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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #100-91

The countdown begins….NOW!

There were a lot of books bundled together at the bottom of the list (with a three-way tie for 100th!!!), and heck, all throughout the list the votes were close, as this vote was much more diversified than the characters list, where the top characters totally dominated (with Batman getting about twice as many votes as the #2 vote-getter), so here a single vote might very well determine a run’s placing!

With such closeness, it was really good to get so many votes. 682 votes cast is amazing! I completely underestimated how many votes that was. I thought it was only slightly up over the Characters poll, but it was actually over a HUNDRED ballots more than the Characters list!!! That’s incredible, folks!!! Thanks so much!!

I’ll be doing two five-run groups per day, but for this first day, I’m doing ten at once!!

Enjoy!

100 (tie). Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library – 95 points (2 first place votes)

Acme Novelty Library #1-current (#18)

One of the most innovative voices in comics, Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library is the ongoing series where Ware serializes his stories before collecting them into individual books. This is where Ware’s highly acclaimed novel, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, was original published.

Currently, Ware is working on Rusty Brown, yet another breathtakingly nihilistic piece by one of comic’s modern masters.

Each issue of the book is done in different ways, from a standard looking book to over-sized poster book, all based on Ware’s feeling for that issue. The series began in 1995. It is up to issue #18.

100 (tie). Doug Moench’s Master of Kung Fu – 95 points

(The Hands of) Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu 20-63, 65-120, 122, Annual #1

Amidst the booming martial arts crazy, Shang Chi was introduced, created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.

Doug Moench took over the writing chores of the comic with issue #20, and two issues later, the artist most voters were thinking of when they cast their vote for this run, Paul Gulacy, joined him.

The pair combined for an impressive two year run, where Moench’s action-based plots flowed well with Gulacy’s character-infused artwork (Gulacy was known for basing pretty much every character on movie stars).

After Gulacy left and Jim Craig had a short run, the book become popular again, courtesy of new penciler, Mike Zeck.

Zeck was also a wonderful action artist.

After Zeck left, though, the book entered perhaps its most impressive art phase, as long-time inker, Gene Day, took over the art chores of the book. Day had an amazing style of detailed character depictions mixed with fluent action drawings. He was a great artist.

Sadly, while the book was critically acclaimed, it did not sell that well during this period (as the martial arts craze had died down by then), and even sadder, Day passed away from a heart attack after issue #120.

The book soon ended with #122, with Moench working on the book for about 100 issues.

More recently, Moench and Gulacy reunited for a Master of Kung Fu mini-series.

100 (tie). Jack Cole’s Plastic Man – 95 points (1 first place vote)

Police Comics #1-90, Plastic Man #1-26

Jack Cole was one of the most inventive artists of the Golden Age, and he really went hogwild with his creation, Plastic Man, within the pages of Police Comics and Plastic Man’s own title.

Plastic Man could basically become anything – so that gave an artist as creative as Cole a lot of freedom to draw basically whatever HE wanted to draw, so he would use Plastic Man to tell all sorts of bizarre, slapstick-y stories that hold up surprisingly well to this day.

Cole left the book towards the end of the decade, then spent the 50s doing a number of different projects, most notably his work for Playboy. Sadly, Cole ended his own life in 1958.

99. Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise – 96 points (2 first place votes)

Strangers in Paradise Vol. 1 #1-3 (Antarctic Press), Vol. 2 #1-13 (Image Comics/Abstract Studio), Vol. 3 #1-90 (Abstract Studio)

Who would have thought that Strangers in Paradise would have become such a huge hit when it first debuted a small, self-published three-issue mini-series in 1993?

Well, I did, actually, but that’s neither here nor there. ;)

Strangers in Paradise is about two best friends, Francine and Katchoo, who are about as close as you can get – although Katchoo would like them to be even closer, wink wink nudge nudge.

That alone would cause enough dramatic tension for a series, but Moore also added newcomers David and Casey, who were part of this almost/sorta/kinda love quadrangle, while Moore introduced a number of other interesting supporting characters over the years who gained more prominence as the book went on.

Moore’s greatest asset was his handling of emotional issues and character interactions. If he was not so good at it, the book would have collapsed under the weight of all the soap opera-esque love stories. Luckily, Moore grounded the work, so it felt real.

Moore’s artwork was light, but expressive – and he even managed to handle action fairly well when the script called for it (which was not often, although there were a few notable stories with some action).

The series recently drew to a close last year, after over a hundred issues.

97 (tie). Matt Wagner’s Grendel – 98 points (1 first place vote)

Comico Primer #2, Grendel: Devil by the Deed, Grendel #1-40 (Comico), Grendel: War Child #1-10, Grendel: Devil’s Legacy #1-12, Grendel: God And The Devil #1-12, Grendel: Behold the Devil #1-current and a lot of Grendel Tales (Dark Horse)

Grendel began in 1982, with Matt Wagner’s tale of Hunter Rose, the evil criminal mastermind, Grendel.

However, Grendel did not REALLY begin until 1986, when Wagner began the Grendel ongoing series, which was drawn by a number of different artists (starting with the Pander Brothers).

In this series, Wagner reveals that Grendel was not Rose, per se, instead, Grendel is a “spirit of aggression” that sort of possesses people, and in the ongoing series, Rose’s granddaughter, Christine Spar, becomes Grendel.

It’s a dark, brilliant work which examines exactly what it means to be “evil.”

Wagner continued with other people becoming Grendel.

Recently, Wagner began work on a mini-series (drawn by Wagner) commemorating the 25th anniversary of Grendel, as he revisits Hunter Rose to reveal a secret. It has been awesome.

97 (tie). Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo – 98 points (2 first place votes)

Usagi Yojimbo #1-38 (Fantagraphics), #1-16 (Mirage), #1-current (109) (Dark Horse)

There is this group of awards called the Ursa Awards that started awhile back. It is given to works that feature anthropomorphic characters. Usagi Yojimbo has won an award from it almost EVERY year.

That’s not really all that impressive, I guess, but I thought it was cool enough to note!

Anyhow, Usagi Yojimbo is the brainchild of Stan Sakai, who uses his anthropomorphic bunny character to tell brilliant stories about Japan, specifically its history and its folklore.

The series is for all-ages, and it is one of the few works that is truly all ages, as everyone can appreciate Sakai’s detailed artwork, and the stories are educational to readers from 8 to 88 (at 89, you stop liking Usagi Yojimbo, I am afraid).

There is a lot of action, but for the most part, the book is character-based. You easily become invested in the main character.

96. Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s The Question – 99 points (1 first place vote)

The Question #1-36, Annual #1-2

When DC purchased the Question from Charlton (where Steve Ditko had created the book decades earlier), the book was given to Denny O’Neil, who basically “owned” the Question for the next decade or so (more, even), as he was essentially the only writer of the Question during that time period. However, for most of that time, there was no Question series. From 1987 to 1990, though, there was, and it was by Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan, and it was good.

In the series, O’Neil had the Question become a book that was more about Eastern philosophies than anything else (heck, there were even “recommended readings”!!), as the Question changed his methods and tried to deal with crime in his city, Hub City, by attacking the corruption at its source in the government.

O’Neil worked in a number of intriguing supporting characters, such as Myra, the mayor of Hub City, Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon.

Denys Cowan’s art worked well with the almost surreal take by O’Neil. It was a brilliant comic book, and it is good to know that DC is finally collecting it into trades.

95. Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf & Cub – 100 points

Lone Wolf & Cub Vols. 1-28

Lone Wolf & Cub (or as it was originally known in Japan, Kozure ÅŒkami) is a straightforward tale.

Ogami Ittō’s wife and most of his family was murdered by the YagyÅ« clan so, along with his young son (the only survivor), Daigoro, he must gain his revenge upon the YagyÅ« clan, and its evil leader, YagyÅ« Retsudō. And along the way, hilarity ensues.

So with such a straightforward tale, for it to be so acclaimed, you know that the story and the art must be great, and it really is.

The late, great Goseki Kojima’s artwork was an inspiration to many artists, with Frank Miller probably being the most notable (and think about it, if you inspired Frank Miller’s style, think of all the artists who were then inspired by Miller…), and his depictions of the stark reality of violence is stunning.

Kazuo Koike’s story is quite impressive, especially the way he shows how evil the circle of violence between the two clans, leading to the memorable conclusion to the series (which lasted six years, between 1970 and 1976).

93. Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer – 101 points (1 first place vote)

Hellblazer #41-50, 52-83, plus two Specials

While most folks associate Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer run with Steve Dillon, and rightfully so, as their work was memorable, Ennis actually began working on the series with Will Simpson, not Dillon. Dillon joined up later.

Hellblazer was Garth Ennis’ breakthrough performance. He had big shoes to fill when he took over from Jamie Delano with #41, but by the time Eddie Campbell and Paul Jenkins followed up Ennis forty issues later, the big shoes to fill were certainly Ennis’, as the series was marvelous.

Ennis was only meant to do a fill-in issue, but he impressed editor Stuart Moore that he soon became the full-time writer. Ennis’ original idea was to make the book a bit lighter, at least compared to Delano’s run. The book obviously is always going to be a dark comic, but Ennis added some black humor to the book that did not exists as much under Delano.

Ennis’ first story was a classic, as it detailed John Constantine dying of lung cancer, and Constantine coming up with anything he could think of that might get him out of it. It’s a landmark Hellblazer story.

Ennis’ biggest success with his run was his characterizations of the various new cast members he introduced, primarily Kit Ryan, John’s girlfriend, who would be popular enough that she received her own one-shot (the brilliant Heartland).

Ennis’ stories were often bleak and brutal (as Preacher fans know), but they always were based in real human emotion, and that was a great anchor for the run.

93. Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias – 101 points (1 first place vote)

Alias #1-28

Jessica Jones might be Brian Michael Bendis’ greatest creation, and Alias is certainly one of his strongest works.

The series was an “Adults Only” look at the Marvel universe through the eyes of private investigator, Jessica Jones, who was once a superhero until she was violated by the villain, The Purple Man.

The series is basically about Jessica’s redemption as a character, as we see her climb out of the gutter that she begins the story in until by the end of the series, she’s a functioning adult in a real-life relationship.

Bendis used this series (and its PG-13 rated followup, the Pulse) to take a look at the Marvel Universe from a different perspective than normal. Bendis has almost made this his stock and trade at Marvel, examining how a “real” person would react to certain situations. In other usages, it might not work, but in Alias, it worked well.

Michael Gaydos’ series art matched the mood of the comic beautifully. It was dark and yet his characters never become too dark for you to relate to, and that is much to Gaydos’ credit.

92. Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave – 103 points (2 first place votes)

Nextwave #1-12

Nextwave is ostensibly about a group of lesser known superheroes who find out that this Nick Fury knock-off is going around the country collecting Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction that the heroes have to get to before he does.

And hilarity ensues.

Oh, does hilarity ensues.

With amazing artwork by Stuart Immonen and hilarious plots and dialogue by Warren Ellis, Nextwave was like riding a crazy roller coaster that you never want to get off of, although ultimately, you must, because hilarious action comics like Nextwave are rarely commercial successes, and the series ended after just 12 issues.

But who knows? Nextwave may return someday!!

91. Mike Grell’s Green Arrow – 104 points (3 first place votes)

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1-3, Green Arrow #1-80, Green Arrow Annual #1-4, 6

I just recently wrote about Mike Grell’s Green Arrow, so it is neat to see it show up on the list.

What Grell did in the late 1980s was to take Green Arrow away from the world of superheroes, and remake him as a sort of urban vigilante. He still wore a costume, but it was more of an outfit than a costume. To wit, he did not really hide his face at all.

Grell viewed Oliver Queen as an older man, and less interested in the adventures he went on when he was younger and in the Justice League. He mostly wants to settle down with his girlfriend, Dinah Lance (Black Canary). However, after being captured and tortured by some bad guys early on, Dinah is unable to have children. Couple that with the fact that she is still in the stage of her life where she WANTS to have adventures, their relationship is troubled.

Grell was joined by artists as diverse as Ed Hannigan, Dan Jurgens and Denys Cowan (following the Question ending).

Grell also introduced two notable characters in his series – Shado, the beautiful and deadly Japanese archer and Eddie Fyers, a mercenary whose role was minor early on, but kept showing up like the proverbial bad penny.

Grell stayed on the book for 80 issues. And they were 80 of the best issues of Green Arrow will likely ever see.

That’s the first ten!

Come back tomorrow for the next ten!!

91 Comments

Well, considering it didn’t make the top runs, I’ll presume my vote for Devin Grayson’s Titans run probably didn’t make it into the Top 100. ^_~ Ah, well, I tried.

Wait a second, I thought Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer run was all about penises?

I realise already this list is going to make me feel guilty about all the stuff I know is great but am yet to read. I love what I’ve read of Master of Kung Fu, and do need to sit down with it soon. Need to pick up the last book of Strangers still. Read the first few Lone Wolfs but need to finish that.

Grendel and Ennis’ Hellblazer I’ve been meaning to read.

Alias and Green Arrow were both in my top 50, and Usagi made my top 10. So that’s one for me. I was hoping it would get higher, but oh well.

Thanks for giving us ten Brian!

A truely intresting project an one of my favs already appeared (Green Arrow). I´m not that proficient in past comic-lore, Green Arrow was more or less an accident, and it would help if the issue numbers of the runs are posted more prominently.

Graham Vingoe

April 8, 2008 at 2:36 am

So I’ve already got my number two choice in the top 100 with Doug Moench’s MOKF which is a good start. The Dennis O’Neill Question run nearly made it but stalled outside my top 10, but it is still a fantastic read.

A truely intresting project an one of my favs already appeared (Green Arrow). I´m not that proficient in past comic-lore, Green Arrow was more or less an accident, and it would help if the issue numbers of the runs are posted more prominently.

Geez, Savre, now you want issue numbers, TOO?!? ;)

Fine, fine – I edited them in!

See the things I do for you people? :)

This is so good. So far one of my choices showed up (Nextwave, though in the bottom half of my Top 10) and I hope to see all of them, preferably as higher as there is.

This is off to a really great start, nice variety of comics already on show.
Thanks for sticking in the issue number Brian, will give me some things to add to my reading list…

This is list is already worth it. I just read through all of Alias tonight on its recommendation and WOW. If I had read it before voting – it would have been a few spaces higher :)

Figures the bottom of the list would be full of non-mainstream books (except for Shang-Chi, who would’ve guessed?).

Great start.

Taking a look at this, i have a feeling a lot of my picks aren’t going to make it either. I wonder if maybe this shouldn’t have been done decade by decade or broken up some other way.

Even within the superhero genre, comparing Plastic Man to the Ditko Question to the O’Neil Question seems really tricky to me.

That said!….

and nitpickery aside, I’m going to be watching with baited breath to see what did show up so I’m not belittling the hard work you’re putting into this Brian, not at all..

I’m just not sure my mind is powerful enough to wrap around some of this.

The Question and Alias were both on my runner up list. So far none of my actual votes have turned up.

COOL (I hope…)! None of my picks are there yet. I’m sure a few won’t be there, but I can always hope. ;)

This is a great project. Hopefully some of the publishers of these works will see that people are interested and start reprinting the out-of-print runs in collections.

Man, two of my top five picks (Grendel and Ennis Hellblazer,) turned up already, both of which I expected to place much higher. I now hold very little hope that some of my bottom 5 will even appear on here.

Also, Brian, The Hellblazer special was called Heartland. Homelands is more of a Fables thing, I believe.

None of my picks yet, but I’ve only read one of these, so plenty of books to check out.

I was hoping with the recent series of Comics You SHould Own articles about it, that Matt Wagner’s Grendel would be higher on the list. Glad it made the top 100, though. I love these lists. Can’t wait to see the rest.

I don’t see any of my picks yet. In at least one or two cases, things I voted for are relatively “obscure” by today’s standards and I strongly suspect that if they couldn’t even make it into the bottom 10 of the Top 100, then they didn’t make it at all. For several of the others, however, I continue to nurse hope!

Incidentally, I’ve read at least portions of some of the runs that made it into this installment of the winners, but I didn’t seriously consider voting for any of them in my own “Top Ten.” For instance, Mike Grell’s Green Arrow just doesn’t blow me away when I look at samples of it.

One of my picks (Plastic Man) makes the list. Having it outranked by Stangers in fricking Paradise makes my brain hurt. OTOH, quibbling about the rankings is what makes these things fun.

Paul Wargelin

April 8, 2008 at 8:23 am

Just an FYI about Mike Grell’s Green Arrow run, Denny O’Neil wrote the first three annuals, which guest starred The Question with stories that crossed over into that character’s annuals. However, Mike did write annual #’s 4 and 6.

Mike’s other contriubtions to Green Arrow included writing the four issue mini-series The Wonder Year, Secret Origins #38, and co-writing (with Mike Baron) the 1991 six-issue Brave and the Bold mini-series featruing Green Arrow, The Question, and The Butcher.

Darn, I was hoping Grendel Tales: Devils and Deaths would get counted as a stand-alone run. Surprised to see the entire epic, as well as Ennis’ Hellblazer, so low.
Also, I wish I hadn’t misplaced my Top 10 list.

Josh Alexander

April 8, 2008 at 8:28 am

So far I’m 0 for 10. I’ve read 2 of the books that made 91-100, and was not into them at all. To each their own, I guess. If anything this list will give me new reading material. To start with I guess I have to track down Master of Kung Fu issues.

Wasn’t Devil’s and Deaths only 2 issues? I’m pretty sure Brian specified that something had to be at least 12 issues to be considered a run, and even Devils and Deaths combined with Devil’s Choices still only yields 6 issues.

Usagi Yojimbo cracked the top 100? Cool beans!

Yeah, I was combining Deaths and Choices, Dave. Looking back at the second solicitation for votes, Brain sez “at least 6 issues (of an ongoing title)” and that “Series of mini-series count as ongoing”, but my choice probably would have been disqualified since the two stories were inconsecutive.

Another title for this project should be “Stuff You Need To Buy The Trade Of.”

Hey, 6 of the 12 were not Marvel and DC books. (At least originally.)

That’s more non-Marvel and DC stuff than I thought would make it into the top 100. Period.

So THAT makes me happy.

And nice to see Plastic Man. I voted for it, but never thought it would make the top 100 unless Brian combined Plas and the Spirit into “Police Comics.”

I dunno, Mark. I credit Police Comics’ popularity squarely to the appeal of the Human Bomb. Or possibly the Mouthpiece.

The way I remember it, at least 3 of my 10 votes went to things that didn’t start out as DC or Marvel material. (And I believe there were a few other items on my list of “serious candidates for a vote” that weren’t DC or Marvel either.) Anyone else want to comment on how likely you were to vote for stuff that wasn’t originally offered to us by one or the other of the “Big Two”?

Neat. How many runs received votes in total?

Glad to see that Jimmy Corrigan made it onto the list, but difficult to see it so low in the order. My personal opinion, but I think JCSCOE is the single greatest graphic novel of all time and blows away anything else in this contest.

Never a big Chris Ware fan, (sorry Jeremy) but good god, he would have a case if he ever wanted to sue Seth MacFarlane over Stewie Griffin ripping off Jimmy Corrigan.

Also, I’m a little annoyed that you didn’t even mention Ditko in your writeup on the Question. I’m no apologist for his Objectivist philosophy, but to not mentione that he created Vic Sage is NOT fair play, IMHO.

Thanks for all the hard work, Brian! This list is amazing, and also very informative. So many good comics out there that I’ve never read! And it’s very, very cool to see many non-Marvel/DC books in it.

So far, none of my picks have surfaced, but I’m sure they will. Not many obscure comics in my list, all 10 of them are more well-known than the ones that appeared so far.

From the 10 chosen so far, I’ve read three: “Alias”, “Hellblazer”, and most of “Master of Kung Fu”. All great comics, all deserving to be in the top 100.

“Alias” almost made my list. And I thought it would have placed higher. I think it’s one of Bendis best efforts. I think he is so much more appropriate to street-level, “indy” heroes than he is on Avengers.

I also must say that “Hellblazer” is my favorite Garth Ennis work. I sorta got turned off Ennis later, with all his violent attacks on the superhero genre. But back when he was writting “Hellblazer”, I loved the guy to death, his style was so different and innovative and so appropriate to the title too. I think his John Constantine is only second to Alan Moore.

It feels really weird to see Chris Ware and Masters of Kung Fu not only on the same list, but on the same rank…odd…

“Also, I’m a little annoyed that you didn’t even mention Ditko in your writeup on the Question. I’m no apologist for his Objectivist philosophy, but to not mentione that he created Vic Sage is NOT fair play, IMHO.”

T
Yeah, and the fact that O’Neil definitely turned the Question into something Ditko would have objectioned (NPI) about.

Aaargh! I forgot Plastic Man!

I’m surprised Lone Wolf & Cub (my first pick) is so low on the list, but I’m glad it’s there.

If Ditko’s Question (has it ever been reprinted? I’d buy a Ditko Question Showcase) is on the list, I think it’s totally fair not to mention Ditko when writing up O’Neil’s run. If, say, Roger Stern’s Spider-Man or the Englehart/ Brunner Dr. Strange comics make the list, there’s no need to bring up Ditko then, either.

If Grell’s Green Arrow had better art, it may have been higher on the list. When the best artist a book had was either Ed Hannigan, Shawn McManus, Denys Cowen, or Grell himself, it’s not going to stick out, visually.

[...] Should Be Good” has posted the bottom 10 of the top 100 best comic runs over at CBR. The O’Neil/Cowan Question placed 96th with 99 points (1 1st place vote), just [...]

I wonder if more books I have read will show up as the top 100 counts down as so many of the bottom 10 listed here were books I read and enjoyed: Alias, Nextwave, Question, Green Arrow, Grendel, MOKF, LWAC, and SIP. Well over half.

“Anyone else want to comment on how likely you were to vote for stuff that wasn’t originally offered to us by one or the other of the “Big Two”?”~Lorendiac

For this list, I found it extremely hard to vote for non-Marvel stuff. I could have filled a top 25 with only Spider-Man, X-Men, and Avengers. I had to limit myself to 3 Spider-Man runs to make room for anything else at all. As it is, I managed to make a list with only 7 Marvel books and 1 DC book. Of my two non-big-two choices, Usagi has already shown up and the other is sure to show up eventually, as it’s not obscure.

Andrew Collins

April 8, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I’m happy to see Grell’s Green Arrow and O’Neil’s Question show up already. Both excellent series. So was Alias and Usagi Yojimbo continues to be amazing every issue.

I’ve been wanting to read MOKF for years but Marvel hasn’t released any trades of the classic material. I guess those Fu Manchu rights must be expensive or really tied up…

No surprise, I very much doubt any manga or stuff like Chris Ware will make it very high on the list.

Even so, none of the books so far is a straightforward superhero tale. The one that comes closest must be Grell’s Green Arrow.

Ennis’ Hellblazer is great stuff. It’s what started me buying American comics really and I still think it’s his best work: a lot better than Preacher.

Surprised about Grendel not placing much higher, but I was tickled to see The Question make an appearance.

The fact that Alias is ranked higher then Plastic Man is a crime against comics.

BTW, someone asked about a collection of Ditko’s Question work: It’s all collected in Action Heroes Archives Vol. 2, along with all his Blue Beetle work and much of his later Captain Atom work (the rest was in the first volume). It actually is not a big body of work, with only one full length story. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the book has a $75 price tag.

“The fact that Alias is ranked higher then Plastic Man is a crime against comics.”

A matter of personal oppinion, since they’re utterly different works in different ages and different subgenres. Like comparing Quentin Tarantino to the Marx Brothers, probably.

And in utterly random thoughts…

Whatever Happened To… The Mouthpiece?

Plastic Man, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb and even Firebrand all found at least a tiny measure of success, especially under the guise of the Freedom Fighters and All-Star Squadron and Justice League. I honestly can’t remember a single modern appearance by the poor Mouthpiece… you’d think he’d have shown up by now, but I guess not even Roy Thomas liked him!

Annoyed Grunt

April 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I almost voted for Grendel, but there’s a lot of the stuff that takes place (chronologically) between Hunter Rose and Grendel Prime that I haven’t read yet, so I couldn’t give it the nod in good conscience. I also quite liked the 2 TPB’s of Ennis’ Hellblazer that I’ve read but that’s obviously not enough to vote on.

can’t wait for the next 10!!!

I’m very glad that all of my picks placed higher than 90!

(That’s what this means, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?!!)

I spent so long compiling my list and didnt even have Mike Grell’s Green Arrow or Denny O’Neil/Denys Cowan’s Question which I adored.

I got full runs of both on ebay years ago and loved them. The distribution in Jamaica was spotty so I only saw ocassional issues before.

“If Grell’s Green Arrow had better art, it may have been higher on the list. When the best artist a book had was either Ed Hannigan, Shawn McManus, Denys Cowen, or Grell himself, it’s not going to stick out, visually.”

Hannigan’s work was eye catching, Dan Jurgen’s was wonderful and Denys Cowan hit it out of the mf*** park

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

April 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Ah, Moench’s Master of Kung Fu – my number 3 choise!

I’ve got this horrible feeling that my number 1 won’t make the list. I’d hate to think I’m writing some incredible tribute to [fill in the blank] and Brian won’t be able to share it with you all. :-)

It’s disappointing to see so many posts of people complaining that they haven’t seen their pick yet.

That being said, I’m quite happy to see that Alias make the Top 100! It’s interesting to see some of the others that made it. I mean, “Master Of Kung Fu?” Who knew?

avengers63 said: Another title for this project should be “Stuff You Need To Buy The Trade Of.”

That title wouldn’t work well for a lot of my picks. Some of those runs have never been entirely reprinted in TPBs. In at least a few cases, I think maybe 2 or 3 issues at best have been reprinted in TPB collections of great stories about a certain character (written across range of decades by many different people).

So some of the stuff on my ballot would fit better under this proposed heading:

“Stuff That Needs To Be Completely Collected in Trades So People Who Missed It The First Time Around Can Finally See What They’ve Been Missing!”

I just checked my list and none of mine have shown up yet. I guess that’s a good thing. Looking over my list shows 4 DC’s, 3 Marvel’s, 2 independents, and 1 that started as a Big Two title and went to a smaller indie publisher.

The stuff on this list I love, and would have included on a list if we were able to submit more than 10, would include Moench’s Master of Kung Fu (easily one of the best titles Marvel has put out ever), Jack Cole’s Plastic Man (pure plastic genius), O’Neil’s Question, and Lone Wolf & Cub.

I’m refraining from commenting on the rest of the list as I want to voice what I think is great or near great. The others I’ve read and enjoyed to a lesser degree or have not read. I don’t want to appear negative and cut some particular work down by not saying great things about it.

I too love these lists and cringe as I think of how Brian must have devised a method to accurately reflect the votes i.e. how do you differentiate a vote for Doug Moench’s MoKF, Paul Gulacy’s MoKF, Mike Zeck’s MoKF, etc.

Okay… my number #1 is the rest of the world’s #100. Hmmm… at least ACME Novelty is there! And is going to be noticed for kicking this fab list off. I am pretty shocked it has not at least cracked the overall top ten. I think Chris Ware and his effusively anguished world are easily the best things comics has ever seen. Period. Each number is a stand alone work of art. There is a whole bloody world to be gathered in each of those strange, masterful little (and large) books. Aesthetic wonders… everyone of them. And as far as I know Chris Ware is not even the same guy as Jack Kirby, whom I have also referred to as the SD… Supreme Deity of this our comic book world.

Thanks muchly… Brian!

Mike Loughlin

April 8, 2008 at 6:41 pm

I may be alone in this, benday-dot, but I think of Chris Ware in terms of the completed work- Jimmy Corrigan or Quimby Mouse vs. the ongoing Acme Comics Novelty series. I’ve only read the available collections, plus a couple scattered issues. If the list were top trades, Jimmy Corrigan may have placed much higher.

Dale- I think Hannigan et al were solid, quality artists (and Cowan didn’t stick around long enough to be “the” Green Arrow artist), but Grell’s Green Arrows lacked a run-defining artist whose work dazzled (a la Gulacy & Day on Moench’s Master of Kung Fu or Brunner on Englehart’s Dr. Strange). My wishing for “better art” may have sounded harsh; I found the Green Arrow artists’ work efficient and professional, but not thrilling.

Okay, because someone has to do it, so I think I’ll keep track of some stats, and will keep adding to this as the runs are revealed.

We have 12 runs so far (and 1185 pts)

- 3 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (Alias, Nextwave, Shang Chi – 299 pts)
- 2 runs are set in the DC Universe (Green Arrow, Question – 203 pts)
- 2 are manga (Usagi Yojimbo, Lone Wolf & Cub – 198 pts)
- 1 is a Vertigo comic (Hellblazer – 101 pts)
- 7 are superheroes or close enough (all the Marvel/DC Universe ones, plus Grendel and Plas – 695 pts)
- 5 are non-superhero (490 pts)

Sorted by decade the first issue in the run was published, we have:

- 1980s (4 runs – Grendel, Usagi Yojimbo, Question, Green Arrow – 399 pts)
- 1990s (3 runs – Acme Novelty Library, Strangers in Paradise, Hellblazer – 292 pts)
- 2000s (2 runs – Alias, Nextwave – 204 pts)
- 1970s (2 runs – Shang Chi, Lone Wolf & Cub – 195 pts)
- 1940s (1 run – Plas – 95 pts)

Interesting, no 1960s comic run yet.

Sorted by associated creator (so far this isn’t very interesting, since we didn’t have any creators with two different series appearing).

- Mike Grell (104 pts)
- Warren Ellis (103 pts)
- Stuart Immonen (103 pts)
- Garth Ennis (101 pts)
- Brian Michael Bendis (101 pts)
- Michael Gaydos (101 pts)
- Kazuo Koike (100 pts)
- Goseki Kojima (100 pts)
- Denny O’Neil (99 pts)
- Denys Cowan (99 pts)
- Matt Wagner (98 pts)
- Stan Sakai (98 pts)
- Terry Moore (96 pts)
- Chris Ware (95 pts)
- Doug Moench (95 pts)
- Jack Cole (95 pts)

When I first got into comic books, I had to talk the local newstand into carrying them, because all they had were the 2-3 month left overs that other stores in bigger cities had already claimed return credit on. Even after I graduated high school and went to college, the nearest comic store was 45 miles away. And, when it went out of business, I had to drive 2 hours to get my books.

So, when I voted, I considered: which storylines got my interest to the extent that I was willing to pony up for the subscription, willing to find a ride to town, or willing to take a day trip in order to get the next issue.

Some books I bought because I was already at the comic store. Some books I went to the store to buy. And, those are the ones that made it to the list.

Now, what this means for me, and my particular difficulties in getting comic books pre-1993 is that my favourites are heavily Marvel and DC oriented.

On another topic, I think that issue of Lone Wolf and Cub is the only issue of Lone Wolf and Cub that I own. I liked it. But, not enough to go out of my way for it at the time and have mostly forgotten about it since then. I should probably look for some.

Theno

Mike Loughlin said: I may be alone in this, benday-dot, but I think of Chris Ware in terms of the completed work- Jimmy Corrigan or Quimby Mouse vs. the ongoing Acme Comics Novelty series. I’ve only read the available collections, plus a couple scattered issues. If the list were top trades, Jimmy Corrigan may have placed much higher.

You could be right Mike. To me each issue arrives as such a labour of love, such a heightened aesthetic experience (design wise as well as storywise) , that, combined with their infrequent apperances, when they do hit the stands they become real “events as far as I’m concerned. Also each issue (some more than others) are presented as almost museum pieces, curiosity cabinets, or Victorian miscellanies if you will. So much strange juxtaposition– from the uproariessly humourous to the poignantly beautiful– that it becomes part of the delight of an ACME navigating your way around each book. It’s like… “What will be in this drawer if I pull it out?” Will it make me depressed as anything, or bust my gut like never before. Old world and breathtakingly original. Timeless stuff I’d say!

‘”The fact that Alias is ranked higher then Plastic Man is a crime against comics.””

“A matter of personal oppinion, since they’re utterly different works in different ages and different subgenres. Like comparing Quentin Tarantino to the Marx Brothers, probably.”

Plastic Man is an all-Time classic. Alias is a… well, I was going to say “flavor of the month” but that’s a little too dismissive. Still, I doubt people will still be talking about Alias in 60 years.

I recently discovered MOKF, having purchased most of the run from the $.50 and $1 bins from the local comics shops. This is a criminally-underrated series, as it handles both the martial arts action and the soap opera aspects as well as any other book from that era (and since then).

If you haven’t read it, you owe it to yourself to do so. Just because the masses see it as a $1 book doesn’t mean that is where it deserves to be.

“Plastic Man is an all-Time classic. Alias is a… well, I was going to say “flavor of the month” but that’s a little too dismissive. Still, I doubt people will still be talking about Alias in 60 years.”

Maybe. But love it or hate it, I think “Alias” has been sort of a early and extreme example of the path the entire Marvel Universe would take in this decade, it’s far more than “flavor of the month”. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a good thing, since the MU these days is extremely controversial. But the series *is* important, at the very least.

“early and extreme example of the path the entire Marvel Universe would take in this decade”

The same could be said of X-Force ten years earlier. Not a recommendation.

Not to be nitpicky, but Strangers in Paradise didn’t “[debut] a small, self-published three-issue mini-series in 1993.” The debut, as you noted, was published by Antarctic Press. Antarctic Press as a company pre-dated Moore’s “SiP” by quite a bit (most notably Ben Dunn’s “Ninja High School”) and is still around today, publishing fantastic comics like, oh, Fred Perry’s “Gold Digger,” which would make a fine inclusion on this list. ;^) The series was self-published when it moved to Moore’s own Abstract Studios, but it didn’t debut that way.

Great list…can’t wait to read the rest!

None of my picks yet – but if nothing else, these 100 runs will make for a handy list for the next time I’m trying to figure out what I want to read.
Glad to see O’Neil’s Question and Cole’s Plastic Man on the list.

“The same could be said of X-Force ten years earlier. Not a recommendation”

We’ll have to see how Bendis will be seen 10 years from now. Somehow I doubt he’ll be another Liefeld.

Anyway, Alias was 7 years ago, and right now Bendis is the most important creator in the Marvel Universe. Love him or hate him, I don’t think it’s comparable to what happened to Rob Liefeld, that 7 years after X-Force was more or less a pariah.

I’m not even a huge fan of the guy, and didn’t vote for Alias or any of his comics (I woud have voted for Powers if I had to vote for a Bendis comic), but I wouldn’t be so dismissive of him.

“Maybe. But love it or hate it, I think “Alias” has been sort of a early and extreme example of the path the entire Marvel Universe would take in this decade, it’s far more than “flavor of the month”. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a good thing, since the MU these days is extremely controversial. But the series *is* important, at the very least.

Yeah, I’d agree with all that, it definitely has survived, and more then just because the character has stayed active in the MU since the series was ended. I think you put that well. It’s still no Plastic Man though! :)

Well, there will be “injustices” aplenty in any such list.

I find it far more unfair that Lee/Ditko Doc Strange, Lee/Kirby Thor, and Roy Thomas’ Avengers are so low.

While Jack Cole’s Plastic Man can be a work of genius (I never read it), the three above works are not only classics, they also were influential in ways Plastic Man wasn’t.

But I dunno, it’s all relative.

I don’t think there was any run so far that made me go “damn, this comic sucks so much, I don’t know how someone could vote for this”.

In response to: “If Ditko’s Question (has it ever been reprinted? I’d buy a Ditko Question Showcase) is on the list, I think it’s totally fair not to mention Ditko when writing up O’Neil’s run.”

It’s reprinted by DC as part of Action Comics Archive Volume 2, which also (along with V1) includes Ditko’s other work for Charlton after he left Marvel.

Sorry, that would be Action HEROES Archive.

Doug Atkinson

April 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Remember that we were asked to vote for our favorite runs, not the best, most important or most influential. Naturally all sorts of subjective factors are going to come into it (“favorite” being an inherently subjective term), tied in with the key objective factor of the age of those voting. I didn’t vote for Claremont/Romita Jr’s X-Men, but I considered it because it’s the first Marvel Universe comic I collected when I was 13. It might not be as well-regarded as Claremont/Byrne, but “one of the first comics I collected” has more pull on me than “a comic I eventually read a bunch of reprints of.”

Likewise, I suspect the number of voters who read Cole’s Plastic Man when it first came out is much lower than the number who read Alias off the stands (and, given the expense of the Archives volumes, that probably also extends to reprints and back issues as well) so Plas probably did better as a ratio of those who felt qualified to vote for it to those who actually did so. It’s a logical result of online demographics.

It would be interesting to know the ages of the people who voted and how it correlates to their choices.

Only 4 of my 10 picks are runs that I’ve read in my first bout of comic book collecting, in my starry-eyed kid phase. The other 6 picks are all more mature tastes.

Only 1 of them all is a comic that I couldn’t read when it was released so I hunt it down later.

I find it far more unfair that Lee/Ditko Doc Strange, Lee/Kirby Thor, and Roy Thomas’ Avengers are so low.

While Jack Cole’s Plastic Man can be a work of genius (I never read it), the three above works are not only classics, they also were influential in ways Plastic Man wasn’t.

I guess, if by “influential” you mean ‘part of the Marvel Universe.”

Lemme put it this way: Geoff Johns was inspired by Roy Thomas. Art Speigelman was inspired by Jack Cole…. And I don’t think it’s debatable which of these two guys is more important.

I like all four or these runs a hell of a lot (I haven’t read a lot of Thor, but have read all of Tales of Asgard) but Jack Cole is still THE humorous superhero artist. He defined his niche in the way the other guys haven’t, Avengers isn’t THE important superhero team. Doctor STrange isn’t THE important Ditko, (although quite possibly his best) and Thor isn’t THE important Kirby. Plastic Man is THE humorous superhero book,

(And Plastic Man is one of two superhero runs that I voted for. And I’ve read damn near everything. So that should count for something.)

No, I don’t mean just “part of the Marvel Universe”. Roy Thomas in the Avengers first refined elements in the superteam dynamic that would later become the standard in the comic book industry. Hell, the moody, instrospective, problematic superhero team that Stan Lee started (sometimes clumsily) in the FF was really taken to the next level by Thomas in the Avengers, and today almost every single damned superhero team comic is like that.

Now, Plastic Man… it can be genius (taking your word for it), it’s just not the industry standard. You could even make a case that it’s uniqueness only make it better, and that its genius make it harder to be replicated than the sometimes formulaic angsty superhero team thingie, but the later is a much, much more pervasive influence in comic books.

Thor and Doc Strange… Kirby’s Thor really is THE mythological superhero book, and Ditko’s Doc Strange is THE mystical superhero book. Both are specialized niches, sure, but I dare say the humorous superhero book also has remained a small part of the industry (perhaps regretably). And, say, someone of Neil Gaiman’s stature has confessed being inspired by both Ditko’s Strange and Kirby’s Thor, for instance, so I wouldn’t take that so lightly.

Now, Plastic Man… it can be genius (taking your word for it), it’s just not the industry standard.

So your agrument is ’cause everyone isn’t ripping him off Cole’s Plas isn’t important?

I disagree. Lots. First of all: Plastic Man was MUCH more important in the development of independent comics than any of the Marvel books. Even Ditko.

But I’ve got both of ‘em out in front of me, and I’m seeing a heck of a lot of Plastic Man influence in Kurtzman’s MAD, both in tone and in elastic figure drawing. He was also paying more attention to page design than any of his contemperaries I’m aware of, ‘cept for Eisner and has a better pure grasp of panel design than.. well, pretty much anyone ever.

And, hey, correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of anyone doing that kind of exagerrated, cartoonish effect in comic BOOKS before Cole… So Cole… Kurtzman… Crumb… all independent comics to this day.
Plastic Man’s a singular accomplishment, and a HUGE step up in craft from everything around it. (Except, again, for Eisner. :))

Plastic Man moved the goalposts – CHanged the boundaries of what can be accomplished with the comics form, and moved the people who CONTINUED to expand on the scope of the medium.

I love Roy’s Avengers to death… But not in the same league.

Kirby’s probably more important in the grand scheme of things, but Thor is just one work, and it’s not as influential as Fantastic Four, his earliest stuff where he’s helping to invent comic time, or New Gods.

And Ditko’s Strange was absolutely expanding the scope of comic art… But it wasn’t defining the language of comics the way Cole did.

I don’t mean to fight you, man. I was not arguing artistic merit or who influenced a higher caliber of people or who expanded the scope of the medium or even who is the most important. I was just using the word “influential” as in “who influenced the larger number of people”, that is all. Often, the best work don’t leave as big a mark as the lesser work. The “humanized”, angsty superhero formula that came to dominate the comic book industry, and is still the standard today, for good or for ill, can be traced to Lee/Kirby, then Roy Thomas, then Englehart, then Claremont…

And while I love superheroes as much as anyone, I don’t even like it that the formula is so widespread and dominant.

I have to say, under what criteria are you declaring Usagi Yojimbo a manga, Rene?

It was originally published in English rather than Japanese, has not to date ever (IIRC) been published in ten dollar “manga format” by any of the major manga localizers, and has basically been issued in sequential American-style issues rather than collections forever. The actual storytelling style Sakai uses shares little in common with manga layout tropes, and his artwork has nothing to do with manga and everything to do with American cartooning. Usagi Yojimbo has appeared in both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, even, possible due to Yojimbo’s creation being contemporaneous with the 80′s black & white boom that created the Turtles.

I really feel Yojimbo should be classed as a non-superhero work, since it’s essentially a historical action-adventure epic wearing a funny, furry hat. While Sakai’s family name is Japanese and the subject matter concerns Japan, the mode in which Yojimbo is published and tells its stories is entirely that of the American independent comic book.

I’m really surprised to see Moench/Gulacy MOKF rank so low. Not enough old geezers like me voting, I guess.

“I have to say, under what criteria are you declaring Usagi Yojimbo a manga, Rene?”

Yeah – Usagi Yojimbo is a completely American comic. Easy mistake to make though. I used to think it was Manga too.

Really?

I know next to nothing about manga, I admit.

Okay, Lynxara. I’ll correct it next time, thanks.

NEXTWAVE!!!!!!!!!

Alex A Sanchez

April 14, 2008 at 1:45 am

Sad to see that Lone Wolf and Cub was behind Nextwave. Not that Nextwave wasn’t amazingly funny, it just isn’t legendary like LWaC.

Then again, this IS a popularity contest after all.

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not tooo bad

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