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The most underrated writer in comics?

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Who is it? I'd be interested in seeing people's nominations for this role.

(And Christian? It is true that Steve Gerber, cannot possibly be overpraised, but the fact that he isn't bigged up quite as much as much Alan Moore and his beard or the tit who was good back when he was writing Daredevil and Alias might not make him underrated in itself, dig?)

I have a few very obvious names myself: John Wagner and/or Alan Grant (obvs), William Mesner-Loebs, Scot Lobdell (who seems to be strangely ignored, despite doing some great stuff over the years) and Pat Mills. Hopefully somebody else can suggest a few names that deserve the distinction (such as it is) more?

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Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what counts as "underrated"? Is Alan Grant really underrated when he had a long-term run on the Batman comics during a period when Batman was probably the hottest it had ever been?

Is Pat Miller really underrated, or is he not very well known in America, but over in Britain, he's not considered as underrated? I don't know the answer to that. People who do know of Mills always seem to praise his work.

 

I'd definitely go with William Messner Loebs. He's probably the most obvious choice.

 

Anne Nocenti. She seems to be an acquired taste, but she's written some of the best comics during her period writing full-time in comics. Her run on Daredevil is in first place on my list. I don't often hear people mention Nocenti. I'd say she's as underrated as a Grant or Mills.

 

I'm wondering if J.M. DeMatteis would count? I'd say his name should be right up there with Gerber, Englehart, or Claremont....yet hardly anyone talks about him. He has always stood in my top 10 comic creators. I think he is very underrated, unless there is a big fan base for him that I'm not aware of. He's written enough comic series in his time. He was one of the original Vertigo creators, when that imprint was launched. I highly doubt he's as well known as Claremont. Well, everyone know of Claremont due to how highly visible X-Men is.

 

My first choice answer is Bill Mantlo. I really like most of the guy's work, but most people have no idea who he is, and the people who do know seem to talk negatively about him. I don't understand that, at all. It's a damn shame what happened to Mantlo. He has the distinction of writing my second favourite run on Iron Man, after only Denny O'Neil. He created Rocket Raccoon. He has a really underrated run on Hulk, that lasted quite a few years, but is rarely ever talked about today, due to Peter David taking over the book shortly afterward. He wrote the entirety of Micronauts and ROM, which both stand up as very fun runs on a book lasting about 70 issues apiece.

 

I'm wondering if Roy Thomas counts for consideration? Considering he was writing almost every Marvel title after Stan Lee stepped down as a full-time writer might disqualify him, but I rarely hear him get the praise he deserves. He wrote a number of really good runs, including over 100 issues of Conan. Young All Stars stands out as somewhat ahead of its time, considering he was basically doing what Alan Moore did in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, years before Moore. Yet, I usually hear Thomas spoken about negatively.

 

I'd say Gerry Conway also. No one seems to have anything good to say about Conway, but I've usually found his runs very captivating. His runs on Fantastic Four, Thor, and Amazing Spider Man all rank very highly on my list of writers of those books, but outside of Spider Man, Conway's name is never mentioned.

 

I have to quibble a bit with Scott Lobdell. I think he is, overall, a very horrible writer. Generation X is the sole exception. He did do some good work with Gambit, which not a lot of writers can say, but come on, it's Gambit. Otherwise, I can only think of really bad runs by Lobdell.

What good books by him were you thinking of outside of Generation X? I'll give you that one, certainly, but having one good book amidst a lot of really bad books doesn't really count as "underrated".

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I was thinking of Generation X, what else?

(Though I do rather like his Howard the Duck Christmas special as well...)

 

Somebody who maybe warrants a mention more than Lobdell is Karl Kesel.

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I've never read much by him that I liked, but I haven't read much by him. I'm trying to think what I know by Kesel. I picked up that Hawk and Dove mini-series from the quarter bins at one point, but the characters never gripped me, and Kesel didn't change that. The Liefield art probably didn't help my opinion. He wrote Fantastic Four for a time, but it was pretty much a fill-in run between big name writers, and it wasn't very memorable either.

 

Oh, I thought of a better choice for my #1 than Bill Mantlo actually. John Broome. He wrote the entire Hal Jordan Green Lantern series until O'Neil took over, he wrote half of all the classic issues of the Barry Allen Flash series, along with Fox. He wrote some other good books during the Silver Age and created some neat DC characters. Then, disappeared at the end of the 1960s from comic books. If it weren't for the Showcase Presents volumns, I wouldn't know the name of Broome. He wrote some really wild stories, like a prototype Grant Morrison, about the nature of reality, disguised as superhero plots. I think Broome deserves a lot more credit than obscurity.

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I'd go along with Broome.

As for Kesel, I really enjoyed his run on Superboy. Great fun.

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Can I just bump this to mention Joe Simon? Not sure how underrated he is in real terms, but he does seem to be remembered more as half of a double act involving Jack Kirby than for the utterly barking weirdass freakery he spent most of the 70s producing. Seriously, batshit lunacy like the original Outsiders story, Prez and Bother Power: The Geek is hard to overpraise and it isn't even like Prez is the oddest comic he did back then...

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Brother Power was just plain messed up.

Prez was pretty good though.

All six cumulative issues between the two series.

 

Stephen Murphy is another good choice, even though he only wrote two comic series during his career.

Puma Blues is one of the most under-rated comic series of all time.

His run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets unjustly maligned, due to it being during the period when TMNT was published by Archie. Murphy wrote nearly the entire run. I argue over and over that it wasn't just a "kiddy" book. It was quite good, although some would find it preachy with its Left-Wing politics.

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It's quite strange how completely forgotten Puma Blues seems to be now. You'd think it would at least get a little attention over the Michael Zulli art, wouldn't you?

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Jamie Delano

It was only a matter of time...

:laugh:

How about Peter Hogan? On the rare occasions that I remember reading (and hugely enjoying) his comics I always feel he deserves a lot more props. Then (of course) I forget him again, like every other comics reader does.

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Those are about my feelings on Hogan. He's a decent writer, but he doesn't really stand out. I can see why people like Delano or Grant have a cult following, while bigwigs like Moore or Morrison became the biggest names in comics, while Hogan faded away.

See? I'm trying to remember books that Hogan worked on in the States right now....I remember he wrote a few issues of The Dreaming....but were they some of the best? I forget. And, he seems to have done a few things for Moore's ABC Comics....And....

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They weren't by Caitlin Kiernan, which I'm told is a plus for some.

His young Johnny pre-Hellblazer mini was fun, and he did some great stuff at 2000AD, where he was the only writer who wasn't Alan Grant or John Wagner to do a RoboHunter story worth a shit. (Admittedly, the competition for that was Mark Millar, but even so...)

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Oh yeah, that Sandman Presents mini. That was a pretty good John Constantine story, until the end, when Constantine started gushing over the "honest-to-goodness Kabbalist", as if Constantine had no knowledge of the Kabbalah.

Yeah, the fact that the Dreaming stories weren't by Kiernan was always a positive, that's true enough.

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I quite like some of the Kiernan ones (that little mermaid issue that introduces a new raven is a beautiful story, the thing with the Corinthian living as a human who doesn't eat his boyfriends' eyes on earth was rather fun as well, and the cat and Poe one is great), but taken as whole, her run does rather read like a prolonged haute-goth whine, sadly.

 

Jeff Nicholson did a hugely good Dreaming oneshot as well, which is surprising when you look at how shitawful Father And Son was...

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Yeah, his one was really good. His first comics work I quite enjoyed (Through the Habitrails). His Dreaming story was more "Through the Habitrails" than his later comic work. Through the Habitrails is a truly under-rated comic book.

 

I agree with you about Kiernan as well. She had some good stories too, but the book went downhill when she took over as main writer, rather than keeping it an anthology title. Her run as a whole wore on you. Had they kept the original format, only inviting her back to do a story here and there, the book would have remained much better than what it became under Kiernan.

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The thing that I love about that story is that I think it's the one thing in all of the Sandman and its sharecrops, spin offs and merchandising whiffle that treats Merv Pumpkinhead as something other than a joke. It's a powerful and emotive story without that, of course, but it does add a whole other layer to the argument about the dignity of labour it sets up by treating Merv as an archetype, and a focal point for fantasies and stories, just like every other conceptualised bleeder running about the Dreaming. It's nice to see that, even if it is blatantly and openly parsed as a white collar worker slumming.

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I think Rick Remender is underrated. He went from the overlooked but great FEAR AGENT right into LOW, Black Science, and Deadly Class, all of which are critically acclaimed.

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Yeah, it is great, but it's hard to see a guy who got a very prominent position writing for Marvel Comics as truly "under-rated".

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i don't read marvel so i was unaware of that. i'm pretty much all image these days.

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His run on Uncanny X-Force at Marvel was really, really good. I haven't read all of Remender's work, but out of what I've read, so far, Black Science is topping it. Otherwise, Uncanny X-Force is what I consider Remender's best work. I know, that seems bizarre to be praising a comic book titled Uncanny X-Force, but Remender did a damn good job on it. It was from back around 2010, I think, so not in the immediate past.

Remender went on from there to being one of Marvel's top writers.

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