Joe Kelly (writer)

This article is about the comic book author. For the author of books on fathering, see Joe Kelly (author).
Joe Kelly

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 has written DC's Supergirl and Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man. He has published creator-owned work through Image Comics, including 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

DC Comics

Image Comics



  • Joe Kelly at the Comic Book DB
  • Joe Kelly at the Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators


Preceded by
Mark Waid
Deadpool writer
Succeeded by
Christopher Priest
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
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