Top Ten Comic Writers – My List
As I’ve mentioned before, over on CBR, and more specifically the Comics Should Be Good blog, they are running a Top 100 countdown of favourite writers and artists. I took my time, deliberated internally, and came up with my two lists. It was a tough one, and I’m sure I’ve missed someone; and I’m equally sure this could change on any given day, but here is the list of my Top 10 writers. Later I’ll compare my picks and see how they stack up. But now, on with the list.
1 Brian K Vaughan
Not only is BKV the writer I enjoy the most, he’s also the one I would aspire to be the most like. He crafts his pages like little masterpieces and his understanding of structure and form and tone is genius. He earns this top spot for his work on Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and Runaways. I rate Y as the greatest comic ever written, and his other work is all nearly just as good. It’s a shame he doesn’t seem to work as well in the Big Two sandboxes but I think I’d always prefer his own creations anyway. I just wish he was writing a comic right now. I’d be on board, absolutely, guaranteed, for sure. The man writes funny and heartfelt stories that purely ring true. I can’t ask anymore from a writer.
2 Ed Brubaker
Brubaker is number two pure sheer force of will. Not everything he writes is gold dust but sometimes, when he gets it just right, he does it better than anyone else out there. Work like Incognito, Sleeper, Criminal are just amazing. His Captain America work really is very solid and seeing him leave that title one day will leave a big hole in the Marvel U. His Daredevil run was solid and I think a little underappreciated – I know I took it for granted until the next creative team came on board. Brubaker knows how to craft intriguing tales told over time, and with continuity characters as well as his own. For that, he’s one of the best.
3 Jason Aaron
It might seem a little quick to put this nascent writer so high on the list but seriously, run through his list, he earns the spot. He’s rarely put a foot wrong and he’s nearly always the best thing associated with any event. His Black Panther tie-in to Secret Invasion was great. His Fat Cobra one shot was the best of the Immortal Weapons series. He’s kicking goals with PunisherMAX, Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine, and there’s no doubt Scalped is one of the best titles in the stands. He’s a whirlwind of excessive thoughts, devious characters, and brilliant plotting and dialogue. He’s earnt a spot where I’ll follow him into any title now, and so should you.
4 Stan Lee
It’s not just a nostalgic choice that needs to be made, it’s a truth that should be universally acknowledged. Without Lee we would not have comics as they are today, that’s for sure. But the amount of sheer creation and verbosity the man was capable of was astounding. He was a talent and a force to be rockoned with, even if his greatest talent was aligning himself with the best artists of his time. For creating The Marvel U from the ground up though, and offering up some of the greatest stories ever told, he keeps this spot warm.
5 Kieron Gillen
Another relatively new one, but a writer with so much consistent talent that it’s hard to ignore. The Phonogram series will grab your attention, if it hasn’t already, and just about prove on its own that Gillen is a force to be reckoned with. He’s played great with characters like Beta Ray Bill and Ares in mini form and his S.W.O.R.D. title really was one of the best things to come out of Marvel for a while. Generation Hope kicked off strong, hopefully it can stay that way. But the test, and it’s a big one, will be if he can make Uncanny X-Men a must read title; many other great writers have tried and failed.
6 Brian Wood
Wood reminds me of BKV in a lot of ways, even looks, but more because he immerses himself in a project and the erudition is evident on every page. You pick up Northlanders and it’s just brilliant, a good marker for much of his other work, but Wood truly earns this spot with one immense title that is rocketing up to become one of my all-time favourites, DMZ. If you’ve read DMZ then you’ll know why I love Wood and his work, that comic is pure genius.
7 Robert Kirkman
Kirkman gets ragged on, a lot, even by me. But you still have to respect the man’s talents, when he’s on. The Walking Dead is still, pound for pound, one of the best comics on the stands. It’s been going for years and still manages to surprise and shock and the charcater work just gets deeper and better. Almost for this title alone Kirkman should be somewhere in the list. But it helps he wrote Irredeemable Ant-Man, nay, created him. That comics is still awesome, and work like Invincible certainly has its high points, and I liked Marvel Zombies. Some of his other work might not be awesome but I can forgive it.
8 Matt Fraction
Fraction has not impressed me lately, he even feels to be falling off my radar, almost, but there’s no denying the man is a talent and once he’s back on something I want to read I’ll be all over it. Casanova just about says it all (though it seems I’m picking writers for their one major work…) but you can support that argument with Last of the Independents, his Thor one-shots, The Immortal Iron Fist, and even Punisher: War Journal is something to be checked out. Fraction is capable of writing very smart and snarky comics, things you want to read more than once. he’s good, I just need to keep reminding myself of that.
9 Duane Swierczynski
A personal choice? Sure. A decent one? I think so. Am I probably alone on this one? Who cares? It’s a favourite list, you don’t need to agree. Swierczynski’s high note on comics, for me, will be his Immortal Iron Fist run. It really had some solid stuff in there. His Punisher Max arc was pretty fine, and his Black Widow work started so incredibly strong, though ended not so strong. Are there ‘better’ writers out there? Maybe…But I’ll always follow Swierczynski onto a title so by pure definition he makes the list. Deal with it.
10 Joe Casey
Casey is a writer who snuck up on me. Godland was what got me through the door but he’s got such a variety of back catalogue material. It’s impressive. The man can write nearly any genre; funny, nasty, and all the spectrum in between. Whenever he comes up with a new project it’s usually worth checking out. I like that about a writer.
So, that’s my top ten list, for now. Agree/disagree, whatever, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Posted on November 29th, 2010 by ryan
Filed under: comics