List top 100 most prolific DC Comics writers (updated)

I’ve been playing the Grand Comics Database. They allow you to download and play with a full copy of their database (provided you know MySQL and have an idea of how to work with databases). This product of this is the above table below of the 100 most prolific writers at DC Comics according to data contained with the database. I’ve tried to exclude reprints (see the notes at the every bottom of this post).

The first column list the rank in terms of number of pages produced at DC Comics, the second column lists the name of the writer, and the third column lists the number of pages they produced. The fourth column lists the number of pages as a percentage of DC Comics total output as listed in the GCD. I’ve also listed columns for the number of stories, issues, and the date of publication for their first work at DC Comics.

A few interesting observations:

  • The most prolific DC writer of all time is Robert Kanigher who is responsible for 3.5% of all DC’s original output across their entire 75-years. Second to him is Gardner Fox. Together they are responsible for more than 5% of DC’s entire output.
  • The most prolific DC female writer of all time is Gail Simone at No 42. Other women on the list include Dann Thomas (No. 57), Louise Simonson (No. 66), and Devin Grayson (No. 68).
  • The most prolific DC writer to start working after the Golden Age is Chuck Dixon at No. 3.
  • The newest writer on the list is Matthew Sturges who appears at No. 61.
  • The writers with the earliest start dates are Jerry Siegel and Sheldon Mayer who both have credits dating back to 1935.
  • The massive caveat is that these details are only as certain as the details in the GCD. Also the Stories column may be over-estimated as individual chapters of a single book length tale (e.g. the separate All-Star Comics chapters) are indexed as separate stories.

Updated 02-Aug-2011 to make the table sortable by clicking on the column header (via the excellent Tablesorter jQuery plugin as included in PolyVision’s WordPress plugin.) I’ve also added an additional column listing which feature they did most of their work on, the number in brackets is the number of pages on that feature.

Rank Name Pages Pages % Stories Issues First Date Signature Feature
1 Robert Kanigher 30287 3.51 2843 1917 1945 Wonder Woman (4088)
2 Gardner Fox 17545 2.03 1857 997 1937 Justice League of America (1628)
3 Chuck Dixon 15329 1.77 659 634 1991 Batman (3236)
4 Geoff Johns 13803 1.60 638 596 1999 Justice Society of America (2541)
5 Marv Wolfman 13415 1.55 638 587 1968 New Teen Titans (2645)
6 Gerry Conway 12117 1.40 708 611 1969 Justice League of America (2439)
7 Denny O’Neil 11972 1.39 591 567 1968 Batman (1081)
8 Keith Giffen 11686 1.35 530 485 1982 Legion of Super-Heroes (1912)
9 Bob Haney 11084 1.28 1071 764 1955 Unknown Soldier (956)
10 Cary Bates 10917 1.26 653 598 1964 Superman (3219)
11 Mark Waid 10912 1.26 530 459 1985 Flash (2421)
12 Doug Moench 10546 1.22 519 412 1973 Batman (5370)
13 Grant Morrison 10216 1.18 425 422 1988 The Invisibles (1408)
14 Alan Grant 10164 1.18 436 397 1987 Batman (4001)
15 John Ostrander 9220 1.07 452 394 1986 Suicide Squad (1646)
16 Bill Finger 8824 1.02 881 675 1939 Batman (3361)
17 Jerry Siegel 8325 0.96 890 607 1935 Superman (3578)
18 Roy Thomas 8304 0.96 392 331 1966 All-Star Squadron (1495)
19 John Broome 8238 0.95 864 546 1946 Green Lantern (1539)
20 Paul Kupperberg 8016 0.93 480 441 1977 Vigilante (944)
21 Dan Jurgens 7544 0.87 366 339 1985 Superman (3352)
22 Garth Ennis 7465 0.86 292 289 1991 Preacher (1704)
23 Greg Rucka 7140 0.83 339 318 1998 Batman (1377)
24 J. M. DeMatteis 7069 0.82 326 310 1978 Justice League America (760)
25 Paul Levitz 7035 0.81 444 361 1974 Legion of Super-Heroes (4263)
26 James Robinson 6514 0.75 303 276 1992 Starman (1982)
27 Judd Winick 6487 0.75 296 292 2000 Green Arrow (1050)
28 Peter David 6396 0.74 293 280 1988 Supergirl (1764)
29 Len Wein 6318 0.73 396 357 1968 Blue Beetle (560)
30 Karl Kesel 6274 0.73 303 271 1985 Superman (1945)
31 Otto Binder 6273 0.73 750 508 1948 Superboy (1464)
32 Gerard Jones 6259 0.72 264 254 1988 Green Lantern (1769)
33 Bill Willingham 5842 0.68 342 258 1999 Fables (2553)
34 Peter Milligan 5625 0.65 246 243 1989 Shade (1665)
35 Mike W. Barr 5301 0.61 285 248 1975 The Outsiders (918)
36 Tom Peyer 5242 0.61 263 230 1989 Legion of Super-Heroes (1889)
37 Alan Moore 5213 0.60 326 216 1984 Swamp Thing (1058)
38 John Byrne 5105 0.59 250 215 1986 Superman (899)
39 Brian Azzarello 5084 0.59 231 231 1997 100 Bullets (2220)
40 Michael Fleisher 4966 0.57 275 267 1972 Jonah Hex (2113)
41 Kurt Busiek 4737 0.55 274 218 1983 Trinity (1153)
42 Gail Simone 4720 0.55 230 216 2003 Birds of Prey (1335)
43 Jack Kirby 4538 0.53 308 238 1942 Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! (743)
44 Mike Grell 4529 0.52 206 202 1975 Green Arrow (2314)
45 Roger Stern 4524 0.52 253 234 1988 Superman (2082)
46 Sheldon Mayer 4517 0.52 774 311 1935 Sugar & Spike (2300)
47 Dan Mishkin 4497 0.52 259 230 1980 Blue Devil (800)
48 William Messner-Loebs 4314 0.50 194 190 1988 Flash (1085)
49 Jack Miller 4210 0.49 499 382 1945 Rip Hunter (575)
50 Arnold Drake 4183 0.48 412 278 1956 Doom Patrol (810)
51 Michael Jan Friedman 4175 0.48 171 170 1989 Star Trek: The Next Generation (2273)
52 Leo Dorfman 4092 0.47 389 277 1961 Superman (1026)
53 Don Cameron 4042 0.47 416 316 1940 Superman (844)
54 Bob Rozakis 3982 0.46 376 312 1974 ‘Mazing Man (364)
55 Ed Brubaker 3936 0.46 186 178 1995 Batman (886)
56 Warren Ellis 3884 0.45 176 170 1996 Transmetropolitan (1386)
57 Dann Thomas 3878 0.45 172 157 1983 Infinity, Inc (1389)
58 Jeph Loeb 3795 0.44 162 149 1991 Superman (1214)
59 E. Nelson Bridwell 3659 0.42 323 285 1964 Super Friends (735)
60 Ron Marz 3614 0.42 170 161 1993 Green Lantern (2241)
61 Matthew Sturges 3593 0.42 207 172 2006 Jack of Fables (1042)
62 Paul Dini 3553 0.41 166 149 1993 Countdown (1008)
63 Brian K. Vaughan 3544 0.41 152 152 2000 Y (1380)
64 George Kashdan 3486 0.40 558 417 1947 Weird War Tales (306)
65 Martin Pasko 3473 0.40 241 222 1974 Superman (805)
66 Louise Simonson 3405 0.39 162 144 1991 Superman (2301)
67 Justin Gray; Jimmy Palmiotti 3319 0.38 147 147 2004 Jonah Hex (1603)
68 Devin Grayson 3251 0.38 143 140 1997 Nightwing (997)
69 Jamie Delano 3243 0.38 134 130 1988 Hellblazer (1024)
70 Jerry Ordway 3240 0.38 146 143 1987 Superman (1817)
71 Joe Kelly 3229 0.37 147 147 1999 Superman (1284)
72 Steven T. Seagle 3205 0.37 143 129 1994 Sandman (1404)
73 David Michelinie 3144 0.36 202 178 1974 Superman (1078)
74 Neil Gaiman 3136 0.36 162 132 1988 Sandman (2224)
75 France Herron 3124 0.36 398 258 1947 Tomahawk (565)
76 Edmond Hamilton 3118 0.36 300 237 1942 Superman (904)
77 Dan Abnett; Andy Lanning 3104 0.36 143 138 1992 Legion of Super-Heroes (1292)
78 Matt Wagner 3078 0.36 131 122 1987 Sandman (1567)
79 Mike Carey 3028 0.35 124 124 1999 Hellblazer (945)
80 Howard Chaykin 3024 0.35 112 105 1973 American Century (418)
81 Dave Wood 2987 0.35 342 264 1951 Blackhawk (325)
82 Joe Samachson 2983 0.35 380 218 1942 Zatara (309)
83 Christopher Priest 2863 0.33 138 138 1988 The Ray (722)
84 Peter J. Tomasi 2831 0.33 133 129 1995 Green Lantern Corps (640)
85 Brian Wood 2823 0.33 132 124 2002 DMZ (1427)
86 Jim Starlin 2703 0.31 108 92 1978 Batman (672)
87 Mark Millar 2665 0.31 145 120 1994 Superman (820)
88 Dwayne McDuffie 2594 0.30 122 119 1991 Icon (749)
89 Will Pfeifer 2556 0.30 119 119 1999 Catwoman (859)
90 Joey Cavalieri 2546 0.29 191 181 1981 Huntress (630)
91 Joe Casey 2515 0.29 110 110 1999 Superman (812)
92 Tony Bedard 2465 0.29 124 119 2000 R.E.B.E.L.S. (671)
93 Steve Englehart 2344 0.27 110 107 1974 Green Lantern Corps (514)
94 Frank Robbins 2285 0.26 163 130 1968 Batman (829)
95 Fabian Nicieza 2270 0.26 136 127 1996 Trinity (538)
96 John Rozum 2126 0.25 139 131 1994 Xombi (569)
97 Elliot S! Maggin 2072 0.24 157 135 1972 Superman (1021)
98 Mark Evanier 2036 0.24 123 92 1967 New Gods (598)
99 Adam Beechen 2030 0.23 99 99 2004 Justice League Unlimited (464)
100 Kelley Puckett 2025 0.23 90 90 1991 Batman (717)

Notes

  • Methodology: This table was constructing from a list of the most profile writers based on the total sum of the pages written. This was done in several passes. In the first pass I simply searched for all unique values in the script field for stories published by “DC”. Once I had those I ran a second pass looking for script fields were a previously found writer was listed as substring – e.g. “Mark Waid” appears as a substring in the “Mark Waid; Brain Augustyn” partnership. Once this adjusted list was completed I concatenated entries for writers who had differing spellings of names (“Gardner F. Fox” and “Gardner Fox”).
  • The highest ranked result isn’t show. Its “?” meaning unknown. I’ve left it out as
  • I don’t claim any knowledge on pseudonym so I’ve not done anything about them. Theoretically the substring filtering in the second pass should have picked up any credits where the indexer has noted the use of a known pseudonym.
  • I have attempted to exclude reprints by excluding any story which contains the word “from” in its reprint field  – I couldn’t exclude stories just on the presence of a reprint field as some indexers use it to note where the story has been reprint rather than where it is from.