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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #5

We’re in the top five now!


5. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing – 942 points (30 first place votes)

Saga of the Swamp Thing/Swamp Thing #20-58, 60-61, 63-64, Annual 2

Something that I think often gets lost when discussing Alan Moore’s tremendous run on Swamp Thing is how the run started. Everyone remembers Moore’s SECOND issue, “Anatomy Lesson,” but Moore actually started on the book one issue earlier, tying up the loose plotlines of previous writer Marty Pasko. It’s quite interesting to read the care and attention Moore puts into Pasko’s storylines, while still managing to wrap it all up in one issue in a much different style than Pasko.

And then, of course, with the Pasko storylines finished, Moore dropped the big one – “Anatomy Lesson.”

There have been a number of other significant retcons with titles before (Anyone remember Steve Gerber’s strange retcons during his Captain America run?), but they all paled in comparison to what Alan Moore did with “Anatomy Lesson,” which revealed that the entire origin of Swamp Thing was false – Alec Holland was not transformed into Swamp Thing during a chemical explosion – instead, the chemicals animated a group of vegetation into THINKING it was Alec Holland.

Later, Moore would also explain the various inconsistencies of Swamp Thing’s origin by saying that there were many different Swamp Things who all had the same basic origin. Clever meta-fiction work by Moore.

Moore was ably assisted by the art team that was there when he joined the book, penciler Stephen R. Bissette and inker John Totleben – together, Bissette and Totleben delivered a stunningly rich art style, that was perfect for the moody stories Moore told.

Throughout his run, Moore would tell deep character-based stories, most notably the relationship between Swamp Thing and Abigal Arcane (being one of the first comic to show two characters having sex, although in a rather odd manner, seeing as how he is a plant). Also notable in Moore’s work was when he would touch on the DC Universe, and give us drastically different takes on various famous superheroes. Moore’s early work with the Justice League in an issue of Swamp Thing informs pretty much every modern writer of the Justice League.

During his run, Moore also introduced John Constantine, who would be Swamp Thing’s guide on a number of stories (more accurately, he would con Swamp Thing into getting involved in stuff).

Towards the end of his run, Rick Veitch became the artist on the book, and while he had a much different style than Bissette and Totleben, it was still excellent artwork, and it was Veitch who would end up following Moore on the title as writer (and doing a fine job, himself).

Without Moore’s Swamp Thing, we likely wouldn’t have seen Vertigo and all the comics that spun out of Vertigo, or if we did see them, it would have taken a long time to get there, so its influence is massive.

#4 tomorrow!!


Represent…..Gaiman is Number One

I found Saga of the Swamp Thing #28, “The Burial,” in a box of comics my uncle gave me. It was the first comic that made me aware that there was stuff out there like the things we’re seeing in this list. That’s why Moore’s Swamp Thing is my #1 and why Moore is my favorite writer.

Has DC decided to include issue #20 in the new trades? The fact that they skip it is odd, even though it’s a clean-up issue. It’s still a good introduction to the character.

This retcon is in a tight race with Morrison’s on Doom Patrol, I think. Both are brilliant.

Swamp Thing, wonderful comic! I’ve only read the entirety of it’s run pretty recently, though.

Predictable that it would come in #5, given the other competitors here.

The funny thing is, it seems like I’ve actually predicted the Top 4 runs correctly in the contest: Claremont/Byrne’s X-Men, Miller’s DD, Gaiman’s Sandman, and Lee/Kirby’s FF. Not sure whether I predicted the order correctly too…

Why is everyone convinced Daredevil will make the Top 5? I doubt if it will, actually.

Way to high, this isn’t even Moore’s best work.

How could you possibly think Miller’s DD wouldn’t be top 5 if it hasn’t shown up yet?

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 29, 2008 at 5:01 pm

I tend to agree with Mr. Burgas regarding Alan Moore SotST # 20.

It’s very incomplete of DC not to include this issue.

Millers DD in the top 4?
…God, I hope not.

New Totals.

Alan Moore jumped to the second position. He and Morrison are the creators with the most runs included in the Top 100, but they’ll be joined by Claremont later. Morrison’s runs are generally higher in the list than Moore’s, mostly because Moore’s finest (or most famous) work has been in limited series.

I also didn’t count this run as a Vertigo run, since the comic wasn’t published originally under the Vertigo imprint and the run WAS very much set in the DC Universe, with Batman, Adam Strange, Thanagarians, Green Lanterns, etc.

Also interesting to note that Swamp Thing had less 1st place votes than Starman (for that matter, Spider-Man also had less 1st place votes than Starman. Starman is the favorite run of 5% of voters, no small feat.

We have 98 runs so far (and 25359 pts)

– 35 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (8662 pts)
– 10 runs are X-Titles (2123 pts)
– 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
– 37 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe (9341 pts)

– 25 runs are set in the DC Universe (8139 pts)
– 3 runs are Bat-Titles (452 pts)
– 9 are Vertigo comics (3106 pts)
– 28 runs if you get DC plus Vertigo sub-universe plus Plastic Man retcon (8359 pts)

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

– 81 are superheroes or close enough (20751 pts)
– 17 are non-superhero (4608 pts)

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

– 1980s (31 runs – 8487 pts)
– 1990s (26 runs – 7181 pts)
– 2000s (25 runs – 6297 pts)
– 1970s (9 runs – 1570 pts)
– 1960s (5 runs – 1525 pts)
– 1940s (2 runs – 299 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

– Grant Morrison (6 runs – 2754 pts)
– Alan Moore (6 runs – 1851 pts)
– Garth Ennis (4 runs – 1579 pts)
– Stan Lee (4 runs – 1416 pts)
– Warren Ellis (5 runs – 1285 pts)
– Keith Giffen (3 runs – 1278 pts)
– Brian Michael Bendis (4 runs – 1079 pts)
– Steve Ditko (2 runs – 1034 pts)
– James Robinson (921 pts)
– Brian K. Vaughan (2 runs – 854 pts)
– J. M. de Matteis (742 pts)
– Ed Brubaker (3 runs – 739 pts)
– John Cassaday (2 runs – 722 pts)
– Marv Wolfman (643 pts)
– George Perez (643 pts)
– Chris Claremont (5 runs – 638 pts)
– John Byrne (2 runs – 627 pts)
– Peter David (2 runs – 624 pts)
– Howard Porter (574 pts)
– Pia Guerra (547 pts)
– Kurt Busiek (2 runs – 541 pts)
– John Ostrander (2 runs – 541 pts)
– Geoff Johns (3 runs – 534 pts)
– Walt Simonson (514 pts)
– Alex Maleev (480 pts)
– Bryan Hitch (2 runs – 474 pts)
– Bill Willimgham (428 pts)
– Darick Robertson (418 pts)
– Mark Waid (2 runs – 378 pts)
– Dave Sim (370 pts)
– Gerhard (370 pts)
– Mark Bagley (364 pts)
– Roger Stern (2 runs – 334 pts)
– Paul Levitz (328 pts)
– Brent Anderson (323 pts)
– Jeff Smith (321 pts)
– Mark Millar (315 pts)
– Adrian Alphona (307 pts)
– Jack Kirby (2 runs – 292 pts)
– John Romita Jr. (2 runs – 276 pts)
– John Romita (270 pts)
– Denny O’Neil (2 runs – 261 pts)
– Peter Milligan (2 runs – 255 pts)
– Brothers Hernandez (236 pts)
– John McCrea (232 pts)
– Joss Whedon (229 pts)
– Steve Gerber (218 pts)
– Frank Miller (211 pts)
– David Mazzucchelli (211 pts)
– Tom and Mary Bierbaum (208 pts)
– Tom Mandrake (205 pts)
– Will Eisner (204 pts)
– Joe Kelly (202 pts)
– Steve Englehart (184 pts)
– Mike Mignola (179 pts)
– Frank Quitely (176 pts)
– Mike Baron (174 pts)
– Steve Rude (174 pts)
– Neal Adams (162 pts)
– David Michelinie (152 pts)
– Bob Layton (152 pts)
– Mike Wieringo (150 pts)
– Brian Azzarello (150 pts)
– Eduardo Risso (150 pts)
– Kevin O’Neill (148 pts)
– Alan Grant (146 pts)
– Norm Breyfogle (146 pts)
– Michael Avon Oeming (134 pts)
– Paul Smith (133 pts)
– Marc Silvestri (133 pts)
– Christopher Priest (130 pts)
– Greg Rucka (122 pts)
– Alan Davis (122 pts)
– Paul Chadwick (120 pts)
– Joe Casey (117 pts)
– Robert Kirkman (115 pts)
– Mike Carey (114 pts)
– Peter Gross (114 pts)
– Ryan Kelly (114 pts)
– Mike Allred (113 pts)
– Sean Phillips (113 pts)
РSergio Aragon̩s (110 pts)
– Mark Evanier (110 pts)
– Roy Thomas (109 pts)
– Jim Starlin (109 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)

– 81 are superheroes or close enough (20751 pts)
– 45 are traditional superheroes (12219 pts)
– 36 are non-traditional superheroes (8522 pts)
– 12 are nonpowered superheroes (2182 pts)
– 8 are comedic superheroes (1749 pts)
– 33 are team books (8853 pts)
– 17 are non-superhero (4608 pts)

Now you got me curious, Greg.

What comic do you think will appear in the Top 4, if not Miller’s DD? Sin City?

My number 8. The first one to finish higher on the actual list than it was on mine. A great book. Abby is such a beautifully written character. Comic books tend to be really bad at showing the heroism of non-violent compassion, but Abby’s courage is awe-inspiring issue after issue. Of course, in a pinch, that husband of hers can get a wee bit testy.

When I was about 9, one of my relatives on my dad’s side gave me a few of her son’s comics when he left for college, and one of them was Swamp Thing #39 (where Swamp Thing destroys the town of Rosewood). The entire fish monster feeding frenzy sequence actually gave me nightmares after reading it, and I didn’t pick it up again for like 4-5 years when I finally read the first trade of Moore’s run on Swamp Thing and remembered that I actually owned an issue of it.

I loved the first few trades of the series, but I’ve never really gotten around to finishing it, and what little of the Adam Strange storyline I read was slightly off-putting compared to the tone of the material I actually had read. Still, I’ll have to get around to finishing it one of these days.

There’s no way Miller’s DD doesn’t crack the top 100 at all.

I don’t have a problem with a final four of Claremont/ Byrne — Gaiman — Lee/Kirby — and Miller, but isn’t odd that nobody mentions Maus? It does qualify as a comic, and it is often considered the classic having won the Pulitzer prize. I suppose it might not be considered a “run,” but a great comic is a great comic. As for Swamp Thing, it’s a classic, but selfishly, I liked Miracleman more and in the great scheme of things, I would put Watchmen above either. I didn’t vote, so I don’t have any right to complain. . .

Right. Nobody mentions Maus because it’s not even remotely a run, and disqualified by the rules.

RAW was in my top twenty, though.

OK, Rene, I’m curious about your arithmetic – why are you counting only 28 DC runs if you’ve listed 25 set in the DC universe and 9 Vertigo? Shouldn’t it be 34?

There were many, many brilliant things in this run, so I won’t try to even summarise them. Instead, I’ll mention a single personal highlight.

“Windfall” in Swamp Thing #43 was my first issue, and even after I’ve read all the rest, it remains my favourite of the run by far. Swampy barely appears, but Moore doesn’t need him to create a masterpiece. This story has it all, including action, comedy, terror, love and philosophy. I laughed, I cried, I shuddered and the reader with any capacity for introspection is left with some irresistable questions that are exceedingly difficult to answer – would YOU taste the fruit (and what would you see if you did)?

As a single issue, Swamp Thing #43 in my mind this ranks right up there with Top Ten #9 as one of the most moving stories presented in comic form I’ve ever read.

What do you think? Was the “Vegetable Sex” issue a game-changer for modern comics, or just a great individual issue?

dont worry, Millers run on daredevil will be coming up. I know it.

Mommmiiieee… neeeduuunnnt… knnnowww…

My number two pick, after JLI. I’m not gonna try to claim that they’re similar, because they obviously aren’t. But they’re so far ahead of everything else for me that I don’t even remember what my #3 pick was.

Swamp Thing works so well on so many levels. It’s a horror comic, it’s a romance comic, it’s Alan Moore running wild with the DC Universe, occasionally it’s even funny (the Pogo homage issue, for example). But every single issue, it’s some new and mind-blowing and amazing. It’s just an astounding run from top to bottom.

I’ve read 2 or 3 TPB collections of Moore’s “Swamp Thing” run, and while I agree it’s very well-written, it just hasn’t wormed its way into my affections enough to be considered one of my top favorites.

About Frank Miller’s first run on DD: I voted for his second run (the “Born Again” stuff) and that made the Top 100 a long time ago. I didn’t vote for his first run (which includes the now-notorious “Elektra Saga.”) Nevertheless, even though I didn’t vote for it, I’d still be dumbfounded if that “first run” didn’t score higher than “Born Again.” While I personally have found I can live just fine while spending years at a time not bothering to read (or reread) anything about Elektra, I have the strong impression that I am in a minority in that regard!

Rene: I have no idea what else would be on here if not Daredevil. I just don’t find Miller’s first run on DD all that great. It’s famous, of course, and pretty good at times, but it’s pretty uneven. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it’s here, but to just assume it will make it is odd, because I don’t consider it a “great run.” I would probably list at least 50 runs before I got to that one, and when I was making my list, it never even occurred to me to list it. So while I wouldn’t be stunned to see it, I also wouldn’t be stunned if it didn’t make the top 100. That’s how divergent the opinions seem to be.

Fielding, that counting is supposed to take into account everything that is linked to the DC Universe. The DC Universe runs properly, and also the Vertigo runs that have links to the DCU. Stuff like Hellblazer and Lucifer is included, because these concepts originated in the DCU. Transmetropolitan and Y, for example, have nothing to do with the DCU.

I had Swamp Thing as my number four. A beautiful book that was clearly written by an adult who read more than comics and watched more than the latest action flick. I was a teen when I first read it, and it changed my views of what a comic book could strive to be.

Moore’s Swamp Thing still creeps me out. “Say uncle.” Brrr. Steve Bissette (especially with Totleban’s finishes) remains an incredibly underrated talent, among the finest horror artists in the medium. Although I don’t love the outer space issues, I voted for Moore & Co.’s Swamp Thing based on the power of the first thirty or so issues.

Issue 34 (in which Abby eats tubers from Swamp Thing’s body) could have been a total disaster, but Moore, Bissette, & Totleban created a beautiful story. I don’t know how influencial the individual issue was, but it was a major piece of a very influencial run.

I disagree that every writer who wrote the Justice League took their cues from that one issue of Swamp Thing- maybe I don’t see it, but the work of Giffen/ DeMatteis & Morrison don’t read much like Moore. Brad Meltzer, on the other hand…

Sorry Greg. I think Rene and everybody else is pretty right here. There’s no question what the next four runs are. Only order is up in the air (and really up in the air at this point I think)

Even if Miller’s DD isn’t your cuppa, it’s clearly one of the most famous and beloved superhero runs ever.

It didn’t make my top 10, but it was very close to doing so and am sad that it didn’t.

But I’m even sadder I didn’t make room for Dematteis’ Defenders, as that’s nowhere in sight.

Mike – I agree the space story isn’t the best overall, but “My Blue Heaven” just might be my favorite issue of the whole run.

I think it’s very possible that we’ll see two more X-men runs. Why do all the posters seem so confident that Miller’s Daredevil is in the top 4.

I’ve been meaning to pick up the trades of this run for some time now. I do believe it’s time. They’re officially next on my list.

Even though this was on my list, I didn’t know until this thread started just how popular this run is. Strange or no, It is one of my favorite runs partly because Steve Bissette was one of the first comic book artist I ever met. In fact, the college I go to is home of “The Bissette Collection”, a room full of Steve’s old stuff his wife didn’t want around anymore and he didn’t want to part with. (I really do enjoy the runon its own merit. Knowing the guy who drew a chunk of it just adds to the enjoyment.)

Greg, at this point, I just can’t think of any other run left that is more popular than Miller’s Daredevil.

The big superhero runs left would be Claremont/Cockrum’s X-Men (eternally overshadowed by Claremont/Byrne), Perez’s Wonder Woman (amazing run, but not enough fans of the character to put it ahead of, say, JLI), stuff like Steranko’s Nick Fury and Lee/Buscema’s Silver Surfer (classics, but other MORE famous classics and more popular protagonists have fared poorly), any one of the pre-1980s DC runs mentioned by the Mutt and other that are great but unknown to many, or something completely unexpected (Spawn? Savage Dragon?).

The indy runs left are all more obscure than the indy runs that have made it. Ditto for the non-superhero stuff. Criminal or Walking Dead or Ex-Machina beating all of Morrison runs?

The only superhero run I could see as an alternative for the top 5 would be Jurgens’ Superman, which would essentially be a vote for the Death and Return of Superman. (And much more likely there’s a massive split between like five runs involving that storyline: I’m not sure Jurgens is the person who would benefit the most from that.)

I mean, it is a well-known run and likely the first run for a significant portion of the voters.

Swamp Thing was second on my list. Actually thought it would place higher than five since it’s groundbreaking, influential and just so effing good!

My first issue was the double-sized Batman face-off in #53 (which includes the best Lex Luthor portrayal ever in just one page). Scrambling to get back-issues I found “Boogeyman” and the Annual where he goes to Hell and was hooked. Then read the first trade, Constantine appearances, and the best damn assassin-boy-with-head-twisted-backwards EVER!

This run was great.

But my predictions for top five are really screwed now. Oh well.

Next up, Miller DD, no doubt…which is also great.

My stab at runs potentially more popular than Miller DD (first run): Claremont/Byrne X-Men, Claremont/Lee X-Men (both runs that I bet are among readers’ “first loves” in comics), Lee/Kirby FF, Gaiman Sandman.
We’ll see in the next few days, yes?

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 29, 2008 at 8:23 pm

What about Miller’s Ronin?
Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns?

I kinda thought they were better than Miller’s DD.

They’re also limited series, not runs.

I have to say that Pasko’s run is pretty unfairly ignored. I was reading it at the time (because of the movie I started reading it at issue 1) and it was pretty good.

They don’t hold a candle to Moore’s stories but they certainly beat the pants off of Doug Wheeler and Nancy Collin’s Swamp Thing issues…

Andrew Collins

April 29, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Another one on my list. It looks like Scott McCloud’s Zot and Gail Simone’s Birds Of Prey will be the only ones from my list not to make the Top 100.

Gaiman’s Sandman has to be in the Top Five and I can’t imagine Miller’s DD not being there. That would leave what? Claremont/Byrne on X-men, Claremont/Cockrum (possibly), and the Lee/Kirby run on FF. Though I could see Claremont/Lee making the cut. Lee and Kirby on FF has to be #1 though. One of the most definitive runs in comics ever.

It is strange that this finished so high and Wein and Wrightson’s run didn’t place at all. It’s pretty great, and it’s even been in print for years.

I agree with everybody else about what the last three will be, but I’ll toss in my guess about what the crazy wildcard would be– Thomas/Buscema’s Conan! It’s really weird that this didn’t make the list, and Conan has the sort of “cut off from the rest of fandom” fanbase who might have all could have all put it at number one.

But no, it’ll be DD, FF, and Sandman.

Give that almost everything before 1970 was ignored in the voting, maybe we should do a second vote of just runs that started before 1980. (and yet, somehow, Morrison and Ennis would still be in the top ten.)

Whoops, make that “last four” and include Claremont/Byrne, of course

Hama’s G.I. Joe in the top 4!! Woo-hoo!!!!

I’m sure it’ll happen.

Maybe Curt Swan on Superman. He only lasted 30 years on the character…

“Rene: I have no idea what else would be on here if not Daredevil. I just don’t find Miller’s first run on DD all that great. It’s famous, of course, and pretty good at times, but it’s pretty uneven. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it’s here, but to just assume it will make it is odd, because I don’t consider it a “great run.” I would probably list at least 50 runs before I got to that one, and when I was making my list, it never even occurred to me to list it. So while I wouldn’t be stunned to see it, I also wouldn’t be stunned if it didn’t make the top 100. That’s how divergent the opinions seem to be.”

Whose opinions? The “Frank’s DD rules” camp has to outnumber the “it doesn’t” one at least fifty to one.

I disagree that every writer who wrote the Justice League took their cues from that one issue of Swamp Thing- maybe I don’t see it, but the work of Giffen/ DeMatteis & Morrison don’t read much like Moore. Brad Meltzer, on the other hand…

Yeah, when I said “every modern writer,” I was basically trying to find a way of saying “From Morrison on” :)

So “modern” meant “within the last dozen years, max”? :)

I remember — more or less — Moore’s handling of the JLA as guest stars in that story (from one of the TPB collections I read ages ago), but maybe I’d better find a chance to reread, because I never thought of it as having been all that influential on anybody else.

So the final four are Pfeifer/Woods’ Amazons Attack, Starlin’s Death of the New Gods, Hudlin’s Black Panther, and . . . hmm, what are we missing? Nicienza’s NFL Superpro?

I had this at #8, just ahead of LXG. My favorite issues were Pog and the awesome Gotham City-as-hostage stories, and the scariest bit to me was the Invunche (with the girl turning into the bird and the boy-assassin-with-hand-stitched-into-back-and-head-twisted-around).

But beside that, wow, the reality of Rene’s totals just sunk in.

FIFTY-ONE favorite runs from the 1990s and 2000s.
FOURTEEN favorite runs from the 1960s and 70s.


OK. I’m stepping in.
If those totals are not officially reversed by tomorrow night, I am going to SHUT THIS SITE DOWN for an unspecified period, at about, oh, 9 pm, Wednesday, Pacific time.

You have twenty-one hours.
And about thirty minutes.

this run had to be top 5 no question. I was a fan of Alan Moores work from the 1st issue of Warrior and can still remember the thrill I got knowing that he was going to start work on Swamp Thing. to this day I can still recall perfectly the sheer joy i felt on reading issue 20 for the first time( get it in the trades DC, please) and then the 30 day wait until the best retcon of all time.
on another note, unless there are major surprises and Roy Thomas’s Conan, Steve Gerbers Man-Thing and Englehart’s Avengers throw out Sandman, Lee/Kirby FF and Miller’s Daredevil then this was the highest placing of my top 10 and I’ve no more to come.

“So the final four are Pfeifer/Woods’ Amazons Attack, Starlin’s Death of the New Gods, Hudlin’s Black Panther, and . . . hmm, what are we missing? Nicienza’s NFL Superpro”

Hahaha… How much would Fabian Nicieza pay to have our memories wiped of his involvement with that book? They didn’t pt the creators’ names ont he front of the book, in those days, of course, which probably made it easier to take a job like that.

On another note entirely… I’m laughing at myself because yesterday I said on the Spider-Man thread that it shouldn’t matter which picks were highest, out of the top 15 or so… and today I see this, and I’m like “Oh my God, Miller’s DD just beat Swamp Thing. It’s a cryin’ shame!” So it goes.

“Give that almost everything before 1970 was ignored in the voting, maybe we should do a second vote of just runs that started before 1980. (and yet, somehow, Morrison and Ennis would still be in the top ten.)”

Well, I’d totally vote for Morrison’s run on Near Myths which started in 1978.

Well a bit off topic but way up the comments there Andrew Collins (surely not the famous British broadcaster – I think he reads comis?) gave out some love to Zot! Well said that man. Made my top 10 at number 3 and really kinda had hopes of it getting into the early part of the chart.

Anyway not really the time for me to wax lyrical about how wonderful Zot! is while Swamp Thing gets its deserved accolades BUT just you wait until this is all over and we’ll talking about the runs we voted for that didn’t make it – big love coming Zot!’s way then – if only it wasn’t so damned hard to get hold of I’m sure it’d have done better?

Boy do I love Zot!

Unfortunately I’ve only read the first 10 issues in trade. I have the issues starting at 15, but need some access to 11-14;

For those looking for Zot! Check this out:


The first 10, the color ones WON’T be in that book – I got a tpb last month off Amazon marketplace.

And I thought I was the only one who lamented ST 20 NOT being collected in trade. Also of note – Morrison’s DP run – 19 to 63 plus an “annual”. Moore’s ST run – 20 to 64 plus an annual. HMMMMMMMMMMM

Moore’s Swamp Thing is amazing. I’ve only read the first 24 issues that were reprinted in black and white as Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing, but they were remarkable. I found The Nukeface Papers to be extraordinarily unsettling, and the relationship between Abby and Swampy was so well done. I really need to track down the rest at some point.

Random Stranger

April 30, 2008 at 5:41 am

My favorite single issue of Moore’s run is the one with the psuedo-Winchester house. Creepy in so many different ways…

I also started reading Moore’s Swamp Thing with the b&w reprints. I went out and tracked down the remaining issues after reading the first 10 or so reprints.

With Swamp Thing my entire list is represented except Sandman, sure to be in the top 4. I almost voted for Vaughn’s run on Swamp Thing with Tefe as the main character, I really loved that run but I just couldn’t find room on my list.

entzauberung: Not the opinions about Miller’s DD, but the opinions about this list in general seem to be pretty divergent. That’s what I meant. Yes, it seems a lot of people love Miller’s DD, but maybe those of us who don’t are the silent majority!!!!

C’mon buttler, you know the run we’re missing – Byrne’s Doom Patrol! Much better than Morrison!

Great choice. This series changed my life and I may have re-read many of these issues from this run at least 100 times when I was a kid. The Annual #2 and Issue #50 are two of the most amazing stand alone issues of all time.

The popularity of this run… not a surprise… but it’s the sort of thing makes me wonder just how canny DC are in judging what material should be made available in what format. Why isn’t it available in absolute format?? Why isn’t Mike Grell’s Green Arrow run available in any trade.

A sweeping generalization…. Marvel are far more shrewd in judging which series should be available in what format.

As well as modern JLA treatments, well, it’s certainly obvious to me that the Avengers appearance in Daredevil:Born Again was very strongly influenced by Moore’s JLA issue.

I’m sure that the Doom Patrol thing is no coincidence, also. Crawling From the Wreckage can be read as a love letter/meditation on Moore’s first year on Swamp Thing, chock full of deliberate references and dialog lifts to cue the attentive reader…

Was the run the first to regularly put creator credits on the cover? If so, that’s a big deal right there.

My vote for favorite hypothetical upset in the top 4:

James Owsley’s Conan the Barbarian!

I liked it.

Nah, there are just no runs left that are more popular than Miller’s DD.

And yeah, pretty interesting that a relatively minor appearance of the JLA in this comic has been so influential. And this comic gave us John Constantine. And Vertigo. And also the notion of the retcon that completely redefines everything. Interesting also that the Swamp Thing character himself hasn’t become popular.

To be Technical about it, Moore did a character-redefining retcon over in Marvelman before he did it in Swamp Thing. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that something similar had happened to the Martian Manhunter even before that.

But Moore’s Swampy also was the first DC book to completely drop the Comics Code sticker permanently (as opposed to just for a single issue)

And Swamp Thing established a DCU version of Christian Cosmology that became the default afterlife in both the mainstream and vertigo universes…

Interesting also that the Swamp Thing character himself hasn’t become popular.

It’s true, he still has a heck of a time getting a date to the prom, even though he gives the best corsages.

I’ve said this before but I actually managed to start with Moore’s run on Swamp Thing from the very start: an Aunt gave me Swamp Thing 20 for my birthday and even though I hadn’t read the Pasko/Yeates run before it I found it brilliant and evocative and used the sort of ‘voice’ in comic writing I had never experienced up until then. I knew it was something special. I didn’t need Anatomy Lesson to convince me of Moore’s brilliance as a writer. I was sold from an issue where all the loose ends of the previous writer were dealt with! (In a story called “Loose Ends” no less!) But certainly Anatomy Lesson put it all on a different plane altogether.

You should add as a bonus the two page spread from the DC sampler comic from ’84 that has that incredible prose piece from Moore with a Bissette/Totleben illustration (“This is the place”). One of the greatest text pieces ever published in a comic.

Of course this belongs in the top five. If you were there when it was first coming out you couldn’t wait for each issue to hit the stands. He truly put an incredible amount of thought into this series, and deserves much more recognition for it even thought it was never a huge seller. (As I recall, the only issue that paid any extra royalties was the Crisis crossover.)

I recently bought and read #50. Even 25 years later and numerous Moore stories under my reading belt, that story still knocked me out of my chair.

My top ten Moore Swamp Thing stories:

10. Mysteries in Space – “We Earthmen may not be much for the 6 principles of aerial inertial combat–but we *are* complete bastards.”
9. Rite of Spring – I still read it and go, “Wow!”
8. Parliament of Trees – Passages from this story resonate in every issue before and after. There’s such a dreamlike quality to it. I always wished Bissette and Totleben got to do this one.
7. The Anatomy Lesson – plus the next several issues, which introduce the Green, and wonderfully showcase Woodrue, one of my favorite villains. Great ending!
6. A Murder of Crows – No one does the descent into nightmare better.
5. “Pog” – I’m getting misty just thinking about it…
4. Fish Story – My favorite American Gothic story. Perfect marriage of metaphor and scariness that marks the best of horror fiction. And it still give me the absolute willies.
3. The End – Not only does Moore take on the Crisis, but also pays off the entire American Gothic storyline with the biggest bang of all. Possibly the most epic scene he’s ever written, right up there with “I did it 36 minutes ago”, the murder of London, and “–Welcome to England”.
2. My Blue Heaven – A tour inside the mind of a writer.
1. The Garden of Earthly Delights – Impossibly beautiful–and a longtime fantasy of mine come true. Totleben’s inks are astounding; this one almost seems written for him.

Fantastic that we see Moore’s Swamp Thing at # 5. Much as I’m crazy nuts about it, I ranked it # 8 on my personal Top 10 list.

What I predicted this list would ultimately become had Moore’s Swamp Thing @ # 4 and Miller’s Daredevil @ # 5. I think the two got flip-flopped.

I predict Frank Miller’s Dardevil will be the # 4 run. It made my # 7 and I loved it back when it was coming out and still love it. I’m shocked to hear people say they’re not blown away by it and that they don’t think it’s all that. At one time it was even Marvel’s number one selling title.

I’m glad to see Rick Veitch mentioned. I think anyone would have had incredibly huge shoes to fill following the Moore / Bissette / Totleben run and Veitch did a great job with no drop in quality as far as I’m concerned. I’d still love to see the original Christ issue and DC refused to print and eventually caused Veitch to leave the title, but that’ll never happen. If DC were smart, they’d print it in an exclusive super deluxe edition. They avoided it to avert any potential firestorm, and I can understand that, but now, 20 years later, I think they could profit from it and not have the negatives they thought that they might. It has Swampy at the crucifiction but other than that nothing sacriligious that I’ve ever heard. It was all part of his time travel storyline IIRC.

If O’Neil/Adams Batman didn’t make the top 100, it will be a horrible injustice.

I understand your sentiment about the O’Neil / Adams Batman not being listed, but, in all fairness, it’s because those stories were so spread out over time and though quantity-wise they qualify as a “run”, most people don’t think of it as a continuous run, but more of a series of stories in non-continuous form by the same creative team. It’s not really fair, but it’s understandable since that’s the way the stories came out. In all honesty, I forgot them too, but if I had to go back, I would include them on my modified list.

Rene: If the Marvel U. can get credit for the Ultimate books, shouldn’t the DCU get credit for WildStorm books now?

This run informs, if not downright influences, every subsequent series that includes major retcons and/or attempts to reconcile past continuity with new stuff by introducing something “bold and shocking” that “changes everything you ever knew” about “Superman/Spider-Man/Ambush Bug,” for better (Starman) or for worse (99% of Marvel and DC’s current output).

“Mommmiiieee… neeeduuunnnt… knnnowww…”

To this day, it’s still the creepiest, scariest, most horrifying thing I’ve ever read in a comic book. Hands down.

It’s a shame that Rick Veitch’s run on Swamp Thing doesn’t get the props it deserves. He had the hardest act to follow since the new staff writer at The Globe took over when Shakespeare left, and he was brilliant. Swampy’s trip through time was great, great stuff. If it didn’t exist in Moore’s shadow, I think it would have made the Top 100 list.

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