22. Marguerite Bennett
Starting with her work co-writing Batman Annual #2, Marguerite Bennett has quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with throughout the world of professional comics. After the Batman Annual, Bennett soon made a number of successful pitches, including the recent New 52 Lobo revamp. She also is part of the creative team of the current Earth 2 weekly series, World's End (which has spread into the regular Earth 2 title, as well). Over at Marvel, she is currently co-writing Angela: Asgard's Assassin with Kieron Gillen. Solo, she is doing the comic book adaptations of Sleepy Hollow for Boom!.
A recent comic book series by Bennett that I especially enjoyed was the Archaia mini-series Butterfly, about a young woman who has been trained for years to become one of the top secret agents out there, only someone is trying to destroy her life and her career, and the only person who can help her is the father she thought died when she was a child!
There is this stunning sequence where Bennett shows the agent go through with a mission and then pivot on a dime when the mission goes wrong...
What really impresses me about the above sequence by Bennett (and artist Antonio Fuso) is that here is something that is truly unique to comics. In a film you’d use a freeze frame at each point where Bennett has "Disguise," etc. However, what’s unique about comics is that EVERY panel is technically a “freeze frame,” as the reader always decides the speed that they read a comic book. Therefore, you get the effect of a freeze frame without actually having to slow down your story to achieve that effect. It provides a sense of rhythm that is not present in film, as it depends on the reader interacting with the story in just the right way rather than the story dictating its pace to the reader, like a film does with its viewer.
Bennett has become a very accomplished writer in her short career and it is clear that she is only going to be getting better. Marvel sure seems to think so, as they named her the writer of A-Force, an all-female Avengers team spinning out of Secret Wars that Marvel is heavily promoting.
21. Colleen Doran
Colleen Doran has been working on A Distant Soil since before she was even a TEENAGER! This stunning labor of love is about two half-alien/half-Earthling teenagers who are caught up in an intergalactic battle for freedom. The main hero of the book, Liana, was born as the heir to the ruling class of the planet Ovanan, as she taps into the powerful energy known as the Avatar. She and her brother Jason have been separated over the course of the story but have both been enlisted in the fight not just over the future of Ovanan, but Earth itself (and what Ovanan could do to Earth). They have taken two very different paths to the end of the story, though, as Liana eventually finds herself PART of the ruling class!
Over the years, Doran has introduced a number of intriguing characters, including Rieken and D'mer, rebels who want to take down the Hierarchy. Rieken and D'mer are notable as they are also a gay couple, which was quite out of the ordinary in comics when Doran introduced them (this was years before even Northstar came out).
Doran self-published for years, but after the comic market collapsed in the late 1990s, she was luckily picked up by Image, as Erik Larsen helped her get a spot at the company. She has published at Image ever since (although currently she is publishing through Jim Valentino's Shadowline sub-imprint). The series is almost over now, and things are really coming to a head...
It's amazing how Doran's work now seems right in tune with stuff like Hunger Games and the Divergent series, and yet when she was starting this series, there WEREN'T stories out there starring female characters. There weren't epic space operas about teenage girls. She practically created the genre. And as it is slowly coming to a close, we should all pay homage to what amazing work she has been doing on this series over the past three decades.