Top Ten Writers of 2017

Honorable Mentions: Marguerite Bennett, Scott Snyder, Kieron Gillen, Rick Remender, Tim Seeley, Charles Forsman, Dan Abnett, Benjamin Percy, Mathew Rosenberg

10. Gerard Way of Doom Patrol & Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye

As the ring leader behind DC Comics extraordinary Young Animal imprint, Gerard Way produced some of comics most equally entertaining and bizarre ongoing series with Doom Patrol and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Way’s comics were some of the years most adventurous, irreverent, insightful, and purely spectacular ongoing titles; taking dormant legacy characters and transforming them into hyper-modern surrealist adventures. Pairing with a slew of talented collaborators in Jon Rivera, Michael Avon Oeming, Mike Allred, Nick Derrington, Tom Fowler, and Tamra Bonvillain; Way’s titles were some of the most purely fun books in comics, while being some of the purely weirdest as well. All the while, Way helped shepherd the Young Animal imprint with a slew of fantastic series like Bug!, Shade The Changing Girl, and Mother Panic. With the Young Animal party set to crossover into the DCU and continue on into next year, along with the return of Umbrella Academy coinciding with it’s adaptation on Netflix, Gerard Way shows no sings of slowing down one as one of comics most prolific and unique voices-Pat

9. Brian Michael Bendis of Jessica Jones, The Defenders, Spider-Man, Spider-Men II, Invincible Iron Man & Infamous Iron Man

Bendis has always been a writer who produces a high quantity of comic books in a given year, but, in 2017, it wasn’t just the quantity that impressed, but the overall quality. Spider-Man, Jessica Jones, Invincible Iron Man, Infamous Iron Man, Guardians of The Galaxy and Defenders were all fantastic books, each with their own design and feel. Bendis adapted his story telling in each of these comics to accentuate his artists differing strengths. Now, for 2018 Bendis is taking his talent to DC leaving Marvel behind. I am sad to see him leave these great Marvel characters he established over the years, but very interested to see what DC does with him. Will Batman finally start cracking the one liners?-Dean

8. Kelly Thompson of Hawkeye, Star Wars Captain Phasma,Jem & The Holograms/Jem Infinite/Jem The Misfits & Mega Princess

 At the beginning of 2017,  you may have been able to guess most of the names that’d appear on this list. However, I’m not sure you would have been able to predict Kelly Thompson. Much like VCU in the 2011 March Madness tournament, we knew they were a team in the tournament, we knew they had potential, but did anyone really expect them to be there in the end? If sportzball analogies are lost on you, let me bring it back to comic terms. We knew Kelly Thompson could write a solid comic from her work on Jem and The Holograms and the first issues of Hawkeye, but did we really think she would be on this list? Now, in all honesty I didn’t take much note of Jem in the last couple years. I read a few issues here and there, always enjoying them, but I never became a religious buyer of the book. So, perhaps Kelly Thompson has been this great all along and I am only now taking notice because she has done work on two comics I am very interested in. Hawkeye and Captain Phasma were two of my favorite titles this year, and as a pair, they did a fantastic job showing Thompson’s versatility. In Hawkeye, she writes Kate Bishop as a sarcastic and charming young woman who’s likability factor is through the roof. It was in Hawkeye that I realized Thompson’s sense of humor and mine align, making each issue a joy to read. In Captain Phasma, she writes an enigmatic and brutal woman who’s likability factor up until now is rooted in her bad ass costume design. It was in Captain Phasma I realized the story telling strength of Thompson. She was given a short run on a bridge book starring a character everyone loved, but no one knows why. It is an easy comic to mess up, but Thompson not only pulled it off; she showed us she is in the top tier of comic book writers. Both of these books are must reads of 2017, which is why Kelly Thompson makes our list. I can’t wait until the 2018 series Rogue & Gambit hits stands, which is actually this week-Dean

7. Emil Ferris of My Favorite Thing is Monsters

Out of nowhere, Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monster original graphic novel quickly established the cartoonist as one of comics most outstanding overall talents. A story about poverty, discrimination, family, and murder in late 1960’s Chicago; Ferris wrote and drew one of the years most fascinating and harrowing titles in the medium. An amazing artist in her own right, Ferris displayed the writing talent of a seasoned and well accomplished novelist for her complex humanist portrayal of a young girl who wishes for nothing more then to be a werewolf. Borne from her fear of the dangerous world around her and the feelings as an outsider; protagonist Karen Reyes navigates the coming of age tale as she copes with death, anxiety and alienation. An instant masterpiece, My Favorite Thing is Monsters cemented Ferris as one of the mediums most unique and important voices. With the titles second volume set for release in March of 2018, Emil Ferris looks to continue her fantastic comics work into the new year and beyond-Pat

6. Jeff Lemire of Black Hammer, Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil, Royal City, Descender, Hawkman Found, Moon Knight, Extraordinary X-Men, Inhumans vs X-Men & Bloodshot Salvation

Jeff Lemire has become a A-list name in a relatively short time, and his profile is sure to only rise higher. Already, the man has worked at every major publisher, and produced strong work to be remembered for each time. Sweet Tooth, Animal Man, Hawkeye, Black Hammer, Descender; each one a testament to Lemire’s skill at crafting humanistic stories with just a touch of loneliness. While he may tackle the same themes, they’re ever-green concepts of family, growing older, and navigating a strange world on your own. It never becomes boring, because it never stops being true to real life. In spite of all this, I believe Lemire’s greatest days are still to come-Josh

5. Warren Ellis of Injection, The Wildsorm & The Wildstorm: Michael Cray

It has been so much fun to read the renaissance of Ellis. Few writers could tackle the combination of hard sci-fi and occult mystery the way he does in Injection. A cast of hyper-intelligent misfits, each with their own specialties, idiosyncrasies, and flaws. Ellis has a knack for giving us–the reader–just enough information to be enthralled, yet still kept out of the loop, and not be bothered by it at all. His other work, building the new iteration of the Wildstorm universe, is one of our favorite new series’. 2017 was a banner year for one of comics’ most talented writers, and we very much look forward to the continued brilliance of Warren Ellis and his wicked tales-Tyler

4. Ed Brubaker of Kill or Be Killed

Ed Brubaker is one of my favorite writers of all time. It is very hard for me to talk about favorite comics without putting Sleeper and Criminal in the mix simply because of the feeling I had while reading them. It’s something that will be ingrained in my memory forever. While there have been other Brubaker books since then that I’ve enjoyed, none gave me the same feeling as these. I figured it was just because Sleeper and Criminal were my first introductions to the work of Brubaker and the “first time” effect was the cause of those fond memories. Well, in 2017 we received ten issues of Kill or Be Killed, and it is clear that this comic book is not only in the conversation with Sleeper and Criminal; but it may just be the best comic Ed Brubaker has ever written. The strength of this book lies in the protagonist Dylan. There is something incredibly likable about this depressed, possibly delusional masked vigilante. We spend a lot of time in the mind of Dylan and it is a scary mind at times, but the honest humanity of the character really connects the reader. The way Dylan’s inner monologues are written really makes the character feel real, so even though we are dealing with a subject matter that is hard to relate to, we are able to ground ourselves in the main character’s psyche. Brubaker is doing some of his finest work on Kill or Be Killed and I can’t wait to see what comes next-Dean

3. Brian K. Vaughan of Saga & Paper Girls

Brian K Vaughan has been making great comics for years, and with his two ongoing Image series Paper Girls and Saga, I believe people are really starting to recognize that. Saga is continually the best comic being published, with its praises being sung until people can almost run out ways to explain its brilliance. That Vaughan is able to use science fiction to tell engaging stories centered on vulnerable people, instead of mainly explosions or action scenes, only adds to that. Almost everyone in Vaughan’s stories is vulnerable emotionally, and relatable even if they’re not actually human. It allows him to explore foibles and personalities beyond simply good/evil, and give stories we can discuss and dissect years after they’re over-Josh

2. Jonathan Hickman of East of West, The Black Monday Murders & The Dying and The Dead

A perennial favorite here at NBC!, Hickman had another solid year penning Black Monday Murders and East of West. Both stories deal with an impending doom, but have completely different styles and approaches. With partner Tomm Coker, Black Monday Murders mashes together the world’s financial system and the occult,
in a story that could only come from a writer like Hickman. Moody, complex but not impenetrable, and absolutely compelling; We look forward to every issue, ready and able to fall further down the well of this mystery. Meanwhile, East of West continues its march towards the apocalypse. An expansive world, full of complex characters and a story that might well be my personal favorite ongoing comic. Nearly forty issues in, and Hickman has delivered chapter after fascinating chapter. Combined with stunning artwork from Nick Dragotta, the saga of the four horseman mixes together so many genres, that it should seem overwrought. But under the deft hand of Hickman, its just spectacular-Tyler

1. Tom King of Mister Miracle, Batman, Batman/Elmer Fudd, The Kamandi Challenge #9 & The Sheriff of Babylon

If 2017 crystallized anything for comics, it was that Tom King is a special talent. From the astounding creator owned Vertigo title The Sheriff of Babylon, to one of the greatest years of Batman comics in recent memory, to the ground breaking Mister Miracle; Tom King was consistently wowing readers with his impressive body of work. A master of structure and dialogue, with an innate sense of timing for single issues; King’s comics was among the best and most thoughtful titles in the medium. By teaming with a series of incredible artists ranging from Lee Weeks, to Joelle Jones, to Mitch Gerads, to Mikel Janin, to Clay Mann; King’s released a robust and substantially complex body of work that was unrivaled from any of his peers. He made the Catwoman & Batman relationship work, he gave us the best Swamp Thing comic in years, he wrote one of the most even handed fictional accounts of the war in Iraq,he quoted Pascal & Kirby in a Kamandi comic drawn by Kevin Eastman, he turned Jack Kirby’s Fourth World into a parable about live, love, consciousness & fascism, and he made a crossover between Batman and Elmer Fudd into one of the best single issue Batman stories in a decade. It’s been a little over three years since King ostensibly came out of nowhere to great fanfare on Grayson, and he’s been raising his profile ever since. In 2017, his first full year on the mainline Batman title and the year for which he released his most complex project to date in Mister Miracle; King’s work was engrossing & inspirational in equal measure, making for hands down the best comics of the year-Pat

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