I was reading the Joshua Hale Fialkov interview (he's a great writer, by the way) yesterday, and was struck when he said this:
"Everyone has a path, everyone has a road -- for some people that road is a lot shorter than other people. I have moments where I realize I've been doing this for 10 years. When "I, Vampire" was announced, there was a chorus of, "Who the fuck is that guy?" I'm like, "Seriously? 10 years. Tons of awards. Book published by Random House, biggest publisher in the world. Seriously? Anybody?" And then you realize that well, no, I have 3000 fans. I have those 3000 people who read everything I do and now you're given this opportunity with the relaunch and with this book to reach twenty or thirty times that audiences and it's fucking great."
...and the thought that struck me was this: I don't believe there's ever once been a writer in comics who has become a "name writer" who didn't become that way until after doing a regular, ongoing monthly series. Not minis and GNs -- monthly on goings. Let's define "name writer" as "sells a book solely on the strength of their name to a significant (5-10kish, maybe?) audience"
(I think that may also be true for screenwriters as well -- I'm thinking Sorkin, Whedon, Abrams... though Maybe M. Night puts a lie to that?)
Clearly it isn't true for writer/artists -- but I think it is right for writers, which is why a lot of people never "break out", because they never find that ongoing idea they can make their own for 5-ish years.