Like every medium out there, the writers of comic tend to get lost in the shuffle of the character. We know Superman and the actors who have brought him to life on screen, but what about the writers who actually did so in comic books? Just like people forget there are writers writing the jokes in sitcoms and writers writing the wonderful dialogue in movies, comic books simply could not exist without talented people to create good stories and make the characters interesting.
Here now are five writers I have come to respect and even admire. I love their stories and could read them a million times.
I know most people would probably put this one higher. Let me explain why he is so high on my list. First, it took me a long time to figure out how good this guy was. And second, I haven’t read what he is most famous for. Watchman and Swamp Thing. However what I have read is more than fantastic writing. He did one of my favorite Superman stories (“For the Man who Has Everything”) and one of the best Batman stories (“The Killing Joke”). No to mention the classic final Superman story of the pre-Crisis universe. There is a whole trade collecting many of the stories he wrote for DC, and it’s one of my favorite TPB’s.
Most people would think I was about to talk about the big Spider-Man event when Gwen Stacy was killed. Well, he did script that and I respect that but I never really read Spider-Man. I have read his issues of Justice League of America that I loved! I also loved Firestorm which he co-created and wrote many issues of. He also did the Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man crossover which I enjoyed.
Is there anyone who has not heard of him? Ironically the one thing of his I did not like was his Superman. He tried to make Superman gritty and realistic. Sorry but that isn’t what Superman is about. However his other stuff has been great including his two most notable works-Crisis on Infinite Earths and of course the 80’s run of The New Teen Titans. I also picked up the new graphic novel “The Game” and it was decent. And while I did not care for his approach to Superman I have to give him credit because he was the one who changed Luthor from a mad scientist to a corporate exec. A decision that made so much sense that Luthor has never gone back to being a mad scientist thrity years later (to my knowledge anyway).Wolfman makes the characters feel real. And unlike Keith Giffen, who I liked but who tends to dumb down his characters. Wolfman makes his characters feel like genuine PEOPLE.
#2.Mike W. Barr
I wanted to include someone who worte Batman. But there have been dozens of people who have written Batman, including at least two others who are on this list. But then I realized there was one Batman writer I loved. Not Jim Starlin or Doug Moench, but Mike W. Barr. Batman is not the easiest character to write. In the 70’s many forgot he was supposed to be a “dark grim avenger”, I have comics where he is seen casually walking down the street with Gordon, in daylight!! Wrong. But in the 90’s and today Batman has gotten a bit to grim, to the point you wonder how he associates with anyone. Mike W. Barr found the balance I prefered, best shown in his Batman and the Outsiders series. This series worked because Barr was able to keep true to Batman’s dark legacy while giving him just enough humanity that the characters worked very well together. Barr also did a run on Detective Conics I loved, an Elseworlds story called Darkest Knight where we see Batman get the GL power ring. Very good story!
It is because of John Byrne I love comic books. And Superman. It’s as simple as that. Of course he was first known for his X-Men work, but as you may guess I am not a Marvel fan. I have talked before about how I fell in love with his reboot of Superman in 1986, and they are comics I still cherish. I love every single thing he did with the character. So what about his later stuff? I checked out his run on Wonder Woman and have to say I enjoyed the issues I read. He did a Batman story called “The Many Deaths of the Batman” which I liked. A one shot called Green Lantern: Ganthet’s Tale which I loved. He also did Superman/Batman:Generations which…I absolutely hated. Yeah I guess they can’t all be gems because where he took that story baffled me. I also enjoyed his artwork and pencils.
There you have it, my five favorite comic book writers