10 Boldest Decisions Comic Creators Ever Made – CBR – Comic Book Resources

From Bob Kane to Alan Moore, comics’ top creators have taken bold steps in revolutionizing and popularizing their craft and stories.
Fans love superheroes and villains for their sheer audaciousness. Whether they're heroes risking their lives to save a child from a burning building or villains using torturous schemes as a part of their sick jokes, comic book characters are known for their boldness. One would argue that the creators behind these wonderful characters would need to be just as bold, even though the typical archetype of a comic book writer may be timid.
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But while they may not have the physical strength of Superman, or they're not as deviant as the Joker, these creators have done things that have taken extraordinary bravery and gusto. Some of their actions are altruistic and some are so blatantly wrong it makes jaws drop.
Marvel legend Stan Lee is renowned for his creations, but his most famous one may have not seen the light of day without persistence. As his mind wandered while watching a fly on the wall, Lee created a teenage superhero with spider powers.
Lee presented this idea to his publisher who infamously told him it was "the worst idea he had ever heard." Lee's determination led him to team up with Steve Ditko to create Spider-Man. As the comic series Amazing Fantasy was failing, Lee pushed publishers to give Spider-Man a shot. Lee's boldness paid off as the character exploded in popularity.
Paul Dini is synonymous with Batman due to his groundbreaking work on Batman: The Animated Series. The tragic irony in Dini's life occurred when he became a victim of a brutal mugging. Though there was no caped crusader to save him, Dini's premonition of Batman helped him gain the courage to carry on after the horrifying incident.
In Dark Night: A True Batman Story, Dini not only rehashed his life-threatening assaultbut also detailed his insecurities and relationship woes. Dini used a comic book medium to courageously expose his trauma, but not without help from the Dark Knight.
In 2015, creator John Byrne wrote of his displeasure with Jim Shooter, Marvel's former editor-in-chief, calling Shooter a "tyrant." Jim Shooter created the Star Brand as a part of his proposed New Universe line. Shooter left Marvel while Byrne took over writing for Star Brand.
In the issue Star Brand #12, written by Byrne, Ken Connell, one of the Star Brand hosts, attempted to imprint the Star Brand insignia on a piece of metal that inadvertently destroyed the city of Pittsburgh. Many saw this as a slight against Shooter because he's from Pittsburgh. Although Byrne claimed this was not his original intention, he relished the idea that it could be seen that way.
Many would cite Moore as the greatest comic book writer of all time, with a resume that includes Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The Killing Joke. The greatest irony of Moore is his disdain for the comic book industry. While stating he still loved the medium, the adored writer has been critical of the industry.
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In his most recent interview, Moore said that he felt there was an "infantilization" caused by superhero films that he feared could "be a precursor to fascism." While superhero films have caused much debate, Moore's criticism is the boldest critique of them all, whether one agrees or not.
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are undisputed pioneers of superhero comic books. The two friends from high school bonded over their love of Sci-Fi and put together many iterations of the Man of Steel. Much like Stan Lee, the pair met a lot of rejection.
However, when they were rejected by one comic book publisher, Shuster responded by burning a copy of their Superman comic book. Most of the pages were burned except for the cover of Superman, which was reportedly saved by Seigel. After a brief hiatus, they got back together and sold Superman to National Allied Publications to create one of the seminal American superheroes.
Grant Morrison and Mark Millar are both superb comic book writers in their own right. Their knack for storytelling may be why the two collaborated for DC Comics on comic runs such as The Flash and Swamp Thing. Morrison considered Millar to be a protégé of his. However, the two split up over time.
There's no defining incident as to why, but Morrison is open about their resentment towards Millar. Morrison told Rolling Stone that Millar made them lose their faith in humanity and said if they "run into" Millar they hoped it would be at "100 mph." Things had seemed to cool off between the two as of recently, but it's clear Morrison has strong feelings towards the Kick Ass creator.
Stan Lee's creations of X-Men and Black Panther are some of the most iconic stories in comic book history. The X-Men resonated with fans because the mutants were the first heroes to experience prejudice from humans. Critics have noted parallels between the X-Men story and the civil rights movement, and Lee made it clear where he stood.
In Lee's column "Stan's Soapbox", he wrote in 1968 that "bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills that plaguing the world today." He continued to condemn racism several times in his column throughout the years. While this line of thinking should be a given, Lee's ability to stand up for what's right during the tensions of the sixties proved to be boldly heroic.
There have been years of disputes over intellectual ownership of comic book characters, such as Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster litigating their royalties over Superman. Frustrated with the lack of creative control, creators Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee held a meeting with Marvel executives representing themselves and fellow creators Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio, and Jim Valentino.
Rather than asking for money, McFarlane and company told Marvel they were quitting. The motley crew went on to create Image Comics, an umbrella company for their own publishing companies. Despite spats between the founders, Image Comics became one of the most successful names in the comic book industry over the years with titles such as Spawn, The Walking Dead, and Invincible.
As detailed in the documentary Batman and Bill, Bob Kane wasn't the sole creator of Batman. Most of what fans love about the Dark Knight came from Kane's writing partner Bill Finger. Kane partnered with Finger to help him write most of the early Batman stories in the thirties and forties. Kane paid Finger on a contractual basis but took all the credit for ideas he never came up with.
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Kane adamantly disputed this for years until he published his memoir admitting he should've given more credit to Finger, who died penniless in 1974. Author Marc Tyler Nobleman went on a quest to earn credit for the deceased Finger for his co-creation. Nobleman and Finger's granddaughter, Athena, eventually succeeded. But Kane's swindling of the beloved Batman is ruthlessly and offensively bold.
Growing up as a street kid on the Lower East Side, Jack Kirby embodied the desired superhero traits that include bravery, confidence, and the ability to fight. Kirby got in a ton of gang fights in his youth until he channeled his restlessness into comics. After Kirby drew the first issue of Captain America where he punched Adolf Hitler, Nazis called into his office and claimed they were downstairs to get revenge on the guy whose hero assaulted their führer.
According to biographers Mark Evanier and Tom Scioli, Kirby shocked the office after he told the Nazis he'd meet them outside and went downstairs to confront them. The Nazis were not present when Kirby showed up, presumably scared of the boldness of the native New Yorker and comic creator.
NEXT: 10 Most Influential Creators In Comic Book History
Brian Rabadeau is a comic book/cartoon nerd as well as a stand-up comedian based in NYC. He loves Batman, Star Wars, comedy, movies, and the music of The Wu-Tang Clan. He co-hosts a sports centric web series Nosebleeders Sports on Youtube. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where spends his days thinking of goofy things to say and write. Comments/Inquires can be emailed to Brabadeau1@gmail.com.


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