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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #80-76

Here’s the next five runs in our vote of almost 700 ballots! Remember, feel free to share your reasons for why you picked your top run. Just e-mail me!

Otherwise, enjoy!

80. Mike Carey, Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly’s Lucifer – 114 points (3 first place votes)

The Sandman Presents: Lucifer #1-3, Lucifer #1-75

I debated whether to include Gross and Kelly, but I figured, eh, they did enough of the seventy-five issues to count.

In any event, in this acclaimed sequel to Sandman, Mike Carey had Lucifer be his typical self. He was running a piano bar in Los Angeles, with his female consort, Mazikeen, and just when he thought he was out, he got pulled back into the devil game, and the rest of the series basically depicted the various mischief Lucifer finds himself involved with, particularly with the creation of an alternate universe to the one created by Yahweh.

Mixed in the run, similar to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, were a series of one-off stories depicting various humans and how they get caught up in the various situations.

Gross and Kelly delivered strong, character-infused artwork, with a nice eye for horror.

What was particularly striking about Carey’s work is how he slowly introduced, and then developed, a large supporting cast, until we finally reach the final stories of the run, where it all comes together quite nicely.

This is really the only sequel to Sandman that truly held a candle to the original.

79. Robert Kirkman’s Invincible – 115 points (1 first place vote)

Invincible #1-current (#49)

Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker first gained Image’s attention with their mini-series about Erik Larsen’s SuperPatriot character.

Soon, Image decided to buck industry trends and attempt to launch a brand new, old school superhero line of comics.

Invincible is the only comic left from that line (although Phil Hester is bringing his Firebreather comic back!!). It has managed to draw attention due to Kirkman’s interesting blend of Silver Age-style stories with a more modern feel. It is like a mixture of Ditko/Lee Spider-Man and Superman, as Invicible is a young teen whose father is the revered superhero, Omni-Man, and Mark learns that he has superpowers as well!!

Taking the name Invincible, Mark begins his training as a superhero. Soon after, though, Kirkman pulls out a really clever twist (I won’t spoil it) that totally changes the way the comic is viewed.

The comic is a fun action-filled comic book that has a great deal of good-natured humor, although Kirkman is never afraid to bring drama into the book at times – characters ARE killed, and there ARE effects to actions.

At the heart of the comic, though, Invincible is about a young man coming into his own as a superhero. It’s a lot like Static, which also was a sort of modern take on Spider-Man.

Original artist Cory Walker left soon into the book’s run, but Kirkman was lucky to land replacement artist, Ryan Ottley, who has been an excellent addition, and has remained the artist ever since.

The book is nearing its 50th issue.

78. Joe Casey’s Wildcats – 117 points (1 first place vote)

Wildcats Vol. 2 #8-28, Wildcats 3.0 #1-24

Joe Casey actually began work on Wildcats a little earlier than #8, but that was mostly finishing the plots that Scott Lobdell had left behind. #8 started the beginning of Casey’s run on Wildcats with artist Sean Phillips, and it was yet another example of a writer taking over a floundering series and using the freedom given to basically do whatever s/he wanted.

In his run, Casey spotlighted Spartan, the android member of the Wildcats who was asked by the immortal Emp (the little tiny guy who was the head of Wildcats, who went by the human name of Marlowe) to kill Emp. Spartan did so, and thereby took control of Emp’s company, Halo, Inc.

The rest of Volume One dealt with a serial killer who was hunting down relatives of Emps. The Wildcats stopped him, but not before two of the team members were crippled. By this time, it was clear that Casey’s plan was interesting enough to be given its own run rather than finishing someone else’s, so after a few short arcs wrapping up loose plots, the book relaunched as Wildcats 3.0, which was about Spartan (now calling himself Jake Marlowe) using the Halo, Inc. to save the world through the power of a corporation.

It was truly innovative stuff, and Grifter even still had a role in the book, as Spartan’s troubleshooter.

Dustin Nguyen picked up from Sean Phillips (with Phillips going to work on Sleeper) on the art.

It was a brilliant book, but sadly only lasted two years.

77. John Byrne’s Superman – 119 points (1 first place vote)

Man of Steel #1-6, Superman Vol. 2 #1-22, Action Comics #584-600, Adventures of Superman #436-442, 444, The World of Krypton #1-4, The World of Metropolis #1-4, and The World of Smallville #1-4.

In a bold move for the time, DC hired popular comic creator, John Byrne, to reboot Superman in 1986.

Byrne made a number of changes (although, notably, he also did not change a LOT of the comic – there certainly were more similarities to Pre-Byrne Superman comics in Byrne’s Superman than dissimilarities), including reducing Superman’s power level to one closer to the 1940s Superman, making Clark Kent more of an important part of the book (including a revamped origin where Clark was more popular as a teen), eliminating Superman ever operating as Superboy (as Clark gained his powers in his late teens), making Superman the sole survivor of Krypton, making Krypton a cold, heartless planet and basically having all the various Superman villains be reintroduced by Byrne or Marv Wolfman (who began the reboot with Byrne, but soon Byrne took over writing his comic, as well).

The reboot was a smashing sales success, but Byrne presumably took some issue with some things DC apparently promised him, as he felt he was undercut by DC publicly as soon as he began the reboot, as though they were hedging their bets on the reboot publicly, so as to not offend the older fans (for instance, the Pre-Byrne Superman was still the one that DC licensed).

In either event, Byrne left the book after about two years, although he left with incoming writer, Roger Stern (who, along with Jerry Ordway, took over Byrne’s books), a fairly detailed storyline that took the books to about the three year mark.

76. Paul Chadwick’s Concrete – 120 points (4 first place votes)

Dark Horse Presents #1-6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 28 and 32, Concrete #1-10, then a ton of Concrete one-shots and mini-series (Dark Horse has collected them all)

At first glimpse, the concept of Concrete is QUITE familiar to most comic fans, especially Fantastic Four fans.

This fellow, Ron Lithgow, had his mind transported by aliens into this weird body that looked like it was made out of, well, Concrete. Ron then had to deal with the fact that he was trapped in the body of a monster.

While it is quite reminiscent of Ben Grimm’s dilemma as the Thing, what stood out about Concrete was how beautifully Chadwick handled all the inherent drama in the situation. Most folks already knew that Chadwick was a talented artist, but the way he handled the characters in Concrete was surprising (in a really good way).

While Concrete used his new body to go on a number of adventures that never would have been possible in his old body, most of the book was real slice-of-life stuff. Really quiet, human stories.

Concrete was there at the very start of Dark Horse Comics, appearing in the very first comic Dark Horse published, Dark Horse Comics, in 1986, and Concrete was one of the first Dark Horse characters to be given his own series.

Concrete had a lot of stories about environmentalism, including a special issue just for Earth Day!!

58 Comments

Aside from 2 or 3 of Byrne’s Superman issues, I haven’t read any of these runs. I like Kirkman’s work on Walking Dead, and have been meaning to give Invincible a try. I’ll probably hvae to check out Lucifer, too, since that sounds pretty damn interesting. I think it’s a pretty eclectic mix of choices in the first 25 runs so far.

Mike Loughlin

April 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Concrete would have been #11 on my list. I remember having a falling out with a friend (we reconciled soon after) and buying the first two tpbs the same day. It was one of the few times engaging with a fictional work helped me during a bad time.

Josh Alexander

April 9, 2008 at 6:36 pm

I finally get on the board with Casey’s Wildcats. (Especially 3.0) 1 for 10 at this point. I

Invincible is terrific. I should read past the fourth trade.

I never got the appeal of Byrne’s Superman. For a book that was supposed to be a reinvention, it seemed like he spent most of his run reintroducing old concepts, but with all of the fun sucked out of them (Bizarro, Supergirl, The Phantom Zone).

He did bring back Jonathan and Martha Kent, and for that I’ll always be grateful. But everything else is just all wrong.

How can you talk about Byrne’s run without mentioning his greatest contribution to the Superman mythos– re-inventing Lex Luthor as a corporate tycoon? The new Lex is what re-invigorated the whole franchise and made it work as serious drama (rather than just campy fun) for the first time, in my book. It solved the basic “he’s too powerful” problem by giving him an opponent that wielded power in an entirely different way.

The writers eventually had the cajones to take this conceit to its ultimate extreme and have Lex become president, but then, unfortunately, they was nowhere to go but to restore Lex to his old “criminal scientist in hiding” persona.

Using the corporate-Lex was a big part of the success of the “Animated Series” and “Smallville”. Ignoring it was a big part of the failure of “Superman Returns”.

I said it re-introduced classic villains, right?

If I gave credit to Byrne for Luthor, then that brings up the whole “Wolfman/Byrne argue over Luthor” kerfluffle, and I’d just as soon not. ;)

One run on here that I have never examined at all (“Lucifer”) and one other that I just barely examined years ago, but apparently it didn’t turn me into a diehard collector of the title. (“Concrete” — I’m positive I have at least one or two of his stories, somewhere in my collection, but somehow he just didn’t click with me when I bought and read something about him. Now I can’t remember any details of whatever it was I read, way back when.)

Joe Casey’s “Wildcats” — I’ve read most or maybe all of his work on their “Volume 2″ — because I was able to pick up back issues and at least one TPB collection, pretty cheap, when I was curious about it. Didn’t like it all that much. I can certainly understand voting for “Invincible” or Byrne’s Superman Reboot, though, although I didn’t.

Now I’ll just throw in an Obligatory Nitpick! The summary of the initial premise of “Invincible” makes it sound as if Mark only learns, at the same time that his powers begin to manifest themselves in the first issue, that his daddy is secretly Omni-Man. The way I remember it, he had obviously known that for years, and when he tossed a trashbag toward a dumpster and it suddenly went up, up, and away — showing that super-strength was now kicking in from his father’s genes — Mark just said in satisfaction, “Well, it’s about time.” The implication was that he’d been hoping and praying for this for a long time, but hadn’t been sure just how much (if any) of his father’s powers he would end up getting as his half-human metabolism matured.

Yeah, fair enough, Larry, I’ll rephrase.

Anthony, the appeal of Byrne’s Superman, to me, was this:

Back then I didn’t have the same historical context I have now. I didn’t know anything about how great the Silver Age Superman had been. The first Superman comics I read were the late-1970s and early-1980s issues, and by then the Silver Age had mostly passed, and the sense of wonder and fun that is associated with the Silver Age was not in evidence anymore. Most of the stories felt tired and almost desperate, like… making a sand clone of Superman who took away half his powers, to see if they could make Superman not so omnipotent, and that was one of the GOOD stories of the period.

So I simply wasn’t invested in the Silver Age version to resent the changes Byrne introduced. I just felt that there was a dynamism and a sense of adventure to his Superman that I had never seen in the versions that came immediately before it.

Continuing to sort out the data.

We have 27 runs so far (and 2869 pts)

– 10 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (1063 pts)
– 3 runs are set in the Wildstorm Universe (New: Wildcats – 342 pts)
– 3 runs are set in the DC Universe (New: Superman – 322 pts)
– 2 are Vertigo comics (New: Lucifer – 215 pts)
– 2 are manga (198 pts)

– 20 are superheroes or close enough (All the new, but Lucifer – 2155 pts)
– 7 are non-superhero (New: Lucifer – 714 pts)

I truly hesitated to consider Concrete a superhero comic (or “close enough”) but decided that the premisse qualifies it for “close enough”.

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

– 1980s (9 runs – New: Superman, Concrete – 961 pts)
– 2000s (6 runs – New: Invincible, Wildcats – 662 pts)
– 1990s (5 runs – New: Lucifer – 518 pts)
– 1960s (3 runs – 329 pts)
– 1970s (3 runs – 304 pts)
– 1940s (1 run – 95 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

– Stan Lee (2 runs – 220 pts)
– Warren Ellis (2 runs – 215 pts)
– Paul Chadwick (120 pts)
– John Byrne (119 pts)
– Joe Casey (117 pts)
– Robert Kirkman (115 pts)
– Mike Carey (114 pts)
– Peter Gross (114 pts)
– Ryan Kelly (114 pts)
– Peter Milligan (113 pts)
– Mike Allred (113 pts)
– Ed Brubaker (113 pts)
– Sean Phillips (113 pts)
– Jack Kirby (112 pts)
РSergio Aragon̩s (110 pts)
– Mark Evanier (110 pts)
– Roy Thomas (109 pts)
– Jim Starlin (109 pts)
– Steve Ditko (108 pts)
– Mark Gruenwald (107 pts)
– Chris Claremont (106 pts)
– John Romita Jr. (106 pts)
– Mike Grell (104 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)

First batch of runs with no Marvel presence.

And I admit I have prejudices. I never read Lucifer only because it’s a Sandman spin-off, and I was conditioned to believe spin-offs of great works by other writers must suck.

I also never read Wildcats and Sleeper and stuff because I was prejudiced against this sort of Image-style superhero (I only read the Authority because it used few characters that hadn’t been created by Ellis).

Mike Carey’s writing on Lucifer is fantastic. I was initially skeptical because after the wonder that was Sandman, I wasn’t interested in a spin-off. Then I read The Morningstar Option, the three-issues mini that takes place just before the regular Lucifer run and introduces the letter of passage that starts the whole thing, and I was hooked.

While I have a healthy love for the Silver Age Superman (seeing as it’s the one I grew up with and whose lore I knew intimately) for me Byrne’s Superman was ‘my’ Superman. I genuinely think the stripped down, back to basics approach really worked for the character at that particular time. It made his origins more mysterious, more awesome, it made Clark Kent/Superman more down to earth (even if he was Kryptonian) approachable and likeable, it made Lois feistier and more enjoyable as a character than she’d been, well ever, and it made Luthor a brilliant adversary. It’s weird, they’ve pretty much brought Superman back to being the silver age character with the super-brain and Supergirl and Krypto and being far from the last of his race and obliterating all vestiges of Byrne’s Krypton (which I still find visually stunning) and I now feel like all those Silver Age fans who felt everything they loved had been detourned.

Rene, a nitpick – while the three issue Sandman Presents: Lucifer was in 1999, Lucifer proper started in 2000, making it a 2000s run, not a 90s run.

Also, you should totally read Lucifer.

Two nitpicks:

1) In the “Byrne” run, Adventures of Superman was written by Marv Wolfman

2) I believe Wolfman in the “Who made Luthor a businessman” debate, as he was credited with the idea in the publicity leading up to the reboot.

Just one quick note — the way I remember it from comments I once read by Byrne, John Byrne freely concedes that Wolfman was the guy who first suggested the general idea that in the Post-COIE Reboot of the Superman Mythos, Lex Luthor would now have spent the last umpteen years cleverly using his scientific genius to make himself pretty much the richest man in the world (as opposed to just being a particularly notorious “mad scientist” supervillain who got shoved back into a prison cell every month or so, as the Silver Age Lex Luthor had definitely been).

Beyond that, I don’t know who “originally” came up with each little detailsof the way Lex Luthor was portrayed in the DC comics of the late 1980s. But Byrne doesn’t claim that he came up with the “Luthor is filthy rich and can sit in his comfortable office while the hired help does the dirty work” concept all by himself!

So yeah, I think Brian showed sensible restraint when he merely mentioned, in general terms, that various Superman villains started being reintroduced by Byrne and/or Wolfman after the reboot, without trying to sort out who probably contributed more ideas to the “new and improved Post-COIE version” of any specific villain (or other supporing character), such as Lex Luthor. Quick summaries of some of the selling points of each of the Top 100 Runs isn’t really the best time and place for trying to examine such things (and any controversy surrounding them) in excruciating detail!

Okay, Henry

Assigning Lucifer to the correct decade, we have:

– 1980s (9 runs – 961 pts)
– 2000s (7 runs – 776 pts)
– 1990s (4 runs – 404 pts)
– 1960s (3 runs – 329 pts)
– 1970s (3 runs – 304 pts)
– 1940s (1 run – 95 pts)

About Lucifer, yeah, I’ll probably read it someday. The “spin-off” syndrome made me avoid it when it was first released, and I never got around to read it, but I’m convinced that it must be good, Henry.

I don’t think there is a bad comic run included yet (well, except the later part of Gruenwald’s Cap).

Thing is, I felt Gruenwald’s run on Cap was actually making something of a comeback for awhile, toward the end. Not perfect, but better than it had been, say, around #400 and for awhile after that. It didn’t just inexorably go downhill in the last four or five years; instead, I think of the entire run as having sometimes swung up for awhile and sometimes swung down again, back and forth, on no set schedule . . .

Two nitpicks:

1) In the “Byrne” run, Adventures of Superman was written by Marv Wolfman

Not the issues I listed above. ;)

2) I believe Wolfman in the “Who made Luthor a businessman” debate, as he was credited with the idea in the publicity leading up to the reboot.

See Lorendiac’s comment. That’s basically my stance there.

WILDCATS, yeah! I’m on the board for two out of ten now (Casey’s ‘Cats and Grendel).

Okay, okay, but, as the legend goes, Wolfman had tried and failed to convince DC to make Luthor a businessman three years before. It never would have happened if Byrne hadn’t had the clout and the vision to fundamentally overhaul the characters and force the change through. And Byrne wrote the stories that introduced the new version of the character. He should at least get co-credit. Wolfman made significant contributions to the re-boot, but keep in mind he’d already been writing the book for years at that point, and not exactly setting the world on fire with his stories.

I don’t remember what I voted for (that is, there have been many great series, and I can’t recall all that made the cut!).

Usagi Yojimbo, Plastic Man, and Groo probably were in there. I’ve only checked out two of this bunch; Loved Concrete from the very start. I was buying every issue of Superman at that time.

Shortly after Byrne’s Supes hit the stands, it was wierd for us to look at sales charts and see Batman and Superman near the top. That was new for the direct distribution industry!

The businessman Lex Luthor in the comics was preceded by the businessman Lex Luthor in the first Christopher Reeve film, no? There’s a very long tradition of the comics being modified to match a portrayal in some other media, like Alfred Pennyworth’s weight loss in the 40s. And didn’t kryptonite debut in the Superman radio series?

I almost voted for “Mike Carlin’s Superman”, which in my opinion had a number of truly outstanding years (though it faltered towards the end), but defining runs by editors seemed outside the scope of the poll. (Similarly, Batman as edited by O’Neil, though this lasted longer and was in my opinion even better and more consistent) I’m glad to see Byrne’s Supes get a guernsey, though – note that he saved one of the biggest and most shocking changes to the Superman mythos until the end of the run. (I won’t spoil it)

Kudos to Brian for tabulating the votes, to Rene for posting interesting stats therefrom, and to all for the comments reflecting their personal perspectives!

Not to nitpick, but I think of Gene Hackman’s Luthor as more of a tycoon. He lives under Metroplolis, while the Byrne/ Wolfman Luthor lives above it. Also, it’s always odd to me when people my age say Green Goblin is a rip-off of Lex. It’s more like Luthor was reverse engineered into Norman Osborne.

Well this is certainly turning out to be really interesting, and will serve as a recommended reading list for me for some time to come.

Concrete is also on my “been meaning to read” list.

Byrne’s “Man of Steel” was one of the more purely pleasurable comics that I have ever read. Sadly, his run on Superman ran out of steam much quicker than I would have expected.

It was a real lesson in how useful a lot of those seemingly cheesy Silver Age elements really were. I started to really miss the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl, Krypto and the Phantom Zone very quickly. As cool as the Tycoon version of Lex Luthor was, he could not be in every issue. Byrne never figured out a way to update Brainiac and his revamp did away with General Zod. That meant two-thirds of the top tier of the Rogues Gallery were gone. The Bizzaro update was good, but the Metallo update lacked a certain menace. I am not sure that Byrne ever got to the Parasite. Mxyzptlk was not updated in the least.

What Byrne did bring was some romance. For my money, Superman is a story about how the last survivor of an alien race finds love. The Lois and Clark romance is the core of the story. Byrne got that. What he missed was the fun Weisenger had with keeping the question open. Lois was the only viable choice for Byrne.

Never read any of these except Lucifer #1 (reprinted in one of Vertigo’s First Tastes trades) and a one-shot of Concrete I found in a quarter bin.

I was about to praise rene yet again (I also did it during the top characters run) for his diligent work on the stats of the top comic runs, but then he went and insulted Gruenwald’s Captain America. It wasn’t all Cap-wolf, that’s all I can say.

Bernard the Poet

April 10, 2008 at 1:25 am

Q. Did Byrne create ‘Businessman Lex’ ? Did Wolfman?

Ans. No, it was Frank Miller. Their version of Luthor was the most outrageous rip-off of the Kingpin. Of course, they weren’t the only ones, Red Skull became the Kingpin around this time too, and many more were to follow.

Twenty-two years later and I still get annoyed about that. The original Luthor was wonderful – a Don Quixote dedicating his unparallelled genius on the one task he could never achieve, the defeat of the undefeatable, insufferably smug Superman. And all to avenge the loss of his hair. God, I still miss him.

I can’t see anything about the Byrne run for it to be worthy of inclusion here. The famous reboot was just a repeat of the film, but without the humour, and the issues that followed were all the same.

Still, not bad. Byrne’s Superman is the first entry that I actively disagree with. I better sharpen my pencil, if his Superman can get into the seventies, then his incredibly overrated Fantastic Four will probably make the thirties.

Pedro Bouça

April 10, 2008 at 2:38 am

Sigh, 20 years have passed and people STILL blame Byrne for “destroying” the Silver Age Superman. If I had a time machine, I would go back in time to prevent him from doing that and he would probably still be a popular creator today…

I would like the naysayers to someday experience what is to be criticized for something they’ve done a lifetime ago and that was changed back long ago. No wonder he is so grumpy, I would be too!

I can just say that it was the only Superman I’ve liked up until Grant Morrison’s current All-Star Superman – and even then I prefer Byrne’s Luthor!

Oh, and Byrne DID change Mxyzptlk a bit, by removing the fixed “name game” conditions for his banishment. Now Mxyzptlk would choose new “rules” at every appearance. Sounds little, but that changed the character dynamic considerably.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Yay – this is the first batch that’s wall-to-wall stuff I’ve read! And with the exception of Concrete (which I just couldn’t get into – but that may say more about me than the comic) it’s all good stuff.

Luthor is a completely different character to Kingpin. Once you get past “fat bald criminal who masquerades as a legitimate businessman” there’s really not much similarity that I can see. Kingpin is a mobster and that’s not Luthor’s style in the slightest.

And yeah, Byrne credits Wolfman with the basic idea, but insists he made loads of changes to Wolfman’s proposal.

Bernard the Poet

April 10, 2008 at 4:33 am

“I would like the naysayers to someday experience what is to be criticized for something they’ve done a lifetime ago and that was changed back long ago. ”

So how long am I allowed to criticise him for? If his Wonder Woman is on the list, can I criticise him for that? Or is the statute of limitations up?

“No wonder he is so grumpy, I would be too!”

Byrne was grumpy long before Superman.

“Once you get past “fat bald criminal who masquerades as a legitimate businessman” there’s really not much similarity that I can see. ”

That’s quite a bit to get past.

The businessman Lex Luthor in the comics was preceded by the businessman Lex Luthor in the first Christopher Reeve film, no?

Not exactly. Gene Hackman’s character was a businessman in the respect that he was obsessed with getting and selling real estate but he was still very much a mad scientist. (“Is that how you get your kicks–by planning the death of innocent people?” “No. By causing the death of innocent people”) who lived underground. Wolfman/Byrne’s Luthor was a ‘legitimate’ businessman.

I’m surprised there was only one first place vote for Invincible. Month in and month out, it’s the best superhero book on the rack.

Pedro Bouça

April 10, 2008 at 5:13 am

“So how long am I allowed to criticise him for? If his Wonder Woman is on the list, can I criticise him for that? Or is the statute of limitations up?”

But here is the thing: There is no significant criticism for his Wonder Woman or even his Spider-Man (on its time easily Byrne’s most panned run ever) anymore. They are long past now.

The Superman guys, however, are still at it. Even after all that time.

Seriously, people should get over it already. It’s gone. It’s retconned. Forget it has ever happened if you dislike it so much.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

The first of my picks showed up in this list with Byrne’s Superman and Concrete. I actually voted Concrete as my No 1! I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in great comics, superhero or otherwise. The digest-size tpbs that Dark Horse have published are good but I have all the original issues and I like to dig those out every now and again for a great read!!
I recently read Showcase Presents…Superman and some of those stories are just really hard to read. They are so formulaic and sometimes just downright silly that I think Superman’s Silver Age period is vastly overrated. Byrne was a breath of fresh air and his large broom gave the Superman closet a really good cleaning out. Even now, his legacy is still felt in the Superman titles.

Pedro, you’re Brazilian too, right?

I also like Byrne’s Superman a lot. And hate the mad scientist version of Lex Luthor. Well, okay, not hate, but I pity him. And I don’t think it’s quite right to have a comic where the supervillain is the one to be so pathetic and pitied amd helpless.

Pedro Bouça

April 10, 2008 at 6:14 am

Not brazilian, but I lived there for a long time, including my teen years, when I bought Byrne’s Superman and many other classic comic runs.

And it’s not really my wish to turn this into a Byrne Superman rules X Byrne Superman sucks flame war. I just want people to notice that complaining about something that’s long gone like John Byrne’s Superman run is just pettiness. I mean, I HATED Bill Mantlo’s Alpha Flight, but I don’t waste my time going after everyone who is praising Mantlo’s writing on the blogosphere (a Bill Mantlo renaissance… I will never be able to wrap my mind around THAT!) to say it sucked. That’s stupid.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Pedro Bouça

April 10, 2008 at 6:17 am

Changing a bit the subject, I don’t understant why Concrete is reprinted digest-sized while A LOT of other comics with much worse art (not to mention writing) get reprinted in regular size or even oversized!

Chadwick is a brilliant artist! His artwork shouldn’t be shrunk (and, in some cases, lose its colors) like that.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

So far, this list is pretty much what I expected. It’s essentially a list of very good creator owned properties or corporate properties that have (pretty much) only had one writer involved. Most of these aren’t “runs” (though, yes, obviously some of them are).

I’ve always wanted to read Concrete. The reviews were alway sconsistently great. This is one I’ll definately have to get the first trade of and give it a shot.

FWIW: I thought the Byrne Superman was fine. It was a relaunch immediately following Crisis. It was SUPPOSED to be different from the G/A & S/A versions. I never understood all the complaints when Byrne did EXACTLY what he was supposed to do.

*Slaps forehead*

How could I completely forget about Casey’s Wildcats? I loved that run, and was so sad to see it go. Had I not brain-farted, it definitely would have made my list.

Concrete is lovely.

Dark Horse did publish full size trades of the first series & DHP stories as “The Complete Concrete” and “The Complete Short Stories.” They are probably out of print, but they exist.

Pedro Bouça

April 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Yeah, they are totally out of print. And are from a time where the print runs of comics TPBs were a fraction of today’s.

The thing is, I think Concrete DESERVES to be kept in print in larger-sized TPBs FAR more than most books that currently are. But we will have to take the digests and if Dark Horse ever puts out a deluxe edition it will be seriously overpriced like the recent Sin City one.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Hmm, frankly I can’t believe Byrne’s Superman run only got as high as 75. In my book it’s gotta be at least in the top 25. But that’s me. All of these lists are subjective, but aside from that I’m really enjoying this series, some great gems in here.

Darren Close — I believe I considered voting for Byrne’s 6-issue “Man of Steel” mini all by itself (although I finally didn’t), but I couldn’t see myself voting for his entire two-year run on various Superman series and miniseries. I loved “Man of Steel,” but some of his later stories struck me as a lot less impressive. More like “who’s the villain of the month?” formula stuff.

Although who knows? It’s been some years since I last read through Byrne’s entire run on the regular monthly Superman titles — as opposed to an issue here and a couple of issues there, to research one specific thing or another — so maybe I ought to look at a bunch of those issues again with a “fresh” set of eyes and see if my opinion has shifted! Isaac Asimov once said that when he, as a teenager, first saw Fritz Lang’s film “Metropolis,” he thought it was hilarious (which was not Lang’s intention). Decades later, he watched it again and found it was incredible how much the film had matured since he last saw it. (Or someone had matured, anyway! :) )

I’m completely amazed Chadwick’s Concrete ranked this highly. You never hear about the character any more. What’s Chadwick doing these days anyway ? Byrne’s Superman was good, but I liked others better, particularly Ordway’s and later McGuinness’. I haven’t given Lucifer a fair shake. I’ve only read bits and pieces and was completely lost. Invincible looks great though I haven’t gotten it yet. Wildcats, what I read of it, was fantastic.

Good to see Lucifer made the final cut. Definitely one of my all time favourites :)

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Mike, I’ll always love you, but when I asked you not to put Play-Doh in the Salad Shooter, i meant it.

Lucifer and Concrete are 2 series I’ll have to check out. Lucifer I’m really looking forward to as I’m really enjoying Carey’s work on X-men.

Interestingly enough, Casey used many of his ideas for WildCATS during his run on Uncanny X-men as a kind of test run…specifically, having Warren Worthington/Angel use his family fortune to effect change, as opposed to fighting. One of the few bright spots of that run lol

I prefer Byrne’s version of Superman, and the Superman universe, actually. But that’s just me.

Alright!!!
It’s nice to see there are 116 folks out there who agree with me on “Wildcats”. If you ask me, Volume 2 was the exemplar of the early 21st century as far as a team superhero book is concerned. And 3.0 is quite possibly the greatest superhero-based book of all time (well, until WS axed the “Eye” line and started pressuring Casey into that “Coda War” action arc) and should be right up there with “The Ultimates 1″ as far pushing things forward within a genre…

[…] goodcomics.comicbookresources.com […]

Invincible? It’s a nice book and Ottley is a terrific artist but it’s a ramora. It’s a thinly veiled Else Worlds book that relies way to heavy on DC continuity rather than say…creating it’s own. It’s lazy writing.

The Byrne Superman ret-con, while much needed at the time, was really not very good and most of what he established has long since been re-ret-conned out of existance.

The oversized trades of ‘Concrete’ were readily available at the New York Comic Con last week, pretty cheap, but I already had 6 of the 7 slightly undersized ones [shame — I read the first oversized, and the art really does deserve that size… but I’m a completist, and the new 7 small ones have everything]. I did manage to get the last of the undersizeds that I needed.

[…] 77. O Super-Homem de John Byrne. Muitas das inovações de Byrne estão sendo deixadas de lado nos últimos anos, mas aquela série […]

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