Best Comic Creative Duos of All Time
Like all great forms of art, comics are often times a team effort. It takes the perfect blending of writer and artist to create the best funny books around, and every so often two talents come together to give readers something truly memorable. Very rarely in the history of comics, there have been creative teams which not only compliment each other’s talents but also change the medium. So for all of you comic enthusiasts out there, these are the best comic creative teams of all time.
1. Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster: In the city of Cleveland, two kids on the bottom rung of the social ladder came together, and on the back of old wall paper brought forth an idea which change the world. The two teens combined elements of; science fiction, mythology, and pulp novels to create the hero we know as Superman. Siegel penned tales which were both fantastic and socially relevant, while Schuster visuals gave the square-jawed hero a believable world to operate in. As those familiar in comic lore know, the duo was sadly given the short end of the stick when it came to getting credit for their work, but once the release of Superman’s first major motion picture hit that all changed. Today the creative pair is credited with not only creating the Man of Steel but also changing the medium forever.
2. Bill Finger and Bob Kane: As Superman proved to be one of the biggest things to ever hit newstands, publishers were quick to search for another spandex clad hero to strike while the iron was hot. Cartoonist Bob Kane was embarrassingly rejected when he presented his idea of a man in red wearing a wing-like device, thus he took the idea to his friend Bill Finger for his input. Finger took Kane’s bizarre protagonist and completely redesigned him and creating the hero we now know as, Batman. Being the complete opposite of Superman intrigued publishers enough that in the pages of Detective Comics, Batman made his debut and gave the world another character which shook the medium to it’s core. Unfortunately like many great creative teams this partnership ended in tragedy. Bob Kane quickly realized the money making potential of the Dark Knight and moved to ensure he would forever be credited as the sole creator and receive hefty royalty payments which reflected this. Sadly his partner who did the bulk of the work needed to make Batman such an iconic character did not enjoy such a reward. Like many in the comic industry at the time, Bill Finger fell into alcoholism as his collaborator and publisher made a fortune off of his creation. Finger died penniless and alone, and in Kane’s autobiography he even lamented the fact that his partner did not receive the accolades he deserved.
3. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby: During the 1960’s the comic book industry aimed at an older and smarter audience. DC Comics had rebooted many of their classic characters such as; Green Lantern, the Atom, and Flash. This forced their biggest rival to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant, in order to do this they gave complete creative freedom to aspiring writer, Stan Lee and veteran artist Jack Kirby. The two collaborated and gave the world the Fantastic Four a team of super heroes unlike anything which came before, this gave birth to what we now know as, the Marvel Universe. This proved to be only the beginning for the team as they followed this up with other legendary creations; Iron Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, and many more. Being a loud and charismatic personality, Lee became the face of Marvel Comics leading a revolution in the industry. This was in great contrast to the work horse with the tendency to be a curmudgeon, that was Kirby. Like many other collaborators who worked with Lee at the time, Kirby did not feel as though he had received the proper amount of credit. Jack Kirby eventually left the company he played such a major role in and went to the biggest rival thus ending his partnership with Lee. This has done little to tarnish the status which this legendary duo holds within the comic book industry.
4. Marv Wolfman and George Perez: The 1980’s Marvel dominated the comic sales charts, but one book helped DC stand out. Veteran writer Marv Wolfman and the dynamic artist George Perez breathed new life into a team many had written off, the Teen Titans. The Titans shot up the sales charts and became the biggest hit of the company. In the years which followed their take on the team of young heroes has served as the definitive take which has inspired every version of the Teen Titans which followed, both in comics and onscreen. The biggest acknowledgement of their success came inn 1986, when DC Comics made the decision to streamline their famous multiverse with an epic tale which would span the entire width of their Universe. This was a daunting task which had never been done before, and Marv Wolfman and George Perez were picked to be the ones to navigate the publisher into the next generation.
5. Chris Claremont and John Byrne: Marvel’s band of mutants the X-Men, may be one of the hottest franchises in entertainment; with numerous, comics, TV shows, and films starring this superhero team. But were it not for the work of Chris Claremont and John Byrne we have never heard of the team. True, Professor Xavier and his X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but they never achieved any kind of real success. When Claremont took over writing duties he completely changed the team, adding in favorites like; Wolverine, Storm, and Nightcrawler. Once Byrne joined him on art, the two of them began crafting some of the most memorable stories not only in the history of the X-Men but in the history of the medium.
6. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: There was a time when many felt that every superhero tale that could be told had been told, and that all that was left was doing variations on those stories. But bursting onto the scene and completely changing the game was the duo of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The two had collaborated in the past on a variety of different projects for DC Comics, but it was their 1986 saga, the Watchmen that changed the industry forever. Examining superheroes in a way they had never been seen in before.
7. Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams: Following the end of the Adam West television series, Batman experienced a sharp decline in popularity due to years of being mired in campy silliness. In a bid to repair the image of their once thriving icon, editors took artist Neal Adams, who was receiving great acclaim for the way he drew Batman in the Brave and the Bold; and they paired him with veteran crime reporter Denny O’Neil. Together they brought a back to basics approach to Batman and restored the hero to his former glory. Not content to revitalize one of the greatest characters in comics history; O’Neil and Adams sought to use comics as a platform to explore social issues. Utilizing Green Lantern and pairing him with a newly rejuvenated Green Arrow, they tackled issues like; racism, drug abuse, and war.
8. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely: In the late 1980’s through the early 1990’s DC and their Vertigo imprint imported a good number of talented British writers and artists to bring a fresh new spin on the medium. Among this wave of new creators was a duo which showed a great amount of chemistry which has led to their continued popularity even to this day. I am of course speaking of the far-out mad writer Grant Morrison and the ultra realistic pencils of Frank Quitely. After proving themselves as a unique team during their time at Vertigo they were finally allowed to bring their vision to several A-List characters. They revitalized the X-Men for a new generation; brought a brand new madcap version of Batman to the masses; and put together what is possibly the greatest Superman story ever told. Unlike the other creative duos on this list, these two Scottish creators are still going strong and are continuing to bring a fresh spin to the medium.