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Vote for Spider-Man’s 50 Greatest Writers and Artists!

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. The first month was the 50 Greatest Spider-Man covers (click here for the results of the 50 Greatest Spider-Man Covers poll). The second month was the 50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man (click here for the results of the 50 Greatest Friends and Foes poll). Next month will about Spider-Man stories. This month is all about Spider-Man writers and artists!

Spider-Man has an extremely rich history of having some of the top writers and artists in comics work on Spider-Man comics, from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko to Dan Slott and Marcos Martin, it has been a great ride. So here you will be casting your vote for who you feel are the greatest Spider-Man writers as well as the greatest Spider-Man artists of all-time!

You folks all vote in the comments section here up until 11:59 Pacific time, May 21st. I’ll tabulate all the votes and I’ll begin a countdown of the top 50 beginning May 22nd.

Okay, here are the guidelines!

1. Vote in the comments section below, making sure to include that classic word “ACBC” somewhere in your comment so your vote will be marked invisible.

2. Vote for your TEN favorite Spider-Man writers as well as your TEN favorite Spider-Man artists. So you’ll be listing 20 creators in total.

3. Rank each list of ten from #1 (what you think is the greatest writer or artist) to #10 (what you think is the 10th greatest). I’d prefer it if you actually numbered your entry, #1-10. It’s easier for me to count. On that note, please also avoid listing them like this “1) 2) 3) 4),” because 8 with a ) after it transforms into a smiley face in the comments section (this one 8) ). Just plain ol’ “1. 2. 3.” works best.

4. Your top choice will be given 10 points, your second choice 9, etc.

5. I’ll accept votes for Ultimate Spider-Man creators.

6. Stan Lee/Steve Ditko is one writer. Stan Lee with everyone else is another writer. You just can’t fairly separate Lee from Ditko on those first 40 issues (Amazing #1-38 plus Annuals #1-2), so if you want to list Stan Lee by himself, feel free, but do so taking only his post-Ditko work into consideration. So Stan Lee is the one writer who can appear on the list twice, once by himself for his post-Ditko work and once as part of a writing team with Ditko. Ditko, though, of course can appear on the artists list by himself. He just goes on the writing list as a writing team with Lee.

7. Inkers and Colorists are artists, so if you want to vote for them, go right ahead.

8. Make sure to include ACBC in your ballot.

9. Do your best to separate the writing from the art for guys like Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen and vote for each accordingly. If you like Larsen’s art more than his writing, you could have him on your Artists list and not your Writers list or vice versa.

10. Marvel Team-Up counts as a Spider-Man title. New Avengers and FF do not.

11. Here is a helpful template for what your ballot should ideally look like in your comment. Feel free to just cut and paste this template into your comment:

ACBC

Writers

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Artists

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

If you have questions and or requests for clarification, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

Remember, please include the following word: ACBC – on your ballot. It will make it so your ballot appears invisible to other readers, so only I can read it (and count your vote secretly).

Most importantly, have fun!

Now vote! :)

66 Comments

Great idea once again. It’s rather hard to ‘unfocus from Amazing’s creators. Yet some great people did only a short run on Amazing and did some great work on Spidey.

Interesting to see what the final list will be considering the amount of great creators who have worked on these books. And yes it’s been a great ride.

I’m a little confused. So we can or can’t vote for Steve Ditko as an artist?

JAlexanderGrey

May 5, 2012 at 4:35 am

Anychance you will release 26-50 of the villains and supporting character? i think it would be awesome

Done! This was a surprisingly easy list to make!

This poll is a bad idea. Young readers with no sense of history will artificially inflate more recent names and minimize Lee, Ditko and Romita Sr .

…Is there a way I put in a negative vote for JMS to counteract someone else’s? Sins Past should automatically put him out of the running of good Spider-Man writers.

Negative votes is fantastic idea – vote for the 10 best, plus one vote to strike someone from the list. Another one for JMS here, by the way.

Negative vote is a dumb idea. Let people vote for who they want.

Great poll, Brian. Unlike Hank, I know this blog well enough to know Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Romita Sr. will have NO trouble making it to the top, but I’m interested to see where everybody else winds up. Romita Jr, JMS, DeMatteis, Slott, Martin, Jenkis, Kane, Macfarlene, Stern, Conway, etc. I’ll send in my vote in a minute

This poll is a bad idea. Old readers with no sense of current comics will artificially inflate more classic names and minimize Slott, Martin and Romita Jr .

This poll is a bad idea. Young readers with no sense of history will artificially inflate more recent names and minimize Lee, Ditko and Romita Sr .

Normally I’d agree on any other blog, but CSBG is impressive in having readers with a good sense of history. I’d only worry if this poll gets linked to on the front page of CBR because I notice a conspicuous drop in reader intelligence whenever that happens (I know that’s snobby, but it’s true).

On a side note, I can’t believe so many people hold David Michelinie in such high esteem. He was horrid.

Please don’t forget Ross Andru, everybody.

Ross Andru was #2 on my list.

I’m gonna vote in a moment, but I dunno, man, 25 writers, that’s an awful lot. Certainly, hundreds have worked on the character, but I’d be surprised if more than a few dozen had 10+ issues credited to their names.

Brian Cronin

May 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I’m a little confused. So we can or can’t vote for Steve Ditko as an artist?

You can.

Strange… It was easier to find the artists than the writers.
A good idea would be the worst ten writers and artists, at least it could be fun but I understand that it can’t be done.

Strange… It was easier to find the artists than the writers.
A good idea would be the worst ten writers and artists, at least it could be fun but I understand that it can’t be done.

I’d love that, especially to see if anyone places high on both lists. Then using both lists we could put together a list of the most polarizing writers and artists on Spider-Man.

Brian Cronin

May 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Strange… It was easier to find the artists than the writers.

Well, there have been a lot more artists to work on Spider-Man than there have been writers, so I think it makes sense.

OH MY GOD I FORGOT ROSS ANDRU

GODDAMNIT I would have put him #5 and moved everybody down

Brian Cronin

May 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hehe, I fixed your ballot, Jeremy.

Slott better be in the top 5 writers. That is a man who understands how Spider-Man should act.

I put the code in with my vote but I can still see it. Did I do something wrong or can I see my vote too because I’m the one that posted it? Just in case it didn’t work, the reason my vote showed up twice is because I wanted everyone else to see my vote too, so I posted it once without the code.Oh, and the reason I don’t know this is because I’m new to writing on this website.

Brian Cronin

May 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Your public vote was deleted but your private vote is still there. All the voting is done privately.

Okay, cool. Sorry; didn’t know we weren’t supposed to show other people our votes.

I could actually only name 24 great writers on Spider-Man. Though I know tastes vary, and I can think of at least 3 writers that others might name.

Plenty of great artists though.

That was hard. I had a list I was very pleased with of 12 writers and 11 artists, with none I could delete from the list without crying. Top 8 for both lists was easy. Choosing those last two was a doozy.

Mike Loughlin

May 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Ross Andru made my list. I almost forgot Paul Jenkins & Mark Buckingham, however, and had to change the whole thing.

Negative vote is a dumb idea. Let people vote for who they want.

My post was what is called a “joke”, Jeremy. At least I believe that’s the technical term.

I’d negatively vote Bendis before JMS anyway.

Oh, and I hope everyone remembers Busiek and Olliffe’s wonderful Untold Tales of Spider-Man book.

Travis Pelkie

May 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

Oh yeah, nice, Ken. Untold Tales was awesome. Today, in the course of back issue digging for FCBD, I found the Dr Strange special that came out a while after the main Untold Tales series ended, after having looked for it for ages. I think I actually squealed a bit. I’m not proud. (and unlike the original cover price, I got this for a buck, like the other UT issues)

I still won’t be voting on this because I can’t think of 10 on either that I like, after the Stan and Steve writing, Roger Stern, and now Busiek. Art, Ditko, both JRs, and Olliffe. Man, I’m dumb.

According to The Amazing Spider-Man: Official Index to the Marvel Universe, John Romita Jr. is a co-plotter on numerous issues. As such can be qualify in the writing category?

Why do people always want to go negative? Are they prepping for careers running political campaigns?

I think the whole Lee and Ditko / Lee without Ditko creates a problem. I see what you’re trying to do for Ditko there, but is that fair to John Romita Sr. and any other artist who co-plotted? In any event, you should clarify it to say that if you want to vote for the first 38 issues (and not 40, a bit of an important distinction) and 2 annuals, vote “Lee and Ditko”, if you just want to vote “Stan Lee”, you’re voting for ASM 39 and up. Sorry to nitpick but ASM 39 and 40 are such important issues that it should be crystal clear where they would fall in this poll.

I found the writers easy to come up with, the artists not as much after a few obvious choices.

you’re trying to do for Ditko there, but is that fair to John Romita Sr. and any other artist who co-plotted? In any event, you should clarify it to say that if you want to vote for the first 38 issues (and not 40, a bit of an important distinction) and 2 annuals, vote “Lee and Ditko”, if you just want to vote “Stan Lee”, you’re voting for ASM 39 and up. Sorry to nitpick but ASM 39 and 40 are such important issues that it should be crystal clear where they would fall in this poll.

Right, #1-38 plus the first two annuals. Hence “the first 40 issues.” But sure, I can specify the issues if you’d like!

I think the whole Lee and Ditko / Lee without Ditko creates a problem. I see what you’re trying to do for Ditko there, but is that fair to John Romita Sr. and any other artist who co-plotted?

Romita did not plot to the same extent that Ditko did. I meanto a degree all artists using the Marvel method were co-plotters but Ditko had input that went beyond even the normal Marvel method. By the end he was plotting solo and Stan Lee was only scripting. Stan Lee didn’t even touch the story until he saw Ditko’s finished pages. Apparently this was happening before it was reflected in the credits. Ditko had to fight for the credits to reflect the reality of the process.

Why do people always want to go negative? Are they prepping for careers running political campaigns?

I think people have seen best of debates and best of lists so often that it becomes natural to want to see a worst of debate and worst of list. Especially because the rarity of such lists makes them far less predictable than a best of list. What I don’t understand is why not ask a different question than the one you asked: Why do so many people get uncomfortable when discussing negative choices? Are they prepping for careers in cheerleading? What makes discussing the awful any less worthy than discussing the good? These artists and writers decided to go into business of showing their craft to the world. They knew the risks of putting their craft out there in such a mainstream public forum like mainstream comics, and they assumed this risks as adults, so it’s all fair. If they aren’t rejecting the praise or accolades, then they have to be willing to accept the negative feedback. Besides, without ever discussing the negative, the positive eventually becomes meaningless. One can’t exist without the other. The very concept of a superior implies the existence of an inferior. So just by acknowledging and celebrating that there even is a best or a superior implies that we are also aware that there is a worst or inferior out there. So why even play this game of pretending we’re morally above judging the worst writers and artists. The moment we start contemplating and ranking the best we unavoidably start contemplating and ranking the worst as well, even if it’s unconsciously.

But who wants to celebrate mediocrity? Who wants to sit here and clap their hands at a countdown of terrible comic books? “Ooh, I wonder where Michaelinie is gonna place, he’s dreadful!” Bunch of nerds sitting around making countdown lists about the worst parts of their favorite hobby. How completely misanthropic.

The name of this blog is Comics Should Be Good. That is the idea behind all of this.

I’m actually looking forward to the results of this one. I figure the first 6 or 7 are going to be obvious, but some of the others are going to send me looking for some really decent comics.

Is my ballot showing up? I typed the code in it… and it’s showing up on my screen saying it’s awaiting moderation… but does everyone else see it?

DITKO as writer is my vote. DITKO for all categories except Sam Rosen & Artie Simek’s.

Dubya Tee Eff?

May 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

Really? NO ONE mentioned Todd McFarlane as of yet? His art and writing propelled Spidey from campy crybaby status from the 70′s and 80′s into a serious badass in the 90′s. The man also gave Eddie Brock and Venom a real spotlight, making them both badass major characters.

Man Alex Ross and Gabriele Dell’Otto piant/draw an amazing Spider-Man. Picking writers was a tough one.

Well, no votes have been yet revealed. So we don’t know how many people have or haven’t mentioned Todd.

I’m going to bet that a lot of people ignored Rule #6.

Stefan Wenger

May 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

Does Ultimate Spider-Man count?

When the artist list goes up, will jpg’s of their work be posted as well as an example? For instance, if say Todd MacFarlane is on the list, will “ASM” 300 or “Spider-Man” 1 or some such be posted next to his name?

I’m not sure rule six was there when a lot of people voted.

I gave the Toddster a vote in the artist category but his writing at the time was pretty painful, at least his scripts which tended to overshadow his plotting. But his art was appealing enough to warrant a vote from me.

Brian Cronin

May 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Does Ultimate Spider-Man count?

Yep.

Brian Cronin

May 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Is my ballot showing up? I typed the code in it… and it’s showing up on my screen saying it’s awaiting moderation… but does everyone else see it?

Moderation means it is invisible to everyone but you and me.

Brian Cronin

May 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I’m not sure rule six was there when a lot of people voted.

The “Ditko/Lee is one writer, Lee is another” thing was always there. I did add a clarifying bit in case people were worried that Ditko didn’t count as an artist then (I don’t think anyone did, but I figured it was worth mentioning just in case).

Brian Cronin

May 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm

When the artist list goes up, will jpg’s of their work be posted as well as an example? For instance, if say Todd MacFarlane is on the list, will “ASM” 300 or “Spider-Man” 1 or some such be posted next to his name?

I’d say that the odds are pretty good of that happening.

LordEvilOfItaly

May 8, 2012 at 12:09 am

I hope Mike Wieringo makes it in top 10

Let’s not forget about Peter David and Bill Mantlo either folks.

LordEvilOfItaly

May 8, 2012 at 5:58 am

Peter David wrote wonderful stuff on Spidey back in the ’80s, while i personally didn’t like that much Mantlo’s work (all the Doc Ock vs the Owl run)

I don´t have much to say but Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, John Romita and Todd MacFarlane

Whew, that was tough. I had to leave off some good writers & artists to trim the lists down to 10.

Man, that was a lot tougher than I originally thought it was going to be. And reading the comments afterwards was a bad idea, as I realized there were a few people I completely forgot about, but can’t imagine how I’d work them in anyhow (Jenkins and Buckingham, for example).

And to echo an earlier post, don’t forget about Untold Tales of Spider-Man! It’s absolutely fantastic! Always loved the book, and now I have the Omnibus collecting the entire series, and it is just gorgeous.

This was a lot harder than it sounds! I almost forgot about Kerry Gammill’s incredible work from MTU…and i totally spaced the guy who did Untold Tales of Spider-Man! There are actually very few writers who ever wrote Spidey right, and Stan Lee wasn’t one of them. I would have put Walt Simonson and the guy who wrote What If? Iron Man Had Sold Out? on the list if they hadn’t been precluded by this lists’ rules as they were not mainstream Spidey titles

Wow…not gonna vote….because I think it’s silly…but to say that Stan Lee wasn’t one of the writers to get it right is asinine. Really? So….issues 39-100 all just sucked ass?
Have to also admit…the tearing down of Lee gets old. Lee did good/great comics without Kirby and Ditko. Love Kirby AND Ditko…but much/most of their post Stan Lee stuff is laughable to sad. Dingbats of Danger Street anyone? Ditko’s Avenging World? Please. Maybe someday people will re-recognize how much Stan Lee DID have to do with the Marvel Universe.
And….I almost quit reading Spiderman during the Andru era. And I DID quit reading it during the JMS era. Gwen gives up her virginity to Norman? Goodbye monthy comics. And I haven’t missed them a bit. Buy some Essentials, some Showcases…some back issues….but $3.99 an issue for Gwen twin Goblings?? No thanks….ever again.

Correct me if I’m wrong…but didn’t “Writer Ditko” NOT want Norman as the Goblin? And instead wanted an anonymous person….JUST like they’d done withe Crimemaster? Oooh….cutting edge creativity. Or was he following the old “our audience turns over every year so we can trot out that old hackneyed bit again” plot?

Ed (A Different One)

May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Even though Spidey is my all time favorite character, I have to say that I’m kind of underwhelmed at the lack of great runs on the AMS title. Daredevil had a lot of great runs. Avengers had many great runs. AMS, with a flagship character – eh, not so much. In my mind, it’s pretty much Lee/Ditko and Stern/JRjr. Everything outside of that is a precipitous drop in quality. And certainly nothing I would call “historic” outside of the original Lee/Ditko run (as much as I love Stern I can’t call it historical, and Michiline/McFarlane strikes me as having been more of a “fad” than a “historic run”). Seems strange that Marvel’s flagship character really lacks the outstanding runs we’ve seen on other titles but has always remained a relative high seller – a testament to the appeal of the character I guess.

Just my humble opinion though. I’m sure there are many people out there who disagree with me vehemently. I look forward to seeing the poll results and the discussion which will inevitably follow . . . .

Writers was actually harder than I’d expected… it’s interesting how many of the best Spidey writers have such long runs on the character.

I almost gave the 10-spot to McFarlane (as an artist, obviously), because he did draw a great Spider-Man back in his early days, and his panel layouts were really cool for the time.

Unfortunately I HATED the cartooney way he drew everyone who was not Spider-Man, as well as the generally awful effect his mega-success had on Spider-Man, comic book art and the comics industry in general. Thinking about it. he’s basically the Hitler of comics.

T.
May 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Everyone forgets Keith Pollard too. Criminally underrated:

Couldn’t agree more. His ASM run (with Jim Mooney in inks) was one of my favorites for a long time.

@BBB,

Ditko didn’t want Osborne to be Green Goblin because he had other plans for the Osborne character. Granted, the result would have been absolutely absurd and Ditko’s approach to what should or shouldn’t be part of a story is extremely narrow (objectivist ethics), but that doesn’t mean the results wouldn’t have been interesting, that his later works weren’t interesting, or that Ditko himself isn’t an interesting character. Mr. A is one of the most bizarre comics I’ve ever read, and I recommend it highly to anyone who can track it down.

Cody
I LOVE me some post Spidey Ditko…but sometimes that love borders on wondering “What the hell?” Avenging World anyone? I almost DARE anyone to sit through that in one reading. And I’ve read Mr A. My original point was the people that continue to downgrade Stan Lee’s involvement in the creation of the Marvel Universe….and give ALL the credit to Kirby…with a smidgeon of Ditko. Lee did great work with Buscema, Colan, Romita, Heck…..and people forget that. (Not that Stan has ever been shy about taking credit…).

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