Moving along with my year-end best of lists I have my top five favorite writers of 2011. These are writers who in my opinion have overcome odds, risen to the top, and shined brighter than the vast sea of talent in the industry. Check out what these guys have done and follow them along into the future.
5. Jeff Lemire
Jeff Lemire has really had a great year. After coming on the mainstream comic scene a while back with his Sweet Tooth series at Vertigo, Jeff took the plunge into DC proper last year with his Superboy series and his Atom back-up features in Adventure Comics. This year Lemire wrapped up his Superboy series in time for the New 52 relaunch (the entire series is collected in a single paperback, I’m planning on picking it up soon) and wrote a Flashpoint tie-in series featuring Frankenstein, foreshadowing his work in the New 52. Lemire is now writing Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E and Animal Man under the New 52 banner. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Frankenstein, but the title has gotten consistently good reviews. Animal Man on the other hand continues to be one of the best books of the New 52 and earns Lemire his spot on this list. Lemire is one of the premiere up and coming talents at DC and I expect great things from him in years to come.
4. Kieron Gillen
Kieron Gillen has had an interesting place at Marvel over the past few years. He has had the thankless job of picking up other writer’s scraps, following big names like J. M. Straczynski and Matt Fraction on Thor and Uncanny X-Men respectively . This year he was taken off of Thor so that Matt Fraction could prepare the character for Fear Itself. Gillen’s Thor book was retitled Journey into Mystery and repositioned as a book about Loki, who had recently been reborn as a child. What seemed like just another slight, Gillen used the opportunity to craft one of the greatest books of the year, surpassing the bigger Fraction-helmed book critically. Gillen also had the huge honor of closing out Vol. 1 of Uncanny X-Men with issue #544 and then relaunching the title with a new #1. Gillen continues to be an underused talent at Marvel, but after such a great year in 2011 one can only hope he will get the recognition he deserves.
3. Geoff Johns
2011 was an especially important year for Geoff Johns. Earlier this year he wrapped up his Brightest Day saga, an off shoot of 2009’s blockbuster Blackest Night, which reintroduced Swamp Thing and John Constantine into the DCU. The War of the Green Lanterns crossover was the culmination of year’s worth of stories and set an exciting new status quo in the GL universe. Johns wrapped up his run on the Flash in preparation of DC’s big summer event Flashpoint. Flashpoint led into what is perhaps Johns’ biggest moment ever, the spearheading of the New 52 initiative. Johns was put in charge of the new Justice League title, which acts as the foundation of the new DC universe, as well as new GL and Aquaman books. Geoff Johns has come a long way from his humble beginnings writing books like JSA and Teen Titans. This year looks to be an even bigger year as Johns will likely have a hand in telling the story that explains the mystery of the mysterious purple woman, recently named Pandora, witnessed at the end of Flashpoint and in the first New 52 issues. Johns is currently one of DC’s brightest stars and one can only wonder how much brighter can he get?
2. Rick Remender
Rick Remender is responsible for what is probably THE most talked about Marvel story this year, the Dark Angel Saga. Uncanny X-Force has become the X-book to get under Remender’s pen. His work on books like Venom hasn’t gone unnoticed either, garnering universal critical praise. That’s no mean feat when writing a book about a character who is the very embodiment of 90’s comics. Looking into next year, Remender is taking over Secret Avengers and retooling the team to feature Venom and fan-favorite Captain Britain, who will also be appearing in the next arc of Uncanny X-Force. On the creator owned side of things, 2011 saw the conclusion of Remender’s Fear Agent series. I haven’t read the series personally, but the book was lauded by critics upon release. It’s not an easy task pleasing fans, who are always looking for bigger and better, after a story like Dark Angel Saga. Only time will tell if Remender rests on his laurels or goes on to produce the most talked about book of 2012 as well.
1. Scott Snyder
No one has had a bigger year than Scott Snyder. Much like Jeff Lemire, Snyder came onto the mainstream stage via his Vertigo title, American Vampire. Snyder’s first DC assignment was Detective Comics, featuring Dick Grayson as Batman. If you’ve checked my top 10 ongoing books of 2011, you’ll know that Snyder’s Detective Comics took top honors and is snatching up top spots on best of lists all over the internet. In continuing similarities with Lemire, Snyder plotted the Project Superman Flashpoint tie-in, and went on to helm two of the most critically acclaimed books of the New 52, Batman and Swamp Thing. If Geoff Johns is currently the brightest star at DC, Scott Snyder is its fastest rising. Continue to expect big things from Scott Snyder in the future.