2012 in Review: Breakout Writer

The funny thing about being a “breakout” in comics is, quite often, these breakouts could have been working in the industry for years previous. But this is our list, and you know what, these creators have taken one hell of a leap in 2012. As voted on by the writers of Multiversity, here are our top five breakout writers of the year.

5. Josh Fialkov

Why he made the list (Brian Salvatore): I have spilled lots of digital ink in support of Mr. Fialkov this year, all of it deserved. From a guy who did sporadic work for a few publishers to the guy tapped to launch an “Alpha” series for Marvel all in just over a year, Fialkov’s profile has risen quite a bit since launching “I, Vampire” last year for DC. In 2012, in addition to writing the tales of Andrew Bennett, he also wrote on arc of “Doctor Who” for Dynamite, wrapped up his “Last of the Greats” mini by Image, written a few digital Batman pieces for the “Legends of the Dark Knight” series, wrote a Skeletor origin story, and began to tell Alpha’s story in an issue of “Amazing Spider-Man.” With 2013 featuring “The Devilers,” a series at Dynamite, “Alpha,” and “I, Vampire,” Fialkov is primed to have an even bigger year, and one that will hopefully see him land on an even bigger title.

4. Justin Jordan

Why he made the list (Vince Ostrowski): Why is Justin Jordan my pick for breakout writer of the year?

Because this was the year that he parlayed his work on the excellent “Strange Talent of Luther Strode” into jobs at DC Comics and Valiant. He brings a fresh young perspective with a clear love of 90’s comics, but doesn’t fall prey to their weaknesses. At DC, he’s slowly making the integration of Wildstorm into the New 52 interesting for the first time with the increasingly entertaining Team 7 and looks to clean up the mess that is the Deathstroke ongoing. At Valiant, he wrote what was, for my money, the best first issue of the Valiant relaunch in “Shadowman” #1. And with his new Luthor Strode mini starting just before the year ends, he’s got an impressive résumé to present when considering him for the most exciting newish talent in comics.

3. Brandon Graham

Why he made the list (Mike Romeo): Brandon Graham has been slugging away for years as an awesome cartoonist. The Vancouver native got his start after moving to New York, finding himself drawing porno comics for a paycheck. High minded, sci-fi inspired porno comics. From there, he became an early member of the Meathaus collective and did some amazing work for their early anthologies. Then it was a couple of false starts on King City for Tokyo Pop and Multiple Warheads at Oni, before finally landing at Image. Fast forward to this year and the Extreme relaunch. Brandon was pegged to write the new Prophet series, and it’d launch with art by Simon Roy.

And this is the moment, where after 15 years of making comics, Brandon Graham broke out as a writer. Prophet debuted as arguably the strongest of the Extreme books, breaking from the conventions the series had previously established. Each issue tells it’s own story, but also feeds into the larger arch. The reader is educated on future history and organic technology as well as introduced to new cultures and hundreds of Prophet clones. It’s concepts and plot devices like these that makes Brandon one of the best writers in comics this year, breakout or otherwise. If you’ve missed his work, you’ve got plenty to catch up on, and I’m sure plenty more on the way.

2. Sean Murphy

Why he made the list (David Harper): It seems weird to call Sean Murphy a breakout of anything, given the fact the guy has been on my “if he makes a comic I buy it” list since the first time I saw Joe the Barbarian art. But even with Punk Rock Jesus, a project I had high hopes for, I approached with a teensy weensy little bit of trepidation simply because a) the project seemed so grandiose and b) I had never read a single thing he had written in comics. After the harrowing introduction to PRJ #1, I knew he was good. By the end of the issue, I knew I was reading some of the best writing I’d experienced all year. For me, 2012 was the year of Saga and PRJ – they were the books that stood out the most – and we knew Murphy the artist would lead the way, but the fact that Murphy the writer has matched the artist and even outdistanced him in some ways has truly been incredible.

I have no idea what Murphy will write next, I just know I’ll buy it no matter what.

1. Landry Q. Walker

Why he made the list (Michelle White): Previously known for “Batman: the Brave and the Bold” as well as “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade”, Landry Walker’s work on the substantially darker “Danger Club” really caught our attention this year. Focusing on a group of young “sidekicks” who face a formless cosmic threat, this Eric Jones-illustrated series dropped us into an incredibly grim universe — one with an immediately compelling cast of young superheros, and so much depth and interest that it read like an established and well-loved ongoing. Packing a lot of backstory into each issue, but always managing to get at the desperate and dire heart of every situation, the emotion has consistently rung true in this series, constantly coming to forefront even as each page explodes with action. The economy of Walker’s writing, and the integrity of the world he has built, signal that Walker is one talent to watch — and “Danger Club” a series to follow through with, no matter how bitten-down our nails get.

About The AuthorDavid HarperDavid Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).

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