The countdown continues! Here are the next four comic book writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,023 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).
38. Gail Simone – 243 points (3 first place votes)
Gail Simone's work for years has maintained a delightful balance between humorous and darkness, on series like Birds of Prey, Deadpool/Agent X, Wonder Woman and more. She basically has a way of finding the humanity in dark stories, while at the same time, having enough dark stuff happen in her work that that humanity has to work to show itself. Perhaps the best example of this approach was in her acclaimed run on Secret Six, where she had a group of supervillains working together as team, primarily Deadshot, Catman and Scandal Savage.
The key element to the series was the emotional connections that these rogues shared with each other (Bane became a major cast member in the ongoing series, as well. Other characters came and went, as well, with Simone/Scott creation Jeannette being the other longest-lasting new addition). So a scene could be filled with sweetness and sadism at the same time.
That's generally been a hallmark of Simone's work for years, the ability to keep you off your toes by zigging when you think she'll zag and zagging when you're sure that a zig is on the way.
An interesting recent example of this sort of thing was on the Dynamite miniseries about the Golden Age Daredevil (with artist Walter Geovani) where Daredevil steps in to protect the residents of a boarding house from the owner who wants to tear it down. He ends up trapped in the house with them as he recuperates from an attack and, well, things get weird as Simone cleverly goes from the ordinary to the extraordinary as we see Daredevil displaced into different realities, all centered around this house. One, a western (well, a western FILM, that is)...
and the other, with the house now a nursing home and Daredevil an elderly patient there...
This just shows you how you never know what to expect from a Gail Simone comic book, other than it will be interesting. She is currently writing a fascinating series called The Variants for Marvel with Phil Noto where Jessica Jones is drawn into a crazy mystery involving, well, you know, her Multiversal variants...
37. Robert Kirkman – 248 points (3 first place votes)
Robert Kirkman is most famous, of course, for co-creating the cultural phenomenon known as The Walking Dead, which he wrote for over fifteen years, including writing for the hit TV series adapted from the comics, but what's funny about Kirkman is that the animated adaptation of his superhero series, Invincible, is now ALSO a major crossover hit, so my usual spiel about how Kirkman is a lot more than just The Walking Dead is not even that necessary, because everyone knows how great Invincible is, as well.
So, I guess I should adapt my spiel and say, okay, you all know Kirkman from his blockbuster zombie series, and also his OTHER hit series about a young superhero dealing with his father turning out to be an alien invader, but Kirkman is a lot more than just those two hit comic books! 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 looked like - there was 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. That has been the case in Walking Dead, Outcast and one his other recently completed series, Oblivion Song. Here is a bit showing the basic initial setup, about a man who tries to bring people home after they disappeared into seemingly oblivion years earlier...
I especially admire Kirkman's dedication to the world of comics. Many other people might have taken a step back after the success of Walking Dead, but Kirkman never stops creating new comics. He is currently writing Firepower with the great Chris Samnee.
36. Tom Taylor– 271 points (2 first place votes)
Tom Taylor first started to get some attention in the world of comics while working with the Australian independent comic book publisher, Gestalt Publishing, on his The Deep series, which was then adapted into a cartoon series. However, by that point, Taylor had already been working on projects for Gestalt for years, as well as a number of Star Wars projects for Dark Horse when the company still had the Star Wars license (and a few early DC and Wildstorm projects).
However, it was really the dual successes he had for DC in 2013 that made him more of a household name among comic book fans, as his comic book series tie-in to the blockbuster video game series, Injustice: Gods Among Us, was almost shocking in how good of a comic book a prequel to a video game series was. Around that same time, he took over writing Earth 2 from exiting original writer James Robinson, and it seemed like Taylor almost sort of cornered the market on writing fascinating alternate superhero stories, an ability that he still uses today on a number of projects (seriously, if you want an alternate universe take on superheroes, Taylor is, like, THE guy for the job).
The massive amount of stories he was able to wring out of the Injustice world was amazing, as it was like Taylor used this alternate DC Universe as a playground to do whatever cool idea he felt like, and boy, there were a lot of cool ideas (he worked again with an artist he had worked with at Dark Horse, Bruno Redondo. Remember that name).
His success at DC led to Marvel offering him some assignments, as well. He had an outstanding take on Iron Man during a period where Tony Stark had been "inverted" (so that his typical good with a bit of an edge was now all edge, with a tint of good), but that series, Superior Iron Man (with the great Yıldıray Çınar) was cut short by Secret Wars. He gathered a lot of plaudits for his All-New Wolverine series, where he introduced clones of the new Wolverine (Laura), including the adorable Gabby...
While continuing to work on various Injustice: Gods Among Us sequel comic books, and other projects for both Marvel and DC (a nice Spider-Man run, a fun X-Men: Red series), he then did his next big alternate universe comic book series with DC's DCeased (with Trevor Hairsine) about an alternate universe that's basically a DC zombie comic book. Taylor has been doing sequels to that series for years now, with the stakes getting bigger and bigger as he goes along.
While still doing the outstanding alternate future series, Dark Ages, for Marvel (with Iban Coello), Taylor has gone exclusive with DC Comics, and boy, has he done a number of top notch recent projects for them, including the ongoing series starring Jon Kent, the son of Superman, as the new Superman (here's a touching moment where Jon reveals to his mother, Lois Lane, that he is bisexual)...
and an award-winning run on Nightwing with Bruno Redondo (I said to remember him!), where the pair keep trying more and more interesting approaches to the title, like an issue that it basically one long panel....
Taylor is also in the midst of another great alternate universe series, Dark Knights of Steel, with Jasmine Putri (basically the DC Universe meets Game of Thrones).
Taylor is one of the main writers at DC nowadays, so I'm sure we have a lot more interesting projects to look forward to (some of them might be set in an alternate universe).
35. Will Eisner – 285 points (4 first place votes)
For years, every week Will Eisner had to come up with a compelling Spirit story in just eight pages. His approach was to embrace the odd format and use it to try out different and sometimes outlandish idea. Like this early Spirit story where a crook is about to kill a "rat" when a scientist approaches him to have him test a drug that lets people see the future....
A whole fight sequence set in the FUTURE! That's a cool idea NOW - in 1941 it was exceptionally trippy.
After The Spirit ended in the early 1950s, Eisner spent the next two decades working for the military on various publications and also working as a freelance designer. In the late 1970s, he returned to comics with a series of graphic novels of a personal nature - most famously "A Contract With God."