To make this easier on myself, as there are dozens of indy creators I love and think are amazing and would like to spotlight (maybe save that for another Top 10 post), I've decided to classify "hitting it big" as breaking out in Marvel or DC and becoming a name that can sell books or that will, hopefully, be attached to big name projects in the future.
Without further ado, hit the jump to see the names of the creators, in no particular order, that I think we'll be seeing a whole lot more of in the near future.
Of all the creators on this list, Matt Fraction is the one closest to the cusp of greatness. With stints on critically acclaimed books, such as Immortal Iron Fist, Cassanova and The Order, along with various one shots along the way, such as the recent Thor: Ages of Thunder and Reign of Blood one-shots, 2008 and beyond looks like it will usher in the era of Fraction as he has already spearheaded the incredibly successful relaunch of Invinicible Iron Man and is set to co-write Uncanny X-Men with Ed Brubaker, starting with the landmark 500th issue.
How much potential do I think Fraction has? I expect him to be headlining many of Marvel's best books and events within a few years, similar to what Bendis has been doing recently with the Avengers titles, House of M and Secret Invasion. It's hard to believe he's only been writing comics for a few years and if you aren't reading books written by Fraction now, you will be soon.
Interested in Matt Fraction? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Jason Aaron is a name you'll be seeing a lot of in the future. While he kick started his writing career with his creator owned Vergito title, Scalped, DC foolishly let Aaron sign an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics and he has already made his name known with a, as hard as it is to believe, much talked about and critically acclaimed run on Ghost Rider and, more recently, a brief, but excellent, arc on Marvel's cash cow, Wolverine, with the Get Mystique! storyline.
Considering he's only been in the business for two or three years, it's hard to believe how much Aaron has already accomplished and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future.
Interested in Jason Aaron? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
For as long as Gage has been around the comic industry, he has somehow managed to stay just on the outside edge in terms of popularity and renown. He's an incredibly talented writer with a great grasp of most of the characters he writes, but, for whatever reason, he just hasn't been able to put out that one piece of work that puts his name on the map.
However, I believe that is all about to change. Over the past few years, Gage has continually been Marvel's go to guy for fill-ins, one shots and other tie-in or mini-series related projects, including work such as Thunderbolts, Iron Man, House of M: Avengers, World War Hulk: X-Men, Annihilation: Conquest and so on.
Along with his work for Marvel, Gage has managed to make great strides with many of Wildstorm's floundering properties and has had great success with those books. At this point, it's only a matter of time before Marvel rewards Gage with an on-going title of his own and I'd look for him to be the main candidate to take over after Warren Ellis' departure on Thunderbolts as well as a possible candidate for the Iron Man: Director of SHIELD title now that the Knaufs are off that book. If he is to take over such high profile books, it's only a matter of time before this underappreciated talent earns the much deserved recognition he is currently lacking.
Interested in Christos Gage? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Sure, Stuart Immonen has been around for well over a decade, but, honestly, how many people knew his name or even cared about his work before his work on Nextwave or until after the news that he would be replacing Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man hit the interweb?
While I'm not sure Immonen's name is big enough to sell a book on its own yet, it's only a matter of time before this speedy and highly talented artist is given the respect he deserves. It's very fitting that he replaced Mark Bagley, another extremely underappreciated artist, as his situation mirrors Bagley's in that he's a fast artist that delivers his work on time and has a unique style that is both clean and expressive.
After a lot of early DC work, such as Final Night or a long run on Legion of Super-Heroes, I suspect that DC will be kicking themselves for letting Immonen slip through their fingers and break out with Marvel.
Interested in Stuart Immonen? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Rafael who's it now? Yes, that's his real name and, yes, I have to look up how to spell it every single time. Albuquerque is the current penciller on DC's Blue Beetle series. While he does not have the realistic style of a Hitch or look of a Quitely or McNiven, Albuquerque still manages to set himself apart from the rest of the pack with a unique style, something you don't see that often anymore in the post-Image comic industry, is fast, expressive and has an excellent grasp of panel layout and composition.
While I don't think Albuquerque will be selling books on name alone just yet, I suspect he'll be moving on to bigger and better things in the near future, especially with DC throwing him more and more mainstream work, as seen in the recent Robin / Spoiler Special. While I'm not sure if he'll ever reach the mass appeal of a Van Sciver or Cheung, look for Albuquerque to fill that unique Yu, Ramos and Bachelo art niche in the future.
Interested in Rafael Albuquerque? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Dan Slott is another longtime writer that is just hitting his stride in the industry. While he's been kicking around since the early 90's, I think we can all agree his break out work has to be DC's The Powerpuff Girls #34 back in 2003.
Okay, so maybe his short lived stint on Powerpuff Girls wasn't the highlight of his career, but recent years have been very kind to the vetern writer and his current success can probably be traced back to what should have been a throw away mini-series, Spider-Man / Human Torch, back in 2005. Many, including yours truly, consider this one of the funniest Spider-Man stories ever written and it even features Spider-Man doing donuts with the Spider-Mobile on the side of the Daily Bugle building. If that's not comedy gold, I don't know what is.
After that, it's no surprise Slott is one of the architects of the current Brand New Day thrice monthly Amazing Spider-Man nor is it surprising that his Avengers: The Initiative is the best, page for page, Avengers title on the market.
While it hasn't been all success for Slott over the years, it's not hard to see he'll be a major player in the comic industry over the next few years.
Interested in Dan Slott? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Many readers probably only know Robert Kirkman from his atrocious run on Ultimate X-Men and that is a shame because the man is incredibly talented and it was clear from the start that his writing style just didn't fit with that title.
For those unaware, Kirkman is the writer of two of the most popular Image titles, Invincible and The Walking Dead, and Invincible has become so associated with the publisher that he is seen sort of as the Superman or Spider-Man of Image Comics, especially with his unique stylized I costume emblem.
However, as good as those two, and most of his other indy books, have been, Kirkman has yet to find that mainstream success to propel him to the top. I suspect if Marvel ever gave him a chance with Spider-Man, a character that Invincible draws very heavily from, that would quickly change, as seen by the enjoyable team-up Kirkman wrote between the two characters several years back.
Interested in Robert Kirkman? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING
I know, I know, I'm cheating here by putting two names in one spot, but Abnett and Lanning are like peanut butter and jelly - you can't have one without the other! As such, I'm counting the two of them as one and for good reason.
While the duo has been around since the late 80's and have put out some critically acclaimed titles, such as Legion Lost, Resurrection Man and Ninjak (okay, maybe I'm the only one that liked Ninjak), the writing combo hasn't exactly been a namebrand, let alone a catchy acronymn like DnA, over the last couple of decades.
However, as seems to be the case with a lot of these writers, their return to Marvel in the 00's (how do you even say that? Zeroes? Oh-ohs?) along with carte blanche to resurrect the sagging cosmic line has propelled their names to the forefront of fandom with such hits as Annihilation: Conquest, Nova and the recent Guardians of the Galaxy. They aren't burning up the monthly sales charts, but Abnett and Lanning will forever be known as Marvel's cosmic go to guys and could be this generations Starlin or Shooter.
Interested in Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
CHRIS YOST & CRAIG KYLE
Yet another two for one special, Yost and Kyle are like peanut butter and... Oh, I used that analogy already. Um, they're like strawberries and pickles - only they can tell you who is or isn't a Skrull. Okay, I give up on the crappy comparisons. Pretty much anything these two touch turns to gold.
With the highly successful X-Force relaunch, along with an acclaimed run on New X-Men and several enjoyable one-shots together, expect to see these two writers becoming a staple of either the X-Men line or the Marvel Universe, itself, in the near future.
Interested in Chris Yost & Craig Kyle? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!
Can you guess what Peter Tomasi's first comic book work solely as a writer was? Would you believe Black Adam: The Dark Age mini-series? The mini-series many have hailed as one of the best stories to come out of DC in years and the mini-series I gave the award for Best Mini-Series in 2007? It's hard to believe, but it's true.
However, that leaves out the crucial detail that Tomasi has been an editor at DC and emersed in the comic book creative process since 1993, only leaving that position last year to give writing a shot with the Black Adam mini-series.
From there, Tomasi has moved on to be the main writer on both Green Lantern Corps and Nightwing and recently wrote the touching and heartfelt Martian Manhunter tribute, Final Crisis: Requiem, a book I consider to be the best single issue written this year and can't, honestly, see any other comic beating out for that award come year's end.
And this is only Tomasi getting his feet wet as a comic writer! I can't even begin to imagine what we've yet to see from this incredibly talented writer and DC would be foolish not to make sure they lock this guy up to a long term exclusive contract because he's going to be huge in the near future.
Interested in Peter Tomasi? Check out his past work with the following trades and help support the Weekly Crisis!