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Top 125 Comic Book Writers: #95-91

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

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

95 Archie Goodwin – 104 points

94 Judd Winick – 106 points

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

92 Scott Lobdell – 109 points

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

29 Comments

Archie is another legend i thought would be highter on the list. scot still get chills when i see that x-men pannel though it also shows scott really knows how to capture the emotions of the characters .

Yay for David Lapham! I freakin’ LOVE his “Stray Bullets” series. It’s so underrated, it’s almost criminal.

I agree with all these writers, even Scott Lobdell. I think Lobdell got a lot of flack, but I think he did the best writing he could do under that horrible 90s X-men system of extreme editorial insight.

Who is that artist though. Very talented obviously, but poor, poor, stereotypical 90s choices all over in that artwork. The overmuscled body of Jubiliee, and that incredibly inappropriate thong riding up her ass the seductive way she sways her hips and thrusts her ass out…in a bedside hospital scene?! Forget the fact she’s supposed to be underage so the thong and butt-thrusting is creepy alone just for that, but throw in the context of the scene to boot?

Ummmm, I didn’t know Winick was so inspired by Goodwin.

As one of the “old guy” posters I’ll comment that Goodwin was always a very underrated writer. Never rose to greatness, but always solid. Usually enjoyed his work.

Oh man, Lapham! Now THAT guy I like.

That Stray Bullets issue (#4) is fantastic. One of those issues that completely goes against your expectations of what will happen.

Brian- The first Judd Winick sample page is a Manhunter repeat.

T.-

Uncanny #303 was (I’m pretty sure) drawn by Richard Bennett, who did a few X-title fill-ins around that time (X-Men #27 was his next one), and also did a lot of work for Wildstorm titles in the mid-90s. I remember myself and others at the time thinking he’d be the next big artist, but seeing those pages now, I agree that everything about the way he drew Jubilee was just wrong.

I always thought Marc Silvestri drew the best Jubilee, which I suppose makes sense since he co-created her. He was one of the only artists that managed to not forget she was supposed to be young and Asian.

OK. So. I have to ask, as I look at these.

I like Kieron Gillen. I think he’s a damn fine writer. As are many of the other writers in these last few entries – Larry Hama, Bryan Q. Miller. I mean, Batgirl is probably my favorite DC book right now.

But I’d really like to hear from anyone who cast a first place vote for any of those three. Or, for that matter, for Messner-Loebs, or Al Feldstein.

Really? The best comic writer ever? I mean… how do you say that with a straight face? They’re great writers who have cranked out a number of engaging stories, but… what about any of those writers seems like the best writer ever to you? I ask this out of all sincerity – I am racking my brain for an argument that any of those are the best-ever writers in comics, and I cannot even come up with a vague sense of what that argument would look like.

Really? The best comic writer ever? I mean… how do you say that with a straight face? They’re great writers who have cranked out a number of engaging stories, but… what about any of those writers seems like the best writer ever to you? I ask this out of all sincerity – I am racking my brain for an argument that any of those are the best-ever writers in comics, and I cannot even come up with a vague sense of what that argument would look like.

Favorite comic book writer ever.

You people don’t got no clue, whatsoever.

GOODWIN should be in the top 5.

LAPHAM number 91 ???
Another good joke, Sirs !!!

Lobdell and Winick have no business anywhere on this list.

But I’d really like to hear from anyone who cast a first place vote for any of those three. Or, for that matter, for Messner-Loebs, or Al Feldstein.

I cast my first place vote for Al Feldstein. That vote was not based on a small sample size. I have read his entire catalog of work with EC, and I own every Gemstone reprint from the ’90s.

Brian is right, this was a poll of favorite writers, not best. Because of this were an objective list of best writers, Feldstein would deserve a spot in the top ten. I’m guessing that you are not fully appreciative or even aware of the very real impact that EC had on the evolution of the comic book medium.

I agree with all these writers, even Scott Lobdell. I think Lobdell got a lot of flack, but I think he did the best writing he could do under that horrible 90s X-men system of extreme editorial insight.

Agreed. I always thought Lobdell was at his best on those epilogue and filler issues. I’ve wondered how his body of work would be viewed had he not been writing in the environment of artist driven sales, speculation backlash, and being hamstrung by crossover after crossover after crossover.

Lobdell is way under-rated. His run, from – what – 298 to 349 is really quite good, especially when you take into account the level of editorial interference at the time. I haven’t been able to read the X-Books since he left, to be honest, as much as I tried.

I’d love for him to come back – couldn’t be any worse…

Phil: I chose William Messner-Loebs as my favorite writer, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. His are the comics I still remember after 20 years — long after the work of other writers, even really talented folk like Morrison, Moore and Giffen, have all run together in my brain.

He made his characters — and here I’m thinking of his work on Flash and Doctor Fate — more interesting than their powers. He gave them terrific supporting casts, and he forced them to deal with real-world problems (I’m thinking in particular of the issue in which the Flash struggles to aid an injured mugging victim who is simply too heavy for him to move). He even found a way to make “event” comics interesting: forced to deal with the “Invasion!” crossover, he had the Flash team up with Manhunter and Fidel Castro to battle aliens in Cuba.

Most comics, even the ones I love, feel like the literary equivalent of junk food to me. Messner-Loebs’ felt like meals.

That was the first Lobdell book I ever read. He immediately landed a place on my list of favourite writers.
Unfortunately, I then read some other issues and my opinion of him fell drastically.
I guess i’ve finally read enough now that I can put him in perspective. He seems to be great at stories like this one, dealing with characters and their real lives. But when the time comes to bring in some bad guys and start the fighting, his stuff becomes so boring, or worse.
Maybe he should hook up with a co-writer. The other guy can do the action stories, and Lobdell can handle the characters private lives.

” Agreed. I always thought Lobdell was at his best on those epilogue and filler issues. I’ve wondered how his body of work would be viewed had he not been writing in the environment of artist driven sales, speculation backlash, and being hamstrung by crossover after crossover after crossover. ”

It’s hard to say; how good is his non-X-Men work? (This is a legitimate question, as I haven’t read those comics).

Though I did attend a writing workshop he did at Meltdown Comics, and found him an extremely funny and nice guy. I asked him about his intentions regarding some of the X-Men plot points (specifically, the return of Angel’s feathered wings), and he said that their story direction basically consisted of coming up with ideas for cool images, rather than deliberate planning. The same way that Onslaught was introduced, simply as an unseen force who could kick the Juggernaut’s ass.

Neil,
I guess I should clarify. I think Lobdell had a good handle on the characters in the main X-Men teams (at the time, of course) in particular. To me, at least, he seemed to be able to determine what each individual would say and do, how they would react and respond, with a profound comprehension. But I wouldn’t necessarily extend that sentiment to his brief arc on Daredevil, nor even his work on other X-titles like Generation X or Excalibur. There seemed to be this intimate awareness of the immediate X-Men teams, that just didn’t translate appropriately enough in the same fashion to the wider Marvel Universe.

I think he was very good at scripting human interaction. But, when it came to writing larger team dynamics and standard superhero tropes, I don’t think it seemed to come across as naturally. In other words, I think he may not have been the best writer when it came to introducing new characters or establishing firm concepts, but I think he did a wonderful job providing some extra dimensionality and depth provided the foundation had already been set.

I think Age of Apocalypse may be the perfect demonstration of this. In my opinion, the AoA premise is brilliant, but within the issues that he wrote the general execution of progressing forward, moving things along at a calculated and interesting pace sort of fails to live up to its billing as the epic that it is. But then it completely succeeds and becomes this wonderfully intriguing story, based primarily on the all the various interactions and twists among the main players. To further the previous point, it’s a story that adds a new dimension to a character like Magneto or Rogue, or a new dynamic to a relationship like that of Logan and Jean – ones that now sort of stick in the collective consciousness even though it’s an alternate universe. But, by and large, characters like Sugar Man or Nate Grey, interesting though they may be, didn’t really pan out and stand the test of time. I don’t know. That’s just my opinion.

All I know is that I did not include him in my top ten, nor would he have been in a personal top twenty. That said, I still really love my issue of X-Men: Omega that has been signed by him.

Man, it’s easy to remember why the hell everyone learned to hate the X-Men from the mid-90s until about the 2000s.

Every single other 9-12 year old boy I grew up with loved the X-Men. ALL OF THEM. It was only after several years of convoluted, lame, and poorly drawn cross-overs and spin-offs that Marvel managed to chase us all away. X-Men used to be part of the pop culture zeitgeist (and then only the nerd zeitgeist), and now they barely register as comics that should be published at this point.

Ed (A Different One)

April 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I finally sat down and read my very first Kieron Gillen-penned comic this week – the new Jounry Into Mystery. I have to admit – I enjoyed it very much and was quite impressed. The sample above looks to be of quite a different flavor, but I’m intrigued enough to start exploring his work and and sampling his body of work as a whole. Hell, I may even give Uncanny X-Men a try again now that he’s the main writer.

@stealthwise

“Man, it’s easy to remember why the hell everyone learned to hate the X-Men from the mid-90s until about the 2000s.

Every single other 9-12 year old boy I grew up with loved the X-Men. ALL OF THEM. It was only after several years of convoluted, lame, and poorly drawn cross-overs and spin-offs that Marvel managed to chase us all away. X-Men used to be part of the pop culture zeitgeist (and then only the nerd zeitgeist), and now they barely register as comics that should be published at this point.”

Yeah – it’s really sad how far that title has fallen. It was the comic that EVERYONE was talking about back in the late 70’s and through the 80’s. Things just started getting ridiculous in the early 90’s, and then just completely out of hand as that decade progressed – editorial or the writers just didn’t have a clue anymore how to make that franchise work, or just figured that the X-Men’s popularity was iron clad and completely invulnerable to any and all of the inane ideas they could throw at the readers. I attribute their popularity through most of the nineties to basically just the dediction the readers had to those characters and the legacy that Claremont built. But, yeah, eventually even the most loyal of followers had to eventually throw in the towel. It took them a solid decade to do it, but they finally burnt the readers out. Other than Morrison’s unique take on them with “New X-Men”, and, to a lesser extent, Whedon’s take on “Astonishing”, there really hasn’t been a whole lot to love there for a long, long, long, long time. The only X-Title I even pay attention to anymore is Remender’s Uncanny X-Force.

But, like I mentioned above, maybe Gillen can work some magic . . .

I attribute their popularity through most of the nineties to basically just the dediction the readers had to those characters and the legacy that Claremont built.

Don’t forget about the animated series on Fox. That was a huge, huge deal and brought a very large, new and eager readership to the X-titles in the early and mid 90’s.

Ookerdookers-

Fantastic take on Lobdell’s strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed reading it and I couldn’t agree more.

Ed-

The X-titles will always sell well, because they’ll always be among a core group of titles (Batman, Spider-Man, Avengers, Superman, etc.) that get kids into comics, almost regardless of quality. The major difference between the X-titles during the Claremont era and the X-titles during the last fifteen years (with the early-to-mid 90s being the transition era where the Claremont people were still reading in large numbers) is that during the Claremont era, the books were being bought by 12 year olds AND serious adult comic fans that were otherwise reading titles like Cerebus, Swamp Thing, and American Flagg. Over the last fifteen years, with the exception of the Morrison and Whedon runs, the X-titles are mostly just being bought by teenagers. (I said mostly, so if you’re an adult reading the X-titles right now, no need to write a comment telling me how wrong I am.) As you said, during the 80s heyday, Uncanny was a major part of the comics zeitgeist… in a serious way, Uncanny X-Men during the 1980s was a bit like The Beatles or Steven Spielberg films- almost universally renowned as great across every demographic, regardless of where else people’s tastes may lay. The classic Uncanny stories appealed on relatively equal levels to every type and age of reader. I don’t think comics has really seen anything like it since.

Sometimes when I think about Claremont, I think he has to be the most underrated writer in comics, simply because so few people seem to realize the scope of his accomplishments. Every single major institution in comics became that way in either the Golden Age or the Silver Age except one: The X-Men. Yes, the X-Men started in the 60s, but they were also cancelled in the 60s. They were revitalized in the mid-70s, but didn’t even become a monthly title until 1978. Seriously, 1978 is when Uncanny X-Men went monthly- for the ten years before that, no one that worked at Marvel had any reason to believe people would buy a monthly mutant title. Ten years after that? There were five monthly mutant titles, which is more than Batman, Spider-Man, or Superman had at the time. And in those ten years that it took the mutants to go from one bi-monthly title to five monthly titles, they didn’t have the benefit of gaining exposure by any sort of TV show, radio show, or movie… all they had was quality. That’s the Chris Claremont legacy.

The fact that Judd Winick placed higher than Archie Goodwin is one of the silliest facts.

joe . . . blame the voting system. However, when Winick is firing on all cylinders, he can kick so much ass. Just look at his Barry Ween books, or his runs on Green Lantern, Exiles and Outsiders. Having Lex Luthor openly note at Joker having a crush on Batman? Awesome. Or maybe I’m too easy like that.

I thought Archie Goodwin was more or a legendary editor than writer. What little I’ve read of his stuff (off the top of my head, Manhunter and Batman: Night Cries) was solid but unspectacular.

Dave Lapham was my #10 vote. IMO he’s the big miscarriage of justice here.

Winick at #94 sounds about right to me.

Lobdell somewhere above 1000 doesn’t.

I’m well aware of EC’s impact, and of the quality of some of Feldstein’s work, including the censored black-space-pilot comic cited in this poll, which is fantastic. But it’s still, like most of the EC work, basically an uncensored Twilight Zone. Good stuff, quite right to be influential, but its importance frankly lies in the fact that it opened doors that others walked through more successfully.

Just revisited this in 2014. Hard to believe that Gillen was so low on the list!

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