Joe Kelly (writer)

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Joe Kelly
Joe Kelly by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Joe Kelly in March 2012.
Born Joseph Kelly
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer
Notable works
Uncanny X-Men
Action Comics
I Kill Giants

Joseph "Joe" Kelly is an American comic book writer, penciler and editor who has written such titles as Deadpool, Uncanny X-Men, Action Comics, and JLA. As part of the comics creator group Man of Action Studios, Kelly is one of the creators of the animated series Ben 10.


Kelly received his MFA at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he still teaches Writing for Animation/Writing for Comics. At NYU, he was recruited into Marvel Comics' editor James Felder's Stan-hattan Project, a program that trained potential comic book writers at the university. After six months of working in the class, Felder offered Kelly a job scripting Fantastic Four 2099 over a Karl Kesel plot.[1] Kelly took the assignment, but his first published work for Marvel was 1996's 2099: World of Tomorrow #1-8 and Marvel Fanfare vol.2 #2-3.

In 1997, Kelly began his first monthly assignment, Deadpool, initially pencilled by Ed McGuinness. The title was immediately well received by fans and critics. At one point it was due to be cancelled with #25, but a write-in and Internet campaign by fans led Marvel to reverse their decision. Kelly left the title with #33 in 1999. In 1997, Kelly also became the writer of Daredevil, on which he was accompanied by well-known Daredevil artist Gene Colan.

At around the same time he produced a Daredevil/Deadpool '97 Annual with artist Bernard Chang which pitted the two characters against each other and was generally well received. Kelly left Daredevil with #375 in 1998.

Kelly's next major Marvel assignment was in late 1997, at the company's then bestselling title, X-Men, where he worked with penciller Carlos Pacheco. However, Kelly's stint on the title, and his friend Steven T. Seagle's run on sister title Uncanny X-Men, was cut short when the creators quit, blaming constant editorial interference. Kelly's last issue was #85 in 1999.

Kelly then began to work for Marvel's competitor DC Comics, specifically their Action Comics title starring Superman with #760 in October 1999. He stayed on the title for almost five years (up until #813, May 2004), working mainly with penciler Pasqual Ferry.

During this run he authored What's so funny about Truth, Justice & the American Way? in Action Comics #775, which introduced The Elite (an Authority-like team of anti-heroes) and their leader Manchester Black. That issue was called "the single best issue of a comic book written in the year 2001" by Wizard Magazine.

In December 2000, Kelly had a short stint as writer on the Superboy comic (#83-93), again mostly working with his Action Comics collaborator Ferry.

In 2002 he began a long run on DC's JLA (#61-93) comic book with penciller Doug Mahnke. After their run on that title finished the same creative team launched a twelve-issue limited series Justice League Elite featuring some of the characters from Action Comics #775.[2][3]

Also in 2002, DC published Green Lantern: Legacy - The Last Will & Testament of Hal Jordan a hardcover graphic novel by Kelly and artists Brent Anderson and Bill Sienkiewicz, which looked back at the life and career of Hal Jordan, who at that point was the Spectre. (Early in his career, Kelly had described working with Sienkiewicz as his dream collaboration.[1]) An interview with Kelly also appeared in the first volume of Writers on Comic Scriptwriting from Titan Books.

Kelly and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada prepare a March 31, 2012 sneak preview of Ultimate Spider-Man for fans at Midtown Comics in Manhattan, the day before the series' broadcast TV debut.

Kelly has produced three creator-owned works: Steampunk, pencilled by Chris Bachalo and published by DC through Wildstorm's Cliffhanger imprint in 2000 (a second part, Drama Obscura, brought closure to the story, but Kelly has said he intends to eventually continue the book); M. REX with penciller Duncan Rouleau, which was published by the now-defunct Avalon Studios (it was cancelled after two issues); and Ballast, with penciller Ilya, a one-shot published by Active Images.[4]

In 2004 he collaborated with artist Ariel Olivetti on a Space Ghost series, published by DC, which depicted the character with a serious space opera tone and, for the first time, revealed his origins.[5] Next up is a similar mini-series, this time starring Jonny Quest.

Kelly is a part of the Man of Action collective of creators (along with Joe Casey, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle), who created the series Ben 10, currently airing on Cartoon Network. Around the same time Ben 10 began to air, he was also hired as a Story Editor on TMNT: Fast Forward. With Man of Action Studios, he's also a Supervising Producer on Disney/Marvel's upcoming Disney XD series, "Ultimate Spider-Man."

Kelly completed a run on DC's Supergirl. He has been announced to write a story for Amazing Spider-Man sometime this year. He also has a couple of series starting with Image Comics, Four Eyes[6] and I Kill Giants,[7] as well as a graphic novel Douglas Fredericks and the House of They.[8]

Kelly wrote the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "My Neighbour Was A Skrull" featuring the Skrulls, as well as the series premiere of Chaotic, a new animated series based on the trading card game. He also co-wrote "Darksiders," a videogame for THQ.

In 2007, he shot a short film, "Brother's Day," which was a selection in the Brooklyn International Film Festival.


Marvel Comics[edit]

Titles published by Marvel include:

DC Comics[edit]

Titles published by DC Comics include:

  • All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant #1: "P.O.V. A Fable" (with Duncan Rouleau, 1999)
  • Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant #1: "Dreams in Smoke" (with Butch Guice, 1999)
  • Superman:
    • Action Comics:
      • No Limits! (tpb, 208 pages, 2000, ISBN 1-56389-699-0) includes:
        • "...Never-Ending Battle..." (with German Garcia, in #760, 1999)
        • "For a Thousand Years..." (with German Garcia, in #761, 2000)
      • "All I Want for Christmas" (with German Garcia and Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #762, 2000)
      • Endgame (tpb, 176 pages, 2000, ISBN 1-56389-701-6) includes:
        • "The End" (with Butch Guice and Kevin Conrad, in Superman Y2K one-shot, 2000)
        • "Sacrifice for Tomorrow" (with German Garcia and Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #763, 2000)
      • 'Til Death Do Us Part (tpb, 224 pages, 2002, ISBN 1-56389-862-4) includes:
        • "Quiet After the Storm" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #764, 2000)
        • "A Clown Comes to Metropolis" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #765, 2000)
      • Critical Condition (tpb, 192 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-56389-949-3) includes:
        • "Metropolica" (with Pasqual Ferry, in Metropolis Secret Files #1, 2000)
        • "D.O.A." (with Cary Nord, in #766, 2000)
        • "Critical Condition, Part Four" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #767, 2000)
      • "O, Captain, My Captain!" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #768, 2000)
      • Emperor Joker (tpb, 256 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1193-3) includes:
        • "It's a Joker World, Baby, We Just Live in It" (with Jeph Loeb and various artists, in Superman: Emperor Joker one-shot, 2000)
        • "Supermanamrepus" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #769, 2000)
        • "He Who Laughs Last!" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #770, 2000)
      • President Lex (tpb, 240 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-56389-974-4) includes:
        • "Kith & Kin" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #772-773, 2000-2001)
      • "Fireside Chat" (with Eric Canete, in #774, 2001)
      • Return to Krypton (tpb, 208 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0194-6) includes:
        • "Escape from Krypton" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #776, 2001)
        • "Dream's End" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #793, 2002)
      • "Kancer" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #777, 2001)
      • "King Takes Pawn" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #779, 2001)
      • Our Worlds at War (tpb, 512 pages, 2006, ISBN 1-4012-1129-1) includes:
        • "They Call Me Zed" (with Alberto Saichann, in Our Worlds at War Secret Files & Origins #1, 2001)
        • "The End of the Beginning" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #780, 2001)
        • "Thousand Yard Stare" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #781, 2001)
        • "Trial by Fire" (with Jose Angel Cano Lopez, in #782, 2001)
      • "The Gift" (with Brandon Badeaux, in #783, 2001)
      • "Joker: Last Laugh — Whose Mind is It Anyways?" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #784, 2001)
      • "Demento" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #785, 2002)
      • "Red" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #786, 2002)
      • "Jikei Ketsuki: Mercy, Love, and Blood" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #787-788, 2002)
      • "Man & Beast" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #789-790, 2002)
      • "Big City, Little Man" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #792, 2002)
      • Ending Battle (tpb, 192 pages, 2009, ISBN 1-4012-2259-5) includes:
        • "The Thirteenth Hour" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #795, 2002)
        • "Rush Hour" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #796, 2002)
      • "Superego" (with Renato Arlem, in #797, 2003)
      • "Lost Hearts, Part Four: Heartsong" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #798, 2003)
      • "The Cage" (with Carlos Meglia, in #799, 2003)
      • "A Hero's Journey" (with various artists, in #800, 2003)
      • "Seeds" (with Tom Raney, in #801, 2003)
      • "The Harvest" (with Tom Derenick and Pasqual Ferry, in #802-805, 2003)
      • "Supergirls" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #806-808, 2003)
      • "Creeping Death" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #809, 2004)
      • "Walking Midnight" (with Pasqual Ferry, in #810, 2004)
      • Godfall (hc, 112 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0376-0; tpb, 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0236-5) collects:
        • "Home" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in #812, 2004)
        • "Unravel" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in Adventures of Superman #625, 2004)
        • "Goddess" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in Superman v2 #202, 2004)
        • "Heaven" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in #813, 2004)
        • "Tempest" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in Adventures of Superman #626, 2004)
        • "Divinity" (with Michael Turner and Talent Caldwell, in Superman v2 #203, 2004)
      • Infinite Crisis (tpb, 128 pages, 2006, ISBN 1-4012-0953-X) collects:
        • "Superman, This is Your Life, Part One" (with Jeph Loeb and various artists, in Superman #226, 2006)
        • "Superman, This is Your Life, Part Two" (with various artists, in #836, 2006)
        • "Superman, This is Your Life, Part Three" (with various artists, in Adventures of Superman #649, 2006)
    • Adventures of Superman:
      • "Superman: The Dailies 2002 - The Most Bizarro Case of All - Part 8 of 8" (with Carlos Meglia, in #600, 2002)
      • "Lost Hearts, Part Two: Heartbroken" (with Dwayne Turner, in #611, 2003)
    • Superboy #83-93 (with Pasqual Ferry, Paco Medina, Eddie Berganza and Carlo Barberi, 2001)
    • Supergirl (with Greg Rucka, Ian Churchill, Ron Adrian, Joe Benitez, Alé Garza and Adam Archer, 2006-2007) collected as:
      • Candor (includes #7-9, tpb, 176 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1226-3)
      • Identity (collects #10-11, 13-19 and a story from DCU Infinite Holiday Special one-shot, tpb, 256 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1484-3)
  • Batman: Gotham Knights #17: "A Moment in the Light" (with Aaron Wiesenfeld, 2001)
  • Wonder Woman #170: "She's a Wonder" (with Phil Jimenez, 2001) collected in Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost (tpb, 176 pages, 2002, ISBN 1-56389-792-X)
  • 9-11 Volume 2: "Wake Up" (with Scott Kolins, graphic novel, tpb, 224 pages, 2002, ISBN 1-56389-878-0)
  • Justice League of America:
    • JLA:
      • Golden Perfect (tpb, 128 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-56389-941-8) collects:
        • "Two-Minute Warning" (with Doug Mahnke, in #61, 2002)
        • "Golden Perfect" (with Doug Mahnke, in #62-64, 2002)
        • "Bouncing Baby Boy" (with Doug Mahnke, in #65, 2002)
      • The Obsidian Age, Book One (tpb, 160 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-56389-991-4) collects:
        • "The Destroyers" (with Doug Mahnke, in #66-67, 2002)
        • "The Obsidian Age Prelude" (with Doug Mahnke, in #68, 2002)
        • "The Obsidian Age, Parts 1-3" (with Yvel Guichet and Doug Mahnke, in #69-71, 2002)
      • The Obsidian Age, Book Two (tpb, 160 pages, 2003, ISBN 1-4012-0043-5) collects:
        • "The Obsidian Age, Parts 4-7" (with Doug Mahnke and Yvel Guichet, in #72-75, 2002-2003)
        • "Picking Up the Pieces" (with Lewis LaRosa, in #76, 2003)
      • Rules of Engagement (tpb, 144 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0215-2) collects:
        • "Rules of Engagement" (with Doug Mahnke, in #78-79, 2003)
        • "The White Rage" (with Duncan Rouleau, in #80-82, 2003)
      • "American Nightmare" (with ChrisCross, in #83, 2003)
      • Trial by Fire (tpb, 144 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0242-X) collects:
        • "Trial by Fire" (with Doug Mahnke, in #84-89, 2003)
      • "Perchance..." (with ChrisCross, in #90, 2004)
    • Justice League Elite:
      • Volume 1 (tpb, 208 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-4012-0481-3) collects:
        • "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?" (with Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo, in Action Comics #775, 2001)
        • "Elitism" (with Doug Mahnke, in JLA #100, 2004)
        • "Grand Experiment" (with Doug Mahnke, in #1, 2004)
        • "Candle in a Hurricane" (with Doug Mahnke, in #2-3, 2004)
        • "The Right Thing" (with Doug Mahnke, in #4, 2004)
        • "Same Coin" (with Doug Mahnke and John Byrne, in JLA Secret Files '04, 2004)
      • Volume 2 (tpb, 192 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1556-4) collects:
        • "The Aftermath" (with Doug Mahnke, in #5-8, 2005)
        • "Poison" (with Doug Mahnke, in #9, 2005)
        • "Eve of Destruction" (with Doug Mahnke, in #10-12, 2005)
  • Green Lantern : Legacy - The Last Will & Testament of Hal Jordan (with Brent Anderson, graphic novel, hc, 106 pages, 2002, ISBN 1-56389-864-0)
  • Enginehead #1-6 (with Ted McKeever, 2004)
  • Space Ghost #1-6 (with Ariel Olivetti, 2005) collected as Space Ghost (tpb, 144 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-4012-0721-9)
  • Solo #6: "Drive" (with Jordi Bernet, 2005)
  • Superman/Batman:
    • "Stop Me If You've Heard This One..." (with Ed McGuinness, Carlo Barberi, Sean Murphy and Ryan Ottley, in Annual #1, 2006)
    • "The Unexamined Life..." (with Scott Kolins, in Annual #2, 2008)
    • "Who Would Win?" (with Ed Benes, in #78, 2011)
  • DCU Holiday Special: "A Day without Sirens" (with Mick Bertilorenzi, 2009)

Image Comics[edit]

Titles published by Image include:

Other publishers[edit]

Titles published by various American publishers include:



External links[edit]


Preceded by
Karl Kesel
Daredevil writer
Succeeded by
Scott Lobdell
Preceded by
Greg Rucka
Supergirl writer
Succeeded by
Tony Bedard
Preceded by
Scott Lobdell
X-Men (vol. 2) writer
Succeeded by
Alan Davis