8 Creators Who Secretly Defined Your Favourite Heroes

The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but they weren't defined until years later.

Giant Size X-Men Thumbnail
Marvel Comics

Comic book creators are the most famous figures in the industry, not counting their creations themselves. Pioneer a successful hero, villain or supporting character, and you're pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of credits and praise - or so you would think.

The reality is that creating intellectual property is a messy business. If it's not work for hire contracts denying justice for key creatives, then it's bound to be mythologised narratives overshadowing the natural development of a given character. It's the latter aspect that I want to focus on today, and specifically how latter-day comic book celebrity has managed to impede mainstream recognition of more modern creatives, who, in some instances, actually went on to leave a bigger mark on a certain character or property than the people who first created them actually did.

That's not always the case, but plenty of writers, artists and editors have gone on to imprint an indelible impact years after a given comic came into existence. Sometimes they redefine certain creations, other times, they simply go on to add to the mythology that was already present, but they're just as important - and invariably overlooked.

This isn't to downplay the legacy of the architects of Marvel and DC either - Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko's influence is unquestionable, and without them, most of these later arcs and runs wouldn't have been possible. It's more that mainstream narratives tend to forget that the medium didn't stand still after they completed their work. The industry continued to craft legends, redefine heroes, and innovate. Here are the figures responsible.

Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Talks about stuff @EwanRuinsThings