And now for something completely different...
Each month, my friend Jeff and I will collaborate on our own Comic Writer Power Rankings for the previous month. Because as much as we'd like to pretend we are very serious people who only ever talk about very serious topics, that's not true. The rankings are entirely subjective, though we do take into account sales data. We of course can't read everything, so the titles that at least one of us read last month are given next to the writer. Below are the rankings for October 2013. (To see last month's rankings, click here.)
10 – Dan Slott (Superior Spider-Man)
Ryan's Comment: Look, I had no moral objections to the killing of Peter Parker–we all know comic book deaths are never permanent. But I just can't read everything, and I dropped Superior Spider-Man from my list after a few issues. But Jeff keeps telling me that Slott has found his stride with this essentially brand new character he created, so perhaps I'll give it a second look.
Jeff's Comment: Sometimes, I don't miss Peter Parker. Really. Some issues of Spider-Man, I simply enjoy Otto's evil adventures. Let's be honest: the aforementioned adventures ARE getting more evil and Slott's building to the conclusion... but I hope it's awhile off. I love this title. Ryan needs to learn to love it, too!
9 – Brian K. Vaughan (Saga)
Ryan's Comment: I used to be The Wire guy. "Have you seen The Wire?" Then it was, "Are you watching Breaking Bad?" Now, at least among anybody who enjoys comics or reading or art or culture or life, I simply ask, "Have you read Saga?" Sometimes I don't ask, I just give them the trade and make them read it.
Jeff's Comment: I cannot wait for Ryan to get the next trade so he can enjoy it. And promptly pass it on to me.
8 – Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder, Wolvering & The X-Men, Battle of the Atom)
Ryan's Comment: Battle of the Atom's conclusion was not Aaron at his best, but there are always a lot of hands responsible for a big event like that, so I won't hold it entirely against him. Wolverine & the X-Men may be ending, but his new Amazing X-Men (which will feature in our November rankings, I'm sure), is off to a great start.
Jeff's Comment: That Wolverine and the X-Men is ending is sad because it was so fun. I know that I need to get on Thor... I know it's a great read. Aaron is literate and accessible and I really appreciate that.
7 – Mark Waid (Daredevil, Indestructible Hulk)
Ryan's Comment: The news that Daredevil's current run is ending was right up there with the World Series as the most depressing news of the month for me. Nothing has been announced, but here's to hoping that it is simply rebooting with the same team. While this month's issues of both Daredevil and Hulk were not the strongest, Waid, like Snyder, "gets it" in a way that few writers do. The consistency is impressive.
Jeff's Comment: Read. More. Waid. Read. More. Waid. Hulk and Daredevil have been so terrific that I am going to get into my back issue boxes - a significant project - and read some old Waid runs, namely his underappreciated Justice League, his lionized Flash and his brilliant Fantastic Four runs!
6 – Geoff Johns (Justice League, Forever Evil)
Ryan's Comment: If I wasn't already criminally overtaxing my budget and wanted to pick up more DC titles, I'd start with Geoff Johns' work. But for now, I'm holding off.
Jeff's Comment: Geoff Johns is the DC comics backbone and he knows how to create events. He also knows how to write villains. I care about Lex Luthor, I always have, but Johns makes me care about him so much that I've barely notitced that he's DESTROYING DICK GRAYSON... oh, I guess I have noticed. The fact that I can be that energized by a comic speaks to what Johns does best: involves his readers.
5 – Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Satellite Sam, Sex Criminals)
Ryan's Comment: Hawkguy is back! And while it's definitely for mature audiences only, Sex Criminals is off to a strong start. It has the humanity, and humor, that makes Fraction so great–something I can't say for Satellite Sam, as much as I want to like that premise (in fact, I've probably bought my last issue of Satellite Sam).
Jeff's Comment: Last month, Fraction was back to being Fraction! Yes! I am about to choose between Satellite Sam and Sex Criminals to take a dip in the independent pool... Ryan will advise...
4 – Brian Michael Bendis (All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men)
Ryan's Comment: Both of October's X-Men titles were a part of the Battle of the Atom event, an event I just didn't love as much as I wanted to. We shall see what comes of the changes to the status quo that resulted, but there are times I wish Bendis were focusing on just one X-Men title.
Jeff's Comment: Though I am currently unsure what will differentiate Uncanny from All New, I trust Bendis. He's got the X-Men. He's got the Ulitmate Spider-Man. He's got Galactus. He's got me. Make mine Bendis!
3 – Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead)
Ryan's Comment: Apparently kicking off this new event, which will lead to double-shipping the next couple of months, got people excited as it jumped up the sales charts. As good as it is, I wish some of those people would branch out and try other comics. There's great stuff out there!
Jeff's Comment: To call this a phenomenon underestimates the term... Kirkman is prolific and a master, clearly. Will I ever get on the band wagon and become an actual reader? I guess I am more likely to begin with Invincible than Walking Dead... but I should begin somewhere with Kirkman.
2 – Scott Snyder (Batman)
Ryan's Comment: "Villains Month" was a fun gimmick, but Snyder is now back, continuing this original, entertaining take on Batman's origin. He gets what comic books should be. He can tell a serious, dark, origin story of one of the most well-known characters in comics, and make it seem lively and fresh.
Jeff's Comment: Can something original be said about Batman's origin? I thought "no." I was wrong. Snyder continues to deliver an epic story that stands on its own next to Year One. That is saying something. He's courageous and a student of history. Oh, and I LOVE the purple gloves... I have to believe Snyder mandated them.
1 – Jonathan Hickman (Infinity, Avengers, New Avengers)
Ryan's Comment: I still find Infinity (and it's essential Avengers tie-ins) to be a bit too big and impersonal, but there's no denying Hickman's talent (and sheer volume). Comic events have become big, plot-driven stories, and Hickman does that well.
Jeff's Comment: I've bought every issue of Infinity and the Avengers tie-ins. I am not sure why, except the story must be compelling. I am not sure why it's compelling except it is populated by characters I like. I just don't quite know what they are doing... or why. But I keep buying.