2014 Top 50 Comic Book Writers #15-11

Here are the next five writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,040 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).

NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.

15. Kurt Busiek – 881 points (17 first place votes)

After doing fine work as a comic book writer for nearly a decade on mostly fill-in issues and short runs, Kurt Busiek broke out with 1993's Marvels (with artist Alex Ross). He soon followed it with great runs on Untold Tales of Spider-Man for Marvel and his own creator-owned series, Astro City, which continues to this day.

After Onslaught, Busiek stunned the comic book world with Thunderbolts, which was about a team of supervillains pretending to be superheroes (and then ultimately ACTUALLY becoming superheroes). This led to an epic run on Avengers with George Perez. This stint on Avengers included two classic storylines involving two of the Avengers' top foes, Ultron and Kang. He also did the acclaimed mini-series Avengers Forever.

After a long stint on the Avengers, Busiek began working on JLA for DC Comics, as well as Action Comics. He launched a new Conan series for Dark Horse that was excellent.

Currently, he is writing Astro City for Vertigo and Tooth and Claw for Image Comics (an intriguing spin on anthropomorphic characters and sword and sorcery comics).

Busiek knows more about comic book history and storytelling than almost anyone, and he uses that knowledge in his work, particularly Astro City, where he often uses our familiarity with comic book tropes to then subvert those tropes for touching insights into the human condition.

Perhaps the most notable example of this was Astro City #1/2, where we meet a man haunted by the memory of someone he never actually knew, a "Dream girl" that he can't get out of his head. The man is then visited by a cosmic hero who explains who the "Dream Girl" was - you know all of those various cosmic reboots comic book universes go through, like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint? Well, what if one of them ended up with your wife being erased from existence?

Absolutely clever and absolutely killer, as Busiek digs into your heart and pulls. That describes so much of Busiek's work - very clever and often ends up doing a number on your heartstrings.

14. Peter David – 890 points (13 first place votes)

Peter Davis is a perfect example of the folly of typecasting writers. David's first comic book storyline was the classic Spider-Man tale, The Death of Jean DeWolff. It was a dark story, and David was beginning to be typecast as "that dark comic book writer." Of course, though, fans of Peter David also know that he's one of the funniest comic book writers out there. It is almost as it people can have more than one side to their personality!

Throughout his career, David has managed to blend humor and pretty dark situations to tell compelling stories that manage to avoid to ever feel like they're dragging - this has allowed him to write some long runs on books, from his twelve-year Hulk run to his long runs on Aquaman, Supergirl, Young Justice and, most recently, X-Factor.

One of his most famous works was the Hulk mini-series, Future Imperfect, where the Hulk is kidnapped to the future where he is asked to take down the ruler of the world, the evil and powerful Maestro, who happens to be an older version of the Hulk. After the Maestro captures his younger self, there is an awesome sequence that helps show just how clever David can be...

Much of David's work spotlights his cleverness, from his unique take on Madrox the Multiple Man (each duplicate has his own personality) to his take on Supergirl (the alien Supergirl merged with a human to form some sort of angel-like being) to his idea to have the various Hulk personalities merge into one single personality with Banner in control - he is always thinking of very clever approaches to familiar comic books.

Also, even though it is neither here nor there, I just love this bit from Incredible Hulk #375, where the Hulk has escaped from a Skrull spacecraft with Betty Banner right before it exploded, seemingly with Rick Hones still on board!

That just gets me every time.

13. Brian Michael Bendis - 981 points (11 first place votes)

It is kind of funny, we're all so used to it now because he has become such a successful and omnipresent fixture in the world of comic books, but man, Brian Michael Bendis' dialogue REALLY stands out. It's his trademark and it is really most likely the best thing about any given Bendis comic book. It is powerful, it is bold, it is practically poetic while it also naturalistic and believable. A particular approach Bendis does that I like a lot is when he uses the dialogue to both set up a scene and also to set up how outlandish it is, so it is a winking admission that the scene as shown is going to be kind of out there, but in a good way.

Here's an example from his excellent series Jinx, about a bounty hunter who falls in love with a con man. This is the introduction of Jinx in the series...

That's so Bendis and it is so compelling.

By the way, as an aside, years before there were as many strong female characters in comics as there are today (and obviously there could easily be even more), Bendis was big on cool female characters - Jinx, Jessica Jones, Deena Pilgrim, Ultimate Aunt May and Ultimate Mary Jane Watson are all very strong characters.

After cutting his teeth on creator-owned indie comics (that he drew himself), Bendis began to branch into mainstream work with a stint on Sam and Twitch for Todd McFarlane and then he used his distinct style on the Ultimate reluanch of Spider-Man. His superhero work was so popular that he was slowly brought into more superhero work. First Daredevil, which was a noir-ish book, so it perfectly fit Bendis' independent works, but then as time went by, Bendis began doing more prominent superheroes works, first by launching the best-selling New Avengers revamp of the Avengers , which he stuck with for nearly a decade and currently writing the revamped X-Men titles.

Go to the next page for #12-11...

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