Two top tens for the price of one this time around, focusing on Marvin Arthur Wolfman, a man who made a huge impact on comic books not only as a creator but also as an editor. He was responsible for making Marvel vampires—and Dracula—cool. He created the best-selling DC comic of the 1980s, which spawned multiple spin-offs and, ultimately, one of the greatest cartoons of all time (Titans Go!). He created dozens of characters who have made millions of dollars for their corporate owners (and one of the top tens here will be of his best creations).
As for his non-writing influence on pop culture, his horror fanzine was one of the first places a young writer named Stephen King ever got published. Alongside Len Wein, he helped steer the ship at Marvel, serving as Editor-in-Chief after Roy Thomas gave up the gig. Corporate leadership wasn’t something he wanted, and he left the job pretty soon after—stating that Marvel didn’t have his back on some of his decisions—but he immediately went over to DC and found even greater success…Until he spoke out in public against DC’s policy for rating its comics, when he was fired.
He was also a crusader for creators’ rights and creative freedom. He stuck up for creators and creative decisions while at Marvel, which eventually led to him being so frustrated that he quit—paving the way for corporate yes man Jim Shooter. He sued Marvel for ownership of Blade (he lost). Here’s a bizarre story: According to Marv, in 1974 he was mentioned as a storyteller in a DC horror comic and referred to as “wandering Wolfman.” The comics code authority didn’t approve of books about wolfmen, so they forced DC to clearly credit Marv as a person—so people would know it was his last name, and not a reference to a monster. From then on, writers got credits in DC comics. (Marvel had already been giving writers credits for years—it was part of what made Marvel different.)
In short, he’s a true legend of the comic book world.
And, he’s from Brooklyn.