Top 5: Modern Comic Book Creator Pariahs

As much as they love you, they’ll turn on you, and after that, there’s just no pleasing anyone. These guys, they take their lumps from a fickle fan base. Some is deserved, and some is not, but rest assured that when you see any of these names, there will be strong and immediate reactions.

5. Jeph Loeb

Loeb isn’t really like other comic book writers. He started in Hollywood, and now he’s the head of Marvel’s television division, but every now and again he’ll write a comic book series that sells in the metric truckloads. His style is bombastic and not often subtle. He knows what the fans want, and he has no problem delivering. He’s also been responsible for what some consider masterpieces. Depending on who you talk to, he’s either the worst, or the best, and there’s very little in between.

 

4. Greg Land

I’m not sure when it happened. I first learned of Land way back when he worked on Nightwing, before he went to Crossgen. No one had a problem with him then, but by the time he’d come back to work at Marvel, a whole lot of people had a problem with him. He’s accused of using readily available photo reference/tracing, some from more adult material, some from other artists, and issues where the same character doesn’t look the same on one page as another. And at the same time, he continues to work for Marvel. So he must be doing something right, even if that’s just selling a lot of comic books. There are plenty of people who don’t know anything about the controversy, and they like it just fine. There are plenty of others who never read a Land book in their life who call him the worst thing ever.

 

3. Frank Miller

No one can argue that Miller isn’t one of the most important creators comic books have ever seen. Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, 300, Sin City, and others are all more than beloved. And yet, Holy Terror, Miller’s latest release was met with about as much derision as I have ever seen for a comic book. He followed that up with a now famous screed about the Occupy protesters, and that was just about all she wrote. It was also the last thing he wrote on his blog. Maybe the comics audience related too closely to “a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.” At this point though, I think comics may have left Frank behind for good. That’s more than a little sad.

 

2. Rob Liefeld

I have never seen the level of venom aimed at a creator as I have with Rob Liefeld. People have been dogging him for years, saying he can’t draw, saying he was a bad business man, saying he can’t write, and yelling at him for having the temerity to stick around in comics. But he’s still here. In fact, Rob Liefeld has a bigger presence in comics today than he’s had since Image went big. The thing is, there’s a bit of a disconnect between what people say about Liefeld, and the character that Liefeld projects. I’ve rarely met anyone who projects the same kind of enthusiasm about the medium as Liefeld does. He doesn’t seem to let any of the people get him down, and no one would blame him if he did. He’s definitely got fans though, and whatever their reasons, they love him and his work.

 

1. Alan Moore

Let me put it this way. Alan Moore is the best comic book writer the industry has ever seen. I truly believe that. He knows what the medium is capable of, and has stretched that to it’s limit, even within the confines of mainstream superhero comics. Watchmen is considered to be among the best novels written in the last century, and comic book fans don’t even necessarily consider it his best work. The guy has chops. No one can deny it. But somewhere along the line, his obstinate and hardline stance with comic book publishers, and his outspoken declarations, along with the whole wizard thing, have lead to people speculating that he’s the bad guy. A lot of younger readers, people who have come along in the last decade or so have expressed that terrible term “overrated” followed by that easy put-down that he’s “crazy.” The quotes often attributed to him, and his frequent re-use of characters created by others leave little doubt in the minds of his detractors. Yet anyone who was around before Moore knows that his contributions are as important as anyone’s in giving us the comics industry we have today. For good or bad.

Comments

  1. Usually, at least for the sake of argument, I’d object or bring up some other creator or character. This list is pretty much spot on.

  2. Great article. I’m not quite sure about Moore being here though. With the rest it’s about how people react to their work, with him his work isn’t in question, it’s about how people react to him as a human being. Just seems like a different thing.

    • I don’t know, I’ve noticed a lot of people criticizing his work as being the ravings of a sadist or pedophile lately, as well as people who just say “I read Watchmen and it’s overrated as hell.” By people, I of course mean idiots.

    • How many people actually read his current work? I would say he’s one of the most overlooked current creators. I’m not even sure what he’s working on, or worked on last.

    • cubsmodano:

      dude, he’s crazy. just like miller.
      both were great writers, but just are flat out insane.

    • He recently did Neomonicon, which is a Lovecraftian (oh, not the right place for that) tale.

      I nearly bought it recently but several people have said it contains sex scenes which you’ll have nightmares about until you die…so I didn’t. It IS supposed to be good though.

    • That sex scene is a rape scene .. of a main character by a creature that resembles Abe Sapien (from hellboy).. except Abe doesnt have a penis the size of large human baby (and doesnt rape). The comic is pretty fuckin scarey. That was a moment where you could feel the characters terror.. or at least my terror. I crapped my pants. Luckily i have lots of extra pants.

    • Anyone who thinks Alan Moore is overrated doesn’t deserve to call themselves a comic collector. His body of work is outstanding, and it’s absolutely shameful how he has been treated by the companies he worked for, just like so many other great creators. Of course he’s a little bitter, but anyone who’s seen him speak can tell he’s a sane, rational, even-tempered dude. He’s definitely odd as hell, and I think calling him a pariah is apt, but he definitely doesn’t deserve that stigma. As for the rape scene, you feel that terror because Moore was trying to show you just how horrible rape actually is. You’re not supposed to like it.

  3. I would add Dave Sim to this list, instead of Jeph Loeb, but the rest are spot on. Wait….hold on a sec. Frank Miller would be my top choice as comic book pariah, just because of what he did and said in 2011. At least Moore gave us LOEG 1969 and Neonomicon, and even spoke up for the Occupy protestors. Frank gave us nothing but vitriol

    • Seconded on Dave Sim. As far as pariahs go, he probably outranks all of these people.

    • “Modern”.

      I recognize this is a relative term.

    • duly noted about the relativity of the word modern.

      for anyone who is interested in dave sim at **peak** raving lunatic — and my understanding is that he’s calmed a bit since — there’s this av club interview, which is still classic to me almost ten years on:

      http://www.avclub.com/articles/dave-sim,13861/

      this interview, remember, is conducted by fax. BY. FAX.

    • Point taken. “Modern” is relative, though if Alan Moore counts as modern, I would argue the same for Sim. They’re virtually the same age (Sim is three years younger, actually), their careers and initial waves of popularity began around the same time and they’re both still making books today (though Moore’s been a lot more prolific than Sim lately).

    • @Mark Wow. I knew that Sim had rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but I never knew why. After reading that interview, I know EXACTLY why.

    • yep. i come back to it every few years and find something new every time. on this re-read i was impressed by how he kind of holds it together for a few questions and then suddenly goes all paranoid unabomber, almost out of nowhere and unprovoked. i get the sense that years of pushing himself almost continuously coupled with that much living in his own head helped make him a little — uh — out there for a while.

  4. If this were a Top 6 list, you’d need Bendis in there (Undeservedly so), but pretty much, yeah. Spot on.

  5. I was really into Liefeld when he first hit big in the late ’80s/early ’90s. After taking some time off from reading comics I was a little surprised he was still making them and I found that his work really doesn’t appeal to me anymore, so I don’t generally buy his stuff. That said, the vitriol directed toward him was pretty astounding, people seem to take his success personally for some reason. I’m also glad you mentioned his enthusiasm, you can say a lot of things about Rob Liefeld, but you can’t say that he doesn’t love comics.

    Some people have read some of Alan Moore’s work and think he is overrated. I disagree with that assessment, but respect it. However, when an artist is referred to as “overrated” there are often people out there who will parrot that assessment without really looking into it. I sincerely hope this isn’t the case with Moore. If you haven’t read much of his work you should definitely check it out before forming an opinion based on his interactions with comic companies and the media. I agree that he is the best comic book writer ever and I don’t make that statement lightly.

  6. http://spikevalentined.tumblr.com/ there I deal with the moronic accusation that has been thrown around lately about Moore’s usage of other people’s characters. And, “overrated???” physics have Einstein, movies have Hitchcock, comic books have Alan Moore.

  7. Chuck Austen is apparently such a comic book pariah that he can’t even make the pariah list.

  8. Kinda surprised John Byrne didn’t make this list. He has been kinda quiet lately, but there was a time when he was a regular target of vitriolic rants.

  9. Moore is a great writer, but I will take issue with the idea that only new comic fans think he is overrated. I have been reading for twenty years and I still think he is overrated. Well, let me qualify that, he is overrated in some places and underrated in others. His best work was with Swamp Thing and almost no one, including most comic fans, have no idea about it. He is famous for Watchmen, which is great, and V for Vendetta. V is just a mashed up bunch of gibberish. But it is a way for a bunch of white kids to put on Guy Fawkes masks and radical chic it up with their parents credit cards.

    Moore’s problem is that he made himself hard to work with. No one likes that. The guy is a genius, but he is also a giant douche.

    As to Frank Miller, he missed with Holy Terror. It happens. Some things work and some do not. Moore’s bibliogrpahy is full of comics that did not work. Still, I doubt that any writer who has ever written a Batman books understands Bruce Wayne as well as Miller. His problems stem from his comments on the OWS movement. Frankly, I agreed with him so I cannot hold that against him.

    • Much as I love Miller’s early stuff, I have to argue that his work has been sliding for a while. “Hell And Back”, the last of the Sin City stories is arguably the weakest story wise, followed by Dark Knight Strikes Again, and All Star Batman. Frankly the old man yelling at clouds / anti Occupy screed is less disappointing than a great creator going out with an artistic whimper like he has.

    • amen @bulgarian.
      Moore’s problem is that he made himself hard to work with. No one likes that. The guy is a genius, but he is also a giant douche.

    • His run on Swamp Thing is my my favorite all-time creative run.

  10. I would think JMS, with his infamous runs on ASM, Thor, The Twelve, Superman and Wonder Woman that all started with much fanfare and ended in complete burnouts, would probably make a top ten list. The guy can write. All you have to do is look at his run on Brave and the Bold to see this. But, he seems to have trouble completing what he starts.

    • Babylon 5 season 5 was complete crap, but the first 4 seasons were the best Sci-Fi ever until Battlestar Galactica came out.

      I hated the ASM run but I thought Thor was awesome and ended well. Just me?

      Never read the Twelve, and Superman and Wonder Woman are on my to-read list… finally up to 2011 in DC!!

    • If only for Superman… To take a character that had not been in any of his own books for more than a year and then have him walking around, talking about how bad everything is… and then pass it off to someone else… was intolerable. His issue with the drug dealers, where Superman tells them “not in this town,” insinuating that it was ok in the next town over, was obviously written when he had already checked out.

      I loved his Marvel stuff, and he got screwed there by editorial mandates wanting his characters that he made more popular (or steady, at least, in the case of Spidey). He has a right to have a beef there, but who doesn’t at some point? I think he is a crankier version of Peter David sometimes. PAD seems to get screwed, too, but he accepts it and moves on. JMS wants to point it out and say that his plan was better… and then back off when he gets called out (*cough, cough* Mark Waid’s EPIC smack!)…

    • Theres a very good reason Babylon 5 season 5 is’nt so good, They cancelled the series in season 4 meaning he wanted to tie up plot threads then they back tracked so it’s tack on the end and does’nt flow like the other 4 seasons.

  11. I still get a little sad about the Loeb hate. He’s written some of my favorite comics, from the “color” books at Marvel and Supes for all Seasons at DC, to really fun runs on Superman, Hulk and Batman/Superman. To be fair, of course, there is Ultimatum to consider, but most folks just bash him outright at his very mention. That bums me out.

    • love loeb.
      kinda get all the hate, but still.

    • Superman For All Seasons was fantastic. However, my favorite stories are the Batman Long Holloween and the sequel (forget the name). Those are so good. I have the Catwoman one but haven’t read that yet.

    • Loeb, to me, is a lot like many high profile creators. He has done GREAT work. “For All Seasons” is my favorite Superman story EVER. And I still swear that Long Halloween is a great- and important- Batman work. But, he has his clunkers. He seems to always be on one end of the extreme, and never in the middle.

      But, again, a lot of other creators have the same thing happening. Fraction? Some say his stuff is the best out there, but he wrote Fear Itself, too. BMB seems all over the map, too.

      So, I don’t think he is much different than a lot of the big name creators out there. I think, though, in Loeb’s case, that his hits were too “mainstream” to be beloved by the Hip, Chic, Cool Crowd, and therefore his defenders are not as staunch and vocal. I’ll defend him, though.

      On top of it all, I have met him a number of times at conventions and at my local shop and he is the nicest guy ever. And he KNOWS COMICS. He is incredibly smart not only in creating properties, but understanding the business of it all, too.

  12. this is a really solid list. I don’t know who you’d move up or down. I’d def throw JMS and Mark Millar somewhere in the 6-10 range. Also Grand Morrison….it seems that for everyone who loves his work there are just as many who can’t deal with his slow burns and get confused.

    The “overrated” label is tough. You see it A LOT in sports when talking about older legends i.e. Michael Jordan or Joe Montana etc. Things get judged too harshly against right now, and people often disregard context or era’s. That whole “prisoner of the moment” mentality….stuff thats buzzable right now tends to become the greatest thing ever made. Also, there is a natural tendency for some to naturally take a giant dump on whatever is popular…just to be a contrarian.

    • Anyone who would say Jordan was overrated knows nothing about the sport. Same for Moore.

    • Jordan gets nocked down for basically not playing right now and not being on Sportscenter ever night. It really speaks to what i was saying about people getting trapped in the right now. Also there was no 24/7 news cycle back then. Same for comics….Moore has never had a POTW so he must be “overrated” right? =)

      I wonder how much of the current internet comics community culture and buzz-able-ness affects how we view creators?

    • so anyone who thinks moore is overrated knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about comics, josh?

      really? i guess i don’t know anything about comics having bought them for over a decade and a half AND picking up trades.

    • Maybe you know about crappy comics… πŸ˜‰

    • i’ve read watchmen, v for vendetta, swamp thing, whatever happened to the man of tomorrow, & killing joke, and i stand by my statement.

    • You must have read them wrong. I so so so love Watchmen and Whatever Happened. Comics at their best.

    • yeah bro, read ’em upside down.

    • Whether or writing is good or bad is often subjective. Hemingway’s style was completely different from Dickens but both are considered masters.

      I don’t know what that has to do with anything though; my point is thehangman is wrong.

    • @thehangman – Remember: You’re only entitled to your opinion if you don’t conflict egregiously with Josh’s.

      Moore was revelatory to 16 year old me. Now, there are other creators I enjoy much, much more. And Sim is, to me, a much more impressive talent then Moore.

    • @OttoBott: In case you haven’t noticed, tons of people around here disagree with Josh (and the rest of us).

    • Grant Morrison is fantastic and I always look forward to his runs on main stream comic book characters. That said, he has his share of misses. I couldn’t stand the Return of Bruce Wayne stuff and I was really looking forward to that. I’m an attorney and life-long comic reader so I consider myself fairly intelligent, but I have absolutely no idea what happened in Final Crisis. Completely lost.

      Still his hits are more common for me. His X-men run was great, and it lead directly to my all-time favorite X-men run by Joss Weddon.

    • I was born in England and lived in Chicago for most of my life (through the whole Jordan era). So maybe im bias about Moore and Jordan. However i dont think those two names belong in the same sentences. Moore is no Michael Jordan. Im a Pippen fan.. and I still say that Moore is not the comics equivalent of Jordan. And ya ya.. blah blah.. ive read most of Moores stuff. Which is entirely too easy cause he hasnt written that much stuff. Moore may have changed comics but Michael Jordan completely transformed basketball.. and made people recognize basketball world wide. Everyone wanted to be like Mike!.. I know basketball and I know comics.

  13. I would put Bendis on my list. I still enjoy his work on Ultimate Spider-man, but find his Avengers work completely unreadable. It’s trite, slow and repetitive. I can’t wait till he leaves the Avengers.

    • i love his work on ultimate spiderman, but avengers is all kinds of bad.

      do you know if he’s leaving avengers completely, or just the main book(s)?

  14. The Frank Miller thing makes me really sad. Do you think he can come back? I have not read HOLY TERROR, but I’m curious if it is as dismissive of the Islamic faith as I’ve heard. His blog post was dumb and silly, but that type of lapse of judgement can be forgiven over time…at least, I think.

    • I don’t know, this IS the comics industry we’re talking about. We bag, board, and hoard. That goes for emotions as well as the comics themselves.

    • i dunno….he went overboard with is extreme views and really took a crap on a lot of the goodwill his personal brand has earned over time with his stellar body of work. The ideas of “support the industry” and “vote with your wallet” works both ways. I don’t think i’d be exaggerating when i say that there is a rather large group of comics fans who have no desire to support him or his projects anymore.

    • @doyleclark I’m still laughing about bagged and boarded emotions. Well played sir.

      @wallythegreenmonster I totally get not supporting the work of someone when their work just isn’t good or is overtly charged in any one direction. And we absolutely have the right to abstain from giving our coffers to the folks who tick us off. For example, I don’t see the films of Victor Salva (JEEPERS CREEPERS) because of his disgusting criminal convictions. But if someone just says something that is diametrically opposed to what I believe, I will still try to give their art the benefit of the doubt. For the most part, I try not to hear people’s political opinions. I want their art/writing to speak for itself, which is why I’ll definitely be reading HOLY TERROR. It’s a lot more interesting to me that way.

  15. Wow. Really can’t argue with this list. Also, guilty as charged. I don’t think Heroes did Jeph Loeb any favors other than fattening his bank account. Greg Land can’t keep a character looking the same between panels, much less pages. Liefeld might seem like a great dude in interviews and all, but I’ve read first hand accounts of how he can be a lying, manipulative nutterbutter. Friend of a friend who worked directly with Liefeld, for what it’s worth. Not going to air the dirty laundry, but it was utterly bizarre.

    As for Miller, I agree that it seems he has gone off the rails, but maybe β€œa bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.” was less vitriol, and more hitting a bit too close to home for some people. Truth hurts sometimes. If you called me a fat, balding wastrel that pissed away every opportunity he ever had, it would sting, but it wouldn’t be wrong.

    Moore has gone off the rails too, but in an entirely different way. I think he can be an ass sometimes. A hilarious ass, but still an ass. I guess writing some of the best damned comics ever earns you that right though.

    • “Moore has gone off the rails too, but in an entirely different way. I think he can be an ass sometimes. A hilarious ass, but still an ass. I guess writing some of the best damned comics ever earns you that right though.”

      No, it doesn’t. It obviously didn’t earn Frank Miller the right. I think it’s just that he says things comic fans (or a large number of comic fans) agree with and is mean to the right people.

    • Right. Miller’s sin right now is that Holy Terror seemed incredibly dated by the time it saw print, and most comic fans knew the book was not what it set out to be. I’m glad he got it out of his system. I’d be shocked if we didn’t get some great Miller books in the future. His All-Star Batman & Robin w/ Jim Lee might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it was great…well, good anyway.

      Moore just seems pathetically bitter and sad.

      Great list, and I agree with those who say Byrne should be on the list. To me, evidence of his pariah status was that I thought Next Men was a damn fine book and the pull numbers on it were dreadful. But, perhaps similar to Miller, he’s put out too many books that were pretty bad and dated story-wise (I find his golden age/sliver age squeaky clean tributes unstomachable, while his Star Trek books have seemed like a labor of love, with the emphasis on labor) and sadly has taught readers to stay away. I hope Byrne finds a way to reconnect with the comics fans and market. Sadly, like Moore, he seems to believe there is a conspiracy.

    • Moore hasn’t produced borderline bigoted work (That I have seen anyway). He’s just an utter dick to publishers he’s worked with before, and wacky with the whole magician thing. He’s a grumpy old codger, while Miller is a crazy man in the woods with lots of guns. They’re two different animals. Moore could stand to get off his high horse, but hey, he also didn’t do Spawn/Batman.

    • @Firevine Or Batman Strikes Again or All Star Batman.

    • I think Urthona hit it with the idea that Moore is “bitter.” I think that turns a lot of fans off. Like, “how dare he hate on the industry that made him???!!??” We get defensive about our hobby/love/obsession, and when one of our OWN seems to hate it all now, it can really make us turn on that person.

  16. I’ll weigh in with my opinion of the Moore controversies. If he was as humble as he is brilliant, there would be a unanimous positive opinion of him. I do agree with his comments of the “Before Watchmen” project. Nobody ever asked DaVinci for a sequel to the Mona Lisa. I am reluctantly excited for Before Watchmen though. If the idea won over Darwyn Cooke, it can’t be all bad.

  17. Interesting list, interesting commentary, and interesting discussion. Damn I love this website.

  18. Yeah, I could easily think of more (Grant Morrison, anybody?), but this is a good top 5. I don’t have much more to add except on Rob Liefeld. His art isn’t extremely bad, it’s just that he doesn’t seem to understand proportions. If he was ever able to figure that out, I think he’d be great.

    • While I am not a fan of Rob Liefeld. He does chose his marks as more of a designer to illustrate,but it’s the fact that it’s buffed out heros and heroines which we can immediately make a comparison to realistic humans is what, I think, has made him a target.
      Also the fact that I can’t remember seeng him ever draw any enviornments to support his characters and the story.

  19. I really don’t think Grant Morrison is a pariah. He’s controversial at times, but is widely held to be a genius, and while he’s not for some people, I don’t get that there are a lot of people who outright hate the guy or his work. That can’t be said for any of the 5 above.

  20. I don’t have a problem with Greg Land. Why does he get so much contempt thrown his way? He has a skill many could never learn and be proficient at. Haters gonna hate. Especially Ron.

    • I really don’t have any major problems with him; he can draw some pretty pictures. It’s just that from what I’ve seen, it appears he can only draw one female face and just puts varying hair colors on them. And maybe about three different male faces. I don’t know, maybe he CAN draw more, but just chooses not to (which might be worse actually…)

    • You’re gonna laugh, but when I see him modeling Sue Richards from a porn star, I just hate the guy. Period. I think it’s degrading.

      FWIW, Greg Land is joked about far beyond comic book circles, webpages devoted to his photo-referencing are hooted over by internet surfers the world over.

    • yeah. porn really doesn’t have a place in comics. sorry aquapimp.

    • His storytelling is appalling. His faces NEVER match with what is going on around them.

      I couldn’t give a fuck how he works or what his process is, you end up with a bunch of individually pretty panels which in sequence do not tell a story, that’s why he gets contempt. Too many better artists starving.

    • @aquapimp: who need to learn a skill when you can just trace bikini models?

    • I have only seen Greg’s work in “Uncanny X.men” and I have to say that I really do like it. I don’t know anything about photo-refrencing, so can’t talk on that point. I do agree with LucasEwalt, his woman faces are vary similar to each other but all-in-all I enjoy it and his work is one of the reasons I like ‘Uncanny’ as much as do.

  21. I’ve never put too much thought into who I can’t stand in comic writing/art, but you’re right. I refuse to buy products when 3 of the 5 are involved. I can’t stand anything they are currently/recently involved in.

  22. I generally like all of these creators – though I’m not as familiar with Greg Land as the others. Personally, my vitriol comes out whenever Matt Fraction is discussed.

  23. I think this list is spot on. I have liked and disliked work by all the creators listed here. I am a little surprised not to see Bendis, JMS, or Mark Millar on this list. Then again, I’m not sure who I’d take off to make room for them either.

    • love bendis, jms, & millar.

      i definately think morrison should be up there.
      jerk writes final drafts WHILE STONED.

      WHILE STONED.

      WHILE FUCKING STONED.

      i kinda get his fanbase, but fuck if i dont groan everytime i see his name on an ongoing i already buy.

    • @thehangman: You think he’s the only one? He’s so definitely not.

    • @thehangman Did someone say my name?

      I’m honestly surprised to see vehemence over marijuana. Like video games, comic books are best served with weed.

      Though in Morrison’s case, while I’m sure he writes stoned, I don’t read into anything stoner’ish about his comics. I definitely see trippy, but that’s a related yet different thing. Maybe I’m too stoned to tell though.

    • conor:

      it’s a lack of respect. it’s like showing up to church drunk. (yes, i see comics that important)
      no real job should allow narcotic or alcoholic influence in the final product.
      and i take the job of writing comics serious as death.

    • @thehangman: I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a creative medium being done by creative people. Just as with any creative medium anywhere and at any time, you’re going to have some people who fuel their art with… substances. It has always happened and it will always happen. It has nothing to do with respect or lack thereof. You’d be surprised about how many comics you read that have been made that way: some are obvious, most are not.

    • Just on the last word balloon with Marty Pasko he mentions how many of the editors would partake in drugs back in day. Morrison himself covers some of the historical drug use by creators in his book.

      I have trouble understanding your opposition to it but I suppose I get where you are coming from. That said, the reality Connor mentions may disturb you even more.

    • In the words of Bill Hicks:

      “You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. ‘Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years……………..rrreal fucking high on drugs.”

    • And that’s not a statement that ALL creative types should do drugs to make their works better. Some people, like Frank Zappa or Rod Sterling, didn’t need drugs. For others, though, it’s part of the creators in some kind of respect. I respect both.

    • @thehangman

      Should the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix be called pariahs for their extensive drug use while composing? Purple Haze and Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds are both excellent songs.

  24. Anyone who claims Moore is overrated simply doesn’t understand the comics storytelling art form. This weekend he did a 2 hrs. plus ustream video where he addressed many a question from fans including his take on Grant Morrison. Very entertaining. On the other hand, Liefeld is overrated as an artist and writer(?). Miller has truly become a tragic figure.

    • you too tree?
      defending that angry old bastard who rubs EVERYFUCKINGBODY the wrong way with his attitude, with the exception of his worshippers, who in their eyes, he can do no wrong.

      anyone who has a problem with miller but not one with moore is a hypocrite.
      hate one for being a jerk, but letting the other keep being a jerk because he wrote watchmen.

    • Politics aside, I’d say Moore has had a better run with his stories than Miller. I have no hesitation in stating I enjoyed LoEG Century 1910 more than DK2. If that makes me a hypocrite then I’ll gladly smile to you’re face and talk $#*! behind your back.

  25. This is a really interesting article, and I totally agree with Josh’s top 5. Of course there are *so many* polarizing figures in comic books (almost any hugely successful creator can be tossed into this ring). But boiling it down, this list is pretty solid. I have loved and hated and loved again and hated again almost every person named in the list, Liefeld being the only real exception, as I personally have never truly loved or hated anything he’s done.

  26. Moore is an icon. He can say whatever he wants. The Big 2 probably groan every time he slams them, but they salivate when he is interested in writing something for them.

    Loeb is ok. It may seem weird sometimes, but at least he keep s us guessing. It’s a little off topic, but the seasons where he was a writer/producer on Smallville were the best of the series.

    Liefeld……..My beef with him is that he makes every character look like Cable and he can’t seem to write any story with momentum. It takes so long for him to say anything interesting, I’ve dropped the book by that time. Also, he must live in the valley and just assume that every woman in the world has monstrous boobs and walks around dressed like a pornstar. Last beef, he comes on books and seems to destroy what you’ve recently loved about them.

  27. Also, Ian Churchill must be Liefeld’s roommate.

  28. Shocked that Judd Winick didn’t make the list given some of the fire he’s taken over the years.

    But the rest is pretty darn solid. Loeb in particular has produced some truly amazing work (usually with Tim Sale) and truly horrible work, (Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum). No one is perfect, it seems.

  29. I don’t think Moore deserves the flack. He’s not standing in front of DC’s offices handing out flyers against them. The reason he keeps saying the same thing over and over is because interviewers keep asking him the same question. And “Before Watchmen” has proven him right: DC really are just content to pick over the bones of his old ideas instead of coming up with new ones.

  30. I think, as with all things, you have to separate a writer/artist, personally, from his work. I mean, I think Moore and Miller are two very brilliant and talented people. Changed the medium, no doubt. I would not want to grab a drink or hang out with either of these two people. But I’ll still read their work, and if it’s solid, I’ll be the first one to sing their praises. It’s the Orson Scott Card Scenario.

    Meanwhile, there are people like Rob Liefeld or Matt Fraction (recently), whose work I have not particularly enjoyed. But they seem like great guys – they come off as really affable. I’m not going to buy their next comic, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad people.

    Of course, there’s the occasional JMS, who I’m not a fan of, who also seems to be a bit of a jerk (at least, from what I’ve read). But the two things are not related. His being a (possible) jerk isn’t what stops me from buying his books.

    You’d think these kinds of things would be no-brainers, but eh.

    • Personally, I would love to grab a drink with either Moore or Miller. I’m betting the conversation would be endlessly fascinating.

    • @Conor: Same.

      Miller intimidates me a bit. I’ll be honest.

    • conor – i’ll third that and request that tom waits and david byrne be added.

      alan moore, tom waits, and david byrne. that’d be some conversation.

    • There’s a really cool story in a COMICS JOURNAL from like ten years ago about Miller spending a night at San Diego bonding with Los Bros Hernandez and how the experience rocked his world.

      Funny concept for an article, Josh.

  31. I wonder, was Ron Marz a contender for this list?

    • No.

    • I guess I meant to ask, ‘who else was in contention?’, but was foolishly single-minded. Thanks.

    • Not really anyone. I limited it to more modern creators who’ve done something significant since, say, the 90’s, and people who really generate a visceral reaction from a large amount of readers. A lot of the names mentioned above are just popular creators with an expected level of plain old backlash.

  32. Alan Moore is crazy. Alan Moore is a genius. These aren’t either/or proposals. If you want to see the amazing things this medium is capable of read Promethea…

  33. More so than any other site I read, the writers of this site actually take the time to engage the commenters in the thread. That, to me, crystallizes the real sense of community on this site. I love it.

  34. I would say that Ellis, Ennis, Morrison and Millar have their detractors as well.

    Of late more people seem to have issues with both Bendis and Fraction, as well.

    “Pariah” may be too strong a word to describe the above folks. Mostly because they still have vocal supporters and/or haven’t acted out in some way that added fuel to the fire for those who dislike them or their work.

    For the guys listed though, it seems more personal.

    Loeb: I wasn’t really aware of the Loeb hate until I came back to the mainstream a couple years ago. It didn’t make sense to me because I hadn’t read enough of his stuff to dislike it. When I read the Hulk stuff he did with McGuiness a couple years back, I understood that people could definitely call him “old school” or say he “writes for television”. My own word for it is slogan-tastic. When I read the Point One piece he did, I loved Terrax’s dialogue and hated Nova’s. Weird.

    Land: I haven’t really bought enough books drawn by Greg Land to care. It was something I became aware after it had already reached mythic proportions. Shrug.

    Miller: I loved him. I have so much Frank Miller on my shelves. One of my 80s favorites. I watched Sin City with my wife. She couldn’t stop laughing. I can’t stand to listen to him talk anymore. Giant Larry King novelty ladies glasses are sure to follow.

    Liefeld: I bought a lot of comics by this guy, but I usually bailed on his Image stuff in the low whole numbers. X-Force looked groundbreaking then, but aged terribly. I still have the DVD of him showing how to draw around here somewhere. It’s pretty much all neato marker tricks. If he was a little more self-aware I wouldn’t mind him so much, but again, I avoid him and his work now, because he sums up everything about the 90s that I now hate quite nicely.

    Moore: Never offended me. Some of his work is less successful than other bits, and he likes the way-over-the-top schtick, but I never had much of a problem with anything he did or said.

    I also managed to escape some of the particular works by certain writers that really piss people off (Loeb’s Ultimatum or Moore’s anal rape scene of their favorite sidekick), as well as the entire output of one of those guys, and the post-1996 output of another.

    Only the new status of Frank Miller really affected me. Although, truth to tell, it had been a long time coming, and I’d seen a little too much of him in his writing to really like him as a human being or share his worldview.

  35. The venom spewed at Liefeld is kind of upsetting to me, because as was pointed out, the dude flat out loves comics. He’s not my favorite artist, but he seems like a nice guy and doesn’t deserve the spiteful, hate filled attacks he suffers on a daily basis. if you don’t like his artwork, that’s cool. But there’s no reason to wage personal vendettas against the guy. Just don’t buy his books.

    • yeah i agree with you…i really don’t get the level of hate. To my knowledge he has never Michael Vick’ed a bunch of animals or anything…just an art style thats a touch dated. Not a biggie.

      I listened to his interview on word balloon…damn that guy is so excited about comics. I’s rare to hear another creator that enthusiastic. I dunno, his work isn’t for everyone…not really even for me, but if it was a character or team that liked, i might give it a look. I might check out his Deathstroke (is that it?) thats coming up soon.

    • Plus, it’s really unoriginal and boring seeing people post that 15 year old Cap pic he drew every time his name is mentioned.

    • I kinda like Liefeld. He’s not my favourite artist by any stretch but I usually enjoy reading a comic he’s drawn. Everyone goes on about the poor anatomy of his characters but I’ve seen similar mistakes from plenty of other artists. At the end of the day it’s a comic not a Biology textbook.

      Also I defy anyone to spew hate at Liefeld after you’ve read his Intro to ‘Onslaught Reborn’. It’s a very moving tribute to Sam Loeb, got me right choked up.

  36. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Michael Richards.

  37. david duke.

  38. Joshua Q. Flanagan. Master of eliciting a reaction.

    Well done, sir. Yet again.

    And regarding the list. I think all of the members are talented. And while they may have reasons for getting hated on, are worthy of their accomplishments in the industry.

    That is except for Greg Land. He’s terrible.

    • josh is our glen beck/keith olberman/rick santorum/rush limbaugh triple threat.

      it’s just going to devolve into a series of him posting pictures of babies that read “this fucker’s ugly.”

  39. I did a little research on Greg Land after reading this as I didn’t really know anything about him other than thinking Uncanny X-Men was kind of… strange… lately. And I have to say, I think he’s warped some sort of spatial/facial recognition part of my brain. All of his female characters look like they have exactly the same face to me, and yet, the very same character doesn’t look like it has the same face from panel to panel. How is that possible?

  40. I know that others have said the same, but I’d love to spend 10 minutes with any of those guys. I own comics by all of them so I’d have plenty to engage them over, even if I don’t plan to buy any more books by some of them. πŸ˜‰

  41. A line that pops in my head frequently when Rob Liefeld comes to mind is:

    “Why won’t you die!?”

    This is a guy who’s career, like so many others in the Extreme 90s era, should have died the moment the industry changed for the better. But give credit to where credit is due, he has somehow got enough of a fanbase and holding in the industry to not completely go away. I am amazed at this sudden resurgence for the man because his work is so terrible now a days. If this was 1994 then ‘Hawk and Dove’ would be critically acclaimed and ‘The Infinite’ would still going strong.

    But when I see that horrendous cover for the recent Hawk and Dove cover I realize my hatred for him is justified. Easily one of the laziest cover designs and drawings I’ll ever see.

  42. I might be the only person that falls “in the middle” with my opinion of Loeb. Maybe I’ve missed something, but why all the hate? His stuff usually falls a little flat with me, and the characterizations seem kind of off sometimes, but he doesn’t offend me.

  43. I think there is truth behind some of these younger readers not getting in the Alan Moore camp. Myself only being 22, I can speak “in the know,” if you will. In my opinion Watchmen isn’t over-rated, it’s undeniably a great piece of literature. I’ve even studied it in a few English courses I’ve taken in the course of my Major, along with Titles such as Maus, American Born Chinese, and 100 Bullets. What I think Watchmen is, is outdated. To some, this comes across as the paranoid ravings of an embittered old man, but taken as a period piece it’s really excellent, much like V for Vendetta. However it has lost a lot of its “oomph” over the years. That said it’s still one of the top selling books in the LCS I work at. Passing by all of that, Neonomicon, in my opinion, was a poor attempt at the Lovecraftian Style, and a book I had absolutely no interest in reading by halfway through. Best comic author of all time? My pick goes to Neil Gaiman. Up and comers? Scott Snyder and Robert Kirkman.

  44. If we’re talking polarizing, surely JMS should be here. And if we’re talking bat-shit crazy, where’s Neal Adams?

    • Neither of those–polarizing or bat-shit crazy–is the definition of “pariah”.

    • True, but a pariah may elicit either or both reactions, as some of those on Josh’s list have done. And I would argue that JMS must at least be in contention for a list of this type. But that’s just me πŸ˜‰

  45. Alan Moore is a decent human being. He’s human.

  46. And having a toke need be no different than drinking a glass of wine.

  47. Are some posters saying they are not going to read work by creators 1) with whom they politically disagree or 2) who are known jerks/ crazies/ curmudgeons?

    If you don’t like the work, fine.

    But, if you apply the above standard consistently, you will be reading very few comics, listening to very few rock bands, and watching very few TV shows/ movies.

    If you apply the above standard inconsistently, then you are being intellectually dishonest and maybe a big baby.

    • Well, considering that a number of creators have work denied to them for their views/stances, I think it happens with fans, too. It sucks, and it needs to stop, I agree, but I am not surprised it happens. With editors/creators or fans,

  48. I’m surprised James Robinson didn’t make the cut. His Starman run was exceptional, but sinice he did some terrible stuff..

  49. Daniel Way.

  50. Okay, read *most* of the comments. I guess whenever people start ranking and comparing and making these sorts of assessments (be it in comics, sports, or music), I kinda want to understand the criteria first. How can someone be “overrated” without anyone mentioning which criterion is being rated?

    Is it comic sales qua actual sales numbers? Is it some subjective aesthetic ideal? Is it value of salary? Is it who has more followers? It seems many would suggest that the fact that the person in question was a catalyst for change makes them great. However, how is change measured – and is all change good?

    If we’re going to use the term pariah, it should be understood that these examples are outcasts… and, clearly, Moore is “outcast.” (Self-inflicted outcast, maybe.) By the same token, I am not sure Loeb qualifies.

  51. John Byrne is another who I’ve read many an article on his being difficult to work with and is out-spoken, but he still maintains a large fanbase, myself included. Your list is pretty dead on target, tho.