Hey, it’s even more comics lists we can argue about!

Over at Comic Book Resources, our old friend Brian Cronin has been listing things like a madman, and while I don’t really have much to say about the best Stan Lee stories ever, he also recently compiled a list of the top 50 writers and artists of all time, as voted on by readers. These kinds of things are always fun to argue about, so let’s take a look at the lists! Don’t worry, I’ll list them separately – the links are just in case you want to read a little about them and see some examples of their work.

Writers:

50-46
45-41
40-36
35-31
30-26
25-21
20-16
15-11
10-7
6-4
3-1

Artists:

50-46
45-41
40-36
35-31
30-26
25-21
20-16
15-11
10-7
6-4
3-1

Here’s the master list, with point totals!

Artists:

50. Carl Barks (222, 2 first place votes)
49. Chris Bachalo (225, 2)
47. David Aja (227, 3)
47. Jaime Hernandez (227, 2)
46. Joe Madureira (232, 8)
44. Jim Aparo (239, 5)
44. Alex Toth (239, 1)
42. Ivan Reis (242, 2)
42. Marshall Rogers (242, 1)
41. Curt Swan (245, 5)
40. John Cassaday (252, 6)
39. Brian Bolland (261, 3)
37. Norm Breyfogle (266, 2)
37. Joe Kubert (266, 5)
36. Oliver Coipel (272, 0)
35. Jim Starlin (275, 1)
34. Tim Sale (282, 5)
33. Stuart Immonen (287, 12)
32. Wallace Wood (294, 3)
31. Marc Silvestri (311, 2)
30. Barry Windsor-Smith (319, 5)
29. Fiona Staples (387, 4)
28. David Mazzucchelli (395, 8)
27. Bernie Wrightson (407, 5)
25. Gene Colan (416, 5)
25. Dave Gibbons (416, 6)
24. Arthur Adams (444, 12)
23. Gil Kane (453, 10)
22. Alan Davis (521, 9)
21. Will Eisner (564, 4)
20. J. H. Williams III (613, 5)
19. Jim Steranko (629, 6)
18. Todd McFarlane (693, 12)
17. Mike Mignola (715, 10)
16. Darwyn Cooke (726, 11)
15. Moebius (731, 29)
14. Frank Miller (802, 11)
13. John Romita, Jr. (823, 9)
12. Walter Simonson (849, 12)
11. John Romita, Sr. (979, 8)
10. John Buscema (1021, 31)
9. Frank Quitely (1037, 7)
8. Bill Sienkiewicz (1114, 35)
7. Alex Ross (1513, 36)
6. Steve Ditko (1599, 22)
5. Neal Adams (1753, 15)
4. Jim Lee (1779, 44)
3. John Byrne (2596, 51)
2. George Pérez (2744, 82)
1. KIRBY (4262, 204)

Writers:

50. Carl Barks (197, 1)
49. Brian Azzarello (202, 5)
48. Gilbert Hernandez (205, 1)
47. Gail Simone (208, 1)
46. Jaime Hernandez (214, 3)
45. Matt Fraction (223, 2)
44. Keith Giffen (230, 1)
43. John Ostrander (242, 4)
42. Steve Gerber (250, 6)
41. Jeph Loeb (253, 5)
39. James Robinson (255, 4)
39. Greg Rucka (255, 3)
38. J. M. DeMatteis (265, 5)
37. Will Eisner (268, 6)
36. Gerry Conway (293, 4)
35. Tom King (302, 10)
34. Paul Levitz (304, 5)
33. Rick Remender (334, 1)
31. Dan Slott (345, 4)
31. Scott Snyder (345, 5)
29. Walter Simonson (383, 6)
29. Len Wein (383, 5)
28. Robert Kirkman (394, 1)
27. Jeff Lemire (406, 0)
26. Jim Starlin (456, 2)
25. Mark Millar (488, 4)
24. Steve Englehart (521, 5)
23. KIRBY (553, 12)
22. Denny O’Neil (595, 10)
21. Jason Aaron (604, 5)
20. Roger Stern (623, 4)
19. Jonathan Hickman (675, 13)
18. Marv Wolfman (725, 6)
17. Peter David (794, 12)
16. Roy Thomas (814, 14)
15. John Byrne (921, 16)
14. Brian K. Vaughan (997, 10)
13. Garth Ennis (1070, 15)
12. Ed Brubaker (1143, 12)
11. Kurt Busiek (1253, 19)
10. Brian Michael Bendis (1303, 11)
9. Warren Ellis (1307, 14)
8. Geoff Johns (1539, 16)
7. Mark Waid (1727, 31)
6. Neil Gaiman (1749, 18)
5. Frank Miller (2363, 22)
4. Chris Claremont (2898, 77)
3. Stan Lee (2954, 179)
2. Grant Morrison (3143, 82)
1. Alan Moore (4736, 173)

So let’s break this down a bit more, using the point totals!

Brian added things up the way he usually does: 10 points for your #1 choice, 9 points for your #2, and so on. So we can take a look at certain things, because it’s fun. First, the writers, with their point totals, the amount of points from first-place votes, and how far behind the preceding person they are:

1. Moore: 4736 points, 1730 from first-place votes.
2. Morrison: 3143, 820, -1593.
3. Lee: 2954, 1790, -189.
4. Claremont: 2898, 770, -56.
5. Miller: 2363, 220, -535.
6. Gaiman: 1749, 180, -614.
7. Waid: 1727, 310, -22.
8. Johns: 1539, 160, -188.
9. Ellis: 1307, 140, -232.
10. Bendis: 1303, 110, -4.
11. Busiek: 1253, 190, -50.
12. Brubaker: 1143, 120, -110.
13. Ennis: 1070, 150, -73.
14. Vaughan: 997, 100, -73.
15. Byrne: 921, 160, -76.
16. Thomas: 814, 140, -107.
17. David: 794, 120, -20.
18. Wolfman: 725, 60, -69 (nice).
19. Hickman: 675, 130, -50.
20. Stern: 623, 40, -52.
21. Aaron: 604, 50, -19.
22. O’Neil: 595, 100, -9.
23. KIRBY: 553, 120, -42.
24. Englehart: 521, 50, -32.
25. Millar: 488, 40, -33.
26. Starlin: 456, 20, -32.
27. Lemire: 406, 0, -50.
28. Kirkman: 394, 10, -12.
29. Wein: 383, 50, -11.
29. Simonson: 383, 60, -11.
31. Snyder: 345, 50, -38.
31. Slott: 345, 40, -38.
33. Remender: 334, 10, -11.
34. Levitz: 304, 50, -30.
35. King: 302, 100, -2.
36. Conway: 293, 40, -9.
37. Eisner: 268, 60, -25.
38. DeMatteis: 265, 50, -3.
39. Rucka: 255, 30, -10.
39. Robinson: 255, 40, -10.
41. Loeb: 253, 50, -2.
42. Gerber: 250, 60, -3.
43. Ostrander: 242, 40, -8.
44. Giffen: 230, 10, -12.
45. Fraction: 223, 20, -7.
46. J. Hernandez: 214, 30, -9.
47. Simone: 208, 10, -6.
48. G. Hernandez: 205, 10, -3.
49. Azzarello: 202, 50, -3.
50. Barks: 197, 10, -5.

Here’s the writers listed by first-place votes only:

1. Lee: 179.
2. Moore: 173.
3. Morrison: 82.
4. Claremont: 77.
5. Waid: 31.
6. Miller: 22.
7. Busiek: 19.
8. Gaiman: 18.
9. Johns: 16.
9. Byrne: 16.
11. Ennis: 15.
12. Ellis: 14.
12. Thomas: 14.
14. Hickman: 13.
15. Brubaker: 12.
15. David: 12.
15. KIRBY: 12.
18. Bendis: 11.
19. Vaughan: 10.
19. O’Neil: 10.
19. King: 10.
22. Wolfman: 6.
22. Simonson: 6.
22. Eisner: 6.
22. Gerber: 6.
26. Aaron: 5.
26. Englehart: 5.
26. Wein: 5.
26. Snyder: 5.
26. Levitz: 5.
26. DeMatteis: 5.
26. Loeb: 5.
26. Azzarello: 5.
34. Stern: 4.
34. Millar: 4.
34. Slott: 4.
34. Conway: 4.
34. Robinson: 4.
34. Ostrander: 4.
40. Rucka: 3.
40. J. Hernandez: 3.
42. Starlin: 2.
42. Fraction: 2.
44. Kirkman: 1.
44. Remender: 1.
44. Giffen: 1.
44. Simone: 1.
44. G. Hernandez: 1.
44. Barks: 1.
50. Lemire: 0.

Now let’s look at the writers ranked by percentage of first-place points they received out of their total:

1. Lee: 60.6
2. Moore: 36.5
3. King: 33.1
4. Claremont: 26.6
5. Morrison: 26.1
6. Azzarello: 24.8
7. Gerber: 24.0
8. Eisner: 22.4
9. KIRBY: 21.7
10. Loeb: 19.7
11. Hickman: 19.3
12. DeMatteis: 18.9
13. Waid: 18.0
14. Byrne: 17.4
15. Thomas: 17.2
16. O’Neil: 16.8
17. Ostrander: 16.5
18. Levitz: 16.4
19. Robinson: 15.686
20. Simonson: 15.665
21. Busiek: 15.2
22. David: 15.1
23. Snyder: 14.5
24. Ennis: 14.0
24. J. Hernandez: 14.0 (yes, their percentages are exactly the same)
26. Conway: 13.7
27. Wein: 13.1
28. Rucka: 11.8
29. Slott: 11.6
30. Ellis: 10.7
31. Brubaker: 10.5
32. Johns: 10.4
33. Gaiman: 10.3
34. Vaughan: 10.0
35. Englehart: 9.6
36. Miller: 9.3
37. Fraction: 9.0
38. Bendis: 8.4
39. Wolfman: 8.3
39. Aaron: 8.3
41. Millar: 8.2
42. Stern: 6.4
43. Barks: 5.1
44. G. Hernandez: 4.9
45. Simone: 4.8
46. Starlin: 4.4
47. Giffen: 4.3
48. Remender: 3.0
49. Kirkman: 2.5
50. Lemire: 0.0

Here are the artists, with their point totals, the amount of points from first-place votes, and how far behind the preceding person they are:

1. KIRBY: 4262 point, 2040 from first-place votes.
2. Pérez: 2744, 820, -1518.
3. Byrne: 2596, 510, -148.
4. Lee: 1779, 440, -817.
5. N. Adams: 1753, 150, -26.
6. Ditko: 1599, 220, -154.
7. Ross: 1513, 360, -86.
8. Sienkiewicz: 1114, 350, -399.
9. Quitely: 1037, 70, -77.
10. Buscema: 1031, 310, -6.
11. Romita, Sr.: 979, 80, -52.
12. Simonson: 849, 120, -130.
13. Romita, Jr.: 823, 90, -26.
14. Miller: 802, 110, -21.
15. Moebius: 731, 290, -71.
16. Cooke: 726, 110, -5.
17. Mignola: 715, 100, -11.
18. McFarlane: 693, 120, -22.
19. Steranko: 629, 60, -64.
20. Williams III: 613, 50, -16.
21. Eisner: 564, 40, -49.
22. Davis: 521, 90, -43.
23. Kane: 453, 100, -68.
24. A. Adams: 444, 120, -9.
25. Gibbons: 416, 60, -28.
25. Colan: 416, 50, -28.
27. Wrightson: 407, 50, -9.
28. Mazzucchelli: 395, 80, -12.
29. Staples: 387, 40, -8.
30. Windsor-Smith: 319, 50, -68.
31. Silvestri: 311, 20, -8.
32. Wood: 294, 30, -17.
33. Immonen: 287, 120, -7.
34. Sale: 282, 50, -5.
35. Starlin: 275, 10, -7.
36. Coipel: 272, 0, -3.
37. Kubert: 266, 50, -6.
37. Breyfogle: 266, 20, -6.
39. Bolland: 261, 30, -5.
40. Cassaday: 252, 60, -9.
41. Swan: 245, 50, -7.
42. Rogers: 242, 10, -3.
42. Reis: 242, 20, -3.
44. Toth: 239, 10, -3.
44. Aparo: 239, 50, -3.
46. Madureira: 232, 80, -7.
47. J. Hernandez: 227, 20, -5.
47. Aja: 227, 30, -5.
49. Bachalo: 225, 20, -2.
50. Barks: 222, 20, -3.

Here are the artists listed by first-place votes only:

1. KIRBY: 204.
2. Pérez: 82.
3. Byrne: 51.
4. Lee: 44.
5. Ross: 36.
6. Sienkiewicz: 35.
7. Buscema: 31.
8. Moebius: 29.
9. Ditko: 22.
10. N. Adams: 15.
11. A. Adams: 12.
11. Immonen: 12.
11. McFarlane: 12.
11. Simonson: 12.
11. Cooke: 11.
11. Miller: 11.
17. Kane: 10.
17. Mignola: 10.
19. Davis: 9.
19. Romita, Jr.: 9.
21. Madureira: 8.
21. Mazzucchelli: 8.
21. Romita, Sr.: 8.
24. Quitely: 7.
25. Cassaday: 6.
25. Gibbons: 6.
25. Steranko: 6.
28. Aparo: 5.
28. Colan: 5.
28. Kubert: 5.
28. Sale: 5.
28. Swan: 5.
28. Williams III: 5.
28. Windsor-Smith: 5.
28. Wrightson: 5.
36. Eisner: 4.
36. Staples: 4.
38. Aja: 3.
38. Bolland: 3.
38. Wood: 3.
41. Bachalo: 2.
41. Barks: 2.
41. Breyfogle: 2.
41. J. Hernandez: 2.
41. Reis: 2.
41. Silvestri: 2.
47. Rogers: 1.
47. Starlin: 1.
47. Toth: 1.
50. Coipel: 0.

And the artists ranked by the percentage of their vote total made up of first-place points:

1. KIRBY: 47.9
2. Immonen: 41.8
3. Moebius: 39.7
4. Madureira: 34.5
5. Sienkiewicz: 31.4
6. Buscema: 30.1
7. Pérez: 29.9
8. A. Adams: 27.0
9. Lee: 24.7
10. Cassaday: 23.8
11. Ross: 23.8
12. Kane: 22.1
13. Aparo: 20.9
14. Swan: 20.4
15. Mazzucchelli: 20.3
16. Byrne: 19.6
17. Kubert: 18.8
18. Sale: 17.7
19. McFarlane: 17.32
20. Davis: 17.27
21. Windsor-Smith: 15.7
22. Cooke: 15.2
23. Gibbons: 14.4
24. Simonson: 14.1
25. Mignola: 14.0
26. Ditko: 13.8
27. Miller: 13.7
28. Aja: 13.2
29. Wrightson: 12.3
30. Colan: 12.1
31. Bolland: 11.5
32. Romita, Jr.: 10.9
33. Staples: 10.3
34. Wood: 10.2
35. Steranko: 9.5
36. Barks: 9.0
37. Bachalo: 8.9
38. N. Adams: 8.6
39. Reis: 8.3
40. Romita, Sr.: 8.2
41. Williams III: 8.2
42. Breyfogle: 7.5
43. J. Hernandez: 7.2
44. Eisner: 7.1
45. Quitely: 6.8
46. Silvestri: 6.4
47. Toth: 4.2
48. Rogers: 4.1
49. Starlin: 3.6
50. Coipel: 0.0

Let’s consider these lists for a moment. I think this happened last time, but I find it fascinating that the biggest gap always seems to be between the #1 and #2 finisher, which means whoever gets voted #1 usually destroys the competition. I guess these lists means that if Alan Moore and Jack Kirby had ever done a comic together, it would have been the best-selling comic in the history of publishing! I also find it fascinating seeing how much of the vote came from first-place votes. For the big guns, they don’t mean too, too much (Moore would finish second if you took away all his first-place votes and kept everyone else’s, while Kirby would finish third), but as you go down the list, they become more crucial. I always though that what it meant for writers/artists with smaller vote totals is that while they don’t have broad support, the people who like them REALLY like them, so they get a large percentage from those first-place votes. I mean, Stan Lee got 60% of his total from first-place votes, for crying out loud! But look at Tom King, who got one-third of his point totals from first-place votes. King hasn’t been around long enough to build up a lot of support from people, but those who like him think he’s really good. You see the same thing with writers like Azzarello and Gerber. In the artists’ section, Kirby’s percentage is the highest, but then we get Immonen, Moebius, and Madureira, again indicating that the people who like those two really like those two, but everyone else probably didn’t have them ranked very high, if at all. If you get a lot of votes but your percentage of first-place votes is smaller, you probably have wider support. Obviously, the vote totals are small enough to mean tiny fluctuations have huge effects, but I find it pretty interesting.

As for who made the lists … well, those are fun to debate, aren’t they? The lack of non-English-speaking writers and artists is always interesting, especially as the internet has made foreign stuff more accessible. I get it, because my lists (see below) have only two non-English-speaking creators, but I still find it interesting. The lack of women and minorities is also interesting, mainly because that’s another region where the strides made by those groups has been recent, so their work doesn’t resonate with readers who complete these kinds of surveys. Matt Baker, for instance, is still too unknown to make a list like this. So is Tarpé Mills. So that’s not surprising. The two women who do make the list are there because Simone is a good writer, but she’s also high profile, while Staples works on a very high-profile comic (and does a fabulous job, don’t get me wrong). I don’t have a problem with Simone being on this list – she’s very good – but I’m bummed that Staples made it while someone like Jill Thompson, who is better than Staples, didn’t. Marie Severin is a better artist than Staples, too, and she’s more important in the history of comics, so it’s odd that she didn’t make it. Such are the vagaries of surveys!

Anyway, I don’t have too many gripes about the list. It’s not only a popularity contest, but also a tug at nostalgia, which is why artists like Madureira, Swan, Silvestri, and McFarlane and writers like Loeb, Conway, Levitz, Wein, Stern, and Johns made it (you could even put Claremont in there, to a degree). They’re all decent enough, but there’s no way they’re top 50, but they worked on iconic characters back when that meant something, so people remember them fondly. I can argue with placement on the list – Pérez is a great artist, but I was a bit surprised to see him at #2 – but not too much. I do wonder how people vote, whether they think about importance of the creator, the way a creator might change the medium, or if their work is just “kewl.” It’s just interesting to me, because I know how I voted, and I wonder how others did, too.

Here’s my list of Top Ten Artists (with their placement on the master list):

1. Bill Sienkiewicz (#8)
2. Wallace Wood (#32)
3. Norm Breyfogle (#37)
4. Jim Steranko (#19)
5. Jack Kirby (#1)
6. Walter Simonson (#12)
7. Alan Davis (#22)
8. Kelley Jones (DNP)
9. Juan Ferreyra (DNP)
10. Sergio Toppi (DNP)

Sienkiewicz is #1 because he’s not only great, but he forced the way comics were drawn to change more than any artist. He made comics seem even more limitless than they already were, which is no small feat. Wood is superb in any genre, and he was adept at changing his style from realistic to cartoony, occasionally within the same story or page. He kind of also represents all the artists who worked during in the Golden Age or Silver Age who didn’t get enough recognition from this list. Baker, for instance. Bob Powell, Bernie Krigstein, Al Williamson, Mills, Fran Hopper, Jack Davis, Bill Everett … the list is long!!!! Breyfogle might not be as technically gifted as some artists, but his fight scenes remain some of the best, and he humanized Batman more than almost any artist ever. Steranko is another dude who changed the way comics were drawn, and he’s also so important to the medium that he deserves to be higher on the master list. Kirby is Kirby. Simonson is the closest anyone has ever come to Kirby without simply being a clone, and his sense of grandeur makes any comic you read feel more epic than it might be. Davis is a master at action scenes, and despite the idealized figures he draws, he’s also a master at body language and facial expressions, so his characters seem more human than a lot of great superhero artists. Jones is another one of those guys whose style is so unique that he forces us to look at comics a different way, and the style he does choose makes his comics feel more unnerving than they have any right to be. Ferreyra is the most recent dude on my list, and he’s always been great on anything he draws. He’s one of the best superhero artists working today, and his use of space in a panel is phenomenal, allowing him to impart much more visual information than most artists. I just discovered Toppi a few years ago, and while I don’t own a lot of his work, he’s amazing. His line work is stunning, and he uses the complete page to create collages that are easy to read but are still impressive complete pieces of art on their own. So those are my artists.

Here’s my list of Top Ten Writers (also with their placement on the master list):

1. Grant Morrison (#2)
2. Alan Moore (#1)
3. Garth Ennis (#13)
4. Neil Gaiman (#6)
5. Warren Ellis (#9)
6. Kieron Gillen (DNP)
7. John Ostrander (#43)
8. John Layman (DNP)
9. Doug Moench (DNP)
10. J. M. DeMatteis (#38)

Morrison wrote Doom Patrol, the greatest long-form comic ever, so that’s a good reason for me to put him on the top of my list. But he’s done so much other brilliant work, so there’s that. Moore is Moore. Ennis wrote Hitman, the second-greatest long-form comic ever, and while sometimes I think he gets a bit too puerile, when he reins it in he can write characters almost better than anyone. Gaiman is Gaiman. He’s done very little comics work outside of Sandman, but that might be enough. But his Riddler story in the Secret Origins Villain Special remains the best Riddler story ever, and his Hellblazer story in issue #27 is brilliant. Ellis writes better superheroes than almost anyone, and his desire to drag other genres into the 21st century is refreshing. Gillen wrote Phonogram, which might be enough for me to put him on this list, but he’s written a lot of other great stuff, too, and the characters he creates and the dialogue he writes are second to none. Ostrander has written some of the best superhero comics of the past 35 years, and part of what makes him great is that he’s so good at placing his comics into a “real-world” context – not what superheroes would look like in the “real world,” but what a world with many superheroes would look like, politically. Layman is the most personal choice here – he’s a friend of mine, which influenced my vote, but Chew really is that good, and his new series has gotten off to a great start. I vacillated the most with him, but what the hell. Moench has a weird, almost stilted style, but he just cranks out great stories, and despite being serious, he never seems to take it too seriously, so there’s a nice hint of humor in everything he writes. DeMatteis is the weirdest dude on this list, as he’s been obsessed by religion and spirituality for years, which gives his writing an ethereal quality, but it’s always deeply humanistic. Plus, his writing is very funny, as his work on Justice League showed. I did leave off Peter Milligan, which is the only writer I really had a tough time with. Milligan would be 10a, I suppose.

So there you have it. I’m always glad when Brian does these lists, because they’re fun to check out. And sometimes they give me stuff to write about! Debate the lists in the comments, because that’s always fun!

21 Comments

  1. tomfitz1

    Mr. Burgas,

    You have waaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands doing these lists, don’t you? lol

    Since you’re a fan of Morrison and his DOOM PATROL (#me too!), have you had a chance to watch the tv series? It’s awesome!

    1. Greg Burgas

      Tom: I don’t know what you’re talking about! This took me ten minutes, tops! 🙂

      I haven’t watched Doom Patrol because I don’t have the DC Universe thingy. One of these days, I might get it, but there’s so much else to watch!

  2. Dave

    Dave Sim is the best writer and in my mind it isn’t even really close. (Also *literally* the best writer because he is also best letterer haha.

    But writer/artists kinda weird because not sure where the writing stopped and the layout/ page-design started, if you know what I mean. Notably none of the top writers here (except Miller and Byrne and Bendis (sorta)) were their own artists, while several of the top artists are also outstanding writers.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Dave: I’ve never read Cerebus, so I can’t really speak to Sim’s abilities. I agree with you about writer/artists, though, and it is kind of hard. With writers who draw, I tend to put everything but dialogue into the “art” category. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s how I differentiate.

  3. fit2print

    The fact I’ve read so little Morrison basically invalidates my opinion but I’m in the camp that pretty much dismisses out of hand any best writer list that doesn’t have Moore at the top. No question that G-Mozz pens a mean superhero book – based on the admittedly modest selection that I’ve read – but is he any match for Moore in terms of the sheer number of genres in which he has produced first-rate work? I thought so. So, yeah, I’ll grant Morrison (ahem) the title of “best superhero writer” but Moore still takes the overall crown because – spoller alert! – “superhero comics” is not, despite what you’ve been told, a synonym for “comics.”

    1. Greg Burgas

      fit2print: Morrison writes in more genres than just superhero comics, and he’s quite good in those, too. And I don’t think Moore writes in so many genres that he’s clearly ahead of Morrison in those categories, but I’m just splitting hairs, because for me, the difference between them is slight. I love almost everything both of them have written (I can’t deal with Moore’s recent horror, and I don’t love The Invisibles), so the difference, for me, is that Doom Patrol is better than Moore’s best work (which is a tough choice for me). But that’s a tiny difference.

      1. fit2print

        Doom Patrol’s got a steep hill to climb to rival Watchmen, From Hell and, yes, even Swamp Thing but I trust your judgment based on your many, many past reviews so I’ll give it a look. Yes, Morrison has ventured beyond superheroes but I think it’s by far the genre he’s best known for and in which he has written most (again, by far). Nothing wrong with specialization, I suppose (it’s worked just fine for Stephen King), I guess I just hold versatile writers in higher regard (see work of King’s goid friend Stewart O’Nan, for example). I’m also prejudiced by the fact I prefer just about every other genre to superheroes. Then again, who isn’t biased in one way or another? As you might say, that’s why we debate…

        1. Greg Burgas

          fit2print: One reason I like Doom Patrol more than those others is because the emotional heft is greater. Watchmen is a puzzle, and a brilliant one, but even when Rorschach takes off his mask at the end, I don’t feel as much as at some points in DP. From Hell is another brilliant work, but again, I don’t feel as emotionally invested in it. Swamp Thing has more of that, and the romance between Swamp Thing and Abby is wonderful, but I just like the connections in DP better. So that’s a big reason for me to put Morrison slightly (again, it’s extremely close) above Moore.

  4. Andrew Collins

    Honestly not much to quibble with on either list. Both are interesting to me for their mix of classic stalwarts like Kirby and Lee with more modern favorites like Tom King and Fiona Staples. In a perfect world, John Ostrander would be higher on the writer list, IMHO.

    It’s also nice to see Carl Barks still getting some love from fans who too often skew towards superheroes.

    The only omission from a list I would have done up is Scott McCloud, who is an excellent writer AND very underrated artist. His Zot! is my personal favorite book of all time (with Morrison’s Doom Patrol a very close second!)

  5. Peter

    That’s truly a pretty solid list. I check Cronin’s posts on CBR from time to time, but I missed the call for voting this past year.

    If I had voted, I probably would have gone with something like the following:

    Writers
    1. Grant Morrison
    2. Alan Moore
    3. Warren Ellis
    4. Stan Lee
    5. Frank Miller
    6. Peter Milligan
    7. Chris Claremont
    8. Neil Gaiman
    9. Steve Gerber
    10. Mike Baron

    with Bryan Talbot, David Lapham, Gene Yang, and John Ostrander all on the outside looking in (partly because I love what work of theirs I’ve read, but I haven’t read quite enough of it).

    Artists
    1. Steve Ditko
    2. Wally Wood
    3. Frank Miller
    4. J.H. Williams III
    5. Jack Kirby
    6. Walt Simonson
    7. Bill Sienkiewicz
    8. Steve Rude
    9. Steranko
    10. Barry Windsor-Smith

    I think my rankings are based on a combination of “importance” as well as how “cool” I find certain writers and artists’ work. Consistency across a sizable body of work also matters to me, which is why some folks like Jodorowsky or Brendan McCarthy maybe didn’t place as high as others whose peaks were less brilliant but more sustained. Steranko of course is a bit of an exception to this rule because the small bit of work he did was variegated and massively influential, while the rule also dragged Frank Miller down as a writer (I’d argue his peak – “Born Again” – is as good as anything Morrison or Moore wrote, but his extended decline causes him to place a few spots lower).

    The few quibbles I’d have with the list are that I think Frank Miller is a bit underrated as an artist – his storytelling is pretty much always brilliant, and his style is always interesting (even if it is not always conventionally beautiful) – and that Johns and Waid are a bit overrated.

    Greg – with you, I would dispute that Claremont is primarily a nostalgia vote. His X-Men stories are of course legitimate classics, but I think the guy also wrote a lot of stuff that is criminally underrated. His Iron Fist, Marvel Team-Up, Excalibur etc. show him to be a very creative writer. He’s not as formally ambitious as some of the British Invasion folks, but his characterization is awesome and it far outweighs the stylistic tics that he is often associated with in my mind. I’m also genuinely curious as to what Moench stories you think put him in the top 10 of all time – I probably haven’t read enough Moench (crucially, I’ve never gotten my hands on Demon in a Bottle or Master of Kung Fu), but what I HAVEread of him has never struck me as elite writing.

    1. Louis Bright-Raven

      Peter: “I’m also genuinely curious as to what Moench stories you think put him in the top 10 of all time – I probably haven’t read enough Moench (crucially, I’ve never gotten my hands on Demon in a Bottle or Master of Kung Fu), but what I HAVE read of him has never struck me as elite writing.”

      “Demon in a Bottle” (I presume you mean the Iron Man storyline) is by David Michelinie. What have you read by Moench?

    2. Greg Burgas

      Peter: I love Claremont and a lot of the stuff you cite, so yeah, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the problem becomes with what you’re looking for in a writer. Claremont, I think, is one of the best plotters in comics history, but his actual writing is just okay. I know that some people don’t like Moore’s florid writing, but when he’s on, it’s just so imaginative and expressive, and Claremont never really does stuff like that. One of the reasons I love Kieron Gillen is because when he writes characters, he nails them so well that it feels like people you’ve known for years. His plots aren’t the greatest, but I, personally, don’t care about plots as much as some people do. It’s just a different way of looking at writing. But yeah, maybe I was a bit harsh on Claremont.

      As Louis points out, Michelinie wrote Demon in a Bottle. But Moench has written some great comics: Master of Kung-Fu (Marvel has them in Omnibus form, if you can find them cheap, and they’re excellent), the first Moon Knight (a lot of its success is from Sienkiewicz, but Moench wrote excellent stories), and his run on Batman with Kelley Jones is masterful. He also wrote Batman in the early 1980s, and in a completely different way than in the 1990s, but also very well. So those are some comics that put him high on my list!

  6. jccalhoun

    These are always tough. I would probably put Alan Moore as number one. I don’t think I would put Morrison as two. As much as I liked the early Sandman comics, Gaiman doesn’t really do it for me.

    Although he is crazy as a loon, I think Dave Sim should be on both lists.

    I’m a huge Legion of Super-Heroes fan so I think Levitz and Giffen should be higher on both lists.

    I’ve always been a fan of the early Kubert School guys so Bissette, Totleben, Truman, Yeates would all be on my list.

    I totally agree about the lack of diversity on the list though. I also always liked the Philippine artists that started working in the USA comics market in the 70s so Alex Nino and Nestor Redondo would be on the list too.

    1. Greg Burgas

      jccalhoun: I’m sure that Sim ISN’T on the lists because of his politics, although it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that just not a lot of people have read Cerberus.

      I like Nino more than Redondo, but yeah, it’s a tiny bit surprising neither one made the list.

  7. John King

    So many great creators to vote for – I always end up with an arbitrary list to vote for – and I admit some of which are influenced by local or personal bias – I grew up in Alan Davis’ home town (and am there at this moment) and met Barry Kitson at the Norwich comic shop while I ws at University just as he was starting – and as both are great they made my artists list.
    others on my artists list included Jim Steranko, Mike Grell, Stjepan Sejic, Amanda Conner, George Perez, Paul Gulacy, Jan Duursema and Brian Bolland
    narrowly edging out such talents as Bill Everett, Steve Lightle, Butch Guice, Tim Truman and others whom I had voted for in the previous artists poll a few years ago

    On the writers I voted for fewer British writers than on your list -I voted Alan Moore, Garth Ennis along with Doug Moench, Jim Starlin, Greg Rucka, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Brian K Vaughan (and gave Kelly 1 point as I enjoy what she’s been doing) – again this edged out great writers from my previous vote such as Warren Ellis, Ed Brubaker and Jerry Siegel (I loved some of his 1960s work for British comics).
    I felt Doug Moench was particularly good for his usage of the supporting cast making all series feel like a team book.

    Personally, I think there should be a seperate category for writer/artists for when there is a great synergy giving a quality you rarely get with separate writers and artists – Dave Sim, Stan Sakai, Katsuhiro Otomo, Walt Simonson, Mike Grell and Will Eisner would be among the people I would vote for

    Brian did another vote at the same time for Stan Lee stories – I made a point of voting for a different series with each vote.
    the best 2 of my votes that didn’t make the list was the Doctor Strange story from Marvel Premiere 3 drawn and co-plotted by Barry Windsor-Smith and a 2 part Thor story near the end of his run which shows why it’s a bad idea to mug a 7-foot woman in the Marvel universe (the expression “if looks could kill” comes to mind)

    1. Greg Burgas

      John: A separate category for writer/artists would be nice, but it’d be harder to judge, too. So many of them have turned into writers over the years, presumably because they can write faster and make more money than if they did both. So it’s hard to figure out where they fit. I mean, technically, Bendis is a writer/artist, so it would become difficult!

      I noted the Stan Lee survey briefly, but I didn’t vote in that. I honestly haven’t read as many Lee stories as I should, so I didn’t feel qualified to judge those as much.

  8. John King

    On Alan Davis – I attended a couple of local conventions in which he gave talks which showed the thought processes behind his design and page structure with multiple examples. He told about the problems at DC over his redesign of Katana for Batman and the Outsiders (I loved the way he choreographed her fight scenes) and the challenges involved in turning a Claremont stream of consciousness into a coherent page layout. The talks were fascinating.

    George Perez was notable for his ambition as an artist wanting to draw every character, designing Jack of Hearts,etc (no surprise he ended up as the artist on Crisis on infinite earths)

    1. Greg Burgas

      That’s very cool. I love listening to artists talk about their craft. A few years ago Mark Buckingham was at San Diego doing a demonstration about how he puts together a page, and I also covered a panel where John Romita Jr. talked about his process. Both were very interesting.

  9. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Didn’t vote, but here’s my writers list:

    1. Moore
    2. Morrison
    3. Ennis (He’d be second, if the question was “favorite” rather than “best”)
    4. Busiek
    5. Miller
    6. Ellis
    7. Bendis
    8. Gillen
    9. Brubaker
    10. Rucka

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