Top 100 Comic Book Runs #55-51
Here are the next five runs! I’ll keep the explanations brief! Just capsules!!
55. Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man – 170 points (4 first place votes)
Amazing Spider-Man #224-227, 229-252
- A lot of classic adventure stories.
- Great John Romita Jr. artwork
- Character-driven comics, as well as action-packed
- The classic Juggernaut vs. Spider-Man story, which Burgas recently wrote about
- The introduction of the Hobgoblin, who was one of the coolest Spider-Man villains ever, at the time (he’s since been basically ruined)
- The mystery of who was the Hobgoblin was great.
- The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man – almost ‘Nuff Said, right there.
53. Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern – 174 points (1 first place vote)
Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6, Green Lantern #1-current (#29)
- Brought back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern
- Brought back Guy Gardner as Green Lantern
- Brought back John Stewart as Green Lantern
- Brought back Hal Jordan as a test pilot again
- Brought back Coast City
- Brought back the Green Lantern Corps, period.
- Wrote a bunch of nice adventure stories.
- Wrote one of the better recent crossovers, the sprawling Sinestro Corps War, where Sinestro forms his own Corps of yellow-ringed bad guys who all inspire fear.
53. Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus – 174 points (4 first place votes)
Nexus #1-current (#101, I believe)
- Stunning Steve Rude artwork.
- Nice morality questions, as Nexus (who is forced to hunt down mass murderers and execute them) often questions his purpose
- Great action sequences, as Nexus is often, despite his clever premise, just a straightforward action book – hunt down the bad guys and kill them.
- A LOT of nice social and political satire by writer Mike Baron
- An engaging array of supporting characters
- An in-depth new futuristic society, well-researched and well-executed by Baron and Rude.
- Lasting power, as Nexus has been around for over 25 years, and numerous comic book companies – now Rude and Baron make it themselves.
- Great Rude artwork (its so good, I have to mention it twice)
Here’s why it topped Matt Bird’s list:
Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s first run on “Nexus” (issues 1-55, plus the three issues of the original series and the “Next Nexus” miniseries) is, in my opinion, the highest achievement yet reached in the comic book format.
For number two on my list, I voted for Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s “Doom Patrol”. Both series are deep, complex, novelistic, tragic, funny, epic in scope, and boundless in imagination. But “Nexus” edged out “Doom Patrol” for one simple reason: it’s never for one instant ashamed to be a comic book (and, let’s face it, there’s always a hint of embarrassment about the whole business lurking just under the surface of Morrison’s work.) Nexus is ECSTATIC to be a comic book. Nexus never gets tired of wearing tights and puts on a trenchcoat.
Nexus is the story of Horatio Hellpop, son of a Soviet General five hundred years from now (hey, who knew?) who is empowered by a shadowy alien to become the “conscience of humanity”, which means that he’s supposed to fly around and zap mass murderers and tyrants to death. This burden weighs greatly on his mind, as he’s a sensitive intellectual at heart. Things get complicated when the refugees Hellpop creates all ask him for asylum. Hellpop lives in a mysterious, abandoned city inside a hollowed-out moon, Ylum, so he reluctantly allows a community of refugees to build up around him.
Over the five years we see an accidental community start from scratch, then slowly become populated with DOZENS of fully rounded, morally complex characters. Ylum’s struggle to survive without losing its soul becomes the counterpoint to Hellpop’s own internal strife. In the end, Hellpop fails, but, far more importantly, Ylum succeeds, making all Hellpop’s suffering worthwhile.
Nexus would have been great no matter who drew it, but, joy of joys, it just so happened that Mike Baron grew up with one of the greatest comic artists of all time, Steve Rude. Rude takes all the best elements from comics: the big, the colorful, the dynamic, the surreal; but he also relied heavily on life drawing and his own relentless urge to explore new methods of representation. I have often wondered: could it be sheer coincidence that John Lennon and Paul McCartney, so great but so different, found each other, or must we conclude that each became as great as he was only because he was lucky enough to find the other? Likewise with Nexus: would either of these guys have achieved this level of greatness without challenging each other? Certainly, as with Lennon and McCartney, neither has gone on to achieve the same level of greatness separately.
I could also go on about the other great collaborators, especially editor Rick Oliver, colorist Les Dorschied and regular fill-in artist Paul Smith, but this contest is auteurist by nature, so let’s give the auteurs their due: Baron and Rude are the creators, and they should be very, very proud of their creation.
52. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman- 176 points (3 first place votes)
- Amazing Quitely artwork.
- Great stories with a Silver Age bent to them.
- Almost each issue is a done-in-one story, while all being part of a 12-issue-arc.
- Nice character moments, but also large otherworldly moments
51. Mike Mignola’s Hellboy – 179 points (2 first place votes)
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1-4 in 1995, then lots of mini-series ever since then.
- For most of the run, great Mignola artwork.
- An impressive lead character, who had enough depth to hang a number of bizarre stories on, as the idea of a demon working for the good of humanity is a great hook.
- An impressive array of folklore shows up in the comic run
- An equally impressive influence of great literature is clearly present in Mignola’s work.
- A group of supporting characters in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) who are so good that THEY have supported their OWN classic run of comics (which almost made the Top 100! Okay, not almost, but still!).
If anyone wants to elaborate if you voted for these runs, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – otherwise, the countdown continues Monday!!