Comicon’s 7 Best Comic Writers Of 2018
by Hannah Means Shannon
Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of 2018. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Comic Series, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, Most Progressive Comics, and lastly, Comicon’s People of The Year: 2018.
Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards 2018 include: Brendan Allen, Gary Catig, James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Noah Sharma, Rachel Bellwoar, Tito James, Omar Spahi, Tony Thornley, Josh Davison, Richard Bruton, and Hannah Means-Shannon.
The following are Comicon’s 7 Best Comic Writers Of 2018.
7. Gail Simone for Domino (Marvel Comics)
Domino’s X-gene makes her lucky but when another mutant targets her abilities, Domino’s confidence takes a hit. Good thing Gail Simone’s surrounded her with a posse of friends who can help her remember who she is and regroup. Outlaw and Diamondback are Domino’s besties, but they aren’t the only memorable friends to show up during Simone’s run and with narration that lets us into Domino’s head, we’re never closed off from what she’s going through. It’s really easy to relate to Domino. Questioning whether she deserves to have friends or will mess things up between them – these are complicated, messy emotions, and it’s helpful knowing other people struggle with them, too. The story’s ties to Domino’s past truly resonate, and before you get the wrong idea and think this story’s always heavy, Domino is a lot of fun to be around, too (see her training sessions with Shang-Chi when she sojourns in Hong Kong). There was a moment when Domino didn’t appear in February’s solicitations, where concerns were raised that Domino might be cancelled. To say the news that March will bring us Domino: Hotshots was a relief would be an understatement.
6. Simon Spurrier for Labyrinth: Coronation (Archaia/Boom! Studios) and Sandman Universe: The Dreaming (DC)
From working on the original series, Coda, for Boom! Studios, to contributing to the Sandman Universe with Vertigo’s The Dreaming, you can never go wrong with a Si Spurrier fantasy. It’s his most improbable series, though, that I’d like to bring special attention to since, if it weren’t for having read it, I would’ve thought it unnecessary. “Labyrinth isn’t a movie that requires a prequel.” How naïve I was to think that once, but then I never would’ve thought Spurrier would be able to break so much fresh ground from expanding the universe beyond Sarah and Toby to show us what Jareth’s childhood was like. When Jareth was a baby, his mother, Maria, went through a similar experience to Sarah’s. The man she loved (Jareth’s father) betrayed her and in order to prevent her son being crowned the Goblin King she needs to get to the castle at the center of the labyrinth. While her labyrinth looks different from the one you will remember, it’s no less treacherous and grand, and fans of the cult classic will have a lot of fun spotting the different ways Spurrier incorporates lines and ideas from the Jim Henson movie.
5. Robert Venditti for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (DC), Hawkman (DC), and Damage (DC)
This was a banner year for Green Lantern with some of the biggest and boldest storylines coming out of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. Robert Venditti orchestrated a years long story with multiple arcs that came to a head in a bombastic fashion. It’s impressive looking back on the entire run since Rebirth began to see all the carefully laid plans that led up to such a jaw-dropping conclusion. With a solid run on Green Lantern complete, Venditti turned to Hawkman, spinning out of Dark Nights: Metal, bringing some new meaning to the character’s confusing and conflicting backstory. This series is just getting started, but you can see the seeds starting to form for the next big epic. Rounding out the stacked play over at DC is Damage, part of the New Age of Heroes where this rookie character is given a crash course in the DC Universe with several run-ins with popular heroes and villains, making it a standout of this new initiative.
4. Tom King for Batman (DC) and Mister Miracle (DC)
With both Batman and Mister Miracle flying high throughout 2018, King has certainly come into his own in this past year or so as one of the best writers in the business today. His bait and switch in Batman #50 saw many diehard fans surprised and shocked, but isn’t that the sign of a good writer? They should play with our emotions and our expectations and smash them up! King did the same with subsequent issues, proving critics wrong with his 100 issue epic. Now, he’s doing it all again with his DC crossover, Heroes In Crisis. Likewise, I can’t think of anyone who didn’t enjoy his critic-proof Mister Miracle series.
3. Cullen Bunn for Bone Parish (Boom! Studios) and Cold Spots (Image Comics)
Arguably the hardest working writer in comics, Cullen Bunn has had at least one new comic book release every Wednesday for the last eight years running. In 2018, he wrapped up Harrow County and lit the occult/horror comics scene up with Bone Parish, Dark Ark, Cold Spots, Regression, Brothers Dracul, and Pumpkinhead. He also dabbled in capes and comedy with X-Men Blue, The Tick, Deadpool Assassin, and Asgardians of the Galaxy and penned AfterShock Comics’ first OGN, Witch Hammer. On sheer volume alone, a solid argument could be made for Writer of the Year. The fact that each of these stories is consistently awesome only strengthens my case. From dark and twisty occult to deadpan goofiness, superheroes to antiheroes, period fantasy to daikaiju, Bunn keeps readers engaged from cover to cover with a masterfully nuanced stroke.
2. Matthew Rosenberg for The Punisher (Marvel), New Mutants (Marvel), and Multiple Man (Marvel)
One of my favorite marks of a writer is their versatility with genre. A writer who writes the same style of story and character is often good, but their work can turn kind of samey. Matthew Rosenberg has never been that sort of writer, which is especially on display in 2018, writing horror, crime, comedy and superhero action all in the last twelve months.
And the craziest part about that is that it’s almost entirely been within the Marvel Universe. In a year that saw Rosenberg writing The Punisher, New Mutants, Multiple Man, and two different X-Men titles, just to name a few, we saw several sides to his writing. New Mutants was a dark supernatural horror story. Multiple Man was a science fiction farce. Uncanny and Astonishing were great superhero action, but in very different ways. And The Punisher? We saw Frank Castle under his pen go from a tech-espionage thriller, to a dark crime drama. And the best is clearly to come, with ongoing Marvel work and a return to creator-owned work both coming next year. We might be saying a lot the same about Rosenberg this time next year.
1. Donny Cates for Thanos (Marvel), Doctor Strange (Marvel), Venom (Marvel), Babyteeth (AfterShock), Rednecks (Skybound/Image)
Donny Cates has been taking Marvel by storm since he joined up last year. His Thanos, Doctor Strange, and now Venom easily rise to the top of Marvel, and this during a solid quality resurgence across the Marvel release pool. Thanos brought us the beloved new Cosmic Ghost Rider character. Death of the Inhumans gave a dignified end to the declining royal family of characters. That’s not even counting Babyteeth from AfterShock and Rednecks from Skybound/Image. A mixture of dark humor, genuine human emotion, and excellent pacing are the hallmarks of the Donny Cates comic, and I look forward to where he takes Venom from here as well as his upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy revival.