Top 5: Comic Book Writers Who Were Artists

 

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.

 

2. Brian Michael Bendis

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.

Comments

  1. Grant Morrison, too, yeah? He drew a page in the last issue of The Invisibles, and I feel like I’ve seen character designs and preliminary sketches from him in the back of some of his books.

  2. Wow, hadn’t seen any Villians & Vigilantes artwork from Willingham in ages.

  3. I wonder why these guys stopped, some of them are fantatic. I always think some of the best comic storytelling can come from books where the artist and the writer are the same person. I think it would be awesome for some of these guys to revisit their lost talent in combination with their amazing writing skills.

  4. This is a great list. I’m really not surprised though. The fact that these guys can think and form ideas in rich visuals like this really gives them a tremendous advantage in writing for a visual medium.

    Drawing is one of the most intuitive forms of creative expression human beings have….its practically human nature. You’d be amazed at how many great creatives have natural drawing talent…whether or not they refined and studied it is something else, but you often find natural drawing and sketching to be a common trait of great creative minds.

  5. I was kind of disappointed that Hickman didn’t make it to this list. I really love his style, and I think he still does all of his own covers.

  6. Bendis was actually damn good.

  7. No Mike Mignola? :O

  8. Jeff Parker drew a segment of the last issue of Agents of Atlas which was pretty cool. Bill Willingham did a couple pictures for a prose story Mark Buckingham wrote for Fables 100 which was also cool.

    I remember Willingham saying they were going to do a full on role reversal but he didn’t have time/wasn’t fast enough anymore to get full comic pages done. I think that’s the case for a lot of these guys. They reached a point in their careers where their time was spent more efficiently and effectively just writing.

  9. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Jim Davis. I don’t care about your guidelines, Glasses.

  10. That’s awesome. Didn’t know any of these guys were artists. But, thats probably due to the fact that I’m relatively new to comics and I don’t really look into the history of comics so yeah. But that’s pretty damn cool. Learn something new everyday.

  11. Rick Remender has quickly became one of my favorite writers and I didn’t know that he could do awesome pencils as well!

    Bravo!

  12. Alan Moore also did the original design for Axel Pressbutton and drew the strip for Sounds magazine.

    He even did a cover for Dark Horse in 1987. Check out “Basil Wolverton’s Planet Of Terror”.

    Moore’s work looked like a cross between Wolverton and 60’s underground comix.

  13. I think Marv Wolfman and Steve Englehart began as artists too.

  14. I just looked up some of Willingham’s D&D art.
    I had no idea how many great and memorable images he created.

  15. Another couple of writers who also draw. Larry Hama and Bruce Jones.

  16. I always loved Bendis’s art. “Goldfish” and “Jinx” were like the comics equivalent of the best of the 90’s Miramax indies.

  17. Where is Frank Miller in this list?