The first, and most important writing influence is someone named J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).
JMS, who I have mentioned once or twice, was an executive producer on Murder, She wrote, created Babylon 5, and writes almost anything else he can get his hands on. He's written comics, TV, novels, science fiction, battling demons....
Just look him up on amazon, buy everything except for “Rising Stars” and “Supreme Power.”
I'm not joking. Go now.
If you saw Thor -- and who didn't? You didn't? Go see it. I'll wait..... Back now? You liked it? Good. -- JMS had a cameo in the film as the first fellow to find Thor's hammer, and organized that big sequence with trying to drag out the hammer with a truck.
There is Tribulations, a book about demonic possession in modern LA. Surprisingly well put together and very religious ... And he's an atheist. So, he at least knows how to appreciate religion, even if it's only for use as fantasy fodder.
Situation: Two people who hate each other are trapped in an elevator; fires are burning outside. If they don't work together, they will die.
Hollywood standard procedure: The trapped duo will overcome their grievances in order to stay alive.
JMS: One character says to another "I'm not going to help. This way, I can watch you die and I won't be prosecuted."
Othersyde: Another book I loved. High school, meet demonology 101.
Two high school nerds, "losers," tormented and tortured on a routine basis, buy curiosities -- two telegraph signal senders.
And then, the devices start tapping out Morse code on their own.
It was elegantly written, and even made the angst of high school tolerable. And, no, there is no Twilight level, whiny-angsty BS. I would take a power drill to my head before I even read anything remotely like it, to heck with recommending it.
Straczynski Unplugged: A collection of short stories, mostly novelized versions of screenplays JMS did for The New Twilight Zone back in the 80s. I can only assume these few were all he did, otherwise the show would have done much, much better.
These were all awesome. I suggest clicking on the link and buying the book, rather than trying to find the episodes on youtube.
Trust me on this.
What if the assassin who killed Captain America's creator completed his task 24 hours earlier, and, at the same time, killing one of the bodyguards, a Ben Parker, what would the world look like?
The only thing that I've read that compares to it in comics is the ASM 9-11 issue ... also by JMS.
-- Okay, this was pure, unadulterated awesome. An LA cop finds himself caught in the crossfire between Heaven and Hell, and loses his soul, becoming one of the lost people of the Midnight Nation.
In order to get his soul back, he has to cross all of America to New York City to face the Devil himself.Midnight Nation
Update: Sorry, I'm from New York, the Midwest, unfortunately, does look alike to me -- New Mexico or Oklahoma. Especially since the artwork in the JMS Thor comic and the images in the Thor movie looked the same to me. I suspect Kenneth Branaugh looked at the comic and said "This doesn't match Oklahoma, where does it match? Nex Mexico? We're there."