John Ney Rieber

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John Ney Rieber
Notable works
The Books of Magic
Captain America
G.I. Joe
Tomb Raider

John Ney Rieber is an American comic book writer.


John Ney Rieber's first professional comics work was scripting over finished pages of his late friend and mentor Karl Edward Wagner's and artist Kent Williams' graphic novel Tell Me, Dark. Initially, Williams approached Wagner with five pages of art asking him to write a story about that. Wagner agreed and they signed a contract with DC Comics to release an 80-page hardcover graphic novel.[1]

At the beginning of the production, the book's initial editor, Karen Berger, took an extended maternity leave. The replacement editors accepted Wagner's script but as soon as Berger returned, she rejected the script and asked for re-writes; Williams also changed some narrative elements as he saw fit. A year passed, as the changes from all sides kept being made.[1] Around the same time, Ney Rieber was working on Shadows Fall four-issue prestige mini-series for Disney Comics' failed Touchmark imprint.[2][3] He saw the struggles Wagner and Williams were going through, and offered to re-write the story using the finished pages.[4]

After Disney Comics' collapse, Art Young – Touchmark's supposed editor-in-chief – went back to DC and offered everyone he was developing projects with to continue working for DC's new Vertigo imprint.[2] Ney Rieber and his collaborator John Van Fleet agreed, and Shadows Fall (reworked into six-issue non-"prestige" mini-series) was released from November 1994 to April 1995. Sometime between Tell Me, Dark and Shadows Fall Rieber was approached by Bergen to write an ongoing continuation of Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic mini-series; despite having every outline rejected by editorial and even once trying to quit the idea,[4] Rieber was still hired and wrote the book from issue 1 (May 1994) to 50 (July 1998), including various annuals, specials and spin-offs.

Ney Rieber's next big project was a Captain America relaunch for the Marvel Knights imprint. The creative team (Rieber and artist John Cassaday) for the series was first announced in August, 2001.[5] Of the assignment, Rieber said he was hired "accidentally",[6] after then-MK editor Stuart Moore mentioned the book in a conversation, offered Rieber to write some samples, and liked them enough to give him the book (despite "looking for a heavy hitter <...> like Frank Miller or Greg Rucka";[6] in a 2013 interview, Rucka confirmed he wrote some samples for that launch, but was rejected in favor of Rieber.)[7]

Ney Rieber was also supposed to write two Captain America miniseries – out-of-continuity Ice, which was announced in February 2002 by the artist Jae Lee and then integrated into the main series as the third arc,[8][9] and another one, unannounced, which was supposed to bridge the three-month gap between the previous volume and the MK one (the eventual bridging mini-series was written by Darko Macan who confirmed that it was Ney Rieber who was going to be the original writer.)[8]

The series itself was plagued by delays and controversy from the very beginning. According to Macan (who was told so by outgoing Captain America editor Andrew Lis), Rieber had to back out of writing the briding mini-series due to the 9/11 attacks – supposedly, to re-write whatever material he already had to reflect on the event.[8] The first arc, titled The New Deal (February to November 2002) had Captain America questioning the American government – a topic that had worldwide resonance in the press.[10][11] Rieber's original outline for the series was supposed to start with the second arc, The Extremists,[9] but he left the book halfway into the arc (three finished issues out of five).[12]

To finish both The Extremists and Ice (which by the time Rieber left had only one finished issue), Marvel hired Chuck Austen who was also rejected at the launch in favor of Ney Rieber but still agreed to bring his plots to a close.[12]


Early work[edit]

Titles published by various American publishers include:

  • Tell Me, Dark (after Kent Robert Williams and Karl Edward Wagner, graphic novel, hc, 80 pages, DC Comics, 1992, ISBN 1-5638-9032-1; sc, ISBN 1-5638-9088-7)
  • Ray Bradbury Comics #5: "Picasso Summer" (with John Van Fleet, anthology, Topps, 1993) collected in The Best of Ray Bradbury – The Graphic Novel: Volume 1 (tpb, 160 pages, iBooks, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-7476-7)

Marvel Comics[edit]

Titles published by Marvel include:


Titles published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint include:

  • The Books of Magic:
    • The Books of Faerie (tpb, 144 pages, 1998, 1-5638-9401-7) includes:
    • Hellblazer #56 (reprint): "The Lot" (with Gary Amaro, co-feature, 1994)
    • Bindings (tpb, 112 pages, 1995, ISBN 1-5638-9187-5) collects:
      • "Bindings" (with Gary Amaro, in #1-3, 1994)
      • "Epilogue" (with Gary Amaro and Peter Gross, in #4, 1994)
    • Summonings (tpb, 240 pages, 1996, ISBN 1-5638-9265-0) collects:
      • "The Hidden School" (with Peter Snejbjerg, in #5, 1994)
      • "Sacrifices" (with Peter Gross, in #6-8, 1994)
      • "The Artificial Heart" (with Gary Amaro, in #9-11, 1995)
      • "Small Glass Worlds" (with Gary Amaro, in #12-13, 1995)
    • Reckonings (tpb, 224 pages, 1997, ISBN 1-5638-9321-5) collects:
      • "What Fire Leaves Us" (with Gary Amaro, in #14, 1995)
      • "Playgrounds" (with Peter Snejbjerg and Peter Gross, in #15-19, 1995)
      • "Playgrounds: Epilogue" (with John Ridgway, in #20, 1996)
    • Transformations (tpb, 128 pages, 1998, ISBN 1-5638-9417-3) collects:
      • "Heavy Petting" (with Peter Gross, in #21, 1996)
      • "Needlepoint" (with Peter Gross, in #22, 1996)
      • "Red Rover, Red Rover." (with Peter Gross, in #23, 1996)
      • "And Sure in Language Strange She Said" (with Peter Gross, in #24, 1996)
      • "Used to Bes" (with Peter Gross, in #25, 1996)
    • Girl in the Box (tpb, 192 pages, 1999, 1-5638-9539-0) collects:
      • "Prologue" (with Peter Gross, in #26, 1996)
      • "Rites of Passage, Parts 1-6" (with Peter Gross and Peter Snejbjerg, in #27-32, 1996–1997)
    • The Burning Girl (tpb, 192 pages, 2000, 1-5638-9619-2) collects:
      • "Rites of Passage, Parts 7-12" (with Peter Snejbjerg, in #33-38, 1997)
      • "The Burning Girl" (with Peter Gross, in #39-41, 1997)
    • The Books of Faerie: Auberon's Tale (tpb, 128 pages, 1999, ISBN 1-5638-9502-1) includes:
      • "Dark as Day, My Lady, Bright as Night" (with Mark Buckingham, in Annual #1, 1997)
    • Hellblazer/The Books of Magic #1-2 (with Paul Jenkins and Paul Lee, 1997–1998)
    • Death After Death (tpb, 224 pages, 2001, ISBN 1-5638-9740-7) collects:
      • "The Bridge" (with Jill Thompson, in #42, 1997)
      • "King of This" (with Peter Gross, in #43, 1997)
      • "Slave of Heavens" (with Peter Gross, in #44-49, 1998)
      • "The Box" (with Peter Gross, in #50, 1998)
    • "Horn" (with Jamie Tolagson, in Annual #2, 1998)
    • "Thanks for Nothing" (with Steve Parkhouse, in Winter's Edge #1, 1998)
    • "The Kite" (with Peter Gross, short story in Annual #3, 1999)
  • Shadows Fall #1-6 (with John Van Fleet, 1994–1995)
  • Mythos: The Final Tour #1-3 (with various artists, 1996–1997)
  • Weird War Tales #4: "Salvation" (with Danijel Žeželj, anthology, 1997)
  • The Trenchcoat Brigade #1-4: "Misery" (with John Ridgway, 1999)
  • The Books of Faerie: Molly's Story #1-4 (with Hermann Mejia and Ryan Kelly (#4), 1999)
  • Strange Adventures #4: "Perfect Stranger" (with Danijel Žeželj, anthology, 2000)
  • Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep of Reason #1-5 (with Eric Nguyen, 2007) collected as SMT: Sleep of Reason (tpb, 128 pages, 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1454-1)

Other publishers[edit]

Titles published by various American publishers include:


  1. ^ a b Sinor, Bradley. "EXCELLENCE DEMANDED, WHINERS PISS OFF: The Last Interview of Karl Edward Wagner". Karl Edward Wagner.
  2. ^ a b Cronin, Brian (July 1, 2011). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #321". Comic Book Resources.
  3. ^ Klein, Todd (September 12, 2008). "Logos That Never Were: TOUCHMARK".
  4. ^ a b Andreasen, Henrik (December 1, 1995). "Interview with John Ney Rieber". Serie Journalen. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008.
  5. ^ Weiland, Jonah (August 4, 2001). "Cassaday, Ney Rieber to take on Marvel Knights Captain America in 2002". Comic Book Resources.
  6. ^ a b "Interview with John Ney Rieber". The Star-Spangled Site. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014.
  7. ^ Bell, Josh (November 6, 2013). "Greg Rucka Brings "Lazarus" & "Veil" to Las Vegas". Comic Book Resources.
  8. ^ a b c Cronin, Brian (April 25, 2014). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #468". Comic Book Resources.
  9. ^ a b Yarbrough, Beau (October 11, 2002). "Rieber and Hairsine Get 'Extreme' in 'Captain America': Exclusive Preview". Comic Book Resources.
  10. ^ Medved, Michael (April 4, 2003). "Captain America, Traitor?". National Review. Archived from the original on 2014-12-05.
  11. ^ von Törne, Lars (August 17, 2011). "Zur Hölle mit der Pistole". Der Tagesspiegel.
  12. ^ a b Brady, Matt (December 19, 2002). "RIEBER OFF CAP, AUSTEN ON". Newsarama. Archived from the original on February 23, 2003.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Darko Macan
Captain America writer
(2003 with Chuck Austen)
Succeeded by
Chuck Austen