Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who Was the Most Influential Comic Book Creator?

Doug: OK, friends -- we've debated our favorite comics creators and what they do/how they do it. But our former colleague Sharon posted a "Happy Birthday" to the King over on our companion blog, Two Girls, A Guy, and Some Comics (as have many of our other blogging friends on their respective sites) and it got me to thinking... who is the most influential comic book creator of all time? Now, you'd have to, in your own mind, define for us what "influential" means to you; what are the parameters you're using? Commercial success? Longevity? Number of characters created? Which specific characters were created? And etc., etc.


Have at it, and have fun!

9 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, "of all time." That's a tall order. In that context, I would say it's the first individual who ever decided to tell a story using the sequential art medium. Because what he or she did was well-liked enough to be emulated by others (hence the influence) – and the rest is history.

joe bloke said...

too many to mention, I think, but I'm gonna take a ( not very well-thought out, but pretty reasonable ) stab at ( for overall contribution AND influence - good or bad - on the comics ) Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Will Eisner and Jerry Iger, William M. Gaines, Gardner Fox, Bill Finger, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Jim Lee.

Eric Goebelbecker said...

Wow. How long is a piece of string? :-)

If you look at comic "archetypes" than Siegel and Schuster and Kane (& Finger) deserve a mention for creating Superman and Batman. How many derivatives of those two characters have their been? I think they may be the longest two in continuous print also, or am I missing someone?

Eisner ends up on so on many other creators lists of who influenced them that he is arguably most influential and could probably be proven so using arithmetic.

Kirby is probably most imitated (if not outright swiped at times) and also deserves some mention in terms of how many of his characters are still in use and still in use in multiple media.

Sean Strange said...

Jack Kirby AINEC, for creating the Marvel universe and important elements of the DCU, establishing the dynamic Marvel style that became the blueprint for all future creators, being an artistic workhorse for nearly 60 years, and elevating comics from kids entertainment to cosmic myth in his lifetime. More than an artist, Jack Kirby was a force of nature!

Edo Bosnar said...

Sorry for the flip response above, but it just goes to show how tough the question is. I'm assuming you're restricting the field to the American comics scene, because I think you'd get a really different set of answers from, say, readers who grew up reading mainly non-superhero comics here in Europe (regardless of the fact that creators like Hal Foster or Eisner did influence quite a few European comics creators).
Anyway, I understand influence to mean that creations, art and/or writing directly inspiring a big chunk of the comics creators who came afterward, thus shaping the way comics look. In this sense, I'd narrow it down to Will Eisner, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (I think their influence is especially apparent on the Bronze Age all of us here seem to love so much).
I would also say Alan Moore, because he really blazed the trail of a new type of storytelling in comics - with negative as well as positive repurcussions.

Doug said...

Consider these nominees -- Julius Schwartz and Stan Lee. Both editors, one could certainly argue that anything being published in the last 50 years has hit the stands because of the oversight of these two men of the written word and the four-color picture.

It was Schwartz who built DC's multi-verse and it was Lee who created the Marvel Age of Comics, lending voice to the pictures of Kirby, Ditko, Heck, et al.

While I wouldn't dispute many of the foundational references made earlier, I'd have to say that the men above have impacted "modern" comics history as much as any creator.

Doug

joe bloke said...

Doug, you're right. Julius Schwartz. it's easy to forget about the guys "behind the scene." moving along those lines, what about James Warren?

also, what about Robert Crumb and the Zap!Comix group? and then, following on from Edo's comments, there's Jean Giraud, Philippe Druillet, Jean-Pierre Dionnet, & Bernard Farkas, who gave us Metal Hurlant, of course.

Andrew Wahl said...

I'm sure I'll forget someone and feel great shame as soon as I hit "Publish Your Comment," but here it goes:

All-time:
1. Will Eisner
2. Jack Kirby
3. Stan Lee
4. Harvey Kurtzman
5. (tie) Neal Adams
5. (tie) Alan Moore

Bronze Age
1. Neal Adams
2. (tie) John Byrne
2. (tie) Frank Miller
4. Chris Claremont
5. Jim Shooter
Honorable mention: Jack Kirby

And, of course, I reserve the right to totally change my mind about this, too!

Cheers,
Andrew
ComicsBronzeAge.com

MaGnUs said...

For reasons previously mentioned, I'm gonna say Kirby as a creator (he's influenced not just artists like other artists, nor just writers, like other writers, but both), and Schwartz as an editor.

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