Jonathan Hickman is one of the most creative and energetic writers working in comics today, he’s a pretty big deal and he’s also comic’s Next Big Thing.
In 2006 Jonathan Hickman published The Nightly News through Image Comics. It was met with both praise and controversy. Aesthetically it is very much the work of a graphic designer. Many of the pages are laid out like advertisements.
You can easily see the amount of thought and planning that went into setting each sequence to the page. Though most of the characters appear photo referenced, they each retain a cartoonist’s touch in their conveyance of emotion and their reactions. One of the most prominent aspects of The Nightly News, visually speaking, is the charts. Hickman loves his charts. Using them between story pages or incorporating them directly into the art, he makes the normally stiff and grey method of disseminating information via chart flow within the story. In his works that followed at Image, Hickman employed the use of other artists, each with their own distinctive styles, but having The Nightly News as reference shows Hickman still very much guiding the aesthetics of his creator owned titles.
Brian Bendis took notice and was key in getting Hickman onboard as a writer at Marvel. Hickman’s first assignment was Secret Warriors which was co-plotted, in the beginning, by Bendis. After the first story arc you get a feel that Bendis and his influence are gone and Hickman is in full control of the book.
With the incorporation of charts and backmatter it is easy to see Hickman’s signature methods at work. Warriors was a high-profile book spinning out of Secret Invasion and then into Dark Reign; the fact that Marvel Editorial allowed pages to be used in such a way shows that they had faith in Hickman who must’ve put them forth not as EXTRA but as INTEGRAL to the story. . .MARVEL allowed a new writer to greatly influence the LOOK and feel of a book, far beyond simply turning in a script to an artist. By the series’ end Secret Warriors was very much a Jonathan Hickman book that at times closely resembled his creator owned material.
Next Marvel gave Hickman The Fantastic Four. . . This is a move that can only be compared to DC Comics handing over The Justice League to Grant Morrison. In both cases the companies had properties which were once their flagship books that were floundering and failing. Morrison succeeded in making JLA DC’s best selling title, Hickman has made Fantastic Four a must read.
Now of course, the FF were revitalized for a time by Mark Waid who brought back the heart that was missing from the stories. Later Mark Millar tried his hand at them and he brought the hard sci-fi quite successfully, but the family seemed split, the heart gone.
Hickman gets it right by once again making The Fantastic Four both a family as well as science heroes (A no-brainer really, just ask Stan&Jack!). Since taking over the book he has, time and again, delivered twists and shocks that’ll both move and wow you. He also achieved the impossible by making me care about Johnny Storm, The Human Torch. I hated that guy and now I cheer for him.
Keeping one foot in at Marvel Comics, Hickman also has stayed close to his creator-owned roots over at Image. Last Year he released The Red Wing, which was met with excitement from fans and accolades from the critics. It’s a beautiful and twisted story, a reverse-engineered father/son redemption tale steeped in weaponized time-travel!
Just last month Hickman premiered his new series The Manhattan Projects, a mad-scientist romp that speculates what was going on behind the scenes of the real Manhattan Project. This week Hickman’s newest book Secret is out. These two new titles are a perfect opportunity to get into the mind of one of Marvel’s best writers through his amazing independent work!
. . . and what’s the deal with the histrionics at the beginning of this post, that Jonathan Hickman is comic’s NEXT BIG THING!?
Well it’s been announced that Hickman is leaving Fantastic Four this year. It’s also been announced that Bendis is leaving all of the Avengers books that he’s helmed for so long behind. . . So I’m betting that Mr. Jonathan Hickman, having proven himself with The FF and The Avenger’s Ultimate Universe counterparts: The Ultimates, is going to be the new writer on Marvel’s Avengers Properties! Much like Grant Morrison on JLA before him, a mad genius could be getting his hands on the coolest toys in the toybox.
Writing Marvel’s Avengers after Avengers vs. X-Men and the upcoming summer mind-blower that is the AVENGERS MOVIE! Doing this while also putting out remarkable independent comics exploding with innovation and creative energies!? Three words: Next. Big. Thing.
Talk to us at the shop and let us put some of Hickman’s comics into your hands. They are, and will be, awesome.Trailer for ‘Secret’ out this wed.Apr.11