Twitter—Comic Book Writers

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,, 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, 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.


Links from Last Year

Passing on some more link love from last year, here’s an amalgamation of info on a bunch of different topics. Hopefully some of this will spark some interesting ideas and discussions.

4 Color Process is a blog that pulls out small details from comic books and celebrates the beauty in the dots that made up comics, especially the cheaply produced comics of the past. They put together their missions statement, so to speak here: In Defense of Dots: The lost art of comic books. (They also get credit as where I found all the images for the banners. Thanks 4CP!)

We’ve already mentioned Chris Ware in class. His book, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth won the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, marking the first time a comic won a major UK literary award. Here’s an interview he did at the International Copenhagen Comics Festival: He discusses his approach to pacing and whether he feels applying filmic structural techniques are appropriate for comics.

Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics and Reinventing Comics, gave a TED talk on comics in 2005:

Last year, the local comic team of Metaphrog did a workshop in association with the GSA Library and a number of us attended. Here’s a video of the workshop: And if you’re interested in learning more about them, here’s an interview with metaphrog:

Grant Morrison has written any number of groundbreaking comics, among them Arkham Asylum, The Invisibles, Animal Man, We3, All-Star Superman and recently, on Batman and Robin,  and Batman Incorporated. He just published a non-fiction work about superheroes called Supergods. Here’s an AV Club interview with him from 2010:,41311/

I feel like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison are different sides of the same coin. Both of them write the craziest, tripiest comics you will ever read. But one is obsessed with futurism and the other with pagan roots in the past. Alan Moore broke into the US consciousness with his run on Swamp Thing, and has been responsible for seminal works like V for Vendetta, The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen, From Hell, and Watchmen. Here’s an interview with him: Hipster Priest: A Quietus Interview With Alan Moore

Mike Mignola is probably most famous for creating Hellboy. If you’re only familiar with the movie, it’s worth seeing out the comic, if just to get a sense of his very stylized drawing style. It’s a bit reminiscent of Frank Miller’s use of deep blacks and highly contrasted edges, but the tone feels different to Miller. Bldgblog interviewed Mignola about the worlds he’s created for his characters: RUIN, SPACE, AND SHADOW: AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE MIGNOLA

Artists like Chris Ware emphasize how important layout and design can be to comics, but he’s not the only one who blurs the line between illustrator and designer. This article talks about a number of artists whose comic work can be seen in terms of graphic design as well as fine art: Portraits of Comic Book Artists as Graphic Designers. And there are graphic designers who are involved in the publication, marketing and branding side of comic book distribution. Tom Muller has worked in comics, as well as other mediums. Here’s a piece by him on the subject: Tom Muller on the “Rise & Fall” of Design in Comic Books

Glyn’s given us a great list of comics to start out with, but here are a couple of other taken on the *must read* comics list:
100 Comics to Read Before You Die
Reading list for Art of the Graphic Novel: A Visual Bibliography (at Mississippi State’s College of Architecture and Design)

How comics can promote social consciousness: and

From a fine artist, Mark Newport creates full-size superhero costumes that are hand knitted. “They push the image of the hero by highlighting knitting materials, textures, and traditions (cables and the use of “ends” to make a sweater) in the form of the costume.”

50 creators, 43 years, 1 narrative. Nelson is a very different take on an anthology. By asking artists to each take 1 year of a person’s life, the finished book is a patchwork quit, each piece could stand alone, but together creates something far richer than if it had been crafted out of a single fabric.

Here are a couple video pieces:

Animated work based on Michael Kupperman:

Quimby Mouse and Andrew Bird:

And some funny bits to top it all off:

How not to write a comic book. Deconstructing the Complete and Utter Insanity of ‘Batman: Odyssey’.

A brief history of Lex Luthor’s cake-stealing antics.

The Misadventures of Moore and Morrison

Dress for the Job You Want, Not The One You Have