Our every four years countdown of your all-time favorite comic book writers and artists continues!
Here are the next five writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,008 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).
10. Brian Michael Bendis – 1,303 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 and then the R-Rated Alias, which introduced the world to Jessica Jones (very much in the line of Bendis' Jinx series), 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 then writing Uncanny X-Men and X-Men before taking over Iron Man, introducing RiRi Williams, the new hero known as Ironheart.
Recently, Bendis left Marvel after nearly two decades to move over to DC, where his creator-owned work appears while he also has taken over the reins on the Superman titles.
9. Warren Ellis – 1,307 points (14 first place votes)
Warren Ellis had worked for some small comic book houses in the early 1990s, with the most notable result being his great Lazarus Churchyard series. After a few years, Ellis began working at Marvel, with a notable run on Hellstrom and Doom 2099. His longest run at this time, though, was on Excalibur, where he introduced the world to Peter Wisdom.
After working on a number of projects for Marvel during the mid-90s (including a memorable Thor storyline), Ellis began his longest-running project yet (issue-wise), with his creator-owned series Transmetropolitan, with artist Darick Robertson, about the journalist Spider Jerusalem, who tries to take down a crooked president in the future. In one issue, the President has successfully declared martial law, but before he can fully take control, Spider takes his shot...
Ellis had already been working for Wildstorm (notably on DV8), but he took his work to a whole new level when he took over Stormwatch (Stormwatch actually predated Transmetropolitan). That series led to two of the great comic book series of the late 1990s and 2000s, the Authority and Planetary (Planetary was not tied into Stormwatch, it just launched the same time as Authority).
Planetary was about a group of (this is what is on the cover of the first issue) "archaeologists of the impossible."
Essentially, Planetary explores unexplained phenomena and, if there is any practical use to mankind out of said phenomena, they extract it. The Planetary team consists of the super-strong Jakita Wagner, the "plugged-in" Drummer and the century-old Elijah Snow. The team is funded by the mysterious "Fourth Man." The first "season" of Planetary ended with the discovery of just WHO the Fourth Man is and how that revelation changes the game plan of the title for the rest of the series. Each issue of Planetary explored the concept of "what if all popular culture characters existed, in some form or another, in the Wildstorm Universe?" So each issue, Ellis and Cassaday examined a different notable pop culture figure, almost always with analogues for the characters who are not yet in the public domain (Doc Brass, for instance, instead of Doc Savage).
As the series went by, we learned that there is a group out there with an entirely different focus than the Planetary folks - this group, known as The Four (based on the Fantastic Four, naturally), wants all of the "super-science" of the world to themselves - they don't want the rest of the world to have any access to these wonders. That, and the identity of the Fourth Man, were the key points of plot development over the first 12 issues of Planetary. The revelation of WHO the Fourth Man was excellent.
Authority, meanwhile, was Ellis taking Grant Morrison's "Widescreen" action concept from the JLA and making it even bigger in scale with artist Bryan Hitch. Like when a villain creates a race of mindless super beings at his command, Midnighter literally just used the Authority's giant ship to crash into the villain's island...
For years, Ellis would do short runs on Marvel titles (like the brilliant Nextwave with Stuart Immonen) and mix them in with short runs on independent titles (a lot of Wildstorm and Avatar stuff). In recent years, Ellis has been doing a Wildstorm revamp for DC called The Wild Storm, as well as a number of cool indie series for Image (Trees, Injection and Cemetery Beach).