Every once in a while I try my best to introduce one of my friends into my healthy adult love of comic books. The typical response to my introduction is an odd expression adorning someone’s face followed by either a rapid eruption of laughter or the question “You want me to read Aquaman?!”
In a nutshell: HELL YES
Why? Like you, me, and fine wine comics have matured and appreciated with age. The days of adolescent and juvenile stories enforced by the Comics Code Authority are long gone and since that time comic creators have taken the adventures of these surreal characters in wild new directions, and they deal with actual mature themes and issues. Most film buffs will tell you that most movies will only be as good as the script that is written for them and the same adage most certainly applies to comics. The writing has taken a generational leap in advancement that isn’t often appreciated… until someone notices that some of these comic book writers also work on your favorite TV shows and films.
That’s right, some of your favorite films were written by some of the hottest talents in comics and like a developed athlete, these writers take their honed talents to the big leagues and develop some of your favorite films:
Joseph “Jeph” Loeb III is an American film and television writer, producer and award-winning comic book writer. Loeb was a producer/writer on the TV series Smallville and Lost, writer for the films Commando and Teen Wolf and was a writer and Co-Executive Producer on the NBC TV show Heroes from its premiere in 2006 to November 2008.— Wikipedia.
Jeph Loeb is a name that many of you have seen flash across your screen in the opening credits of some of your favorite television shows and films, but what you may not have known is that Mr. Loeb is also an award winning comic book writing veteran of 22 years. Jeph Loeb is no stranger to comic aficionados as he’s written some of the most well-known, respected, and valuable storytelling of the last 20 years including “Batman: The Long Halloween” which served as partial inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, He was also the writer for both “Superman/Batman” animated films “Public Enemies” and “Apocalypse”.
Recommended reads: Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman/Batman, The Ultimates 3
Joseph Hill “Joss” Whedon (born June 23, 1964) is an American screenwriter, film and television producer, director, comic book author, composer, and actor. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-founder of Bellwether Pictures. He is best known as the creator and showrunner of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Angel (1999–2004), Firefly (2002–2003),Dollhouse (2009–2010), and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), as well as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). Whedon co-wrote Toy Story (1995), wrote and directed Serenity (2005), co-wrote and produced the horror film The Cabin in the Woods (2012), and wrote and directed the film adaptation of Marvel’s The Avengers (2012),the third highest-grossing film of all time. — Wikipedia
Probably one of the more recognized writers on this list is film director Joss Whedon. Joss has been adorned by most of us on the internet for years for his contributions to such beloved shows as Buffy, Angel, and Firefly but did you may not have known that Mr. Whedon is regarded as somewhat of a revolutionist in the X-Men brand of comics with a storyline involving the cure for mutation that served as inspiration for the third X-Men film “The Last Stand”. Joss Whedon even contributed to the continued television storylines of Buffy and Angel in a owned comic book deal with Dark Horse Comics, furthering their development.
Recommended reads: Serenity: Those Left Behind, Astonishing X-Men, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8
J. Michael Straczynski
Joseph Michael Straczynski (/strəˈzɪn.ski/; born July 17, 1954), known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or jms,is an American writer and producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, radio dramas and other media. Straczynski is a playwright, former journalist, and author of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. He was the creator and showrunner for the science fiction television series Babylon 5, its spin-off Crusade, as well as Jeremiah, a series loosely based on Hermann Huppen‘s comics. Straczynski wrote 92 out of the 110 Babylon 5 episodes, notably including an unbroken 59-episode run through the third and fourth seasons, and all but one episode of the fifth season. He also wrote the fourBabylon 5 TV movies produced alongside the series. — Wikipedia.
I know this name because he wrote The Amazing Spider-Man comic for like 6 years in a row, you may know this name because he’s contributed to some of the more highly regarded science fiction television series and films in recent memory. Mr. Straczynski has been around since he wrote a spec script fr “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” in 1984 that rights holders Filmation actually bought. Since that time Straczynski has been involved with such franchises such as The Real Ghostbusters, The Twilight Zone, Shelley Duvall’s Nightmare Classics, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Jake and the Fatman, Murder She Wrote, Walker Texas Ranger, Bablyon 5, Showtime’s Jeremiah, the Bradd Pitt starring World War Z, Angelina Jolie’s starring Changeling, Marvel’s film tratment of Thor, and more. It’s been reported that he wrote the script for the film Ninja Assassin for Joel Silver in just 53 Hours. Having one of the longest resume’s on this list, it’s surprising that he actually finds time to write comics, but he does and he does so well.
Recommended reads: Superman: Earth One, Spider-Man: One More Day, The Twelve
Geoff Johns (born 1973) is an American comic book writer, best known for his work for DC Comics, where he has been Chief Creative Officer since February 2010, in particular for characters such as Green Lantern, The Flash and Superman. He is also a television writer, who has written episodes of Smallville, and a comic book retailer who co-owns Earth-2 Comics in Northridge, California with Carr D’Angelo and Jud Meyers.
Johns shares a writing studio, The Empath Magic Tree House, with writers Jeph Loeb and Allan Heinberg. — Wikipedia
Geoff Johns is a ballsy writer. Get this: Johns got his break in writing by cold-calling the office of director Richard Donner and basically haggling conflicted receptionists until the director himself picked up the phone and he began spilling his nerd love/adoration of The Goonies and the first two Superman films. His story sounds like an actual fan dream come true and it is, because he received an internship with the director thereafter. The internship led to involvement with a number of projects that involved Donner including The Conspiracy Theory, but Mr. Johns’ impact doesn’t stop there. His credits include franchises like the Spike TV adaptation of Blade, Justice League Unlimited, Robot Chicken, TV’s beloved series Smallville, Arrow, and he also served as co-producer and creative consultant for 2011’s Green Lantern film. His career in comics is the story of legend having modernized and revitalized aged characters such as The Green Lantern, The Flash, and more propelling him into the co-publisher and Chief Creative Officer”s seat of DC comics. Geoff Johns is a highly respected creative force in comics and he appears to have a very bright future with the company. I personally recommend anything Green Lantern with his name on it, especially the his storyline “Blackest Night” and he’s currently working on Aquaman
Recommended Reads: The Flash: Rebirth, Green Lantern: Rebirth, The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, Flashpoint
Damon Laurence Lindelof (born April 24, 1973) is an American television writer, producer, and film screenwriter, most noted as the co-creator and showrunner of the acclaimed television series Lost (2004–2010). He has written for and produced Crossing Jordan(2001–2004) and wrote for Nash Bridges (2000–2001). Lindelof also co-wrote Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Prometheus (2012), and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). As of December 2012, his next film in development is the science fiction film Tomorrowland (2014). He is also co-writing a TV pilot of The Leftovers for HBO, adapted from the novel by Tom Perrotta. — Wikipedia
Most of you guys already know this name thanks to his contributions to TV’s Lost and his film credits like Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens; but not enough of you know about his contributions in comics. Most recently he wrote a short Batman tale, but a lot of comic fans appreciate his work with Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. Let me show you what he did when given free reign with Marvel’s beloved characters:
Yeah. This happened.
Recommended reads: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk
David Samuel Goyer (born December 22, 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, and comic book writer. A professed comic book fanatic, Goyer has written or co-written several screenplays based on numerous comic book series, among them Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Batman Begins, The Flash, and Blade. Goyer has recently been working with Legendary Pictures on three of their upcoming projects. He co-wrote the scripts for The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Man of Steel (2013). In addition, he did a one-step 4-week rewrite for Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla reboot. — Wikipedia
another recognized on this list due to his work including The Crow: City of Angels, Wesley Snipe starring Blade trilogy, Ghost Rider: Spirits Vengeance, as well as his work with the Christopher Nolan Batman films. Not only did he help revitalize the comic book film genre, but he also kick started and revitalized the Justice Society of America for DC Comics with a book entitled JSA. He’s currently working on the Justice League film and the announced Man of Steel sequel for Warner Bros.
Recommended reads: Justice Society of America
Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American writer, artist, and film director best known for his dark comic book stories and graphic novels such as Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300. He also directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City and produced the film 300. — Wikipedia
Sin City and 300 are probably some of the first things to pop into someone’s head when mentioning the name Frank Miller but I only think of one thing: Old Man Batman . Old Man Batman is an icon that even some non-comic fans can recognize without realizing that Frank Miller made this happen. Story and Art. His work in comics that materialized in film include Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, 300, and the upcoming 300 sequel; but Miller’s involvement in Hollywood extends even further. Miller’s work in film includes writing credits for Robocop 2 (which was heavily edited due to the studio deeming parts ‘unfilmable’), Robocop 3, a cancelled ‘Batman: Year One’ film with director Darren Aronofsky, and his solo-directing debut ‘The Spirit’.
His catologue of work and mind is still inspiring feature films with upcoming sequels 300: Battle of Artemisia and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
Recommended reads: Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City
Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is an American screenwriter, actor, film producer, and director, as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and podcaster.
He came to prominence with the low-budget comedy Clerks (1994), in which he appeared as the character Silent Bob. Smith’s first several films were mostly set in his home state of New Jersey, and while not strictly sequential, they frequently feature crossover plot elements, character references, and a shared canon described by fans as the “View Askewniverse“, named after his production company View Askew Productions, which he co-founded with Scott Mosier.
Smith also directed and produced films such as the buddy cop action comedy Cop Out, as well as the horror film Red State. — Wikipedia
I remember Kevin Smith making the transition from filmmaker to comic book writer right around the peak of his Askewniverse career. I still can’t shake the impression the book that he wrote left with me as it seemed to be the first, truly, mature Marvel comic book printed that I had experienced and it was a book that I least suspected: Daredevil. The ideas and concepts explored include loss of commitment to religion, loss of hope, abandonment issues, mommy issues, and alcoholism… and that was the hero! The book helped generate a lot of buzz and interest in the character culminating in Ben Affleck donning the red leather Daredevil costume in a feature film. The movie flirted with some of the ideas and imagery used in Kevin Smith’s run of the comic, but not to the same success.
Recommended reads: Marvel Knights’ Daredevil, Batman: Cacophony
Mark Millar MBE (born 24 December 1969) is a Scottish comic book writer, known for his work on books such as The Authority, The Ultimates, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Civil War, Wanted, and Kick-Ass, the latter two of which have been adapted into feature films. In August 2007, he won the Stan Lee award at Wizardworld in Chicago. Millar names Alan Moore and Frank Miller as the two biggest influences on his career, characterizing them as “my Mum and Dad.” Other writers he names as influences include Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis. More recent writers that have impressed him include Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder. — Wikipedia
Mark Millar is a more recognized name around here, now, but many of you probably don’t know how much he’s contributed to the comic book world in the last decade. I hadn’t been aware of Millar until a few years back while catching up on comics and I came across this book called “Old Man Logan” that depicted the tale of an Older Wolverine and a now-blind and old Hawkeye adventuring around a post apocalyptic United States. YES, that happened and it was awesome. Did I mention that this is the guy that created Wanted and Kick-Ass along with John Romita Jr.? I read more of his work and good gosh, there’s damn good reason this guy was chosen by Fox to run their comic properties. He’s a Marvel of a talent and I hope you guys find enjoyment in his writing like I did.
Recommended Reads: Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Superman: Red Son, Wanted, Kick Ass
This is the first part of a series of features. Be sure to check back for further installments!