FIVE FOR FRIDAY: NOVELISTS DRAFTED FOR COMICS
With Marvel’s ‘Omega the Unknown’ #1, award-winning writer Jonathan Lethem joins a swelling stable of novelists who have made successful forays into comics, and we run down our favorites who came before him
By Brian Warmoth
Posted October 5, 2007 12:00 PM
This week’s Omega the Unknown #1 by Jonathan Lethem and artist Faryl Dalrymple probably doesn’t look like any other Marvel book you’ve picked up recently, but even a page into it you will notice you’re dealing with no ordinary wordsmith. Lethem steps onto his first comic book in midstream of a celebrated career as a writer and novelist, carrying Locus and National Book Critics Circle awards, in addition to heaps of critical praise from about everywhere that talks about great books. His genre-bombarded stories of crime, science fiction and his native Brooklyn long ago announced his talents.
Now, with his foray into comics, it seems only fitting to tout our five favorite novelists who made their names by words alone before showing off on the Wednesday racks and making a splash in comic books as well.
5. Orson Scott Card
Having cleaned up at just about every science fiction award ceremony for Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, Card leaped into the writer’s chair for Ultimate Iron Man in 2005 and makes his return in the miniseries’ upcoming sequel. Few writers were better equipped with the relevantly articulated sci-fi chops that he brought to the table—exploring Ultimate Tony’s struggle with technology and his own body.
4. Laurell K. Hamilton
When comic book companies bring in big names to reach out to new readers, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake comics are precisely the kind of success they’re looking for. The first collection stormed best-selling graphic novels lists and answered anyone who had doubts about the loyalty of her fans, who can’t enough of her female heroine’s vampire crime noir stories.
3. Clive Barker
If Five for Friday did a list of writers based on the number of mediums they’ve romped through, Barker would get a high seat in first place based on his novels, movies and video games like this year’s Jericho. Barker had his own line of comics under Marvel’s Razorline imprint in the ’90s. He also adapted a slew of Cenobite horrors from Hellraiser at Marvel/Epic and has writing credits at Dark Horse, Eclipse Comics and IDW.
2. Brad Meltzer
Comics would be hard pressed to nab a novelist as glued to the inner tickings of its heroes as Brad Meltzer. The Columbia Law School graduate and nearly annual novel producer since 1998 loves splitting time between the New York Times bestseller list and upper rungs of the comics sales charts on books like Justice League of America and Green Arrow.
1. Greg Rucka
If one novelist has established himself in comics with a vividly recognizable voice that’s as dependable as it is gritty and suspenseful, it’s Checkmate and Queen and Country’s Greg Rucka. Look no further than his contributions as a co-writer on 52 to see how clearly his mark was left with the Question and Renee Montoya storyline. And if you haven’t read his Oni Press classic Whiteout, do yourself a favor and grab it before the movie hits.
Hmmm...they seem to have left out Jodi Picoult, who writes for/wrote several issues of Wonder Woman. And I think Stephen King owns the Dark Tower properties that's published by Marvel...but does he actually WRITE or script those titles?