2014 Top 50 Comic Book Writers #30-21

Here are the next ten 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.

30. Robert Kirkman – 453 points (3 first place votes)

Kirkman is most famous, of course, for co-creating the cultural phenomenon known as The Walking Dead, which he has been writing for over ten years now, including writing for the hit TV series adapted from the comics. However, Kirkman is a lot more than just that one hit comic book. In fact, while obviously The Walking Dead is what made him famous, for a while there his work on the superhero series, Invincible, was nearly just as well known within the world of comics as his work on The Walking Dead. If I had to pick a particular "style" for Kirkman, I would say that his work tends towards having plots that take a "realistic" look at what it would be like if X happened. For instance, if we lived in a world of superheroes, what would that really look like? That's what Invincible often looks like - there is a lot of death and destruction. Plus, Kirkman has always been willing to kill off characters in his titles, because, again, that's a very natural thing to happen.

Also, another strength of Kirkman's is how he comes up with compelling characters very quickly, to the point where you're quickly interested in seeing what happens to that character and that you become invested in the world of that character. A good example of this writing strength is the debut issue of his newest series, Outcast (with artist Paul Azaceta), where we meet Kyle, a man who has seemingly lost everything due to the way that he attracts demon possessions, who is being brought back into that world by a Reverend who needs his help...

That's a strong set piece in a book filled with them.

29. Brian Azzarello – 463 points (2 first place vote)

Something that I really like about looking at the various writers on a list like this is just how UNIQUE so many of these writers are - we really are lucky to have so many great writers who have such unique voices. Azarello's approach has always been to build the dialogue of a story first and then go from there. That's his mission statement - build the character up through the character's dialogue and end up with a character so well-defined that he can practically give his artist the bare minimum, plot-wise, and the story will still work, because the character has been defined THAT well. Take something like his Flashpoint Batman series, for instance. That series starred Thomas Wayne as Batman, driven to become a hero due to the death of his son, Bruce. That series was extremely grim but very strong, and the heart of it all was how well defined Thomas Wayne was - everything worked in the story BECAUSE we knew Thomas Wayne so well.

Azzarello just came off a long and acclaimed run on Wonder Woman where he achieved that feat, as well, by introducing a whole load of interesting supporting characters to Wonder Woman's overall journey. His most famous work, 100 Bullets, was all about these opening arcs where we meet new characters only to then work those characters into increasingly interconnected stories as the series went on.

We see it even in how well he defined Gotham City right off the bat in his acclaimed stint on Batman...

As you can also see, Azarello's distinct "voice" is also a trademark of his work. You always know when you're reading a Brian Azarello comic book, that's how strong his voice is.

28. Steve Gerber – 470 points (7 first place votes)

Few writers were as much "ahead of their time" as Steve Gerber. Nowadays, it seems like every other writer is bringing a "real word" vibe to their superhero comics, but back in the 1970s, when Gerber decided to bring "real world" issues into his comics, it was a lot more novel of a concept. He was not alone in doing so, of course, but unlike say, a Don McGregor, Gerber managed to do it in a way that also still appealed to a mass audience. He got in his real world topics through entertaining characters and bizarre plots. Gerber was certainly one of the more outlandish writers of his day, something that was spotlighted in both his acclaimed Defenders run and his stint on his most famous creation, Howard the Duck.

It was during his run on Howard the Duck that he wrote one of the most outlandish comic book stories ever, the issue-long ode to writer's block, "Zen and the Art of Comic Book Writing,"

Even in his later years, Gerber still managed to be ahead of the game. He wrote an acclaimed series for DC, Hard Time (about a young teen who has powers that flared up at the wrong time and made it seem like he was a murderer, so the series follows his prison life), that would have fit in beautifully as a modern-day Image series. At the time it came out, though, it was a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

Go to the next page for #27-24...

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