The countdown continues! Here are the next four comic book writers you voted as your all-time favorites (out of approximately 1,023 votes cast, with 10 points for first-place votes, 9 points for second-place votes, etc.).
38. Gail Simone – 243 points (3 votes for first place)
Gail Simone’s work has maintained a delightful balance of humor and darkness for years, on shows like Birds of prey, Deadpool/Agent X, wonder woman and more. She basically has a way of finding the humanity in dark stories, while still having enough dark stuff in her work that that humanity has to work to show itself. Perhaps the best example of this approach is his acclaimed run on Secret 6where she had a bunch of villains working together as a team, mostly Deadshot, Catman, and Scandal Savage.
The key element of the series was the emotional bonds these thieves shared with each other (Bane also became a major player in the ongoing series. Other characters came and went as well, with Simone/Scott Jeannette’s creation being the another most enduring new addition). Thus, a scene could be filled with sweetness and sadism at the same time.
It’s generally been a hallmark of Simone’s work for years, the ability to zig-zag out of the way when you think she’s going to zag and zag when you’re sure a zig is on the way.
An interesting recent example of this sort of thing was on the Dynamite Golden Age miniseries Daredevil (with artist Walter Geovani) where Daredevil steps in to protect the residents of a boarding house from the owner who wants to tear it down. He finds himself trapped in the house with them as he recovers from a stroke and, well, things get weird as Simone cleverly goes from ordinary to extraordinary as we see Daredevil moved to different realities. , all centered around this house. A, a western (well, a western movie, that is)…
and the other, with the house now a nursing home and Daredevil an elderly patient there…
It just shows you how you never know what to expect from a Gail Simone comic except that it will be interesting. She is currently writing a fascinating series called Variants for Marvel with Phil Noto where Jessica Jones gets drawn into a crazy mystery involving, well, you know, its multiversal variants…
37. Robert Kirkman – 248 points (3 votes for first place)
Robert Kirkman is most famous, of course, for co-creating the cultural phenomenon known as The Walking Deadwhich he wrote for more than fifteen years, including writing for the hit television series adapted from the comic book, but the fun thing about Kirkman is that the animated adaptation of his superhero series, Invincibleis now ALSO a major crossover hit, so my usual talk about how Kirkman is more than just The Walking Dead is not even that necessary, because everyone knows how Invincible is so.
So I guess I should adapt my spiel and say, okay, y’all know Kirkman from his hit zombie series, as well as his OTHER hit series about a young superhero dealing with his father who gets turns out to be an alien invader, but Kirkman is so much more than those two bestselling comics! If I had to pick a particular “style” for Kirkman, I’d say his work tends to have storylines that take a “realistic” look at what it would be like if X happened. For example, if we lived in a world of superheroes, what would that really be like? That’s what Invincible often looked like – there was a lot of death and destruction. Also, Kirkman has always been willing to kill off characters in his titles because, again, it’s a very natural thing.
Also, another strength of Kirkman is how quickly he comes up with compelling characters, to the point where you’re quickly interested in seeing what happens to that character and become invested in that character’s world. This was the case in Walking Dead, Banned and one of his other recently completed series, song of oblivion. Here’s a bit showing the basic initial setup, about a man trying to bring people home after they disappeared into oblivion seemingly years earlier…
I particularly admire Kirkman’s dedication to the world of comics. Many other people might have taken a step back after the success of Walking Dead, but Kirkman never stops creating new comics. He is currently writing Firepower with the great Chris Samnee.
36. Tom Taylor – 271 points (2 votes for first place)
Tom Taylor began to gain attention in the comics world while working with independent Australian comics publisher, Gestalt Publishing, on his the abyss series, which was later adapted into a cartoon series. However, by then Taylor had already been working on projects for Gestalt for years, as well as a number of star wars projects for Dark Horse while the company still had the Star Wars license (and some early DC and Wildstorm projects).
However, it was really the double hits he had for DC in 2013 that made him a better known name among comic book fans, as his comic book series ties into the hit video game series, Injustice: Gods Among Us, was almost shocking how a comic book was a prequel to a series of video games. Around the same time, he resumed writing Earth 2 to move on from original writer James Robinson, and it looked like Taylor had nearly cornered the market writing compelling alternate superhero stories, an ability he still uses on a number of projects today (seriously, if you want an alternate universe take on superheroes, Taylor is, like, THE guy for the job).
The huge amount of stories he managed to extract from the Injustice world was amazing, because it felt like Taylor was using this alternate DC universe as a playground to do whatever cool idea he felt like, and boy, there were a lot of cool ideas (he again worked with an artist he had worked with at Dark Horse, Bruno Redondo. Remember that name).
His success in DC led Marvel to offer him assignments as well. He had an outstanding take on Iron Man during a time when Tony Stark had been “reversed” (so his typical good with a bit of an edge was now quite sharp, with a tinge of good), but this series , Superior iron man (with the great Yıldıray Çınar) was cut short by Secret Wars. He garnered a lot of applause for his All-New Wolverine series, where he introduced clones of the new Wolverine (Laura), including the adorable Gabby…
While continuing to work on various Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book sequel and other projects for Marvel and DC (a nice Spider Man run, a pleasure X-Men: Red series), he then went on to do his next big alternate universe comic series with DC’s Deceased (with Trevor Hairsine) about an alternate universe that’s basically a DC zombie comic. Taylor has been doing sequels to this series for years now, with the stakes getting higher and higher as they go.
While continuing to make the remarkable alternate future series, dark timesfor Marvel (along with Iban Coello), Taylor has gone exclusive with DC Comics, and boy has he done a number of top-notch recent projects for them, including the ongoing series starring Jon Kent, the Superman’s son, as the new Superman (here’s a touching moment when Jon reveals to his mother, Lois Lane, that he’s bisexual)…
and an award-winning race on night wing with Bruno Redondo (I said remember him!), where the duo keep trying more and more interesting approaches to the title, like a problem that makes it a long panel…
Taylor is also in the middle of another big series of alternate universes, Black Knights of Steelwith Jasmine Putri (essentially, DC Universe meets Game of Thrones).
Taylor is one of the main writers in DC these days, so I’m sure we have a lot more interesting projects to look forward to (some of them strength take place in an alternate universe).
35. Will Eisner – 285 points (4 votes for first place)
For years, every week Will Eisner had to come up with an irresistible Spirit story in just eight pages. His approach was to take the odd format and use it to try out different and sometimes wacky ideas. Like so soon Spirit story where a crook is about to kill a “rat” when a scientist approaches him to test a drug that allows people to see the future…
An entire battle sequence set in the FUTURE! It’s a good idea NOW – in 1941 it was exceptionally soaring.
After The mind completed in the early 1950s, Eisner spent the next two decades working for the Army on various publications and also working as a freelance designer. In the late 1970s, he returned to comics with a series of personal graphic novels, the most famous of which was “A Contract with God”.