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75 Greatest Batman Writers and Artists: Writers #30-26

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batwriter30-26

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official celebration of Batman’s anniversary at the end of July. The last installment will deal with Batman stories, but this month will be about Batman’s writers and artists (40 artists and 35 writers).

You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the writers and artists featured so far. We continue with Batman writers #30-26.

Enjoy!

NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. Specifically, no “Creator X better not be in the top ten!” or variations of that idea (“Creator X better not be ahead of Creator Y,” etc.) I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.

NOTE #2: Due to an error, Neil Gaiman was originally in this section. Now he is in a previous section. So keep that in mind when you see comments referencing Gaiman.

30. Brian Azzarello

Brian Azzarello wrote a series set in the past that starred Batman, the Spirit and Doc Savage. He also wrote a great original graphic novel starring the Joker. However, he’s probably best known, Bat-universe-wise, for his stint on Batman directly following Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s blockbuster “Hush.” Azarello’s “Broken City” turned Batman’s world into a crime noir tale, complete with a uniquely descriptive take on the awfulness of Gotham City…

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Azzarello has also written a number of Batman sort Black and White stories, as well as a Batman/Deathblow mini-series and an awesome alternate reality series where Thomas Wayne becomes Batman and Martha Wayne becomes the Joker as each reacts to the death of their young son, Bruce, in a mugging gone wrong.

29. Bruce Timm

Bruce Timm essentially co-wrote all of the notable Batman Adventures comics that he did with Paul Dini, most famously the Batman classic Mad Love, which spotlights the relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn. But I figured I’d spotlight a tale he wrote all by himself, which appeared in Batman: Black and White #1. The concept of the story is that Harvey Dent’s injuries have been cured and he has gone back to work and re-entered polite society. He’s even become engaged to a beautiful, sweet woman. However, she has a twin who is baaaad news and the twin is obsessed with Harvey, leading to some bad stuff…

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One of the all-time great Two-Face stories.

28. Peter Tomasi

Peter Tomasi’s first involvement in the Bat-Universe came when he took over Nightwing’s ongoing series. He did a fine job, but Nightwing’s series soon came to an end as Dick Grayson took over as Batman (even as Tomasi had firmly established Dick’s bona fides as an independent hero). After Grant Morrison finished Batman and Robin and transitioned to Batman Incorporated, Tomasi eventually took over the title. When the New 52 debuted, Tomasi (and artists Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray) were some of the very few creative teams to make the transition from before the New 52 to the new relaunch. He is still the writer on Batman and Robin, making him one of a very small handful of writers to still be on a New 52 title right from the start.

Tomasi’s work is exemplified by a desire to get to the heart of each character’s personality – his work tends to be heartfelt and character-driven. A great example of this approach is found in his first issue of Batman and Robin, where Bruce Wayne and his “kids” all get together to watch a movie quite familiar to the Bat-mythos…

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Go to the next page to see #27-26!

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34 Comments

I really enjoyed part one of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, but was a bit disappointed with the way Gaiman stuck the landing (I’d just watched The Wire, so the Goodnight Moon riff seemed a bit tired to me). But I liked his takes on the villains in the Secret Origins and Black Orchid appearances (not to mention Scarecrow’s cameo in issue 5 of the Sandman).

I’ve been meaning to reread Broken City. I recall enjoying it okay, then reading a fair bit of criticism of it online, then wanting to go back to it. Once again, these lists always inspire me to hit the back issues (I’ve already gone through Hush and Morrison’s run again in the past couple of weeks).

Not as familiar with the other writer’s work on the comics, but of course Bruce Timm is great for everything he’s done on the cartoons.

I did not find Broken City that appealing, I thought the characters (like Batman) were changed to fit the story.

I probably like all the Don Cameron stories I have read, but I probably do not see his name enough to really take much notice. I am glad he made the list.

That Bruce Timm story was great. I am not a fan of out-of-continuity stories like that, but this is one of the few exceptions that I think are good.

Holy crap, those Two-Face pages shown were amazing. I haven’t ever read any of the Black and White books, but if any of the stories are even a fifth as good as that, it’s just become an instant buy on my part.

Still no one from my list.

joe the poor speller

June 8, 2014 at 9:39 am

Keep hearing good things about Tomasi’s B&R. Will put it on my “to read list”

tom fitzpatrick

June 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

Rather odd, isn’t it? One would almost expect Gaiman and Azzarello to be considered the better writers and further down on the list.

Maybe on a “all-time” writers list, but not necessarily a “Batman” list.

As far as this list goes – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morrison, Miller, and Moore on the top 5. We’ll see.

scarletspeed7

June 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

Almost put Bruce Timm on my list, Azz was another guy I considered too.

I really don’t consider Gaiman as a “Batman writer.” But maybe that’s just me.

Azzarello is arguably the best writer in the industry but I was worried he might not make the list because he’s only done a handful of Batman stories. It’s awesome to see him get a nod here. If you feel that Batman has the potential to be DC’s resident film noir character, he’s the best guy for the job.

Just a recommendation: Anyone who likes Azzarello should buy BATMAN NOIR, a single collected edition that contains the stories mentioned in this article (at least the ones illustrated by Eduardo Risso). As much as I love the colors of Trish Mulvihill, black and white is a great format for those comics.

And thanks for showcasing “Two Of A Kind”… Timm is rightly regarded for his outstanding artwork but his scripting is excellent, too. I agree: this is one of the best Two-Face stories ever.

I really enjoyed part one of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, but was a bit disappointed with the way Gaiman stuck the landing

Felt the same way. Pretty crazy that Neil Gaiman shows up on this list at all though, with only one short Batman story to his name. I remember when Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusdader was collected. Two issues and some odds and ends from the 80s that you could probably find kicking around in a quarter bin, for like $30 if I recall correctly. And people bought it too, from the looks of it. As with Alan Moore, putting Gaiman’s name on a comic must be like printing money for DC.

Andy Kubert really is a great artist when given time to work on something. Seeing Two-Face’s car, the Joker’s frowny-face, and the Cat-Woman splash reminds me how much I dug his art on Batman in the brief period when he was the regular penciller (especially those couple of issues where he was inked by his father).

Gaiman’s two-parter didn’t click with me at all. Nice bits that added up to nothing.
Don Cameron, as I’ve discovered reading the Chronicles collected edition, was a terrific Bat-writer. Interesting to learn he did other stuff too.

interesting for kind of thought gainmans only batman story would not show up till way in the top ten. plus also loved broken city for it showed that like batman and his rogues that gotham city can be a creepy character itsself. plus also liked that two face story for it showed that no matter what harvey does to try and be free he will sadly sooner or later wind up with something causing him to have to be two face again. that two face will always be the stronger version of dent

Gaiman’s penguin story “The Killing Peck” haunted me as a kid.

Got to confess, I don’t really care for Gaiman’s “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader.” It just seems rather so-so. Maybe I’m just unfairly comparing it to Moore’s “Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow.”

joe the poor speller

June 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm

The Killing Peck was written by Alan Grant

Travis Pelkie

June 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Tomasi wrote the amazing Batman and Robin Annual 1 (nu52 edition), with Damian sending Bruce and Alfred on a “scavenger hunt” while he fights crime in Gotham as a “Batman Jr”. Just a really great issue with nice characterization, all around good stuff.

Wow, with only a couple issues to his name, Gaiman makes this list? Well, the first part of the Whatever… was amazingly good (Alfred’s story was great), but as others said, the ending wasn’t the greatest.

And yeah, that Two-Face story by Timm is wonderful.

Was it really?!? I change my vote!

Two of a Kind is a great story: I have twice ironically its in Mad Love trade and Batman: Black and White volume 1. I have to admit I enjoy that story because I am a twin.

Tomasi is the most underrated post-Hush writer (overshadowed by Morrison and Snyder). His writing on Damian alone earns him a place on this list.

To reiterate what others have already said: Two of a Kind is certainly brilliant.

Gaiman and Azzarelo have both put out some very interesting takes on Batman.

Don Cameron was a solid Bat-scribe. Though he never tried to reach the same complexities of Finger’s script (which, to be honest, didn’t always pay off), he usually delivered entertained Bat-tales.

Andy E. Nystrom

June 8, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Gaiman also wrote the Riddler story from the Secret Origins Special so that might have gotten him a few votes as well

The Angry Internet

June 8, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I really enjoyed part one of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, but was a bit disappointed with the way Gaiman stuck the landing (I’d just watched The Wire, so the Goodnight Moon riff seemed a bit tired to me).

Berkeley Breathed also did the same thing about six months earlier for the finale of his Opus strip. I would never suggest that Gaiman was ripping off Berke Breathed, but it seemed like an uninspired reference. Granted it was a bit surprising to see in a modern-day Batman comic.

No one from my list yet, though I toyed with the idea of voting for Gaiman (tbf, I haven’t really read that much Batman).

That Timm story is rather nice. I really need to get the B&W trade.

Yeay for Tomasi getting some love! He was in my top 5! Love his work with the Bat family. He is sooooooo underrated which has a lot to do with playing second fiddle to Morrisons and now Snyders main Batman book. He rarely has the space to make a story of his own and instead has to react to developments in the main book a lot of times, which is a real shame. When he does though, its always gold. Loved most of his tie ins as well.
He really writes Damian as good as Morrison and his Batman is like I picture the character in my mind. Such a great writer. Hope he stays on the bat books for a loooooong time and maybe gets to steer THE main Batman book for a while in the future.

Count me in as another who’d love to see Peter Tomasi get a shot at the main Bat-book when Scott Snyder moves on, he really is terrific at giving Batman and chums heart.

And as others have said Neil Gaiman’s two-parter finally priced disapproving; that final storybook bit was a particular headscratcher. I looked it up at the time, and it was a ref to some popular children’s book that either escaped British attention – well, bar Neil Gaiman – or my generation. Can’t recall what it was now!

Mike Loughlin

June 9, 2014 at 6:51 am

Gaiman also wrote a piece for Batman: Black & White vol. 1, illustrated by Simon Bisley. It’s a cute idea, with Batman and Joker actors in a comic book, but nothing to write home about. 2/3 of “Whatever Happened…” is great followed by that stupid ending. Sandman was fantastic, but keep Gaiman away from Batman, except:

“When is a Door…?,” his Riddler story, is great. Bernie Mierault drew it like a Matt Wagner who made everything more angular.

Interesting see Gaiman ranked so high with only two issues under his belt.

“…with the whole family”

Minus Cassandra, Steph and Babs.

Add me to the list that thinks Gaiman can be brilliant, but doesn’t think the “Whatever happened to…” lived up to its billing at the end.

I know this is the writers part, but what really stands out to me in that Bruce Timm B&W is the art…the more adult fare, in the animated style just seems really powerful.

What’s green, sits in a bathtub, and whistles?

I like Azzarello but he’s a bit like Garth Ennis in that he is very very one note. Broken city was pretty predictable, you knew it was going to be dark and everyone was awful in the city

In the Don Cameron pages, Penguin’s suggestion to drive them crazy by “a drop at a time on the forehead” to drive them mad was actually used (by King Tut, I believe) in the old TV show. Batman was able to remain sane by going over the multiplication tables BACKWARDS in his head, his female companion wasn’t as capable as Batman, however, so she was screwed.

I like Azzarello but he’s a bit like Garth Ennis in that he is very very one note.

Garth Ennis has some things he likes to return to, but War Stories, The Preacher, Punishermax, Heartland and Adventures in the Rifle Brigade prove he’s far from one-note.

I agree with most of what the others have said (except “Whatever Happened…”, which I loved all of… to me it was a perfect non-canon summary of what Batman means to his fictional world as well as our non-fictional one), so I won’t rehash it. I would like to add that, despite my general dislike of Nu 52 DC, I picked up every issue of the new “Batman Black and White” miniseries that they did recently and loved it. The original was amazing, and deserves every accolade it gets (I still need to collect the entire original mini, but happily read it all), and I was amazed to find that the new one was (in my opinion) just as good.

Getting Neal Adams to sign his story from the first issue of the new “B&W” at the recent Sacramento Comic Con was one of the coolest things I’ve ever had happen to me, especially when he took the time to sit me down and explain the meaning of each character and what they meant to him (it was a slow part of the day, so no line). Highly recommend reading the recent mini, especially that first issue.

Voted for Bruce Timm. Considered Peter Tomasis but didn’t vote for him. Thinking back I really should have, Bugger.

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