As you might have seen today, the New York Comic Con has announced that Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison will be attending the Feb. 6-8th convention as a Guest of Honor. But for those of you who haven’t been keeping score, this will be one convention that will be packing a lot of star power.
As your friendly neighborhood “Dial H for History” writer, here are some quick bios for the heavy hitters (in no particular order, conspiracy theorists) involved:
Grant Morrison: DC’s home run hitter. Morrison made some big waves with his Vertigo run of Animal Man, but really hit the mainstream market during his landmark run of JLA (which brought the team to a back-to-basics approach by centering it around the Magnificent Seven of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter). After making a brief jump to Marvel to write New X-Men, he returned to DC to write books such as We3, the 30-part maxiseries Seven Soldiers as well as DC’s current mega-event, Final Crisis.
Geoff Johns: The DC master of Silver Age epics. Johns started out in his own heroic legacy, having worked with Superman director Richard Donner. Jumping to DC with Stars & STRIPE, Johns soon came on board to JSA, during which he pulled off masterful retcons of characters such as Hawkman and Black Adam. With JSA as well as acclaimed runs of Teen Titans and The Flash, Johns eventually masterminded Infinite Crisis, which opened up the door for multiple tweaks of the DC universe. While it was recently announced that Johns would leave JSA after nearly a decade, he continues to write Green Lantern as well as the upcoming Flash: Rebirth, two characters he had a hand in resurrecting.
Brian Michael Bendis: Marvel’s point man and one of the key architects in the company’s direction. Bendis was an indie guy, with credits such as Torso and Powers, before hitting the mainstream in the runaway hit Ultimate Spider-Man, which he has continued to write since its first issue in 2000. In addition, Bendis also put his crime chops to the test with Daredevil, where he continued to put Matt Murdock’s life through the wringer by revealing his secret identity. Meanwhile, in 2004, Bendis was given the keys to the castle by rebooting the Avengers franchise in Avengers: Disassembled, which he quickly parlayed into the miniseries House of M and Secret Invasion. He continues to drive the Marvel Universe forward with Dark Reign.
J. Michael Stracyznski: While many people credit Bendis with giving Ultimate Spider-Man its legs, J. Michael Stracyznski helped revitalize the main title, Amazing Spider-Man. Having come to comics following the sensation of his sci-fi television series, Babylon 5, as well as his proto-Heroes comic Rising Stars, Stracyznski gave Spider-Man a story arc both epic and personal, bringing back Mary Jane Watson into the mythos and even doing the unthinkable by revealing Peter Parker’s secret identity. Since leaving the title following the reboot of One More Day, Stracyznski has continued to make waves with his rendition of Thor as well as his recent film Changling.
Neal Adams: The original rabble-rouser of comics, and the guy who, in his own words, “gave Batman his b*lls back.” Neal Adams, along with writer Denny O’Neil, helped move Batman from his campy Adam West malaise back into a dark figure of the night. In addition, Adams teamed up with O’Neil to write the acclaimed series Green Lantern/Green Arrow, which reintroduced the Emerald Archer into the modern DC Universe, as well as touch upon modern day topics such as drug use, racism, and war. However, Adams’ foundation in advertising gave him the platform to radically change the industry’s treatment of talent, culminating in Siegel and Schuster’s permanent credit on any Superman story.
George Perez: This is a guy who knows how to deal with a crowd. Perez hit the big time in 1986 with DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, where it became obvious that this was a man who could draw lots and lots and lots of superheroes in one page. The master of the crowd shot, Perez managed to encapsulate DC’s myriad universes before they were destroyed and consolidated by the plans of the evil Anti-Monitor. Following the series’ success, Perez made his mark on the Wonder Woman mythos by writing and drawing the reboot for the Amazon Princess. Since then, Perez also made history with his work on JLA/Avengers, the clash of the biggest teams in comic books, as well as the first arc of DC’s The Brave and the Bold.
Bruce Timm: Without Bruce Timm, superheroes might not be quite as mainstream. As he teamed up with Paul Dini, Timm was instrumental in the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, which scored a major coup by winning an Emmy for the sympathetic story of Mr. Freeze in “Heart of Ice.” Timm helped softly reboot many of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, which in turn gave the franchise more popularity and fuel to burn. Timm also helped create Harley Quinn, whose popularity soon led her to be introduced into the comics world proper. Timm has since worked on shows such as the Superman Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman Beyond, as well as much of DC’s direct-to-DVD animated specials.
Jim Lee: The wunderkind of the ’90s, and the current leader of Wildstorm. Jim Lee made it big with Chris Claremont’s introduction of the adjectiveless X-Men book, which raised the stakes of the ideological battle between Charles Xavier and Magneto. During his run, not only did Lee give the characters new costumes (cemented in an entire generation through the 1993 Fox cartoon), but also tweaked the character of Psylocke to become a telepathic ninja assassin. Lee was also one of the seven artists to break away from Marvel to found Image Comics. Since then, Lee’s imprint, Wildstorm Productions, have moved to DC Comics, and Lee has hit a resurgence with the Bat-franchise, including Batman: Hush and All-Star Batman and Robin.
Carmine Infantino: The man who help found the Silver Age. An artist at DC Comics, Infantino was called upon to help redesign the Flash. Carmine came up with the red-and-yellow blur that is famous today, and the series’ popularity spawned a new era for superheroics. After working on series such as Adam Strange and Batman, Infantino soon became the art director and eventually publisher for DC Comics, bringing in talent such as Denny O’Neill, Neal Adams, as well as scooping Jack Kirby from his position at Marvel.
Matt Fraction: The rising star for Marvel Comics, Matt Fraction made his way up the fan press ladder before striking a hit with the sci-fi action series Five Fists of Science. Fraction soon followed up that hit with the sci-fi-meets-James-Bond weirdness known as Casanova, the story of an interdimensional thief working two secret societies for a wicked double cross. Following this success, Fraction then began working on stories for Marvel, teaming up with Ed Brubaker on the hit rendition of The Immortal Iron Fist. Since then, Fraction has gone on to write Punisher War Journal, The Order, and currently Uncanny X-Men and The Invincible Iron Man.
Michael Uslan: This fan has hit the Hollywood big-time. After working as a “gopher” for DC Comics, Uslan worked his way up the Hollywood heights to become a big-name producer, having executive produced films such as the 1989 Tim Burton Batman, all the way through the current franchise of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Most recently, Uslan has producer credits for Frank Miller’s film The Spirit. Uslan also made a name for himself as a teacher of comics as well as a philantropist, having donated his entire 30,000-comic collection to the Indiana University libraries.
Andy Kubert: The third comics savant to come from the Kubert family, Andy Kubert got his start at DC Comics with Adam Strange and Batman vs. Predator, the latter receiving an Eisner Award for best inking. Kubert soon hit the big time, however, following Jim Lee’s departure from the X-Men books, where he worked on the epic “Fatal Attractions” storyline, in which Wolverine had his adamantium brutally removed from his skeleton by an enraged Magneto. Since 2005, Andy has worked with DC Comics, having drawn the first issues of Grant Morrison’s arc “Batman and Son,” as well as teaming up with Neil Gaiman for “Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?”
Adam Kubert: Andy Kubert’s older brother, Adam Kubert has also been a big name in the industry, having started his career at 11 years old as a professional letterer. As an inker, Adam won an Eisner Award for his work with his brother on Batman vs. Predator, and earned acclaim at Marvel Comics for his rendition of Wolverine, particularly during the aforementioned “Fatal Attractions” storyline. Having worked on Wolverine during his fall into bestial rage, Adam Kubert also had a long run on the Hulk. Since then, Adam was the starter artist for the 2001 Ultimate X-Men series, before jumping back to DC to team up with Geoff Johns and Richard Donner for the “Last Son” series in Action Comics.
Gabe and Tycho: Two geeks and one comic strip later, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins have made a name for themselves with their webcomic, Penny Arcade. Having taken a comedic look in industry happenings for comics, film, video games, and pop culture, these two have become Internet heroes in their own right. Since beginning their site in 1998, the comic has received 2 million hits a day, and has gone from a donation-based income stream to developing funds based on merchandising and advertisement alone. The comic also has a theme song by nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot.
Gabriele Dell’Otto: Having started his career creating posters and covers for European additions of Marvel comics, Gabriele Dell’Otto burst onto the mainstream scene in 2004 with Brian Michael Bendis’ Secret War, Gabriele Dell’Otto’s abstract yet photorealistic images have since made a hit on the comics community. Dell’Otto has also worked on the covers for Marvel’s sci-fi epic Annihilation, as well as European covers for the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.