COMICS Commentary: The Top 100 Power List for 2013

BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE Issue #7 November 2013. Special introductory price of $1.99. 106 pages. (Published by Avatar Press and available through Previews Magazine pre-order or comics shops that stock it.)

The bi-monthly BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE is now in its second year of publication, and this issue features the second Top 100 Power List, as compiled by the controversial head writer Rich Johnston. While the list is not the work of an editorial board, but solely the subjective opinions of Rich Johnston, it still remains a valuable guideline to Who’s Who in modern comics. It’s also all encompassing, covering not just writers, artists and editors but also chief executives and publishers - - anyone in a position of both power and influence.

Johnston does a good job in the preface of explaining how he made his decisions and sheds a little more insight into how he views the industry. He also explains why certain individuals have dropped in the ratings (Jim Lee, Isaac Perlmutter), others have risen (Scott Snyder, Jonathan Hickman) and some dropped out (Karen Berger). He also shares industry observations, such as noting that there are more women on the 2013 list and only one African-American. As he explains “this list doesn’t attempt to lead the industry but reflect it, warts and all. Which is why it is still mostly a list of fat white guys with facial hair. Including me.” (But he’s humble. Johnston only rates his influence at #89.)

I consider this essential reading for anyone interested in the “big picture” of the comics industry. It’s a bargain for the asking price, and sure to generate a lot of good water-cooler discussion among comics forums, etc. I won’t repeat the entire list here but would like to share some of the highlights.


1. DAN BUCKLEY - - publisher and COO of Marvel Comics. He’s kept Marvel on top.
2. ROBERT KIRKMAN - - Anything with his name on it is hot.
3. DAN DIDIO - - He’s credited with the DC universe revamp.
4. JOE QUESADA - - a recent return to more hands-on duty moves him up.
5. ERIC STEPHENSON – for his ability to spotlight new talent for Image Comics.
6. KEVIN FEIGE - - Marvel Studios money making film properties.
7. ALEX ALONSO – Credited with bringing the new wave of talent to Mavel.
8. SCOTT SNYDER— DC’s most bankable book. Batman beat Justice League in sales.
9. JONATHAN HICKMAN - - ability to juggle Marvel crossovers with idependent works.
10. DAVID STEINBERGER - - CEO of ComiXology digital comics distribution service.
Brian Michael Bendis fans may be disappointed to find him further down the list at #25 while Jeph Loeb, Mark Millar and Brian K. Vaughan topped him at postions #13, 17, and 23 respectively. Others will be unhappy to find Grant Morrison ranked as high as #32. Upstart CCO and founder of Valiant Entertainment Dinesh Shamdasani enters at #41. Stan Lee sits comfortably at position #54.

Some interesting members that I am learning of for the first time are Kevin Tsujihara (#24), new CEO of Warner Bros. who has roots in DC Comics and still has interest in comics publishing. Also of interest are Seiji Horibuchi (#58), chairman of Viz Media, largest publishers of manga in the United States; Lance Festerman (#60) organizer who started up the growing New York Comic Con; Joe Field (#64), comics store owner who invented Free Comic Book Day; and James Parker (#66) and James Killen (#68) buyers for the Hastings and Barnes & Noble chains who determine what comics are stocked there.

So who’s at the bottom of the list, you wonder? Still, they are still influential in the business. #96 is Will Dennis, senior editor at DC/Vertigo, followed by #97 Katie Cook, the writer who helped launch the My Little Pony books at IDW. #98 is Rich Burlew, successful creator whose fantasy web collections will be published with over one millions dollars obtained through a Kickstarter campaign. The final two slots are occupied by writers - - #99 Matt Moore of Associated Press and #100 Brian Truitt of USA Today who both cover comics and are sought after by publishers to look at their books.

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