The more cynical among you will, I suspect, conclude that my personal and professional relationship with today's selection was the chief factor in his high placement on my list. But if I'd never met or worked for him, this spot still would've gone to
2. Roy Thomas
You might think it's his work on the Earth-Two titles in the '80s that makes him my penultimate favorite, but you'd be wrong. Nor was it his innovative work on the Marvel super-heroes in the '60s and '70s--like the Kree-Skrull war in Avengers and the Celestials Saga in Thor--that proved decisive. Nope. It's Roy's skill at adapting material from other media that wows me. Burroughs, Stoker, Lovecraft, Poe, Lucas, Wagner: R.T. has successfully translated all of them into comics, preserving the individual author's stylistic voice while reshaping (but not altering) their plots to emphasize their visual aspects. And he never served any writer better than Robert E. Howard. Conan, Kull, Red Sonja, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn and the worlds in which they live come to vivid life under Roy's care, like orphaned children brought into a loving foster home. It amazed me back ithen and it amazes me still.
Post by coke & comics on Dec 23, 2020 8:12:43 GMT -5
2. Kurt Busiek
Phil Sheldon: When this is over, I’d said. When would that be? It would blow over. The world wouldn’t stay like this. It couldn’t. Could it? --"A Time of Marvels", Marvels #1, Marvel, 1994 (a quote that took on a new poignancy this year)
Hanged Man: I cannot return her to you... that is beyond even my power. But if the pain is too much... I can allow you to forget... Michael Tenicek: Forget her? I... uh... No. I don't want to forget. Hanged Man: As you wish. You will not remember this visit, though your sense of understanding will remain. And now, I have others to visit tonight, so... Michael: Wait! Others? What-- uh--- what do most people choose? Do they forget, or-- Narrator: For a moment he thinks he sees the twitch of a smile under that burlap hood-- Hanged Man: No one forgets. No one. --"The Nearness of You", Wizard Presents: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1/2, Homage and Wizard, 1996
Bafflerog Rumplewhisker: O powers so fierce in the sky, Who rage at the land by and by, With rain, wind, and hail, Bedevil this vail, And knock all their houses awry! Hmm. Not exactly what I'd hoped for, is it? Grumpwort: Maybe if you didn't cast your spells in the form of limericks? Bafflerog: It's the only kind of rhyming I'm good at. Are those villagers down there? Whatever are they doing? Grumplewort: They seem to be jumping for joy. Bafflerog: But they're getting all wet. Grumplewort: There's been a drought recently-- they thought they'd lose their crops and starve. Now they won't thanks to you. Bafflerog: They're grateful. It figures. I always manage to do just exactly the wrong thing. Like the time I caused an earthquake in the hills-- and exposed a vein of gold. --The Wizard's Tale, Image, 1997
Also recommended: Liberty Project, What If...?, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, Thunderbolts, Avengers, Thor: Godstorm, Shockrockets, Arrowsmith, JLa/Avengers, Superman: Secret Identity, Conan
Here's Mr. Busiek and me at Dutch Comic Con in Utrecht, 2019.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas a hero gave to me, A monster, duck, and zombie...
2. Steve Gerber Primarily selected for: Simon Garth, Man-Thing, and Howard The Duck
Howard The Duck is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, but only when Steve Gerber is writing him.
Man-Thing is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, but only when Steve Gerber is writing him.
Simon Garth is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, but (almost) only when Steve Gerber is writing (Tony Isabella wasn't bad).
Gerber lends a depth and a uniqueness to his characters that other writers seem unable to duplicate. If you think Howard The Duck is just an angry/comical antihero, you've missed the point. If you think Man-Thing is either the hero or the villain, you've missed the point. And if you think it's that amulet stirring Simon Garth to life each issue, you've missed the point.
Gerber is that fine cup of ridiculously complex and rewarding coffee someone recommends at the local shop when everyone else is offering Starbucks and Dunkin'. His stories, while often exciting in their own right, are less about delivering a conflict and more about showcasing souls.
Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Spidey 2099, X-Factor, Star Trek, Aquaman, Atlantis Chronicles. Read 'em all. Re-read time and again. Smart, fun, entertaining, humorous, all the things you want in your comic library.
He turned the Hulk's world inside/out both mentally, visually and physically turning a stale idea into a fresh take that is still played out and a permanent aspect of the character today.
An X-team made up of less likely mutants in an exciting romp? Turning Strong Guy and Madrox the Multiple Man into popular and beloved heroes? Hell yeah!
Star Trek command trinity was so spot on under his writing that you could just hear the actors voices in your head.
Turning Aquaman from fishstick's into King Crab, Lobster and Halibut? Who knew losing a hand and growing a beard could turn him into such a righteous bad ass KING of the 7 seas? Just another "little" change turning a stale, butt of jokes character into a strong, interesting charismatic character who is a major powerhouse. Then to explore the history and chronicles of his under the sea kingdom? Wondrous.
Giving us the 1st new face under the webs that has become standard for doing these days. Everyone and their brother and sister can be Spidey these days it seems. But it takes a certain something to pull it off, being memorable, unique and different while still a loved favorite. From the future even!
Turning Captain Mar-vell into a legacy character with a dubious slacker clone son (and eventually daughter as well) trying to live up to his father's standards.
Do I really need to explain more?
Last Edit: Dec 23, 2020 8:54:23 GMT -5 by brutalis
Gimme a home on the ol' prairie where I can sit in my rockin' chair reading my favorite old comic books of yesteryear!
I know, it seems an obvious choice. And a populist choice. But it’s not. I mentioned the criteria elsewhere - and that applies to Stan Lee.
Growing up, I was a DC person (whatever that is). I grew up reading the likes of the Super Powers mini-series and John Byrne’s Superman. Sure, I knew of Marvel, but there seemed to be more DC titles on the newsstands. To be honest, for a lot of the 80s, my experience of Marvel was more about the cartoons - and occasional Spidey annuals.
But at that time, I did get to read some Lee/Ditko Spidey. And Lee’s FF. And Lee’s, well, everything. It was Lee’s stuff that really led me to embracing Marvel as much as DC.
And I have read it a lot. In recent months, I revisited some of Spidey’s early encounters against the likes of the Vulture.
Stan Lee was bombastic and larger-than-life. I felt like his work was speaking to me. I don’t mean in a strange, pretentious intellectual way, but from “Hey, True Believer!” to “Join us next month for more Marvel action!”, it really felt like Stan Lee was writing for everyone. Like he was everyone’s buddy. And I can recount a lot of his dialogue because it’s just so memorable. It was fantastical. And I loved the soap opera dialogue Stan Lee did, which seemed to be something that DC didn’t do (I felt DC’s civilian identities rarely had any depth, at least the ones I was reading).
I could, quite honestly, do a whole topic about Stan Lee’s dialogue. While I was already a comic fan (thank Kenner’s Super Powers figures for that), I think Marvel developed my love affair with superhero comics. And he never seemed to run out of enthusiasm. I appreciate he had a lot of help - its a team effort, after all - but I feel it’d be remiss of me to leave Stan Lee off my list. He may seem like a populist choice, but maybe, just maybe, populism and being one’s favourite can overlap.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, Santa brought to me the works of Neil Gaiman...
Works that garnered Gaiman favorite status: Sandman, Books of Magic, Black Orchid, Violent Cases, Death: The High Cost of Living, Death: The Time of Your Life, Metamorpho in Wednesday Comics, The Children's Crusade, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch: A Romance, Alice Cooper's The Last Temptation, The Spirit: The Return of the Mink Stole (in Spirit The New Adventures #2), Harlequin Valentine, Murder Mysteries, Elric: One Life (i.e. Elric #0), Miracleman...
Why I like Gaiman's work: Neil is a master storyteller. He's at his best when he is simply telling stories whatever the medium (rather than trying to "write comic book stories as I feel he did with some of his Marvel stuff that was less successful). When he does that, his stories are engrossing, lyrical, inspiring, thought-provoking, infectious, and moving. The words "Once Upon a Time..." come to me every time I sit down to start a Gaiman story and I am always in for one of those magical journeys that only well told stories can take you on.
Single Work I would recommend if one was unfamiliar with Gaiman's work: So many to choose, but I am going to go with Murder Mysteries with P. Craig Russell
People don't want the Truth. They want only information that supports what they think they already know. -Vess from Invisible Kingdom
I see a comics culture that preserves and appreciates its past, but doesn't wallow in witless nostalgia. -Scott McCloud
Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked -Buckminster Fuller
Post by thwhtguardian on Dec 23, 2020 9:47:51 GMT -5
On the Eleventh day of the Classic Comics Christmas I give unto thee...
Ian Edginton is a name that I expect few are overly familiar with, and for those that are and may only remember his early 90's work for Marvel and DC you might be wondering why he's on my list at all. But he not only made my list but very nearly nabbed the top spot; truth be told I had a pretty hard time deciding on the order of my top three, feeling that Moench, Edginton and my undisclosed pick that ultimately nabbed the one spot were all equally worthy because their work include genres so many of my favorite genres. And while Edginton isn't as prolific a writer as Moench or my pick for tomorrow pretty much everything outside of his Big Two work is absolutely amazing. Though he's done just about everything from horror to humorous pirate adventures my favorites of his are his sci-fi stories; in particular I absolutely love his adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and his very inventive sequels taking the tale further than I think Wells could have imagined. The Victorian heroes not only play to the comforting tropes that make the likes of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes popular today but are also really fleshed out in their own right full of both strengths and realistic flaws which makes the zainy martian plots they encounter feel much more pressing and real than they would otherwise. If you haven't read Scarlet Traces I suggest you track it down post haste and if you love that as much as I do then you should move on from there to Leviathan, American Gothic and Brass Sun
I've only scratched the surface of Stanley's output, and much of that has been reading stories put up online, but there is so much humanity and joy in his work. Little Lulu, Kookie, Dunc and Loo, many, many others, drawn by himself and others. Funny. Full of movement. Full of character.
#2 – Stan Lee (Amazing Spider-Man [1963-1972] + damn near everything else in the Silver Age Marvel Universe)
What can you say about Stan Lee? He transcended mere comic books and became a pop culture Goliath, but as I recently said over in the "There I Said It" thread, he sometimes comes in for a bit of criticism on the interwebs. My feeling is that, if nothing else, he was an incredible story ideas man. He definitely was not an untalented hack, who rode on the back of his artists, as some others might try to convince you. That's not to say that the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and John Romita didn't conceive their own incredible story ideas, but Stan "the Man" was right up there with them. I mean, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that his ideas at the start of Marvel's Silver Age were such strong concepts and so influential on the industry that they basically created the template for superhero comics thereafter – right up to today.
But it's his writing – his dialogue in particular – that has scored him the number 2 place on my list. And in particular, it's his scripting on Amazing Spider-Man, beginning in 1962/1963 and going right up to 1972. This is the guy who came up with the pseudo-proverb...
"With great power there must also come great responsibility."
I mean, that's simply mind-bogglingly great. You could almost start a religion based on that!
It was Lee who defined Spider-Man's identity – the bookish, but feisty Peter Parker, and the bold and wise-cracking Spidey. It was his dialogue that created all that soap opera-esque drama between Peter and Betty Brant/Gwen Stacy/Mary Jane Watson. It was Lee who generated all that tension between Peter and Norman Osborn (and Harry too on occasion).It was Lee who gave voice to Spider-Man's true arch-enemy, the foul-tempered newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson. It was Lee that made Peter such a relatable character to young comic readers – and the way that Lee communicated to the reader in his narration boxes (and not just in Amazing Spider-Man, obviously), brought us all in closer to the story and made us feel like one of the gang. It still does make me feel like one of the gang.
Is Lee's writing deathless prose? Absolutely not, and I definitely think you have to view his writing through the prism of '60s superhero comics and the age group they were originally intended for. But within that prism, he was a giant. His time at Marvel was spent trying to turn what was essentially a "child's medium" into something approaching an art form.
So, for conceiving Spider-Man, my all-time favourite superhero character, and for creating a whole boatload of other successful and distinguished superheroes, thanks Stan!
From Amazing Spider-Man issue #20 (1964)...
Last Edit: Dec 23, 2020 10:13:15 GMT -5 by Confessor
2. Roger Stern Anybody who remembers all the way back to the 12 Days in 2019 (which was like about 3 or 4 years ago, right?) won’t be surprised that Stern ranks so highly on my list this time around. (Incidentally, much of my list this year was in fact predicted by my 2019 picks). I said back then that “Roger Stern is among my favorite comics writers,” and that the story I picked for that year’s team-up theme, Triumph & Torment, is “my favorite story by him.”
That Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom story actually showcases why I think Stern is such a great writer. He is thoroughly familiar with the characters and their backstories, nails their ‘voices’, and spins a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable tale, which is arguably the best story featuring either character. Stern always crafts what are to my mind perfect superhero tales: he respects the characters and continuity, but also brings something of his own and enriches them in the process. I still think his run on Captain America (with John Byrne and Joseph Rubinstein) is definitive for that character. Alas, it ended too soon…
His well-loved run on Avengers, particularly the last part with the Under Siege and Assault on Olympus arcs, is probably my second favorite stetch of Avengers issues (after the sentimental favorite I mentioned in my Day 5 entry on David Michelinie). And I similarly loved his work on Dr. Strange, Spider-man (both his brief tenure on PPSSM following Mantlo’s run and his better-known run on ASM) and even Incredible Hulk (just before Mantlo’s lengthy run began). Also worth reading are Marvel: The Lost Generation, another fun collaboration with John Byrne, and Marvel Universe, an all-too-brief series in which Stern penned a wonderful Invaders story and then followed it up with the Monster Hunters, set in the 1950s and featuring few older, established characters and some new ones. I’ve only read a smattering of Stern’s DC output, but what I have read – like the Superman Elseworlds, A Nation Divided, or the “That Was Then, This is Now” arc in JLA Classified – I liked as well. So in conclusion: Roger Stern = awesome comics.
Selected Works: Jonah Hex, Power Girl, Terra, Painkiller Jane
Okay, I know what you're thinking. How did an inker par excellence turned writer hit my number 2 spot? He writes stories that I love reading. He's a great industry legend that has a strong work ethic and makes fascinating reads. He can write light and airy comedy mixed with action, like his 12 issues of Power Girl (along with his wife Amanda Conner). His original material like 21 Down or The Resistance for Wildstorm (with co-writer Justin Gray) were fun science fiction reads. But its 70 issues, an original hardcover and 30 issues of All-Star Western sealed the deal with one character... Jonah Hex.
DC took a total gamble to re-introduce Jonah Hex to a modern audience. Also gambling that each issue was a done-in-one, but DC had a sleeper cult hit that worked. The artists on that run were top notch; bringing back legendary Tony DeZuniega for an issue and original story; Darwyn Cooke doing a few issues, Luke Ross starting off the book and having Jordi Bernet do about 30 issues. And the talent to do covers. Holy cow. It's great brutal reads.
Jimmy's a huge fan of original content as he's first IP in Painkiller Jane in the 90s was one of the better Bad Grrls era book, turned into a TV series. His Paperfilms comics are chocked full of fun reads. Back to Brooklyn is a great read (co-written by Garth Ennis), Random Acts of Violence (now a movie) is great.
Jimmy makes fun comics. Adult flavored comics...but darn they're fun.
Post by Slam_Bradley on Dec 23, 2020 10:54:41 GMT -5
11. Alan Moore (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Swamp Thing, etc., etc.)
Let's just go ahead and say that I LOVE a ton of Moore's work. Not all of it. I did not like Neonomicon at all. I didn't love the last arc of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (though I kind of got it). But overall I at least like his work...and a lot of it...I whole lot of it, is among the best comics...and my favorite comics of all time. I literally find something new every time I read Watchmen. And I've read it dozens of times. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is like Moore was channeling everything I love and writing it for me. All of his ABC line, whether completely successful or not, was a love-letter to everything that made the 20th Century fun. And I'm always going to get misty when I read Pog.
Yeah he's a polarizing figure. But he's also funny as hell. And a whole lot of that polarization is that self-impressed fanboys and fan-press can't seem to tell when the Wlid Man From the North is taking the piss. And really, wouldn't it get incredibly boring getting asked the same questions over and over and over again for thirty plus year?
Nonetheless, Moore changed comics forever. Maybe in some ways for the worse, but that's not on him. And that might not mean that much, but I absolutely love so much of it.
Hell...Watchmen number five and the two pages below would likely be enough to place him on my list.
Post by codystarbuck on Dec 23, 2020 13:19:52 GMT -5
#2 Alan Brennert
Alan Brennert was a rare gift to comics; rare because he primarily worked in television and prose fiction, so he could kind of choose what he wanted to do, in comics. This is the man who married Catwoman to Batman (Earth-2), gave Hawk & Dove an ending, wrote a Christine Chapel story for Star Trek (the Marvel run, post STTMP). I'd nominate him for any of those, plus, his Batman Black & White story, where Batman meets the first Guardian of Gotham, Green Lantern. Alan Scott is an inspiration to Batman, but one who wasn't there to help his parents. Alan isn't thrilled with Batman's methods; but, he sees what happened to the city in his absence. That's all well and good; but, the key piece is a moment they share, as bruce talks about visiting the amusement park with his father...
It's in these quiet moments that Brennert shines above others. They are filled with real emotion, played at the perfect tone. Still that isn't why he rates so high with me.
It's because of this....
I have read heroic adventure since I learned to read. I have read the ancient myths and the modern superheroes, super spies and movie detectives, heroic figures and sports heroes.......
That is the purest, most perfect encapsulation of what a true hero is. It is a brilliant piece of writing. What makes it even more special is that it is delivered by a character who was taken away, for plot convenience. Crisis needed a major, shocking death and Supergirl was sacrificed (and then Barry Allen). But, she wen't out a true hero, facing seemingly unbeatable odds, yet continuing to fight until her last breath, because she was there, it needed to be done, and she could do it. Only those she saved from the Anti-Monitor knew it, and then that reality was taken away. No one would know who Kara Zor-El was, what she did, to save the universe. Then, Alan Brennert reminded them.
Post by Roquefort Raider on Dec 23, 2020 13:39:22 GMT -5
2. Greg (Michel Régnier)
One of the great Franco-Belgian creators, Greg was editor in chief of Tintin for some of its most transformative years (veering away from the pure ligne claire stories à la Hergé, and opening the door to more adult material).
Through several decades, we was a true creative powerhouse both as writer/artist (on series like the unique Achille Talon) and as writer for several well-known artists (Bernard Prince and Comanche with Hermann, Bruno Brazil with William Vance, several Spirou adventures with André Franquin, and more). Even Hergé, the Jupiter figure of Franco-Belgian comics, asked him to write a script for a Tintin adventure that never saw the light of day (even though Hergé did draw several pages of it). Greg was the screenwriter for the animated films Tintin and the Temple of the Sun and Tintin and the Lake of Sharks.
He was made chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government in 1988, recognizing his impact on French culture at large.
His productivity was such that when he was heading Tintin, he used pseudonyms like Louis Albert so that his name wouldn't appear on every other page.
Very good at visual humour (think Walt Disney), he could also write a cool adventure story. He had a lot of influence on my own work, and on a whole generation.