Following Up On Prolific Creators: Examining YOUR Collection

longboxcds.jpgLast week, Augie De Blieck Jr. over at the “Pipeline Commentary and Review” and I had a discussion and from that, I dove into my collection to see what creators I really liked by seeing who dominated my collection. The results were surprising to say the least. You can go back and read what I found out about my own comic collection, but this week I wanted to focus on the feedback from you, the iFanboy Faithful and what your collections seems to look like as well as some of the interesting comments that came from this exercise.

Epic Runs
One the biggest influences in my collection, and most others, are those storied, epic runs when a writer and an artist collaborate on a title and make some magic within comics. By looking at these runs, it’s interesting to see what was truly an epic run and what was only perceived that way.

Jimski observed:

“I remembered the Peter David/Todd McFarlane run on the Hulk to be epic, but rereading it last year it was something like 12-15 issues in a run speckled with fill-ins”

And he totally has it dead on. The big epic run of my collection would be the Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men, but upon looking at it, it wasn’t nearly as long as I remembered or thought it was. Not that 30+ issues in a row (no fill ins) isn’t impressive, I just thought it was longer. The trend we all definitely saw, from the late 80’s into the 90’s was the role of the fill in, as artists were unable to keep up with deadlines. Case in point, I loved the Travis Charest run with Alan Moore of WildC.A.T.S. and remembered it as a great run, but when looking at the recently released trade paperback of it, its riddled with fill ins.

Missing Creators
One thing I wanted to get across was that I was looking at my collection. Everyone’s collection is different and unique and where there were many creators lacking from my collection, I was happy to see them present in others.

jeffx shared:

“Warren Ellis, Mike Grell (lots of Green Arrow), and Alan Moore (From Hell alone has to put him in the top of the list).”

Three great creators. Ellis is slowly climbing up my charts of writers, but surprisingly Moore isn’t. This is mainly because I have the must haves (like Watchmen), but I didn’t stick with his releases under the America’s Best Comics imprint and don’t have the majority of his early monthly work. By no means does this take away from his stature as one of the industries best writers – he’s just absent from my collection, which is really my loss.

Mike Grell is a great example from a group of other creators missing from collections like mine, which began in the 80’s.

In fact, Dan summed this up nicely:

“I’m surprised there aren’t more Golden and Silver Age guys being mentioned”

He’s right, there is a gaping hole of creators from before the mid 80’s in my own collection and I would guess many of yours. This is mainly because (as Conor commented in the original thread) a lot of us started collecting at a set time and didn’t go crazy with the back issue diving. I would love to see my collection filled with the likes of Mike Grell, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, Denny O’Neil and others of that ilk. But my wallet just can’t afford it. Someday though hopefully.

I was as shocked as you were to see Mark Bagley as my #1 artist, but in looking at his breakdown of work and what I collected, it’s now somewhat obvious. Even more obvious was the role Chris Claremont played in my collection.

Quentin made me laugh out loud:

ComicbookDB may be too smart, and too close to becoming self aware. It may have to be shut down. You know how people don’t always know what they want? How’s this for a dream project Claremont/Bagley?”

Creators vs. Characters
A big theme in the recent years here at iFanboy has been the divide between those of us who collect comics based on characters or creators.

torippu sums this up:

“Looking at this list, it’s apparent that I don’t follow as many writers as I like to think I do. It’s more about the character (in particular Spider-Man) for me”

Again, everyone is different, but this seems to be a dividing line for a lot of us. I tend to fall more towards the side of collecting for the character (X-Men, The Flash, etc.) no matter who is writing or drawing them. Others will base their comic purchases mainly on the credits in the book, sticking with a specific writer or artist no matter what they’re on. Of course there are some creators that I will seek out based on their talent or their work (Rick Remender), but that tends to be fleeting. It’s the old, “Do you root for the player or the jersey?” argument. It’s not one that has a clear right or wrong answer, but one that is endlessly fascinating to me.

All in all this little exercise was a blast and I want to thank everyone for humoring me and participating as they did, both here at iFanboy and over on the Pipeline message boards. This was fun and an example of some of the ways that your comic collection can provide entertainment beyond just reading and enjoying the individual comics, and accessing it like a complete entity. I’m definitely going to be refining my personal database to account for creators better so I can play this game in a couple of years and see just how far Bendis gets past Claremont.


  1. I hate you for making me want to thoroughly catelog my comics.

  2. The temptation is almost overwhelming…! I’m afraid to even go to ComicBookDB.

  3. Like I said in the last thread, I’ve got a database system and am afraid to even go through it by creator – I may end up having more bad Chris Claremont or Chuck Austin books than I do good ones.

    I’m also a jersey over player guy, but just slightly. I tend to have the habit of sticking with a book or character with that “it’s bound to get better” mentality if a creative team changes. If it gets bad enough, I’ll drop the book (I’m looking at you, Wolverine: Origins). Although there are some characters – Spider-Man, Flash, Batman – that I’ll follow no matter how bad the books get.

    That being said, bring a creator I enjoy on a book and I’m more than likely to pick it up. Rucka on Wonder Woman stands out to me for being the one time the creator got me to buy an already established book. I’ve picked up plenty of those “creator changes mean an all-new beginning” kind of soft launches and almost always ended up being severely disappointed.

  4. I definitely believe in following the jersey/character. I’m here to read the stories of characters I care about, first and foremost. I root for Los Angeles-based sports teams, no matter who’s on them or how bad they’re doing.

    This is how one ends up buying Force Works back-issues… *shrug*

  5. It’s about 50/50
    I read kirkman where ever he is except I couldn’t pick up ant man. I don’t read x men but will when ellis starts writing it.
    Spider man is a must I even got all of the back in black story line.