2014 Top 50 Comic Book Writers #20-16

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.

20. Jonathan Hickman – 588 points (5 first place votes)

Jonathan Hickman thinks on a different scale than most writers. He has these complex ideas of how his stories are going to go and he manages to tell entertaining individual stories while establishing a much larger narrative. I'm pretty sure it is Greg Burgas who jokes that while certain writers are "writing for the trade," Hickman is "writing for the omnibus." He spent years on the Fantastic Four telling effectively one loooooooong story and he is in the midst of a similar epic story with his run on the two Avengers books. Last year, he told one of the best superhero crossover comics Marvel or DC have had, mostly due to the fact that Hickman is so used to balancing his stories as he moves forward that he was able to adapt that approach to the comic book crossover.

Hickman is much, much more than just superhero comics, of course. He writes two of Image's best titles, the science fiction western, East of West, and the story of what the scientists at the Manhattan Project were REALLY up to. With these independent comics, Hickman is able to express some pretty wild ideas - he has used some out there plots in his superhero work, but his creator-owned work is at another level. Here, we see Albert Einstein at work...

Disturbingly awesome, right?

19. Denny O'Neil – 612 points (11 first place votes)

After breaking in at Marvel through the help of another writer on this countdown (on the next page), Denny O'Neil ended up at DC Comics in the late 1960s and soon made a real name for himself on both Green Lantern/Green Arrow (where he took the two heroes on a road trip across America finding themselves) and, most importantly, the Batman titles in the early 1970s. While editor Julie Schwartz was already heading for a darker Batman in the late 1960s (including working out a deal where Batman no longer HAD to be drawn by Bob Kane's studio), O'Neil really brought it to the forefront, especially as he famously revamped two of Batman's greatest villains, the Joker...

and Two-Face...

While also introducing Talia and Ra's Al Ghul. O'Neil was the primary Batman writer throughout the 1970s, working with artists like Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Irv Novick and Bob Brown. After a stint at Marvel during the 1980s (including a run on Amazing Spider-Man and a extended run on Iron Man where he used his own experience with addiction to do a more realistic take on Tony Stark's alcoholism), O'Neil returned to the Bat-books in the mid-1980s to take over as the editor in charge of the line of comics. He brought in Frank Miller for Year One. O'Neil then guided the Bat-universe for roughly the next fifteen years. O'Neil would also still write from time to time again. He famously invented Azrael in a mini-series with Joe Quesada, all part of Knightfall, which was based on O'Neil's view that they should show people what a true "Grim and gritty" Batman would look like, and show why that would be a very bad idea. However, once that story was finished, O'Neil decided to try to redeem Azrael, and he did so by writing Azrael's ongoing series for the entire 100 issue run.

O'Neil retired at the turn of the 21st Century, leaving behind a vast multitude of awesome Batman stories and likely the greatest influence upon the character over the past 40 years.

18. Roger Stern – 629 points (8 first place votes)

I think the best attribute in Roger Stern's work is his heart. His stories tend to be rooted in the decency of heroes - his heroes have HEART, as it were. His Captain America has an interesting reaction to having to kill a vampire (as well as possibly running for elected office), one of the best scenes in his legendary "Under Siege" storyline in Avengers are those where we see the facade behind Captain America crumble a bit when he loses his only photo of his mother. When Stern left Marvel for DC, he brought that style with him to the Superman titles.

Speaking of "heart," here is "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man," where Spidey visits his biggest fan (SPOILERS AHEAD! Just skip these images if you don't want to be spoiled on a comic that is nearly 30 years old).

Stern was an editor before he began to write a bunch of books for Marvel, and those skills allowed him to pretty seamlessly work his various books together.

Go to the next page for #17-16...

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