10 Prose Authors Turned Comic Book Pros

Last week, we looked at 10 comic writers who went on to tackle the prose world, but the path between funny books and… well, <em>book</em> books is a two-way street. <p>Throughout comics' history, there have been many novelists who have experimented in the comic medium, or even found themselves building a parallel career inside the industry, like Greg Rucka (writer of <i>Queen & Country</i>, pictured). Here are 10 of our favorite wordsmiths who have found themselves playing with pictures at some point along the way.

MARJORIE LIU

Before Marjorie Liu started writing for Marvel with 2008's <em>NYX: No Way Home</em>, she was already an established novelist with multiple paranormal romance series under her belt, as well as an <em>X-Men</em> prose novel (no surprise, then, that she's taken the X-Books by storm, having written <em>NYX</em>, <em>X23</em>, <em>Dark Wolverine</em> and <em>Astonishing X-Men</em> so far). <p>Even as she continues to guide the destinies of Northstar, Karma et al in <em>Astonishing</em>, she's stayed active in prose.

PAUL CORNELL

Paul Cornell came to prominence as a novelist (and television writer) before he broke into the comics mainstream with 2007's <em>Wisdom</em> for Marvel. In fairness, he'd contributed to both <em>Doctor Who Magazine</em> and <em>Judge Dredd Megazine</em> when starting out as a writer, but it was his work on the <em>Doctor Who: New Adventures</em> novel series, and later the BBC <em>Doctor Who</em> revamp, that made his reputation. <p>Although he's currently in charge of Wolverine's future in the Marvel title of the same name, Cornell remains active in the prose world, having recently published the urban fantasy <em>London Falling</em>.

CHRIS ROBERSON

Chris Roberson is a man of many talents. You may know him as the writer of <em>iZombie</em>, <em>Masks</em> and <em>Edison Rex</em> (not to mention the writer who finished what J. Michael Straczynski started on the "Grounded" storyline for <em>Superman</em>), or as the co-published of critically acclaimed digital imprint MonkeyBrain. <p>What you possibly don't know is that he's also responsible for a plethora of prose works, including both original novels (like the <em>Celestial Empire</em> series and <em>End of The Century</em>) and licensed works, including <em>Star Trek</em>, <em>X-Men</em> and even <em>Spy Kids</em> books. Clearly, the next step is taking over the world of poetry.

DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI

One of a wave of crime novelists who broke into Marvel in the mid-2000s, Duane Swierczynski had worked his way up through non-fiction titles like <em>The Big Book O'Beer</em> and <em>The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion</em> to thrillers including <em>The Blonde</em> and <em>The Wheel Man</em> before bringing his particular take on the world to comics. <p>After starting with relatively grounded titles like <em>Moon Knight</em> and <em>The Punisher</em>, he's found himself branching out with other publishers, writing <em>Bloodshot</em> for Valiant and <em>Godzilla</em> for IDW. Next up? <em>Point and Shoot</em>, the final novel in his Charlie Hardie trilogy, due later this year.

GREG RUCKA

One of the most well-known novelist-slash-comic-writers in the business, Rucka had already created the Atticus Kodiak series of novels by the time he started working with Steve Lieber to create <em>Whiteout</em> for Oni Comics. <p>That, in turn, led to a long career at DC Comics — where, at one point, he was writing ongoing series for both Superman and Wonder Woman, and a Batman mini, simultaneously — and Marvel. But he's always kept his hand in on characters that he's created, whether in <em>Queen and Country</em> or <em>Stumptown</em> in print comics, <em>Lady Sabre & The Pirates of The Ineffible Aether</em> in webcomics, or the <em>Alpha</em> trilogy of novels started last year.

BRAD MELTZER

Few writers get to enter the comic book industry with quite the splash that Brad Meltzer managed, first following Kevin Smith on <em>Green Arrow</em> and then writing the massively-successful <em>Identity Crisis</em> event for DC Comics. Let's credit that impact to the fact that Meltzer had already honed his craft — and built up quite a fanbase — through novels like <em>The Tenth Justice</em> and <em>The Millionaires</em> before coming to comics. <p>These days, he continues to expand his horizons, whether on TV with the History Channel's <em>Decoded</em>, or in non-fiction books like last year's <em>Heroes for My Daughter</em>.

JONATHAN LETHEM

That MacArthur Fellowship winner Lethem was a comic fan came as no surprise; in addition to his genre-friendly books, he'd previously written about his fandom for <em>Star Wars</em> and Philip K. Dick, after all, but if that level of nerditry wasn't enough of a clue, there's also the title of his 2003 novel, <em>The Fortress of Solitude</em>. <p>But it took 2007's revival of Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes' <em>Omega the Unknown</em> to bring the writer into the comic medium, creating a series (with artist Farel Dalrymple) that was everything fans of both the writer and the character could have expected: Something poignant, uncertain and quite beautiful. With his latest novel, <em>Dissident Gardens</em>, due later this year, would it be too much to ask that we might see some more comics from him before too long?

MICHAEL CHABON

Another award-winning author whose geekdom was rarely in doubt — the Pulitzer Prize winning <em>The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay</em>, about comic creators at the beginning of the industry, put such questions to bed for good — Chabon went from fan to creator when Dark Horse Comics spun out the Escapist, <em>Kavelier and Clay</em>'s fictional creation, into his own comic book overseen and partly written by the author. <p>Although he's concentrated on prose since the end of that series, his comic book career is due to restart later this year after it was announced that he'll write back-up strips for the next series of Matt Fraction, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba's <em>Casanova</em>.

STEPHEN KING

An astonishingly successful (and, with more than 50 novels under his belt, prolific) author, King has dipped his toe into comic books a handful of times during his career. Outside of his contribution to the 1985 charity anthology <em>Heroes for Hope</em>, King also wrote <em>Creepshow</em>, the Bernie Wrightson-illustrated adaptation of the George A. Romero movie, and more recently, one of the two stories that made up the opening arc of Scott Snyder's <em>American Vampire</em> over at Vertigo (there are also the numerous <em>Dark Tower</em> and <em>Stand</em> titles over at Marvel, although those are adaptations by other writers of his prose books). <p>With King experimenting more with different formats in recent years — he's working on plays, novels and ebooks these days — how long before someone convinces him to go it alone on an all-new, all-original comic book work?

HARLAN ELLISON

As is befitting such an outspoken writer, Harlan Ellison's comic book output can be considered somewhat eclectic, having produced original material for issues of <em>Detective Comics</em>, <em>The Spirit</em>, <em>The Incredible Hulk</em>, <em>Avengers</em> and <em>Daredevil</em> throughout the years, seemingly whenever inspiration strikes. <p>He's also had more than one comic book anthology devoted to adapting his prose (<em>Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor</em> and <em>The Illustrated Harlan Ellison</em> spring to mind), and even offered an illustrated to a 1989 charity title called <em>Fire Sale</em>. His next big comic book project is due soon: the graphic novel <em>Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos</em>, illustrated by Paul Chadwick, is released in July.

10 Prose Authors Turned Comic Book Pros

Date: 15 May 2013 Time: 08:42 PM ET