Hm, there's gotta be more female writers on the list other than Gail... I mean, I can think of some great *art* names (Fiona Staples, of course), but writing's a bit harder. Though some of the good female artists do contribute to the writing, like Becky Cloonan.
A good amount, and 'very good'.
I'm currently reading Lazarus, which takes a concept that I thought I wouldn't be grabbed by (in a somewhat post-apoc world, an enhanced female character with a sword fights for her family, as the family engages in internal politics and clashes with other families) and makes me love it. Absolutely love-love it, one of the top books I'm reading right now.
He did Gotham Central, one of the best Gotham books ever. He made Batwoman and did her Elegy miniseries. One of the writers in the original 52. Checkmate. One of the very best runs on Wonder Woman (leaves the Azarello run in the dust). Various other works for DC and Marvel.
And I simply haven't seen a bad book by Rucka, ever. Maybe at some point he did make a bad one, even some writers that get on most people's lists do (Morrison for example), but if so I've not encountered or heard of it.
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Like what others have said, half of those are just not good. And Heroes Reborn was complete shit only surpassed by Onslaught Reborn, which is what Loeb actually did. What Loeb wrote in Heroes Reborn was a forgettable Captain America.
Superman/Batman was fun, but that's not interchangeable with good. There was no actual good writing in most of his books in that series.
Pre Death Son Loeb was good though with spats of shit. Looking back on his entire career and you can see the spats of shit just pouring through. The shitty writing he put out sometimes became the norm. But I would never call him consistent at any stage in his career.
Adam Warren's a pretty consistent one. While maybe not top tier, his quality has been a fairly steady upward curve over the course of his career, and his latest work, Empowered, includes some *really* fantastic emotional gut punches, as well as some of the best relationships in comics.
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waid, morrison, gaiman, synder, azarello, millar are all very good. scott mcdaniel wrote my fave daredevil arc of all time, fall from grace. o'neil has done some great stuff as well. claremont did some great stuff back in the day and someone who was WAYYYYYY advanced for his time was gardner fox (who imo inspired the whole flashpoint, and maybe ALL the crises-related stuff....)
johns for sure would make my top 10. morre wouldn't make my top group. i've always thought he was overrated.
anyone want to take a crack at naming their top 5 and their fave arc by that writer....?
I'd differentiate between consistency and "best at their peak," but for me the list is largely the same. It begins and ends with Ellis and Gaiman. Everyone else is just scrambling for a very distant 3rd. I like other writers, but there's none even approaching those two for me.
Was shocked when a friend called Gaiman a hack, not realizing the dogpiling on him outside of his comic book work. But that's kind of par for the course when a writer's successful in anything outside of serious literature (Like how Yale professor's love to take Rowling and King down a peg, which just makes them look petty imo..)
I read a short story collection by Gaiman called "Fragile Things" and it was excellent. But short stories don't capture most peoples' interest either. I've heard that his novels are more hit-and-miss. As someone who's done some professional writing, and attempted some styles of writing that I'm not normally used to, I can tell you unequivocally that not every writer is made for every genre or literary form. So it's entirely possible he isn't just as consistent in his other work; but I haven't read any of his novels to find out.
He's also done some screenplays for movies (mixed reviews), written cross-genre stories like Stardust (which was fairly well-received, both as a book and a movie), and has written an episode or two for Doctor Who (one quite positive, one quite negative). So he's not always brilliant, but that kind of versatility with ANY measure of success is a form of brilliance in itself.