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Saturday, July 9, 2011

My 12 Favorite comic book writers

Don't mistake this for my saying these are the best writers of comics. They may surely be but I am writing this not from the perspective of a critic but rather as a fan. Comics are no longer kids books, gaudy and garish, nor simply funny or super heroic, they span the entire gauntlet of genre, and taste.

My taste runs the gamut from horror to dark adventure, from heroic to mythic. The works I mention are those you should look up and read, and I am suggesting them because of how they worked for me. This isn't scientific, there are no guarantees, I am simply suggesting them from my background and tastes. Please no betting upon the outcome...

My 12 favorites and your links to meet them or get to know more about them:

Chuck Dixon

Chuck is talented, and writes the way I like to read comics. He is testosteroney, his work features bullets and great dialogue, and I find him particularly effective with stories where the chief character is not altogether conflicted over his actions.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: All of them
Genre excels in: Adventure
Best Work: Winter World

Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison takes a lot of chances, and nothing you read from him is like anything you read or have read from anyone else. For that reason alone he is worth reading. He stretches my mind, and I greatly appreciate that.

Nationality: UK
Primary publisher: DC/Vertigo
Genre excels in: Capes, Horror, Adventure
Best Work: Doom Patrol

Steve Niles

Steve Niles writes great horror. If you don't like horror, then you better move on, because he excels in things you probably are creeped out by. I should say though, he does it very well.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: IDW/Dark Horse
Genre excels in: Horror
Best Work: Freaks of the Heartland

Jamie Delano

Jamie Delano writes dark stories with such style and grace I think you'd think he is a dark person. But he isn't at all. Perhaps his writing is cathartic for him. Whatever it is, it is good.

Nationality: UK
Primary publisher: Vertigo/DC
Genre excels in: Dark
Best Work: Hellblazer

Garth Ennis

Probably Garth Ennis is a writer that is an acquired taste for some, his dark humor and gruesome stories are hard for the uninitiated to believe could be published, but once you get it, it is very rewarding.

Nationality: UK (Northern Ireland)
Primary publisher: Vertigo/Avatar
Genre excels in: Horror/Dark Adventure
Best Work: 303

Warren Ellis

A very intelligent writer who writes very mentally rewarding works. I like his work for the breadth and depth of what he does.

Nationality: UK
Primary publisher: Vertigo/Avatar
Genre excels in: Horror
Best Work: Dark Blue

Mark Waid

No one does super heroes better, because he does not sneer at the concept of super heroes. Mark Waid is a good choice for any super hero book.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: DC
Genre excels in: Capes
Best Work: Kingdom Come

Frank Miller

Cinematic in presentation, Miller understands that comics are very much like movies, and commands your eyes on the page from the beginning. And he takes no prisoners.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: All of them
Genre excels in: Crime, Adventure, Capes
Best Work: The Dark Knight Returns

Paul Jenkins

I think Paul Jenkins writes in ways that are most organic, so you can feel the works he feels, and see the seams when it is less from the heart. This isn’t to say it isn’t always good, it is to say that the works of his that work best for me hit me very hard.

Nationality: UK
Primary publisher: Marvel
Genre excels in: Capes, Adventure
Best Work: Inhumans


Crime comics were good at best before Bendis arrived, but since then he took the level of quality about four levels higher. Anything in his hands is a work depth.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: Marvel
Genre excels in: Crime, Capes
Best Work: Daredevil

Mike Carey

When Mike Carey writes he is committed to telling a story that makes perfect sense, is deep in characterization, and is of compelling interest to read the vast quantity of that story line. I think he is a very hard worker, and it shows with the excellence throughout the run of any comic he writes.

Nationality: UK
Primary publisher: Vertigo
Genre excels in: Horror, Mythic
Best Work: Lucifer

Steven Grant

Steven Grant writes crime comics like he is paying the world back for an injustice. They are hard edged, angry works that belong in the genre like few others.

Nationality: USA
Primary publisher: First
Genre excells in: Crime, Adventure
Best Work: Punisher: Circle of Blood