It's tough for me to decide between Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart. Both men contributed major changes to the team. Englehart's Celestial Madonna made Kang one of the all-time greats in Avengers villaindom. His run provided a comprehensive origin for the Vision, introduced the Beast to the team, and later the return of Wonder Man. Not bad... On the other hand, Roy created the Vision, Ultron, the Grim Reaper, and brought us the Kree/Skrull War. While I would lean toward Roy as more significant, Englehart was the author when I started reading the book.
I have to go with Roy Thomas. His run on the book set the groundwork for so much to come. He created a number of very significant characters; besides the ones Doug mentioned, he also gave us Pym's Yellowjacket incarnation, and Arkon, as well as making Jarvis into a more fully realized character. He broadened and expanded the Marvel universe through a large number of stories - the Kree-Skrull War being the most obvious one. I also appreciate his stories dealing with difficult subjects, such as racism. I think the overall flavor of the team was really developed by Roy.
I went for Kurt Busiek, because he came in a very difficult time: unlike the very early runs, characters and characterization had long been created, so he didn't have as much free room in that sense as others before him. Also, he came after a very bad Avengers period, quality wise (The Crossing, Onslaught and Reborn eras) and managed to have what I consider a great run, classic and innovative at the same time, adding things to the team and the characters without introducing too many new ones.
As such, I think his impact has been remembering to readers who and what the real Avengers are, and for this he gets my vote here
Post by Van Plexico on Nov 4, 2007 19:46:48 GMT -5
I'm going in a slightly different direction with my answer-- the run that was most influential and had the biggest impact on me was Jim Shooter's run, from about 158-177.
The main drawback of this run, for me, was that Kang had been killed off in 143 (or 144), something that was referenced repeatedly during Shooter's run, to my annoyance, since I had no access to back issues as a kid.
Without Kang ever appearing (save in odd form in Michelinie's novel) during those years, though, we still had the definitive Ultron storyline, plus "super Nefaria," the Collector, the Grim Reaper, Gyrich, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Korvac.
The most influential run of all? Maybe not, though even Kurt himself admitted his own run had a serious Shooter flavor to it. But it had a tremendous impact on me, coloring my perceptions of comics stories down to the present day, along with what I write.
Post by Doctor Doom on Nov 5, 2007 12:10:45 GMT -5
Busiek's is my personal favourite, because I experienced it firsthand and it was through him I came to love Ultron and Kang and see them as the Avengers arch-foes. Even when I re-read old stories, no Ultron story can come close to Unlimited for me, and no Kang story can come close to Dynasty. When I think of Avengers, I think of the Busiek run and that's the way I suspect it always will be.
The more I think about it the more I keep going back to Steve Englehart. When Roy Thomas left and Steve stepped in the book addressed the complete origin of the Vision and things definitely got COSMIC!
The most notorious writer in my mind is Bendis. I despise what's happened to the Avengers under his rule. But, after forty plus years of reading there's one thing for certain. . .change. Critics be damned, Bendis has to go.
I love them all, except Harras (who turned me off the book way back when). And now I understand everyone's beef with Bendis. I got back into comics when I heard the buzz about New Avengers, and I'm still waiting for Bendis to deliver. I chose Stern for several reasons, to name a few, She-Hulk, Starfox, the David Letterman issue, return of Hercules, and the way the team seemed like a family living in Avenger's Mansion during his run.