Prolific Creators: Examining My Collection

longboxcds.jpgRecently I got caught up in a very hyper conversation with Augie De Blieck Jr. over at the “Pipeline Commentary and Review” about writers and artists. What started as the usual “Who are your favorites?” evolved into something I find far more interesting, “What creators have you followed the most?” Meaning, of all the comics in your collection, who’s work do you have the most of?

With the help of, my 30 long boxes and some rules, I found the results fascinating.

After some bickering, we set the ground rules to be fairly easy to follow:

  • Which writers do we have at least 200 comics (roughly 4,400 pages) written by?
  • Which artists (pencilers) do we have at least 75 comics (1,650 pages) drawn by?

Now, of course this is a bit of a finger in the air project, so there may be a percent deviation here and there, but that’s okay. Also, we’re not talking inking here, so no artists are getting points for their inking work (not to demean inking, but come on we gotta draw the line somewhere) So let’s go to it.

Alan Davis – Everyone is sick of hearing me talk about how Excalibur was my first ongoing series that I fell in love with, but it was and it was Alan Davis’ art that got me hooked on comics. That said, he eeked onto the list with 89 issues in my collection that he penciled. And I love every one of them.

Sam Kieth – I looked up Kieth’s work to see, on a lark, if he’d make it, and at 84 issues, he did and that’s awesome. I loved The Maxx and Zero Girl, but it was his work on Marvel Comics Presents that made me look for him in the first place and I love that I still own those issues.

Jim Lee – One of the next artists I fell in love with at a young age was Jim Lee, who like Alan Davis, squeaked by with 91 issues. It’s fascinating to see how little work of his I actually own when compared to others or conversely how little he’s actually drawn…

John Byrne – You’d think he’d rank higher on my list, but Byrne only clocks in with 103 issues in my collection. As much as I respect the work he’s done, especially at Marvel, my collection lacks those key series such as Fantastic Four, She-Hulk and Namor, but his X-Men works put him over the top.

Terry Moore – When you think Terry Moore, you don’t really think just in terms of art, but as a indie creator, he wrote and drew every damn issue of Strangers in Paradise and sure enough, I read them all, as well as everything else he’s drawn (almost), so he makes the list at 134 issues. Not bad at all.

John Romita, Jr. – I don’t think I’d ever tell you that John Romita Jr. was one of my favorite artists, but between his long work on the Uncanny X-Men and Spider-Man he makes the list at 135 issues. It’s either a testament to how much I like Marvel Comics, or how much he works… I’m not sure which.

Erik Larsen – I never thought that when I raised an eyebrow to the guy following Todd McFarlane on Spider-Man, that I’d read 159 issues of comic book featuring his artwork. 130 plus issues on Savage Dragon doesn’t hurt though in making that happen. 15+ years and 159 issues and I’m psyched to have been there as I think his art is fantastic and it has been a joy to watch it evolve.

Mark Bagley – Apparently he’s my favorite artist, or at least the one who works the most, with over 193 issues (I had to stop counting the various one shots on various titles) from Ultimate Spider-Man to Thunderbolts to New Warriors, apparently I love Bagley’s career. Who knew?

Now, I could go on forever and I’m sure there are some creators I missed or am forgetting. What’s almost as interesting is those who didn’t make the list, like Todd McFarlane (48), Brent Anderson (56), Howard Porter (53) and Mike Avon Oeming (66). It represents a list of those who don’t draw nearly enough anymore, or those who are on their way up and I’m sure will make the list given another few years of work.

Scott Lobdell – The 1990’s were not a good time for my beloved X-Men books. Sure they started out with a bang, but after the Image Revolution and the speculator crash, the creative was… how do you say it? Lackluster at best. And the man behind the lackluster stories across nearly the entire X-Universe? Scott Lobdell. I hate nearly every issue of the 212 I own that are written by him. I don’t think this number will ever grow beyond where it is currently.

Geoff Johns – I was elated to see Johns made the list, being one of my favorite current writers, but this one may be up for some debate. How much is his work on 52 worth? Some might say only 13 issues, a quarter of the issues written. I disagree. I give him all 52 issues, which gives him a grand total (so far) of 215

Fabian Nicieza – If Scott Lobdell wasn’t writing something in the 1990’s for Marvel, there’s a pretty good chance Nicieza was, and I was buying it. Like Mark Bagley, Nicieza is ALL over my collection across 239 issues from Cable to New Warriors to Thunderbolts to X-Force. Were they as bad as the Lobdell issues? The fact that I can’t really remember either way is pretty telling so you make the call.

Mark Waid – I wasn’t surprised to see Waid so high on this list, by the sheer fact that he’s written nearly EVERY major superhero title as some point or another. It doesn’t hurt that he’s written some of my favorite characters like The Flash, and my old personal favorite Ka-Zar, across his 276 issues that I own. 52 helps the numbers as well, similar to Johns.

Brian Michael Bendis – No one will be surprised by this at all, considering how we’ve professed our love over and over for Bendis’ work. But think about this, I own and have read 379 issues of comics that he’s written. Now, I’ve been collecting comics for almost 18 years or so. Bendis has only been really writing at a huge clip over the past 7 years. With titles like Powers, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The New Avengers, Bendis has been able to dominate my collection. That revelation blew me away.

Chris Claremont – Another unsurprising one, and the king of my collection at 423 issues, Chris Claremont is one of the few creators that I went searching for back issues to get as much as I could. What would drive me to do that? Uncanny X-Men, that’s what. It was pretty much his work on the X-Men books alone that puts Claremont on top; I didn’t even follow him after he left Marvel! Crazy! The thing is though, this number isn’t getting any bigger. At least not at the pace Bendis’ number is.

Between writers and artists, writers were way harder for me. Apparently I have a whole bunch of writers who just missed the cut, like Kurt Busiek (174), Garth Ennis (165), Brian K. Vaughan (150), Grant Morrison (159) and Peter David (152). And there are writers who are rapidly moving up the charts, like Robert Kirkman (120) and Greg Rucka (111). I imagine, like the artists, in a few years, the number or writers over the 200 issue threshold will be way more.


Examining your collection in this manner really makes your eyes open to reality of collecting. A lot of my favorite creators made the list, but many did not. For some, it’s a matter of timing. As much as I love Neal Adams work, I simply don’t have the huge segment of 1960’s and 1970’s comics that would get him on the list. Additionally, a creator who I really respect and enjoy, like Jeph Loeb, hasn’t created the sheer volume of work, for me at least, to make the cut. And finally, special creators like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, while they will always be considered great and among my favorites, their body of work is hardly represented amongst my long boxes.

This has been a lot of fun dissecting my collection and trust me folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of this type of analysis. With that, it’s your turn! What do you think of my list? How does your list differ? Are you a child of the ’90s like me, or have you been able to enjoy comics from before 1990? Tune in next week when I’ll collect the best of your reactions and comments. And maybe in the future we may see what Josh and Conor’s numbers look like – or maybe even the numbers of some special guests!


  1. I didn’t start buying comics until around three to four years ago so I have nowhere near the amount of comics Ron has. However the name totally dominating my collection is probably Brubaker seeing I usualley pick it up if his name is on it.

  2. Oh my God. If I had a team of interns and a bottomless bottle of Jolt, it would take me a month to figure this stuff out. If I had those resources at my disposal, I still might be too afraid to use them, lest I find out that I have, say, 212 comics in my house written by an author I can’t stand. That might be a little too much to face.

    When you start to quantify, it can be surprising how few you have in some cases. 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.

  3. I don’t even have the resources to bag my comics. I have the past three years worth sitting around boxes I stole from work. No bags. No boards. *GASP*

    Off the top of my head I would guess there is a lot of Peter David, John Romita Jr., Fabian Nicieza, Mark Millar, and Bendis. Up until, maybe, five years ago I collected by character and only paid attention to creators when it was something that really impressed me. Joe Mad’s run on Uncanny was one I paid close attention to, but I only ever bought one issue of Battle Chasers.

  4. You bastard. I’m so going to be doing this in the middle of the night tonight instead of downloading porn. 🙂

  5. Writers that dominate my collection (including trades and graphic novels):
    Warren Ellis, Mike Grell (lots of Green Arrow), and Alan Moore (From Hell alone has to put him in the top of the list).

    Writers that will probably make that list very soon: Brian Wood (DMZ is the best thing in the comic book world right now), Ed Brubaker (Criminal is awesome), and Brian K. Vaughn. Actually, Vaughn might not make the top, page count wise, because after Y, I wll only be reading his Ex Machina.

  6. Couldn’t even begin to figure this out – and I use a database system (haven’t found a way to search by creator yet).

    If we’re counting trades, I’d have to put Garth Ennis in my definite top five. He did lengthy runs on Hellblazer, Demon and Hitman, plus Preacher, Punisher and a bunch of minis and one shots that I know I own.

    Has Millar produced 200 comics? I know he does a lot of 6 issue and 12 issue kind of arcs, but has he ever done an extended run on anything? Swamp Thing and Superman Adventures maybe, but that’s really about it, isn’t it?

    Gaiman is another guy who could be considered top-tier, but just doesn’t produce like other guys. Count his novels, then we’d be somewhere, but I don’t store my novels in a long box.

    I’m surprised there aren’t more Golden and Silver Age guys being mentioned, given how much output there was back in the day. Are readers actually buying the old stuff anymore, or is it all collectors who don’t look at their comic let alone read it?

  7. I’m surprised there aren’t more Golden and Silver Age guys being mentioned, given how much output there was back in the day. Are readers actually buying the old stuff anymore, or is it all collectors who don’t look at their comic let alone read it?

    I imagine that the Golden and Silver Age material is not very plentiful and/or too expensive to be widespread among most collections.

  8. Robert Kirkman dominates in my collection.

    Walking dead, Inviciable

    Also suprisingly I have a crap load of warren ellis

  9. 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?

  10. I wonder what these creator’s would think if shown this data. Sometimes I think we forget that, for these guys, this is their job. To them, it may just seem like another issue. To us, it’s the 400th issue we’ve bought that they worked on. I would imagine most of them would be surprised to see just how much they’ve drawn or written.

    That being said, my collection, which is small because of space, is primarily dominated by top tier guys. Johns, BKV, Kirkman, Bendis, Brubaker, Dini, Morrison, etc. I would like to add that, with a recent obsession to Savage Dragon, Erik Larsen is creeping into my top creators list. He just does awesome stuff.

  11. I’ve only been collecting for a couple of years so my numbers are much lower than Ron’s, but my collection is controlled by Geoff Johns, who comes the closest in my collection to 100 issues, I have 94 of his books. Give it about a month I guess. John Ostrander comes in second, I picked up the entire run of Suicide Squad and that certainly helped things along.

    Rounding out my top 5 are Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Gail Simone. 4 of my top 5 I would consider among my favorite writers. I havn’t had the time to tally the artist scores yet.

  12. We’ve been discussing this on the Pipeline message board as well. Here’s what I came up with:


  13. I agree about Scott Lobdell, back in the 90’s when Image was dominant and a lot of creators were, either fairly or unfairly, getting Rock Star treatment. But I recall an interview that I read with Lobdell and there was a photo layout where he was barefoot and wearing a jacket that looked as if it came straight from Crazy Quilt’s closet. It was nauseating. Why on earth would a second tier at best writer think he warrants a photo spread? But I digress.

    My collection is dominated by Alan Moore, John Byrne, George Perez, Walt Simonson, Neal Adams, Robert Kirkman, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Geoff Johns, Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Kurt Busiek, John Romita Sr. and Jr.

    I read a lot. And will keep runs going through good and bad.

  14. I’d guess that I have more books by Peter David and Chris Claremont then any other writers. Have to take a look through the boxes this weekend.

  15. My god,

    You looked up 30 long boxes!!! Obsess much?