By: J.M. Giovine
Any single comic book lover should know that, it doesn’t matter how awesome your draw and pencils may be, without a good story, they mean nothing, and these guys surely know how to put the right words to they’re creations. Here are my personal top 10 favorite comic book authors/writers of all time:
10- Steve Niles.
One of Clive Barker’s best buds, Steve Niles is easily recognizable for creating the awesome 30 Days of Night graphic novel, which might give you an idea of how he develops in the industry. With works like a spinoff of 28 Days Later “The Aftermath”, Hyde, Criminal Macabre, City of Dust, and even a comic adaptation of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, his the rescuer of the horror in comic books. Dark, gritty and merciless with his characters, his gothic frames never stops giving us the chills. Taking notable works inside the horror genre, Nives made a name of himself exploiting it, and his most recent work, October Faction, already became a critically celebrated deliver which I can’t wait to check out. The perfect author to read in a cold-grim October night.
9- Mike Mignola.
Only one word to put this guy in the list, Hellboy. Yeah, the creator (narrative and graphically) of the interdimentional red devil made his main creation back in the 90s, under the seal of Dark House Comics, and he had been there since then. Closely friend with Guillermo Del Toro (who’d directed both Hellboy movies), Mignola hasn’t left his character since the making, and he even keeps making the covers and art work for most of the issues, which makes him probably the only one in this list with that quality. His tones are dark, mixed with little doses of humor, which difference him from other similar writers. He also has another graphic novel called Zombie World, which I haven’t checked, but according to experts it’s another indie masterwork.
8- Jeph Loeb.
A strange election (If I may) because Loeb can be either hyper appreciated or simply ignored in his common style. For me, the guy knows how to explore the most sensitive scenarios of the most popular characters, two perfect examples of this are Batman and Spider-man, for the first one he wrote the worldwide known little jewel The Long Halloween, which is my favorite Batman graphic novel of them all, and for Spidey he brought us the beloved and nostalgic Blue, story that take us to revisit the lost of Gwen Stacy. Fallen Son is one of his most recognizable works, which tells the events of Captain America’s death, and well, everybody loves Batman’s great Hush. One of my favorites was, in fact, the arc in the Wolverine issue in which he foughts (and kill) Sabretooth, just brilliant. His works can derivate from each other, but all I know is that, when he teams up with the great Tim Sale, something awesome results. I’m reading Daredevil’s “Yellow”, and I want to go for Hulk’s “Grey”.
7- Chris Claremont.
The man behind the image of the X-men as we know them. This guy did an awesome gob taking over the mutants for quite a long time, giving us the most popular and acclaimed stories of the sons of the atom that, obviously, ended up influencing the movies for good. Days of Future Past, The Wolverine first numbers, The Dark Phoenix Saga, Genesis, House of M, man, you name it and he is there. I think there hasn’t been another writer that stood for so long in a comic that he doesn’t even created originally, but he saw what the original lacked of; he introduced characters like Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue… The dude elevated the mutants into unimaginable levels and also, gave to each one the personality that defined them for the best, making them the lovable cool characters that we cannot help but to follow till the end.
6- Mark Waid.
The good Mark. Haven’t heard about him? Surely you did, he wrote what its considered to be the best of DC’s story of all time (or at least one of), Kingdome Come. I personally knew him because of the recent Daredevil series (before and after Marvel Now) which I consider them spectacular, and also a pretty weird Spidey graphic novel: Family Business. His personal works, Irremeedable and Incorruptible (which I haven’t read) are recognizable inside the underground field. Waid is strong with his words and he surely knows how to cliff hang you at the end of each issue, but is also the significance that he gives to his characters that actually made us care for them, and that’s something that I’ve learned from his recent Daredevil arc, which I prefer second only to Miller’s. Waid isn’t afraid of putting an end to his characters, and he also gives them strong dialogs to complete the feeling for them, and his endings are deep and sentimental. Very few writers knows how to end a comic book series with a warm touch, and he is, in fact, one of them.
5- Stan Lee.
This wouldn’t have been a complete top without the grandfather of the house of ideas. Stan ‘The Man’ Lee is the responsible (alongside with Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto) of creating more than half the entire Marvel universe. He started back in the days of TimeLine Comics (before becoming Marvel) writing the Captain America issues, right before turning into the main chief and the head of the entire studio. His style in the frames may be a little cheesy and goofy (hey! Those were the 60s!) but have you met someone with such creativity and imagination to made an entire library of awesome and interesting singular characters like Iron Man, Spider-man, The Hulk, The X-men, The Fantastic Four, Thor, Dr. Strange, etc.? I think not! He even kept making more characters for the Boom! Comics house, not even related to Marvel, but with complete credit of his work. He also did a lot of cameos in many Marvel movies, becoming notable, even for the non-readers. The Man is a legend and a personal inspiration since I’ve started loving comic books, back in my childhood.
4- Mark Millar.
This is hot ground. The world knows him better as the creator of the always beloved Kick Ass series, but truth is, this guy is much more. When Marvel created his Ultimate universe it did the best it could’ve done; calling this guy to take over some of their most famous characters, like the Fantastic Four and the X-men, but the thing isn’t over there. Yeah, like I said, he’s the responsible (with John Romita Jr.) for Kick Ass, but also of other minor works like Wanted, The Secret Service, and Nemesis, for other independent houses. The man has tons of style and bad words, combined with nice storytelling and well developed concepts in each page. Like a teenager with extended language and a huge imagination who’s secretly in love with explicit violence (not that I complain), he has a weird talent to mixing deep moments with explosive bloody action, and not everyone manage to do that combination pretty well. But the two works of his that I worship since I first read them are Old Man Logan and The Ultimates Vol. 1 & 2. Oh, man, those are some serious sh*t, and two of the best of Marvel in general. The first one is an amazing What If that takes Wolverine as an old Clint Eastwood kind of guy, along with a blind Hawkeye, into a road trip across a post-apocalyptic North America, facing all kinds of danger, mixing classic superhero elements with great western feeling. The second is a very adult vision on the Ultimate version of The Avengers, a comic book that I loved instantly, taking the classic characters into sexual conflicts, violent environments, graphic but discrete violence, and a story so addictive that you cannot do but read it all at once. Millar is a legend, just ask anyone in the field.
3- Grant Morrison.
Oh, boy, if it were for me, I’ll give the great Morrison the same spot as Millar, why? Both had give their respective houses (DC, Marvel) a lot of prestige. Grant is the responsible for a lot of awesome DC stories since the late 90s, just read the freaking Batman Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, a masterpiece on its own, and worth the 3rd spot in this list just by itself. Even the X-men receive his treatment with a pretty yellow/black look. Also, he wrote my favorite story for Superman (not that I’m a fan, though) with All Star, in general a very recognizable and awarded one. Also, the stylized JLA Earth 2, which gave the Justice League a very interesting perspective for the group of heroes. But the thing doesn’t end up there, If there’s a guy that filled VERTIGO with a considerable amount of stories is him; We3, Joe the Barbarian, The Invisibles. Damn, the guy have a gift for imagination, and his stories I never get tired of, actually, I haven’t read any bad work of him (so with Millar) which It gives you a pretty accurate idea why I consider there two dudes as same opposites. Why do I’d give the 3rd spot to him and not to Millar? Easy, I read Morrison first.
2- Frank Miller.
Probably you did see this one coming, and who can blame me? This guy made a name of himself for only one work: The Dark Knight Returns. There’s no fan of the Bat who don’t know about this, even if they’ve only heard of it, its consider to be the most popular and influential story of Batman, and a must read for the general comic book gore, but his magic keeps going; he’s the responsible for the critical acclaimed 300 and Sin City (his two personal classics) both published by Dark House, and also for the same DC, he made the origin that most of the people know for the Bat in the Year One mini-series. A personal favorite, for my own, is his Daredevil issues. He literally redefines the image and tone of the whole comic, giving Matt Murdock the ideal personality and making him struggling with his personal demons, also making his foes even more lethal (his version of Bullseye, my God). Also, if you didn’t know, he gave Wolverine his most famous and defining quote: “I’m the best in what I do, and what I do is not so nice”. As a fun fact, Mr. Miller made the story for Robocop’s 2 & 3, which they ended up being totally modified from its original concept, but there’s a comic book called Frank Miller’s Robocop, that supposedly recollects the original script made by Miller, dumped by the movie studios. He also co-directed the two Sin City movies with Robert Rodriguez, and also a not well received adaptation of The Spirit, but in general, the guy posses an impeccable library, but not as epic as…
1- Alan Moore.
The God, the King, the Supreme writer of the business. Alan Moore Is the giant behind the epics V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Hellblaizer… he even gave comics like The Man Thing and Miracleman the most strong arcs of its issues. Also, who can forget the always memorable The Killing Joke? Graphic novel that crowned The Joker as The villain of the Bat, but the iconic one its, undeniably, Watchmen, remembered as one of the most important works in the industry, and that hasn’t suffered the curse of time. Moore’s work it’s filled with satire, mockery on the genre and plagued with beautiful and smart writing that never gets old. He may be a little conservative, for not saying odd and reserved, but his ideology it’s embodied on his works in a way only he can do. The man is also very critical on what Hollywood have done adapting his works to the big screen, but I can’t blame him, mostly his adaptations have been mediocre and very poor. There’s one work that I really need to check, it’s called Lost Girls, which shows a very adult shape of the famous fairy tale princess, showing them as exotic/sexual opened characters. The man has a twister on his head, and I really can’t help but to admire and follow a person like that. Its pure talent and genie printed into words. Apparently, Moore had written a book about 3 million word, which is 3 times a Lord of the Rings trilogy in size, and if that’s the case, that’s a huge example of how extravaganza works for him. I don’t know what the novel it’s about, but I surely going to dig into it. If I can made myself with the books, I’m definitely going to give it a view.