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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #20-16

Here’s the next five runs!!

Enjoy!

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

Daredevil #26-50, 56-81 (Maleev did not draw #38-40)

What is most remarkable to me about the run that Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev did on Daredevil is how tightly plotted the fifty or so issue story is by Bendis. A lot of his works seem to be a little open-ended, but his run on Daredevil was quite focused. Of course, as good as the story was, the artwork by Alex Maleev was probably even better, as Maleev made the perfect marriage between the artwork of Frank Milller that made Daredevil such a major work and the more noir elements that Bendis wanted to use with the book, as Daredevil under Bendis was very much a crime comic.

In his first storyline, Bendis dealt with an upstart gangster trying to take over the Kingpin’s racket. This led to a violent encounter with the Kingpin’s estranged wife, Vanessa, as well as Daredevil’s secret identity being revealed. This was a major plot point throughout Bendis’ run, as he showed how Matt Murdock dealt with everyone knowing that he was Daredevil.

During this time, Bendis introduced Milla Donovan, a blind woman who eventually became Matt’s wife.

Another major storyline was when the Owl attempted to take over the Kingpin’s (now vacant) racket, but the Kingpin returns to try to take it himself – this leads to Matt making a dramatic decision about who exactly will run his neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

Hell’s Kitchen was a character itself during Bendis’ run, and Maleev depicted it beautifully.

After a time, Bendis made a revelation about Daredevil’s mental state that was mind-blowing, and really tied together the entire run, just in time for one final storyline that would set things up for the current run of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark.

It’s one of Bendis’ finest comic works.

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

The Incredible Hulk #331-388, 390-467

What was probably most consistent about Peter David’s run on the Incredible Hulk was that there was no consistency to the book, David was constantly taking the book in different directions, and it made for an eventful ride for readers.

When he took over the book in 1986, the book was in the middle of a storyline, but David picked it up without a hitch, and soon turned the book into a sort of odd road trip book, with Bruce Banner, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain traveling together. At this time, the Hulk had become Grey again, and turned into the Hulk at night. During this time, Todd McFarlane was the artist on the book, and there was a notable encounter between the Hulk and Wolverine while on the road.

After an encounter with the Leader, the Hulk was feared dead, but he soon popped up in Las Vegas, working as a bouncer called Joe Fixit. Jeff Purves was the artit on these stories.

Eventually, Hulk hit the road again, and Dale Keown joined the book. He and David combined for an impressive run together, and during this run, David made probably his biggest change to the comic, having Doc Samson merge the various Hulk personalities (Banner, Grey Hulk and Green Hulk) together to form one powerful green Hulk whose personality was controlled by Banner. This version of the Hulk was soon hired by the peacekeeping group, the Pantheon, to work for them as a peacekeeper. This was the status quo of the book for about forty/fifty issues.

However, this ultimately fell apart, too, and the Hulk went on the run once more, and then Onslaught happened, with Banner and the Hulk becoming separated – the Banner-less Hulk went on a bit of a rampage, but eventually Banner returned. Adam Kubert took over as artist for an acclaimed short run on the Hulk, and in his second-to-last issue, David had Betty Banner, wife of Bruce, die. David’s last issue had Rick Jones in the future looking back at all the various stories that David had had planned for his run before his departure.

David’s run was marked by a lot of character work, and also a lot of humor. The biggest vote-getters of all David’s artist partners was Dale Keown (he got about 70 of the 484 points), so here is Mike Loughlin specifically talking about their run together, in explaining why he picked Hulk #1 on his list….

When I was 12 years-old, in 1990, I did not care who wrote my comic books. One super-hero comic was interchangeable with another. (I was reading all Marvels at the time) All I cared about was the art. Did the characters look cool? Was the action exciting? Was there lots of detail? (a.k.a. lots of lines) The words were there to move things along, sure, but a Jim Lee comic could have empty word balloons and still be “awesome.”

Certainly, Dale Keown’s art in Incredible Hulk 372 met my criteria. The cover, depicting a snarling green Hulk bursting from a split Banner-grey Hulk face, jumped out at me from the spinner rack. Keown emphasized the Hulk’s bulk and savagery, and made him an unstoppable force within the pages. The souped-up rocket car that tried to capture him stood no chance. Incredible Hulk 372 had the cool look, action, and detailed art I was looking for. It had something else, however, that made it stand out from the other comics I was reading: a story.

The writer of the issue was the first comic book writer’s name I learned: Peter David. In the course of the story, he reintroduced me to Bruce Banner; caught me up on the history of Bruce and his wife, Betty; gave me the lowdown on the grey Hulk; and gave me the return of the favorite comic book character of my childhood, the green Hulk. In between the exposition, mysterious events (who was that Prometheus guy driving the car, and why did he want Banner?), and action, David made me care about the characters. The last scene, in which a helpless Banner watches his wife leave on a train, only to be reunited with her at the last minute, was both an emotionally satisfying conclusion and a teaser that made the next four weeks feel like four months.

From that jumping-on point, I witnessed Betty’s accord with the grey Hulk; an epic (and funny) battle with the Super-Skrull; the return of/ my introduction to Doc Samson, Rick Jones, & Marlo; and the Hulks at war within Banner’s mind. Peter David’s humor and character development made Incredible Hulk the most interesting and mature comic I’d yet read. Dale Keown’s John Byrne meets Jim Lee pencils were perfect for the fights and the carnage, but his knack for facial expressions and body language made his art equally suited to the quieter scenes.

Issue 377 was a milestone- the reader learned why there was a Hulk. Although Bill Mantlo introduced the idea that Banner had been abused as a child, Peter David showed the reader just how his father’s evil and insanity had fractured Bruce’s mind. Keown drew the father as a gruesome monster, blotting out everything else in Banner’s mind scape, and interposed the Hulks into Banner’s memories. Finally, Doc Samson merged all three personalities into a new Hulk. Keown’s almost-human looking Hulk, looming over Betty and grinning maniacally, was startling. The first line David wrote for him (“Honey, I’m home”) was chilling. What would happen next?

I had no idea how Betty could live with this Hulk-Banner hybrid, or if the new Hulk was even sane. Would he revert to the green Hulk’s mindless tantrums? Would he have the grey Hulk’s maliciousness? Would he become a true super-hero, or a bigger menace than ever? David had me hooked.

The events of the next twenty one issues- the Hulk joined an underground organization called the Pantheon, fought wars and villains, and almost ended up losing everything- were less important than the character moments. David wrote villains sympathetically, and made heroes question their actions. The Abomination (wonderfully rendered by Keown as a reptilian body-builder by way of Jonah Hex) wanted nothing more than the love of his wife, and became protector of a homeless community. Rick Jones ends a war, not through heroism but by making an unthinkable decision. The Pantheon members had a wide range of personalities and motivations. Igor, the spy whose duplicity led to the Hulk’s creation, was torn by guilt.Doc Samson struggled to help Banner, and wondered if he made the right decision when he merged Banner’s personalities. The reader knew the Leader was up to no good, but he was so charismatic. The Hulk and Betty (whose transition from perpetual victim to a tough survivor was a high point of David’s run) struggled to understand and accept each other, and a gift of bunny slippers said more than any other super-hero comic’s sloppy speechifying.

David wrote better dialog than his contemporaries. His humor arose out of situational absurdity as much as word-play. Sabra constantly railing against a temporarily mute Hulk about the oppression of her people became laughably over-the-top until the Hulk finally shut her up. The Punisher launched weapon after weapon at “Mr. Fixit,” unable to believe their ineffectiveness. Rick Jones’ explanation for why he carried a parachute with him, the grey Hulk’s fight with The Blob, Dr. Strange’s banter with Namor… Despite the occasional groaner, David was mixed action and humor with aplomb.

Keown’s art knocked me out. He had a good sense of storytelling, and his splash pages were astounding. His art had some of Kirby’s blocky bigness, Byrne’s cartooniness, and Neal Adams’ sense of mood. The Hulk and his foes looked suitably scary; the excellent inking of Bob McCloud and Mark Farmer smoothed out the rough edges while maintaining the scope and detail, but I wonder how the comic would have looked under Keown’s scratchier rendering (as seen on some of the covers). Most of the fill-in artists did very good work. Sam Kieth drew the amazing, surreal issue 368. Bill Jaaska produced a couple Kevin Maguire-esque jobs, perfect for 378′s funny Christmas issue and 380′s moody Doc Samson solo story. Chris Bachalo showed up for half of issue 400, drawing more traditionally than in his current style. Still, the Hulk was Keown’s book, and even the best fill-in felt a little lacking. Subsequent artists, notably Gary Frank and Adam Kubert, did great work on the book, but Keown remains my favorite Hulk artist.

From Hulk 372 to Hulk 373 and beyond, from the spinner rack to the comic book shop, from casual reading to a love of the medium… Peter David’ and Dale Keown’s Hulk was my gateway book, the comic that I read and re-read every month, the comic that seemed to dig a little deeper and hit a little harder than the average four-color fantasy, the comic that taught me to expect more from comic book writers. If I picked another comic book run as a favorite, even Lee’ & Ditko’s classic Spider-Man or Los Bros Hernandez’ groundbreaking Love & Rockets, I’d be lying.

Thanks, Michael!

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

Planetary #1-current (#26)

“Archaeologists of the Impossible” is the tagline for the Planetary, and that’s as good of an explanation as anything else, as Warren Ellis and book co-creator, artist John Cassaday, have developed a fascinating look at popular culture with this title that really is a bit of cultural archeology.

The concept of the book is that there is an organization called Planetary, which employs agents to track the secret history of the world, partly for curiosity’s sake, but partly to see if there’s anything that could be learned to help mankind. The book begins with the mysterious Elijah Snow joining two other field agents, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer.

From then on, while there is an overarching storyline that deals with the villainous Four, the book mostly takes each issue to examine a notable popular culture character, like Zorro or Doc Savage or the Lone Ranger of the Fantastic Four or Nick Fury, and so forth. Through these characters (almost all analogues of the originals), Ellis examines the underpinnings of the very genre of superhero comics – notably, what is BEHIND superhero comics? What makes them tick? Stuff like that.

It’s quite engrossing, and Ellis is extremely lucky to have John Cassaday with him doing it all. John Cassaday was a good artist before Planetary began, but it was during his work on Planetary that he became a GREAT artist. The amount of different characters he has to create/emulate is amazing, and yet each issue is like a mini-epic, with beautiful design work and excellent character work, as well.

The series has suffered a few delays, and is currently in a long delay before the latest, and final, issue is released some time this year.

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

Captain America #1-current (#37)

Ed Brubaker began the current volume of Captain America with quite an opening issue – killing off the Red Skull! Of course, the move was a bit of a feint on Brubaker’s part, but it was still a notable beginning to his title.

The most notable aspect of Brubaker’s run was not a death, but instead, a rebirth – as Brubaker brought back Captain America’s World War II partner, James “Bucky” Barnes, who apparently had been rescued by the Russians, then brainwashed into becoming an assassin for them, who would be kept in cryogenic status between missions, so in the sixty years since they found him, he’s only aged less than ten years (earning him the name the Winter Soldier). Finally, Bucky comes into contact with Steve Rogers, Captain America, and this begins a mission of Rogers to bring Bucky back to the side of the good guys.

After a few other action stories, mostly dealing with the secret plan of the Red Skull (remember what I mentioned about the feint?), Steve is seemingly murdered by his own estranged girlfriend, Sharon Carter, Agent of SHIELD.

Since then, Brubaker has been crafting a story where Bucky slowly comes to terms with Steve’s death and agrees to become the new Captain America. However, the Red Skull’s plans are still going on. Can the new Captain America stop him? We shall see!

There are probably three particularly notable aspects of Brubaker’s run:

1. The artwork by Steve Epting and Mike Perkins – both men bring to the book an interesting, realistic style that they both seemed to have learned while working with the great Butch Guice over at Crossgen. Recently, Guice himself has signed on to be one of the book’s artists, as well, which is a treat.

2. Brubaker’s return to a more realistic, more violent comic – one of the retcons he has established is that the reason Bucky was around was because he was secretly trained as a Black Ops soldier, and he would often go on secret commando missions for the US Government that Captain America had no ideas about. Brubaker compares the violence in his run to Steranko’s Captain America, and the book does seem to evoke those great early Steranko stories.

3. Brubaker has picked out the most notable characters (in his view) from the past of Captain America, and used them ALL in one big swooping story, so you don’t just get Captain America (or the new Captain America), but you get Sharon Carter, Red Skull, Crossbones, Sin, Doctor Faustus, Falcon and Nick Fury. It’s filled to the brim with great, engaging characters.

Let’s hope Brubaker is on the book for a long while.

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

Fantastic Four #232-293

A lot of creators have a certain idea in mind when they take over the Fantastic Four, but John Byrne, hot off of his stint co-plotting Uncanny X-Men with Chris Claremont, was one of the few who actually carried out his plan in the comic itself.

Byrne intended to treat his run in a similar manner to what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did on their original run – take the Fantastic Four to far off new worlds, introduce bizarre new characters, while still re-using the really notable ones like Doctor Doom and Galactus (and yes, Diablo, too), and that’s exactly what Byrne did.

Soon after Byrne took over the book, he was tasked with coming up with a 20th anniversary story, and he came up with a beautiful one with the Fantastic Four trapped in a world by Doctor Doom where they did not have powers. It was quite a touching story.

Then Byrne launched into his first major storyline with the title, a major tale involving Galactus and the Avengers. Byrne introduced many different new alien races during his tenure with the book, but probably his most notable achievements were with the characters he already had, as Byrne did a great deal of character development during his run, specifically the evolution of Sue from the Invisible Girl to the Invisible Woman, having Sue become pregnant but miscarry, having Thing leave the team (to be replaced by the She-Hulk) and having Johnny Storm become involved with the Thing’s erstwhile girlfriend, Alicia Masters. Doctor Doom, who is practically the fifth member of the book, also saw a number of interesting character work via Byrne.

Art-wise, Byrne did a lot of experimenting, with one notable example being the issue where the comic is read horizontally instead of vertically. This “widescreen” approach was used by Marvel a few more times after Byrne.

Sadly, Byrne’s tenure on the book was cut short, but he still ended with a strong five-year run on the title.

Okay, that’s it for today! The next three tomorrow!!

100 Comments

if only Byrne hadn’t replaced Ben Grimm with my least favourite character ever I’d probably have a great deal more affection for his run than I do. To me the FF is only really the FF with Ben in it so She-Hulk joining the team put me off with the exception of a couple of random purchases from the Byrne Ordway era(great art team they made).
I’ m almost ashamed that throughout the entire 10 year run on Hulk I picked up maybe 3 issues and hated each one. I seem to have randomly picked up fiil-in issues with artists other than Mcfarlane, Keown and Frank in each case so thats probably a bit of bad luck on my part. I have read Hulk:the End and that alone makes Peter David’s Hulk really special though.
Now that Ed Brubaker’s Captain America has only made the 17th spot I’m beginning to wonder whether the Brubaker/Fraction Iron Fist run is coming up shortly. The level of unhappiness when it was first announced they were leaving suggests that could be a possibility.

Um, wow. I guess there really is an inflation factor.

Bendis and Maleev’s DD is very good, but top 20 seems like a huge stretch.

Burbaker’s Cap on the other hand, seems like a joke. It’s amazing that it’s been going for more than 30 issues but doesn’t seem like it’s anywhere near a conclusion. How could anyone vote for it? There’s too much of a chance of it going off the rails.

Planetary’s an interesting case. The first 15 issues, before the first big, huge break are unquestionably a classic. The next eight, however, are quite a letdown. It’s almost a microcosm of Transmet, where the first twelve issues are brilliant, but then it turns into Spider vs. a villain who’s too much of a pushover to justify a 47 issue storyline

I never got into Bendis’ DD, but then again, I’m not much of a Bendis fan away, so….eh.

Brubaker’s Cap is still wait-and-see for me. I love some of his work, and hate others, so this series is still up the air for me. Hated that he brought Bucky back, don’t like the new design for uniform…but I’m still interested in seeing where he goes with this, so he must be doing something right. It is nice to see Steve Epting getting praise for his artwork – I was a fan of his way back when, when he started on Avengers – and I like seeing his style improve and progress.

Planetary is something that’s going into my ‘must read’ pile. A friend of mine told me the art work alone is worth checking out. Wasn’t there a JLA/Planetary crossover a few years back?

David’s run on Hulk was great, but it did burn out a bit towards the end. My favorite era from that title artwise was probably Gary Frank. Early stuff of his, but still nice to look at, and you knew back then he was going to eb good. One important issue that David also did was having a supporting character I believe die from AIDS, it was a big deal at the time, and further proof of David’s talent and versatility. One David Hulk story I would recommend to people is ‘Future Imperfect’ (I think that’s the name), a 2 issue limited series with artwork by George Perez.

Byrne’s FF is one of my favorite runs of all time. I actually liked the She-hulk’s addition, Byrne did some great things with here during FF, as well as with the characters as a whole. And he did also have a great arc for Sue.

Bendis and Malee’s DD was good, but I don’t think it should be top 20.

David’s Hulk was great. There’s not a lot more I need to say about it. It deserves to be at least this high.

Read the first Planetary trade a few years ago, when I was on a comics hiatus. I really enjoyed it. Gotta put it on my purchase list.

Brubaker’s Captain America at numer 17? I think that’s a bit much. I tried the first trade based on all the hype, and was very disappointed. In fact, the only thing I’ve read from Brubaker that made me think he may deserve all the praise he gets is Criminal (haven’t read Sleeper or Iron Fist). Bsed on the write-up above, I don’t think I really need to give his Cap another shot either.

I haven’t read Byrne’s FF, but I’m not particularly keen to either.

Read all the Daredevil, Hulk, and Captain America. Read chunks of the other two. Not at all surprised that Daredevil run is so highly rated, would most likely have been in my top 10. (Joined site too late, alas.) Glad to see Hulk run included, because I enjoyed it and Peter David is a firm favorite. But I like other of his series (e.g. Fallen Angel, Supergirl, Young Justice) even more. The Captain America run. Good stuff… but surely its only as high as this because its so topical. Just can’t see it being so high on a similar list compiled in 5 years time.

Great to see Bendis/Maleev make the top 20 – they were second in my top 10. I never read Peter David’s run on the Hulk, but if it’s as good as his current writing on X Factor, I’d love to hunt some down.

Yes, serious inflation going on here. Thing is, I can see why Bru’s Cap is so high. People love Captain America ’cause he’s a pretty well-conceived character and furthermore it tugs on their most patriotic heart-strings… and there haven’t really been a lot of good Captain America runs in recent memory. You’ve got Waid’s, which was wonderful at the time because it was the fresh, back to basics approach but in hindsight it’s just a well-told superhero storyline without anything super-special. You’ve got Gruenwald, who was excellent at what he did best (continuity-work, building up a character’s universe) but whose dialogue wasn’t very strong and who never trasncends his genre. And you’ve got Englehart, but that’s too long ago for most to remember.

So you’ve got all this love for Cap, and Brubaker’s the only guy in ages to come along and really wow pepople, and the voting is naturally gonna slant toward the contemporary… so I can see why he’s here.

I think what needs to happen, Brian, is you’ve gotta do this list every three-to-five years, and then after like 20 years put all the totals together, and those of us who’ve bothered to stick around can look at the totals, and there’ll be less of a bias toward what’s come out in the three years just before the latest vote.

Who’s up for it? :-)

wwk5d: There were three Planetary crossovers, all compiled into one tpb.

There was a:

Planetary/Authority – a lot of action, but ultimately pretty inconsequential; you’d expect a meeting between these two groups to carry a bit more weight. Art by Phil Jimenez

Planetary/JLA – an “Elseworlds” type story. Easily the most interesting one; a lot of layers to it. Art by Jerry Ordway.

Planetary/Batman – the most beautifully drawn one, by series artist John Cassaday. A really fun look at Batman through the ages (and then some) with some cool twists on other components of the Batman “family”

The trade is HIGHLY recommended. But read the series first.

More of my pics !

1. DAREDEVIL — Brian Bendis/Alex Maleev
7. THE INCREDIBLE HULK — Peter David/Gary Frank

Stefan: good points, especially about running the poll every so often. I find that helps with music polls. Right after Nirvana’s Nevermind came out, it would top polls as best album. Naysayers would jump on that. But as the same types of polls continued over the last 10 years, the album shows legs. Same thing with Radiohead’s OK Computer.

Bernard the Poet

April 23, 2008 at 4:34 am

Haven’t read Brubaker’s Captain America and I won’t. It doesn’t matter how well he wrote the story, he still brought back Bucky and that was a short-sighted and stupid thing to do. How long before Uncle Ben is resurrected?

The thing that always struck me about John Byrne’s Fantastic Four was the rather warped morality that underpinned it.

The most famous case was when Reed decides to save the life of Galactus. If I understand his reasoning correctly, he does this because Galactus has a fundamental role in the universe in winnowing out the lesser races. No one explains what exactly would happen to the universe, if the lesser races were allowed to plod on, but we are assured that Reed knows best.

They also restore Dr Doom to the throne of Latveria, because he is a much more competent tyrant than the present one, but if Latverians will be happier under Doom, then why not Americans?

Then near to the end of the run (issues 291/292), Byrne seems to send the team to 1936 and where they have to try to stop Nick Fury from killing Hitler because…. Well, I’m not sure they ever actually say why killing Hitler would be a bad thing, we are just meant to take it on trust that Fury is letting his heart rule his head and that they know better.

And those are just the large story arcs; a sense that the status quo must always be upheld is prevalent throughout the series. A smaller example is when Reed upbraids Frankie Raye for using her powers on an abusive parent – she is told that that’s not the way they do things – so what does Reed do? Well, precisely nothing. When the story ends this abusive parent is still caring for the child.

Now, I am not saying that Byrne was deliberately trying to indoctrinate the children of America with some kind of Fascist ideology, but I do think that in an effort to produce entertaining and counter-intuitive comics he allowed himself to get of the wrong side of the argument a few many times.

On a more positive note, I think that Peter David deserves every vote that was given him. The Incredible Hulk is a dog of an assignment; Bruce Banner must search for a cure – which we know he will never find, whilst the Hulk is looking to find somewhere he can live in peace – which, again, we know cannot happen. That doesn’t leave the writer with much room for manoeuvre, but David somehow managed to pull it off for years.

Marc, sound like the Planetary TPB is worth picking up alone for the artwork. Reading the series first may help, as you said. I remember flipping through the JLA crossover at a store and being confused…then again, the DC characters were also just as confusing. Wonder Women in a white non-jumpsuit outfit surrounded by floating knives? That alone made me go ‘huh?’

One thing about doing the poll again…it would have to be done with the same 700 to be as accurate. I don’t know how scientific the group who voted is as far as a sample of the comics buying world is, but I’m sure the list would be very different if a different 700 voted for it. Hell, replacing a quarter of the people who did vote would also probably lead to a different list…

I’m another one surprised that Bendis’ DD and Brubaker’s Cap are so high. At least, I’m surprised to see Bendis’ DD higher than Miller’s. No argument from me on David’s Hulk or Byrne’s FF being this high, although it’s interesting that the FF will have three entries on the list, assuming that Lee/Kirby is still to come.

I’ve ordered the Peter David hulk trades from Amazon, they should start arriving some time this week, I’ve read a couple of his issues prior though, I’m not a big Marvel fan but I found them entertaining enough.

Not much in here I’ve read, as I’m mostly a DC guy. I’ve been meaning to read Planetary for a while. Maybe I should move that up the list, given all the support for it here. I have no interest in reading anything by Bendis or any run on Daredevil (the least fun superhero comic of all time), so that’s out. I’ve never been much of a Hulk fan, but if I were going to give any run a try, it’d be David’s. And I’d read Brubaker’s Cap if a trade were in the library or something, but it isn’t a priority.

This is all leading up to one thing, which is that Byrne’s FF (the parts I’ve read, which admittedly don’t come anywhere close to being the entire thing) is complete garbage. I was fine with She-Hulk on the team (She-Hulk’s one of my favorite Marvel characters), but most of the stuff he did with her – the sun-bathing-and-spotted-by-paparazzi issue springs to mind – was just ha-ha wink-wink cheesecake stuff that did a disservice to the character (just like his She-Hulk book of a few years later).

The rest of what I’ve read veers wildly between unfunny comedy (Aunt Petunia being young and attractive), ineptly-handled melodrama (Sue’s miscarriage), and bizarre characterizations (Johnny Storm *marries* Ben’s ex-girlfriend?!). It’s just a mess. I don’t see the appeal at all.

Yes, I’m a John Byrne-hater. But I’m a John Byrne-hater *because* of things like his Fantastic Four run.

How the heck is Bendis’ Daredevil so high? The first half of the run is great, but after Matt becomes Kingpin, the whole thing completely and utterly falls apart with the crap mounting in time for the in the weird demon baby story. The first half of the run is great though. I just got the feeling that Bendis didn’t quite know where to go after issue 50 or so.

I love PAD’s Hulk all the way through 425 or so, even if 400-425 isn’t as strong as what came before it. I don’t know if it’s THIS good (well, the Mr. Hyde on a train issue is but I’m not sure about everything else), but it is very good. Hulk Annual 16 was my favorite comic for a long time as a kid, just for being so fun.

Brubaker’s Cap is very, very good. Is it this good? I doubt it. He took an impossible story and made it work.

Byrne’s FF probably is though.

Planetary is cute. And clever but I think it’s going to have a pretty weak/rushed third act when you look at it as a whole.

Was there ever a reason given why David’s Hulk counted as one and Claremont’s X-Men didn’t? I’m racking my brain trying to come with a criteria that could separate one from the other.

I gave up on Brubaker’s CA when I realized that Captain America was going to completely misunderstand the nature of the threat against him and be defeated every single issue. It was obvious that Brubaker just didn’t like the guy even before he put a bullet in his brain. Good thing Mary Sue Barnes was there to save the day.

Wow, if Brubaker’s Cap finished this high, then just imagine how high DeMatteis and Zeck’s run is! It’s gonna be top five, at least. Right?

Right?

Matt, you’re way off in your assessment. It’s Gary Sue Barnes….;)

Oh, and Fantastic Four #236 might just be the greatest single issue of any comic book, ever. At least in the top ten. Byrne’s FF is only the third from my list to show up, but I think we have six more coming up.

Only three per day from now on?? Curse you, Cronin, you cruel teasing cur!!

In Iissue #284 of FF Byrne turned Sue into a Dominatrix(with a truly unforgivable mullet). He lost me there, and though I had been a fan since his Charlton days, I never came back to his work again.

Bendis Maleev Daredevil is probably the most innovative approach to superhero comics since Moore’s Watchmen. If American comics wants to hit a mass audience of new readers, not the aging fanboys like me, or the easily pleased direct market crowd, this run should be studied. Not an art comic, not a superhero fight fest. Some pages have so much dialogue(but it sounds so much like humans speaking-a rare commodity), yet Maleev stages them so well that they are not at all visually boring. These issues could be a model for comics to bring new readers by “legtimizing” comic adventure the way that, mystery novels were legitimized by Hammett, Chandler and Ross Macdonlald. These DD comics are genre adventure novels that are “adult” in the best sense of the word.

I’ve read approximately the first half of Bendis’s DD run (when it was first coming out), and then I lost interest. I’ve never yet felt the irresistible compulsion to finish reading it, although I suspect I will, someday. It wouldn’t even be considered for my “Top 100″ if I were casting a 100-item ballot.

I’ve read only a few bits and pieces of PAD’s long Hulk run. I’ve never been much of a Hulk collector; I don’t feel I know enough about the PAD run to be able to gauge its overall appeal when considered as one big package deal.

I’ve read none of Brubaker’s Cap run. When I heard about the whole “Bucky is back as the Winter Soldier” thing, I was just disgusted.

I’ve read most of “Planetary” but didn’t consider it for my ballot. I can understand why others did, though.

I’ve only sat down and read Byrne’s full FF run, straight through, just once — almost a decade ago, I think. (Although I’ve gone back and reread various bits and pieces on later occasions.) I tend to think of it as “usually pretty good, but sometimes not, and for some reason the run as a whole is often remarkably overrated by fans.”

I’ve said before that one of the bits that particularly rubbed me the wrong way about Byrne’s take on the FF came early in that run, when the FF and a bunch of other Marvel heroes managed to stop Galactus from devouring the Earth, and then it looked like he was very close to fading away and finally dying . . . and Reed Richards suddenly sold the others a line of bull about how the sanctity of life required them to save Galactus so he could go free to wipe out other planets in the future, one each month . . . even though Reed must have known darn well that this would occasionally include killing billions of sentient beings at a pop, whenever the nearest available suitable planet was densely populated with such people. The implied meaning was: “Our lives as humans on Earth are absolutely sacred. Galactus’s life as a cosmic-powered mass-murderer is absolutely sacred. But the lives of his billions of future victims, presumably members of other species on other planets, are absolutely expendable!” Such “double standards” are always so inspiring to see in a superhero . . .

P.S. Looking at Bernard the Poet’s comments on that bit of Byrne’s run . . . as I recall — and I reread the original “Let’s save Galactus so he can devour more worlds!” story some months ago — the whole flimsy rationale about Galactus and his ugly eating habits still having a proper place in serving the greater good in A Mysterious Cosmic Scheme of Things (or however it was phrased) was only introduced about a year and a half later, when Reed was rightfully put on trial for being an accessory to the mass-murder of all the inhabitants of the Skrull homeworld. No such rationale had been mentioned, even in passing, at the time of the original story. Just “It would be wrong for us to let him die, so we won’t. We’ll carefully not talk too much about how this amounts to the same thing as guaranteeing that billions of other people will end up dying premature deaths, later on.”

In other words, the original story basically ignored the plight of all those “lesser races” — both the ones who’d already been wiped out and the ones who surely would be later on — and it was only much later that Byrne apparently caved into pressure and said, “Gee, maybe I better go back and retcon in something vaguely resembling a ‘logical reason’ for Reed to have acted like such a murderously irresponsible lunatic.”

Wow, really surprised Cap made it this far up the list. I mean, I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and any reservations I had about the return of Bucky have been laid to rest, but it just seems so new and incomplete. I didn’t vote for it (or Planetary for that matter) because it’s still ongoing.

Bendis’s Daredevil I did vote for; despite the heavy ‘writing for the trade” that went on (which I can’t stand) it generated this sense that anything really could happen. I loved the exploration of what happened when Matt was “outed” and the psychological analysis of his character.

I haven’t read the entirety of David’s Hulk run, but what I have read is great (with a few uneven spots) and is worthy of recognition for the achievement of writing a marathon run on the Hulk, of all things.

Byrne’s FF is similarly worthy of recognition. I remember in particular the issue where Sue has complications while in labor and Reed has to go to Doc Ock for help. I actually liked the addition of She-Hulk, and he deserves kudos for changing Sue to the Invisible “Woman.”

I’ve not read all of Byrne’s FF, but I’ve read much of it, and own all of PAD’s Hulk. (It scored one of my votes) They both have range and variety, something that I haven’t seen much of in Brubaker’s Cap (though he shows good craftsmanship) , and would be surprised to find in Bendis’ DD. Rick Jones’ buck’s night was hilarious :)

Definitely an inflation effect going on, and yes, another poll in the future would be interesting. Some of the classic long running “Best Movies” polls come out every ten years; the comics audience has a rather higher turnover, perhaps a poll every two years would be warranted.

One way to maybe reduce the inflationary effect is to leave out runs that are ongoing at the time of voting. It will be interesting to see how many of the final 100 are current runs.

Any popular cultural poll will have this effect, though – see the IMDB top 250 movies listings, for instance.

Planetary sounds interesting, I must track some down.

While the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil definitely starts off with a bang, I’ve never understood the complaints that it goes off the rails halfway through. I’ve been reading comics pretty consistently since 1985 when the Power Pack mixed it up with Dragon Man and Cloak and Dagger—and this Daredevil run is one of the most compelling packages I’ve found in the super-hero realm. Each part has its place (though the non-Maleev, White Tiger episode is a bit jarring). I have the entire run collected in their five over-sized hardcovers and it really does read smoothly from beginning to end.

I think the only possible issue I have is that the story doesn’t come to an end—but that’s the nature of serialized comics, so I can’t hold that against it for too long.

@Brian Mac – I think I should point out that the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil is not higher than the Miller Daredevil (which I still expect we’ll see), but only higher than the Miller/Mazzucchelli Daredevil.

Wow, 4 Marvel runs.

And two more of my pics. Planetary was #6, John Byrne’s Fantastic Four was #8. And it is so interesting to see they both so close in the Top 100, since they represent the same thing to me, in different points of my life: the sense of wonder, awe, fun, and adventure that is comics, and my passion for science fiction.

Few comics have blow me away like Planetary. The way Warren Ellis would use the Archaeologists of the Impossible to examine a differente fictional genre per issue, drawing it all together in a map of 20th century pop culture, making the world seem strange and wonderful again. It’s one of the most beautiful comics I’ve ever read, and not only due to Cassaday’s illustrations.

Still, it’s only #6 in my list because the comics lose some momentum when it becomes focused on Elijah Snow fighting the Four. It still examines pop culture artifacts (the Lone Ranger and Kirby’s Fourth World in the last couple of issues) but the attention is divided. And the Four, that were such wonderfully sinister characters when they remained off-stage, prove to be sort of pushovers when Ellis brings them onstage.

Still a wonderful comic, though.

Ah, John Byrne, you still amazes me. The man most vocally hated by the Internet comic book fandom, and you’re still that popular. Thank you for bringing the magic back to the Fantastic Four after a decade of mediocre-to-horrible stories. Thank you for showing me why the Fantastic Four was once the greatest of comics (you could never tell by reading it in the 1970s!). Thank you for making revelant again a supergroup that had been surpassed by the Avengers, the X-Men, and even the Defenders as Marvel’s most beloved team.

#8 on my list now, but when I was a teenager it would have been #1.

Perhaps the thing I like most about Byrne’s FF… he avoided the easy way out of centering the stories on the Thing or the Human Torch, the characters that traditionally are easier to write. No, Byrne felt that the heart of the FF really are Reed and Sue. For the first time in my memory the Fantastic Four was about intriguing scientific mysteries solved by Mister Fantastic, instead of just using his genius as a plot device to magically solve everything. For the first time in my memory Sue was powerful and effective and very much one of the team, a WOMAN, not a “girl”.

And was Byrne really on the wrong side of all those arguments?

Poor Alicia Masters. I always thought her the victim of that wrong-headed male fantasy notion that women aren’t supposed to be interested in the physical aspects of relationships. Of course, she “should” be content with a lover that can’t touch her. It’s the same kind of sexist thought that used to say that women didn’t have orgasms (!). Trapped in an immature relationship that was all about mutual pity.

When you look at it through any perspective except Ben Grimm’s, it’s the most natural thing in the world that Alicia would want more. The impulsive Johnny and the sensitive Alicia was at the very least an intriguing pairing. I remain unconvinced whether Johnny is more interesting in a stable relationship or not, but at least it was bold, trying to mature him.

Doc Doom and the Latverians. Also, from my own perspective of a denizen from a Third World country, I can very much understand from where Byrne is coming from, perhaps in a way Americans can’t. Here in Brazil, people still are nostalgic for the dictatorship that had the country in an iron grip in the 1960s. Yes, you had no freedom of speech, and occasionaly rebels would be tortured and disappear. But a significant portion of the public still loved it, because you had a job, the poor people finally had cars and refrigerators, crime was low, there was security, etc. It’s not hard to understand why many Latverians could love an “efficient” dictator.

Anyway, it was also part of a movement in the Shooter years, to try and present the supervillains more sympathetically (harkening to Shooter’s Korvac saga). It didn’t always work, but it was a noble experiment.

I’m less sure about the Galactus situation. It makes sense that someone was powerful and significant as Galactus must have a “role” in the workings of the universe. He is supposed to be a primordial entity, not an aberration. The “survival of the fittest” rationale of Galactus winnowing less deserving races is disturbing, though. (Even though another Kirby creation, the Celestials, also were judges that destroyed races not deserving).

The Hitler situation isn’t anything new, though. Would you go back in time to kill Hitler when he was a baby is a cliche question these days, and requires no explanation of why it shouldn’t be done: time paradoxes.

Planetary’s stories are epic but flat as a pancake. a few double page spreads here, some usual Ellis like techno babble expostion there and there goes another storyline.

And the characters are all super snotty arrogant, and have a wise crack ready every second line.
Hated that too. :)

Hey Brian, when the countdown is finished, could we see the top 100 by first place votes only?

“Revelant”? ARGH, that is what I get, by typing so much, so fast.

I agree that if we do this in the future, we should leave out currently ongoing runs. This much modern stuff in the Top 20 seems a bit ridiculous to me. A rule leaving out anything that’s not yet completed might force some folks to stretch their memories back a wee bit further.

I don’t agree that current things should be disqualified. New things *can* be among the all-time greats. Sure, I voted for Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge stories (which it looks like we won’t see. Oh well.) But I also voted for John Rogers’ Blue Beetle run. I almost didn’t, thinking “Well, it’s too new”. But then I thought about it and I realized than in ten years (or twenty or thirty), I can’t imagine it will look any worse to me. It’s just a deceptively simple, funny, exciting story full of great characters and moments. I imagine others had similar thought processes about the new things they voted for.

nice post, Rene!

(actually, i generally enjoy reading all your comments, i must say)

And if they stretch their memories and still find that they like the current Cap run enough to include it on the list?

I’ll be curious to see what the extended list would look like with the ongoing series’ removed. I think you would still get far more 80s, 90s, and 00s comics added than 70s and prior.

Rene – Yes, I agree. Good post. The bit about Johnny and Alicia is actually making me consider giving that run a second shot.

Stephane Savoie

April 23, 2008 at 8:35 am

Not sure I can say anything which hasn’t been said yet, but here I go:
Disappointing list. Too many of these are “good”, but certainly not deserving this ranking.
Bendis’ Daredevil is boring. It’s well written, the dialog is nice. It’s the best written bad story ever.
David’s Hulk is fine. Not my thing, but I know a lot of people enjoy it. I’ll be curious to see if his humour still works in ten years.
Planetary is beautifully drawn, and has some wonderful homages, but little else. It’s too slow, and if you remove the homages (which can’t be the basis of quality on its own) the story certainly drags.
Brubaker’s Cap: still to early to tell, since it’s one extended story arc.
Byrne’s FF I’m good with. It’s certainly got some dubious moments, but overall it’s excellent. To countre some of the complaints made here:
-He moved She-Hulk forward in an interesting way.
-He made Doom into a reasonably sympathetic character, which is amazing given his roots.
-He didn’t marry Johnny and Alecia, the next writer did./ And it was dumb to come so soon. But the relationship itself was genius.
-The saving Galactus thing… the question here seems to be “do the means justify the ends?” This is a pretty hardcore ethical question, and I don’t think it’s surprising that lots of heroes of an era will tend towards thinking that being directly responsible for death is wrong. In these post-Civil War days, we’re used to heroes who think that it’s ok to do dubious things for the right reasons, but at one point this was inconceivable. Sure the Doom Patrol will save a lot more lives in the future than some fishermen… let that village die. Traditionally, super heroes thought that the loss of one life at their hands was unacceptable, no matter future possible cost. It’s why Batman doesn’t kill the Joker, why Spider-Man doesn’t kill the Goblin. The rise of the popularity of character like Wolverine and the Punisher can blind us to a certain kind of morality.
That said, there’s something about the Galactus thing I’ve never understood: it’s been said that G-man waits for the race who have the power to kill him; he’s not indispensible to cosmic order, he simply fills a role right now. If all he’s waiting for is someone who has the strength to kill him…. why can’t Earth be that planet? If he fell at the hands of Earth’s heroes in that FF story, isn’t that what he was waiting for? (It’s been years since I read that argument though, and I might be misremembering)

Planetary over League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

No.

You people are just wrong on this one, that’s all.

I just wanted to mirror what Mike said. I was the exact same way back in ’89. I didn’t know a single authors name, I only knew the art i liked. Peter David’s Hulk changed that for me too.

New Totals. Marvel is back with a vengeance, with 13 runs ahead of DC and almost twice the points. Ellis and Bendis take the point as creators, though I think we’ve seen the last of them in this list (surely New Avengers isn’t that popular?). The 1980s also are leading again, and I think they’ll keep leading until the end now, since we still have some seminal 80s comics to go.

We have 87 runs so far (and 17468 pts)

- 32 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (6521 pts)
- 9 runs are X-Titles (1422 pts)
- 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
- 34 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe (7200 pts)

- 19 runs are set in the DC Universe (3793 pts)
- 3 runs are Bat-Titles (452 pts)
- 7 are Vertigo comics (1702 pts)
- 23 runs if you get DC plus Vertigo sub-universe plus Plastic Man retcon (4013 pts)

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

- 72 are superheroes or close enough (14264 pts)
- 15 are non-superhero (3204 pts)

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

- 1980s (26 runs – 5122 pts)
- 2000s (23 runs – 5049 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:

- Warren Ellis (5 runs – 1285 pts)
- Brian Michael Bendis (4 runs – 1079 pts)
- Grant Morrison (3 runs – 955 pts)
- Alan Moore (5 runs – 909 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)
- Kurt Busiek (2 runs – 541 pts)
- John Ostrander (2 runs – 541 pts)
- Keith Giffen (2 runs – 536 pts)
- Geoff Johns (3 runs – 534 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)
- Brian K. Vaughan (307 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)

- 72 are superheroes or close enough (14264 pts)
- 39 are traditional superheroes (8119 pts)
- 33 are non-traditional superheroes (6135 pts)
- 12 are nonpowered superheroes (2182 pts)
- 7 are comedic superheroes (1007 pts)
- 28 are team books (5669 pts)
- 15 are non-superhero (3204 pts)

Planetary is the next from my list to make it.

Thanks, Anthony and Comb.

Stephane, I don’t think it was Byrne who said Galactus waits for the race strong enough to kill him. In the Byrne stories, Galactus’s cosmic purpose seems to be twofold: stop universal superpopulation and store energy for when the next universal cycle begins with a new Big Bang (as seem in the Epic comics stories).

It remains to be seen if Bendis’s DD and Brubaker’s Cap will still be so popular ten years from now, but I think they still deserve to be included in a Top 100 list. Daredevil was Bendis best Marvel work, and the superhero Bendis is most suited to. Perhaps the only iconic superhero Bendis is suited to, and it shows, all his strenghts as a writer are on display here. People who are absolutely turned off by his work still won’t like this, though. The mood and mystique and mystery of Daredevil’s world have rarely been better depicted. It’s still somewhat slow-paced and Bendis isn’t really so good when it comes to action scenes, though.

Brubaker’s Cap is another comic that marries noir to superhero in a pretty interesting fashion. If anything else, it’s a testimony of his considerable talent that he brought Bucky back as a cyborg assassin and made it so that the Internet doesn’t want his blood. If anyone else tried this stunt, the Internet fandom would burn them alive, after rolling the unfortunate creator over broken glass. But with Brubaker, a majority of readers approved this highly controversial storyline, just because he tells the story so well. I also think it’s the rare run that works well with the slow-building approach. Somehow it looks epic instead of drawn-out.

But I’m not really sure they’d be as high 10 years from now.

I honestly started to think that Peter David’s Hulk was too long ago to rank this high. It is the title that made me a fan of his, but I think that, as good as his Hulk was, his more recent work is even better. David’s Hulk run hit #7 on my top 10.

May I say how fascinating I find it that Peter David and John Byrne are literally neck and neck? I expect to see Claremont / Byrne’s X-Men to still come, and so I hope that something of David’s hits equally high, if only because of the old feud the two of them had (have?)

I liked Byrne’s FF at the time. It would have made my top 20. I agree with some people’s comments that some of his stories seemed wierd or out of character. But, I felt at the time, and still do, that Byrne was trying to age the FF a bit. Not as in make them actually older, but more mature. He gave Reed and Sue more face time. He matured Johnny. He introduced She-Hulk (although, I thought that Shooter did that in Secret Wars in order to justify launching the Thing’s solo title, and Byrne just worked with it) and matured her from a second-string Avenger to a real character.

And, even if losing Ben was Byrne’s idea, it was a good one. He’d had his moment in the spotlight of the FF.

But, my point was the Galactus-thing. I feel that the point of the series was that Reed had made a mistake when he saved Galactus’s life, and Byrne had always intended to teach Reed a lesson by having that decision come back and haunt him.

Theno

I don’t think we’ll be seeing Peter David again in the list. A guess at the next 15 titles, based on a list elaborated by me and Chris Nowlin:

Fantastic Four by Lee/Kirby
Spider-Man by Lee/Ditko
X-Men by Claremont/Byrne
Sandman by Gaiman
New X-Men by Morrison
Daredevil by Miller
New Teen Titans by Wolfman/Perez
Preacher by Ennis/Dillon
Swamp Thing by Moore
JLA by Morrison
Thor by Simonson
JLI by Giffen/Dematteis
Y the Last Man by Vaughn
Starman by Robinson
Sin City by Miller.

I didn’t vote, so I can’t complain, but I wouldn’t have thought the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil would rank so high. It’s all too dark and gritty and decompressed for my tastes.

Peter David’s Hulk should be higher up… I would have voted it in my top five. Every once in a while I’ll find a few issues in a back issue bin and I have no choice but to get them… I figure at this rate I’ll have his whole run in about 30 years. My favorite era of it was the end of the Joe Fixit days leading up to the beginning of the Pantheon days.

I’m currently re-reading Byrne’s FF via the Visionaries TPBs. If there’s one thing he did successfully recapture from the Lee/Kirby days, it’s the silliness. An ancient emperor who builds a replica of Rome inside a giant hill in Wakanda? CRAZY!

Don’t forget Mignola/Arcudi/Davis on BPRD, Larry Hama on The Nth Man: Ultimate Ninja, and Simonson/Brigman on Power Pack. Those are certain to be in the… uh… top fifteen runs of all time.

Bernard the Poet

April 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Theno, teaching Reed a lesson by having the decision to save Galactus come back and haunt him, would have been a interesting story, but I don’t think Byrne ever intended to write it. Reed saves Galactus in issue 244, Byrne went on to write the Fantastic Four for another four years, if he wanted to teach Reed a lesson, he had ample time to do it.

In fact, it was Chris Claremont who first openly questioned the story’s morality, by having Lilandra accuse Reed in X-Men 167. John Byrne knew nothing about this story until after publication, and (understandably) was very annoyed. He responded with the Trial of Reed Richards, which is where here the survival of the fittest theory was expounded. Needless to say, Reed was found not guilty. So it seems to me that rather than intending to teach Reed a lesson, Byrne supported his decision to save Galactus wholeheartedly.

Rene – I never had a problem with Alicia and Johnny’s relationship. Quite the opposite, I thought they made a nice couple. I still think that if Doom is an unsuitable ruler for America, then he should be an unsuitable ruler for Latveria.

Bernard the Poet

April 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Rene – I got a sneaky feeling that Wolfman and Perez’s Titans won’t make the list. It was too long ago and tailed off badly at the end ( – the Trigon saga seemed never ending).

I think Batman will be on the list, we’ll definitely see the O’Neil/Adams’ run and maybe another. People love their Batman.

Stefan- I’ll certainly stick around to see how the voting goes every 5 years over the coming decades.

There’s no way Wolfman/Perez Titans isn’t making the list.

We might not see the O’Neil Adams though.

I think it would have been grouped much closer to GL/GA and the Englehart Batman.

It’s a shame as it’s my favorite take on the character.

Huh. It seems as though a lot of these are runs that would rank much lower if they were older.

Bendis and Maleev’s “Daredevil” has a great reputation, but I cannot seem to get into it. I have never even heard anyone describe Brubaker and Epting’s “Captain America” as better than average until now. It is just a happy accident that it is a hot title while this survey is being conducted.

On the other hand, Peter David’s “Hulk” was pretty much the defining run on this character. I am still totally unclear why Claremont always gets broken up by artist, while David stands alone. There were so many moments to like of that title. It shifted directions about a half dozen times and it really was different from artist-to-artist. The work that Peter David and Todd McFarlane did together pretty much defined what was coming in the ’90s for better, or worse …

Warren Ellis and John Cassiday’s “Planetary” is great fun. Once again, Ellis is always at his best when working with his own toys. However, the Planetary-JLA crossover was really interesting.

John Byrne’s “Fantastic Four” was probably the best thing coming out of Marvel during that period. It was the moment when the steadily improving writer named John Byrne paired with the slowly declining artist named John Byrne were most equal to one another. By the later issues of his run on “Superman”, Byrne the artist was actually hurting Byrne the writer. However, FF was still a visual treat and the character work steadily improved throughout the run. Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben were really interesting people that made unexpected decisions. Then, She-Hulk was brought aboard and things went to another level. Byrne was playful during this period, but the stodgy fist family of the Marvel U actually became a bit sexy as well.

It is just a great, great run.

There may be a recency bais in the voting, but there’s supposed to be. The audience for comics has changed dramatically every decade, so it’s only natural that the existing audience would prefer the comics that were written for them.

In that sense, this list is an accurate reflection of what the current online audience that visits this site’s favourite runs are. That’s all the list aspires to as well, I would think. There were no guidelines for how to pick your favourites, were there?

There are runs on the list that I think should be lower or off it completely, but I recognize that (for whatever reason) fans enjoy those runs. My unsolicited advice: comment on what you like instead of complaining that the current fanbase enjoys runs from the 2000′s more than 70′s and 80′s (and 90′s) comics they never read. I genuinely want to know why I might like your favourite comics.

I also wouldn’t want to live in a country ruled by Doctor Doom, Bernard. I think the point of the story was that the Latverians loved Doom, and he was at least better than Zorba, the guy the FF helped put in his place, but the FF certainly wasn’t happy leaving Doom as the ruler. I just meant to say that I understand why the Latverians could feel this way, and that Byrne’s depiction of this whole dilemma wasn’t unrealistic, and that it was a cool concept, particularly 20 years ago.

I don’t know if there is any lessons to be taken from the story. With the Iraq thing, it’s more “relevant” than it was when it was first published. Bizarre. Mark Waid kind of did a correlated story with the FF ruling Latveria for a while.

I dunno, I think the Titans will make it, given the love demonstrated for all the classic 1980s runs, and the lack of support of the classic 1970s runs, I think O’Neill’s Batman is the one left out.

justice society

April 23, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Byrne’s FF was my #1, he was really on the mark and really got the team dynamic. I also voted for Waid’s FF as well. Despite a little Marvel here and there I consider myself a DC guy at heart. I think Brubaker’s Cap will still be highly regarded down the road, he killed off the title character and instead of the book tanking it became more popular than it has for years. That alone is quite an accomplishment.

I think Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil is possibly some of the best comics produced this decade. For me, what the Sopranos did for TV, Bendis and Maleeve’s Daredevil did it for mainstream superhero books. It got me excited about today’s comics at a time when I thought I might just give up on them altogether.

Hell, yeah, it should be in the top 20. It should be in the top 10 in my view.

Planetary is an interesting piece of work; there’s a great deal of thought put into it, and as craft it is close to flawless, but I often feel that Ellis’ ideas on the genre are more interesting than anything he does with them; ie, that discussions of the meaning of any particular issue can often be more interesting than the issue themselves (for example, the first issue, where all those old pulp heroes die holding off superheroes, only for the superheroes to take over anyway). Contrary to the general opinion, I think the series gets better as it goes, when it gets more of an ongoing plot rather than just doing takeoffs of specific genres or pieces of work. It’s full of classic moments, particularly the confrontation between the Marvelman and John Constantine/Alan Moore analogues, the whole examination of the fates of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern in the Wildstorm universe, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen issue, and the “Gun Club” story (brilliant, brilliant ending).

Brubaker’s Captain America absolutely deserves to be on the list, and I personally would put it in my personal top ten; it’s a fantastic piece of work, the best I’ve ever read with Captain America; it pulls together the good parts of his publication history into a whole. I can still remember how, after primarily reading X-titles for the first year or so of my comics-buying history (90s animated series fan that I am), I read the first trade: it blew me away. Just a fantastic opening arc, and by the end you know everything that you need to know about Captain America and his history. He made me a big fan not just of Cap, but of Sharon, Sam, Black Widow, and, of course, Bucky; bringing back Sin and pairing her with Crossbones was genius, as was the “Invaders” reunion arc in London. And, of course, there’s the current epic “Death of Captain America” mega-arc, which I feel strongly will go down as one of the Marvel stories (and he deserves big plaudits for giving us the best rendering of post-CW Iron Man outside of his own book, an especially big achievement when you consider that this is a post-CW Captain America comic; under the pen of hacks like JMS we’d get nothing more than a cartoon villain). You can quibble about rankings (just like with everything), but it is, for my money, the crown jewel of Marvel in the 21st century.

I have never even heard anyone describe Brubaker and Epting’s “Captain America” as better than average until now.

Uh, really? Because the critics and fans have been gushing over it for years now; it routinely tops lists of the best currently being published, and many Cap fans have labelled it the best work they’ve ever seen on the title.

RENE:

“Doc Doom and the Latverians. Also, from my own perspective of a denizen from a Third World country, I can very much understand from where Byrne is coming from, perhaps in a way Americans can’t. Here in Brazil, people still are nostalgic for the dictatorship that had the country in an iron grip in the 1960s. Yes, you had no freedom of speech, and occasionaly rebels would be tortured and disappear. But a significant portion of the public still loved it, because you had a job, the poor people finally had cars and refrigerators, crime was low, there was security, etc. It’s not hard to understand why many Latverians could love an “efficient” dictator.

Anyway, it was also part of a movement in the Shooter years, to try and present the supervillains more sympathetically (harkening to Shooter’s Korvac saga). It didn’t always work, but it was a noble experiment.
I’m less sure about the Galactus situation. It makes sense that someone was powerful and significant as Galactus must have a “role” in the workings of the universe. He is supposed to be a primordial entity, not an aberration. The “survival of the fittest” rationale of Galactus winnowing less deserving races is disturbing, though. (Even though another Kirby creation, the Celestials, also were judges that destroyed races not deserving).

The Hitler situation isn’t anything new, though. Would you go back in time to kill Hitler when he was a baby is a cliche question these days, and requires no explanation of why it shouldn’t be done: time paradoxes.”

So, well put – and your comparison to real-life makes for a pretty solid one.

The way that Doom was re-vamped by Byrne is also how I prefer my villains to be portrayed too: mainly that they themselves don’t see themselves as villains, but as being being far too assurred and obsessed with their infalibility and that they are ‘right’.

This also relates a bit to Reed, as I prefer my heroes to be flawed too – that they do make mistakes, if only because of the pressure they would be under and time constraints upon most decisions that they have to make.

Also, I have to add that while I don’t remember the full story of Reed saving Galactus’s life, I do seem to recall that Byrne later had Reed being brought before some kind of intergalactic court for having done so – so that is hardly showing such a weighty decision without some consequence.

One more thing, and this is directed at all of those who question whether any run has the any business being on this list or at a particular ranking:

While I agree that you bring up some valid concerns over runs that are actually still in the works, I have to argue that any title that passed the criteria set out ‘deserves’ to be anywhere it is ranked by nature of the fact that it was voted for. Just because it wasn’t your – or mine – cup of tea, doesn’t disqualify a title.

The people, as it were, have spoken, and the votes are in.

Also, I have to add that while I don’t remember the full story of Reed saving Galactus’s life, I do seem to recall that Byrne later had Reed being brought before some kind of intergalactic court for having done so – so that is hardly showing such a weighty decision without some consequence.

That part was a hasty retreat a while after the story was published, once enough people had pointed out that Reed had essentially doomed trillions of people to death, and Byrne had to come up with a rationale for why Galactus couldn’t be killed.

Hey, this chart might actually help me with schoolwork.
To everyone who really likes the Brubaker/ Epting run, could you e-mail me and tell me why? I’m doing a paper on the new Captain America, partly dealing with the appeal, and woluld really appreciate any articulation as to why you voted for it as on eof the best runs ever. (I’d especially like to hear from the 4 people who voted it THE best run ever.) Heck, I’d like to hear from people who have read some of it and didn’t like it as well.
I won’t put your name in the paper unless you want (not that anyone but me and my teacher’s likely to see it).
My e-mail address is ultimate_tommy@yahoo.com

Also, none of my guesses for the contest are on the list yet. Fingers crossed.

so going by the list that Rene posted speculating on which runs will make the list, these probably won’t make it:

O’Neil/Adams Batman
Waid Captain America (both runs)
Vaughan Ex Machina
Simone Birds of Prey
Morrison Seven Soldiers of Victory
Chaykin American Flagg
Fraction/Brubaker Iron Fist
Grell Jon Sable, Freelancer
Johnson/Williams Chase
Wolfman Tomb of Dracula
Sterenko Nick Fury Agent of Shield
Sterenko Captain America
Johns Stars and STRIPE
Ostrinders Mage
Ostrinders Martian Manhunter
Claremont/Cockrum X Men
Shooter Legion Of Superheroes
Weisenger Superman
Kane/Finger/Robinson Batman/Detective
Gerber Defenders
Starlin Dreadstar
David Dreadstar

Completely out of left field. Or maybe not, I haven’t followed all of the comments that have gone by.

But FAVORITE COMIC CHARACTERS and FAVORITE COMIC RUNS are the only two version of this, right?

How about FAVORITE COMIC BOOK WRITER and FAVORITE COMIC BOOK PENCILER?

That would be fun. Sorry if this has been brought up already. And if it already happened, point me to some links!

JR

I loved Peter David’s Hulk. I remember trading for a copy of #392 on the school bus. I’m pretty sure that Rick Jones’s reason for carrying a parachute was, “I just fell out of a UFO. Shouldn’t I be carrying a parachute with me?” It’s about as fun as a superhero run gets–that reminds me, have we not seen the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League yet?

Billy F — on that list you offered of runs that will likely fail to go the distance, I can honestly say I didn’t vote for any of them. (Some I’ve never even read.) Of course, since only 3 of the 10 I did vote for have actually made it into the Top 100 thus far, it appears that my opinions are not very representative of those of my fellow voters in general . . . so who knows?

IIRC I voted for Brubaker’s Cap.

He’s made a solo book I wouldn’t have been interested into a good read every month, and in doing so has brought back from the dead one of the unresurectable comic characters *and* turned it into a good story when it aught to have been awful for the very reason this is a character that should have stayed dead.

Bernard the Poet

April 23, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Billy F – Also, no:-

Windsor Smith/Thomas – Conan

O’Neil/Sekowsky – Wonder Woman

Moore/Davis – Captain Britain

Kaniger/Kubert – Sgt Rock

Fox/Kubert – Hawkman

Bryan Talbot – Luther Arkwright

Dave Stevens – Rocketeer

Lee/Buscema – Silver Surfer

Any way you slice it. There are going to be some truly great runs left off this list.

And both of She-Hulk’s famous runs – John Byrne’s and Dan Slott’s – will probably be absent too.

Bernard the Poet

April 23, 2008 at 3:11 pm

No Flash Gordon, no Tintin, no Asterisk, no Corto Maltese. If we keep this up we could have an entirely new list in no time at all.

so going by the list that Rene posted speculating on which runs will make the list, these probably won’t make it:

O’Neil/Adams Batman
Vaughan Ex Machina

If Batman doesn’t make it, I will feel eternally guilty for not voting.

I love Ex Machina overall, but I really need to see how it ends before voting it in the top 100 runs. Too many issues lately have ended on “wow” moments that didn’t wow me that much. Y was the same way, but when you read the whole series, it’s not as much of a sticking point.

Planetary = Awesome. I wasn’t a fan of the JLA crossover, and I go back and forth on whether the Nick Fury, JLA, FF etc. analogues from the regular series are really awesome or kinda lazy, but there are some wow moments that really wowed me. I read the series in trade from a library, then collected up most of the issues here and there. Can’t wait for the final issue.

The reason current runs shouldn’t be included is simple: How can you rank a run that isn’t complete?

And in the discussion of the final 15, am I missing something? How can Morrison’s Doom Patrol not make it? Or did I miss it on the list? Am I losing touch with reality? This can’t be happening…

O’Neil/Adams Batman
Waid Captain America (both runs)
Vaughan Ex Machina
Simone Birds of Prey
Morrison Seven Soldiers of Victory
Chaykin American Flagg
Fraction/Brubaker Iron Fist
Grell Jon Sable, Freelancer
Johnson/Williams Chase
Wolfman Tomb of Dracula
Sterenko Nick Fury Agent of Shield
Sterenko Captain America
Johns Stars and STRIPE
Ostrinders Mage
Ostrinders Martian Manhunter
Claremont/Cockrum X Men
Shooter Legion Of Superheroes
Weisenger Superman
Kane/Finger/Robinson Batman/Detective
Gerber Defenders
Starlin Dreadstar
David Dreadstar

Heck, eight of these didn’t even crack the top 150.

Oh, and it seems that love for David’s Hulk is coming almost exclusively from people who were turned on by it as adolescents. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d like to get an idea of what would appeal to me now (as a—physically, anyway—grown-up). What should I read that I haven’t already? Maybe my lack of sympathy for these picks is due to not reading comics as an adolescent. I gave up on them around age 10 (early ’70s) because most seemed dumb to my 10-year-old self. I got back into it in my 20s after discovering Miller, Moore, Sim, then Gaiman, Morrison, etc.

Slaz – That’s a good point, and it might say a lot about my picks as well. I never read a comic book until I was 19, and I never got into the “classic” Marvel stuff. At all.

“I have never even heard anyone describe Brubaker and Epting’s “Captain America” as better than average until now”

Then you must not hear much.

Oh, and it seems that love for David’s Hulk is coming almost exclusively from people who were turned on by it as adolescents. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d like to get an idea of what would appeal to me now (as a—physically, anyway—grown-up). What should I read that I haven’t already? Maybe my lack of sympathy for these picks is due to not reading comics as an adolescent. I gave up on them around age 10 (early ’70s) because most seemed dumb to my 10-year-old self. I got back into it in my 20s after discovering Miller, Moore, Sim, then Gaiman, Morrison, etc.

I think you should read it anyway. I got hooked on David’s run as an adolescent but I read most of it in retrospect as an adult, and I voted for it in the end. Not all of it is great, and there is too much crossover bullshit around it, but when you get to points like the issue where Hulk realizes that for all his power he can’t cure AIDS, it’s worth like twenty Onslaught tie-ins.

Just a couple of months ago, Rolling Stone had it atop its list of “The Best in Pop Culture,” counting TV, movies, internet, books, etc.

1. COMIC BOOKS
Captain America

Metaphors for the effects of the Bush presidency on the American spirit don’t get any harsher than this one: Last year, Captain America, who had been fighting Nazis, supervillains and sometimes his own government in the pages of Marvel comic books since 1941, was shot dead. And now, in the series’ latest sign of the times, a new, more morally compromised character has taken over the stars-and-stripes uniform: Cap’s former kid sidekick, Bucky, who spent a few years as a brainwashed Russian assassin (don’t ask; it’s still comics) and is now a gun-toting killer. Ed Brubaker, the former indie-comics writer who’s been working on Captain America since 2004, sees his riveting version of the comic as an “espionage thriller.” “It’s not meant to be totally reflective of the American psyche,” he says. “But at the same time, I’m part of the American psyche, so maybe there is something of that seeping out there.” In an even more directly relevant plot line, longtime Cap villain the Red Skull is now the head of a multinational corporation — and he’s aiming to destroy the country by foreclosing on mortgages and driving up oil prices. Brubaker has been hoping to do that storyline ever since the Enron scandal. “How much of our country are we giving away to these vast corporations that have no one to answer to at all?” he says. “If there’s any politics of my own in the book, it’s that part.”

Just a couple of months ago, Rolling Stone had it atop its list of “The Best in Pop Culture,” counting TV, movies, internet, books, etc.

Huh, If it is that good, then I guess I will have to give it a shot.

Slaz – I dunno. Some will answer differently, but I’d say you can probably skip it.

I LOVED David’s Hulk when I was a teenager, intensely enough that I fully respect its position in the Top 20 here, but as an adult, it doesn’t hold the same interest for me. As with Clamrenot or Chris Claremont or Denny O’Neil or Jim Starlin, you still kind of half to read it through a bit of a filter. It’s great as superhero fiction, but would we engage with these stories if we weren’t drawn to superheroics, like we would with Moore’s or Morisson’s work? Probably not. But that’s just me.

“No Flash Gordon, no Tintin, no Asterisk, no Corto Maltese. If we keep this up we could have an entirely new list in no time at all.”

Bernard,

None of those appear on my lists. Not here. Mainstream French bédés would be considered indie stuff at best in an American market – no superhero stuff ! (With the noticeable exception of Superdupont, which was even pencilled by N. Adams) – But just like comics it has its own roots that go very, very deep. I like to think of it as a parallel culture, but i won’t mix the two here.

Thanks for the responses. I actually have read quite a bit of Silver Age Marvel and I can see the appeal. Probably the only modern ones I’ve read are Miller’s Daredevil and Elektra (maybe those are too old to be considered modern anymore), and Bendis’s Daredevil (which I might put in the top 100, but not top 20), and much of Gerber’s stuff. And I’ve read lots of DC. Maybe I’ll give David’s Hulk a try, and look at a few others that rank high on this list.

“you still kind of half to read it through a bit of a filter. It’s great as superhero fiction, but would we engage with these stories if we weren’t drawn to superheroics, like we would with Moore’s or Morisson’s work?”

That’s the issue. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the genre, and I find a lot of superhero comics to be good entertainment, and occasionally transcendent, but the limitations of the genre make it difficult for me to see the vast majority of these works as equal to something like Love and Rockets. It’s apples and oranges, to some extent. Which makes things like Watchmen, Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol all the more amazing, as I would still put them at the top of my list of favorites from any genre, and they aren’t things I got hooked on as a kid. I still can’t believe Doom Patrol might not make it on this list. Wouldn’t more people vote for that than Animal Man. Am I out of touch?

I suspect that the main reason Corto Maltese isn’t on the list is that it’s extremely hard to find English translations of most of Hugo Pratt’s work. I’ve always wanted to read it, but as far as I know many of the most acclaimed stories are available only in Italian, and I can’t read Italian.

The absence of Asterix and Tintin is a bit trickier, since those works have been around in translation (and in very attractive formats) for ages. Tintin and the Broken Ear</I. may have been the first comic I ever read, as it was on the shelves of the children’s section of the local public library in my Midwestern American hometown. The obvious answer is that American comics are going to dominate the voting in an American English-language blog, of course, and that the bande dessine/I> or graphic album format is not the mainstream format sought out by most American comics audiences; the trade paperback, the single issue, and increasingly the digest are the formats that seem to sell in the States.

End italics. Lousy open tags.

It’s funny that Planetary’s getting so much talk. I really _wanted_ to love it, started reading it back in college, but when the luster of the clever ideas and john cassaday art wears of, it’s just sort of vacuous and awful. Warren Ellis is one cool dude, but he can’t write characters at all; he only projects himself into the story and all the things that piss him off into the roles of one-dimensional antagonists. And this notion of dissecting concepts from a hundred years of the genre is the sad terminal point of 80s deconstructionism: nice concepts, nice setups, all sucklingly dependent upon the creative fruits of other artists. It’s like those knock off paintings and pop songs that butcher themes from classical music. A derivative work from the mind of a sufficiently talented writer can make us forget what’s happening and be charmed and amused in spite of ourselves; Ellis is not that writer and Planetary is not that work.

I figured we’d be seeing Bob Haney’s legendary Brave and the Bold run here. Not looking like it, though I voted for it, but I’m an old fogey.

Ugh, the wave of Bendis apologism that’s sprung up in response to the Bendis hate since Quesada gave him carte blanche over the Marvel Universe is enough to make me throw up…

Bendis DD starts with a cool enough idea: mob gets sick of Kingpin being too busy acting as a supervillain to be an effective mob boss, Silke moves to get rid of him.

Then Kingpin survives, kills Silke, and pisses all over that premise, and we go into a transparent attempt at writing a “definitive run” complete with Black Widow, Typhoid Mary, Elektra, Bullseye, etc. all showing up like clockwork…except the whole thing is so decompressed that it takes like a half a year of books for any one thing to happen…and then the whole ridiculous “hey Matt, do you, do you think maybe your entire life since Karen’s death has been one big nervous breakdown?” concept that was too stupid for words…

Hell, I liked Bendis’ DD a lot, but I think issues 56-75 are hit-or-miss. The last arc, though, in which all Murdock’s machinations catch up with him, made for a great ending. I wish Bendis did more with his ideas (instead of guest stars and demon babies), but I think his run was compelling.

I’m surprised to see Planetary so high, even though it’s a favorite of mine. I thought the wait between issues would be enough to dampen many readers’ enthusiasm.

Yes, read PAD’s Hulk as an adult! Be prepared for an excess of puns and a serious dip in quality between issues 425 & 454, but try it out. I think it holds up.

Matt Bird said:Was there ever a reason given why David’s Hulk counted as one and Claremont’s X-Men didn’t? I’m racking my brain trying to come with a criteria that could separate one from the other.

Peter David’s the primary creative force behind his entire run on Hulk. Whoever was drawing it at the time, it was indisputably David’s book

In the case of the X-Men runs, Byrne was at least as integral as Claremont to the stories they worked on together. It’s not really fair or accurate to lump the Claremont/Byrne run in with X-men stories that Byrne had nothing to do with. And once you’ve split off one Claremont/artist pairing, you sort of have to do them all. The same is true with Spider-Man where Lee scripted over Ditko’s plots- it’s not fair to Ditko to just merge his stories with the Romita stuff that he had nothing to do with.

Yeah, that’s it exactly, Dan.

I’ll admit, at first I had David’s run split up, but I quickly realized it was a bad idea, for the reasons explained.

In any event, calling Claremont/Byrne a “Claremont run” is just neither accurate nor fair to Byrne, who basically co-wrote the majority of his run with Claremont, particularly the stuff that everyone loves so much (Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past).

Doom Patrol will make it. I suspect that “Sin City” is the one from Rene’s list that won’t. Of course the “baffling love of crap” quotient remains high. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if “Bendis’s Avengers” showed up and knocked Simonson’s Thor off the list.

I have no right to complain about the lack of foreign comics since I too decided to limit myself to American comics in order to make things easier, but when “Lone Wolf and Cub” showed up early on, I assumed that AKIRA would be in the top fifty. Come to think of it, AKIRA is NEVER mentioned on this blog. Surely it’s up there with Cerebus and Bone among the great long-form comix novels? Everybody know that, right?

If I had allowed myself to vote for works in translation, I probably would have voted for AKIRA and Moebius’s “Airtight Garage”.

“Doom Patrol will make it. I suspect that “Sin City” is the one from Rene’s list that won’t. Of course the “baffling love of crap” quotient remains high. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if “Bendis’s Avengers” showed up and knocked Simonson’s Thor off the list.”

It’s hard to figure at this point. (Yes, I’m also baffled, but one person’s crap is another’s fertilizer.) It wouldn’t be such a big deal if some of these were below the top 15, but at this point, if they don’t show up they’re not in the top 100, which doesn’t seem possible, and yet it must be! In Tim Callahan’s Sequart column, he mentioned that he voted Doom Patrol #4. I would have thought that was a pretty common opinion, but I’ve been surprised by a lot of the things showing up here, so who knows…

Incidentally, would anyone else be interested in a “critics poll” to go along with the fan poll—a similar list put together by polling known critics and bloggers, as these people would presumably have a better overview of the bigger picture of comics history than the average fan?

Another one of mine makes it–Peter David’s Hulk run–I normally didn’t read the Hulk’s book, but one day I was out & about and I just missed my bus–I popped into a drug store by the stop to kill time and saw the comics–I picked up a couple of issues just before Peter David took over (I think it was Milgrom)–and I was hooked. After I dropped all the other Marvel series I was still getting Spidey books & David’s Hulk.

My favorite segment was the Mr Fixit period–because it was so different and yet so natural. And it was entertaining. I also loved MacFarlane’s art from earlier. He was much better suited to the Hulk than Spidey. The story where the Hulk gets drunk to keep Bruce Banner from getting his way–was classic.

I placed that run at #4.The only runs I placed higher were Ostrander (& Yale)’s Suicide Squad & 2 others I expect to see in the 15.

I’m really hoping for Wolfman/Perez Titans to show up…some really great stories during that run. Someone said something about the Trigon story never ending, or something to that effect, but that’s not quite true…it was a slow, simmering subplot that finally exploded in the first 5 issues of the baxter series.

I really liked Peter David’s Hulk; it’s the only Hulk I’ve ever read consistently. Keown is my fav artist during the run, but Gary Frank did nifty stuff too. A bunch of their stuff stands out really well, like the first meetings with the Pantheon (who I really liked, especially Ulysses) and the integration of Hulk’s personalities. (Man, that was a great story!) or when Rick was bringing Marlo back to life, begging Dr. Strange to fix it for him and everyone in the room had been dead at least once!

Peter also made Doc Samson an interesting and fully realized character. Love seeing his appearances in X-Factor, something that never would have been possible without the Hulk run.

I didn’t realize there was so much Byrne-FF hate here. I didn’t read it all, but I read a bunch of it, and I thought some of it was excellent. I frankly loooove the Trial of Reed Richards. The Watcher as defense council? lillandra prosecuting? Odin showing up and scaring the crap out of everyone? that’s pretty cool stuff, man.

A: Alright The Dane! The other NthMan fan! (For anyone who don’t know: if you like smart, funny, incredibly twisted action comics, dig out Nth Man from your local quarterbin.)

B: When I was 10, my parents got me & my sister a stack of Tintins from a trip to England. That stack pretty much changed my life. I’ve always thought it a damn shame that more US kids don’t get to read Tintin.

C: I have a ton of poblems with Grant Morrison, but if Doom Patrol doesn’t show up I’m gonna be genuinely bummed.

D: I think the next batch of 5 will tell us if DC has a chance in hell of catching Marvel.

Too bad Mephisto wasn’t around when Rick needed him lol

While a “critics” poll would be interesting, (I must admit, I’m a sucker for all forms of Top whatevernumber type of lists) the suggestion seems to insinuate that it would then be the “correct” list and include all the runs that should have been included. While I respect critics and reviewers and what they do, in all media forms, too often it seems they go out of their way to heap praise on something that is either not easily accessible to the general public, or that most people are flat out not going to like. The beauty of a list like this is that it shows what the people like, at least that read this blog, not what they’re “supposed” to like.

There is no combination of 100 comic runs that would not have a high number of people bitching about it missing some essential runs. I agree with the previous poster (whose name I forget, and I wasn’t able to find it scanning through the comments real quick) who said instead of complaining about stuff you like that didn’t make the list, give us reasons why the stuff you like should have made the list. I’d like to think that when all is said and done with this Top 100, we can all find some new titles to read we might not have been aware of before.

The Nth Man showed up very briefly in the Mystic Arcana Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, as the “cosmic force” representing the element of air. So it sounds like he’s a part of David Sexton’s vision for the more arcane portions of the Marvel Universe, if he ever gets to continue his story. Which would rock.

How someone can hate John Byrne’s FF is beyond me. Oh well different strokes…

A criticis-only poll would be very cool, but only for the non-superhero and non-American recommendations.

I’m not too interested in what the Internet critics have to say about superheroes. Usually they show too much love for the Silver Age, and too little for many creators that I think are essential to the superhero genre (Byrne, Claremont, Thomas, Englehart, Mantlo, Shooter, Wolfman). In short, the opposite bias that has dominated this poll, but still a bias.

(Though I have to say that, except for Byrne and Claremont, the other creators I’ve mentioned have not been doing too well in this poll either).

bendis maleev dd, pad hulk, planetary, bru cap, byrne ff

Man oh man oh man oh man. Every one of these is good, though I’m just taking what I’ve heard of the Brubaker Captain America as I haven’t read it yet but from what I’ve read and heard I’m very, very jazzed when I finally do get to it. I’m familiar with everything that’s been mentioned here but in the last year or so I’ve kept up on comics news via the internet while I’m selling off a lot of my collection to get debt free.

Brubaker and Epting on Cap look to me to probably be the best team ever on the title, more so even than Stan & Jack, Stern & Byrne, or even Steranko’s issues.

I haven’t read it but I’m definitely not attracted to what I have read about Bendis’ Avengers. His Daredevil, however, is almost as good as the Miller stuff, which I did vote for in my Top 10 list.

PAD Hulk. Peter David reinvented and tweaked the Hulk more than any other single writer to that point, and him making Bruce a split personality was pure genius. The art was awesome by McFarlane, Frank & Keown and it was practically the only Marvel title I was buying in the early 90′s. It deserves all the praise it gets.

Planetary is, along with The Authority, one of the best things Ellis or WildStorm ever produced. Cassaday, of course, is flawless. The secret history of the 20th century is right up Ellis’ alley. What kills about this series is the huge huge infamous amount of months between issues. I love the way each issue has a different homage or theme ranging from Big Monster / Godzilla to Edgar Rice Burroughs / Pulp.

John Byrne’s FF was a partial recycling of previous ideas, as most runs are, but Byrne really shined here. I think it’s the best work of his career. The art is loose in kind of a European way but still classically Byrne. Him adding certain tweaks along the way were great including the inclusion of She-Hulk. There were hardly any clunkers in the bunch and I think this string of stories is the most consistently excellent post-Stan & Jack.

Lets not forget Skrullektra in Bendis’ Daredevil. OMGSPOILERZ! Actually that tarnishes the entire run in my eyes. It would’ve been fine to include here before they decided to go that route.

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