Next up on the twitter list is comic book writers. Often these guys and gals write in multiple mediums, but they have all produced a comic or few that I’ve enjoyed.
Warren Ellis has one of my favourite brains. He’s written a number of comics I’ve quite enjoyed, top series being Transmetropolitan and Fell. He did a webcomic, FreakAngels, with Avatar press, which was subsequently released in print, but that had a large, interactive web presence. His blog is also a great place to find new artists of all sorts. He likes supporting and promoting the people whose work he likes, which is great. He also will expound at length about his thoughts on what digital comics are, could and should be. Personally, I like his sense of humour, although I know it’s not for everyone. [Like re-branding Valentine’s Day as Horney Werewolf Day]
Neil Gaiman. Probably one of the best known comic writers of the current generation. Although, he’s not just a comic writer. He’s a novelist (American Gods, Anansi Boys, etc), TV scriptwriter (Neverwhere, Dr. Who, etc), children’s book writer (Coraline, The Wolves in the Wall, etc), and his stories have been adapted by others into movies, plays, musicals and I’m sure much more. Sandman brought people into comics who would have never considered themselves comics readers. While it was not my entry point, I do remember one of my best friends in high school being really interested it and trying to get me to read it too. [It took me about another 5 years to become a comics reader]. Everyone seems to love him, and his work, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy who likes his fans and wants to be accessible.
I like Brian Wood. I like his politics and his taste in music as well as his comic books. I have maybe debated which is the best Ted Leo & the Pharmacists album with him. (I still claim that Shake the Sheets is a damn fun record, although Tell Balgeary Balgury is Dead is a fine choice too, just don’t go all Hearts of Oak on me and we’re cool.) He also writes some of the best female protagonists I’ve read. Local and New York 4 (and it’s sequel New York 5) are terrific. I’m also a big fan of his two Demo series—single stand-alone issues that all revolve around a central issue. His take on a distopian future of NYC embroiled in a civil war, DMZ, is good, although I often find myself wanting to smack the main character Matty Roth. I’ve not had a chance to read Northlanders, his Norse series, but I’ve heard only good things, and it’s had an amazing cast of artists. As for twitter, as you might have guessed, he’s pretty open to discussions with fans, which is awesome.
Scott McCloud needs little introduction. The writer of Understanding Comics, Making Comics, and Reinventing Comics. As well as writing some of the most recognized books about the medium itself, he is a comics creator in his own right, including Zot!. He’s also the mind behind 24-hour comics day, which has taken off and become an international event. His website, scottmccloud.com, is also a useful source of comics insight and news.
I seem to have gotten a bit verbose, so I’ll try to cut back to a more readable length again… Antony Johnston writes the post-apocalyptic comic Wasteland. He’s got a new comic, The Coldest City, about spies in Berlin in the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin wall, coming out in a few months. He also has two greyhounds. He likes the Miami Dolphins, but I try not to hold that against him.
Phonogram, created by Gillen and McKelvie, ticks just about all the boxes for me. In a nutshell, it’s about the emotional power music has over us. This power is harnessed in the Phonogram world by phonomancers in order to cast spells. The first series is about the death of Brit-pop, and those who try to resurrect it. The second series, the singles, takes place in one night, each issue follows a different character as they go to a club night run by fellow phonomancers. (The tracklist is available here. All pop and all female vocalists). A third series has just been announced—squeeeee.
Yes, that’s his actual name. I first encountered McCool’s writing when he teamed up with Ben Templesmith on Choker. Due to lots of issues beyond Ben T’s control, the last issue of Choker has been on hold for a while, and in the meantime, Ben McC has also released Memoir with artist Nikki Cook, to much critical acclaim. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more from both Ben’s soon.
The one and only female writer on this list, which is an absolute shame. But, if you’re going to have one, might as well make it an American who converted to Islam, moved to Egypt for a number of years and then re-settled in Seattle with her husband and now their new baby girl. The two titles of hers I am most fond of, the graphic novel Cairo and the recently finished series Air, were collaborations with artist M K Perker.
Being based in Glasgow, I didn’t feel I could make this list in good faith without including Mark Millar. Like him or loathe him, you can’t deny he’s one of the strongest, or at least loudest, voices in comics right now. Author of Wanted, Kick Ass, Nemesis, Superior, American Jesus, The Authority, War Heroes and now Jupiter’s Children, along with several other DC and Marvel titles.
Chew is a very peculiar comic, written by an equally peculiar man, John Layman. Chew follows a detective, Tony Chu, who has a psychic link to everything he puts in his mouth. As you can imagine, this can make eating a very harrowing experience. And in order to solve murders, a rather nasty meal indeed. As gross as that all may sound, it’s quite a fun title and deserves all the awards and praise it’s received.
Si Spurrier has written for a number of comic titles, getting his start at 2000AD, and then moving on to mostly Marvel properties. I come upon him via his involvement with BleedingCool.com, and his friendship with a number of other creators on these lists. He just published the second of his crime novels, A Serpent Uncoiled.
What if there was another world where all the characters from fairy tales were real? That’s the conceit behind Fables, one of Vertigo’s longest-running titles. Their world was invaded and they fled to a corner of NYC. Fables has spawned a spin-off, Jack of the Fables, co-written with Matthew Sturges. They also conspired to create House of Mystery, which has recently wrapped up.
Matthew Sturges, as mentioned above, has co-created a couple of comics with Bill Willingham. He’s worked with him as part of a writing collective called Clockwork Storybook.