The countdown begins now!!!
Here are the first four comic book artists 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.).
50. Keith Giffen – 201 points (1 first place vote)
Keith Giffen has worked as a plotter on a number of classic series, from his beginning on Legion of Super-Heroes with Paul Levitz to his continued work on the Legion (where he and Tom and Mary Bierbaum dramatically altered the world of the Legion in the 1989 Legion of Super-Heroes revamp). He has done flat-out humor with Ambush Bug and he has done more serious fare (like his Magnus: Robot Fighter series that he scripted as well as plotted). Here's a bit from his first Ambush Bug series, making fun of the changes in DC's continuity following Crisis on Infinite Earths...
His most famous work, though, is definitely his run on Justice League with scripter J.M. DeMatteis. The concept of the book was that Giffen had to come up with an idea for a Justice League series after most of the top heroes were now no longer available to him after Crisis.
Without the major heroes, Giffen instead attempted to develop the personalities of the heroes they WERE given, particularly once two of the heroes they were given, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, lost their individual series, as that gave Giffen free rein with how to write them. Giffen also spotlighted the League liaison, Maxwell Lord, who formed the team for fairly nefarious reasons but soon turned out to be a good guy. Later on, due to a lack of female characters on the team (and lack of notable female heroes available period) when Canary was taken from them, Giffen added two obscure members of the Global Guardians who soon became stalwart members of the team, Fire and Ice.
The book is most known for the humor of the title, which was a major aspect of the book - it really was a situation comedy.
Here is the first usage of "Bwah Ha Ha" that shows what the comedy of the book was like. The League is setting up embassies around the world, and Beetle and Booster are in Paris where they meet an attractive woman, who Booster is confident he'll be able to woo...
When it turns out that the woman who shot Booster down is the League's liasion in Paris, history was made...
Giffen and DeMatteis built this strange superhero book up to becoming one of DC's most popular comics for five years! They recently had a run on Scooby Doo Apocalypse, which deftly matched their use of humor and darkness. He also had a fun stint on Inferior Five with Jeff Lemire.
49. Gerry Conway – 203 points
Thrown into the mix of being the first ongoing scripter of Amazing Spider-Man after Stan Lee was a daunting task for young Gerry Conway (only in his early 20s at the time), but Conway responded to the call with flair and distinction with a memorable run that still resonates to this day.
In his 40 issues on Amazing Spider-Man (#111-149), Conway did more than you'd see in a HUNDRED issues of most other comics. He introduced one of Marvel's biggest characters, the Punisher, he developed Mary Jane Watson into one of the best supporting characters in Marvel Comics history, he introduced the world to the idea of the "Clone Saga" and, most notably of all, he wrote one of the single most famous Spider-Man storylines, the Death of Gwen Stacy, as Peter Parker loses his girlfriend to his nemesis, the Green Goblin.
leading to one of the all-time classic cliffhanger pages...
The original Goblin later dies in battle with Spider-Man and Conway later established the second Goblin, Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn!
Conway then ended up at DC Comics, where he worked for the tail end of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, doing a number of major projects, including long runs on both Justice League of America and the Batman titles, where he was the first writer in decades to take control of both Batman titles to tell an interconnected story. Conway also created Power Girl, Firestorm, Vixen and Vibe during this stint.
Conway then returned to the Spider-books thirteen years after his first run ended to do a well-received run on Spectacular Spider-Man from #137-174 and Web of Spider-Man from #47-70 (only plots on some of the stories). In that run, he introduced the villain Tombstone and did some very strong work with Joe "Robbie" Robertson and Puma. While his original run on Amazing Spider-Man was bold and very much flying by the seat of your pants, his Spectacular/Web run was calculated and well-crafted, very much the distinction between a young writer and an experienced veteran.
He then worked in television for a number of years, becoming an accomplished screenwriter and producer on a number of TV series, most prominently Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He has done more comic book work in recent years, including a return to some of the more offbeat aspects of his Spider-Man run with a stint on Carnage with Mike Perkins.
48. Greg Rucka – 207 points (2 first place votes)
One of the hallmarks of Greg Rucka's work is the sheer intelligence often at display in his stories. They are often complex works that rely upon creating interesting conflicts between the various characters. One of his most famous works along this line is the Wonder Woman graphic novel he did with JG Jones where a woman murders the men who raped her. She then goes to Wonder Woman and invokes an ancient Amazon custom where she becomes under Wonder Woman's protection. That's all well and good, except that the woman did her murdering in Gotham City - so teammates Wonder Woman and Batman find themselves at odds with each other. Perhaps the most famous example is Rucka's award-winning Gotham Central storyline, Half a Life, where Renee Montoya is outed in front of her fellow cops while also being framed for murder. In a great scene, she is called into the office of her new boss, who also happens to be a lesbian herself...
Rucka is also noteworthy in how good he is with strong female protagonists - Montoya, Carrie Stetko (Whiteout), Wonder Woman, Batwoman (Detective Comics), Forever Carlyle (Lazarus), Rowan Black (Black Magick), Andromache of Scythia or "Andy" (Old Guard, which was adapted into a hit Netflix movie) and Tara Chace (Queen and Country) are just a handful of great female lead characters under Rucka's pen.
47. Rick Remender – 209 points (7 first place votes)
Rick Remender has been writing complicated tales about complex lead characters for over two decades 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 have been Low, Tokyo Ghost, Seven to Eternity, Death or Glory, The Scumbag, A Righteous Taste of Vengeance, Deadly Class and Black Science.
Black Science followed 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?
His artistic partner, Matteo Scalera, really did outstanding work on that series...
Deadly Class (which he did with Wes Craig) was a short-lived, but acclaimed TV series on SyFy (with Remender as the showrunner of his own adaptation). The comic book series will be coming to a close, as well, soon, after nearly a decade-long run.