My Ten Favorite Spider-Man Writers

romita_jr_spidermanI’ve been reading tons of old Spider-Man books lately and after really immersing myself in this stuff, I’ve been solidifying some long-held opinions about creators on the series. Today we’re looking at my 10 favorite Spidey writers!

Yes, I know — it’s not pulp related but you can deal with it for one day, right?

Let the list begin:

10. Joseph Michael Straczynski – JMS wrote Spider-Man from 2001-2007 and he did a lot of very good things. He also did some truly awful things. But the early issues were pretty good. I quite enjoyed the Morlun storyline and there was a really good Doctor Octopus story in there. Yes, the later stuff (Sins Past and One More Day) were things that are almost unforgivable but I still include him here for the strength of the stories he wrote in the beginning.

9. Tom DeFalco – The 1980s was really “my” Spider-Man and DeFalco did some amazing stuff when paired up with Ron Frenz. I really enjoyed most of his stuff and continued to enjoy his contributions via Spider-Girl later on. An underrated Spidey writer in my opinion.

8. Kurt Busiek – This is mainly on the strength of the wonderful Untold Tales of Spider-Man series. Busiek did a pitch-perfect series that danced in and out of established continuity. Some of the new characters he introduced in there are some of my favorites in Spidey history. Loved it.

7. David Michelinie – Most of his run is remembered for two things: the artists he was paired with (McFarlane, Larsen, Bagley) and the Venom/Carnage stuff. But it was a lot of fun overall and you never knew where things were going — towards the end, this was because neither the writer nor editor knew either.

6. Brian Michael Bendis – Look, I hate how decompressed his stuff is. Everything is stretched sooooooooo thin. But in the Ultimate Universe, Bendis has really defined the Spidey character(s). I actually really like Miles Morales! And the issue where Peter reveals his identity to Mary Jane is an absolute classic.

5. Gerry Conway – I felt that the Stan Lee era had really become boring by the end and Conway injected a lot of life back into the character. His version of Spidey was actually the first I read as a kid and I still enjoy reading them today. Some of the stories are bad, sure, but some are wonderful and hold up very well. His return on Web of Spider-Man was pretty good but I wish it had featured better artwork.

4. J.M Dematteis – Yes, sometimes you run into the trademarked psychological mumbo-jumbo that Dematteis always does but he also wrote the amazing Amazing Spider-Man # 400, Kraven’s Last Hunt and the death of Harry Osborn. When he’s on, he’s very good.

3. Dan Slott – The character’s current writer, Slott had consistently told entertaining stories and Superior Spider-Man has been some of the best Spider-Man we’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m really enjoying it and hope he stays on the book for a long time to come.

2. Stan Lee – The early issues with Ditko are brilliant! I’ve always found the Romita issues to be bland and boring (though pretty to look at) so I’m ranking him so highly based upon his role as the character’s defining voice and the fact that the first 30+ issues are some of the greatest superhero comics of all time.

1. Roger Stern – My Spidey writer! Stern did some amazing stories and his Hobgoblin storyline remains one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed it when he came back and revealed the true identity of the iconic villain, too. So many great stories and Stern was the best at handling the supporting cast. Hell, he even made Lance Bannon interesting!

What say you, Spidey fans?

Happy Thanksgiving!

legion_of_heroes_smallHappy Thanksgiving from all the heroes at Reese Unlimited!

Thanks to my wonderful wife and son — and to all my family and friends who have supported me over the years.

And thanks to YOU for keeping up with my blog and my writing career. Without you, my faithful readers, I’d have nothing to talk about!

Our amazing art today is courtesy of George Sellas.

Have a great day, folks!


Updates! Yes, It’s Updates!

gravedigger_small_colorHello, my friends! I’ve been working away on the crossover novel recently and have added a few thousand words to it. I still think it’s about 20,000 words shy of being complete but I’m 2/3 of the way through the book and hopefully you guys will enjoy it when it finally hits. Pairing Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray, The Peregrine and quite a few of my other pulp adventure characters, it’s jam-packed with action and drama.

And death! Oooh…

I also approved the new cover for the upcoming Pro Se edition of The Damned Thing. This occult-tinged homage to The Maltese Falcon was originally published by Wild Cat Books and introduces the lovely but dangerous Violet Cambridge to my little universe. I think it’s one of the best things I ever wrote, with a very tight plot and some genuine surprises. If you’ve never read it, I hope you’ll check out the new edition.

Several new episodes of Ubergeeks have been recorded and released recently – this is a podcast I record with my wife and we generally chat about all sorts of geeky topics. Check it out!

I continue to post two blog entries a week on the Ultraverse Network. I’m the resident “Strangers” guy so you get reviews and commentary on that series from me. If you’re a fan of this beloved comics universe, I hope you’ll give it a try. It features not only blog posts but also a whole series of podcasts.

Keep in mind that Gravedigger Volume Two, Lazarus Gray Volume Five and the new editions of Max Davies’ adventures as The Peregrine are all on the way — so stay tuned! The pulp goodness will continue to be delivered.

Our art today is by George Sellas and is his original design for Charity Grace, aka Gravedigger!

Writers Who Have Inspired Me

EmmaWatson-HarryCrowder03I’m not going to go in-depth as to why these guys have influenced me since in many ways, it would be hard to nail it down. These are authors that have been favorites of mine and are ones that when I read them, I consciously go “Wow, look how they did that! I want to be able to do that!” I certainly read and enjoy other authors besides just these guys but these are the ones that I’d list as inspirations (in no order other than what popped in my head). Some of them have styles that are very different from my own but I still feel like I’ve taken something from them along the way.

Paul Ernst

Robert E. Howard

Walter Gibson

Stephen King (“old” King anyway — ’70s & ’80s)

Michael Moorcock (Elric specifically)

Rob MacGregor (his Indiana Jones work)

Andy McDermott

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Frank Herbert (his Dune series)

Timothy Zahn

Chris Claremont

Clive Cussler

Marv Wolfman

Geoff Johns

Jim Shooter

Wayne Reinagel

Arthur Conan Doyle

Derrick Ferguson

It’s My Birthday!

birthdayIt’s my 42nd birthday today and I can honestly say that I’ve had very few years that have been as momentous and outright odd as this one.

I’ve switched careers, seen my writing output dwindle considerably and gone through a lot of self-doubt.

But in the end, I have a great wife, a wonderful son and some true friends. Thanks for putting up with me over the past few months and I promise you this… there are good times ahead.

To my wife and son, I love you. You’re the best gifts I could ever receive.

Onward to year 43 and beyond!

Gravedigger Gets A New Review!

Gravedigger_06_smallNew Pulp author Percival Constantine was nice enough to leave a review for the Kindle edition of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume One. Here’s what he had to say:

Ever since I read Reese’s Rabbit Heart, I’ve been looking forward to seeing him tackle more female heroines. There are some similarities between Rabbit Heart’s Fiona Chapman and Gravedigger’s Charity Grace, but ultimately they are both very different characters.

The mythology behind the Gravediggers is so far what I find most fascinating about this new character. I think it was a mistake to include appearances from both the Rook and Lazarus Gray in this book as I was hoping this would be more for establishing Gravedigger as her own character. In the author’s note, Reese does provide a legitimate reason for why he included them, but I still feel having those two appear took something away from Gravedigger’s debut, and those appearances would have been best left for the next book.

That being said, this is still an enjoyable series of adventures and I hope we’ll see more of her in the future.

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks for the kind words, my friend! I’m glad you enjoyed the book but I’m sorry that the guest-appearances by Lazarus Gray and The Peregrine (formerly The Rook) detracted from the story for you. I really wanted to establish the three of them as the core of my pulp adventure universe and having them play off of one another was important to me — Volume Two focuses much more on Charity and her associates, though, so you may find that one more pleasing!

There are some obvious similarities between Fiona Chapman and Charity Grace, as you pointed out, and I like to think that Charity embodies that same archetype that Fiona herself does. As mentioned in Rabbit Heart, she’s definitely a “hot chick with a sword” but I like to think she’s much more than that, as well — just as Fiona was.

Thanks again for the review!

Our art today is by Will Meugniot.