I've been reading comics long enough to see many creators rise from obscurity to stardom. Well, comic book "stardom" anyway. Ed Brubaker is on a roll at Marvel these days for his writing on Captain America and for his upcoming work on a new title called Secret Avengers. But let me tell you, the guy used to be a complete Lowlife.
Back in the early 90's, Brubaker got his start writing and drawing his own independent comics, titled LOWLIFE, and printed by small publishers Caliber and Mu Press. As you can see, he could have just as easily made a stab at the art end of the business. His art and writing got stronger in later ventures, as he later briefly worked on a book called Detour, which showed an even stronger, more confident line.
Lowlife was a semi-autobiographical story focused on lead character Tommy and his aimless, slacker life. Tommy is a petty thief, a drug user, and a fairly bad friend, but the series shows him at least being somewhat aware of this and trying to improve. Stories about scoring dope, stealing from work, and bad times at the club are all related in a funny and relatable way. You can see how he uses those experiences in his crime comics to this day, and if he had a somewhat sordid past, at least he's used it to inform his writing. Even back then, I knew this guy wasn't gonna be a Lowlife for long.