I’m still trying to hash out what I’m thinking about this topic, so I’ll buy some time by asking you folks about it.

§ October 1st, 2012 § Filed under reader participation § 50 Comments

Are there any comic creators out there whose new work you automatically pick up without question? Whose work you know, beyond even the faintest shadow of a doubt, will be worth both your time and your money, and that you will enjoy?

I don’t mean writers or artists whose presence in a project is enough to get you to take a look, or to pique your interest. We all have lots of names in that category. I mean creators who put out work and your response is “I don’t need to know word one about this comic, just take my money for it, goodly comic book store clerk.”

I’ll start by giving you the first three names that came to mind as I thought about who’d fit into this category for me: Sergio Aragones, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez. I absolutely buy all of their work as it comes out, without hesitation. And I have never been disappointed. (Well, okay, that one issue of Jon Sable, Freelance was a bit…odd, but I liked it anyway!)

Anyway, like I said in the title of this post up there, I’ve been sort of pondering some other (likely shallow and obvious) thoughts on this topic over the weekend, but I want to hear what you think. If you’ve got a creator who’s an insta-buy for you, please let me know in the comments.

50 Responses to “I’m still trying to hash out what I’m thinking about this topic, so I’ll buy some time by asking you folks about it.”

  • Tom Mason says:

    Howard Chaykin, Jeff Smith, Roger Langridge and Sergio Aragones. There are plenty that get a look, but those guys get a free pass from me – regardless of what they’re working on, I’m in.

  • Steely Dan says:

    Seth. Darwyn Cooke. David Mazzucchelli. Any new reissues of Alex Toth’s work.

  • William Burns says:

    Alan Moore and JH Williams III.

  • Pietro says:

    I’m growing more and more weary of purchasing a book without even checking out some reviews. In all honesty, there is not one creator I wouldn’t get checked before buying his/her latest effort.
    I’d like to say Dustin Nguyen, since his style makes almost everything worthwhile, but still even his name isn’t enough to make me buy Batgirl (the last one, ya know, not the current one).
    So no, Mike, there isn’t one. Always check before purchase.

  • Jim Lancaster says:

    Garth Ennis, Eric Powell, Evan Dorkin, and Phil Foglio!

  • philfromgermany says:

    Los Bros, Seth, Peter Bagge, Chris Ware, Dylan Horrocks, Stan Sakai, Dave Sim, Joe Sacco and Joe Daly.

    I consider all of these “Indie creators” who put out stories about subjects and characters they thought up and I find it quite easy to be ok with that. 99% of the time they draw what they write (except for series like “Yeah”). There is really never any second of thought needed to buy this.

    “Mainstream creators” are a different bag. Jeff Lemire has been slow with Animal Man, most likely due to editorial mandate to synch up for the x-over. His indie record is spotless, but I’m now no longer 100% certain about his mainstream work.
    I always buy everything written by John Ostrander. Suicide Squad, Spectre, Legacy… I buy an Ostrander written book, I know I’ll enjoy it.

  • Geoff says:

    Los hermanos Hernandez used to be on my insta-buy, but they lost it for me a long time ago. I don’t have any sub at a LCS now, lousy service at the one closest to me ended that. I suppose Moore is the only qualifier now, with Morrison being a close almost insta-buy.

  • Kevin Huizenga, Dan Clowes, Alex Robinson

  • Isaac says:

    I tried to rephrase the question like this: “If you found out that Creator X was writing / drawing a Cable vs. Gambit mini-series, would you still want to pick it up?” … and “Do you have everything you could own by Creator X?”

    So, like, I know I should be putting Los Bros. on my list, but I still need to catch up on the L&R oldies. Similarly, I’d buy a Dorkin-penned CvG series, but my shelves aren’t full of Hectic Planet.

    So. The list:

    Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Eddie Campbell, Kevin Huizenga, Jason Shiga, Lynda Barry, Mike Mignola, Kate Beaton …

    There are a bunch of minicomics cartoonists I’d list, too, like Tom Kaczynski and Damien Jay, but I don’t know how useful that is for the purposes of your list-making.

  • joe c says:

    Walt Simonson, Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragonés, George Pérez, Mark Evanier, Kurt Busiek, Larry Marder, Alan Moore, David Mazzucchelli, Los Bros, Grant Morrison, Kate Beaton, Alex Robinson …

  • Ben says:

    “If you found out that Grant Morrison was writing / drawing a Cable vs. Gambit mini-series, would you still want to pick it up?” – Yes. And the variant(s).

    “Do you have everything you could own by Grant Morrison?” – Yes

    That would be Grant Morrison then. If Art Adams ever drew the inside of a comic book again it would have to be something pretty shitty for me not to get it. Same for Ashley Wood.

  • I can definitely agree that if Kevin Huizenga was somehow put on Cable vs. Gambit there is no force on Earth that could stop me from getting it.

  • Alex says:

    Any of the work that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips put out together (Criminal, Incognito, etc), I buy without really thinking about it. They haven’t let me down with any of their previous collaborations, not in the least. When I did think about why I was buying Fatale, I wasn’t honestly sure I’d be into it, but I’m still buying it (and that’s “I’m behind in my reading but still buying it”, so I really am trusting that track record that they’ve got going).

    I would’ve said Darwyn Cooke, but the Watchmen thing just didn’t interest me, and I looked back and thought of some other projects of his that have made me check my interest at the door and not make a purchase. So, he’s out.

    But my original “automatic pick-up”…

    It’s very rare nowadays, but anything that Mike Mignola actually writes AND draws (!), I buy without any hesitation. Granted, that’s almost always something Hellboy, but he’s had other little one-off things that I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, too. I haven’t ever been let down, although it did kinda suck buying an $8 Dark Horse Presents earlier this year just to get an 8-page Hellboy story (8 pages? 12? It wasn’t too many, anyway).

  • Roger Green says:

    In the day I was reading comics: Steve Gerber, Steve Englehart, Walt Simonson. I’d PROBABLY would add Claremont and Byrne, but they were always working on stuff I would have bought anyway.

  • The list has shortened in the last few years. Currently it’s the Hernandez Bros, Eddie Campbell,Alan Moore and Bernie Wrightson.

    It used to have Kyle Baker and Grant Morrison, but I am taking them project by project now. That’s not a sign of dislike, but at some point I need a break from people. For instance, Alan Moore was off the list for a few years, as I felt over saturated by him. I even took a Love and Rockets break for about 3 years.

  • Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, Los Bros. Hernandez, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine. Creators who write and draw their own work, their own characters without any company-wide crossovers and interference by non-creative editorial.

  • Ed Brubaker, Roger Langridge, and Brian K. Vaughan

  • VDM says:

    Alan Moore & Geof Darrow are it. Now if somehow they joined forces….

  • Bryan says:

    Jim Woodring. But he publishes so infrequently these days, it’s not a huge commitment.

  • Casie says:

    Sergio Aragonés, always. Roger Langridge, Evan Dorkin, and The Hernandez Bros. Always a happy gal with these guys.

  • Keef says:

    Ted McKeever. Seth. John Porcellino. Chris Onstad. Ivan Brunetti. Chris Ware. Charles Burns. Al Columbia.

  • Casie says:

    And…the Popeye in the top right corner will haunt my dreams.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Here’s one that might be a surprise. Kelly Sue DeConnick. What little I’ve read of hers, it’s kind of cool. So I’m buying Captain Marvel, the only Marvel comic on my pull list.

    I’m a Morrison with the capes guy. I’ll buy the trade of Action after I have already purchased the individual issues. But I’ll wait for the trade of Happy.

    I love Cliff Chiang’s art, but I’m waiting on the trades. It’s that kinda world now, Mike. I can display trades, and it keeps me from using my scant disposable income foolishly, considering I can read some comics, like the new JLA, in about ten minutes.

  • Ex Employee Aaron says:

    Mike Mignola with out a doubt! Oh David Petersen too! If Dave Johnson is on Cover duty i will get my eye tracks all over said comic too!

  • Jerry Smith says:

    No one is presently unconditional. In the past, it has been folks like Alan Moore, Geoff Johns, John Byrne, Christof Gage, Chuck Dixon and Mike Grell. Now I have to have some context of the project and consider before I buy. Comics are too expensive and too politically correct for me to buy anything with a creator name who has just done good stuff in the past. I want an idea of what the story is about, who the characters are, etc.

  • Adam says:

    Warren Ellis, Ed Brubaker. That’s about it for me. I almost said Matt Fraction, because I love his superhero stuff, but his indie books just don’t do it for me.

  • Jonny K says:

    Gillen McKelvie. Xaime Hernandez. Gabriel Ba. Fabio Moon. Frank Quitely? JHWilliams III. Chris Ware.

  • Chuck says:

    Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Dan Slott

    There are a lot more who I will buy nearly anything by, but those three are the ones for whom it does not matter the character, the publisher, the genre, whatever. I will buy their books.

  • adam says:

    Christos Gage and Gail Simone for writing, Rags Morales or Trevor Von Eden for art. It’s a guaranteed sale for me.

  • Jim says:

    Mine are mostly indie folks, but I think that the slower output helps me be a bit of a completists: Eddie Campbell, Jason, Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, Kevin Huizenga. The Marvel creative shake-up is getting me to follow Rick Remender over to Cap and Uncanny Avengers because I really like what he’s doing on Uncanny X-Force, and I may eventually go back and snag all of his Venom and Secret Avengers runs. Grant Morrison would be on this list but I wasn’t really into his Action Comics run: I’ve got pretty much everything else, and I wonder if other people feel the same.

    I also have my eyes on the entire Los Bros catalogue, and I have dreams of one day getting, like, everything people like Kelley Jones and Chris Bachalo have drawn, but those dreams require more cash and more living space.

  • Jim says:

    Oh also Julia Wertz. I will read anything she does, because she is hilarious. Ditto for Kate Beaton and Michael Kupperman. I left those jokers out of my initial list for some reason!

  • swamp mark says:

    Alan Moore * Neil Gaiman * Tim Vigil * Clive Barker
    Whatever they produce,from full series to one-pager in an anthology,I will buy it.I have no choice.It’s far too late to stop now.I think you know what I’m talking about,Mike.I’m also guessing you’re thinking of dropping somebody and you’re conflicted.Been there!

  • BobH says:

    Back in the 1990s I’d have had a bunch of names, but now that reprints, usually in a preferable format, have become closer to the rule than the exception, it’s more a case that I have a long list of names whose new work I make a mental note of, and plan to buy eventually, either in a collection or as part of a back issue purchase if no satisfactory collection exists. And now digital is an extra option, plus the local library’s selection keeps getting better so that’s increasingly an option to read stuff and decide how urgently I need a permanent personal copy.

    I used to buy random issues of DARK HORSE PRESENTS if even one creator was of interest. This year there was no way I was going to buy three issues (at $8 each) for some Evan Dorkin pages that I suspected (and now know) will be available separately for $4 soon, and probably digitally for $2 or less soon after that.

    So the only name that’s really left on that list for me is Steve Ditko, just because I don’t know if his self-published stuff will remain available or ever be collected.

  • Cory says:

    Brubaker and Gaiman are the only two that I can say without hesitation these days. This makes me wonder, Mike. How much of a sales drop do you see when a big name writer leaves a title? For every time I’ve stayed with a title by following preferred writers after they move on, I can think of two or three that I’ve dropped.

  • Jeff R. says:

    My list was Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, Dave Sim, Kurt Busiek, and Scott McCloud back when I was still spending money on comics. (Directly. I’m still paying overdue/hold/yearly fees to the local libraries that I like to think goes toward paying their comics budget…Which mostly has those covered, although someday I’m going to have to hunt down and pay for a complete Glamourpuss run, I guess.)

    And Miller too, I guess, since my lapse was before his decline.

  • Jack says:

    Hmm. Right off the top of my head, I’d have to say Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker, the latter especially when the artist is Sean Phillips. Those two pretty much define “instant purchase” for me when they work on a title.

  • Squeaky Britches says:

    Grant Morrison; Scott McCloud; Darwyn Cooke

    … and Jonathan Hickman: thanks to him, I am buying Marvel books in which I have no interest otherwise.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Without any hesitation whatsoever…
    Gilbert Hernandez, Dan Clowes, Chester Brown, Enki Bilal (God I miss those oversized Humanoids HCs from the early 2000’s), Jason, Brian K. Vaughn, Paul Pope, Marjane Satrapi, Joe Sacco, Eric Powell, Joe Kubert (a few new unpublished issues to come from DC, I believe).

    With only the slightest of reservations…
    Alan Moore, Ed Brubaker, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quitely, Chris Ware.

    philfromgermany sums up my views on the indy/mainstream issue quite excellently.

  • Dave says:

    Let me put it this way: I bought “Deadpool Max” because Kyle Baker did the art. “Greater love hath no man …”

    (Oh, and Darwyn Cooke.)

  • Moose says:

    Artists: not blasted one. The most I expect from the art is to not harm the story-telling or offend my eyes.

    Writers: Once upon a time, I would have said Peter David. Aquaman, Supergirl and Captain Marvel were titles I wouldn’t have given a second look without his name on them (in fact, I only picked them up when I noticed his name). The only non-Marvel/DC titles I’ve ever collected were Soulsearchers and Fallen Angel.

    Now, within the constraints of budget and the fact that I only follow the Marvel Universe (Barry Allen’s return led me to drop DC), I will probably buy a year of anything by Brubaker, Jeff Parker, Mark Waid, or still Peter David.

    Although no one asked, on the flip side, I will immediately drop a title I’ve been reading for decades if Brian Bendis, Erik Larsen or Grant Morrison takes over. Nothing personal against the guys, no problem with anyone who loves them (’cause I know the latter is making appearances on half the “must-buy” lists on people have made).

  • Rob S. says:

    Darwyn Cooke. Neil Gaiman. Kurt Busiek. Kyle Baker. Scott McCloud.

  • Robert in New Orleans says:

    After reading others’ picks, I can agree with those who’ve mentioned Grant Morrison and the Brubaker / Phillips team as must buys.

    Two names I didn’t notice are artists that I will buy anytime they’re doing interior pages: Chris Samnee, Becky Cloonan, and Jordi Bernet. Also, Paul Pope, but he’s mostly done short stories and variant covers lately which I can’t afford to keep up with just for his few pages.

    I’m pickier about writers. If they get assigned a character or title I have an active disinterest in, then I just won’t read it even if I like their other work a lot.

    Lastly, I’ve listed my honest, must have, right now list. There are a LOT of names already mentioned that are in my hall of fame and I intend to get their stuff when it comes out, but sometimes it takes me a few weeks or months depending on finances. My names are my only current compulsive must buy right away creators.

  • Interstate Shogun says:

    Count me in with Brubaker/Phillips. Although Fatale isn’t quite as good as Criminal or Incognito, it’s still better than a lot of other books out there.

    As far as leaving books after certain creators leave, I tend to do that. I dropped both Captain America books after Brubaker left, I dropped the Avengers after Bendis left, The only reason I picked up the Punisher was because Greg Rucka was writing it and now that’s getting cancelled.

    In fact, the whole Marvel NOW thing leaves me cold. Last month I preordered 12 Marvel titles. This month, with the Marvel NOW reboots in full effect, I only ordered 5 and none of them are new series, unless you count Powers:Bureau as new, and I don’t. Punisher War Zone is a miniseries that will end and if Hawkeye makes it past 12 issues it’ll be a Christmas miracle. That’ll leave me with Powers, Ultimate Spider man and X Factor. In fact, if X Factor got cancelled or rebooted with a new creative team, I’d probably dump the above titles and quit Marvel comics altogether. It’s really feeling like the mid 90’s to me again, when I didn’t collect any Marvel books for a couple of years.

  • Mikester says:

    Corey – The last time I noticed a big dump in sales was generally when Grant Morrison left a book…both New X-Men and Batman and Robin took hits when he quit those titles. And I expect Action and Batman Inc. to do the same.

  • Mr Garfield says:

    I’m lucky to live in a place where not everything Los Bros produce can be found, because I would have to buy it all.

    I will buy an Archie if there’s a Sam Schwartz reprint.

    Any Basil Wolverton.

  • danjack says:

    No. There is no one anymore who gets an auto-pass from me.

  • Uncle Dave says:

    Okay, in no particular order: Paul Pope, Matt Howarth, Ted mcKeever, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Espinosa and Walt Simonson..all rock-solid.

  • Comic Bob says:

    Instant buy, no questions asked for me is Mike Allred. Loves him. Even though I worship (insert writer’s name here), you could not pay me to pick up a (insert publisher’s name here) book with his/her name on it. Allred however, can do no wrong for me. All publishers, all formats, covers only, etc… Just looking at his art makes me happy. I have a Madman beach towel for crying out loud!

  • Chance says:

    Wow, I inspired a post! I’m honored.

    I will pick up, without question, ANYTHING by Ed Brubaker. Anything. He could write a Wolverine, Gambit, and Cable miniseries and I’d buy it eagerly.

    I will also buy 90% of anything Greg Rucka writes.

  • Yobgod says:

    Stan Sakai.
    Love the worldbuilding. Love the rabbit.