VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?

by Don

dfh-1024x536 VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?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!

Stan Lee

ejl-r9dwkaejkvu-198x300 VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?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.

iwCEF1iR_400x400-e1650291275461-263x300 VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?

Frank Miller

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.

Chris Claremont

Chris-Claremont-850x560-1-300x198 VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?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_Earth-616_from_Defenders_Vol_5_9_001-300x297 VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?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.

Did I miss anyone? Bob Kane? Alan Moore? Geoff Johns? Tell us who YOU think the greatest comic book writer of all time is in the comments section below!

Vote!

000080221A_Games_2-Footer VOTE: Who is the Greatest Comic Book Writer of All Time?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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46 comments

Mike slygh April 19, 2022 - 9:16 am

Roy Thomas

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Steven Moore April 19, 2022 - 9:20 am

Some great choices. For me, it’s Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Claremont, and Bendis, in that order. No denying Stan Lee’s impact but his comics are almost unreadable to the modern ear (especially his Silver Surfers). I loved Miller’s Daredevil work, but do not enjoy much of what he wrote after Dark Night Returns.

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Jason Love April 19, 2022 - 6:43 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with your list. Although some of those Claremont X-men are mighty wordy to the modern eye. Don’t tell my teenage self that though.

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MediaMan April 19, 2022 - 11:01 am

Alan Moore, Marv Wolfman.

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SSBillingly April 19, 2022 - 12:17 pm

Roy Thomas – check it out. Actually responsible for a lot of the characters Conan the Barbarian adaptation and many other characters. Among the comics characters he co-created are Wolverine, Vision, Doc Samson, Carol Danvers, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Ultron, Yellowjacket, Defenders, Man-Thing, Red Sonja, Adam Warlock, Morbius, Ghost Rider, Squadron Supreme, Invaders, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Nighthawk, Havok, Banshee, Sunfire, Thundra, Arkon, Killraven, Wendell Vaughn, Red Wolf, Red Guardian, Daimon Hellstrom, Brother Voodoo, Valkyrie and other key stories and characters.

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Don Yu April 19, 2022 - 12:20 pm

Great choice — I didn’t realize he had created all of those characters!

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SSBillingly April 19, 2022 - 12:28 pm

And oh yeah … the original Defenders as well

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SSBillingly April 19, 2022 - 12:41 pm

Duh… left Son of Satan off the list… Roy basically created 1970’s Marvel comics universe .

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Jeremy Courtney April 19, 2022 - 10:47 pm

Walt Simonson

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Bob Pfeffer April 19, 2022 - 12:21 pm

Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman

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Brandon Schmeichel April 19, 2022 - 12:34 pm

Alan Moore. How is he not on the list?

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Don Yu April 24, 2022 - 3:27 pm

I definitely thought about including Alan! I mentioned him at the end of my article, but you’re right — Moore definitely deserves more than an honorable mention!

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Tim April 19, 2022 - 12:41 pm

Alan Moore would be my first choice. Others that I would consider: Peter David, Roger Stern, and Mark Waid.

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Stephen April 19, 2022 - 12:43 pm

Garth Ennis. Best WTF story content ever.

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Paul G April 23, 2022 - 7:43 pm

Yes!!!!!!

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Harry Stone III April 19, 2022 - 12:53 pm

Stan Lee is definitely the goat for starting it all, but for me it’s Alan Moore and Miller for the adult content that still holds up decades later. Garth Ennis too with Punisher, Preacher, Hitman and The Boys. He’s the sleeper pick everyone overlooks, those are all perfect runs. But Bendis single-handedly reshaped the Marvel Universe with a bunch of classic story lines. So my final answer is I can’t pick.

If we’re talking newer guys, Ewing’s run on God of Thunder was one of the best in recent memory and Chip Zdarsky has been killing it lately with Daredevil and such.

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Curtis J Maloy April 19, 2022 - 1:10 pm

Allen Moore, Marv Wolfman, Mike Grell

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Raj April 19, 2022 - 1:12 pm

How about John Byrne? In his tenure on X-men, it was he and not Claremont who contributed significant characters and storylines including the creation of Alpha Flight, Kitty Pryde and Days of Future Past. He went on to do great things w/Fantastic Four (second only to Lee & Kirby?) and a short-lived stint on the Incredible Hulk before moving onto DC’s flagship superhero, Superman in the mid-late 80s. On his return to Marvel, he then penned the Sensational She-Hulk, Iron Man and West Coast Avengers. Byrne also created the Next Men under Dark Horse’s Legend banner. The breadth and depth of Byrne’s writing is, in my opinion at least, is undervalued.

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Carlos R. Garcia April 19, 2022 - 1:23 pm

This is absurd and delusional. Th a greatest comic book writer, BY FAR, was CARL BARKS. The proof is in the sales.
The second best was probably John Stanley. My vote for third place goes to Will Eisner. Stan Lee finally comes in at fourth.

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Pedro Windu April 19, 2022 - 2:41 pm

I will say Bill Finger is the G.O.A.T.

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Brett April 19, 2022 - 2:50 pm

Denny O’Neil

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Pedro Windu April 19, 2022 - 2:50 pm

Bill Finger is the G.O.A.T.

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Ken Davis April 19, 2022 - 3:00 pm

Will Eisner! Gaylord Dubois and Paul S. Newman- the Dell and Gold Key narrative stars!

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Derek Wilkinson April 19, 2022 - 3:45 pm

Where the Hell are Roy Thomas, Dennis O’Neill, Marv Wolfman, Otto Binder and Alan Moore?

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Eric Benson April 19, 2022 - 4:07 pm

I will get hate mail for this, but Stan Lee. No question in my mind. We can debate endlessly what he actually wrote. We can discuss the depth of thought and brilliant work that came from the other great writers on the list. But none of them would BE without Stan Lee. While I give a TON of credit to Kirby and Ditko, I still think Stan Lee made it move forward and it wouldn’t have happened without him. In fact, I think the question should be “Besides Stan Lee, who is the greatest Comic writer of all time?”.

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Carlos R. Garcia April 20, 2022 - 2:28 am

Why must it always be super-hero stories with you guys ? Is it a reflection of unrealized masculinity ? If super-hero stories were/are so good, how come Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories outsold all of them put
Together ? Uncle Scrooge also outsold them in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

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Sarah Lee April 20, 2022 - 7:51 am

What’s selling today, though? 😉

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Sean April 20, 2022 - 3:33 am

Marv Wolfman and Alan Moore are not on your list?

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Sean April 20, 2022 - 3:38 am

Jack Kirby…LOL.

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Kenloi April 20, 2022 - 6:25 am

Has to be Stan the Man for so much content. Allan Moore second for his more adult style. Maybe for modern women writers G Willow Wilson for the success of Kamala Kahn .

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Kenloi April 20, 2022 - 9:15 am

Carlos R. Garcia…. That is a good point. There are many European writers that could be included in a top 10. Georges Remi (Hergé Tin Tin), Jean Giraud ( Mœbius,), René Goscinny (Asterix). I’m not sure if Walt Disney himself did all the writing as he had a studio of talent..

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Dave Stevens April 20, 2022 - 9:16 am

Who is Mike Ditko?

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Razzkazz April 20, 2022 - 10:44 am

ASM 33. I heard Stan Lee hated Ditko’s paneling and of course he was gone soon after. Can’t confirm what Stan Lee actually wrote in regards to anything Ditko and Kirby worked on.

Alan Moore. Neil Gaiman. Chris Claremont. Warren Ellis. Chuck Dixon. Doug Moench. Jim Starlin. Frank Miller. Tons of others not mentioned. However, not Bendis. He’s vastly overrated.

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Carlos R. Garcia April 20, 2022 - 1:40 pm

If it hadn’t been for Stan Lee, Jack Kirby would be as forgotten as Herb Trimpe ! !

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Carlos R. Garcia April 20, 2022 - 1:44 pm

Alan Moore, demented as he is, rounds out my top five :
1) Carl Barks ; 2) John Stanley ; 3) Will Eisner ; 4) Stan Lee ; 5)Allan Moore.

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Andrew April 20, 2022 - 9:21 pm

If Steve Englehart’s name was in the credits of a comic book in the 70s/80s, I bought it. He never disappointed.

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crazy1 April 21, 2022 - 2:36 am

Barks and Eisner are both genius level creators of sequential art, but Alan Moore is the best writer – Watchmen sets the bar; beat that to beat him. Frank Miller and Chris Claremont are fantastic writers of superhero tales.

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Paulie April 22, 2022 - 12:42 pm

Allan Moore, Larry Hama, and Carl Barks

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Jack April 22, 2022 - 10:35 pm

Stan Lee has my vote

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Ryan April 23, 2022 - 8:03 am

Stan is the GOAT, but Roy Walker should be on this list too.

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Kenloi April 23, 2022 - 10:36 am

We forget DC? Came before full on Marvel. Jerry Siegel Superman. Bob Kane and Bill Finger Batman. JSA Gardner Fox. William Marston Wonder Woman….

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John McKibben April 23, 2022 - 4:14 pm

Jonathan Hickman deserves a mention

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Kenloi April 24, 2022 - 4:16 am

Paul Pope has done some interesting stuff .Influenced by European and Japanese culture.Writer, creator and artist. Where is the Battling Boy movie? Loved the graphic novel. Let’s face it this list could be endless……

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Don Yu April 24, 2022 - 3:30 pm

By my count, 14 readers voted for Alan Moore! The voters have spoken — it sounds like the GoCollect community sees Moore as the GOAT!

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Matt Kennedy August 1, 2022 - 5:31 pm

I don’t think it can even be disputed that Alan Moore is the all-time best comics writer. The majority of his comics can be considered literature.

Neil Gaiman’s novels may be great, but take away Sandman and there’s not much left of his comic contributions. His Miracleman is vasty inferior to Moore’s. Chris Claremont and Denny O’Neil brought a realistic point of view, but their actual writing can’t touch Moore. Marv Wolfman is the only writer from the 1970s who adapted successfully for the 1980s while breaking new ground –and specifically tackling big-picture ideas. But put it all together and it’s still not at the level of Alan Moore. Almost all of Alan Moore’s comics still hold up. Much pre-1980 comic writing reads as juvenile in retrospect, and even Frank Miller (who would realistically have to come second on an all-time list) has a lot of material that reads like Death Wish dressed up in superhero drag; it hasn’t; aged well.

Stan and Jack and even Roy Thomas certainly created a lot of characters, but reading those comics now is entirely a nostalgia trip. It wasn’t not literature. It was fun dn dynamic entertainment for kids. It’s not on par with the deep sci-fi writing of Jodorowski or any of his European contemporaries. It’s not even in the same ballpark as the best Manga writing from Keiji Nakazawa or even Osamu Tezuka whose ideas were simple, but the story-telling was sophisticated. Katsuhiro Otomo’s only US comics peer would probably be Ed Brubaker – a versatile stylist capable of writing well in any genre.

If the criteria is best writer, not most versatile, and not necessarily best selling, it objectively has to be Alan Moore. Though is we are going to bring sales into this, WATCHMEN is the best selling collected series of all time. It has never gone out of print since it was first collected and published back in 1987.

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Carlos R. Garcia August 2, 2022 - 4:20 am

Superheroes are fodder for sci-f geeks. None of the above hacks approach the uniquely great Carl Barks. Will Eisner would be a distant second. Stan Lee comes in at third. John Stanley fourth.
Now you can start mentioning the Alan Moores and Roy Thomases.

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