Who is the greatest comic book writer of all time? I’ve offered my suggestion for the GOAT below, but please VOTE for whom you think it is in the comment section below!
I’m sure for many of us, Stan Lee is the first name that comes to our mind when we think about the GOAT.
Along with illustrators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee created Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Kingpin, the X-Men, Magneto Iron Man, Thor, Loki, the Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp, the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Black Knight, and many others. This list demonstrates the sheer breadth of Lee’s creative genius.
Lee also wrote some of the most quotable phrases in comic book history including the most famous of them all; “And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come – great responsibility!”
Is there any writer who can compete with Lee? Not in my opinion.
Most comic book fans would agree that Frank Miller is a legend. He revitalized Daredevil in the 1980s, a series that Marvel nearly canceled before Miller turned it into a best seller. He also re-envisioned Batman into the dark and gritty character that we know today.
Along with Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One are among the greatest Batman stories ever told. Miller also wrote and illustrated the critically acclaimed 300 and Sin City.
On the other hand, Miller hasn’t had nearly as much success during the 21st century in spite of working on many projects. I can’t put him on the same level as Stan Lee.
Due to poor sales in the early 1970s, Marvel stopped producing new X-Men stories and chose to reprint earlier X-Men stories instead. Then, Chris Claremont took over.
Claremont elevated the X-Men into one of the best-selling comic book series of all time. Chris Claremont has created an impressive list of characters: members of Alpha Flight, the New Mutants, Mystique, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Sabretooth, Mr. Sinister, Gambit, Phoenix, and many others.
In addition, Claremont wrote some of the most important stories of the late 1970s and 1980s, including the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, and Mutant Massacre.
Still, as impressive as this list of characters and storylines is, it can’t compete with Lee’s.
Brian Michael Bendis
Brian Michael Bendis has written many of the best many of the most important stories in the 21st century. For instance, he wrote “House of M,” “Secret Invasion,” and “Age of Ultron” storylines. We’ve seen or will see many of his stories in the MCU.
Bendis has also won several awards for his writing. While he’s certainly not on Lee’s level yet, Bendis is the youngest writer on this list, and still likely has many great stories left in him.