Comic Book writers create storylines obsessive fans follow weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly. Some comic-book writers have the great ability to create a multitude of stories, impressive in their scope and variety, while others stick closely to one genre, style or series. And while there's no shortage of awesome work being done in the medium, there's no doubt that some names carry more weight than others. As a new monthly series, Blastr's Comic Book Writer Power Ranking measures the greatest current writers in terms of productivity, merit and potential for the future. This doesn’t ignore writers’ previous achievements, but instead places primary focus on their current accomplishments and the excitement around their future projects. Here are the 30 best comic-book writers as of right now. Check out the list below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
30. Dennis Hopeless
The latest Spider-Woman has been a hell of a road-trip comic as Dennis Hopeless has breathed new life into the character of Jessica Drew. With artwork by Javier Rodriguez, the new Spider-Woman is a fun, heartfelt mystery story led by a confident star. This is one of Marvel’s best current series.
29. James Roberts
The best comic you’re not reading is James Roberts’s Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. Unless you are reading it. Then probably you know that this is not only one of the smartest, most clever comics today, but it also contains a little bit of everything, including smart allusions to pop culture, a list of notes that add another level of depth to the comic, music to go with each issue, and the most fun and playful breaking of the fourth wall in some time. Seriously, buy this comic today.
28. Skottie Young
After the overwhelming success of Guardians of the Galaxy, it was only a matter of time before Rocket Raccoon would get a series of his own. Young took his dazzling signature visuals and combined them with his demented sense of humor to capture the essence of the loudmouth rodent. Young’s latest comic from Image, I Hate Fairyland, looks like an even greater expansion on the deranged humor his fans have come to love. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated comics of the fall.
27. Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Noelle Stevenson
Friendship to the Max! The best young adult publication of 2015 is definitely Lumberjanes. It’s much like a female Goonies, with adventure tied into a rebellious attitude and smart, imaginative elements in every issue. If you haven’t started, the first issue is currently only 1.99 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes.
26. Mark Millar
Thus far, Mark Millar’s 2015 has been in embroiled in creating Jupiter’s Circle, a good but not excellent offspring of his incredible Jupiter’s Legacy. We’ve got high hopes for Huck, a collaboration between Millar and Rafael Albuquerque slated for fall of this year, though. Expect Millar to rise or fall based on its performance.
25. Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison has only had one issue of Multiversity and one issue of 18 Days to his credit in 2015, but it’s hard to not to be so excited about something by such an accomplished writer that is so hyped. Though Morrison isn’t writing as much as he used to, with the addition of 18 Days and the upcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One, fans must be thrilled at seeing new, exciting work by a master of the genre.
24. Jonathan Hickman
With a promising second half already set, Secret Wars will designate Hickman’s place on this list. Already, with his incredible work on Doom, arguably Hickman’s best-written character, the excitement and buzz around the Secret Wars might make this Marvel’s best series of the year.
23. Kurt Busiek
His work on Avengers has always been consistently good, but Astro City has been the highlight of Busiek’s work. It’s a beautiful, Brent Anderson-drawn series (with covers by Alex Ross) that is exciting enough to recommend to those who love the Marvel universe movies but sophisticated enough for those who read literary fiction.
22. Robert Kirkman
Currently publishing issue 146 in September of 2015, The Walking Dead is still one of the biggest names in comics. With a spinoff television show to be added this year and the success of Outcast, a comic that will made into another television show on Cinemax in 2016, the Kirkman empire is as strong as ever.
21. Greg Rucka
Greg Rucka’s continuing story of Lazarus and Stumptown as well as his highly anticipated Black Magick puts Rucka at 21 on the list. His Journey Star Wars Fase #1 in September will introduce the first comic into the Star Wars canon after Return of the Jedi and we’ll see if Rucka will generate as much excitement into the Force as the red-armed C3PO did last week.
20. G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel's Kamala Khan is the first Muslim character to headline her own comic book, and she doesn’t shy away from her religious teachings to give her inspiration into how to be a superhero. Also she’s an adorably geeky comic-obsessed high school girl who develops crushes on the wrong guys, gets giddy whenever she meets a fellow superhero, and loves highlighting the awesomeness it is to have superpowers. Easily one of the best characters in comics today.
19. Ed Brubaker
A hall of fame writer, Ed Brubaker has become synonymous with hard-boiled noir comics. His brilliant work on The Fade Out is arguably the most expertly crafted story of 2015. It’s difficult to only have one issue a month (especially for a story with so many layers) but hey, when you’re in the Brubaker’s world, it’s also hard to complain.
18. Chip Zdarsky
2015 proved that Chip Zdarsky isn’t just someone you’d love to hang out with at an Applebee’s. Zdarsky took up the helm of Howard the Duck this year for Marvel while also creating his own world in Kaptara. His excellent sense of humor, already known to the fans of Sex Criminals, propels each storyline, as it’s impossible to know where each story leads. With a Zdarsky comic, it’s just fun to go along for the ride.
17. Brenden Fletcher
While Brenden Fletcher’s work on Gotham Academy turned some heads outside of DC, Fletcher’s work on Black Canary and Batgirl show that he may be the next breakout comic writer in 2015. He has a knack for creating easily identifiable characters that are enjoyable to read and, pairing up with Hawkeye’s Annie Wu, Black Canary a must pull.
16. Becky Cloonan
Where do you go after being the first woman to draw the main Batman and creating one of the most delightful young adult stories in Gotham Academy? Well, to space, of course. Southern Cross is a mix between a detective story and a Black Mirror episode as Alex Braith searches for answers to her sister’s death. Cloonan has created an desolate horror story, reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s Alien, as loneliness and isolation follow Alex around a ship that gives more questions than answers.
15. Jason Latour
Spider-Gwen has been one of the most innovative and enjoyable comics of 2015. The parallel universe in which Gwen Stacy gets bitten instead of Peter Parker has built a following of obsessed fans that delight not only at the fashion of the new spider hero, but also at the punk rock style and attitude in which Latour has clothed his heroine.
14. Cameron Stewart
It’s difficult to create a comic book that is not only exciting but also fun with characters that are easy to identify with in the 21st century. Stewart has done that twice: First, with the addicting and lovable Batgirl, a comic book hero that has to worry just as much about Internet perception as she does evil villains, and second as the brilliant artist for the sequel to Fight Club, in which Tyler Durden is again looking to break through the drab existence of the everyman.
13. Dan Slott
Consistently one of the best writers in Marvel’s arsenal, Slott has had an especially good 2015. His latest Silver Surfer has been a favorite to critics and fans, alike, and his amazing (and, quite frankly, incredibly creative) work on Spider-Man has shown that not only is Slott one of the greatest comic book writers today, he’s one of the most inventive. Whenever I have a friend of mine who loves superheros and wants to get into comics, I point him toward Dan Slott’s work. His quality has been never wavered and his ability to think of new and interesting storylines is, well, pretty marvelous.
12. Brian Michael Bendis
After The United States of Murder in 2014, I was willing to follow Brian Michael Mendis anywhere in 2015, even the PlayStation Network. Bendis is another of those writers that seem to always have a constant presence on every pull list. His Old Man Logan has started off well, his Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man has been game-changing, and his All-New X-Men has been loads of fun, as well (With an excellent handling of a character coming out as gay). Bendis continues to change the field of comics by breaking new ground and proving that audiences are open for experimentation with the superhero genre.
11. Scott Snyder
While scaring us in the water in The Wake in 2014, Scott Snyder asked us to follow him into the woods in Wytches in 2015. The result was an atmospheric horror story that was quickly snatched up by New Regency and Plan B to be made into a possible film. Also, his consistent work American Vampire and a little known character called Batman makes Snyder a perpetual power player in comic book writing who uses environment and character psychology to craft his story.
10. Kelly Sue DeConnick
Arguably the most prominent female face in comics, Kelly Sue DeConnick has proven that stories centered on female characters could be a big seller in a male-dominated industry. Though she’s leaving Captain Marvel, her work with Carol Danvers has expanded upon one of Marvel’s favorite characters and her brilliant, thought-provoking work on Bitch Planet continues to be a compelling look at feminism through exploitation.
9. Mark Waid
A hall of fame comic writer that never stops. Whether it’s the new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the continuation of Daredevil, Waid has become the gold standard for which a comic book writer is to achieve. With his latest venture into Archie he teams with Fiona Staples and has energized the Archie brand once again with a fun, delightful story.
8. Rick Remender
Deadly Class, Hail Hydra, Black Science, and Low exhibit Remender’s excellent work of 2015. I would easily put Deadly Class in my top five comics of the year, and, in addition to the awe-inspiring storytelling, the speed of his projects is something to be marveled at, as well. He consistently comes out with new issues and never leaves his fans waiting. With, Tokyo Ghost, his newest series, a collaboration with Sean Murphy, coming in October, Remender is constantly expanding his creativity to new heights.
7. Jason Aaron
Helming the first female version of Thor would be ample weight for any writer, but combining that with the brilliant Southern Bastards showcases Aaron’s range and talent. These are two of the smartest and most creative comics today that focus on character development and atmosphere to create incredible storytelling.
6. Ryan North
The greatest superhero of 2015 is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. No other comic has been as fun and enjoyable to read as the quirky and lovable Doreen Green. The first trade paperback comes out in September. If you haven’t already started reading this comic, now’s the time to start following the most entertaining story this year.
5. Charles Soule
Arguably the hardest working comic book writer in the business today, the always busy Charles Soule continues to wow and amaze regardless of the amount of titles his on which his name appears. After killing Wolverine and taking She-Hulk to a Brooklyn startup, Soule stays on the attack with The Civil War, Uncanny Inhumans, and the smooth-talking Lando; a fan favorite of the new Star Wars comics.
4. Kieron Gillen
Gods, monsters, and glam rock encompass Gillen’s Wicked + The Divine, the most brilliant comic of 2015. His turn at Darth Vader has split some of his followers, who would rather he spend more time on resurrecting Phonogram, but it has still garnered quite a following and good reviews to match. The next outing of Phonogram, The Immaterial Girl is expected later within the month. Expect Gillen to move up or down based on its performance.
3. Jeff Lemire
2015 has thus far been an excellent year for Jeff Lemire. He sold the film rights to Descender to Sony even before the first issue was published and he started writing his first Marvel series: All-New Hawkeye. In October, Jeff picks up Extraordinary X-Men for Marvel and creates a new story of his own with Plutona for Image. After the end of 2015, we might all be calling this the year of Lemire.
2. Matt Fraction
With Hawkeye finally reaching its end, Matt Fraction still has more than a handful of work to occupy his time. Ody-c, Casanova, the underrated Satellite Sam, and the incredibly popular Sex Criminals assembles arguably the most comprehensive list of ongoing works by one writer today. Regardless of the series, Fraction combines his smart storylines with smile-inducing dialogue that makes his titles amongst the most exciting comics today.
1. Brian K Vaughan
After winning the Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2013, Saga has continued to collect a total of 6 awards for Vaughan, including Best Continuing Series the past three years running. Combine that with winning Best Digital/Web Series for The Private Eye and introducing the widely popular We Stand On Guard, and Vaughan looks like he’s just getting started. The highly anticipated Paper Girls debuts in October and, with all these acclaimed series as well as the best comic series today, it’s easy to call Brian K Vaughan the leader in comic writing today.
That's our list! What'd we get right? What'd we get wrong? Let us know in the comments!