Barbara Kesel

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Barbara Kesel
Barbara Kesel by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kesel at the 2023 WonderCon
BornBarbara Randall
(1960-10-02) October 2, 1960 (age 62)
Area(s)Writer, Editor
Notable works
The First
Hawk and Dove
AwardsHarvey Award 1996

Barbara Randall Kesel (born October 2, 1960)[1] is an American writer and editor of comic books. Her bibliography includes work for Crossgen, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics.


Barbara at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, FL

Barbara Kesel initially entered the comics industry as college student after writing a 10-page letter to editor Dick Giordano regarding the portrayal of female comic book characters and Giordano offered her a writing job.[2] Her first published comics story (credited as "Barbara J. Randall") was "He with Secrets Fears the Sound...", a Batgirl backup feature, in Detective Comics #518 (Sept. 1982).[3] After receiving her college degree in drama studies in 1983, she became an associate editor at DC Comics in 1984 and was promoted to editor the following year.[4][5] In 1988, she wrote a Batgirl Special[6] and then co-wrote, with her then-husband Karl Kesel, a Hawk and Dove miniseries,[7] followed by an ongoing series that ran from 1989 until 1991. As a solo writer, Barbara Kesel scripted the licensed Dungeons & Dragons series Spelljammer in 1990–1991[8] and an adaptation of the D&D novel trilogy Avatar in 1991.

She became an editor at Dark Horse Comics in 1991[5] and later was part of Team CGW, responsible for most of the design and creation of the setting and characters in the Golden City location. In the second half of the 1990s, she also wrote for Image Comics, scripting all seven issues of Savant Garde, the miniseries Shattered Image with fellow writer Kurt Busiek, and issues of Stormwatch and WildC.A.T.s. For Marvel Comics, Kesel wrote the limited series Ultragirl (1996–1997) and (with Karl Kesel) the Captain America/Citizen V Annual '98. Kesel also returned to DC and wrote the Alpha Centurion Special (1996), several Superboy issues (1997), and the 'Girlfrenzy!'-oneshot Superman: Lois Lane as well as the Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl one-shot in 1998.[9]

She worked as both a writer[3] and an editor[5] at CrossGen from 2000 to 2004 where she scripted the series Meridian, The First, Sigil and Solus as well as issues of CrossGen Chronicles.[2] In 2007, Tokopop released the first volume of Legends of the Dark Crystal, an OEL manga based on Jim Henson's film The Dark Crystal, written by Kesel. Volume 2 was published in 2010.

As of 2008, she was part of the packaging company "The Pack" with Lee Nordling, Brian Augustyn, Gordon Kent, and Dave Olbrich.[10] The same year, Barbara Kesel began to work for IDW Publishing, writing a four-part Ghostwhisperer comic miniseries, another miniseries based on the adventure novel series Rogue Angel and the comic adaptation of the animated film Igor.

In 2015, she wrote a Wonder Woman story for DC's digital series Sensation Comics, later published in print as Sensation Comics #13. When fellow comic book writer Kurt Busiek put together creative teams for the eight standalone, oversized issues of his Marvels Snapshots series, he hired Barbara Kesel to write the first issue starring the 1980s Avengers which was published in 2021.[11]

Currently (in 2022), she's working for tech-startup Urus Entertainment, creating a forthcoming new twist on comics.[12]

Kesel is an outspoken opponent of sexism in the comic book industry. She is known for her strong female characters and created Grace, the ruler of the Golden City location in Comics' Greatest World.

Personal life[edit]

She was married to fellow comic book writer Karl Kesel[2] but they have since divorced.[13]


Kesel has been nominated for the 1991 "Best Editor" Eisner Award for Badlands, Aliens: Genocide and Star Wars.[14] In 1995, she was nominated for "Best Anthology" and "Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Material" Harvey Awards for, respectively, Instant Piano and Hellboy: Seed of Destruction.[15] She won the 1996 "Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work" Harvey Award, for Hellboy: The Wolves of St. August.[16] Received a Comic-Con International Inkpot Award on July 22nd, 2022 for "Achievement in Comic Arts".




  • Mine! OGN (among others) (2018)


Dark Horse Comics[edit]

DC Comics[edit]

Amalgam Comics[edit]


IDW Publishing[edit]

Image Comics[edit]

Lion Forge Comics[edit]

Marvel Comics[edit]

Silver Dragon Books[edit]

  • Animal Planet: The World's Most Dangerous Animals (among others) (2012)


  • Aqua volume 1–2 (English adaptation) (2007–2008)
  • Arcana volume 1–5 (English adaptation) (2005–2007)
  • Legends of the Dark Crystal volume 1–2 (2007–2010)

Characters created[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Contino, Jennifer M. (May 2000). "The Accidental Writer Barbara Kesel". Sequential Tart. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Barbara J. Randall at the Grand Comics Database, Barbara Randall at the Grand Comics Database, and Barbara Kesel at the Grand Comics Database
  4. ^ Contino, Jennifer M. (May 2000). "The Accidental Writer Barbara Kesel". Sequential Tart.
  5. ^ a b c Barbara Randall (editor) at the Grand Comics Database and Barbara Kesel (editor) at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1980s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 170. ISBN 978-1465424563. Scribe Barbara Randall and penciller Barry Kitson retired Batgirl after one final adventure in her first solo comic. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Written by Barbara and Karl Kesel and drawn by future superstar Rob Liefeld, this five-issue miniseries reestablished the famous pair for a new generation. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ Appelcline, Shannon (2011). Designers & Dragons. Swindon, United Kingdom: Mongoose Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  9. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dougall, p. 236: "In this prestige format Elseworlds tale, a new take on the World's Finest team was delivered to readers courtesy of writer Barbara Kesel and plotter/artists Matt Haley and Tom Simmons."
  10. ^ "Barbara Randall Kesel/Co-founder". n.d. Archived from the original on December 31, 2007. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  11. ^ "Kurt Busiek Assembles Amazing Talent for 'Marvel Snapshots'". Marvel Entertainment. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "Barbara Randall Kesel". Comic-Con International: San Diego. June 8, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Eury, Michael (July 2017). "Hawk and Dove: Birds of a Different Feather". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (97): 44–45.
  14. ^ "1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "1995 Harvey Awards". Harvey Awards. 2016. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "1996 Harvey Awards". Harvey Awards. 2016. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Watchmen editor
Succeeded by
Preceded by The New Teen Titans vol. 2 /
The New Titans


Succeeded by
Preceded by The Flash vol. 2 editor
Succeeded by