The countdown continues! Here are the next four comic book writers you voted as your all-time favorites (out of approximately 1,023 votes cast, with 10 points for first-place votes, 9 points for second-place votes, etc.).
30. Kieron Gillen – 339 points (4 votes for first place)
After making a name for himself on the creator-owned series Phonogramwith artist Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen began bringing his particular sense of style to Marvel Comics, most notably in a run on Journey into mystery where Loki is reborn as a pre-teen after sacrificing himself during Headquarters. Stuck in a country where everyone knows (and hates) him for the harm he did as an adult but can’t bring himself to get rid of him as a pre-teen (the fact that his brother , Thor, insisted that he certainly remained helped). Although apparently not evil like his older sibling, Loki still possesses all the skills he had in his past life, including a strong ability to con people. Gillen introduced a few notable cast members, including Ikol, a magpie who is the representation of Loki’s evil former life and Leah, a servant of Hela, who was ordered to help Loki. Gillen’s stories were marked by both clever plot lines and clever dialogue, not to mention genuinely heartfelt insights into the very notion of whether someone CAN truly be redeemed.
After a trailblazing run on Young Avengers (with McKelvie), Gillen and McKelvie returned to their creator roots with the thrilling Wicked + Divine series.
Recently, Gillen returned to Marvel for some high-profile series, like Immortal X-Men, leading into the current crossover, Judgment Day. In Immortal X-Men #1, Magneto resigns from the X-Men Silent Council…
Here we see Gillen cleverly summing up the various characters…
Gillen’s work is so well developed and heartfelt. It’s a real treat.
29. Mark Millar – 378 points (3 first place votes)
Mark Millar’s career in comics has been marked by his bold ideas. This is what makes most of his greatest work stand out – he comes up with a bold idea, then formulates the story around it, fleshing out that idea. “What if Superman landed in communist Russia?” “What if superheroes decided to interfere in the politics of the world?” “What if Wolverine had been killed and resurrected by the Hand to serve them?” “What if Ocean’s Eleven had superpowers?” “What if Batman was a super-villain?” It’s amazing how many bold, high-level design ideas Millar is able to come up with. A famous instance of his fertile imagination came in Adventures of Superman #41, which told 22 one-page stories in a single issue.
Before deciding to focus on his creative work, Millar was initially one of the best-selling writers for DC Comics and Marvel Comics. For DC, he did The Authority (taking up the book by Warren Ellis) then at Marvel he launched a number of comics for the ultimate universe, including the early years of Ultimate X-Men then invent the Ultimatea new vision of the Avengers that greatly influenced the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
Millar moved on to the regular Marvel Universe, working on a number of short but notable runs on many of the main characters, such as two stints on Wolverine – one of them having Wolverine killed and resurrected by the Hand and Hydra as an assassin. When he was cured of the brainwashing, he then hunted down and killed all members of the Hand and Hydra. Later, Millar introduced the concept of “Old Man ____” by showing the adventures of Old Man Logan. He spent a year on Spider Man and The Fantastic Four. His most significant work in the Marvel Universe, however, was one of their most successful crossovers of all time, Civil war. This, of course, also influenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Not only has Millar’s work influenced the MCU, but his Ultimate the work also saw the Marvel Universe adapt in response to the Ultimate Universe.
Many works owned by Millar creators have been adapted for blockbuster films, such as Sought, Kick ass and The Kings.
Millar currently has his own little comic book empire for Netlix where he creates a bunch of awesome new comic series, like his most recent books, magic order (with Olivier Coipel), Prodigy (with Rafael Albuquerque), Nightclub (with Juanan Ramírez), king of spies (with Matteo Scalera) and more.
28. Jason Aaron – 390 (4 first place votes)
Jason Aaron is one of those rare comic book writers who can move seamlessly between the granularity of creator-owned work and the brighter realm of superhero comics while still keeping his styles for each distinct. It’s not like he just does gritty superheroes or does some fantastic designer-owned work – he tailors his style to the book he’s writing. He can do the epic action of Thor and the character-driven fun of Wolverine and the X-Men/Incredible X-Men and also do dark character studies like Southern Bastards (with Jason Latour) and Scalped, the series he made with RM Guera on the inhabitants of a reserve. Unsurprisingly, Aaron did a particularly solid job on characters like Wolverine and Punisher.
Like most great comic book writers, Aaron’s best work is a wonderful blend of epic stories and character-driven moments. For example, his long run on Thor led to the original Thor losing the ability to be “worthy” enough to wield Mjolnir, so Jane Foster had to take over as Thor. However, she was undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer, so every time she transformed into Thor, it weakened her mortal body and got to the point where she couldn’t survive transforming into Jane Foster. if she became Thor again. So she agreed not to use her hammer. They even gave her a pet demon dog, Thori, to protect her from the hammer in case it happened to her. However, when she learned that Asgardia had been destroyed, she made the noble sacrifice…
Goodness, this piece of Thori on “murder…self” is brilliant. Aaron is currently Marvel’s biggest star writer and is completing an epic run on The Avengers.
27. Jeff Lemire – 422 (10 first place votes)
Jeff Lemire is a fascinating example of seeing a writer bring their indie sensibility to mainstream comics and having the result work really well, instead of writers who seem to adapt to different types of comics. Lemire currently writes series for virtually every comic book company, from Marvel and DC to Dark Horse, Image and Boom! and more! What I love about Lemire’s work is how unique he is – his approaches are different from most other comic book writers and the results often throw you off balance, but in a very compelling way.
A good example of this is his brilliant series, black hammer (with artist Dean Ormston), about a group of superheroes trapped in a small town following an interdimensional crisis (essentially, what happens to the heroes who have been ” erased” from continuity during Crisis on Infinite Earths?)
Lemire has one of the most impressive voices in comics. He also knew how to adapt his skills to all kinds of types of books, from Justice League to x-men at green arrow at Old Man Logan to Sentinel to Great at moon knight at animal man to all his exceptional works belonging to creators like black hammer, Essex County, Sweet Tooth, Descender, Gideon Falls and The person. One of my favorite Lemire works was the graphic novel, The Underwater Welder.
In it, a man is tormented by his memories of his deceased father (and the way his father was when he was alive, too), and now that he has reached the same age as his father when he died and he expecting his first child (a boy), he becomes obsessed with finding out the “truth” about his father’s death so many years ago. During all of this, he is taken on a journey both into the past (where he visits as a child) and into the future. At the heart of the comic is a man who feels bound to a certain path in life that he can’t avoid no matter how hard he tries. He can’t escape this town and this life, even if it ruins his life and essentially turns him into his own father. Can he free himself? Can he free himself from this description of himself? It’s such a great book.