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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #15-13

We’re going to three runs an entry for the next nine, before revealing the top six a day at a time next week (with #1 and #2 obviously sharing the last day), so enjoy the next three runs in the countdown of the top runs on ongoing comic book series, as voted on by about 700 Comics Should Be Good readers.

Enjoy!

15. Walt Simonson’s Thor – 514 points (5 first place votes)

The Mighty Thor #337-355, 357-382 (writer/artist for #337-354, 357-367, 380)

There’s not much cooler of a way to introduce yourself to a title then to break the old logo of the book in your first issue and debut a new logo the next one. And that’s just one of the dramatic things Walt Simonson did with his first issue of Thor, a book that was not selling particularly well, so Simonson had a great deal of freedom to TRY these dramatic things. The other dramatic event in the first issue of Simonson’s Thor was just WHO it was that was wielding Thor’s hammer on the cover – some weird looking creature!

Beta Ray Bill, the noble alien who was found to be worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, was an attempt to shock readers, and to give his book a try, as Simonson spent the next thirty issues or so both writing and drawing an eventful time in the world of Thor, as Simonson used his extensive knowledge of Norse mythology as the foundation for his stories, which were a bit more serious and true to Norse culture than previous writers.

Simonson’s stories were mostly plot-driven, but he gave a number of interesting character moments along the way, as well, and of course he delivered that fantastic, stylized dynamic artwork that he is so well known for using.

There was a major story with a fight between Odin and Surtur that took advantage of Simonson’s ability to draw really outstanding fight scenes, but perhaps the most notable storyline during his run was when a number of souls of living Earth people are trapped in the land of Hel. Thor, Balder and a few other people lead a rescue mission to save them, and the evil toady of the Enchantress, Skurge the Executioner, asks to be allowed to help, too. At the end, when they are about to be overrun at a bridge by the hordes of Hel right before becoming free, Thor vows that he will stay behind and hold off the hordes himself while the humans escape. Skurge knocks Thor out, and while everyone thinks he is being a traitor, he is instead opting to take Thor’s place.

And none of the bad guys cross the bridge.

It’s an amazing sequence of events, beautifully written and drawn by Simonson.

Soon after, Simonson concluded his run as an artist with an amusing story involving Thor being turned into a frog.

Then Sal Buscema joined the book as the artist, and Simonson continued a long story he had in which Thor is slowly beaten and scarred by battles, to the point where he is forced to grow a beard to cover his scars and wear a special suit of armor to maintain his strength. During this time, Thor takes on a new secret identity (Don Blake had been eliminated as Thor’s alter ego) of basically Thor wearing a pair of glasses, as a nod to Superman/Clark Kent.

The next few issues have a LOT of crossovers with various other books Simonson was involved with at the time, mostly X-Factor, and finally, his run concludes with a tremendously ambitious storyline including the Destroyer and the Midgard serpent. A classic finale to a classic run.

Oh, I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing lettering John Workman did on this series. Amazing stuff.

14. Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol – 524 points (12 first place votes)

Doom Patrol #19-63 (plus Doom Force #1, I suppose)

Arnold Drake created the Doom Patrol to be the world’s strangest superheroes, but by the time Grant Morrison took over the book, the second generation of the Doom Patrol were more of a half-hearted attempt at duplicating the success of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Morrison decided to embrace the concept of the world’s strangest superheroes, and he gave the world a title that was strange, all right, but strange coming from the mind of Grant Morrison.

Outgoing writer Paul Kupperberg was kind enough to remove most of the members of the team for Morrison, as Morrison was really only interested, amongst the main cast members of the book, in Niles Caulder and Cliff Steele (although Josh Clay, a member of Kupperberg’s team, also stuck around, as the team doctor – Morrison would use him as the lone voice of sanity among all these bizarre goings-on, but sadly, as you might imagine, the one sane guy doesn’t stand much of a chance in a book like this). That said, Morrison DID bring back a minor character from early in Kupperberg’s run, the powerful girl with “imaginary” friends and a face like an ape, Doroty Spinner. New team members were Crazy Jane, who had different powers for each one of her split personalities and Danny the Street, who was, well, a street.

Morrison used the group to explore various secret groups, all with an idea for making the book as bizarre as possible. The great thing about it was that Morrison slowly made the book weirder and weirder as he went along, so the first issues are fairly normal, but if you compare his early issues to the end of his run – it’s like night and day.

Morrison used all sorts of different ways of telling stories, as well as doing a number of parodies, most notable of all, the Charles Atlas take-off, Flex Mentallo (who would later gain his own spin-off mini-series by Morrison and Frank Quitely). Some of the bizarre characters included the evil Scissormen, the Brotherhood of Dada, and one of Dorothy’s scariest creations, the Candlemaker.

Towards the end of his run, Morrison spun the book around on its head, with a member of the group revealing a dark secret. By the time he left, he did not leave really much for incoming writer Rachel Pollack to do – the book really ought to have just ended with Morrison’s last issue, the book by the point of his departure was so indubitably his, and he took most of the coolest characters with him as he departed.

13. Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y the Last Man – 547 points (6 first place votes)

Y the Last Man #1-60, Pia Guerra drew #1-15, 18-20, 24-30, 36-39, 43-46, 49-52, 55-60

By the time Brian K. Vaughan began Y the Last Man, he had already had a previous series for Vertigo, Swamp Thing, which told the story of the daughter of Swamp Thing. So while folks respected his talents, I don’t think anyone was expecting Vaughan to launch the next big Vertigo title, but that’s exactly what he did, along with book co-creator and artist, Pia Guerra.

The concept of the book was simple – one day, all the men on Earth die. All the men, that is, except young amateur escape artist Yorick Brown and his monkey, Ampersand. They’re the only two men alive on the entire planet, and, as you might imagine, hilarity ensues.

Seriously, though, Yorick (who is freaking out because he JUST proposed to his girlfriend, Beth, over the phone when the plague hit, and she’s all the way in Australia!!) is tasked to first travel to find Dr. Allison Mann, a geneticist who needs to study Yorick to discover what happened and if they could reverse it. Along with Yorick on his journey is Al, the project observer, who appears in the form of a hologram, that only Dr. Mann can see and hear.

Or not.

It may have been this government agent, Agent 355, who serves as Yorick’s bodyguard. Once they find Dr. Mann, the four (counting Ambersand) travel the country and the world in their mission to save the planet from dying out.

Along the way, they (and we, the reader) find out how the world has been coping with the loss of all the world’s men. It’s fascinating and touching stuff.

The big villains of the piece are the Daughters of the Amazon, psychos who think that this is a big sign from the Goddess that the Y chromosome has been expunged from Earth and Alter Tse’elon, the head of an Israeli commando team who is crazed with the desire to hunt Yorick down.

One of the ongoing plots of the series was, of course, Yorick’s quest for his girlfriend, Beth (and the confusion that arises when he meets another intriguing woman named Beth).

Pia Guerra’s artwork was clean and perfect for the character-based stories Vaughan developed for the series. As you can see, she needed some assistance often, and Goran Sudzuka was her co-penciler (trading off on arcs) for the last forty or so issues of the title.

The title finally ended a couple of months ago. The final tradepaperback will be out soon.

That’s it for today! Three more tomorrow!

101 Comments

Inflation strikes again. In a few years everyone who voted for Y will be embarressed by it. The series peaked circa #20 with “Safeword,” marked time from there until the godawful, nigh unreadable final year full of anti-climax and fanservice. If there were a poll for series that degraded the most, from classic to crap, Y would be a major contender for #1.

Biran, if it’s not too late to edit, Simonson drew another issue of his Thor run, #380 IIRC.

Y is comics soap opera with one cheap cliffhanger after the other.
the plague doesn’t make sense on a scientific level as well.

Simonson’s Thor started brilliantly, dipped dramatically with the Thor-turned-into-frog nonsense, then rallied with some great Buscema artwork. Glad to see it at 15. And Joe’s right – Walt also drew 380. Doom Patrol deserves to be on the list, if not quite so high. Along with Animal Man, Morrison’s finest moment. Don’t get me started on ‘Y’ being at 13.

Only 12 to go: they could (should?) be New Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez), X-Men (Claremont/Byrne), Daredevil (Miller), Swamp Thing (Moore), Swamp Thing (Wein/Wrightson), Tomb of Dracula (Wolfman/Colan), Conan (Thomas), GrimJack (Ostrander), Preacher (Ennis/Dillon), Starman (Robinson), Spidey (Lee/Ditko) and FF (Lee/Kirby).
Close?

Not sure if this will appease the Morrison fans…they’ll be happy to see DP, but prob wanted it to rank higher. Ah, well. IMO, it’s a decent series, nothing more. A bit too bizarre and pretentious for my tastes, but I really did enjoy the relationship between Robotman and Jane. It never felt forced or overly dramatic. It progressed along rather well, and ended in a really nice way (him asking her to come in out of the rain).

Glad to see Simon’s Thor here. The best thing he did was return a sense of epic to the title that was missing. For a long time, it just felt like a normal comic where people would just use words like “Thou” and “Thee”. Having him do the art also helped.

‘Y’ was a series I read, but lost interest in about half-way through. Still, the interiors were really good. Would love to see more of Pia Guerra’s artwork. Has she done anything else? And does anyone know what her next project will be?

Patrick Lemaire

April 24, 2008 at 3:15 am

Spider-Man by Lee/Ditko
Fantastic Four by Lee/Kirby
Sandman by Gaiman
Swamp Thing by Moore
X-Men by Claremont/Byrne
New Teen Titans by Wolfman/Perez
Preacher by Ennis/Dillon
Conan by Thomas, Barry Smith and John Buscema
Sin City by Miller.
Starman by Robinson
JLA by Morrison
Daredevil by Miller

I don’t think Miller’s Daredevil deserves it but I guess it’ll be there. I’d rather see Wolfman/Colan’s Tomb of Dracula.

That final Simonson drawn issue – 380 – is a blast. All splash pages.

And you can get the entire Thor run in colour trades. Marvelous !

Brian: Typo in the 4th Paragraph of the Thor article. I think you mean Toady instead of Today

Michael Teixeira

April 24, 2008 at 3:59 am

I have to agree with some of the previous comments regarding Y the Last Man. It was soap-opera bubble gum, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to re-read it.

Okay, these are all great picks and they’re all pretty well-placed (Y could be lower, but considering the chronological inflation we’ve seen all along, it makes sense).

I’m realizing, though, that we’re almost certainly not going to see DeMatteis’ Spider-Man, nor anything else by him other than the Giffen/JMD Justice League. Which is wonderful, and certainly deserves its spot somewhere in the top 12, but.. my goodness, JMD’s got to be the most underrated creator of all-time. He’s had NOThing on the top 100 so far, and Justice League, while wonderful, displays such a different style of writing for him that it’s hardly a representation of what he’s contributed to the medium.

Granted, many of his best works – Moonshadow, Brooklyn Dreams, Mercy ,- weren’t ongoings (and some of his better ongoings were cancelled in their first year), but it just seems a shame not to see his genius represented on this list more.

Still, can’t argue with any of these three.

Wow, Doom Patrol had 12 first place votes.
Anyone wanna do a tally of these books by first place votes rather than total points, just for the heck of it?

Walt Simonson’s Thor was considered for my ballot . . . but didn’t make it when I had to narrow it down to 10. (Come to think of it, Walt’s later run on the Fantastic Four also fell by the wayside, even though I bought it faithfully when it was first appearing on the stands.)

To tell the truth, I don’t think I’ve ever read any of Morrison’s Doom Patrol. I vaguely remember hearing, a few years ago, complaints that after all these years it still hadn’t been entirely collected in TPB. (I think that’s what I heard.) Has DC finally made a clean sweep there, so that if I did get hooked, I could read the whole thing in quick succession?

I’ve read a lot of “Y: The Last Man,” but never even considered voting for it as a “Top Ten Favorite.” Heck, I wouldn’t even be tempted to put it in my personal Top 100.

Until I read this installment, I hadn’t realized Brian was planning to streeeeeeeeeeeeetch things out by feeding us just one title at a time, next week. Actually, as recently as the beginning of last week, I thought we’d be completely done with the Top 100 by now!

With only 12 items left to go, I’ve only had 3 of my 10 picks show up thus far, and I have strong expectations for just 2 more. Which implies I’ve pretty much given up hope for the other half of my ballot at this point (although 1 or 2 items could always surprise me!).

As I said many installments ago (sometime last week, I think), my plan is to post a copy of my whole ballot of 10 Favorites in response to the final thread in this contest, once the Grand Winner has been announced, after I know how many of my picks actually made it and require no further explanation, and which of my picks do require special explanations regarding such things as when they were published, why I like them so much, etc., for the benefit of the unitiated who didn’t know enough about them to actually vote for them! If many other voters do the same thing, then we’ll have a whole slew of “also rans” being listed to provide each other with fresh ideas on things to shop for that aren’t just the most notorious runs by Morrison, Vaughn, Ellis, Ennis, etc. :)

Ahem. That previous post should have said “for the benefit of the uninitiated” in the final paragraph. Instead, I said “unitiated” which I don’t think means anything. Times like this I really miss the option I have on the CBR Forums to go back and edit my hastily-typed prose . . . :(

Choirsoftheeye

April 24, 2008 at 4:50 am

“If many other voters do the same thing, then we’ll have a whole slew of “also rans” being listed to provide each other with fresh ideas on things to shop for that aren’t just the most notorious runs by Morrison, Vaughn, Ellis, Ennis, etc”

Please do!

Morrison’s Doom Patrol run is available from start to finish in 6 volumes.

The Flex Mentallo spin-off is still on hold.

Good to see that there will be those classic 90′s era Lee and Liefeld runs in the 12…..

I’m really suprised DP ranked this high, and even that it ranked so far ahead of Animal Man, which in my opinion, is the Morrison peak of the “early years”.

I’m wondering if Giffen/deMatteis JLI is really ranked this high…

I didn’t vote for the JLI at all . . . frankly, I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t get mentioned in the final 12. I could have understood seeing it around, say, #80 or something, but Top 12? How much of it has ever been collected in TPB for people who weren’t buying comics in the late 80s?

A lot of hate for Y.

It is uncalled for. It is a brilliant comic that deserves recognition.

Simonson’s Thor, #10 on my list. Now I have 5 of my picks here.

Wow, Doom Patrol actually made it! I was wrong. Now I wonder which of these 13 tremendously popular runs will NOT make it, since we have only 12 slots! Any one of them not even making the Top 100 is extremely shocking:

Fantastic Four by Lee/Kirby
Spider-Man by Lee/Ditko
X-Men by Claremont/Byrne
Sandman by Gaiman
New X-Men by Morrison
Daredevil (1st) by Miller
New Teen Titans by Wolfman/Perez
Preacher by Ennis/Dillon
Swamp Thing by Moore
JLA by Morrison
JLI by Giffen/Dematteis
Starman by Robinson
Sin City by Miller

I did vote for JLI and I know a many people have a lot of affection for it, so I would be equally surprised if it doesn’t show at all, or if it shows this high. Specially considering how many heavy hitters we are missing and the fact that another JL run ( Morrison’s ) is going to be there.

As for “how many people know it”, I think the average demography for Comics Should be Good is probably old enought to have caught at least a part of it…

For the record, I voted for JLI but not Morrison’s bombastic but ultimately blah run.

wwk5d:

Pia’s signed on to do a Doctor Who book for IDW. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12493

If people were forced to choose only one run, the list would look very different. The effects of inflation are less apparent for a start. Check it out:

With No First Place Votes

Doug Moench’s Master of Kung Fu – 95 points

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

With One First Place Vote

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

Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr’s X-Men – 106 points (1 first place vote)

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

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

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

Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier’s Groo – 110 points (1 first place vote)

Lee and Kirby’s Thor/Tales of Asgard – 112 points (1 first place vote)

Warren Ellis’ Stormwatch – 112 points (1 first place vote)

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

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

Jim Starlin’s Warlock – 109 points (1 first place vote)

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

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

Chris Claremont and Paul Smith’s Uncanny X-Men – 133 (1 first place vote)

Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker’s Gotham Central – 122 (1 first place vote)

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

Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four – 150 points (1 first place votes)

Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ Green Lantern (co-starring Green Arrow)– 162 points (1 first place votes)

Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern – 174 points (1 first place vote)

Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern – 174 points (1 first place vote)

Geoff Johns’ JSA – 192 points (1 first place votes)

Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck – 218 points (1 first place vote)

Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – 218 points (1 first place vote)

With Two First Place Votes

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

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

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

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

Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Force/X-Statix – 113 points (2 first place votes)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Sleeper – 113 points (2 first place votes)

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange – 108 points (2 first place votes)

Roy Thomas’ Avengers – 109 points (2 first place votes)

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

Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – 148 points (2 first place votes)

Bob Layton and David Michelinie’s 1st Run on Iron Man – 152 points (2 first place votes)

Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s Authority – 159 points (2 first place votes)

Alan Moore’s Supreme – 168 points (2 first place votes)

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy – 179 points (2 first place votes)

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World – 180 points (2 first place votes

Mark Waid’s 1st Flash Run – 228 points (2 first place votes)

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men – 229 points (2 first place votes)

With Three First Place Votes

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

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

Chris Claremont and Alan Davis’ Excalibur – 122 (3 first place votes)

Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri’s Uncanny X-Men – 133 (3 first place votes)

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

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets – 150 points (3 first place votes)

Roger Stern’s Avengers – 164 points (3 first place votes)

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman– 176 points (3 first place votes)

Steve Englehart’s Detective Comics – 184 points (3 first place votes

Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil – 211 points (3 first place votes)

Alan Moore’s Marvelman/Miracleman – 234 points (3 first place votes)

Stan Lee and John Romita’s Spider-Man – 270 points (3 first place votes)

Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways – 307 points (3 first place votes)

With Four First Place Votes

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

Christopher Priest’s Black Panther – 130 (4 first place votes)

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

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

Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man – 170 points (4 first place votes)

Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus – 174 points (4 first place votes)

Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum’s Legion – 208 points (4 first place votes)

Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III’s Promethea – 220 points (4 first place votes)

Ed Brubaker’s Captain America – 504 points (4 first place votes)

With Five First Place Votes

John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s The Spectre – 205 points (5 first place votes)

Los Bros Hernandez’s Love and Rockets – 236 points (5 first place votes)

Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates – 315 points (5 first place votes)

Garth Ennis’ Punisher – 389 points (5 first place votes)

Walt Simonson’s Thor – 514 points (5 first place votes)

With Six First Place Votes

Joe Kelly’s Deadpool – 202 points (6 first place votes)

Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman – 232 points (6 first place votes)

Bill Willingham’s Fables – 428 points (6 first place votes)

Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y the Last Man – 547 points (6 first place votes)

With Seven First Place Votes

Will Eisner’s The Spirit – 204 points (7 first place votes)

Jeff Smith’s Bone – 321 points (7 first place votes)

Peter David’s Hulk – 484 points (7 first place votes)

Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary – 493 points (7 first place votes

John Byrne’s Fantastic Four – 508 points (7 first place votes)

With Eight First Place Votes

Dave Sim and Gerhard’s Cerebus – 370 points (8 first place votes)

With Nine First Place Votes

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Daredevil – 480 points (9 first place votes)

With Eleven First Place Votes

Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan – 418 points (11 first place votes)

With Twelve First Place Votes

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol – 524 points (12 first place votes)

With Thirteen First Place Votes

Grant Morrison’s Animal Man – 430 points (13 first place votes)

I voted for Y and i stand by it, fables should be higher than Y though.

‘G’ohh! No plague could wipe out a gender! G’ohhhh!’ [pushes glasses up onto nose]
It’s an amazing book. Settle hatas, settle.

Bernard the Poet

April 24, 2008 at 6:16 am

I still don’t think we are going to see the New Teen Titans on the list. I think it would be in a lot of people’s top twenty, but when they had to whittle it down to just ten, it got cut. It was a very good comic, but I just can’t see it being on enough people’s ten most favourite runs of all time.

We won’t see Morrison’s X-Men either. The mutant fans will have voted for the Claremont runs and the Morrison fans will have voted his edgier stuff.

Lastly, I’m not expecting to see JLI, not because I don’t think it is a good comic, quite the opposite, but simply because I voted for it and that seems to be the kiss of death, when it comes to this poll.

I wish I had voted then, Bernard…the Wolfman/Perez issues would have made my Top 5. So many storylines, like the Judas Contract, the storyline leading up to the birth of the Vigilante, plus so many great standalone issues like ‘Who is Donna Troy?’, ‘A Day in the Life…’, the Wedding of Donna Troy…and I still maintain that Wolfman wrote quite probably one of, if not the, best versions of Dick Grayson.

The series was great because it had a great mix of action and character moments, and lots of great running sub-plots…Tara being a traitor, Raven’s corruption…all of which were slow burns which exploded in the respective storylines.

Thor and Fantastic Four had been the greatest of Kirby’s works in the 1960s. They also were the two Marvel titles that most suffered in the 1970s, with writers that never managed to capture their grandeur and made stories that looked like cheap B-Movies (excepting a brief run by Roy Thomas on Thor).

And then Byrne started on the FF, and Walt Simonson started on Thor, and things were epic again.

Probably my favorite storyline was when Hela, Goddess of Death, cursed Thor with brittle bones that never heal. And in this weakened condition Thor learned about pain, struggled with cowardice, and finally had to fight the Midgard Serpent. Awesome. It was truly more of a fantasy epic than a superhero story.

No surprises Thor made it this far. A fun, defining run which is helpfully collected into trades (although a few are oddly out of print now, aren’t they? Like the 1st and 3rd volumes?). And I really liked Frog Thor. Only in comics…

Haven’t read Morrison’s Doom Patrol, despite all the acclaim.

Didn’t know Y could inspire so much vitriol; I liked it, and look forward to re-reading it all in one sitting now that’s it done. Should it be this high on the list? Probably not, but I still think its worthy of recognition (I didn’t vote for it though because, like Fables, I don’t personally consider it a run. Doesn’t seem it needed my help anyways).

I will be very surprised if JLI doesn’t show up, since it seems all you need to do is spend five minutes on any comics blog to hear about how it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I am starting to think that Morrison’s X-Men won’t place after all. There’s also his JLA, and I can’t quite decide which one I think is more likely to show up yet. Maybe neither.

Josh Alexander

April 24, 2008 at 6:54 am

I’m starting to get annoyed with everyone complaining that the list is so heavily considering modern comics.

Everyone is going to have some books on the list they don’t agree with, or be befuddled that a certain run won’t make it, or make it behind a book they don’t care for.

I would assume that this List was made for fun and to introduce discussion by Brian. Not to lambaste someone else’s choices, with whom you don’t agree with. The results aren’t the be all, end all of what is good, Just take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the list for what it is, fun and interesting.

Andrew Collins

April 24, 2008 at 6:55 am

I lost my list but I’m pretty sure Morrison’s DP was #1 on my list. I’m sorry to see it only topped out at #14, but overall that’s still pretty impressive. I love that book beyond words and I love the writeup it got here at CSBG several months back. The influence of surrealistic and dadaist artwork, the subtle love story between Cliff and Jane, the sheer creativity in the villains and storylines, not to mention Richard Case’s creepy and note-perfect art, there is so much to love about that book.

I also totally agree about the raw deal that Rachel Pollack got when she was asked to follow Morrison. Her writing and stories were okay (I especially liked the short story she did in the Vertigo Jam special with Eric Shanower) but overall it had a feel to it of “Why bother?” That’s not a knock against Pollack, but you could tell that she had been asked (or maybe decided on her own, but somehow I doubt it) to keep going with the same tone and style that Morrison had dictated for the team. But like you said, he had made such an indelible impression on the series, and he took Rebis and Crazy Jane and Danny with him when he left, that the proceedings just felt hollow after all that. To this day, I still look at issue #63 as the DP’s “end.” That issue wrapped everything up so perfectly that I am content if we never get another DP story (though I’ll admit to enjoying John’s most recent take on the team, with small nods to the Morrison days such as referencing the Painting That Ate Paris…)

Andrew Collins

April 24, 2008 at 7:01 am

Bernard The Poet said:
“I still don’t think we are going to see the New Teen Titans on the list.”

I don’t know, I think that run was seminal enough to where it could make the top 10 or so. But if it doesn’t, then I think it’s another case of a great comic being lost to a poor reprinting policy. So much of the classic Wolfman/Perez run is only available in the expensive Archive editions, or not at all, and I think it just hasn’t been read by enough of the younger, newer comic readers. I’ve only ever read about half of it myself, and that came from tracking down some of the back issues years ago. If DC had readily available trades of the series from the beginning, I think the material could easily find a new audience to appreciate it.

New Totals. Grant Morrison. The 1980s. Marvel Comics. You know the drill.

We have 90 runs so far (and 19053 pts)

- 33 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (7035 pts)
- 9 runs are X-Titles (1422 pts)
- 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
- 35 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe (7714 pts)

- 20 runs are set in the DC Universe (4317 pts)
- 3 runs are Bat-Titles (452 pts)
- 8 are Vertigo comics (2249 pts)
- 23 runs if you get DC plus Vertigo sub-universe plus Plastic Man retcon (4537 pts)

- 5 runs are set in the Wildstorm Universe (994 pts)
- 5 runs have female protagonists (960 pts)

- 74 are superheroes or close enough (15302 pts)
- 16 are non-superhero (3751 pts)

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

- 1980s (28 runs – 6160 pts)
- 2000s (24 runs – 5596 pts)
- 1990s (23 runs – 4829 pts)
- 1970s (9 runs – 1570 pts)
- 1960s (4 runs – 599 pts)
- 1940s (2 runs – 299 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

- Grant Morrison (4 runs – 1479 pts)
- Warren Ellis (5 runs – 1285 pts)
- Brian Michael Bendis (4 runs – 1079 pts)
- Alan Moore (5 runs – 909 pts)
- Brian K. Vaughan (2 runs – 854 pts)
- Ed Brubaker (3 runs – 739 pts)
- Garth Ennis (3 runs – 722 pts)
- John Cassaday (2 runs – 722 pts)
- Chris Claremont (5 runs – 638 pts)
- John Byrne (2 runs – 627 pts)
- Peter David (2 runs – 624 pts)
- Pia Guerra (547 pts)
- Kurt Busiek (2 runs – 541 pts)
- John Ostrander (2 runs – 541 pts)
- Keith Giffen (2 runs – 536 pts)
- Geoff Johns (3 runs – 534 pts)
- Walt Simonson (514 pts)
- Stan Lee (3 runs – 490 pts)
- Alex Maleev (480 pts)
- Bryan Hitch (2 runs – 474 pts)
- Bill Willimgham (428 pts)
- Darick Robertson (418 pts)
- Mark Waid (2 runs – 378 pts)
- Dave Sim (370 pts)
- Gerhard (370 pts)
- Mark Bagley (364 pts)
- Roger Stern (2 runs – 334 pts)
- Paul Levitz (328 pts)
- Brent Anderson (323 pts)
- Jeff Smith (321 pts)
- Mark Millar (315 pts)
- Adrian Alphona (307 pts)
- Jack Kirby (2 runs – 292 pts)
- John Romita Jr. (2 runs – 276 pts)
- John Romita (270 pts)
- Denny O’Neil (2 runs – 261 pts)
- Peter Milligan (2 runs – 255 pts)
- Brothers Hernandez (236 pts)
- John McCrea (232 pts)
- Joss Whedon (229 pts)
- Steve Gerber (218 pts)
- Frank Miller (211 pts)
- David Mazzucchelli (211 pts)
- Tom and Mary Bierbaum (208 pts)
- Tom Mandrake (205 pts)
- Will Eisner (204 pts)
- Joe Kelly (202 pts)
- Steve Englehart (184 pts)
- Mike Mignola (179 pts)
- Frank Quitely (176 pts)
- Mike Baron (174 pts)
- Steve Rude (174 pts)
- Neal Adams (162 pts)
- David Michelinie (152 pts)
- Bob Layton (152 pts)
- Mike Wieringo (150 pts)
- Brian Azzarello (150 pts)
- Eduardo Risso (150 pts)
- Kevin O’Neill (148 pts)
- Alan Grant (146 pts)
- Norm Breyfogle (146 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)
- 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)
- Sergio Aragonés (110 pts)
- Mark Evanier (110 pts)
- Roy Thomas (109 pts)
- Jim Starlin (109 pts)
- Steve Ditko (108 pts)
- Mark Gruenwald (107 pts)
- Mike Grell (104 pts)
- Stuart Immonen (103 pts)
- Michael Gaydos (101 pts)
- Kazuo Koike (100 pts)
- Goseki Kojima (100 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)

- 74 are superheroes or close enough (15302 pts)
- 40 are traditional superheroes (8633 pts)
- 34 are non-traditional superheroes (6659 pts)
- 12 are nonpowered superheroes (2182 pts)
- 7 are comedic superheroes (1007 pts)
- 29 are team books (6193 pts)
- 16 are non-superhero (3751 pts)

I never liked Giffen/deMatteis JLI all that much, and I won’t be unhappy if it’s absent. Sitcom humour is not my thing. But I’ll still be surprised.

I can’t imagine New Teen Titans not being here. But then again, if someone told me Perez’s Wonder Woman wouldn’t be in the Top 100, I also woundn’t have believed.

Morrison’s JLA will probably be in the Top 5. It’s even more slavishly adored by Internet fans than JLI.

I still don’t think we are going to see the New Teen Titans on the list. I think it would be in a lot of people’s top twenty, but when they had to whittle it down to just ten, it got cut.

I think you underestimate heavily. Given the predominance of ’80s books already, I think The New Teen Titans is going to score quite high as it and the Claremont/Byrne X-Men were the pinnacle of ’80s books. If it wasn’t my number one vote, it was my number two (I honestly can’t remember how I ranked things, but New Teen Titans, Moore’s Swamp Thing and Miller/Macchuzelli Daredevil were at the very top).

I have to wonder if Brian chuckles as he posts each subsequent set of results and sees certain winners, thinking about the reactions such-and-such run will produce in the comments…

Bernard the Poet

April 24, 2008 at 8:07 am

Seems to be a lot of love for the Titans on this post, so perhaps I’m wrong about it not making the list, but I’m still not convinced. The run was at its peak nearly twenty-five years ago, reprints aren’t easily available and even hardcore fans will admit that it tailed off badly at the end. I think the first forty issues set up some great stories; Terminator, Hive, Trigon, Brother Blood, Cheshire, etc, but the conclusions to the stories were long-winded and anti-climatic.

Anyway you slice it, there is going to be some big titles that don’t make the final twelve. If not the New Teen Titans, then who?

When guessing at the Top 12, we should ignore our own preferenced and tastes. I think it’s wiser to look at the rest of the list.

- Grant Morrison got a lot of love so far. It’s reasonable to assume that his most famous works (JLA, New X-Men) will get even more love.

- New Teen Titans taps into the same audience that so honoured Claremont’s X-Titles so far. So it’s likely that New Teen Titans will be likewise honored, and it doesn’t suffer from the “splitting the run” thing. Everybody voted on the Perez stuff.

- If anything, the one threatened is Miller’s Sin City. Non-superhero crime comics have made a poor showing. Born Again ranked lower than expected, etc.

By the way, I’ve never read Y, someday I will. I also read only the first TPB of Doom Patrol’s. Great stuff. But I never got around to reading the rest.

I havent picked up a Titans book in almost 15 years, but when I saw the recent Titans book with the core of the Wolfman/Perez era team, I bought it. Nuff said I spose…

I’ve been reading Simonson’s Thor in trade; I’m waiting on the promised reprints of volumes 2 and 3 before I can go any further.

I haven’t read either of the others; Morrison generally doesn’t appeal to me much.

Wolfman/Perez’s New Teen Titans will make the list. It’s clearly more popular than say the Levitz/Giffen Legion (which came out at a similar time historically), which we already know the ballot placement for.

JLI’s starting to worry me too. It can’t be the case that most of Booster Gold/Blue Beetle’s strength in the top 100 DC characters poll comes from the Infinite Crisis era, can it?

Anyway you slice it, there is going to be some big titles that don’t make the final twelve. If not the New Teen Titans, then who?

Given the trends, you have to assume the big exclusions are going to be pre-1980 titles and/or non-Marvels. If I were going to bet, then I would guess that at least one of Stan Lee’s seminal runs gets left off. A lot of people probably dropped it in favor of something they read in floppies as a teen, under the assumption that it was going to make it no matter what.

From a certain perspective, why waste a vote for …say… Lee-Kirby’s “Fantastic Four” that is obviously making the list when you could show some love to … say … Claremont-Romita, Jr’s “X-Men” that might miss? Spread that attitude out enough and you could get some radical upsets in the Top 10. With the inflation of recent comics we have seen, that might be exactly the attitude a fair number of people took. It should be fun to read, since it is becoming VERY unpredictable.

Dean, I think Lee/Ditko’s Spider-Man is the one that can be excluded, if you’re correct. Lee/Kirby’s FF has too much support, and we have to remember that Lee/Kirby’s Thor made the list, so the FF will have to be in there somewhere too.

Except… Lee/Romita making the list, and Lee/Ditko being excluded feels weird. And Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange made it. But that may be due to it being Dr. Strange’s definitive run, while Spidey fans favored other runs. ARGH, my head will explode.

We really need 13 slots to account for the popular runs left. It doesn’t make sense.

I have no idea why I haven’t read Simonson’s Thor yet. I’m a big fan of his Fantastic Four as it was what got me into comics as a kid. I like him more as a writer than an artist though… The way he draws people always seems kind of messy.

Y the Last Man is a great and engrossing series, and it’s perfect for giving to people who don’t usually read comics.

I’m one of the five who gave Simonson’s Thor their first place vote. Rene, you’re right on the money when you called this run epic. The stories had a larger than even super hero life feeling to them. Walt did away with many standard cliches, particularly the Don Blake alter ego, and focused on Thor. It amazes me that subsequent writers have continually gone back giving him a secret i.d., whether it’s bonding him Eric Masterson and Jake Olson, or the return of Blake in the current title.

Titans will make it. I’d be surprised if it’s not Top 10.

It’s what broke me into DC in back issues, when I tried to track down the most beloved run that anyone could tell me about in 95 or so. Things haven’t changed that much since then.

Wow, I’m surprised Thor is as low as it is. I was expecting Top 10 if not Top 5. Ah well, apparently not everybody appreciates Frog Thor (what’s not to like, Neil64?).

I picked up the first three Simonson Visionaries trades of the series so that I could continue ditching my floppy collection, but I’ve been pretty disappointed with how awkward the colouring looks on the trade’s pages. It’d be nice if they released a recolourized version (a la all those DC books that are getting the treatment).

I agree, Reader Zero. Even Simonson artistic style, that I don’t think works as well with other characters, was pretty appropriate to Thor’s world.

Actually, I think Simonson was so good that it soured me to other creators working on the title.

Man, I have two reasons to hate Tom deFalco: his Thor and his Fantastic Four. That is why I was never able to read the much-lauded Spider-Girl. Tom deFalco to me is a symbol of the mediocrity that assails Marvel titles when talented creators move away.

I only read very few of Dan Jurgens on the title, liked it, but wasn’t dazzled by it. The current stuff by JMS is interesting, but more preaching than ever before. I’m not necessarily opposed to real world themes in superhero comics, but it seems like JMS gets more and more preaching every year.

I miss Simonson so much.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

April 24, 2008 at 10:00 am

With Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol making the list making the list at #14, 4.5 of my list has shown up. Why 4.5? Well, my first place vote was for Levirz’s LOSH – I didn’t specifically note the first Levitz / Giffen collaboration.

I figure there’s a very slight chance that one more of my picks will show up. The other 4, not a chance!

Anybody else vote for Claremont and Byrne on … MTU? :-)

Rusty, Y is far from brilliant, “Safeword” aside. In fact, Vaughan’s usually just good, not great. Y was acclaimed for its examination of gender roles, but it realy didn’t do anything interesting or original there aside from, again, “Safeword.”

Regarding complaing about age inflation– until a few days ago, I’d have been right there with you, but there’s no way Y deserves to be this high and Brubaker’s Cap being as high as it was yesterday was just shocking. Johns’s GL being 80-something was met with a shurg from me, but these two were dumbfounding.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

April 24, 2008 at 10:02 am

Oh, and i liked Thor Frog.

Beta Ray Bill, however, never did a thing for me. I know, I know, heresy.

I adore Simonson’s Thor. JMS & Coipel right now are doing a decent job of bringing back the epic scope and style, but it doesn’t have Simonson’s pacing, which is a bit too bad. I’m ok with the stately pacing right now, but Simonson is still king.

Throughout the Beta Ray Bill storyline, Simonson did an incredible job of building into the climatic SurtWar (which was wonderfully done, absolutely epic). Things paused for a bit and Simonson reset the landscape before building it back up to another climatic tale with Hel, the Destroyer, and the Midgard Serpent. I preferred Simonson’s art to Sal Buscema’s, but Smilin’ Sal did yeoman work on it and it’s still terrific stuff.

And if you don’t get a little misty at Skurge’s last stand, then I just don’t know what to do with you!

I think Sin City will be the one that doesn’t make it. Mostly because I think its rubbish.

I would like to know exactly how many runs actually were voted for though – I know some of mine won’t have made it and wonder exactly how many didn’t make the cut.

I don’t understand the hate for Y the Last Man, although I do get the puzzlement that it placed this high. I think it’s a lot of fun, and the cliffhangers work really well. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. That said, I didn’t even think about voting for it. It’s good, but it’s not *this* good.

The only thing that makes me wonder about Morrison’s JLA is that people seem to hate Howard Porter for some reason. That might have caused the Morrison fans to vote for Doom Patrol or Animal Man or Invisibles or All-Star Superman instead when they were narrowing down their lists.

Simonsons Thor is standard fantasy from a modern perspective. Nothing really exciting there.
*shrugs*

How could you leave out Monsieur Mallah and the Brain’s gay love affair? Scandal! :) That was a great Doom Patrol.

Sal Buscema made the list! Sort of. I love Sal.

Two more of my picks make the list: Thor and Doom Patrol.

When I recommend Morrison’ s DP to people, I reflexively state that it’s the greatest ongoing comic book of all time. Of course, I say the same thing whenever I recommend Nexus. It was only when I made this list that I had to decide which was greater. DP wound up at number 2 (for reasons that I stated in the Nexus write-up Brian posted) but it’s still hard for me not to think of this run as the best of the best.

A year into the run, Grant did a signing at my local Atlanta comic shop (the only signing I ever remember them having). 15 year old Matt asked Grant how many graduate degrees he had, since each storyline was in-depth exploration of radically different topics– art, physics, literature, etc. He smiled and explained that he was a college drop-out.

Now that I’m a writer myself, I value the book less for its intellectualism and more for its pitch-perfect emotional content. It breaks my heart every time. All the smart stuff is just icing on the cake.

I can’t imagine that the Lee/Ditko Spider-man won’t make the list.

I won’t presume to guess the rankings remaining, but I will take a shot at what we will see from here on in:

- Lee/Ditko – Spider-man (somewhere in the top 5)

- Morrison’s – Justice League (I’m gonna say that this will be somewhere between 8 and 12)*
* I think beyond just how great this run was, the principal reason that it will end up in the list is that it revitalized the JLA franchise, which had begun to stink, and then was absent entirely, if I am not mistaken, for almost a year or more.

- Giffen/DeMatteis – JLI (somewhere between 8 and 12, but lower than Morrison’s run on JLA)**
**I re-read this run often and while I have some problems with it now, I have to say that more than anything it was – at the time – truly unique, and not just because of the injection of humour. Kevin Maguire’s art, was another reason, as was most of the art team on this – Mike McKone even had a stint on this title, as did, Art Adams, I think. But it was also a time when the JL line-up was a perfect balance of established big-leaguers and some interesting B and C listers. People have a tendency to remember only the humour, but this run also used that humour – and very often – to sucker punch you with some poignant and touching moments as well.

- Alan Moore’s – Swamp Thing (I’m gonna say between 5 and 10 in placement) How could it not be on here?

That is all that I am going to guess, except for the following run and placement:

I am almost willing to eat my hat…okay, don’t wear one…I am willing to eat my motorcycle helmet if

The Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four isn’t #1 on the list.

I hope that motorcycle helmet is tasty, because Neil Gaiman’s Sandman will beat Lee/Kirby’s FF, man.

The love people have for Sandman is unbelievable.

I’d not be surprised if Claremont/Byrne’s X-Men beats Lee/Kirby’s FF as the ultimate Marvel comics run in this list. The 1960s just have not done well here.

My Warlock, Byrne FF and Thor picks made the list, and I’m expecting more to come.

Here’s my guess for the final tally:

12. Miller Sin City
11. Robinson Starman
10.Morrison JLA
9.Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans
8.Morrison New X-men
7.Ennis/Dillon Preacher
6.Gaiman Sandman
5.Claremont/Byrne X-Men
4.Miller DD
3.Alan Moore Swamp Thing
2.Lee/Ditko Spidey
1.Lee/Kirby FF

I didn’t vote for it, but I wish we saw Moench/Sienciewicz’s Moon Knight on this list. That was cool.

Now we gotta guess the order too, huh? Okay, here goes nothing (and I’m guessing it’s Sin City that didn’t make it:

12 – New X-Men by Morrison
11 – Spider-Man by Lee/Ditko
10 – Starman by Robinson
9 – JLI by Giffen/deMatteis
8 – Preacher by Ennis/Dillon
7 – Teen Titans by Wolfman/Perez
6 – Swamp Thing by Moore
5 – JLA by Morrison
4 – FF by Lee/Kirby
3 – DD by Miller
2 – X-Men by Claremont/Byrne
1 – Sandman by Gaiman

I think it is interesting to notice how many of these favourites are, essentially, self-contained stories and not really stories told in the sense as a “run” on an otherwise ongoing title.

I mean, somewhere around 50 of the runs we’ve seen make the list are either entire series told by the same author, or are titles that were in decline when the run started, and was essentially finished when the run was complete. The four big examples of this that I’m seeing are Gruenwald’s Cap, David’s Hulk, Brubaker’s Cap, and Simpson’s Thor. But, I would also include Miller’s Daredevil, Garth Ennis’s Punisher and some others in this.

I think that this is because these authors had a clearer vision of what story they wanted to tell. Roy Thomas knew that someone was going to come after him to write the Avengers when he started on the title. But, when Peter David started on the Hulk, or when Claremont and Byrne started on X-Men, there was no indication that the title wouldn’t be suddenly cancelled out from under them, much less that someone else was someday going to take the reigns.

You can pick up the entire Peter David run of Hulk, or Walt Simpson run of Thor and read it separate and without any Hulk (or Thor) before it or since and get a complete story, for example. Just as complete as Dave Sim’s Cerebus.

I think that this also indicates that comic book readers (at least, the ones who frequent here) want a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. And, that once hooked, we are willing to go the extra mile to find the rest of a run to be sure that we get it.

Just last week I was lamenting to a friend how the frequent re-boots on titles hurts anyone’s ability to have a title in the 600+ like Batman, Superman and a very few others have made it. But, realizing this trend, it makes me wonder if maybe titles shouldn’t begin and end with a writer or writing team.

Theno

“I’m really suprised DP ranked this high, and even that it ranked so far ahead of Animal Man, which in my opinion, is the Morrison peak of the “early years”.”

I voted for Doom Patrol as my #1, and didn’t vote for Animal Man (partially out of a desire to spread my votes around to different creators, not because I didn’t think it deserved to be here). One reason is that, while I really like the metafictional stuff in AM (“Coyote Gospel” and “Crisis II” and all that), I’m not really down with the animal rights trip Morrison was laying on us, at least in the way he’d like me to be, so for some issues (especially the 4-issue miniseries that started it) the message gets in the way of the story for me. While there are some issues of Doom Patrol I didn’t enjoy as much as others, it’s not for that particular reason, and they’re a smaller percentage of the overall run.

The other reason is the art; there was nothing wrong with the art in Animal Man, but apart from Bolland’s covers it doesn’t stand out for me strongly (apart from some of the random visuals in the background of #26). Richard Case, on the other hand, I like enough that I bought issues of Marvel’s “Darkhold” series just because he drew them; that’s the only time I can think of that I’ve bought a series I wasn’t otherwise interested in just for the art (admittedly, as cheap back issues rather than at cover price, but they’ve stayed in my collection through several weedings).

I do agree that the writing in Animal Man is stronger in some areas, such as carrying story elements consistently throughout the run, and in having a point of view. Doom Patrol is the work I enjoy more, though, and of the two, is the one I’d rather take with me to a desert island.

To everyone complaining about comics they don’t like being ranked higher than you think they “deserve:”

Could it be that many people think Y is flat-out entertaining, even if you don’t? This countdown is a popularity contest. All of the runs featured thus far were popular for some reason. You may not see it, fine, but titles you see as inferior being ranked highly is not some sort of crime against good taste. Most of these comics are super-hero comics, full of soap opera, cheap cliffhangers, dumb dialogue, gaudy art- I love super-hero comics, most of my Top 10 votes were for super-hero comics, but is Y (or Green Lantern or Astonishing X-Men or 5 Years Later) really better or worse on some objective level? I’m sorry the list doesn’t reflect your individual tastes, but it’s all opinion. I echo the sentiment that it is better to praise the good than complain that a comic you don’t like is liked by a lot of other people.

Telling us Internet comic book fans to not bitch and complain? Might as well tell the sun not to come up every morning, Mike. :)

Speaking of that, I was wondering if we couldn’t have a “Bottom 100 – Most Hated Comic Book Runs” later? I always wondered what is the most hated. The Clone Saga? Heroes Reborn? X-Force? One More Day? Avengers Disassembled? Chuck Austen’s stuff? And it’s funny to see that Marvel would likely dominate this list too.

My own pet hatreds are Steve Englehart and Tom de Falco’s Fantastic Four runs, though.

A “most hated runs” list would be hilarious! I’ll bet you’d see some of the same ones.

I’m pretty sure if Brian did a Top 100 most hated right now, Countdown would easily take the number one spot.

Most hated`? Great Idea. Here is my number #1:

Sandman is such a whiny goth fest. I also loathe Gaiman’s rose tinted kitsch poetry he gives every two bit character.

oh yeah: biggest fan of Sandman? Tori freaking Amos. I rest my case !

Wombat – Yeah, I think Sandman is radically overrated. I counted 16 of the 75 issues that I really like. The rest were too pretentious for me.

I’d be up for a Bottom 100 runs, although a) There’s more than enough negativity about comics on the internet already and b) A blog called “Comics Should Be Good” is hardly the place for it.

I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s comments (even when they’re angry ones!) and Brian’s descriptions of the different comic book runs. As far as comics go I’ve only been reading manga & Runaways for awhile now but this makes me want to check out some of these runs & go through some of my old back issues.

I’m hoping Giffen/DeMatteis’ JLI shows up on the list. I didn’t grow up on it (the only thing I was paying attention to at the spinner rack back in the late 80s was Archie/Katy Keene/Josie & the Pussycats) but about three years ago I drove about an hour away to a comic book store so I could rummage around for all the back issues of it I could find (plus the Justice League Europe issues they wrote) because I’d heard so much about them. Even though the place was super hot & I had to get down on my hands & knees and move boxes around, getting dust & dirt all over myself and barely missed having a loose nail go through my hand….it was still worth it to get those issues! I think I cleaned the store out of all the ones they had. I loved their mixture of humor, heart, and fun.

Plus if G’Nort can be a superhero that gives hope to the rest of us, right? Uh…right? ^_^

I think it is interesting to notice how many of these favourites are, essentially, self-contained stories and not really stories told in the sense as a “run” on an otherwise ongoing title.

Just last week I was lamenting to a friend how the frequent re-boots on titles hurts anyone’s ability to have a title in the 600+ like Batman, Superman and a very few others have made it. But, realizing this trend, it makes me wonder if maybe titles shouldn’t begin and end with a writer or writing team.

Theo, I think that it is sadly a bit of a paradox.

As a long-time fan, my best case scenario is when a big name creator that I like gets the freedom to write and/or draw their own interpretation of one of my favorite characters. These are almost always stories with a clear beginning, middle and end. Occasionally, these are stories that are so well done that they effectively close the book on the character for me. I mean, what more is there to say about “Thor” beyond Simonson’s run, or the “Doom Patrol” post-Morrison?

In that sense, what I really want is for every title to be “All-Star Superman”. If the story is good enough, then who cares what type of bridge it offers between the previous creative team and the next one? Why even bother shaping a good run of stories to suit something very average that went before and avoid changing the status quo for the person who comes after?

On the other hand, an awful lot of the best runs came from on-going titles that were fading with an editor who was willing to try something different to keep the title going. As fewer and fewer titles have long runs that someone is trying to keep going, these chances for happy accidents decrease. These days, “Swamp Thing” probably gets canceled instead of handed to Alan Moore.

One of these days, Rene, that damn sun’s gonna listen to me and stay down. :)

I know, I know, complaining about complaining is complaining. It’s just… we’re talking about comics. Mostly comics about people in funny outfits hitting each other. Even the “most classic” super-hero comics (for my money, Ditko Spidey & Kirby FF) have some terrible plotting, wonky art, thin characterization, and near-unreadable dialogue. Saying a Y or whatever doesn’t belong is kind of ridiculous.

Well, it’s ridiculous, but you know what the say. The fight is so fierce because the stakes are so low.

choirsoftheeye

April 24, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I REALLY hope Sin City doesn’t make the list. Pretty, but about as intelligent and diverse as smashing your head into a wall over and over.

Tariq: JLA wasn’t out of print for long – there was the Waid / Fabe “Midsummer’s Nightmare” series that filled the gap and set up Morrison’s first issue. And like most of Waid’s JLA work, it gets sadly ignored.

As for Y, I’ve got no problem that it’s this high. Even if it’s greatest claim to fame is that BKV writes really great cliffhangers… c’mon, people, it’s a serial medium. Write good cliffhangers and you’re 75% of the way there already.

Most of my anger was luckilly already spent on seeing Born Again on the list, so I’m enjoying these completely now. Keep ‘em coming.

“‘G’ohh! No plague could wipe out a gender! G’ohhhh!’ [pushes glasses up onto nose]”

Vaughan’s only big mistake of the story was explaining the plague. He should’ve just kept it as a metaphor, as the issue with the play noted.

STEPHEN: “JLA wasn’t out of print for long – there was the Waid / Fabe “Midsummer’s Nightmare” series that filled the gap and set up Morrison’s first issue. And like most of Waid’s JLA work, it gets sadly ignored.”

I thought it was close to a year and half – it may have felt that way to me because I dropped previous version somewhere close to, or after Jurgens’s stint. So ‘in my world’ it was almost that long.

I loved that Waid mini, and I loved Waid’s run on JLA after Morrison. Morrison’s was great, Waid maybe didn’t have as many ‘highs’, but his writing on JLA was more consistent than Morrison’s in a way.

‘Tower of Babel’ is one of my all-time favourite JLA stories.

But Dean, sometimes not rebooting a series can be wonderful if the incoming creators are talented and use what came before them. The best example of this, in my very humble opinion, was Levitz’s LSH. It had been going on by that point for a while, with one of the largest casts ever. And yet, it was a book rich in history. I loved that these charcaters had a history which made their interactions with each other even more relevant. It made little things, like Duo Damsel’s dislike of Computo all the more relevant. Or the fact that Lighting Lass still loved Timber Wolf, depsite not being able to forgive him and the start of her nudge-nudge, wink-wink relationship with Shriking Violent. Or why Sensor Girl/Projectra hated the Emerald Empress. Or why Chamelean Boy was worried Braniac 5 may have gone crazy and cloned Super-girl. If you you knew about the Legion’s history, these things were made all the more enjoyable. And if you didn’t, they were still interesting bit of characterization to follow.

I’m not saying things like ‘All Star Superman’ shouldn’t be done. What I’m saying is, if someone wants to do ‘their’ version of a certain character, without taking into account what has come before, that’s all right…just give fans the option of also following their beloved characters while also allowing someone else to continue the story of the pre-existing series. Very few people can do both at the same time, Morrison’s X-men being one of the few examples were it worked, more or less. Others may disagree, and while I didn’t like everything he did on the title, he did more or less stay true to the spirit of what came before him while offering ‘his’ take on the title.

Anyway, enough ranting, back to topic lol

Morrison’s JLA, to me, felt like a lot of interesting ideas as told by someone suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (or else, intended for such an audience); I repeatedly felt the urge to scream “Slow the **** down and explain what’s going on!” If Morrison’s ideas had been better explained and mated with some actual characterization, I’d think more highly of it.

Sean: I think that was sort of Morrison’s point: most of the characters in the book (everyone save J’onn) had their own books, and he felt as though characterisation of those characters was the responsibility of the writers in those books, and his job was to match up with what was happening at any given time and then to springboard from there into his own stories.

(Best example I can think of would be the Superman Blue bit, where he shows up one day and the League just sort of collectively nods and gets right back down to business.)

He actually did do a lot of good character work with Kyle, who unlike everyone else was still a bit of a blank slate in relation to the DC Universe as a whole, as Marz didn’t do many crossovers in his first little while on the book. So Kyle developing from brash youngster to JLA mainstay primarily happened under Morrison’s watch.

Waid did some enjoyable work on JLA; I liked how the various members unmasked in order to regain lost trust. Hokey, maybe, but it worked for me. “Tower of Babel” rated highly with me as well.

I’d be shocked if Morrison’s JLA (action!Action!! ACTION!!!) and Giffen/ DeMatteis’ JLI (action? after we do ten pages of funny, if we have the room) were not on the list. I liked them nearly equally, although both sagged towards the end (the action got blah, and the humor got repetitive). I think JLI was a better overall run, but “Rock of Ages” is my favorite JLA story; I enjoyed the lunatic pacing, and almost everybody got a cool spotlight moment.

Mike: “Rock of Ages” is my favorite JLA story; I enjoyed the lunatic pacing, and almost everybody got a cool spotlight moment.

And who can forget the brilliant idea of The Atom ‘riding’ on a beam of light from a laser-pointer right through Darkseid’s pupil and from there into his brain?

As for “Tower of Babel”, that ending was cheezy, but somewhat redeemed by how it dovetailed into the next story arc – can’t remember the name, but the idea of the JLA’s alter-egos separating from themselves was an inspired idea – loved the ‘un-masking’ of Batman at that arc’s end too.

Yeah, I’m not sure about Sin City.

So far, the list seems strongly writer driven. In Sin City, the writing is far, far, second to the art in importance. I’m just not seein’ it.

I think Sin City is one of those comics readers really like for a few years, then outgrow. It’s even more geared for ages 14-30 or so than many super-hero comics.

Green Arrow & Atom vs. Darkseid: possibly the best moment in Morrison’s JLA. My other favorite is J’Onn’s “Joker… STOP!” Way more mature than Sin City. :)

14-30? I’m 23, and I take offense at that. I’d say it’s more like 14-16.

“Just last week I was lamenting to a friend how the frequent re-boots on titles hurts anyone’s ability to have a title in the 600+ like Batman, Superman and a very few others have made it. But, realizing this trend, it makes me wonder if maybe titles shouldn’t begin and end with a writer or writing team.”

I think Marvel opened a real can of worms when they rebooted so many of their titles in the late 90s. FF, Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Avengers, Daredevil, Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man, most of which had over 400 issues logged were suddenly back to zero. I HATED it at the time, and took consolation only from the fact that somehow, my beloved Uncanny (even though it had been mostly crap for years, with the exception of Seagle’s run) was spared. I love big numbering because of the sense of continuity it gives. I know it’s geeky but I have a big left brain and I loved being able to reference issue numbers like born-agains use Bible verses, and that’s a lot more fun when you’ve got one large run, with big numbers to use.

But once they pulled those rugs away it’s kinda like there was no going back… even though they did reinstate the old numbering for a lot of them, and with FF and ASM it actually stuck.

These days, now that we don’t have those big numbers to play with, it might actually make more sense to just give a fresh, full volume to a creative team, at least if they’re willing to stick around for a few years. It’s worked well enough with Priest’s Black Panther, Bru’s Cap, and I almost wish Morrison’s New X-men were a complete series because it stood on its own so profoundly. Coversely, the way they’ve handled the Hulk’s numbering for the last ten years seems silly because there’s no method to it. Sometimes they reboot, sometimes they don’t, and it doesn’t seem to have any consistent correlation with how much of a shift there is in the actual title. Why didn’t they give Pak a new number 1 if they’re giving Loeb one (he wasn’t a big enough name I guess, but his take was more distinct that any we’ve seen in a while)?

Good point about Swamp Thing, though… maybe they should keep a title going until they really do find a creator who hits his stride and sticks around long enough to finish a story, and then relaunch. Oh, wait, I guess they did that with Pak’s Hulk! So maybe there’s no problem, lol

I’ll be contrary, and admit that I actually like Sin City. If only because a party of me is fascinated by extremity.

That comic has so much testosterone and closeted (and denied) homosexuality that it fascinates me. Not the sort of thing I’d vote for or even buy, but I’ll certainly read it if a friend lends me his copy.

It’s kind of reassuring to remember that this is just what people have voted on, not the “true” best ever, whatever that might mean.
General reactions to various things that have been said:
“Doom Patrol” was high on my list, and “Animal Man” was absent, so it’s obvious what I rate as the best of early period Morrison.
“Y” wasn’t the Best Thing Ever, but on the other hand the level of hatred is just silly and clearly just Gratuitous Backlash Fetishism. As far as the whole issue of it being on the list as a result of temporal inflation, well, that’s probably true, but I’ve seen examples of that same inflation on this list that I’ve found much more annoying, involving genuinely crappy books, and I’ve held my tongue, so whatever…
Loved SImonson’s Thor, looked forward to his FF, which I then found to be one of the most disappointing runs ever.
Pulling for JLI, which was on my vote list, and which won me over because I was bailing on Marvel, which was entering an early proto-grim n’ gritty phase at the time. “Fun: what a novel idea!” I thought at the time, having OD’ed on moaning mutants.
DeFalco sucked utterly for something like the first five years of his career, before gradually ascending to tolerability. Spider Girl is surprisingly palatable. Does a great job at recreating an old school all-ages flavour, where the Marvel Adventures stuff can often feel forced and synthetic.
I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that some of my all time favourite stuff is just not going to make it. My sole consolation may have to be a bit of schadenfreude over the fact that some stuff I can’t stand but which I know has quite the following might be squeezed out by the mechanics of the way this vote works (someone pointed out that some pretty major runs might be on a lot of people’s 11 to 20 list, thus never showing up here).

Yet to read Doom Patrol. Probably will one of these days.

Love Simonson’s Thor and am glad to see it this high.

Think Y is an excellent series, though I’m in the camp that cynically believes its high placement has more to do with it being both good and recent. But whatever. Brian will do this again in 5-10 years (right?) and we’ll see where things land then. Come 2050 or so, we’ll get to see what runs made the list over and over again.

“For the record, I voted for JLI but not Morrison’s bombastic but ultimately blah run”
Superman fighting an angel was more interesting than One Punch!.

I’d be curious to ask Walt Simonson how he feels about his Thor ranking eighty or ninety spots ahead of Kirby’s. I’m pretty sure he would find the concept as preposterous as I do.

And I liked Beta Ray Bill as much as anybody.

Folks, it’s not backlash festishism, it’s that the year of Y really was awful and the period between Safeword and that last year was kind of blah. I don’t want to say too much because the last trade isn’t out yet.

-355 and Dr. Mann hooking up midway through just felt like fanboy pandering.

-Someone else already mentioned the plague revelation. It’s convoluted, boring, and means there was a huge bit of coincidence in the series (more than one, actually).

-355′s final fate I’m shocked didn’t inspire some backlash. Even morseo, I’m shocked that the bit immediately beforehand didn’t raise the ire of the blogosphere.

-Alter. Some people dislike Preacher because of how Starr’s treated in the series. Well, Alter is the anti-Starr. She’s built up and built up, but ultimately it’s all sound and fury. She seems to be there more becuase long running Vertigo books need to have a big bad post-Sandman than any story need (Transmet- the Smiler, Invisibles- Sir Miles, Preacher- Starr, Fables- the Adversary).

So sorry, Y could have been great, but instead it wound up being merely medicore, with one brilliant arc in it.

“Y didn’t make much scientific sense?”

And “cosmic rays” turning you into a rockman does?

Golly, Doom Patrol was my #1 (I think, I lost my list.).

My certainty that Tintin and Nth Man will make the 100 is beginning to wane.

My final 12:
12 – Millar Sin City
11 – Robinson Starman
10 – Perez Wonder Woman
9 – Morrison JLA
8 – Wolfman / Perez New Teen Titans
7 – Giffen / DeMattis JLI
6 – Swamp Thing Moore
5 – Gaiman Sandman
4 – Lee / Kirby FF
3 – Lee / Ditko Spidey
2 – Miller DD
1 – Claremont / Byrne X Men

It’s so ridiculous to say that Y’s writing is good because it’s more plausible than Marvel’s 60′s B-movie science fiction pastiche that I don’t know where to start. The stories aren’t even remotely in the same genres! If you can’t come up with a better defense of the series than that you’re just not thinking. I don’t even like Y and I could come up with a better argument in its favor than something so unthinking, so trite, and so bitterly foolish.

Incidentally, the reason why I disliked Y is that most of its plot arcs and character points didn’t seem very well thought through and didn’t follow logically from the set-up established in the book. It was a series that wanted you to stop thinking about how they got from A to B, and instead dwell on the situation created (which was… sadly generic to “what if women ruled the world??” sci-fi stuff, if well-done in terms of craft).

Funny that the efforts to argue in the series favor also don’t seem to be thinking very hard about how to illustrate the series virtues!

“Funny that the efforts to argue in the series favor also don’t seem to be thinking very hard about how to illustrate the series virtues!”

Here’s the best point of Y: every time you read (past-tense) an issue, the first thing on your mind is “damn, I really wish the next one was already here.” There were very few times during the entire run when the ending of one issue didn’t get me incredibly excited to see the next one.

Since this is a survey of comic *runs*, that more than qualifies it in my book.

Joe: What was wrong with what happened to 355? The series was building to a bittersweet ending for a while.

(I personally thought that the fanboys would be more riled up about what happened with Beth.)

simonson thor, doom patrol, y

None of these runs made my Top 10 despite me loving all of them.

Simonson’s Thor was great, yes, but would be in my Top 50. Very good yes but apparently I wasn’t quite as taken with it as most. That cover to 337 was truly shocking back in the day. Besides Tom Scioli and Jose Ladronn, Walt Simonson certainly has his own style but really vibes dynamic Kirby. I loved his Thor and I think I liked his Fourth World the best. For some reason his sci-fi FF felt kinda clunky.

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol is probably the essential Grant Morrison work in my mind. They were so bizarre, psychedelic and wild that you had no idea what was going to happen. I esp liked the issue that showed The Chief to be a real sicko who set all of them up to fail and become part of his group. What a mind bender ! Richard Case’s art was great and fit the book well.

I’ve only ever read the first 3 issues of Y but I was blown away by how good I thought it was. In fact, I loaned it to a non-comics reading friend and never got it back but plan on getting the mega huge complete collected version later. BKV rocks. I’m shocked at the negative feedback here about Y.

That whole Candle-Maker storyline was some of the scariest shit I’ve ever read.
When Cliff got immobilized and his brain was removed and trashed…
I had to go wash my hands after reading that.

Why is it just “Grant Morrison’s” Doom Patrol – Richard Case illustrated almost every issue. How about some love for Richie?

I put Grant Morrison’s because that was the most important creator that made the run for me and that way if there were any other artists besides Richard Case, which I believe there were IIRC, they would be included.

Why is it just “Grant Morrison’s” Doom Patrol – Richard Case illustrated almost every issue. How about some love for Richie?

That strikes me as right.

Grant Morrison is a great comic writer, but he is really reliant upon his artists to make the story understandable. Many of the symbols and metaphors that he traffics in are visual. An awful lot of his character work is very subtle. When you see his scripts drawn by a Frank Quietley, a Richard Case or a Ryan Sook; it is a totally different experience than seeing his scripts drawn by others. IMO, that is why his “Invisibles” struggled until Phil Jimmenez took the assignment.

This is more true of Morrison than any other great comic writer I can name.

Wow! I remember being thrilled that Walt was taking over this book and it started out very good but I remember it got weak and silly (Frog Thor). I don’tn think I’ve ever gone back and re-read a single issue of this run.

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