10 Writers I Dig at the Top of their Games
This isn’t a list up and comers (that’ll be next week), this is major names on books that sell who have at least one opus to their credit. This is the elite and the veterans of the comic industry, my absolute favorites of those that are already there based solely upon current work (sorry to Warren Ellis, my all time favorite, who just isn’t doing anything I love right now).
Honorable mention: Peter Tomasi – While I love a majority of his work, especially Nightwing and GLC, his current output is, to me, less than stellar. I haven’t really dug Emerald Warriors thanks to a lackluster villain and slowly unfolding plot, and, well, the less said about Brightest Day the better. The first issue of Batman and Robin was, however, stellar, and gives me hope for a return to form.
10. Dan Slott – I’ve never been much of a Spider-Fan, but lately I find myself picking up issues of Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man. His plots, well, they’re a bit overly convoluted and convenient, but his characters are excellent and he has nailed the fun and voice that these characters should have. This is a compelling comic!
9. Mark Waid – Incorruptible and Irredeemable are just excellent variations on the superhero comic. This is far darker than most would expect from Waid, but the sheer quality, reminiscent actually of his Kingdom Come work, should make these two books must read. They’re a bit high priced, but two tied in books with this consistently great content are absolutely worth it.
8. Gail Simone – Gail is among my favorite writers for one simple reason: Secret Six. The sheer joy of these devilish characters is not to be underestimated, nor is how she keeps them sympathetic and tragic. It’s difficult to write a villain well as the protagonist at all and Gail has managed to do so with years for an entire group of them. Birds of Prey, since its return, hasn’t been quite as good (and knocks Gail a bit down the list), but is still a good book, leaving Gail a consistently under-selling gem.
7. Matt Fraction – One of the main voices of Marvel, Fraction continues his definitive Iron Man run, while relinquishing Uncanny X-Men, which it seems I’m the only one that has enjoyed it, for Thor, which has thus far been terrible. Still, an all-time great run and another good one get you ranked, and he’s putting out the best creator owned Marvel book ever at the same time, Casanova Gula. If Thor improves, he goes to around #3.
6. Fabian Nicieza – For about two decades, Fabian just writes good, consistent comics. He doesn’t have the highs and the lows of everyone on the list (outside of the top 3 who are all highs), but for two decades he’s put out extremely enjoyable books. Red Robin has gone from a total mess to a must-read under his watch and he’s doing wonderful things with Tim Drake, the forgotten member of the Bat-Family.
5. Grant Morrison – Grant is, when he’s on, a master of the marketed superheroic epic, and, as of now, Batman Inc is a joyously fun read with a ton of depth. A few months ago he could rank higher, but he’s prone to really good, but weird misfires on his smaller work (Joe the Barbarian bored me, Seaguy was just too strange), and Batman Inc is exploring themes he has already hit in New X-Men. Still, the ride is the interesting part, as always with Morrison.
4. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – They used to be #1 and with the end of Thanos Imperative alone, they would but, but the tie up issue was rather weaker, as were their choices for the Annihilators and, finally, Heroes of Hire and Astonishing Iron Man/Thor are both very good, but written a bit clunkily (yes, I made that up), especially when it comes to character speech. Annihilators and the Groot/Rocket Raccoon backup are fully expected to justify this spot, but, well, it’s a bit of a hopeful ranking at this point.
3. Jason Aaron – Between Wolverine and PunisherMax he’s near the top of the list already. I mean, he writes the best Wolverine I’ve ever read, and his Punisher is second only to Ennis’, but the real gold in the Aaron library is Scalped, which is arguably the best comic being published today. But don’t take my word for it, check out James Fulton’s.
2. Robert Kirkman – The dude writes the two best comics I read, with Invincible and Walking Dead, that’s a truly top of the line output, and I mean ever, for anyone… but anything else he’s done lately is either weak or plagued by delays. Still, two all-time great runs on creator owned material. Still, what the hell happened to Guardians of the Globe and Wolf-Man was really meh.
1. Jonathan Hickman – Is it too soon to say that this is my favorite FF run since Stan and Jack? Okay, that’s heavy praise, but Hickman has done nothing but deserve it, churning out Marvel’s best book. Sure, people are complaining about the continuity nonsense and about how the dead member will be back, but they’re missing the point: this is a stellar bit of storytelling. Along with Marvel’s best book, he also has the one with the widest scope, the most interesting premise, Shield, which is unlike anything else Marvel produces with a huge plot and gorgeous art. Add in Secret Warriors, a spy-superhero comic that has one of the best written Nick Fury looks I’ve ever seen and, well, he edges out Kirkman, if barely.
Tags: andy lanning, dan abnett, Dan Slott, DnA, fabian nicieza, Gail simone, Grant Morrison, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Mark Waid, matt fraction, Peter Tomasi, Robert Kirkman, Top 10