Robot 6

In light of DC’s New 52, who are their top writers?

DC’s big shakeup this fall not only denotes which characters and titles they’re emphasizing, it also shows the creators they’re putting trust, faith and support behind. Back during the 52 era the informal top tier of writers were Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid. Both Morrison and Johns remain in heavily use on DC’s top titles, while both Rucka and Waid have segued away for their own reasons.With these new titles on the horizon it gives us fodder to think who’s controlling the DCU; in other words, who are DC’s Architects (to borrow Marvel’s term)?

Looking at the full slate of 52 titles set to begin this fall, the busiest writers are Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell with three titles each. Johns’ role as CCO and long-time primary writer leaves his place in this top spot as a no brainer. Lobdell had done work before at DC, but with the ascension of Bob Harris to DC’s editor-in-chief spot, it seems their long-time partnership at Marvel is continuing across town. Joining those two at the DC brain trust table are, without a doubt, DC Co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio. In addition to being on the top tier of the office staff, they’re both working as creators (on JLA and OMAC respectively).

Beyond those initial four, Morrison is probably still sitting at this table even though he’s only writing one of the 52 titles announced (Action Comics) for relaunch because of the promised return of Batman Inc. down the road as well as the long-promised Multiversity event series speculated for a winter 2011/2012 launch.

If you’re looking for sixth candidate to be part of DC’s top tier of writers, it’d probably be a knock-down drag-out between the 10 writers who each have two titles to write under DC’s Fall 52. They are: Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, Gail Simone, Judd Winick, Kyle Higgins, Peter J. Tomasi, Tony Bedard, Peter Milligan, Jeff Lemire and Paul Cornell. Of them all I’d place my vote for Gail Simone because of her unique voice and long track record of well-written books. If not her, my money would be on Scott Snyder; he’s really blossomed under DC’s watch with Detective Comics and his amazing work with American Vampire. DC’s decision to give him the chance to redo The Swamp Thing is no small gift, so one would assume DC sees a lot of promise in the novelist.

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17 Comments

Pete Tomasi, Scott Snyder and Paul Cornell are the ones that stand out from your list of 10.

As far as the reboot goes, where the hell are Paul Dini and James Robinson? What about Jamal igle , Don Kramer and Amanda Conner? Why isn’t Igle on Superman or Action? What about Amanda on Supergirl?

I think Gail Simone is a unique voice at DC (and not just because she’s the only women regularly writing for them). She’s an incredibly valuable regular contributor, but I don’t really see her as an architect because she doesn’t seem to have much sway as far as overall decisions about the direction of the DC(n)U. She was not asked to participate in Flashpoint. And her two pet projects (each with a pretty loyal fan following), Secret Six and Birds of Prey, have been more or less wiped out in the relaunch. The titles that replace them in September seem to have almost nothing in common with what she was doing with them pre-relaunch.

I think it’s a shame, ’cause they could really benefit from her lone dissenting voice when it comes to building their universe. But I kind of get the impression that’s exactly why she’s not more involved. Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee seem like the type of guys who enjoy working in an echo chamber. (Or maybe she’s just not interested.)

I think Scott Snyder is definitely going to be a major player. He’s really talented and readers are starting to take notice. He’s writing flagship Batman titles, involved in Flashpoint, and I’m sure his popularity will keep rising.

If I had to pick someone else, I’d say Judd Winnick. He may only be writing two titles, but he’s made a pretty big mark on the Batman titles with Jason Todd books.

A) I do not know Scott Lobdell, and have nothing against him as a human who wants to work in a field he loves, and earn money for it.
B) What continuously successful book has he written? (I ask that seriously, and not to imply that he is not written any). I know he wrote X-Men, but I always assumed that if you were successful on that, you kept doing it, though I suppose that is not always true.
C) My only exposure to him as a writer was with two properties that I loved (Gen13, Galaxy Quest) that I disliked his work on so much I stopped reading the books.

So….what is his standout work, that I should look to as the “best of breed” example on why I should be happy that he is going to be taking over a large portion of the DCU?

John Rozum?

Actually, its hard to tell if anyone’s a good writer if they’re all regurgitating plot outlines handed down from editorial. I see nothing to indicate that trend has changed.

Scott Snyder has been amazing. My top 7 rankings at DC (as far as writers are concerned) goes like this:

Grant Morrison
Geoff Johns
Pete Tomasi
Gail Simone
Scott Snyder
Tony Bedard
Jeff Lemire

I really like Snyder and Simone, and I wish Nick Spencer could have stayed with DC. I was really enjoying his run on THUNDER Agents, but apparently not many other people were. I look forward to some of these new writers surprising me.

When Marvel first started calling their top writers “The Architects” I got a little confused. After pulling out those Tales of the Unexpected issues that ran the excellent Doctor 13 back-ups a few years ago I’ve gotta say that DC had definitely called their top writers, Morrison, Johns, Waid, and Rucka The Architects.

Also re-reading that made me decide to get the dcnu Wonder Woman, for sure.

Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Peter Milligan, Jeff Lemire, Paul Cornell, Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, John Rozum and Geoff Johns are the best writers DC has. It sucks Gail is writing books I don’t care to read.

Scott Snyder. For me, he is the Jeff Parker of DC – everything he writes is amazing! And not to be missed!

Paul Cornell, Jeff Lemire, and Gail Simone are also personal favorites.

Winick and Tomasi on the one hand can tell great stories – have also hold some shockers. They need to more consistant.

And lastly? Please never again produce an article that has the words ‘top writer’ and ‘Tony Daniel’ included together. If anyone thinks that, I pity them. He is, however, a talented ARTIST.

I forget to add in Azarello! What was I thinking?

His Vertigo stuff is must read material. So while not all of his ‘superhero’ work has been great (the pase could be quicker), I will surely be checking out his Wonder Woman.

Does what “muffinlad” says, make no sense at all? Or have I gone insane?

I don’t really like the concept of a handful of writers being line-wide “architects” because that implies crossover events with lots of tie-ins and each monthly title having its tone and creative direction dictated to it by some kind of line-wide status quo. I think that’s arbitrary and limits the creative voice of each writer doing his own thing on his own title. Marvel has done this a lot lately and so has DC. I’m hoping the New 52 is a chance to break away from that and allow each book to have its own flavor and creative direction.

Now if you’re asking who are the BEST writers at DC, as opposed to who their slate of “architects” are (a horrible concept), I would have to say: Azzarello, Morrison, Peter Milligan, Paul Cornell and Gail Simone. In the next year or so, I’m sure I’ll add Scott Snyder to that list if he keeps going as he has been. There are others but those are the absolute top.

I agree with D. Peace’s line-up: Azzarello, Morrison, Milligan, Cornell and Simone (and possibly Snyder) are DC’s best, and whether or not they get to shape the overall direction of the DCU is immaterial, I’m just in it for good, solid comics that can be enjoyed on their own merits (which is why Milligan writing a Red Lantern book saddens me: I predict it’s going to be his run on X-Men all over again).

Tony Daniel is neither a good writer, nor a good artist (and I say that as somebody who liked his work on X-Force back in the ’90s).

Judd Winick varies from project to project (Justice League: Generation Lost was a pleasant surprise, shame he’s not doing JLI) and Jeff Lemire’s superhero work does nothing for me (though admittedly I’ve heard good things about Sweet Tooth, which I still have to read).

Pete Tomasi is so obviously getting work because of his past as an editor that it’s not even funny. He’s like the DC equivalent of ’90s Marvel’s Howard Mackie or Terry Kavanagh, delivering copious amounts of pedestrian and bland writing in a timely fashion. In other words, a real two-bit hack.

I thought the question was who are DC’s architects, i.e., the writers with the most control and influence over the overall direction of the DCU. Not who are DC’s best writers.

If the question was “best writers” then my previous answer would have been completely different.

Just saying.

Apollokid9000

July 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm

DCnU top writers IMO

1. Geoff Johns – Apart from writing the flag ship title, JLA, his Rebirth style of making sense of characters with histories that don’t make sense is the template for DCs’ books.

2. Grant Morrison – Talent wise, his DCs’ top writer with several classics under his belt. He, along with Johns, is the DCU idea guy. He’s been trusted with watching over DCs’ top child ( Superman) on a more permeant basis after several successful days of having said child under his care ( 90s JLA, All Star Superman). Yes, he’s writing only one title but it’s the big one considering the legal and multi media ramifications involved.
Plus, he has WAY more DC stories to tell ( Multiversity, The New Gods).

3. Scott Lobdell – He’s a name from sometime ago but, at the very least to Bob Harras, a trusted name from a time ago. Before, he steered the X Franchise ship to reletive success. Now, he has been tasked, ironically but knowingly, with steering the X Mens’ 80 rivals, the Teen Titans. He also has a hand in the Bat verse with the Red Hood book that happens to feature 2 former Teen Titans.

4. Scott Snyder – Not only will he become the de facto Bat writer as Morrison exits but he has been given the task of re introducing of DCs’ most prized off spring, Swamp Thing. Before the relaunch, as Brightest Day came to its’ close, the big thing happen in the DCU was Swamp Thing returning. Clearly, DC has faith in him, as well the should.

Honorable Mention

Gail Simone – She’s been given the task of the 2nd biggest relaunch after Supes but most controversial relaunch with Batgirl. Unfortunately, she couldn’t continue to guide the Secret Six/ Suicide Squad ship into the relaunch.

“I think it’s a shame, ’cause they could really benefit from her lone dissenting voice when it comes to building their universe. ”

What dissenting voice? She does exactly what she’s told to do and then goes online and tells everyone how thrilled she is to have Secret Six cancelled, or to be fired from Birds of Prey, or bumped from Wonder Woman, or how awesome and swell Dan Didiot is.

Probably my favorite thing to come out of the New DCU thing is seeing Lobdell back on some big superhero comics. I’ve been missing his work for the past decade (in fact, almost exactly a decade since he left X-Men!), and Superboy is one of the books I’m most excited to check out. VIVA LOBDELL!

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