|Born||William Francis Loebs, Jr.|
February 19, 1949
Ferndale, Michigan, U.S.
|Area(s)||Cartoonist, Writer, Penciller, Artist, Inker|
Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine MacAlistaire
|Awards||Inkpot Award 1987|
GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book 1992
Macabre Award 2008
Bill Finger Award 2017
William Francis Messner-Loebs (/ /; born William Francis Loebs, Jr., February 19, 1949) is an American comics artist and writer from Michigan, also known as Bill Loebs and Bill Messner-Loebs. His hyphenated surname is a combination of his and his wife Nadine's unmarried surnames.
In the 1980s and 1990s he wrote runs of series published by DC Comics, Image Comics, Comico, and other comics publishers, including DC's superhero series Flash and Wonder Woman among others. Additionally he has both written and drawn original creator-owned works, such as Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine MacAlistaire.
William Messner-Loebs was born in Ferndale, Michigan. His right arm was amputated above the shoulder in infancy because of a cancerous tumor; he writes and draws with his left hand.
Loebs was a friend of Kevin Siembieda, and played in Siembieda's role-playing group in Detroit; in 1981, his mother Frances (Schepeler) Loebs loaned Siembieda the money to start publishing role-playing books for his company Palladium Books.
His first comics work was for Power Comics Company and on Noble Comics' Justice Machine with Mike Gustovich. His first ongoing series was Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine MacAlistaire, about 19th-century Michigan frontier life, which he both wrote and illustrated. It was published from 1983 to 1986 by Aardvark-Vanaheim and Fantagraphics, followed by a limited series Journey: Wardrums. He wrote the 31-issue Jonny Quest series published by Comico from 1986 to 1988 and collaborated with artist Adam Kubert on the Jezebel Jade limited series, a spin-off from the Jonny Quest series.
In 1988, he began writing The Flash with issue #15 and continued through #61. He and artist Greg LaRocque introduced Linda Park as a supporting character in the series in The Flash vol. 2 #28 (July 1989). He also reintroduced the Pied Piper as a reformed villain and established the character as gay, in issue #53 (Aug. 1991).
Meanwhile, he wrote Dr. Fate #25-41 and the Jaguar series for DC's Impact Comics imprint. He wrote Epicurus the Sage which was illustrated by Sam Kieth, and scripted The Maxx which was illustrated and co-written by Kieth. In 1990, Messner-Loebs became the writer of the Batman newspaper comic strip and wrote the strip until its cancellation the following year.
In 1992 Loebs took over writing the Wonder Woman series, with pencils by Mike Deodato. During his run from #63 to #100, he created the character Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, for whom he wrote the mini-series Artemis: Requiem. Meanwhile, he wrote Hawkman #9-27, penciled primarily by Steve Lieber. In 1996 he had a brief run writing Marvel Comics' Thor. From 1997 to 1999 he wrote Impulse #29-49, penciled by Craig Rousseau. In 1999 he wrote the "V2K" mini-series Brave Old World for Vertigo, penciled by Guy Davis.
In 2005, following years of limited freelance work and the loss of his and his wife's home in the early 2000s, Messner-Loebs's financial condition was publicized in the local newspaper and comics news sites and Internet message boards. Author Clifford Meth teamed up with artist Neal Adams to create a benefit auction to help Messner-Loebs. The two also created an art tribute book entitled Heroes & Villains with all proceeds aiding Messner-Loebs.
His financial situation improved somewhat, and he had a number of works published, including an issue of Green Arrow in 2005, and several pieces in The Three Tenors (Aardwolf Publishing), which he shared credits for along with Clifford Meth and artist Dave Cockrum. A new "Journey" story was included in the one-shot Many Happy Returns in 2008, and IDW Publishing reprinted the original material in paperback. He has done writing for Boom! Studios, including the four-issue Necronomicon and stories for Zombie Tales. He has done illustration work for the 2007 humor book Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker's Soul and a monthly cartoon for the Livingston [County, MI] Parent Journal. In 2008, he discussed additional, more substantial new works with various publishers. In 2011, he wrote the DC Retroactive: The Flash – The '80s and DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The '90s one-shots.
As of early 2018, William Messner-Loebs and his wife have continued to struggle financially, with Messner-Loebs working two part-time positions in Michigan. In 2019, he co-wrote, with Amy Chu, issues #3–5 of the limited series Kiss: The End for Dynamite Entertainment, and contributed to an independent comic book anthology called YEET Presents.
In September 2020, William Messner-Loebs was named Project Editor for Resurgence Comics.
In 1985, Messner-Loebs was nominated for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award. He received an Inkpot Award in 1987 and his Jonny Quest series from Comico was nominated for the Kirby Award for Best Continuing Series and Best New Series that same year. In 1989, Messner-Loebs was nominated for an Eisner Award as Best Writer for Jonny Quest and his Jezebel Jade series was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Finite Series.
For his work on The Flash, he received the first GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book in 1992. He received the Bill Finger Award for Writing Excellence in 2017.
He introduced Linda Park, which is likely his most significant contribution to the Flash mythos.
We gained one of the few openly gay superhero supporting characters in DC Comics History in 1991's Flash #53, written by William Messner-Loebs and drawn by Greg LaRocque and Jose Marzan Jr.
Shortly after the 1989 feature [film], Batman even returned to the funny pages for a bit, in a comic strip by writer William Messner-Loebs...Lacking enough support from various papers to make it financially feasible, the new comic strip folded after two years, despite Carmine Infantino trying his hand at its art chores.
If you just want to see some more recent Bill Loebs goodness, check out Yeet Presents here, who have been working with Bill recently, with a brand-new Wolverine Macalistaire story appearing in YEET Presents #33
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