This is a list of writers that we here at No Flying No Tights would buy anything from. The type of writer that can make a mistake you don’t even care about. The type of writer that you follow on twitter and faint every time there’s a promise of a new work – even if it’s a glimpse at a grocery list.
picked by Jennifer
One of my favorite writers is Kyoko Hikawa because she creates wonderful manga featuring sweet romances set in different times or worlds. She has even written a manga Western romance, Miriam. My favorite by her is Kanata Kara (From Far Away). I love when a romance develops over time with people who seem to dislike each other. Her books include conflict, romance, adventure, and even comedy. Add in the historical part and it is a perfect mix.
Raina Telgemeier and Jimmy Gowlney
picked by Jennifer
Two of my favorite writers for the tween crowd (and myself!) are Raina Telgemeier and Jimmy Gownley. Telgemeier’s Smile perfectly captures the middle school experience, and her dialogue and the thought processes of herself and her friends in this memoir are spot on. Most kids who read this don’t even realize it’s “historical”; they tell me the kids are “just like us.”
Jimmy Gownley manages to be funny, touching, and profound, all in a way that’s accessible and understandable for the kids who love Amelia Rules! The thoughts, feelings, and experiences Amelia has are written in a way that’s completely honest and from a tween’s point of view. There’s all the angst, guilt, worry, fear, and difficulties of middle school that adults so often seem to forget or ignore. No “these are the best years of your life” twaddle here. Gownley’s characters are real kids and real people.
picked by Snow
I fell hard for Antique Bakery back when I was new to manga and since then I’ve bought everything of hers that has been released in the United States. I enjoy her plots, which always revolve around relationships and how people are interconnected with one another, and I love her art. I’ve often said that she has the ability to tell an entire page of dialogue just by having a character quirk an eyebrow. Much of her work is boys’ love, but not all of it. My favorites of hers include Ichigenme: The First Class is Civil Law (a very mature boys’ love title about two men finding unexpected love in college) and All My Darling Daughters (also mature, but not boys’ love; mostly about women and their relationships with their mothers), but even as I name those two I’m aching to list all of her others.
Jeffrey Brown and Taiyo Matsumoto
picked by Bill
Someone honest and brave enough to put all his foibles out for the world to see is a winner in my opinion. His unique, sketchbook-like art style seals the deal. When I pick up any of Jeffrey’s books, I usually don’t put them down until I’ve reached the final page. Though he has successfully branched out into other genres beyond his autobiographical recollections, I think he is at his absolute best when he exposes his insecurities and failures, making him all the more lovable. Some prime examples are Clumsy, Unlikely, and Funny Misshapen Body. The fact that Jeffrey always seemed so polite and humble when I’ve mustered up the courage to talk to him at San Diego Comic-Con solidifies my fandom for this talented artist and author.
The three-volume release of Black & White (Tekkon Kinkreet) was my first exposure to Matsumoto. I read it almost a dozen years ago, when I was first dating the girl that would later become my wife, and I was anxious to show it to her after I’d finished. She immediately took to the series as well, and the books have had a constant home on our bookshelf ever since. Matsumoto’s linework is nothing like that of his Japanese contemporaries, instead bringing to mind European comics. My favorite work by Matsumoto, No. 5, was sadly not given the exposure it deserved outside of Japan, with only two of its eight volumes being localized for North American readers. Any time he puts pen to paper, it’s sure to have surreal, intriguing results.
picked by Allen
From the moment I read the first volume of Fables, I knew there was something special about the series’ author. I was really impressed with how he was able to take something we all know (fables and fairy tales) and turn them on their heads, creating a world in which characters of make believe suddenly find themselves coping with (and suffering from) real problems that are all too common to us Mundys. His ability to tie in our inability to recall certain fable characters is skillful, using that as a major plot device for the later volumes and spin-offs.
Brian K. Vaughan
picked by Traci
Y the Last Man remains my very favorite series because Brian made me care about Yorick and Ampersand in a way that I had never felt about fictional characters before. The fact that I was more interested in the interpersonal relationships between all the characters than in finding out what caused the plague in the first place made me realize that his writing and storytelling abilities were something I really enjoyed. Ex Machina, Runaways, Pride of Baghdad…all some of my faves!
Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Hickman
picked by Jack
Neil Gaiman is a writer whose voice just shines in everything he does, from his comics to his poetry to his novels for teens and grown-ups to his script work and beyond. He definitely has his favorite themes — notably how the things we believe in and tell ourselves come to define us as human beings — but the fact that he’s managed to create such a broad spectrum of work around those themes is astounding. His perspective is always just a little skewed, and he approaches the world with such a wonderful sense of the strange in the everyday, a strong faith in the power of the individual, and a dry sense of humor. The Sandman is his clear masterpiece (and one of the high points of American comics period), but his other comics work like Signal to Noise, Violent Cases, and Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? are also great, and perhaps more approachable.
And I also think that I’d read a grocery list from Jonathan Hickman, because it would inevitably involve traveling 300,000 years into the future to meet aversion of yourself from an alternate dimension because they’re the only person in the galaxy who can get you just the right kind of butter. His plots are waaaay out there and occasionally inscrutable, but feature strong enough characters that you never feel completely lost.
Jeff Lemire and Eiichiro Oda
picked by Matthew
From the realistic gut-punches of Essex County to the heartbreaking dystopian sci-fi of Sweet Tooth to the crazy family drama mixed with horror and superheroes of Animal Man….there’s no other writer in comics that’s been able to hit me emotionally quite as deeply and consistently as Lemire.
Not only does Oda’s One Piece has some of the most complete world-building I’ve seen anywhere, his humor and unbridled creativity is so crazy and so fun it always makes me feel like a giddy six year old reading comics for the first time.
picked by Abby
Ai Yazawa is my personal favorite. Recommended to me by my Japanese, fashion-loving sister-in-law, Yazawa is one of the first manga artists I read. I read her entire available collection in less than two months and still re-read them from time to time. Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighborhood Story) is probably my favorite, but I also have a soft spot for Paradise Kiss. She is most famous, of course, for Nana. She writes shojo manga in a more realistic, more adult way – not everyone ends up with their first love, their paths to happiness are never clear and simple, and cute boys aren’t surrounded by flowers and glitter. The thing I love most about her are her illustrations. Each panel could be the star of the page and fashion is key. Many of her stories have a fashion focus, so the outfits her characters wear are always fascinating.
Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis
picked by Russ
Okay, this question definitely has me stuck in Vertigo mode, so let me continue in that vein and suggest both Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis (as they are forever linked for some reason in my mind). Both had sublime turns on Hellblazer, really nailing the world-weary and jaded view of John Constantine and then both went on to create in my opinion two of the most original and iconic adult series out there: Preacher and Transmetropolitan. It’s odd, they’re really nothing alike in tone or subject matter. But I can’t think of any two other series that have so much potential to horrify and offend a large portion of the populace yet still consistently be funny, thought-provoking, and have a strangely moral core to them. And both authors have each since went on to produce soooo much more work!
Alejandro Jodorowsky and Enki Bilal
picked by Brazos
Jodorowsky writes absolutely crazy comics and gets some amazing artists to come aboard. Absolutely loved the Incal.
Bilal’s Nikopol Trilogy is quite lovely and I’m really enamored with dormant beast. Some of the best sci-fi comics I’ve ever read.
picked by Jenny
One of my favorite authors is Takehiko Inoue. No matter the topic, the tone, or where he gets his inspiration, he never fails to create characters who earn the reader’s love and respect. Whether they’re historical legends swinging deadly swords (Vagabond) or everyday young people careening down a basketball court in wheelchairs (REAL), they have to deal with the consequences of being human in an imperfect world, take responsibility for their own successes and failures, and do their best to keep moving forward.
Alan Moore and Joss Whedon
picked by Bonnie
I really, really want to say Alan Moore – I even started writing a little blurb for him for this thread. But then I couldn’t help but think of many of his books I’ve rushed out to buy or check out and then felt burnt after reading. I feel that any grocery list from Moore would involve a lengthy diatribe about religious or literary beliefs and no matter how much I would enjoy reading two thirds of it, the last third would leave me feeling vaguely uncomfortable, and not the good I-have-to-think-about-how-this-challenges-my-opinions uncomfortable. I like the way he tweaks stories and characters we think we know and makes them into something new, and yet all the more disturbing because they’re still familiar. I’m a sucker for dystopias and Moore certainly seems comfortable with this genre. But I feel conflicted about the way he portrays women – alternately smart, strong, and definitely outside the scope of the normal comic-book female lead. However, there’s so much violence against women in his books – beatings, rape, torture. Judging by my bookshelf, I’d most likely pick up Alan Moore’s grocery list, but there’s also chance I’d also set it back down on the ground and slowly, slowly walk away.
In regards to Whedon, while he may not be as prolific as some of the writers on this list when it comes to comics, I’d still read just about anything he writes. I like how he incorporates humor into his stories while also making the most over-the-top characters into relatable people. It’s the perfect balance for a girl who wants her superheroes to have the levity of The Tick but the emotional weight of Dr. Horrible. I like the feminism in Whedon’s work. And I enjoy the way he incorporates a comic-book-style into his shows and movies.
picked by Robin
Unsurprisingly, many of my favorites have already been mentioned, but I couldn’t let a list like this pass without recommending one of the best creators working in manga today. When it’s one person who is both writing and creating the artwork for a title, it’s hard to separate out the words from the text, but Urasawa excels at taking a relatively tired framework (the procedural drama) and making it fresh, suspenseful, affecting, and at times almost unbearably wrenching. As with the best investigative tales, patience, observation, and finely honed instinct are the order of the day, but Urasawa never fails to turn in both thrilling action sequences and quiet character moments just as deftly as clever deduction. I always tell people that I read the first volume of Pluto, his take on Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy story, “The Greatest Robot on Earth”, all in one go while eating dinner alone at a library conference, and I ended up quietly weeping into my soup and cursing the fact that I hadn’t brought the rest of the series with me.