After Alliterator’s recent, great post on long comic runs by creators (not owner-creators), I’ve been thinking about the creators who have taken some ownership of characters/teams/stories in long running comics. I’m looking for runs that bring characters to new light. It’s what I’m interested in reading, right now, so any others would be great!
I recently finished Peter David’s runs in X-Factor. In particular his 2005 run really grabbed the characters (Madrox and Siryn especially well) and fleshed them out in a way that other creators hadn’t. I found the series funny, but also moving. Changing the characters from heroes to detectives was a great, new way to look at them.
Some characters get reimagined on what seems like a weekly basis, but I’ll never forget how Eric Larsen drew Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man in the early 90’s. This was just as Rob Liefield was destroying the laws of proportion on an industry-wide scale. Somehow, with Venom, this just worked (also, he was appropriately disgusting). Venom has been a lot of things since then, but as the symbiote has moved from character to character, “Venom” has ceased to have the single-minded direction combined with a sense of being wronged that made him a great foil to Spider-man.
Around the same time, Simon Bisley took Lobo to places that DC might wish he’d never been, but also created a character that was much less generic and more over-the-top.
Bisley’s art was gross, but also visceral and Keith Giffen and Alan Grant filled it out with a story to match.
Finally, while Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely grabbed the X-Men in the early 2000’s and shook them in such a way that they’d never be just the same again, they didn’t take ownership of any existing character as much as they did Emma Frost. Their iteration of her character is so self-aware that she’s nearly touching the fourth wall, without ever breaking it.
I’m excited to hear about other characters who were successfully redefined!