2018 Top 50 Comic Book Writers #35-31

The countdown continues now!!!

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.).

35. Tom King – 302 points (10 first place votes)

Earlier in the countdown, I noted that there are few comic book writers quite as dedicated to the inner workings of the human mind as J.M. DeMatteis, but so far in his career, Tom King is giving him quite a run for his money!

After getting his start writing Grayson with Tim Seeley, which traded heavily on King's past work with the Central Intelligence Agency, King drew plaudits for his work on Omega Men and The Sheriff of Babylon.

King then captured the attention of the whole comic book industry with his stint on The Vision with Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire. That series saw the Vision create his own suburban family and we got to explore what it really meant to be alive and the extreme lengths people will go to to protect their family.

King then relaunched the ongoing Batman series as part of DC Rebirth. King has spent a lot of time discussing trauma, a topic that rarely gets brought up in comics despite the great deal of violence that takes place in comics. King's Batman is someone who is still dealing with a great deal of trauma, but he is willing to try to get better. In an early arc, King revealed that a young Bruce Wayne was so traumatized by his parents' murders that he almost took his own life...

As I noted, though, this isn't just about trauma, but also about ways to deal with trauma. This often is expressed in some rather heartwarming ways, like King's Eisner Award winning look at the new origin for Ace the Bat-Hound, as Alfred takes an abused attack dog and slowly gets him to a good place, all while Batman doesn't even really realize what Alfred is doing and how much it relates to Bruce's own life...

Currently, King is taking his exploration of the effects of trauma to the crossover event, Heroes In Crisis, while continuing his long run on Batman (it will be 100 issues long by the time that it is done!).

34. Paul Levitz – 304 points (5 first place votes)

Paul Levitz got his start while working on the respected news fanzine, The Comic Reader, while he was still a teenager. He spent enough time communicating with DC Comics that he was given a few freelance gigs at the company, including doing text pieces, short stories and assistant editing. While he was in college, he began getting more and more writing assignments to the point where he was essentially a full-time writer at DC before he was even 20. Levitz had been attending college for a business degree, which likely served him well later in his career when he became a longtime executive for DC Comics.

One of Levitz's first regular assignments was on All-Star Comics, where he picked up from Gerry Conway on the revitalized new team of younger heroes following in the footsteps of the original Justice Society of America. To this end, Levitz created the Huntress along with artists Joe Staton and Bob Layton, having her be the daughter of Batman and Catwoman on Earth-2, who becomes a hero to avenge her mother's death...

Paul Levitz had already had a short, but well-liked, run on the Legion of Super-Heroes during the 1970s, so when he returned to the book in 1981, readers had reason to be excited, but after a short run with Pat Broderick, Keith Giffen joined Levitz, and when the got together, they clicked in a way no one could imagine – and soon, the Legion was probably DC’s second biggest title, next to the New Teen Titans (Giffen joined the book with #285 and Larry Mahlstedt joined with #290).

It was not long on the book before Levitz and Giffen began the epic storyline that became their most notable work, the Great Darkness Saga, which introduced Jack Kirby’s Darkseid as a villain of the Legion, in a brilliantly moody action adventure story that saw the Legion involved in a battle greater than any they had seen before (or at least more visceral).

Check out the amazing reveal that Darkseid is the villain (right after Brainiac realizes that Darkseid has turned the entire population of Daxam against the Legion)…

What a stunning reveal.

Giffen’s artwork handled both action scenes and character moments with equal greatness, and Levitz was sure to give him a lot of both, keeping the book extremely grounded in humanity, while also keeping the action at a breakneck measure.

After the Great Darkness Saga, and a few character pieces, they had the landmark 300th issue, after which Giffen began to experiment with his artwork while, at the same time, he began to have more of an influence in the writing department.

Levitz, Giffen and Mahlstedt launched a brand-new Legion series together, a brutal storyline that left one Legionnaire dead, and Giffen departing the book.

Levitz continued his run with artists Steve Lightle and Greg LaRocque, until eventually Giffen returned for the conclusion of the new volume of the Legion, at which point Levitz basically retired from writing to concentrate on his executive position at DC (decades later, Levitz returned to writing the Legion before and after the New 52).

33. Rick Remender – 334 points (1 first place vote)

Rick Remender has been writing complicated tales about complex lead characters for two decade now, only now instead of his projects being small indie works, he is writing comics that get turned into big budget TV shows. However, a notable aspect of Remender's career is that he moved past superhero comics at a faster pace than most other writers.

After an epic run on Uncanny X-force, where we revamped the X-Force concept and kept the over-the-top nature of the stories while managing to ground them in a deep sense of humanity, like a possessed by Apocalypse Archangel allowing his girlfriend, Psylocke, to kill him, but not before she uses her telepathic powers to show him a life that they could have had (and through the use of her powers, he doesn't realize that this WASN'T their life)...

That led to further work for Marvel, including Uncanny Avengers, Secret Avengers, Captain America, All-New Captain America and even an entire Marvel crossover, AXIS, where the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe were "inverted," with the villains becoming heroes and vice versa.

However, Remender quickly moved back to his early comic book career by doing creator-owned independent comics. The difference is that his profile was much bigger now, so these books were still big projects. A few of the more notable ones for Image Comics are Low, Tokyo Ghost, Seven to Eternity, Deadly Class and Black Science.

Black Science follows a scientist and his family and colleagues who travel through dimensions, powered by a mysterious Pillar that was built through the use of "Black Science." At one point, everyone was thrown into different dimensions and the main scientist, Grant, has to come up with a way save everyone, including realizing the power of...imagination?

Deadly Class is about to be a TV series for SyFy.

1 2
ghost rider stare
Damnation Stare: The Original Ghost Rider Unleashes a Hellish New Power

More in CBR Exclusives