web stats

CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #70-66

Here are the next five runs based on a vote of nearly 700 Comics Should Be Good readers!


70. Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers – 134 points (1 first place vote)

Powers Vol. 1 #1-37, Powers Vol. 2 #1-current (#27)

Brian Michael Bendis was already gaining a bit of a name for himself as a writer of crime comics, with the acclaimed comics Goldfish, Jinx and most notably, Torso, so Powers was a reasonable evolution of his craft.

The series, co-created with series artist, Michael Avon Oeming, follows two cops in a world of superheroes, and the various events that occur when you’re a cop in a world filled with superheroes.

Noted for his dialogue, Bendis spent a great deal of time establishing the main characters, Christian Walker (a former superhero himself) and his partner, Deena Pilgrim, as the pair got caught up in all sorts of super-powered trouble.

Towards the end of the first series at Image, Bendis gave us the background of Walker’s life, who apparently was a bit of an immortal, so we saw Christian literally evolve, from his days as an ape to modern times.

After the Image series ended, the book moved to Marvel, where it is being published through Marvel’s ICON line of creator-owned comics.

Oeming’s contributions should not be overlooked, as his expressive artwork lends a great deal of humanity to Bendis’ dialogue, which is meant to evoke how “real” people talk.

69. Peter David’s 1st Run on X-Factor – 140 points (2 first place votes)

X-Factor #70 – 90

In what has become a bit of a pattern when it comes to acclaimed comic books, in 1991, when Peter David took over X-Factor, the book was not exactly the highest profile comic book. The first 69 issues starred the original members of the X-Men, but in 1991, X-Men was expanded to two comic books, and the original members rejoined the X-Men, leaving X-Factor without any team members.

So what David did was put together a team made up of the characters that no one wanted in the other X-Men titles, namely Havok, Polaris, Guido, Madrox the Multiple Man and Wolfsbane. In the first issue, David added Quicksilver, as well. The team worked for the government (following up the disastrous Freedom Force team) and was led by Val Cooper.

With the amount of minor characters in the book, David was given a lot more freedom to do what he wanted, so he treated the book as a humor title, much in the same vein as what Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis had done five years earlier with their Justice League International comics.

This was not to say that the book was all fun and games, though, as David did work in a number of social issues into his run, particularly some rather poignant looks at families being given the option of testing to see if their unborn children were mutants, and if they were, given the chance to abort.

Larry Stroman was the artist on the first 10 or so issues of David’s run, and a variety of artists followed him, most notably Joe Quesada, who produced perhaps the most acclaimed issue of the book, where the team are all forced to go see a shrink (Doc Samson), and David spent the issue investigating each of the personalities of the team, including probably the best take on Quicksilver’s personality ever.

Sadly, as the comic market was going through a speculator boom, crossovers became a bigger deal, and David’s run was getting interrupted more and more by crossovers (this is noted with the infamous issue of X-Factor that starred only Wolverine, Cable and Bishop – none of which, of course, were X-Factor characters), and his actual storylines kept getting the bump. So David decided it better to simply leave the book.

Years later, David returned to the characters, first with a Madrox mini-series, and then with a new X-Factor ongoing series, this time with X-Factor being the name of Madrox’s private investigation firm, where Wolfsbane and Guido went to work with him. This run also got decent support, to the tune of 63 points.

68. Alan Moore’s Top Ten – 141 points (3 first place votes)

Top 10 #1-12, Top 10: The Forty-Niners OGN, Smax #1-5

This is the second comic in this group to be about police in a world of superheroes! But this time, Alan Moore’s Top 10 is about police officers who ARE superheroes, which is normal enough, as nearly EVERYone in the city of Neopolis has superpowers and costumes, from the cops to the robbers to the civilians.

Story continues below

The artwork was by Gene Ha and Zander Cannon, who drew the 12 issues series together, and then each drew one of the two spin-offs by themselves (Ha handling the Forty-Niners, which tells the history of Neopolis and Cannon taking Smax, a spin-off starring one of the cops from Top 10).

Top 10 refers to the 10th Precinct, which is who the book follows, in a riff on Hill Street Blues, only with superheroes.

Moore uses the opportunity of a city filled with superheroes to make many pointed observations about superheroes, mostly comical ones. However, the book is also a character-driven comic, as well, it is just that the characters are absolutely bizarre, so their dramas are, as well. Moore, though, never treats their bizarre dramas as anything but serious problems, which gives the book a truly human feel in an otherwise superhuman environment.

There was a sequel to the series published in 2005, but Moore was not involved.

67. Peter Milligan’s Shade, the Changing Man- 142 points (4 first place votes)

Shade, the Changing Man Vol. 2 #1-70

In 1990, Peter Milligan took hold of a short-lived Steve Ditko superhero, Shade, the Changing Man, and went nuts with the idea. Ditko’s Shade was an other-dimensional agent who was framed, so went on the run with his powerful M-Vest (which stood for Miraco-Vest) to clear his name. In Milligan’s take, Shade was sent to Earth to save the planet from a swath of madness – his M-Vest was now a Madness-Vest, and he could use it to alter reality.

Brendan McCarthy designed the characters, and Chris Bachalo, in his first major comics work, drew the series, which drew much acclaim for both its surreal plots and for its intriguing character interactions.

The madness was called “The American Scream,” and Shade encountered a young woman, Kathy, who was recovering from some massive trauma (her parents were murdered by a serial killer, and her boyfriend was killed by the police because they felt he was the killer, as her boyfriend was black) – Shade somehow convinced her to go along with him on his journey to stop the American Scream, and the two eventually fell in love (even though when Shade showed up on Earth, he took the body of the serial killer, who had just been executed).

However, a great deal of twists and turns happen along the way, including Shade getting killed, like, five times or so, with him being reincarnated each time in a different dead body (once as a woman!).

Along the way, Kathy and Shade also added another traveling companion, a woman named Lenny. The trio had quite the relationship.

As noted above, the surreal nature of the comic was probably the most striking aspect of the book, specifically Chris Bachalo slowly coming into his own as one of the bigger artists of his time. The book really never recovered from Bachalo’s departure, and ended with issue #70.

66. Chris Claremont’s New Mutants – 144 points (4 first place votes)

Marvel Graphic Novel #4, New Mutants #1-54, Annuals #1-3

Almost all the votes were specifically for the run Claremont did with artist Bill Sienkiewicz, which lasted for New Mutants #18-31, 35-38, but enough just said “Chris Claremont’s New Mutants” that I just combined all of the votes into one “Chris Claremont’s New Mutants.”

New Mutants was the very first ongoing spin-off series of the X-Men, the first of many.

After introducing the characters in Marvel Graphic Novel #4, with artist Bob McLeod, Claremont and McLeod launched the ongoing series, which featured the adventures of Cannonball, Sunspot, Psyche, Karma and Wolfsbane, the newest students at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Claremont had a fairly good eye for teen dialogue, and the book was an engaging place for stories of the teen mutants, but the book really went to another level when artist Bill Sienkiewicz came to the title, hot off of his acclaimed run on Moon Knight, where his art experimentation had begun to catch many reader’s eyes.

Claremont shifted the tone of the series to match Sienkiewicz’s style, which was notably darker than most Marvel comics of the time, so Claremont’s scripts also got darker, dealing with ideas of mysticism, mental disorders and bizarre psychic realities.

Oh, and the group all liked to watch Magnum PI, which was cool, because I like Magnum PI.

Sienkiewicz took some time off to work on a Daredevil project, then left the book for good with #38. Claremont held on for another year or so, before giving way to the editor of the title, Louise Simonson.


Man, what weirdo would vote for Shade?

Oh, yeah, I did. I was getting a bit worried, as only Grendel from my list had shown up. I’m sure all of mine will, because I’m so very mainstream!

I was just looking at the trade of the Sienkiewicz issues on New Mutants (which came out this week, in case anyone is interested – and you should be). Man, what great art. Plopped in the middle of it is Bob McLeod’s annual, which isn’t bad, but a jarring shift from Sienkiewicz.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 10, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Hey!!! I would vote on Shade! It was a DAMN good series, while it lasted.

Tho’ I just died for the New Mutants – Sienkiewicz run, he made the book interesting!

I’m surprised that TOP TEN isn’t lower (or is it higher?) on the list, but then again Promethea was quite spectacular.

I’m betting Bendis’ TORSO outshines all his work (past and current). ;-)

Ooh, Top Ten! *That’s* a good comic. I guess I think of it as a miniseries, though. That’s what it was, right? What’s the difference between the 12 issues of Top Ten and the 12 issues of Watchmen, other than the fact that Top Ten had sequels?

Of course, I voted for Ambush Bug, so I shouldn’t nitpick too much.

Hmm… A third of the way through the list and none of my picks have come up yet (though a couple close calls have). I’m guessing 8 of my 10 are pretty mainstream and coming up later and the other 2 could be things that only I voted for.

I’m actually just now getting into New Mutants. Good stuff, indeed.
More people voted specifically for Peter David’s first run than the current run? Really? I haven’t even read all of his second run, but I know Ryan Sook and Scott Eaton have to be better than Stroman. I just can’t stand Stroman’s art. There are places where I couldn’t tell what was happening. (In all fairness, his art in that What if? one-shot was better, so…)

Wait, Anthony’s right, what separates Top 10 from a mini?

Josh Alexander

April 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Still 3 for 10 although I’ve read three of the 5 runs ranked (X-Factor, Top Ten, and New Mutants). I didn’t hate David’s first stab at X-Factor (much prefer his second), New Mutants I remember for the most part as being pretty fun, and Top Ten was a cool idea, but for whatever reason I don’t remember anything other than a couple plot points, so I should probably go and reread it.

I’m only 24 but Bendis made give up on the Avengers, the first time I’ve stopped reading Avengers since i started (although I came close with Austen’s run). I have only heard good things about Powers though, and will eventually give it a shot. But a couple of the other previous runs that have ranked are higher on my read list.

Shade sounds quite bizarre, so i’m in.

Top 10 wasn’t a mini-series. It was the same as Sleeper, only it ended at just one Season. That was not the intent when it began, it was open-ended.

Actually, Brian, that X-Factor story you mention, the one with the in vitro testing for the mutant gene, was heavily edited without David’s approval “into near incomprehensibility.” All direct references to abortion were cut out, and they tacked on some sci-fi gimmick that would allow the parents to remove the X-gene while the kid was in utero.

Top Ten is the first of my ten to appear here. It’s a testament to Moore’s skills as a writer that he can decide to aim at a Hill St Blues approach, and succeed. HSB remains one of the best-written tv shows of all time, and Top Ten matches it.

I believe issue #9 ranked at the very top of a recent list of All Time Best Self-Contained Single Issues, too.

It’s a pity the run was so short. Was it poor sales, or Moore losing interest, that led to its cancellation? Still, like Fawlty Towers, it’s probably better to have a handful of just about perfect installments than it is to have dozens more with a slowly sinking level of quality.

Anyone who hasn’t read it and is considering doing so: I highly recommend it. Apart from the compelling and entertaining foreground stories, the backgrounds of many panels are often packed full of comics in-jokes. There’s a lot to enjoy in this one! I’m very glad it made the list, even if it didn’t make the, uh, top ten.

Surprised to see Shade recognized. One of my favorite Vertigo series, and one I would have listed if I voted. Sandman Mystery Theater was also a solid title published during the mid-90s. Hopefully, that will show up on this list as well.

Others I’m looking for include
Spectre by Ostrander/Mandrake
Flash by Geoff Johns/Scott Kolins
JSA by Geoff Johns
Bone by Smith
Avengers by Stern/Buscema

Great list, and it has definitely added to my back issue list.

P.S. A similarity Top Ten has with Hill St Blues is the high density of the story-telling; because of this, both amply repay re-reading/viewing: each subsequent time you are likely to discover new linkages and levels.

I’ve read all of those runs, except for Shade. Good stuff, all of them. But still none of my picks have appeared. While I like New Mutants a lot, I’m again surprised that it scored so high. The Sienkiewicz issues are really great, a little bit of a Vertigo comic before there were Vertigo comics.

Josh, Powers is a great comic, that I think is at least as good (if not even better) Alan Moore’s Top 10. Bendis is a very talented writer, it’s just that he is so horribly unsuited to the Avengers. By trying to fit the Avengers into his style, he does a disservice both to his distinctive voice and to the Avengers, IMO.

I remember Pater David’s X-Factor being pretty good. Not stellar, but good. Most of the X-books were going downhill at that time, so memory probably runs it down a little for me.

The New Mutants were GREAT until Bret Blevins came on. That Sienkiewicz run was really cutting edge. I liked that they didn’t have a clue how to use their powers yet. Cannonball was soooooo happy when he finally turned a corner while he was flying! Clairmont really had a talent for character development for a while there.

I read the first Powers trade. I wasn’t too impressed.

I neeeeed to read the rest of Shade. The first trade was excellent, and Skreemer/Enigman/Egypt/the Eaters are some of my favorite mainstream comics ever. I keep hoping I’ll find the whole series in the 3 for a buck box someday.

(And, really, putting it on lists like this is just going to increase demand and make it harder for me to find cheap. Thanks a lot, voters.)

What else we got:

Love the Bill S., so New Mutants makes me happy. Powers is definitely worth reading. Oeming is on my shortlist of favorite (just-) artists working today. Good description of Top Ten, a neat l’il book I’m glad to see. I just read the recent X-Factor trades and was kind of “Blef” but I’m a mutantphobe.

Still, good to see Shade this high. Gives me hope that we’ll see some more idiosyncratic and personal works higher up.

New totals.

The first (but not the last) Alan Moore comic appears! The domination of the Marvel mutants continue. The 2000s and the 1990s have more entries, but stuff older than the 80s is still not appearing.

And was Shade any more set in the DC Universe than Ennis’s Hellblazer? I’m not counting it as set in the DC Universe, as the entry in Wikipedia says it had appearances only by Vertigo characters and it was VERY Vertigoesque by the description.

We have 37 runs so far (and 4210 pts)

– 16 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (1865 pts)
– 4 runs are set in the DC Universe (444 pts)
– 3 are Vertigo comics (357 pts)
– 3 runs are set in the Wildstorm Universe (342 pts)

– 29 are superheroes or close enough (3496 pts)
– 7 are non-superhero (714 pts)

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

– 1980s (13 runs – 1493 pts)
– 2000s (10 runs – 1173 pts)
– 1990s (7 runs – 816 pts)
– 1960s (3 runs – 329 pts)
– 1970s (3 runs – 304 pts)
– 1940s (1 run – 95 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

– Chris Claremont (5 runs – 638 pts)
– Peter Milligan (2 runs – 255 pts)
– Ed Brubaker (2 runs – 235 pts)
– Brian Michael Bendis (2 runs – 235 pts)
– Stan Lee (2 runs – 220 pts)
– Warren Ellis (2 runs – 215 pts)
– Alan Moore (141 pts)
– Peter David (140 pts)
– Michael Avon Oeming (134 pts)
– Paul Smith (133 pts)
– Marc Silvestri (133 pts)
– Christopher Priest (130 pts)
– Greg Rucka (122 pts)
– Alan Davis (122 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)
– Mike Allred (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)
– John Romita Jr. (106 pts)
– Mike Grell (104 pts)
– Stuart Immonen (103 pts)
– Garth Ennis (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)

Claremont’s New Mutants. Man, that was a great run. Simonson’s follow-up, though… well, if there’s ever a Bottom 100 Comic Book Runs, that’s where it’ll belong.

Only other one of these I’ve read is David’s X-Factor, and only about three or four issues (I do own the one pictured, though. Good stuff).

I considered Top Ten, but I feel it’s definitely a miniseries, so it was disqualified. (Does this mean that ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’ will show up too?) The other four all fall into the category of “wouldn’t kick ‘em out of bed for eating crackers”, but it’s hard for me to imagine anybody voting for them. (Well, okay, I actively hated Shade, but only because it was so callously dismissive of Ditko’s work.) New Mutants beat Excalibur? Team America guest appearances and all?

A mistake. It’s actually 30 superhero related runs, not 29. The point totals are right, though.

And the proud trend continues! So far nothing on my ballot has earned a mention, and we’re now just over one-third of the way through! I keep telling myself that this must mean that at least a few of my picks were also picked by many of my fellow voters, with the result that they’ll be coming along later — but maybe I’m just whistling in the dark? :(

Of these five runs, there is just one with which I am entirely unfamiliar: Milligan’s “Shade the Changing Man.” I know I have a few of Shade’s earlier appearances in my collection, because I’m sure he got at least a minute or two onstage in the COIE series (didn’t everybody?), and I also remember Ostrander used him a bit in the “Suicide Squad” title in the late 1980s, right? But I haven’t reread COIE or those issues of “Suicide Squad” in years, so I remember precious little about whatever Shade actually said or did in them. I’ve never seen any of Ditko’s work on the character, either. Heck, I don’t even know if those early Shade stories were ever reprinted! (From the description above of Milligan’s run, I get the feeling he was “rebooting” the character concept anyway . . . but since I know so little about it, I could be wrong?)

“Powers” — I thought it was kinda interesting when I bought the first issue, and I stuck with it for a bit, but sometime after the first story arc wrapped up, I quickly decided the writing style just didn’t appeal to me enough for me to keep spending money on it indefinitely, and it’s been years since I read or reread any “Powers” material at all.

I have more affection for the other three runs in this installment — and in each case I own full sets of those runs — but none of them even ended up on the “short list” of serious contenders which I had to gradually narrow down to just 10 for my ballot. (Although two of those three were written by guys who did, in fact, manage to place a different run on my ballot, come to think of it! So it’s not like I’m completely ignoring their talents! :) )

Let’s see… So far the only thing from my list that’s shown up is Paul Chadwick’s Concrete. I’m thinking MAYBE one or two others will make the list. Most of my stuff was generally underrated, so it was probably the bottom of the list or nothing.

Some good stuff though. Top 10 was a wonderful book that I hated to see end (& also hated to see given a substandard sequel by another creative team).

I understand the lesser love of David’s second X-Factor run. As awesome as it can be, every other issue is a crossover of some kind. If that is what drove him out initially, I don’t understand how he has hung in there through Decimation, Civil War, Endangered Species and Messiah Complex. When he is left alone to tell his stories, they are really well crafted (especially his work with Layla Miller). As someone who only reads X-Factor fro Marvel, I am getting crossover fatigued.

Also, I love this list and I was wondering, Cronin, if you could include whether or not the runs are available in trade form? I know you have on some but, for folks like me who are curious about say…Shade The Changing Man…I would like to know if there is any way to actually read that run. I haven’t found a 100% reliable on-line resource for TPB listings yet and would hate to miss out on a great run due to not knowing there is something to look for. Thanks for all the hard work, you rock for doing these.

Well, I’m doing pretty good. 40 out of 100 runs have been announced, and 4 out of my top 10 has been in there. Plus a few of my runner-ups showing up too.

And good stuff with the statistics Rene. The most interesting will be the ranking of the creators by number of runs making it in. Milligan and Brubaker had each a run on my top ten (I limited myself to 1 run per creator). I don’t see Milligan’s total growing, but Brubaker could still rack up some points there. I expect Ennis and Morrison (when he actually starts showing up) will actually get mor runs in there.

On Bone “maybe” being on this list:
I would think it’s a pretty safe bet that it and Cerebus are fairly high on the list. Top 50 at least. We’ll see.
Also, should I feel bad that I haven’t seen any of mine yet? Do I have horrible taste, or such whitebead taste that all of my picks will be at the top?

Let’s see… So far the only thing from my list that’s shown up is Paul Chadwick’s Concrete. I’m thinking MAYBE one or two others will make the list. Most of my stuff was generally underrated, so it was probably the bottom of the list or nothing.

You ‘n me both. I would wager goodly amounts of money that at least as many of my runs get NO other votes as show up in the top 100.

For those who are wondering, Shade has only one trade – the first bunch of issues (eight, I think, but I could be wrong) – and who knows if DC will ever reprint any of them. When I first started reading them, I had no connection to anything Ditko had done, so it didn’t bother me that Milligan was changing everything. Lots of people were grumpy about it, too, especially because he had just shown up in Suicide Squad. It still doesn’t bother me, because the series was so good. Maybe DC will do a series of hardcovers, like they’re doing with Starman. That would be swell.

None of my picks has appeared either. Not even one. I think most of them will, as I’m not too unusual in my tastes, but who knows.

And thanks, Arkhangelsk.

The one thing that makes me uncomfortable with the stats is classifying a book as “superhero related” or not. It’s not easy. I’ve put Concrete and Shade as superhero-related, because they have the kind of powers and origin stories that superheroes do, but it seems like they never get involved in typical superhero adventures. I’ve classified Gotham Central as superhero-related because it is so firmy set in a superhero continuity, but it’s more of a crime comic, so I dunno… it’s messy. Maybe when the countdown is done we can do a more through examination to see how many “traditional” superheroes are in there, how many are borderline, how many simply aren’t superheroes, etc.

I’d argue that Moore’s work on Top 10 and Smax does actually count as a “run,” given that it had a follow-up with Beyond the Farthest Precinct and Zander Cannon and Gene Ha are currently working on another follow-up series. So while Moore did tell a finite story, he definitely left it open for further stories, and there are further stories being told (though admittedly not at a consistent pace). I’d think that under Brian’s definition of subsequent miniseries as a run, Top 10 definitely qualifies.

Anyway, good lineup of material here, all of which I’ve at least partially read and enjoyed. Powers is probably still my favorite of Bendis’s work.

I agree Rene that deciding what counts as “superhero” is a damned hard thing. I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

Shade is something I really need to read soon. Especially as I love Peter Milligan from Human Target, X-Statix, Skreemer, Detective Comics, Enigma etc.

The rest are things I love, but none I put in my top 50.

That the list is continuing to skew so recent-heavy is a concern, but one that is to be expected. Ah well.

Top 10 was not a mini-series. Moore just never picked up on it again. The plan at the time was to do another “season,” but Moore ended up walking away from ABC, period, so we never got season two. That does not make it a mini-series. While he didn’t do a season two, he DID do the fabulous Forty-Niners Original Graphic Novel, so that was nice. :)

I think Top Ten should count as a run. I probably wasn’t thinking of it as a run, but now that I realise it is, it probably is in my top 50.


April 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

You ‘n me both. I would wager goodly amounts of money that at least as many of my runs get NO other votes as show up in the top 100.

That or they all do further down the list, and instead of being an indie kid, you’ll find yourself with ‘mainstream’ tastes and then be too ashamed to look in the mirror!

I can tell we’re moving up the food chain. 4 out of 5 I’m crazy for, with Top 10 probably being my # 11. In fact, in retrospect, it should have probably been one of my Top 10 (ha!). Think Hill Street Blues, one of my all-time fav shows, and Legion of Super-Heroes, one of my all-time fav groups, shake em up and put a Silver Age spin on all with masterful perfect storytelling by King Moore, Gene Ha ! and Zander Cannon. It’s also loaded with homages to tons of stuff that just make it even more enjoyable with little things in the backgrounds, etc. Highest recommendation ever.

Claremont & Sienkiewicz were both full tilt on New Mutants. I don’t know anyone who read that Demon Bear story and wasn’t blown away.

Peter David’s X-Factor was great. I loved the issue where Quicksilver is describing how bored and mundane living in a slo-mo world is. He completely nailed the character ! I’ve never liked the book as much as that run. Awesome.

Shade – It certainly was a different take from Ditko and at first I felt cheated but very intrigued. I think this is great work by all parties concerned. I don’t remember much past the first few story arcs, but I definitely want to dig em out and re-read em now. These are finally getting collected I think.

Powers – still haven’t read it but am going to. Bendis is truly talented and of course so is Oeming.

Brian – shouldn’t the New Mutants issue listing include New Mutants Special Edition 1 ?

According to Diamond New Mutants Classic V3 shipped this week which should contain the first issues of the Sienkiewicz run

Sweet! SHADE!! I wasn’t expecting it to make the list but I’m so glad it did. Of the six “founding” Vertigo books, I always feel like it gets the least amount of love because it was so overshadowed at the time by Sandman and Hellblazer. It was a mad, mad, mad, mad book, and yet Shade, Kathy, and Lenny were all wonderfully human characters. I agree, the book did seem to lose something after Bachalo left with issue #50, but I suspect part of the letdown was also due to Milligan drastically changing the main cast’s dynamic. It wasn’t until the last few issues that Milligan seemed to finally recapture a little bit of the magic he displayed before. It also saddens me to see DC only ever give us one trade for the series, despite Milligan and Bachalo’s names being attached to it. I agree with Greg, give us a nice set of Shade hardcovers!! I’d buy ‘em anyway. :)

And Top Ten rocks too! I don’t have much to add that others here haven’t already said, just that it was a brilliantly written book whose appeal to me was enhanced by Ha and Cannon’s gorgeous artwork. The massive amount of injokes they put in the art was fantastic stuff!

Good selection. Powers was on my runner-ups list and Top 10 and Shade could have been if I’d thought of them.

And of course the couple of obligatory mutant books….

Waaiiiiit a second. David’s first X-Factor run managed to rank this high, but the second run didn’t make it at all?

I still think it’s one of the best books coming out at the moment, despite the Messiah Complex interference. It started at the Madrox mini, and just kept on rocking from there. I’m looking forward to the Quicksilver one-shot as well. The second run made the lower half of my top ten, so I contributed to those few points it received.

Still no runs from my list. At least now I know one that’s not showing up for sure (and there’s another one on my list that I’m pretty sure no one else voted for). However, I think most of my stuff will rank quite highly. I’m just a sheep.

Speaking of the original PAD X-Factor run, this summer he’ll be rejoined by Larry Stroman on the current series.

George Khoury had an intersting piece about Bob McLeod’s New Mutants work few weeks back on his POP! column. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=15802

Rene, thanks for for the statistics.

So far my only vote to be featured was Nextwave. I don’t think that more than 5 of my other votes will show up, but I hope for a pleasant surprise.

It’s still hard for me to think of Top 10 as an ongoing. If I had I probably would have had it somewhere on my list.

Bernard the Poet

April 11, 2008 at 3:40 am

Delighted to see that Shade got into the Top 100 – I always had a sneaky feeling that DC just published it for my sole benefit. I mean, I’ve never actually met anyone else who had read it.

I suspect that DC will start to close the gap on Marvel as the poll progresses – they had a flowering of really top class comics in the years following Crisis, and if Shade made the list then we can expect to see some of the higher selling comics appearing soon.

I was totally bemused by Bill Sienkiewicz when he first started on the New Mutants – and I wasn’t alone, I believe the series haemorrhaged readers during his run – but twenty years later those images are still with me, unlike lots of stuff I prefered at the time.

Still haven’t got any of my choices on the list – does this mean that I’m really predictable and they’re going to show up in the top twenty or that my tastes are really obscure?

It’s heartening to me to see how many people clearly loved Shade the way I always did. #1-50 are still possibly my favorite run of all time on any series (and yes, I am lame, I didn’t vote). I’d go so far as to say that the book never recovered not just from Bachalo leaving (as his style then was perfectly suited for the book. Others had filled in before with nice results, but it always felt a shadow of itself when it wasn’t Bachalo), but also, the major death that took place in #50 (since so many here have said they haven’t read the series yet). I stayed with the series til the end, but it didn’t even seem like Milligan was very into after that, either, and I’ve always wondered if in retrospect he might have felt that was a mistake. The book was always about shaking up its own status quo, but that was as if the heart of the entire series was gone. I always thought the ending was basically Milligan just trying to make amends.

I kept hoping that once Milligan and Bachalo became popular we’d start seeing the series collected, I third the suggestion of a hardcover collection.


I have all the Concrete books, and i wouldn’t put him in any kind of “superhero-related” category. Ron’s massive body is treated more as a handicap than an advantage he doesn’t have any real enemies except for when he has to fight depression. He does decide to accomplish inhuman feats, but it’s mostly to put his alien form to the test. My two-cents!

I also like your work on statistics, it’s the official spin-off post of Brian’s Top Comic Book Runs!

On an unrelated note, two of my top 10 choices have appeared so far :

4. TOP 10 (Alan Moore – Gene Ha)
9. X-FORCE/X-STATIX (Mike Allred – Peter Milligan)

I love Powers and really loved Top 10 but left them off my list due to personal restrictions I put on my decision-making process to keep the list from getting too unwieldy. Otherwise, Top 10 definitely would have made it.

I couldn’t decide between the first Peter David X-Factor run or the second, and in the fear that my list would be too X-Men dominate, I ended up leaving off both. I actually think I liked the second run better, but it would have been hard for me to vote for it since it’s still ongoing, so it may just cleave off mid-story when David gets fed up enough with all the crossovers to leave. Maybe that’s what prevented it from placing whereas the original run did. Still, it’s one of Marvel’s best current books, hands down.

Bill Sienkiewicz is definitely not a kid-friendly artist; shortly after getting into comics as I was snatching up back issues left and right, I came upon his New Mutants issues and just didn’t get it; I didn’t dislike, but it was just so different from everything else I was reading and my rookie comic reading vocab didn’t know how to process it. But every year that went by, when I’d go back and reread those issues I “got it” more and more each time. They really were fantastic.

Haven’t read Shade yet; I’ve been picking up issues here and there, mainly because of all the good things I’ve read about it around here, waiting to get a good solid chunk of them in hand before diving in.

That or they all do further down the list, and instead of being an indie kid, you’ll find yourself with ‘mainstream’ tastes and then be too ashamed to look in the mirror!]

Nah. I’d be surprised and pleased that other people have such good taste. Like I was when Plastic Man made it.

Hey, Çteve!

Yeah, I’m really unhappy with this classification. There is no hard and fast rule about what is a “superhero”.

Forgive me for being politically incorrect for a moment, but I think I’ve ended up resorting to the same way people are classified as “Afro-American” in America. If you got even one Afro-American grandparent, you’re likely to be considered “black”, even if you have much lighter skin than many “whites” in other countries.

To make things easier for me and avoid second-guessing myself, I’m just considering “superhero-related” anything that remotely looks like superhero. Not ideal, I know. Like I said, I’ll try to do a more through analysis after we progress more into the countdown.

These are starting to get really good! “Powers” was my favorite book for a while, but delays have caused me to just pick it up in trade. I’ve read all the rest of the books on this part of the list, and I have to agree that these are all some really nice runs of comics. I think “Shade the Changing Man” may be overlooked by some modern comics audiences, but it’s definitely worth searching out.

Voted for Peter David’s X Factor run (or rather his current run, but I don’t think I specified this). Also, pleased to see New Mutants on the list. I voted for the Claremont/Sienkiewicz run – big Bill was so unexpected on this title but, boy, he rocked.

Good to see the new mutants get some love. I have a place in my heart for that book.

No one’s mentioned just how stunning Sienkiewicz’s art was in the Legion story. The mindscapes and character designs were gorgeously off-the-wall. Claremont stepped up his game, too, making the Legion issues a longtime favorite of mine.

Powers survived three or four purges in my comic book buying. It’s been a consistently enjoyable book since its inception. I thought the first arc was the weakest, however, and felt the book got really good around the third story.

I am amazed that Shade made the list. I voted for it, but was certain that it would never have enough support, and I certainly didn’t think it would place so high. IMHO, it’s the best long continuing series Vertigo ever published, and yes, that includes all the ones you’re thinking of. DC seems to think that there’s not enough interest in this series to support its’s reprinting; I hope this shows them they are wrong.

Milligan admitted that the book lost steam after #50, not because Bachelo left but because of a certain story choice he made regarding the death of a major character (a mistake I think he repeated in X-Statix). I would also say that Bachelo was never again as good as he was on this book.

I’ll third or fourth the notion that it was combination of Milligan with Bachalo that really made Shade for me (but Bachalo showed up a couple of times on my top ten list), I’m glad to see it here on the list.

So glad to see all the love for Shade. Seems everyone who loves Shade thinks they’re the only ones who do. But we all do!

My first taste ever of non-superheroe comics came from getting practically the entire Shade run in a quarter bin (number 1 was even signed by Bachalo himself, go figure) and reading the whole thing in one night, until 5 am and just being blown away. As good as Bachalo was, I don’t think Shade lost anything after he left, and I don’t think that story point in ish 50 broke the book either. It just makes it all the more real.

I’m another voter for voted for volume two of X-Factor and not volume one. I’m surprised it didn’t place higher.

It’s very nice to see both Powers and Shade represented here. Shade is not a series for lazy readers or collectors since it means actually hunting for back issues. I think that the issue 50 turning point did indeed ruin the dynamic for the series. Shade much like Suicide Squad is a great run for fans who have enough effort in them to put the run together.

I had completely forgotten about Top Ten, and haven’t reread it for years – maybe not even since it first ran. So I’m rereading it now in one wonderful burst. That sequence at the accident where Colby (Peregrine?) stays with the teleporter victim until he dies is one of the most moving moments in comics I can recall.

Maybe I should dig out the Prometheas next.

I started reading American comics seriously with New Mutants, rather than just the odd issue here and there. It’s still my favourite series (Though nostalgia probably plays a part in that) and has my all-time favourite comic character – Illyana Rasputin. Needless to say, it got my vote for #1 :)

Wow! I was just getting over the shock from seeing Joe Casey’s Wildcats run show up here and then I get hit with a decent chart position (not to mention those 4 1st place votes) and an all out love-fest for “Shade”! This book really is a forgotten treasure and the best of the founding Vertigo books in my opinion. Seriously, if “Shade” were as readily available in trade format for as long as “Sandman” has been we WOULD be seeing this get the Absolute (Damn, that Bachalo art would look great at that size) treatment it so rightly deserves. As far as losing steam after Kathy’s death and Chris leaving, I don’t agree. Milligan just wanted to “change” Shade yet again, but lost his way a bit. He got it back together and really finished in style. Case, Phillips, and Buckingham (who honestly, looks pretty close to that era of Bachalo when he’s inked by Pennington) were fantastic in picking up the art chores and along with this refocused Milligan they delivered one of the most satisfying endings of any long term run I’ve ever read. This ones a gem and beloved by those who have read it.

And okay, this may be a little out of line but it’s a funny anecdote for me. I was in a bar a few months ago and this dude and I were talking comics. The subject was Ditko so “Shade” came up and we both were big fans. This eventually led to us finding out that we had the same “ho-hum, what’s the big deal” attitude about “Sandman”. Now I didn’t say this, but if you’re part of the comics community and this will resonate with you on some level whether you want to admit or not. The guy said this, “Sandman and Shade have a lot of commonalities, they’re just written for different people. “Shade” is written for anyone who enjoys a good story, “Sandman” is written for goth girls…” I’m not saying this is the truth, but it made me laugh!

Bill Sienkiewickz is horribly overrated. His art style is nothing more than sloppy, amateur, reheated, visionless Ralph Steadman knock-off. It’s like he set out to have an “experimental” style without actually doing the experimenting part. I found that his art combined with Chris Claremont’s tendency to clutter every panel with as many words as possible made their run on New Mutants very visually offensive.

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives