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Top 125 Comic Book Writers: #120-116

Here are the next five writers on the countdown, based on your votes for your favorite comic book writers of all-time!

I’ll give you two sample pages for each writer.

120 Mike Baron – 64 points

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

118 Andy Diggle – 67 points

117 Arnold Drake – 69 points

The Doom Patrol has just been given a choice – their lives or the lives of 14 fishermen in a small fishing village…

116 Kevin Smith – 70 points


That Flash issue is a favourite of mine, a superb story from a great run on the title.

Love those Clerks pages, but man it’s weird that Smith made it on to this list.

Oh my, I have read them all, but none impressed me that much (well, Messner-Loebs did nice work with Sam Kieth).

Wow kevin smith really?

Anyone surprise Smith made it ought to remember that there was a (brief) time when he was sales gold. His Daredevil and Green Arrow were huge hits, and his creator-owned stuff, riding the coattails of his successful film career and bringing in those fans as new readers who wouldn’t ordinarily pick up a comic, was selling as well as many low-selling DC and Marvel titles. I suppose if the quality is what you’re questioning that’s not an easy thing to settle quickly but in terms of impact, popularity and sales, it doesn’t surprise me to see the name.

Possibly the greatest single issue Flash story ever told!

Oh man, Mike Baron’s Nexus and Badger. Those were some great comics.

nice to see Mesner loeb on this list for loved his work on the flash including that issue. though thought Kevin smith would be higher on this list.

It’s a real shame to see the Kevin Smith ranking above Mike Baron. I mean, look at both excerpts and the difference in maturity in them. I mean Smith is okay for what he does, I guess you can call it “fratire,” but the Baron dialogue when he was on top of his game, was just beautiful.

That Baron sample was pretty interesting, actually. How does Nexus hold up today?

That Baron sample was pretty interesting, actually. How does Nexus hold up today?

I think it holds up well. It was bizarrely consistent, actually.

I read Nexus about 2 years ago, and it holds up very well. Truly great stuff.
As for Kevin Smith it seems people either love his work or hate it.

As for Kevin Smith it seems people either love his work or hate it.

I guess for me it’s both. Some of his movies I never get tired of, but some of his others are just dreadful. Same with his comics.

I use to love Kevin Smith, but that was back in 1994 when Clerks came out people on the screen were discussing workers on the Death Star and if they deserved to by killed when Luke shot those photon torpedos into the exhaust port. Things have changed since then.

oh, and then he went and wrote The Widening Gyre, for that alone he should be taken off the list.

Nexus is the greatest achievement in American comics, bar none. It’s everything comics should be and nothing that they shouldn’t be.

If someone would reprint it (without the filler back-up features) in affordable softcovers, like IDW has done for many of the other First Comics, then maybe it would finally get its due. It’s nice to see Baron show up here, and those are two nicely selected pages that Brian chose. Baron is the first writer I voted for to show up in these extended lists so far.

These seem like a perfect batch of five writers to be in this region of the list. All are talented and have done fair amounts of good work, but none are capital G Great. Diggle, Drake, and Loebs are almost always solid and worthwhile, but haven’t really contributed to any masterpieces. Baron’s Nexus was great, but the rest of his output is a bit on the underwhelming side. And Smith was phenomenal for 23 magical issues of Daredevil and Green Arrow… but 23 great issues does not a career make.

But all of these guys are worthy of recognition, so it’s nice to see them show up here.

Andrew Collins

April 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Yeah, Nexus holds up remarkably well, for a comic of its age. The Capital and First Comics issues of Badger are also still a great read.

And I recently had the chance to sit down and read Bill Loebs’ issues of The Flash and was blown away by them. A very entertaining and well-written run on the book. Sadly underrated and kind of forgotten by DC, it’s been good news to see Loebs involved in DC’s new Retro-Active project…

What issue of Flash is that? I wasn’t reading it then, but that excerpt certainly looks like it’s worth picking up.

I did a write-up on it, Dave, for the Year of Cool Comics.

You can check it out here.

I think Mike Baron is capital-G Great, if only for his work on Nexus. But he also did Great work on Badger, Flash, and arguably the Punisher. I think that if a) his work was more widely collected or b) he got a chance to write a long run on Batman or some such character in the late 80s he would be recognized as one of the Pantheon today.

And Smith was phenomenal for 23 magical issues of Daredevil and Green Arrow… but 23 great issues does not a career make.

I thought those 23 issues of Daredevil and Green Arrow were great too, but now that I reread them and see how much he was aping and recycling better stories involving both characters, they really weren’t all that. For example his Daredevil run had Daredevil vs. Bullseye. AGAIN. Daredevil kills one of DD’s girlfriends. AGAIN. Karen Page comes back into Daredevil’s life with a horrible secret relating to her depraved past life. AGAIN. It all seems better than it is because its reminescent of previous great stories. But if you look at it apart from what its aping, it has the maturity of really good fanfiction by a fairly bright teenage boy.

Messner-Loebs: Best Flash writer. Period.

I’d say Nexus is the greatest achievement in American comics, bar only eighty or ninety or so other comics. But it was quite good, all the way through.

I knew I’ve read that “Nobody dies” philosophy before (The one Spider-Man is doing now). It took this to remind me that Wally West (and Messner-Loebs) did it first.

And I don’t care what Geoff Johns says. Wally is the best Flash EVER.

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

April 6, 2011 at 1:41 am

Kevin Smith is great. And he just might have written the greatest Mysterio story ever. Also, you might say that he’s written the greatest Green Arrow run, second only to Grell.

Travis Pelkie

April 6, 2011 at 2:09 am

Baron: Nexus alone earns him a spot, but yeah, Badger, Punisher, some other stuff is really good. Last I know of comics stuff by him is that one Hawk and Dove mini (that’s probably completely retconned at this point) from about ’97. Has he done anything else more recently? And I don’t know how “affordable” Matt Bird would consider them, but Dark Horse has been reprinting Nexus in Archive volumes for a while. And on Steve Rude’s site, he has a B&W version of the first volume for relatively cheap.

Messner-Loebs: great on Flash, his work with Kieth is wonderful, and let’s not forget his own book, Journey. His artwork is very much Eisner influenced, possibly one of the better uses of the atmospheric elements that Eisner used. Hope this Retro Active leads to more stuff. I hope too that he and his wife were able to get back on their feet after the problems they faced with losing a home and stuff several years back.

Diggle’s Losers is awesome, too bad the movie tainted the series in people’s minds. I thought from the couple issues of Thunderbolts that I read of his that it had potential, how was his run?

Arnold Drake! DP, Deadman, some other stuff that’s escaping my memory. Plus he dug Morrison’s version of DP, so that’s cool. Those are 2 powerful pages.

Kevin Smith — I only recently finally saw the 2 Clerks movies, and they’re great, but translating it to comics? Look at how much text there is on those 2 pages! It would work fine onscreen, with someone saying all that dialogue and it only taking a couple minutes, but on the page, it’s a slog. As has been said before, comics are a visual medium, and all that talk talk talk makes the page look lifeless.

It’s great to see Messner-Loebs in there – He did great stuff on The Flash and Dr Fate.

Baron’s run on The Flash was quite poor IMO, but I liked what little I’ve read of his Nexus.

Annoyingly I have an almost complete run of his Nexus sitting unread in my loft.

Mike Loughlin

April 6, 2011 at 6:16 am

Messner-Loebs’ Journey is one of my favorite comics. It was funny and touching, and it’s a shame it didn’t last very long.

Brian Cronin said:
“I did a write-up on it, Dave, for the Year of Cool Comics. ”

Awesome! Thanks, Brian. I’m definitely going to have to pick this up.

"O" the Humanatee!

April 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

So, the writers of two of my favorite comics of all time – Bill Messner-Loebs, on Journey (no. 1 on my writers list), and Mike Baron, on Nexus and, to a lesser extent, Badger (no. 8 on my list) – wind up down here. I’m inclined to believe their low placement is due to the fact that a lot of voters haven’t read their work (though that it makes it hard to explain Arnold Drake!), or at least that they haven’t read their best work. I sometimes divide writers into those who do their best writing on their own, self-created projects – among whom I’d count Messner-Loebs and Baron – and those who do their best on company-owned “properties”: I’ve always found Doug Moench’s bombast and pretension excessive when he’s given free rein, and although I know many people will disagree, I find J.M. DeMatteis’s personal work didactic and sentimental.

wheres lobo ??????

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