It’s poll time again, as the Former Dread Lord and Master did one of his things over at Comic Book Resources, and now that he’s posted all the results, I want to take a look at them. This time around it was the Top 50 Writers and Top 50 Artists off all time, and that’s always fun. Buckle in, and let’s break it down!
Here’s the Master List, where you can find links to Brian’s breakdowns. I’m not getting into that; we know who these people are!
I also checked out the list four years ago, which you can check out here. S’alright? S’alright.
Top 50 Artists (with commentary, plus their 2018 results – place, point total, first-place votes):
50. Marshall Rogers (224 points, 2 first-place votes). Not a big problem with Rogers being here, or on this list. He’s here mostly on the reputation of his few issues of Detective Comics, but he did good work elsewhere, although his late work is not as good as his early work, and it makes one wonder if Terry Austin should be on this list somewhere! (2018: #42, 242, 1)
49. Norm Breyfogle (226, 3). I had Breyfogle as my #9 best artist, so obviously I don’t have a problem with him showing up here. I still think he’s underrated, even if he’s popular enough to make a list like this! (2018: #37, 266, 2)
48. Carl Barks (228, 2). I am convinced that Brian makes up dummy email accounts for himself with names like “Crian Bronin” and “Brinn Corina” and then votes for Carl Barks in all ten positions just so Barks can show up on this list. It’s not that Barks is bad by any means, it’s just that Brian really, really likes him, and it doesn’t seem like too many other people hold him in such high regard. (2018: #50, 222, 2)
47. Alex Toth (231, 4). Toth is a fine artist, but to me, it seems like he’s more influential than excellent. I don’t have any issue with him being on this list, but I wouldn’t think of him as a Top 50 Artist of all time. (2018: #44, 239, 1)
46. José Luis García-López (235, 8). A fine draughtsman, worked on popular books, still truckin’ along … it’s not a shock to see him here. (2018: DNP)
45. Bryan Hitch (237, 1). Hitch gets on here on the strength of The Authority and The Ultimates, two wildly popular comics (although, surprisingly, he didn’t make the list in 2018). He’s a good artist, certainly, but it’s interesting to consider why people vote for artists. This is one guy, I think, where people vote not based on his entire body of work (which is a bit uneven), but because of his best work (which is, to be fair, pretty danged good). (2018: DNP)
44. Joe Madureira (241, 4). Madureira constantly shows up on this list, and I don’t get it. Maybe on one list, I get, especially if Brian did it during a time when Battle Chasers was in the news. But the dude doesn’t draw comics anymore, so it’s not like his name comes up that often, and his work isn’t that great (although I do enjoy it), so I’m baffled by his continual presence on this list, especially given some of the omissions. Oh well – such is life! (2018: #46, 232, 8)
43. Joe Kubert (244, 3). Kubert is terrific, and his career was super-long, and he worked on a lot of popular comics, so his name here is not surprising. It’s probably a bit low, in fact, but there you go. (2018: #37, 266, 5)
42. Jim Aparo (247, 4). As I’ve always said, had I never seen Aparo’s 1970s work, I’d be mystified by why people think he’s a great artist. By the time I first saw it, he was in his late 50s and had lost a bit of what made him so good. His 1960s/1970s work, though, is very good, and I hope that’s why people voted him onto this list! (2018: #44, 239, 5)
41. Wallace Wood (239, 8). Wood is ridiculously low on this list. It has to be because not enough people have seen enough of his work, right? I mean, come on! (#32, 294, 3)
40. Mike Allred (251, 7). I like Allred’s art quite a bit, but something about it bugs me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it keeps my from esteeming him more. He’s fine here, though. (2018: DNP)
39. Marc Silvestri (258, 1). I’m a fan of Silvestri’s, but that doesn’t keep me from noting that him being on this list, and ahead of some of the people behind him, is ridiculous. Come on, voters! (2018: #31, 311, 2)
38. Stuart Immonen (264, 3). Immonen might be a bit underrated, mainly because he’s so chameleon-like, able to draw very well in so many different styles. I know a lot of artists can do that, but Immonen is exceedingly good at it. (2018: #33, 287, 12)
37. Olivier Coipel (269, 2). JAG is a sports term, meaning “just a guy.” Basically, it means a dude who doesn’t add anything amazing to your team but isn’t a detriment. He just goes out and does the job. That’s Coipel, to me. He’s a perfectly fine (if slow) superhero artist, but he doesn’t add anything special to the work. He just gets the job done. Not #37 all time, in other words. (2018: #36, 272, 0)
36. Will Eisner (277, 3). Eisner is far too low on this list. He’s a terrific artist, of course, but just based on his influence alone, he should be higher! (2018: #21, 564, 4)
35. David Mazzucchelli (281, 4). I don’t have a problem with Mazzucchelli being here. I’m sure it was his excellent work on the Indiana Jones comic in the 1980s that put him here! (2018: #28, 395, 8)
34. Gary Frank (289, 7). I like Frank more than I like Coipel, but he’s in that neighborhood. A bit high at #34. (2018: DNP)
33. Bernie Wrightson (293, 4). A bit low for Wrightson, I should think. The dude was amazing. But such is life. (2018: #27, 407, 5)
32. Tim Sale (307, 5). A bit high for Sale, I think, but he’s probably getting a bit of a bump due to the fact that he died last year and he was in the news. Sale was an excellent artist, don’t get me wrong, but I wonder if he’s a bit higher than he might otherwise be because of what happened. (2018: #34, 282, 5)
31. John Cassaday (315, 4). Cassaday has somewhat surprising staying power given that he doesn’t do many (any?) comics anymore. That X-Men arc he did (which Brian always shows even though it’s not very good) really made him stick in people’s minds! (2018: #40, 252, 6)
30. Gil Kane (326, 3). I’ve honestly never been the biggest Kane fan, although he’s perfectly good. This placement seems about right. (2018: #23, 453, 10)
29. Curt Swan (354, 4). I’m definitely not a big fan of Swan. He’s a competent artist, certainly, but absolutely nothing special. A poor man’s Jim Aparo, if you will. And if he makes the list, where’s Dick Sprang? (2018: #41, 245, 5)
28. Gene Colan (357, 7). Colan is very good, and I have no problem with him being here. (2018: #25, 416, 5)
27. Greg Capullo (393, 5). Definitely too high for Capullo, who’s a pretty good superhero artist but doesn’t bring anything extra to push him over the top to greatness. He’s here for his work beginning with the Batman run (although that didn’t help him in 2018!), which was better drawn than written, certainly, but made him a high-profile guy, so people know who he is. Name recognition goes a long way in these polls! (2018: DNP)
26. Mike Deodato, Jr. (412, 12). Deodato re-invented himself about 20 years ago, and while his reliance on actors is distracting, he still became a much more interesting artist. He’s still doing really good work at AWA these days, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This might be a bit high, but I don’t have too big a problem with him being here. (2018: DNP)
25. Fiona Staples (424, 6). There are two women on these lists, and Staples is one of them. Saga really is quite popular, isn’t it? She’s very good on that book, but she’s still overrated at #25. Such is the power of Saga!!!!! (2018: #29, 387, 4)
24. Mike Mignola (436, 8). Mignola’s probably a bit underrated, to be honest. He’s so good with such minimalism that I think he doesn’t quite get the credit he should. (2018: #17, 715, 10)
23. Barry Windsor-Smith (455, 3). If you haven’t gotten Monsters yet, you really should. It’s amazing. (2018: #30, 319, 5)
22. J.H. Williams III (503, 5). A bit low for my tastes. There aren’t many artists who can lay pages out as beautifully as Williams can, nor shift styles as well (Immonen can, as I noted, but not many others). (2018: #20, 613, 5)
21. Brian Bolland (554, 10). I wish Bolland did more comics. He’s so good. (2018: #39, 261, 3)
20. Arthur Adams (559, 12). I wish Adams did more comics. He’s so good. (2018: #24, 444, 12)
19. Dave Gibbons (572, 9). I think this is a bit high for Gibbons, although I don’t have a problem with it. Gibbons is a fine artist, but like some others on this list, he feels too safe. Art should challenge us, dang it! (2018: #25, 416, 6)
18. Todd McFarlane (632, 6). Meh. I know why he’s here, and he’s too high, but what are you going to do? More for influence, possibly, although the chops are good. (2018: #18, 693, 12)
17. Moebius (697, 14). I’m always a bit surprised that Giraud is this high. Good for you, voters! (2018: #15, 731, 29)
16. Darwyn Cooke (729, 8). I don’t have an issue with Cooke being here. (2018: #16, 726, 11)
15. Alan Davis (757, 12). I hope the lack of a lot of Davis comics in recent years is his choice and not the choice of the ones writing the checks, because Davis clearly can still do a nice job with art, and I hope it’s not a question of him being too “old-fashioned” or some other such nonsense. (2018: #22, 521, 9)
14. John Romita (762, 8). This is too high for a solid, dependable, but somewhat stolid artist. (2018: #11, 979, 8)
13. Frank Quitely (896, 5). I like Quitely quite a bit, but for some reason, this feels too high, doesn’t it? (2018: #9, 1037, 7)
12. Walter Simonson (933, 3). I mean, I have him in my Top Ten, so obviously, I don’t have an issue with him being here. (2018: #12, 849, 12)
11. Steve Ditko (947, 21). Ditko is far kinkier than you think, you know! (2018: #6, 1599, 22)
10. John Buscema (998, 25). Much like Romita Sr., Buscema’s another guy who just got the job done without really doing anything spectacular. Very much overrated at #10. (2018: #10, 1021, 31)
9. Frank Miller (1026, 17). Based solely on his recent drawing of the Thing, I wouldn’t even put Miller in the Top 50. Gawd, it’s fugly! (2018: #14, 802, 11)
8. Bill Sienkiewicz (1032, 19). I mean, obviously. Fraser disagrees, but he’s often wrong, as you know. (2018: #8, 1114, 35)
7. John Romita, Jr. (1039, 26). Better than his father, but still wildly overrated here. (2018: #13, 823, 9)
6. Neal Adams (1585, 15). The first “modern” comic book artist and perhaps the most influential of all time. Sure, #6 is a good spot. (2018: #5, 1753, 15)
5. Alex Ross (1822, 34). A tad overrated, I think. I like Ross, but #5? Seems a bit high. (2018: #7, 1513, 36)
4. Jim Lee (1825, 33). Look, you knew he was going to show up high on this list. Let’s just try to move on, shall we? (2018: #4, 1779, 44)
3. John Byrne (3049, 62). I mean, I guess so. Top 50, definitely, but Top 3? A bit high, in my opinion. (2018: #3, 2596, 51)
2. KIRBY (3663, 126). The fact that the King isn’t #1 puts this entire poll into question. (2018: #1, 4262, 204)
1. George Pérez (3684, 133). I hate to say this, but like Sale, this placement is because of his death, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t have a huge problem with him being #1, and anywhere in the Top 10 would be fine, but, I mean, he got a bump because of his health problems, right? That kind of push does exist, and I imagine Pérez did benefit from it. This is a decent winner, I suppose, although I tend to rank artists a bit differently, and Pérez is a brilliant draughtsman, but I don’t know if he’s a great as some of the artists further down on the list. (2018: #2, 2744, 82)
Top 50 Writers (with commentary):
50. Keith Giffen (201, 1). Hmmm. Brian himself has pointed out the difference between Giffen the plotter and Giffen the scripter. Giffen comes up with superb plots, but he usually needs someone else to script them for him, as he’s not the best scripter. Some writers are better at one or the other, of course, but if you’re only great at one, should you be on this list? Giffen is fine, that’s true, but how much success is his, and how much is the scripter’s he works with? Or did people vote for him because they really do believe his scripts are on par with his plotting? (2018: #44, 230, 1)
49. Gerry Conway (203). I’ve never had strong feelings about Conway one way or another. He’s fine here, although I suspect he’s a bit overrated. (2018: #36, 293, 4)
48. Greg Rucka (207, 2). Rucka does some very good work and some blah work. He doesn’t do a lot of comics anymore, but from 1998 to 2010 or so he was really on fire. I don’t have any problem with him being here. (2018: #39, 255, 3)
47. Rick Remender (209, 7). Remender is a bit high, because overall, his work isn’t that great, but he’s low if we just consider first issues, at which he excels. He’s the charter example of the “Rick Remender Rule,” which states that each first issue starts very high, quality-wise, and each subsequent issues gets a bit worse until by the end of the run, you’re just begging for it to over. Beware the Rick Remender Rule!!! (2018: #33, 334, 1)
46. John Ostrander (211, 2). Ostrander is a bit low, isn’t he? I mean, you have GrimJack, Firestorm, Suicide Squad, The Spectre, and even Martian Manhunter – that’s a lot of brilliant comics for a long period of time. I suppose he’s less known now, perhaps, and that’s why his name isn’t as high, because, I mean, come on. (2018: #43, 242, 4)
45. Jaime Hernandez (213, 4). As I have often mentioned, I’ve never been a fan of anything Hernandez Bros.-related. Does this make me a bad comics reader? Possibly, but oh well. Therefore, I can’t condone Jaime at #45. (2018: #46, 214, 3)
44. Al Ewing (217, 7). Ewing has risen thanks to his work on Hulk, I imagine, although he’s done a lot of good work over the years. This isn’t a bad place for him. (2018: DNP)
43. Paul Levitz (220, 3). Beats me. Like Conway, I don’t feel strongly about Levitz one way or another. I could not, probably, tell you one comic of his that I’ve definitely read. I’ve probably read some, but they didn’t have make any impression on me. (2018: #34, 304, 5)
42. Chip Zdarsky (231, 6). I feel like Zdarsky is a bit overrated, although I know he’s a bit of the flavor of the month right now. Some of his work is pretty decent, but some of it isn’t very good. He seems like the type of writer who believes the hype, and that makes some of his work – the stuff that “everyone” loves – a bit weaker, because he’s feeling himself a bit. When he’s under the radar, it seems like he does better work. But I could be wrong. (2018: DNP)
41. Carl Barks (232, 7). “Brannon Rici” strikes again! (2018: #50, 197, 1)
40. Dan Slott (238, 2). I like Slott, and I think this is not a bad place for him. (2018: #31, 345, 4)
39. Art Spiegelman (241, 3). If we’re going by influence, Spiegelman is a bit underrated, isn’t he? I think he’s fine here, but I’m a bit surprised he’s not higher. (2018: DNP)
38. Gail Simone (243, 3). Simone will always be on these lists. I suspect she’s one of the only two female creators most mouth-breathing comics fans know. (Staples, of course, being the other.) (2018: #47, 208, 1)
37. Robert Kirkman (248, 3). Kirkman is fine, I guess, although the bloom is off his rose a bit, isn’t it? I have heard some shitty things about Skybound, so I’m a bit cool on Kirkman these days. (2018: #28, 394, 1)
36. Tom Taylor (271, 2). Taylor is also a bit of a flavor of the month, as he’s been doing some high-profile stuff for DC, which gets your name in the papers but doesn’t really let you flex your writing muscles. I still don’t know how good Taylor is. I read one of his very early comics and thought he had talent, but it’s hard to determine if that’s true when you’re just the machine that cranks out superhero stuff. (2018: DNP)
35. Will Eisner (285, 4). He’s pretty good. I’ll allow it. (2018: #37, 268, 6)
34. J. Michael Straczynski (293, 7). JMS is overrated, although he’s not a terrible writer by any means. He gets by on name recognition, I think (although, again, that didn’t help him in 2018). (2018: DNP)
33. Jeph Loeb (295, 7). Loeb should be putting flowers on Tim Sale’s grave every damned day. He’s a very nice guy, but #33? No. (2018: #41, 253, 5)
32. Steve Englehart (317, 8). I don’t really have a bit problem with Englehart being here. Maybe he’s a bit high, but he’s done a lot of cool stuff in his career, so … sure? (2018: #24, 521, 5)
31. Walter Simonson (324, 2). This feels low, doesn’t it? I mean, Simonson isn’t the most subtle writer, but his plots are terrific, and he knows how to be bombastic in comics that deserve bombast, which is a pretty good trick. (2018: #29, 383, 6)
30. Kieron Gillen (339, 4). I mean, I have Gillen at #7, so obviously I think he should be higher, but this is fine. (2018: DNP)
29. Mark Millar (378, 3). Twenty years ago, I would have been fine with this. Even after my famed Millar boycott went into effect, I have read enough of his work to think he’s not as good as he used to be, so I wonder how much of this is based on his work on The Ultimates. (2018: #25, 488, 4)
28. Jason Aaron (390, 4). He’s fine here – I think he’s a bit high, given that his range seems pretty narrow, but he’s very good at a few things, and that’s not bad. (2018: #21, 604, 5)
27. Jeff Lemire (422, 10). Lemire, on the other hand, feels a bit low, but I don’t have too big of a problem with him here. Unlike Aaron, he seems a bit more versatile, and that helps him with some odder stuff. (2018: #27, 406, 0)
25. Scott Snyder (451, 3). Snyder is a decent writer, but I still think he’s a bit high here. Of course, I’m aware I’m very much in the minority with regard to his Batman stuff, but still. (2018: #31, 345, 5)
24. Tom King (457, 8). If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know my thoughts on King. As long as he stays away from Batman, he might actually be underrated here. If you take his Batman work into consideration, he probably shouldn’t even be on this list. How can someone get Batman so wrong?!?!?!? (2018: #35, 302, 10)
23. KIRBY (506, 5). Like Giffen, I have mixed feelings about Kirby the writer. Concept-wise, he’s amazing. Execution-wise, eh. So this is probably a good spot for him – maybe a bit high, but not too bad. (2018: #23, 553, 12)
22. J.M. DeMatteis (524, 5). I’m a pretty big fan of DeMatteis, so while I think he’s a tad low here, I don’t have a problem with it. I think I might like him more than a lot of people, so he’s going to be a bit lower than I think he should be. (2018: #38, 265, 5)
21. Denny O’Neil (608, 2). O’Neil is a bit overrated – he wouldn’t be as revered if Neal Adams hadn’t been drawing his Batman and GL/GA stuff – but he’s still a good writer. He’s probably a little high, but the nostalgia factor is strong with him. (2018: #22, 595, 10)
20. Marv Wolfman (655, 8). I’ve never really been able to get into Wolfman, so I think he’s a bit high. He might be here more for influence rather than actual chops, but what do I know? (2018: #18, 725, 6)
19. Roy Thomas (694, 3). I think Thomas is a bit high, but not too bad. I’ve never been the biggest fan, but that’s probably because I hadn’t read his Conan work until recently, and that’s quite good. I still haven’t read a lot by him, but I like him more than I used to. (2018: #16, 814, 14)
18. Warren Ellis (713, 2). Ellis’s weird sexual things didn’t hurt him too much, I guess, although I think his standing has slipped a bit recently. I still think Ellis is one of the best comics writers, despite what some of our older-school writers here at the blog say, so I think this is too low. But as always with Ellis, I totally get if people have jumped ship with him. (2018: #9, 1307, 14)
17. Roger Stern (745, 9). Stern isn’t a bad writer, but he’s wildly overrated at #17. Of course, I think “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” is mawkish crap, too, so take that as you will. (2018: #20, 623, 4)
16. John Byrne (813, 10). Byrne is another guy who benefits from his artist, which in his case is usually himself. He’s a solid writer, but I think he’s a bit overrated here. (2018: #15, 921, 16)
15. Garth Ennis (887, 12). I have Ennis in my Top Ten, so of course I think he’s a bit underrated here. I get the objections to him, but I just think he’s so good when he wants to be that it overwhelms his weaknesses. I do think it’s a shame that most people probably voted for him based on Preacher and his work with the Punisher, neither of which is anywhere near his best work. (2018: #13, 1070, 15)
14. Ed Brubaker (914, 8). I don’t have any problem with Brubaker here. If we did a Top Twenty, this might be where I’d put him! (2018: #12, 1143, 12)
13. Peter David (988, 12). David is having some health problems, so if anyone can contribute to his GoFundMe, here it is. And yes, we live in a country where someone who has been extremely successful in their field for almost 40 years can’t pay for their medical bills. Late-stage capitalism kind of sucks, people. (2018: #17, 794, 12)
12. Brian Michael Bendis (1075, 7). Bendis is a bit overrated, but not too badly. His problem is that he wrote superhero comics, and while they were popular, they weren’t anywhere nearly as good as his pulpier stuff. People dug them, though. Still, I don’t have a huge problem with him here, although he’s a bit high. (2018: #10, 1303, 11)
11. Brian K. Vaughan (1084, 11). It’s fairly impressive that Vaughan could write one wildly overrated comic book series and then, somehow, follow it up with an even more overrated comic book series! That’s some kind of talent! (2018: #14, 997, 10)
10. Geoff Johns (1365, 14). Whenever I pick up a random Geoff Johns comic, something horrible happens. People tell me that he’s not always like that, but I don’t get why I get almost completely random Johns comics and something horrible happens in every single damned one of them. The latest is a close-up drawing of someone’s neck getting snapped. Come on, Geoff Johns!!!! Needless to say, he’s wildly overrated at #10. He’d probably be overrated at #50. (2018: #8, 1539, 16)
9. Kurt Busiek (1456, 13). This is a good spot for Busiek, I think. I have him a bit higher, but this is fine. (2018: #11, 1253, 19)
8. Jonathan Hickman (1633, 18). I’m on record as saying that Hickman’s Marvel work is mostly garbage, even though I very much like independent Hickman, but I guess the people really like “Moira-MacTaggart-is-God” and other great ideas like that, so what can you do? (2018: #19, 675, 13)
7. Stan Lee (2143, 44). I mean, I guess so? (2018: #3, 2954, 179)
6. Mark Waid (2148, 15). Waid here is fine, although I don’t have him in my Top Ten, so of course I think he’s a bit overrated. But I don’t have an issue with it. (2018: #7, 1727, 31)
5. Frank Miller (2468, 32). Miller is here based on Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns, which greatly benefited from its excellent artist. I guess for “Year One” as well, which is a bit overrated as a story. Miller shouldn’t be this high on the writer list, but what are you going to do? (2018: #5, 2363, 22)
4. Chris Claremont (2851, 114). Claremont is definitely overrated, but he’s also an example of “plotting” mattering more than “scripting” to some people, and that’s fine. Claremont’s plots were terrific, but his actual writing leaves something to be desired. However, his commitment to one title and one relatively small group of characters means that he was able to turn them into good characters almost by accident, and that means people remember him fondly and forget some of the more painful sentences he wrote. (2018: #4, 2898, 77)
3. Neil Gaiman (2862, 56). I mean, we could guess who the Top Three would be, it’s just the order that was a mystery. (2018: #6, 1749, 18)
2. Grant Morrison (3247, 91). I mean, we could guess who the Top Three would be, it’s just the order that was a mystery. (2018: #2, 3143, 82)
1. Alan Moore (4868, 185). I mean, we could guess who the Top Three would be, it’s just the order that was a mystery. (2018: #1, 4736, 173)
Here’s how I voted, with Writers first:
1. Morrison. Too many great comics to count!
2. Moore. Sure, some of his work is sketchy because he loves rape as a plot device a bit too much, but still.
3. Ennis. Some garbage, but usually great.
4. Gaiman. Sandman is still excellent, you know.
5. Ellis. I have to separate the art from the artist sometimes, as do we all.
6. Busiek. Yes, he brought back Jean Grey, but he’s made up for it!
7. Gillen. Phonogram is brilliant, but everything else he does is pretty great, too.
8. Ostrander. I can’t ignore his mid-1980s — early 2000s run of greatness!
9. Milligan. You don’t always get “Bad Milligan,” and “Great Milligan” overwhelms him, anyway!
10. Layman. He came as close as anyone to getting me to like Gambit, so you know he’s good!
And now my Artist list:
1. Wood. Yeah, that’s right!
2. Sienkiewicz. Don’t listen to Fraser, because he’s crazy!
3. KIRBY. Sure, why not?
4. Davis. Yeah, that’s right!
5. Simonson. The only one who can do Kirby’s Kreations any justice (well, except for maybe Scioli).
6. Williamson. As both a penciler and an inker!
7. Ferreyra. Maybe the best artist working today?
8. Williams III. He needs to do more work!
9. Breyfogle. Best Batman artist ever?
10. Pérez. Just a superb draughtsman.
Before we break this down a bit, you’ll notice a glaring omission: WHERE IS STERANKO?!?!?!? “But Greg,” you say, because you’re snide like that, “you didn’t vote for him either!” Well, yes, but I did four years ago, and as I noted with regard to the Top Runs List, I have about 10-20 comics that I could vote for, and I like to mix them up. I have about 10-20 artists I could vote for, and I decided to leave Steranko off. Had I known everyone else would, I would have voted for him, but I didn’t think everyone else would be that stupid!!!! Steranko finished 19th four years ago, and this year he’s not even on the list? Fuck the heck, man? Steranko should be perpetually in the Top 10, or at the very least Top 15. Sheesh.
Anyway, let’s break this down a bit. First up: Who came onto the list, and who dropped off!
Came onto the list, artists: Bryan Hitch (#45), Mike Allred (#40), Gary Frank (#34), Greg Capullo (#27), Mike Deodato (#26).
Fell off the list, artists: Bachalo (#49 in 2018), Jaime Hernandez (#47), Ivan Reis (#42), Starlin (#35), Steranko (#19).
Came onto the list, writers: Al Ewing (#44), Chip Zdarsky (#42), Art Spiegelman (#39), Tom Taylor (#36), J. Michael Straczynski (#34), Kieron Gillen (#30).
Fell off the list, writers: Brian Azzarello (#49), Gilbert Hernandez (#48), Matt Fraction (#45), Steve Gerber (#42), James Robinson (#39), Len Wein (#29).
It’s interesting to see who falls off and who comes on. Of the artists, it’s surprising, honestly, that none of those dudes made in 2018, because they were known quantities back then, and they were still working steadily. I wonder why this time was the charm. As for those who fell off, only Reis feels a bit like a “flavor-of-the-month” selection from 2018 (not that he’s a bad artist, but some of these people get voted on because they have a moment around the time the poll is taken) – the others had worked for years and felt like perennials if not huge risers. The lack of Steranko … well. As for the writers, Azzarello always felt like a bit of a flavor of the month, as did Fraction, honestly (Fraction is a better writer than Azzarello, and in 2018 it seemed he was doing more high-profile work than he is now, so …). I’m a bit surprised by Hernandez, Gerber, and Robinson falling, but Wein died in 2017, so it’s clear he got a post-death bump. As for the newcomers – it’s weird that Spiegelman isn’t more perennial, and I don’t know why he’s here now. Same with Straczynski – why did he make it this particular year but not in 2018? Gillen seems to have solidified his status as a perennial, even though this is his first time on the list – he’s been around long enough and done enough high-profile work that I expect him to stay. The other three … they’re all working a lot, so it will be interesting to see if they stick around in four years or if they prove to be flavors of the month themselves. That’s what’s fun about these lists!
Here’s how each person did in comparison to 2018. I’m only going by point total, because placement number is a tiny bit arbitrary.
50. Rogers: -18 points
49. Breyfogle: -40
48. Barks: +8
47. Toth: -8
46. García-López: + at least 13 (DNP in 2018; Barks with 222 finished #50)
45. Hitch: + at least 15 (DNP in 2018)
44. Madureira: +9
43. Kubert: -22
42. Aparo: +8
41. Wood: -55
40. Allred: + at least 29 (DNP in 2018)
39. Silvestri: -53
38. Immonen: -23
37. Coipel: -3
36. Eisner: -287
35. Mazzuchelli: -114
34. Frank: + at least 77 (DNP in 2018)
33. Wrightson: -114
32. Sale: +25
31. Cassaday: +63
30. Kane: -127
29. Swan: -62
28. Colan: -59
27. Capullo: + at least 171 (DNP in 2018)
26. Deodato: + at least 190 (DNP in 2018)
25. Staples: +37
24. Mignola: -279
23. Windsor-Smith: +136
22. Williams III: -110
21. Bolland: +293
20. A. Adams: +115
19. Gibbons: +156
18. McFarlane: -61
17. Moebius: -34
16. Cooke: +3
15. Davis: +236
14. Romita: -217
13. Quitely: -141
12. Simonson: +84
11. Ditko: -652
10. Buscema: -23
9. Miller: +224
8. Sienkiewicz: -82
7. Romita Jr.: +216
6. N. Adams: -168
5. Ross: +309
4. Lee: +46
3. Byrne: +453
2. KIRBY: -599
1. Pérez: +940
50. Giffen: -29
49. Conway: -90
48. Rucka: -48
47. Remender: -125
46. Ostrander: -31
45. Hernandez: -1
44. Ewing: + at least 20 (DNP in 2018; Barks with 197 finished at #50)
43. Levitz: -84
42. Zdarsky: + at least 34 (DNP in 2018)
41. Barks: +35
40. Slott: -107
39. Spiegelman: + at least 44 (DNP in 2018)
38. Simone: +35
37. Kirkman: -146
36. Taylor: + at least 74 (DNP in 2018)
35. Eisner: +17
34. Straczynski: + at least 97 (DNP in 2018)
33. Loeb: +42
32. Englehart: -204
31. Simonson: -59
30. Gillen: + at least 142 (DNP in 2018)
29. Millar: -110
28. Aaron: -214
27. Lemire: +16
26. Starlin: -17
25. Snyder: +106
24. King: +155
23. KIRBY: -47
22. DeMatteis: +259
21. O’Neil: +13
20. Wolfman: -70
19. Thomas: -120
18. Ellis: -594
17. Stern: +122
16. Byrne: -108
15. Ennis: -183
14. Brubaker: -229
13. David: +194
12. Bendis: -228
11. Vaughan: +87
10. Johns: -174
9. Busiek: +203
8. Hickman: +958
7. Lee: -811
6. Waid: +421
5. Miller: +105
4. Claremont: -47
3. Gaiman: +844
2. Morrison: +104
1. Moore: +132
Biggest risers (in point totals), artists:
1. Pérez (+940). Not a surprise, given the circumstances.
2. Byrne (+453). A bit of a surprise, given that he doesn’t do a ton of work anymore.
3. Ross (+309). His FF graphic novel probably gave him a boost.
4. Bolland (+293). Another surprise, given that he doesn’t do a ton of work anymore.
5. Davis (+236). Another surprise, given that … you know the drill!
Biggest fallers (in point totals), artists:
1. Ditko (-652). Um, what?
2. Kirby (-599). Um, what?
3. Steranko (-405 or more). Um, what the what?
4. Eisner (-287). This probably isn’t too big a surprise as Eisner’s heyday fades even more into the mists of time.
5. Mignola (-279). This is a bit surprising, but such is life.
The two biggest fallers didn’t suffer too much – Ditko went from #6 to #11 and Kirby only went from #1 to #2, but Steranko’s fall is precipitous and weird. The voters should be ashamed of themselves!!!!
Biggest risers (in point totals), writers:
1. Hickman (+958). Krakoa. Blech.
2. Gaiman (+844). Sandman got made into a television series.
3. Waid (+421). Waid’s just doing his thing, so maybe people just like him?
4. DeMatteis (+259). Didn’t DeMatteis launch an on-line thing? Maybe that got his name back in people’s heads.
5. Busiek (+203). Beats me. He’s like Waid – just doing his thing, writing good comics.
Biggest fallers (in point totals), writers:
1. Lee (-811). Lee only fell from #3 to #7, but dang, some people get a post-death bump, but did Lee’s death make everyone reassess his writing ability?
2. Ellis (-594). Perhaps not surprising. I doubt he’ll ever fall off this list, but this big a fall probably could have been predicted (he fell from #9 to #18).
3. Brubaker (-229). This is a bit surprising (he only fell two spots, but the point fall was decent), because he’s putting out such great work, but I wonder if the further we get in time from his Marvel work the more the superhero zombies will forget about him.
4. Bendis (-228). His superhero star has waned a bit, so this isn’t terribly shocking.
5. Aaron (-214). This is a bit surprising, as he’s still cranking out seemingly popular stuff for the House of Ideas, so why he’d get knocked is a bit perplexing.
Off all the point total mysteries, the drops of Ditko, Kirby, and Steranko are, to me, the most surprising. Yes, I get that different people vote and they have different tastes, but the first two, especially, seem like they should be bulletproof. And I don’t know what the heck happened with Steranko.
I like looking at these polls Brian does, especially when I can compare and contrast earlier polls with them. He probably did one of these in 2014, but I’m not combing through the archives to find it! Just comparing four years ago is fun enough, and it shows how tastes change, how recency bias comes into the vote, and who might be a flavor of the month and who might have more staying power. It’s fun! I know you like sounding off about these things, too, so have at it in the comments!