Favorite Underappreciated Writers!

You all know the greats (probably). You all have a few you think get too much credit (probably). I know I could name several in either category. But who are the writers you think get too little recognition for great work? Who do you think needs to show up on more top 10 lists? Whose storylines had more impact than anyone gives them credit for? Here’s the place to proselytize.

The one who got me thinking about this (who’s reasonably well-known, but not given nearly enough credit for how absurdly prolific and influential he was) is Chuck Dixon. He was the main writer on, like, six different Batman-related titles through most of the '90s, and is at least partially responsible for some of the most exciting and influential stories of that period, especially in terms of fleshing out the supporting cast and non-Bruce Bat-Family members. And, in terms of the writing itself, he had some quirks, but he’d always deliver a good mix of action, character drama, and a sense of humor. I’d rank him with Finger and O’Neil as one of the most influential writers to ever work on the bat-books, but he seems to always get left off of lists of the greats.

Frankly, even Bill Finger himself is sometimes undervalued. Sure, most comic readers know he created Batman (at least, those who know about the fiasco with Bob Kane pretty much taking credit for Finger’s work), but he also created Commissioner Gordon, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, Gotham City, Robin, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Clayface, the Mad Hatter, and Hugo Strange, and that’s just what I could find from a quick search around the wiki. He created Batman in 1939 and was still a regular writer as late as 1965, a far longer tenure than just about any writer other than Gardner Fox (who was also a regular Batman writer as far back as Detective Comics #29 and worked on the character up through 1968).

So, who are your underrated favorites, and what series/runs/stories/issues of theirs should the rest of us read?


Gail Simone. She’s a titan of creativity and fun. Her recent work on the Plastic Man mini from last year deserves alot of praise and her current DC gig on The Flash Giant is fun too.


Robert Venditti. I think he cut a lot of cruft from Johns’ Green Lantern run that needed to be put to bed, and he actually solved the problem of Hawkman. That’s no small task.


I think the discussion of great writers maybe too often focus on people writing stories for the main continuity, i.e Tom King, Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder.

I think that some of the most amazing stories are found in the elseworldy universes, so I’d like to throw some appreciation in the direction of:

Shea Fontana - For the wonderful world of DCSHG that brought in a whole new generation and drew fans across all ages.

Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing - For the fun post-apocalyptic Gotham City Garage universe.

Tom Taylor - For the crazy Injustice universe.

Tim Seeley - For the thing I never knew how much I needed. The MotU vs Injustice verse.


Speaking of Tim Seeley, his Swamp Thing feature in the newly released Swamp Thing Giant #1 is good. I adored it.


Keith Giffen. For you youngsters out there, do the homework :grin:


100 percent agreed on Giffen, his runs on Suicide Squad and Legion never got recognized well and his Justice League seems to have faded in popular opinion with time.
I’d only hesitate to include Gail Simone on this list because she finally seems to have come to proper recognition. It’s a rare day I don’t see Patton Oswalt or someone name checking her on social media.

Keith Giffen for sure! His Justice League and Legion books are classics. Also of note is Jerry Ordway. He was there at the beginning of the Byrne relaunch of Superman, and his Power of Shazam! is the best take yet of “The Big Red Cheese”. Chuck Dixon needs more love. His Tim Drake Robin is still the gold standard for any iteration of the Boy Wonder. And if we can go back a few decades can we include Frank Robbin (Batman and Detective Comics in the late '60s and '70s), Michael Fleisher (long time Jonah Hex scribe), and Martin Pasko (Superman, Dr. Fate, Swamp Thing).

Gonna fourth Giffen. Read a bunch of Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League International recently, and it’s great stuff. Really shows that you can tell good Justice League stories with characters other than the Big Seven. And frankly, making JLI a comedy when everything else was getting gritty reboots was nothing short of a stroke of genius. It’s nice when the big titles (and granted, Justice League had been lagging at the time, so it wasn’t as big a title as we might think of it now) can actually have a little fun.

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5th for Giffen.

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Agreed on Keith Giffen. I don’t think John Ostrander gets enough credit for Suicide Squad and Spectre.

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jtraxx13.47407: Good shout out to John Ostrander. I was remiss in not mentioning his work. I also enjoyed his run on Firestorm and The Martian Manhunter.

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