Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Top Ten Most Influential Dr. Fate Writers

Continuing with Dr. Fate's 73rd Birthday Celebration, I have compiled a list of who I think are the to 10 most influential people to have written Dr. Fate in comics.

10) There was a tie for number 10 between Bill Willingham and Marc Guggenheim.  These were the two final writers of the Justice Society of America before the New 52 era.  Bill Willingham was the person who brought back Dr. Fate into the JSA comics starting with issue #30 aptly titled Fate Steps In.  Before that issue Dr. Fate had only been seen in Griffen's Reign in Hell mini-series (which was great) and he also had a minor role during the Blackest Night event.  I put both Willingham and Geggenheim in at #10 because they were the last people to write the "classic" Dr. Fate before the Flashpoint event and the start of the New 52.  The Dr. Fate that they wrote was a neophyte to the world of magic and was only receiving minor guidance from the Helm of Nabu.

9) Wouldn't you know it, but the number nine slot is also a tie! This time between Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway.  Both Mr. Levitz and Mr. Conway wrote the Justice Society and All-Star Comics during the 1970's.  I loved the way that they wrote Dr. Fate because, although he was not the official leader of the JSA, when Dr. Fate spoke everyone listened.  Dr. Fate had the wisdom of Nabu and everyone respected him for it.  Plus, they wrote in the old corny comics dialogue which is super-fun to go back and read.  This Dr. Fate is in stark contrast to the last Dr. Fate of the regular DC continuity.  Also, I believe it was Levitz who wrote the 1st of Kent Nelson's three deaths.     

8)  Roy Thomas.  Mr. Thomas wrote the Dr. Fate that was part of the JSA as well as the All-Star Squadron in the early 1980's.  Thomas' Dr. Fate was intriguing because for part of the time, Kent Nelson wore the half-helm that he began wearing at the end of his golden age run.  The half-helm did not contain the soul of Nabu but continued to give Dr. Fate limited powers while retaining his identity (i.e. Kent Nelson did not get possessed).  Kent Nelson later went back to the full-helm and retained all of Nabu's full powers.  Mr. Thomas also wrote  a couple of different clashes that occurred between Fate and The Spectre which were very interesting.  One taking place during the America vs the Justice Society mini-series.  

7) Christopher Golden.  Golden wrote a great 5-issue Dr. Fate mini-series in 2002 featuring Hector Hall as Dr. Fate.  I really enjoyed this series and have always said that if there ever was a Dr. Fate movie made, this story would make a great template.

6) William Mesner-Loebs.  Mesner-Loebs had an interesting Dr. Fate run in the 1990's.  His Dr. Fate had Kent Nelson's wife, Inza Nelson, donning the Helm and Kent basically playing the background role that Inza had played for decades.  In my opinion, the run lacked action and the darkness that Dr. Fate had in the past.  Having said that, I actually enjoyed many of the story lines that Inza created as Dr. Fate.  And although she was not the first female version of the good Doctor, she was by far superior to her predecessor.  

5) J.M. DeMatteis.  It's no secret that I hated DeMatteis' ongoing Dr. Fate series, but his four-part mini-series in the late 1980's was an absolute classic.  The story was dark, contained tons of magic and really highlighted the conflict between Nabu and Kent Nelson.  Although the story introduced Linda and Eric Strauss (two characters that were beyond unworthy of the Dr. Fate mantle) it was still great.  This story also marked the second time that Kent Nelson died in the comics.  

4) Steve Gerber.  Gerber was given the task of resurrecting Dr. Fate after his demise in the Infinite Crisis story.  The story he gave us was one of redemption of a broken man who was named after his Great-Uncle Kent Nelson. Gerber brought the  Nelson name back into the equation in the form of Kent V. Nelson.  This is probably my favorite version of Dr. Fate, as Gerber gave us not only a character that is relatable but one that is also learning the craft without Nabu's guidance.  Unfortunately, Mr. Gerber passed away before he can finish his fantastic tale.  Would have loved to see what he planned for Dr. Fate as an ongoing.  RIP Mr. Gerber, and thank you for putting out one of my favorite versions of my favorite characters.

3) Martin Pasko.  There are some writers that just seem to "get" or have some connection with the characters that they are writing.  I've often said that Mr. Pasko "gets" Dr. Fate.  I am partial to Pasko's Dr. Fate stories because I  believe they were my introduction to this wonderful comic character.  Pasko's Dr. Fate travels through different dimensions, fights mythological gods who are actually agents of chaos, and uses different spells to destroy these threats.  Not to mention that he was the first to create the internal conflict between Nabu and Kent Nelson.  Pasko's Dr. Fate will forever be the standard for the character.  

2) James D. Robinson.  James D. Robinson has had a hand in resurrecting the Dr. Fate character not once, but twice!  He did it in the late 1990's when he brought back Dr. Fate as Hector Hall, and very recently as part of the DC's New 52 Earth 2 comic.  The most recent Dr. Fate is of Egyptian descent and was the ward of the deceased Kent Nelson.  Mr. Robinson is another one of those writers that seems to understand the character and is building/continuing that conflict that Mr. Pasko created between Nabu and his human host.

1) Gardner Fox.  At number one, it should be no surprise that this honor goes to the creator of the Dr. Fate character: Mr. Gardner Fox.  Without Mr. Fox's creative genius we would not have this awesome character to enjoy.  And although today's Dr. Fate is different from that of the Golden Age counterpart that Mr. Fox created, many of the same elements remain in tact.  Thank you Mr. Fox for giving us comic geeks a character that we have enjoyed for 73 years now.  

1 comment:

  1. Of these Gardner Fox and Christopher Golden are my favorites.