titles, while dusting off long-forgotten characters and giving them an update for the modern era. It was from Blackest Night that I realized he was a master of the cliffhanger, ending each of his issues with a new over-the-top crazy image that had me salivating for a month.

I don’t think he’s perfect, far from it. Some issues are better than others, and I haven’t cared for some of his event work in books like Infinite Crisis and Day of Judgment. But if I buy a book with his name on it, I feel secure knowing I’m going to get a fun comic book.

“At least the Harras, Kavanagh and Austen and Johns stuff had the distinction of being ambitiously bad. The Busiek stuff was too boring and bland to be get much of a reaction from me either way. If I was into Roy Thomas nostalgia or 23 page explanations of decades old continuity masquerading as a story, it would have been right up my alley.”

Or if you just like The Avengers being Avengers you would like the story too, I love this idea that because your not trying to be ambitious and are just telling really good super hero stories somehow that’s a bad thing. Sorry but you don’t get points for trying something new and failing utterly in every sense that’s probably why I don’t hold to such high standards many of the writers people on here claim are geniuses.

Busiek actually told Avengers stories that respected their great history but put his own spin and blueprint on it along with Perez he basically has written the best team book in the past couple of decades only Morrison and Waid’s JLA comes close to the quality of that book.

Ennis drifted in and out as I made my list, but likely wouldn’t have cracked my top fifteen.
Don McGregor would finish ahead of him, I felt guilty leaving him off my list I loved his stuff, especially Killraven and his brief but wonderful Luke Cage run, my favorite of any Cage issues. I debated between him and Rick Veitch for my number ten slot, and Veitch won, but it was close.

I won’t say too much about Johns. He has a lot of talent, and has some flaws. Sometimes his flaws don’t really manifest in his work, other times the flaws harpoon his work. I see why people love him, I see why people hate him, and I’ve done a bit of both. He didn’t make my top ten, but I don’t think his presence here is like Uatu signaling the coming of Galactus.

Brubaker… I think Sleeper is one of the ten best series of the past decade, and, get ready for it… don’t hate me… Captain america is the most overrated series of the past decade. It’s just my opinion, and I don’t feel passionately against it like I do Old Man Logan or something. I actually really liked the first 24 issues, with the Cap/Winter Soldier dynamic. But since issue 25, I’ve thought the series was very average. It has nothing to do with killing Steve, that didn’t bother me. I just feel like it’s been way too convoluted, unfocused, and lacking of any fun. Reborn brought most of that back, but at the expense of feeling like it was written by Jeph Loeb… splash pages much? Anyways, I don’t think any of it’s awful, just overrated. But I do like most of Brubaker’s work, and while I don’t think he’s a top ten guy, I’d at least call him top 25.

Love Ennis. Agree that he doesn’t have a lot of range, but he also doesn’t fail much. The man knows his limitations and has an outstanding batting average.

Not to toot my own horn, but the seven guys still to come were all on my list, so I’m feeling pretty good about my votes. My other three guys were Claremont, Busiek, and Wolfman, while Ennis, Waid, and James Robinson were the last thee guys I cut. (My list was stuck at 13 people for a long time until I finally made either/or calls with Ennis/Ellis, Waid/Busiek, and Robinson/Bendis.)

Craig B., I know what you mean. . .
TAB, for what it’s worth, McGregor was pretty high on my own list, at no. 5 (or 6, don’t remember off the top of my head), but regrettably, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him here.

I don’t really love the first half of Busiek’s Avengers. It feels like rebuilding, competent but unremarkable. But I really like the second half of his run. I think the Ultron and Kang storylines aren’t just rehash of old stories, they take the old stories and bring them to an even grander, more epic level.

What I really don’t understand is how people may love Avengers Forever, one of the blandest, most convoluted pieces of continuity porn I’ve ever seen. Easily the worst thing Busiek has ever written. I also am not a big fan of JLA x Avengers, it feels like the first part of Busiek’s Avengers run. Competent, but utterly predictable.

Johns wrote the recent Legion story in Action, co-wrote JSA when I really liked it, and has done a few other projects I didn’t dislike. His Green Lantern is not for me, though. I found it boring, even Sinestro Corps War. Several of his comics (Infinite Crisis, Teen Titans) didn’t work for me at all.

Ennis has written some of my favorite comics. Hitman, Preacher, Hellblazer, War Story, & Punisher are all worth reading. I haven’t read The Boys because it sounds a bit too mean-spirited, but I’ll probably change that based on comments indicating there’s more going on. I intend to read Battlefields.

Brubaker was on my list. Sleeper and Criminal are among the best recent comics and best crime comics I’ve ever read. Gotham Central, The Fall, Point Blank, Scene of the Crime, the 1st half of his Daredevil run, and Captain America were between good and stellar. He’s had a few lesser works, but Brubaker’s among the most dependable writers in comics.

I have never been a continuity guy, but I quite liked Busiek’s Avengers run, including Avengers Forever. With Perez, Davis, Dwyer, Pacheco, and other talentd artists, he produced some fun, exciting super-hero comics. I will say, however, that the dialogue could be poor at times (“Bre’er Hawkeye” made me cringe) and the Triune Understanding plots were boring. Still, I’ll take a few missteps if I get the Perez issues, Kang War, Avengers Forever, & JLA/ Avengers.

None of these guys made my list, but they’re all good.

I can dig Johns. I liked Stars and STRIPE, and I happened to stumble in to his first Flash issues (just didn’t continue for monetary reasons). He’s not the best writer ever, but his name on a book usually means it will be entertaining. (Although that Kingdom Come storyline in JSofA went on WAYY too long).

Brubaker I like. I actually picked up Detour #1 years ago. He wrote and drew that, and it’s a very good look at a world gone to crap. Also, pick up The Comics Journal (263, I think) with a Sean Phillips mugshot of Bru and a really good look at his career to that point (the TCJ also has a big look at Cerebus after the end, so the issue must be about 6 years old). And Cap was quite good, post issue 25.

Ennis is pretty good, although I was turned off a bit from the Boys after thinking it was more of the same shock stuff as Preacher. Given the Mutt’s comments (and he knows his comics, he’s OLD :) ), I’ll have to try again.

Bendis was the writer I was forgetting, but I think I voted for all the others that (probably) are left. I’m making no bets as to who or where, though.

“How these guys beat Mark Waid, I’ll never know.”

By writing better than he does? I’ve never liked Mark Waid’s writing.

Rene – I agree with you on Busiek’s Avengers run things were good in the first part with some hits and some misses, but things really picked up during The Ultron saga. One of the best Ultron stories anywhere. And the Kang saga was equally as good!

About Avengers forever, I understand completely what you mean although I really liked. I thought the first few issues were really slow but mid way threw, things became really interesting. And like all Busiek works he really respects the characters and did some really interesting things with the Kang/Immortus relationship.

To T – I heard Cyclops and Storm are joining Wolverine on the Avengers. You should really like that! Yeah and Mister Fantastic, Sue and the Thing will be on the secret Avengers. And Iron Man, and Thor will be the new FF. It should be really cool! I love when they stir things up over at Marvel! That’s what I call good writing!

I don’t really love the first half of Busiek’s Avengers. It feels like rebuilding, competent but unremarkable. But I really like the second half of his run. I think the Ultron and Kang storylines aren’t just rehash of old stories, they take the old stories and bring them to an even grander, more epic level.

What I really don’t understand is how people may love Avengers Forever, one of the blandest, most convoluted pieces of continuity porn I’ve ever seen. Easily the worst thing Busiek has ever written. I also am not a big fan of JLA x Avengers, it feels like the first part of Busiek’s Avengers run. Competent, but utterly predictable.

I 1000% agree on the first half of Busiek’s Avengers run and Avengers Forever. Your description of Avengers Forever is on point, plus the 30-years-too-late Roy Thomas style dialogue is painful, especially because coming from Busiek it comes off fake and try-hard. But again, I think it benefited because after the 90s “extreme kewl” Avengers with Deathcry and leather jackets and the Liefeld Avengers, people were just happy for an Avengers that seemed traditional, even if it was just competent storywise, so they wildly overrated it. Roger Stern’s Avengers, now THAT is great writing.

I never read the second half of Busiek’s Avengers run so maybe it really was much better and I’m not being fair to Busiek. I’m only going by the first half of his run, not the second.

Or if you just like The Avengers being Avengers you would like the story too,

See, this is my point. If your only criteria for a good story is “the Avengers just being the Avengers,” I can see why you’d like Busiek’s run. That was my point, it was nothing but rehashes of the Avengers doing what they already did in other classic Avengers stories. The pacing, the dialogue, the subplots, the resolutions, it was all pedestrian at best, at least in the first half.

I love this idea that because your not trying to be ambitious and are just telling really good super hero stories somehow that’s a bad thing.

That’s a strawman. I never said that. I don’t think refusing to try to be ambitious and just telling good superhero stories is a bad thing at all. My problem is that I don’t think Busiek accomplished what you claim he did, which was telling really good superhero stories. If Busiek succeeded in telling an unambitious but really good superhero story I’d give him major props. But what I read was unambitious and merely competent.

Sorry but you don’t get points for trying something new and failing utterly in every sense that’s probably why I don’t hold to such high standards many of the writers people on here claim are geniuses.

Sorry but you don’t get points just for rehashing something nostalgic and traditional and simply putting people’s favorite Avengers on the team. You need good pacing, proper followup on subplots, dialogue that’s not cringe inducing, stories that aren’t just glorified book-length explanations of obscure continuity points that are years old? Take for example the Madame Masque and Agatha Harkness issues, one was a long storyline just dedicated to reconciling some conflicting Madame Masque appearances in old continuity, the other was a long drawn out explanation of Scarlet Witch’s powers that would have worked better in a Marvel Handbook than masquerading as a story.

First he seemed to be setting up a Wanda/Simon and Vision love triangle, then that fell by the wayside. Carol Danvers is set up to be alcoholic, then she just leaves and that falls by the wayside. Vance and Firestar have marital tension and Vance, written totally out of character, is a goofy incompetent puppy dog whiner. Before their subplot is properly resolved, it suddenly seems rushed to conclusion and they’re written out. Hey Ms. Marvel’s back! Alcoholism cured except unlike with Tony Stark, without much drama and conflict. Just overnight and practically off-panel. Sooo, what was the point then? Okay, whatever, moving on it looks like Busiek’s setting up a Vision and Warbird (ugh, horrible name) relationship. Let’s see where THAT goes at least. Oh yeah, nowhere. He introduces it and forgets. By the way, wasn’t there supposed to be a subplot with Triathlon and the Triune? Where did that go?

Wait, a new direction and new lineup? They’re now global peacekeepers with a proactive slant? But what about all the previous directions and the developing subplots of the characters who are now departing? We barely got any dramatic action out of them. Okay, I’ll go with this new direction, let’s see where it goes. Oh wait, for all that talk about this brand new proactive direction, it suddenly seems forgotten about. Now it’s time for a really long Kang storyline.

So, uh, yeah, Bendis is the guy who shakes things up with random changes and lineup changes just for their own sake with no real long-term writing goals involved? Ironic, because those were exactly my complaints with Busiek that I don’t have with Bendis. Bendis has less radical lineup changes, and when they do happen, they flow organically from the preceding storyline directions (Heroic Age lineup directly flows out of the Dark Reign storyline, Dark Reign storyline directly flows from the Initiative and Skrull Invasion storylines, which flowed directly out of Civil War) rather than being an abandonment midstream of the previous half-explored storylines like under Busiek.

Hmmm, no mention of Brubaker on Daredevil?

I always laugh when I see angry fanboys who spew incorrect facts and call other people idiots because they have a different opinion. If you’re going to call people idiots for liking a writer, at least get your fact straight. Also, what a person likes is subjective to the individual. Liking a writer you don’t doesn’t make other people idiots.

Evan Dorkin should be on this list, if for nothing else than writing one of the funniest comic books ever, World’s Funniest, the battle throughout the DC universe between Mr. Mxyzptlk & Bat-Mite.

“Roger Stern’s Avengers, now THAT is great writing.”

You totally rip on someone for being just-competent and workmanlike, and then put the label “great” on THAT?

So I guess at this point we know that the top seven are going to be Carl Barks, Jean-Michel Charlier, Osamu Tezuka, Bill Mantlo, Mike Baron, Katsuhiro Otomo and Stan Lee!

The only question is what order they’ll appear in! Anyone want to place bets?

Wait… I’m now getting new information… I’m being told that many people who voted for this list have the exact opposite idea of what a good comic is than I do. I suppose that means one or two of these might not even make it at all… Naw, that would be crazy…

Get off my lawn, Pelkie!

I would recommend giving The Boys a chance, but if the excesses of Ennis bother you, I warn you that The Boys is those excesses turned up to eleven. Have you read The Pro? That might be a good test case.

As for Busiek, I get usually turned off by “continuity porn,” but since Avengers Forever made no bones about what it was, it didn’t bother me and I enjoyed it a lot.

One thing that did bug me about it was that the characters from the “different eras” of the Avengers acted like as much time had passed between those eras in their world as they had in the real world. The two Hank Pyms acted like there was a decades-long gulf of time between them, when realistically, they would only have been a couple of years apart. Unless the Avengers have actually been together for 45 years and Pym is 80 years old.

I agree with those who have been saying that the Busiek/Perez run of Avengers looks as good as it does because what came before sucked so bad. I thought it was good, but not great, and I agree with most of the criticisms I’ve read here. The new characters he brought in were seriously lame.

I did read the first 8 issues of the Boys (I got 7 and 8 myself after the big controversy moving to Dynamite, and strangely enough, my sister gave me the first trade. I shudder to think that she read it first…), and was turned off in the sense that it felt like a lot of what he’d done in Preacher, but since Chad here on the blog and others all loves them some Boys, I’ll probably eventually try more. And speaking of how good Ennis (and Dillon) are, that fight scene in Preacher where Jody (that was his name, right?) breaks Jesse’s arm in that fight — brutal! Way more affecting, as well, than Superboy Prime whacking Pantha’s head off in Infinite Crisis (although that had a humor value too, although I’m not sure Johns was going for that…)

Matt Bird, I hope you don’t mock me and make me hang my head in shame, but who is Charlier? I do know who the rest of your list is, but that name escapes me. Darn my American ethnocentricism!

I haven’t read Gotham Central, Sleeper, or most of Criminal, but what I have read gives me the impression that Fraction has already surpassed Brubaker pretty distantly as a writer.

Ennis is very very good, no complaints.

I have thus far avoided reading much of anything by Johns, although I’m definitely going to get around to reading his Flash at some point, if not his Green Lantern. I STRONGLY SUSPECT that he totally doesn’t deserve to be here.

As for Bendis beating these guys out, Bendis really has written a WHOLE LOT of REALLY GOOD comics. I enjoyed his Daredevil a LOT more than anything I’ve read by Brubaker, which definitely includes Captain America. Even New Avengers picked up a lot post-Civil War. That said I am a bit tired of him and there are writers on this list who certainly deserve to be above him.

Happy to explain, Travis– Charlier (#2 on my list) is a Franco-Belgian writer who has had little of his work reprinted her in the US, so it’s understandable that he got few votes. He’s most famous for doing 25 years of Blueberry with Jean Giraud aka Moebius.

I like Ennis, am okay with him being here, even if I haven’t read as much of his stuff as I’d like beyond Preacher, which was killer. I was gonna read The Boys when it started…and then I don’t know what happened, I just didn’t.

Johns is boring and forced these days. I’ll agree that him placing in the top 30 or so would have been okay though. I really like his original JSA run (the stuff in the Return of Hawkman trade is awesome) and he does amazing work with the Rogues whenever he touches them. Beyond that though I’m generally meh – his first two arcs on Avengers were good but the rest was kinda weak (last issue or two being utter trash), GL has been overall a disappointment but has occasionally had moments, etc etc. Feel like he’s well past his best days though.

Brubaker’s quite good – I never thought I could get as into a Captain America book as I have been with his, which if we ignore the lame way they brought him back in that mini has been nearly flawless. Incognito’s sweet, too. He’s hardly perfect but I’m okay with him placing high.

And as for Bendis, every single thing he has ever done with the Avengers or the mainstream MU has been trash (well I guess DD was technically mainstream MU, but past that). Busiek’s was so much better it’s basically impossible to put into words.

What I really hate is NEW AVENGERS during Dark Reign. Every issue is a confusing, inconclusive street fight with the Hood’s gang and all the non-action interludes feature the heroes arguing about what to do about Norman Osborn. He did the same story 15 times or so.

And I’m not a fanatical Bendis-hater. It’s precisely because I know Bendis can be a lot better than that that makes me pissed off. I think his writing really suffers from a busy schedule or something. Perhaps too many books written per month, and then he “plots” a year of repetitive, go-nowhere stories in one of his books to save himself the trouble of trying harder, or something.

And all his big events were shit, but I don’t blame Bendis for that. I’m not sure I ever read an “event” mini-series that really liked this decade. World War Hulk and Sinestro Corps War came the closest to being good, even though both had problematic endings. I didn’t even like Final Crisis as much as many people did. Am I supposed to find yet another supervillain-tries-to-conquer-earth scenario specially scarier this time around, why?

I don’t think Bendis and Johns are as horrible as their detractors say, I think they suffer from being associated with the big company events.

“I don’t think Bendis and Johns are as horrible as their detractors say, I think they suffer from being associated with the big company events.”

This is almost certainly true, and I think it raises an interesting point about how some of the modern writers making the list can seem like the most hated guys in comics and place in the top twenty. Given that a fairly large percentage of comic readers are going to dislike any given writer, it’s the guys whose work is difficult to avoid at the big two who are going to provoke the largest number of hate posts.

Conventional wisdom whenever an older favorite fails to chart “high enough” is that if only these young whippersnappers were made to read writer X, then surely they’d love him and he’d get more votes. That might be true just by sheer force of numbers, but I think you’d also see a huge upswing in the sort of impotent rage that makes people call each other idiots over matters of personal taste, and it would go in all directions instead of being directed primarily at fans of Bendis, Johns, Millar, etc, etc.

casual comics reader

December 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm

“I have thus far avoided reading much of anything by Johns, although I’m definitely going to get around to reading his Flash at some point, if not his Green Lantern. I STRONGLY SUSPECT that he totally doesn’t deserve to be here.”

Prejudgment rules!!!

———————————————————————————————————————————————

I love Geoff Johns’ work. I hate Grant Morrison’s work. That is all.

You totally rip on someone for being just-competent and workmanlike, and then put the label “great” on THAT?

Seige on Avengers Mansion, Assault on Olympus, the issues where Spider-Man guest stars, Time and Time Again, Avengers vs. X-men, the Trial of Hank Pym, …also the development he did with the She-Hulk character (her character was very bland before Stern did that good work with her in Avengers), and his handling of the Wasp character. It was great work while being traditional. Was it groundbreaking or progressive or experimental at all? No. But it was paced well, phased subplots in and out well and just seemed better organized in overall direction. I used him as an example of someone I like who did not reinvent the wheel or try experiments for the sake of experiments, because people seem to assume I dislike Busiek just because he’s traditional, which isn’t true.

“See, this is my point. If your only criteria for a good story is “the Avengers just being the Avengers,” I can see why you’d like Busiek’s run. That was my point, it was nothing but rehashes of the Avengers doing what they already did in other classic Avengers stories. The pacing, the dialogue, the subplots, the resolutions, it was all pedestrian at best, at least in the first half.”

That isn’t my only criteria but it sure is an important one considering and even if you love Bendis work the book he’s writting isn’t an Avengers book which is one of the many problems with it. Also this idea that all Busiek did was rehash old stories is false, so is claiming that his dialog, subplots and resolutions were pedestrain. Busiek wrote great stories that respected not only the characters but the past and moved things forward he made the Avengers one of the best books on the market and cemented his spot as one of the best writers in comics in his run.

“That’s a strawman. I never said that. I don’t think refusing to try to be ambitious and just telling good superhero stories is a bad thing at all. My problem is that I don’t think Busiek accomplished what you claim he did, which was telling really good superhero stories. If Busiek succeeded in telling an unambitious but really good superhero story I’d give him major props. But what I read was unambitious and merely competent.”

Couldn’t disagree more, to me Busiek told some of the best Avengers stories ever told i’d put several of his arcs on the run on a top 10 Avengers stories of all-time.

“Sorry but you don’t get points just for rehashing something nostalgic and traditional and simply putting people’s favorite Avengers on the team. You need good pacing, proper followup on subplots, dialogue that’s not cringe inducing, stories that aren’t just glorified book-length explanations of obscure continuity points that are years old? Take for example the Madame Masque and Agatha Harkness issues, one was a long storyline just dedicated to reconciling some conflicting Madame Masque appearances in old continuity, the other was a long drawn out explanation of Scarlet Witch’s powers that would have worked better in a Marvel Handbook than masquerading as a story.”

Good thing Busiek’s run had all of the things your saying he didn’t, also while you might not like the fact that a writer deal with past continuity plenty of people do. I thought he did a great job with the Madama Masque conflict it was not only a great explanation but lead to a great story. Dealing with the past isn’t a sin in comics it’s a really smart move if you know how to use it right Busiek is one of the few writers who can pull that off.

“First he seemed to be setting up a Wanda/Simon and Vision love triangle, then that fell by the wayside. Carol Danvers is set up to be alcoholic, then she just leaves and that falls by the wayside. Vance and Firestar have marital tension and Vance, written totally out of character, is a goofy incompetent puppy dog whiner. Before their subplot is properly resolved, it suddenly seems rushed to conclusion and they’re written out. Hey Ms. Marvel’s back! Alcoholism cured except unlike with Tony Stark, without much drama and conflict. Just overnight and practically off-panel. Sooo, what was the point then? Okay, whatever, moving on it looks like Busiek’s setting up a Vision and Warbird (ugh, horrible name) relationship. Let’s see where THAT goes at least. Oh yeah, nowhere. He introduces it and forgets. By the way, wasn’t there supposed to be a subplot with Triathlon and the Triune? Where did that go?

Wait, a new direction and new lineup? They’re now global peacekeepers with a proactive slant? But what about all the previous directions and the developing subplots of the characters who are now departing? We barely got any dramatic action out of them. Okay, I’ll go with this new direction, let’s see where it goes. Oh wait, for all that talk about this brand new proactive direction, it suddenly seems forgotten about. Now it’s time for a really long Kang storyline.

So, uh, yeah, Bendis is the guy who shakes things up with random changes and lineup changes just for their own sake with no real long-term writing goals involved? Ironic, because those were exactly my complaints with Busiek that I don’t have with Bendis. Bendis has less radical lineup changes, and when they do happen, they flow organically from the preceding storyline directions (Heroic Age lineup directly flows out of the Dark Reign storyline, Dark Reign storyline directly flows from the Initiative and Skrull Invasion storylines, which flowed directly out of Civil War) rather than being an abandonment midstream of the previous half-explored storylines like under Busiek”

Are you seriously going to complain about him dropping a love triangle between Simon, Wanda and Vision or not going into the whole rehab angle with Carol Danvers?. I mean I thought you had some real things that you didn’t like but most of what i’m reading seems to be just personal complaints and little to do with most of the meat of the stories Busiek told. Because unlike Bendis, Busiek packed his stories with memorable character moments and arcs that meant something and were not utterly forgettable decompressed stories that will leave almost no mark when looked back on.

I would prefer a compromise between the guy that respects the past too much and the guy that respects the past too little.

Busiek spent energy and time to answer questions that no one but the hardcore fans were interested in, and as a result whole issues of AVENGERS and AVENGERS FOREVER became unreadable to me.

Bendis made several major continuity errors and is fond of picking and choosing which past stories should be canon, simply based on which runs he’s read and liked, and similarly I found a hard time respecting many of his decisions.

I think Busiek and Bendis are both a lot better than that, when they’re on their more personal projects. I think I prefer guys like Fraction, Slott, and Brubacker writing the big established heroes. Enough respect for the past, but not too much respect.

About respecting the past, Brubaker has done a great job on Cap. He doesn’t adhere to the dogma’s of the past he lovingly interprets the past but in present days terms. So things didn’t NOT happen but rather they are seen differently today. That’s what Busiek was doing on Astro City, reinterpreting the super hero genre for the modern man, making it something that an adult could read with out too much suspension of disbelief. And that’s what Brubaker gave us on Cap, a reinterpretation of the Cap mythos, for adults. And if commics are to grow and expand that’s what will need to happen.

Now can we stop calling all this killing and rebirth and all this disrespectful treatment of our comic heritage “good writing”?

“Seige on Avengers Mansion, Assault on Olympus, the issues where Spider-Man guest stars, Time and Time Again, Avengers vs. X-men, the Trial of Hank Pym”

All a big festival of “meh” in my book, all of which I associate with my gradual loss of interest in the book at the time.
In particular, “the Trial of Hank Pym,” is just the latter part of a storyline unjustly hailed as a classic, even if he was trying to clean up a mess left by Shooter. And I particularly remember “Seige” as being one storyline where the book got downgraded to “rack-skim” status.

And actually, I’m not one of those bashing Bendis as this big example of an Avengers-ruiner, either. I enjoy his dialogue, I have no big problem with the “star” membership thing (as long as it doesn’t become its own constricting rule) and I actually like some of the general story ideas that he’s had.
I have one complaint about him, and that’s the way he manages “big action” on a page-to-page storytelling basis, and wish that for action-oriented books like Avengers he’d either use some sort of co-writer, or work with an artist strong-willed enough to take the storytelling wheel and fix the clunky pacing that seems to afflict any Bendis book where people aren’t talking almost constantly.
(Okay, yes, there’s one example of a good Bendis comic without a lot of dialogue, or at least where all the dialogue consists of “Ook!” and “Groonk!” and so on, but that’s an exception.)

Well, Jack, I assume you’re talking about the “monkey sex” issue of Powers, and given that Oeming is a pretty decent writer/artist himself, perhaps he did “take the wheel” from Bendis and improve the script. (Actually, as I remember, I don’t think that issue did work all that well, but on the other hand, I only have a few Powers issues here and there, so it might not be that the issue itself was at fault.)

While I don’t know about Stern’s Avengers run, I think a sign that he’s more than just “workmanlike” is that his SpiderMan run was namechecked in Wizard several times back when I still read that regularly (like, 15 years ago). I assume from issues of that I’ve read since, Wizard has continued the “cover the hot stuff coming out from the big 2, and Image, and whatever other company is hot THIS month” slant they’ve always had. So I think it’s impressive if a run from, at that point, 15 years prior was still good enough for them to namecheck, and Stern’s met the bill.

Really glad to see Ennis make it this far up the list. From what I understand out of interviews and hearing him at cons, his distaste for American superheroes is that our traditional funny books vary greatly from what he’s used to back in Northern Ireland. A nonexistant argument without anything for me to use to back it up right now, but there is some depth to his reasoning (damned if I can remember any of it).

I know The Boys has shock value that could turn a decent person away. However sometimes there are very poignant moments throughout the series (his dialogue is brilliant–what can be translated of it anyway. “Fuck Me Rigid” is so damn catchy!). I didn’t realize it initially but apparently he was even nominated for a GLAAD award for the issue 7-10 story, which is saying something–especially for him and the general “over-the-topness” of his work.

My wife sent me comics when I was in Iraq (including Battlefields, Herogasm, The Boys, and Crossed) and I had a buddy offer to fly flags in honor of people in Afghanistan (my unit didn’t offer it). I asked him to fly one for Garth after re-reading Punisher, Preacher, Battlefields, and even bits of Herogasm–he gives a shit about subject matter when throwing in the military. I flew out to C2E2 to give him the flag, we had a beer that evening and he spoke about not having any old buddy in the military, rather using oral history as a source (quoted in the issue of Preacher where Jesse meets Space and learns the history of his dad’s zippo). I really admire that about him and his ethic.

Horrible influence at the bar though. Man drank me under the table and then some.

Thomas Morrison said “About respecting the past, Brubaker has done a great job on Cap”

let’s see – he killed Cap, killed Nomad (for no real reason), and brought Bucky back from the dead – a character who had been dead for 40 years, who should have stayed dead, and whose death was seminal to Cap’s origin

Tom you have a perverse definition of “respecting the past”

I have never understood the popularity of Garth Ennis.

Keil – You speak as one who hasn’t read it. What you say is true but you have to read it in context. It’s the way Brubaker brought Bucky back from the dead. WHEN YOU READ IT, it’s obvious that Brubaker loves these characters, this continuity, and as a result we love it as well. I loved his take on the Invaders. It’s not the same as what Thomas created in the 70′s. there are slight differences, but those differences are there to enhance the ideas, and to make the absurd more believable to our modern eyes. You can see the same in his Marvels Project he is reinterpreting things to enhance them in a respectful way to continuity.

I do not get that feeling with Bendis’ Avengers. I feel a complete disrespect for all that came before. I get the feeling that he wants to wipe the whole history of the Avengers away (with Disassemble) and begin again (with the New Avengers). I guess if I was a not an Avengers reader before I’d probably find this pretty cool but as a long time reader I find it pretty offensive. It’s like giving Spider-Man 4 new arms and redesigning his costume! And then killing aunt May and exposing his secret identity. I mean that would be pretty offensive to one who has grown to love Spidy over the years, wouldn’t it? But I guess they can always, with the swipe of a magical wand, make like it never happened but I don’t think that’s good writing, that’s just sensationalism and attention getting for it’s own sake.

You have a good point, Thomas. I was strongly against all of those things Keil mentioned until I actually read the comic, and it was all so well done that I was totally sold, and I was mostly unfamiliar with Brubaker’s work at that point (although I’ve read a lot since then). Heck, he ever brought back a Heroes Reborn character and actually made it work.

so your point is – if you like the story (cap), then the writer can do whatever he wants to the character’s history. But if you don’t like the story (bendis), then it is disrespecting history. I got it

if you like the writing in Cap better than New Avengers, cool. But they both dump on the characters’ history

I like Ennis a whole lot, but I’m not a big fan of ‘The Boys’. I keep buying the trades, and some of them are better than others, but #3 was the only one where, at the end of that trade, I really couldn’t wait for the next one. I keep waiting for it to step up its game a bit somehow. I don’t know. It’s definitely not as good as ‘Preacher’ or ‘Hitman’ or ‘Punisher’ or ‘War Stories’ & ‘Battlefields’ or ‘Hellblazer’

“What I really hate is NEW AVENGERS during Dark Reign. Every issue is a confusing, inconclusive street fight with the Hood’s gang and all the non-action interludes feature the heroes arguing about what to do about Norman Osborn. He did the same story 15 times or so.”

I actually quite liked this era because A) I like the Hood quite a bit, and B) It just gave the series this whole Saturday morning cartoon vibe. I think there’s really something to be said for a hero or a team who can stick to a single nemesis. I prefer it to what Brubaker did with Captain America, where he just desperately threw in every major character and plot thread from Captain America’s history and tried to synthesize a “definitive” “epic” Captain America story out of it. As a general rule, I don’t really fall in love with any story that tries to be “definitive,” unless Grant Morrison’s writing it.

“Prejudgment rules!!!”

I can’t help getting suspicions! If nobody “pre-judged,” we’d all just be buying completely random comics, wouldn’t we?

Heh, never cared that much for Saturday morning cartoons, but I’ll say this: at least Bendis closed this era of NEW AVENGERS with a few nice little scenes that made it feel like real closure. A rarity for Bendis’s Avengers.

Keil, I don’t think Bucky’s death is really seminal to Cap’s origin. Unlike Peter’s Uncle Ben or Bruce’s parents, Cap has plenty of other motivation for being who he is.

(1) This my personal bias, but I believe Brubaker’s Catwoman should be included here. That’s what made me a fan of his. Brubaker’s writing and Darwyn Cooke’s drawings…

(2) I’m disappointed that Warren Ellis will apparently come in top 4. Morrison better beat him.

Ennis was my number two. It’s crazy that he didn’t crack the top 5. For all the praise he receives, I really think he’s still underrated.

But Johns shouldn’t be top 10. Of course, if we run this pole again in 10 years, he’ll drop considerably (though he’d probably still make the top 50).

Brubaker’s good. He didn’t make my final list, but he would probably make my top 20. I do think Captain America is overrated. I haven’t read Sleeper, but Criminal is fantastic.

There are two types of people in the world. People who love Hitman, and people who haven’t read Hitman.

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