5. Jeff Parker
Before Parker was known for scripting some of Marvel’s best comics today, he illustrated books for everyone, including DC, Marvel, Image, and got his start at Malibu. I was reminded of this recently when I saw Parker’s take on Mr. Lau, from his Agents of Atlas series.
4. Rick Remender
Before Remender went on a creator owned tear across comics, ultimately landing him as a go-to guy for Marvel Comics, the guy could wield a hell of a pen. Coming from animation, you can see his inks on The Avengers, as well as providing art for album covers for NOFX and Lagwagon. He also penciled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and Last Christmas.
3. Bill Willingham
There are likely many, many Fables readers who have no idea about Willingham’s long history in comics before breaking through with the fairy tale folk. But before hitting gold at Vertigo, Willingham was quite revered for his writing and art on The Elementals from Comico, and lots of other comics through the 80s and 90s. He actually got his start as a staff artist for TSR, illustrating role playing game stuff.
Brian Bendis wanted to make comics and so he did. But did you know he started off as an artist? He started doing his own comics through Caliber, where you could recognize his photo based style, telling stories very grounded in reality, and rendered in black and white, like Goldfish and Jinx. He also had a more cartoony style that he use to great effect in Fortune and Glory. Then he got to take over some Marvel writing, and got bigger and bigger, until the rest became somewhat forgotten history.
1. Alan Moore
Yup, even the big wizard himself was a cartoonist before he was a scripter. After getting kicked out of school, Moore worked doing cartoons for music magazines and British fanzines. He started Maxwell the Magic Cat, which ran in the Northants Post from 1979 until 1986. Then he kind of blew up. In a bunch of different ways.