One of my favorite comic blogs is currently asking for the top 10 Spider-Man artists and writers, so I thought I’d share my votes with you all—and explain them.
You can vote for yourselves here.
TOP 10 SPIDER-MAN WRITERS
Runner ups: David Michelinie and Chris Claremont (for his work with John Byrne on Marvel Team Up).
10. J. M. DeMatteis. He’s here for “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” He’s not here for his work on the Clone Saga.
9. Zeb Wells. As part of the “One More Day” team, Zeb wrote some of the most interesting recent Amazing Spider-Man arcs (including the remarkable “Shed” story featuring Lizard), and went on to Avenging Spider-Man, a much underappreciated title.
8. Bill Mantlo. Not only did he create Cloak and Dagger, but he wrote some great White Tiger stories as well. People forget that Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man was actually a very good book—and quite different in tone than Amazing Spider-Man.
7. Gerry Conway. Creator of Hammerhead and killer of Gwen Stacy. And the guy who tried to get Aunt May to marry Otto Octavius.
6. Stan Lee. Although his run with Steve Ditko (see #1, below) was his best, post-Ditko Stan Lee created in many ways more mature storylines, including the death of Captain Stacey and the introduction of crimelord The Kingpin, among other things. Stan Lee’s imagination seems to know no boundaries.
5. Brian Michael Bendis. He did the impossible: Altered Stan Lee’s blueprint and made it work as a separate, self-standing work of art.
4. Peter David. I forgive him for making Ned Leeds the Hobgoblin because he wrote one of my favorite story arcs ever: The Death of Jean DeWolff.
3. J. Michael Straczynski. Lots of folks find his run controversial: It introduced the Spider-Totem, for one thing, but to me it is just fantastic from start to finish. It really changed the book and freshened it up. Yes, he also did “One More Day,” which was kinda lame, but my understanding is that he did that story under protest.
2. Roger Stern. Stern did lots of great stuff, but if he only did Juggernaut and The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man, he’d still be my #2. But he also created Hobgoblin and wrote some of the best done-in-ones ever for the Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man title.
1. Stan Lee/Steve Ditko. According to the rules, Lee/Ditko “is one writer. Stan Lee with everyone else is another writer. You just can’t fairly separate Lee from Ditko on those first 40 issues.” And those first 40 issues are some of the greatest and most imitated comic books of all time, introducing dozens of iconic characters: Doc Ock! Electro! Aunt May! Mysterio! Green Goblin! Kraven! Chameleon! J Jonah and John Jameson! The Vulture! Sandman! Lizard! Gwen Stacy! The Osborn family! Comics truly don’t get better than these 40.
TOP 10 SPIDER-MAN ARTISTS
10. Chris Bachalo
9. Ron Frenz
8. John Byrne
7. Gil Kane
6. Marcos Martin
5. Todd McFarlane. I kind of think of Todd as more of a designer than a comic book artist, but his work on Amazing Spider-Man is undeniably iconic.
4. Mark Bagley.
3. John Romita, Sr. He took over for Ditko and set the tone for most 1970s-80s Spidey comics. Great, classic stuff.
2. John Romita, Jr. Why? Dude designed the first Hobgoblin.
1. Steve Ditko.