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Top 25 Black Comic Book Writers #10-1

by  in Comic News Comment
Top 25 Black Comic Book Writers #10-1

Here are the top ten writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time.

10. Marc Bernardin

Marc Bernardin has been working as a writer and an editor for comics, television and the magazine industry for decades now (he was an editor for Entertainment Weekly and Playboy and is currently editing for Hollywood Reporter, to name three). Working with his writing partner, Adam Freeman, Bernardin has written a number of comics over the years, including the mini-series Highwaymen for Wildstorm (they also wrote a number of issues of Authority).

Recently, they gained a ton of accolades for their Top Cow one-shot, Genius, which was the winner of a vote to decide which book would get its own mini-series. The series stars a brilliant young woman, Destiny Ajaye, who starts a war on the Los Angeles police department (art by Afua Richardson)…

Destiny Ajaye is one of the best new black characters introduced in the past decade.

9. Robert Washington III

Robert Washington III was the co-creator of Static and co-wrote the initial arc with Dwayne McDuffie before writing the book by himself for the next fifteen issues or so. Washington III made the book a compelling mixture of humor and topical discussions, stuff that you wouldn’t normally see in superhero comics, like this bit where Virgil (Static) Hawkins goes to work for a radio personality who has Anti-Semitic views, causing problems with Virgil and his Jewish friend, Frieda Goren, leading to the two getting a talking-to from their parents…

After leaving Static, Washington worked for a few other titles, like a short run on Extreme Justice and Ninjak for Valiant. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 47.

8. David Walker

David Walker came to comics (not counting his early work translating Tokyo Tribes for TokyoPop over a decade ago) from a long career working in and around film as a top film journalist, especially in the world of Blaxploitation (where he is likely the most notable expert on the genre) .

Walker made great waves with his excellent Shaft series for Dynamite (Walker wrote the fist new Shaft novel in 40 years in 2015), showing Shaft’s origins…

and after the fight…

Goddamn, that’s just excellent writing. Walker is currently writing Cyborg for DC and Power Man and Iron Fist for Marvel. He’s quickly becoming as well-regarded as a comic book writer as he was as a film expert.

Go to the next page for #7-4!

7. George Herriman

George Herriman wrote and drew the comic strip Krazy Kat for over three decades, and he marveled audiences for years by taking the audaciously simple set up of Krazy Kat mooning over Ignatz Mouse, who attacks Krazy Kat with bricks while Offisa Bull Pupp tries to stop Ignatz and protect Krazy Kat and making it work as a complex and brilliantly inventive comic strip.

Here are a number of these strips…

Herriman’s work was greatly influential, including a number of famous cartoons (Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner’s adventures were highly influenced by Krazy Kat). Krazy Kat is one of the most acclaimed comic strips of all-time.

6. Aaron McGruder

Another highly successful comic strip writer, Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks became a phenomenon, which is remarkable considering that the strip “only” lasted ten years. The strip is about young Huey Freeman and his brother Riley, who move from the South Side of Chicago to a suburb in Maryland with their grandfather. Huey is a hilarious mouthpiece for McGruder to make many critiques about politics and popular culture, while Riley and Granddad both get their own unique personalities, as does their naive neighbor, Jazmine.

The strip was made into a critically acclaimed cartoon series, as well.

McGruder co-wrote the screenplay for the George Lucas-directed film, Red Tails (he wrote it with John Ridley, who appeared earlier in the countdown) and is currently doing the series Black Jesus for Adult Swim.

5. Marguerite Abouet

Marguerite Abouet is one of the most successful comic book writers in the world, as her series of stories about Aya, a young woman born and living in Côte d’Ivoire (where Abouet was born, before moving to France at the age of twelve) won the 2006 Angoulême International Comics Festival Prize for First Comic Book, with the books selling over 200,000 copies in France and the translated collections doing quite well in the United States, as well.

Abouet’s work (which are drawn by her husband, Clement Oubrerie) is filled with striking grace, humor and deeply interesting characterization, exploring a lifestyle rarely explored in popular fiction….

She adapted Aya to animation and has worked on a series of children’s books set in the same basic setting as Aya.

4. Reginald Hudlin

The very successful screenwriter (he wrote the House Party films), director (he directed House Party among a bunch of other films, including the upcoming film, Marshall), producer (he produced the Bernie Mac show for years) and executive (head of BET for a number of years) Reginald Hudlin also has put a great mark on the world of comics, primarily in his four year run on Black Panther for Marvel…

The biggest part of his run was when he had Black Panther and Storm marry.

A producer of the film, Django Unchained, he has recently worked on a number of Django-related comic books.

Go to the next page for #3-1!

3. Kyle Baker

An excellent comic book artist for decades, Kyle Baker soon made a name for himself as a hilarious and sharp writer of comic books, primarily his own creator-owned work, like the award-winning graphic novel You Are Here, about a jewel thief who got out of the thieving business to become a painter, only now he has been pulled back into his old life (while trying to hide it all from his perfect, innocent girlfriend, Helen, who is almost literally a Disney princess).

However, what Helen does not know is that Noah used to be a jewel thief before he found that being a painter made him more money. The problem is that he has lied to Helen for the past year, pretending that he doesn’t drink or smoke, and all he draws is paintings of flowers.

The wheels come off the cart when Noah goes back to New York City to sell his apartment and gets caught up with his old friends (who at first don’t believe that he has gone straight)…

Things get worse when a guy with a vendetta against Noah gets out of prison…

To top it all off, Helen shows up in the city! Baker gets a TON of great humor out of contrasting Helen’s personality with that of New York (there is a scene with her, a mugger and a sunset that needs to be seen to be believed).

Baker’s dialogue format is used beautifully in a joke here…

His other creator-owned work includes The Cowboy Wally Show, Why I Hate Saturn, Bakers and Nat Turner. Baker also gained a number of awards for his work on the brilliant Plastic Man series for DC Comics.

2. Christopher Priest

The first black editor for Marvel Comics, Christopher Priest (then known as Jim Owsley) had runs on Power Man and Iron Fist and Conan the Barbarian. After leaving Marvel, Priest went to work for DC Comics on the Action Comic Weekly Green Lantern feature, as well as The Ray, Justice League Task Force, Steel and Xero.

For Valiant Comics, he created, with M.D. Bright, the hilarious superhero duo of Quantum and Woody…

He returned to Marvel for a long run on Black Panther and shorter stints on Deadpool and Ka-Zar.

Priest’s work has always been known for his humor and his complicated stories.

1. Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie went to work for Marvel Comics in the late 1980s. He soon began to work on a number of projects for them, including Damage Control (which he created) and Deathlok. In 1992, he helped launch Milestone Comics, for which he created (or co-created) many characters, including Static, Icon, Rocket, Blood Syndicate, Hardware and more. McDuffie also handled the writing duties on Icon and Hardware.

After Milestone’s comic career ended, McDuffie adapted the series into the hit cartoon series, Static Shock.

McDuffie also was one of the main writers for Justice League Unlimited, the cartoon series.

After his great acclaim writing Justice League Unlimited, McDuffie got back into regular comic book work, like his acclaimed run on Fantastic Four…

and Justice League of America.

McDuffie had a knack for finding the coolest aspect of the characters he worked on and highlighting them accordingly. This served him well as a writer for animation. He did a wonderful adaptation of Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman, for instance.

Tragically, we lost McDuffie a few years ago at the far too young age of 49.

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