Marvel and DC each have a proud heritage of 80 years of history, characters, and stories. From founding figures like Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Siegel, and Shuster to modern bestselling writers like Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Chip Zdarsky, comic books have attracted phenomenal writers. And while some writers have a slew of titles under their belt, many have been overlooked by the big two over the years.
While there are plenty of outstanding titles and creators out there right now, too many skilled comic book writers are currently without projects at the big two. While it’s important to ensure a strong and steady flow of new talent into the industry, publishers need to balance this with their legacy creators for a well-rounded talent pool loved by fans. Publishers continue to have a wealth of existing talent options when selecting new comic book teams.
ten Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray made Jonah Hex a household name again
Palmiotti and Gray have written for numerous series over the years as a team, but are best known for their 2005 revival of Jonah Hex. The scarred bounty hunter received his best run, the popularity of which no doubt contributed to the decision to let him headline his own film.
Palmiotti and Gray also had a fun stint on the main Hawkman title after the departure of Geoff Johns at the time. Their typical style of action stories made in one makes them a great choice for the majority of titles, and they would be a welcome addition to any title on the release calendar.
9 Bryan Edward Hill delivers thoughtful and fun action
In a relatively short time, Bryan Edward Hill wrote several instant classic stories. Among these are a masterful hitman mini-series, an original crime thriller titled American Carnage and an action-packed series batman and the alienswhich ran for 17 issues.
Hill, also an accomplished screenwriter, has worked on properties such as evil Dead and Titans. His work at the big two showed an excellent balance between attention to detail and hard-hitting action. With a wide variety of characters behind him, Hill would be a great fit for a range of new projects.
8 Nancy Collins is a great horror writer
Nancy Collins is best known for a run on Swamp Thing in the 1990s, following the work of Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and Len Wein. Collins proved to be the latest in a long line of great title writers and left a lasting mark on the moss-encrusted swamp hero.
Joined by artists Scott Eaton and Kim DeMulder, she added character to the Louisiana swamp and told a solid series of ghostly tales and gothic horror. With the Ram Vs Swamp Thing proving a hit, it shows there’s still a solid market for the dark horror that Collins knows so well.
seven Jeff Lemire is one of the most versatile comic book writers
The author of everything since The formidable (Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis & Joe Prado) to his own Black Hammer (Lemire, Dave Stewart & Dean Ormstom), Lemire is a creator with cross-genre appeal. His versatile style had made him an ideal candidate for characters from both publishers.
Currently writing the Black Label miniseries Swamp Thing: Green Hell with artist Doug Mahnke, Lemire showed his true strength of being on longer tracks. The resurrection of The formidable and their Fantastic Four-style adventures would be a great opportunity for Lemire to return to DC’s publishing schedule.
6 Dan Abnett Led Aquaman’s Fun Revival Era
When the Rebirth era began, Abnett penned aquatic hero Aquaman for dozens of issues in a solid run. He then wrote the Justice League Odyssey series that saw Azrael, Cyborg, Starfire, and Jessica Cruz team up in space and face off with Darkseid himself.
Abnett has also shown writing prowess for UK publisher Rebellion/2000 AD on their flagship character Judge Dredd. He has worked in various corners of the big two as well as other franchises. Abnett’s return to Aquaman could help revive this title.
5 Dan Jurgens has a strong Superman track record
Jurgens is perhaps best known for his run on Superman in the 1990s, and in particular for his writing of the “Death of Superman” arc. As co-creator of Booster Gold, he recently wrapped up an action-packed series of Blue and Golda miniseries team between Booster and his best friend, Blue Beetle.
Along with Peter J. Tomasi, Jurgens helped revive Superman for DC’s revival era in action comics. Jurgens was part of a long line of creators who showed that Rebirth truly had the best comic book writers. With so many great comics behind it, an ongoing Jurgens series is always a great addition for the comic.
4 Robert Venditti masterfully combines science fiction and adventure
When DC launched its Rebirth initiative, Robert Venditti – who had written New 52’s The Green Lantern––directed the new Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series. Running for 50 issues, the series has become one of the best Green Lantern comics in recent memory.
In 2018, Venditti and artist Bryan Hitch took JSA member Hawkman to new heights and delivered perhaps the best ongoing DC title of the last ten years. The series became an instant hit among readers and creatives. Venditti’s works on Superman, Justice League and freedom fighters showed his great balance between classical and modern writing.
3 Peter J. Tomasi is a safe bet for fun action stories
Tomasi has a long history at DC Comics, starting as an editor and then joining the legendary publisher’s prestigious roster of writers. He wrote the likes of Green Lantern Corps, batman and the aliens and is perhaps best known for his post-Rebirth series of Superman.
Tomasi’s writing style of combining shorter story arcs, action and fan service for heroes outside of the main roster means readers can be sure they’ll be treated to great comics and fun cameos. The action writer would be a great choice for most titles, but his return to Superman and super son would be a guaranteed success.
2 JM DeMatteis is a go-to comic book writer
DeMatteis has been writing comics since the Bronze Age and wrote titles like The brave and the daring, Justice League and Spider-Man. DeMatteis is an incredibly influential writer in both comics and TV/film, with storylines remaining relevant from generation to generation.
His stories like “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and his work on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series showed familiarity with the best comic book heroes. And his run with Keith Giffen on Justice League has shown an ability to elevate lesser-known heroes to the forefront and cultivate a fanbase for them.
1 Walter Simonson brought Thor to his peak
After Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s initial run, Thor went through a series of new designers, from Gerry Conway to John Buscema. When Walter Simonson took over the title in 1983, he did covers, interior art and the script. His run has gone down in comic book history as one of the greatest of all time.
His creation of the iconic Beta character Ray Bill has remained a testament to his creative genius. And with headline races like Hawkgirl, JSA and Ragnarok, he has proven his talent in both major publishers and across a range of characters. Simonson has the added skill of being both an outstanding writer and artist.
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