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Top 25 Black Comic Book Writers #10-1

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Here are the top ten writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time.

10. Marc Bernardin

Marc Bernardin has been working as a writer and an editor for comics, television and the magazine industry for decades now (he was an editor for Entertainment Weekly and Playboy and is currently editing for Hollywood Reporter, to name three). Working with his writing partner, Adam Freeman, Bernardin has written a number of comics over the years, including the mini-series Highwaymen for Wildstorm (they also wrote a number of issues of Authority).

Recently, they gained a ton of accolades for their Top Cow one-shot, Genius, which was the winner of a vote to decide which book would get its own mini-series. The series stars a brilliant young woman, Destiny Ajaye, who starts a war on the Los Angeles police department (art by Afua Richardson)…

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Destiny Ajaye is one of the best new black characters introduced in the past decade.

9. Robert Washington III

Robert Washington III was the co-creator of Static and co-wrote the initial arc with Dwayne McDuffie before writing the book by himself for the next fifteen issues or so. Washington III made the book a compelling mixture of humor and topical discussions, stuff that you wouldn’t normally see in superhero comics, like this bit where Virgil (Static) Hawkins goes to work for a radio personality who has Anti-Semitic views, causing problems with Virgil and his Jewish friend, Frieda Goren, leading to the two getting a talking-to from their parents…

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After leaving Static, Washington worked for a few other titles, like a short run on Extreme Justice and Ninjak for Valiant. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 47.

8. David Walker

David Walker came to comics (not counting his early work translating Tokyo Tribes for TokyoPop over a decade ago) from a long career working in and around film as a top film journalist, especially in the world of Blaxploitation (where he is likely the most notable expert on the genre) .

Walker made great waves with his excellent Shaft series for Dynamite (Walker wrote the fist new Shaft novel in 40 years in 2015), showing Shaft’s origins…

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and after the fight…

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Goddamn, that’s just excellent writing. Walker is currently writing Cyborg for DC and Power Man and Iron Fist for Marvel. He’s quickly becoming as well-regarded as a comic book writer as he was as a film expert.

Go to the next page for #7-4!

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17 Comments

I loved how much diversity there was in terms of superhero writers vs non-hero writers.

I was, however, heartbroken that Adam Hines didn’t make rank. Another year!

Hines came close. I believe he was #29. Brandon Easton had it the roughest, as he was #26 (Geoffrey Thorne was #27 and Robert Morales #28).

Really great list but so depressing we lost McDuffie and Washington too soon. The latter was particularly under appreciated (anyone who made Extreme Justice readable after those awful early issues deserves an Eisner award).
Also getting more writers to check out so thanks.

Say here, this GENIUS looks more interesting than its short and boring ad in Previews made it sound? Will have to dig into reviews! (Diamond has it available as MAR150534.)

Nice to see the STATIC excerpt use some mirror transitions, ala WATCHMEN. Few creators bother to develop their visual language beyond the panel.

KRAZY KAT and CITIZEN KANE are probably William Randolph Hearst’s legacy, heh. Not unlike THE FAR SIDE, there can be a learning curve of sorts: one often need to have accumulated a number of them before “getting” the offbeat charm of its prose, dialogs, and universe. Some strips touch obliquely upon race and queer issues. For instance, Ignatz Mouse falls in love with a white cat, until realizing it’s a dyed Krazy. The latter is male or female on its whim, and accepted as such: when he wears a dress, Krazy is called “she” even by the cop.

AYA’s scans are unfortunately so blurry there, but the book has crisp art! It’s basically a great rom-com, and refreshingly not involving war or famine or other news clichés while being set in Africa. (Well, except for one arc about the gay Michael Jackson clone who goes to Paris and creates a commotion as a hairdresser. Don’t ask!)

Kyle Baker once released a page announcing THE COWBOY WALLY SHOW 2, and I’m still unsure whether he joked or never got to it! He also did KING DAVID, because he found it the biblical story with the most sex and violence, heh.

(Isn’t it funny how many of these notices end with premature death? But not funny ha-ha like Kyle Baker.)

Plenty to ponder, thanks!

Wait, just one more thing… I’d like to point at a four more major books from overlooked single-work cartoonists!

One that’s in print but also free online, an ill-titled allegory of MLK and MX:

* DUNCAN THE WONDER DOG (2010+) by Adam Hines
cf. http://goodokbad.com/index.php/reviews/duncan_the_wonder_dog_review
and http://www.geneva-street.com/duncanthewonderdog/

Two more B&W, drama and social scifi:

* THE ZABÎME SISTERS (2010/1996) by Aristophane [1967–2004]
cf. http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/04/10/the-zabime-sisters-review/

* THE CHANGERS (2003) by Ezra Claytan Daniels
cf. http://www.grovel.org.uk/reviews/change01/change01.htm
and http://www.grovel.org.uk/reviews/change02/change02.htm

And one FC, social fantasy:

* BAYOU (2009+) by Jeremy Love
cf. http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/reviews/bayou-by-jeremy-love-patrick-morgan/
and http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com/2015/02/bayou-v1-2-by-jeremy-love.html

Maybe for another poll!

Great list! I’d have put Herriman higher and Hudlin lower, but of course everybody has their faves.

AYA’s scans are unfortunately so blurry there, but the book has crisp art! It’s basically a great rom-com, and refreshingly not involving war or famine or other news clichés while being set in Africa. (Well, except for one arc about the gay Michael Jackson clone who goes to Paris and creates a commotion as a hairdresser. Don’t ask!)

Just for you, I put in new scans from Drawn and Quarterly’s online excerpt. :)

Certainly cannot argue with the top three.

The last major convention I went to I made it a point to track down Dwayne McDuffie and Kyle Baker and tell them how much I enjoyed their work over the years. I’m glad I did, as McDuffie passed away I think less than a year later. His contribution to the industry – in spite of editorial’s best efforts to stymie him – cannot be overstated.

And while Baker’s graphic novels are a master class in cartooning, his Plastic Man run remains one of my favorite superhero comics. Just sheer fun. And I still say Priest’s Black Panther run is one of the best things to come out of Marvel Knights.

I remembered someone who I should have put on my list: Ian Jones-Quartey. RPG World, greatest webcomic of all time.

Reginald Hudlin was also one of the producers of the Oscar telecast last Sunday night.

And have you ever done a Legend or something on the whole Owsley/Priest name change? Seems like there’s a lot of urban legends about that one.

Oh, thanks Brian! I was sad to imagine some readers might think AYA amateurish and skip it…

(Another thing is, Abouet may not write much more comics, not unlike Spiegelman or Satrapi, thus losing the exposure from having new work out regularly. One more reason, I think, to nurture any chance for AYA OF YOP CITY to get a little attention!)

One of Priest’s last work for Marvel was a fill-in during Jurgens’ Thor run, issue #59. One of the best single issue stories i have ever read. just fantastic. And i thought his short CA and Falcon was awesome too.

I Really wish Baker would do monthly work, somewhere.

Baker’s drawing, but not writing, the Image 5 issue mini coming out soon called Circuit Breaker. Not sure if he’s been writing anything for a bit, though.

Oneminutemonkey

March 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

One of my treasured comic possessions is a signed copy of Static: Rebirth of the Cool that I won from Dwayne from some contest or another… or maybe it was because of a fan letter. Either way, it means a lot to me because he was such a powerful writer and I miss his work.

So many great writers on this list bringing back so many great memories. I never saw that McDuffie FF scene before, but I loved it! I don’t know why Sue doesnt use that threat on every enemy they meet.

[…] won several awards, but it has also been adapted into a film. CBR even named her one of the Top Black 25 Comic Book Writers this […]

5 more of my picks make it – so all 10 of my list made it
so almost, but not quite, every black comic writer I have read has made it
Christopher Priest made my number 2 spot due to his work on Falcon, Conan, Black Panther and other series

Love McGruder. Too bad the Boondocks cartoon fizzled, but then we got Black Jesus!

I like Reggie Hudlin as well. He was a little corny at times, but I think he’s the most Black Panther I’ve ever read!

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