Last week was 10 writers at the top of their games. You knew of and damn well should have loved everyone on that list. This week its 10 you should have heard of and should be reading all the books of, but as you might not, I’m here to yell at you until you do.
Honorable Mention – Zeb Wells, Tony Bedard
Wells was fantastic on New Mutants, with an underrated throwback of a run, while his Shed is an all-time classic Spider-Man tale that’s in trade now and absolutely must-read. He’s a shoe in for the list if only … he was still writing anything but Carnage.
Bedard falls between thsis week’s list and last week’s thanks to Green Lantern Corps being a bit too major of a book for this list. He’s still great.
10. John Rogers – Rogers wrote the excellent Blue Beetle with Keith Giffen, DC’s Most Underrated Great Title of the last decade. With his current work, Dungeons and Dragons, he’s taking that same sense of fun and community to a great fantasy setting, using the Fourth Edition main setting of Fallcrest. Given how closely tied the DnD/ sword and sorcery fanbase is with comic fans, it’s hard to imagine this one not being enjoyed by a huge selection of people, if they try it.
9. Rick Remender – Some guys just write really fun comics. Remender made a name for himself with some great creator owned work like The Last Days of American Crime, Book 1 and the absolutely, incredibly fun The Punisher: Franken-Castle. He’s bringing that same fun, with a bit of comics commentary to Uncanny X-Force, a truly enjoyable 90s style X-Book, and will be handling the Venom relaunch and, oh, by-the-way, it’s sure to be great, so pick it up!
8. Bryan Q Miller – Unfortunately better known for the Smallville episodes he writes than his wonderful Batgirl, Miller has turned hateful shrew Stephanie Brown into a relatable, interesting and downright hilarious character. I was among those who bemoaned the vacating of the Batgirl title by Cassandra Cain, but when it was for stories this good, it’s difficult to complain. He’s going to need more than Batgirl for more notice, which is more a sad testament to the comics industry than to his stellar work within said industry thus far.
7. John Layman – Chew Volume 1: Taster’s Choice started off slow but has fast become one of my favorite books, as the adventures within are fresh, original, and hilarious, without ever failing to be taken seriously. Chew is, of course, a hit, selling far better than most non-superhero works, and Layman will expand his audience when he takes the Spider-Man, Deadpool and Hulk Annuals for Marvel this coming summer, as well as the Chew TV show. Don’t be late on this one like you were Walking Dead.
6. Kieron Gillen – He ranks highly because Phonogram is still one of the best comics I’ve ever read and while his Marvel work hasn’t lived up to that, he had a great run on Thor and is about to get Uncanny X-Men for his own, along with Generation Hope. He’s also returning to Thor, becoming Journey into Mystery and starring Loki, which sounds phenomenal. I hope all of these are huge hits and he’s never on a list like this again, mostly because I really badly want more Phonogram .
5. Scott Snyder – Scott Snyder got a bit lucky, writing Stephen King’s American Vampire was bound to get him noticed, especially since he hit it out of the park. With King gone, he continues to sell great and hit it out of the park on that book and has done so well he has absolutely ensured he’s never on this list again by writing an incredibly good Dick Grayson solo book in Detective Comics.
4. Roger Langridge – I don’t know what’s next for Langridge, but between Thor: The Mighty Avenger and The Muppet Show Comic Book, I do know I’ll be buying it. More than anyone else on the list, Langridge makes comics a joy to read and reminds me of the awe with which I viewed the medium as a child.
3. Paul Cornell – Cornell was bound to be awesome after Wisdom, Captain Britain and MI:13 and Dark X-Men and, surprise surprise, when DC gave the former Dr. Who writer Action Comics, he showed a creative flair for the fantastic and complex long-term plotting that make him potentially the next Grant Morrison.
2. Nick Spencer – Ah, DC, what to do with you. You manage to make Roberson a star with Superman and stick Snyder on Detective. You even manage to nab Cornell for Marvel, but then you find another surefire talent in Nick Spencer, whose Jimmy Olsen backups in Action Comics were fantastic, whose Thunder Agents is excellent, whose one issue of Supergirl was amazing, and then you lose him to Marvel who are willing to give him real top selling stuff like Secret Avengers (after Brubaker) and a hugely promoted Iron Man 2.0 book. Marvel didn’t waste their money on this young talent. He’s got imagination and ideas to spare, always with a clever Spencer twist, making his excellent work feel like the very best of a bygone era with a modern spin.
1. Fred Van Lente – Besides that the Incredible Hercules
is the best bit of Marvel mythology since Simonson left Thor, Van Lente takes tiny ideas and turns them into huge, character defining epics. From Hercules to Taskmaster
, to the new Power Man and Iron Fist . I’ve been a fan since Action Philosophers!
and hope the epic looking Cowboys and Aliens
movie finally get Van Lente the attention he deserves.