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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Runs #4

Here is the fourth highest ranking comic book run, as voted on by about 700 Comics Should Be Good readers.


4. Frank Miller and Klaus Janson on Daredevil – 988 points (12 first place votes)

Daredevil #158-161, 163-167 (Frank Miller as artist, with Klaus Janson inks), #168-176 (Miller as writer/artist, with Janson as inker), 177-184 (Miller as writer/co-artist with Klaus Janson), #185-190 (Miller as writer, with Janson as artist), #191 (Miller as writer/artist, no Janson as inker)

Frank Miller was already an up and coming artist when he took over the penciling duties on Daredevil, under writer Roger McKenzie, with the book’s inker, Klaus Janson, staying on to give the book some continuity between departing artist, Gene Colan, and Miller.

Soon, the book began to get a buzz around it due to Miller and Janson’s impressive artwork, which managed to give a totally different look to the book despite McKenzie’s fairly standard plots (not that McKenzie was bad, just that his style did not necessarily match the style Miller and Janson were going for). The book soon became popular enough that Miller was promoted to the writer of the book, as well.

His first issue dramatically changed Daredevil, especially the introduction of Matt Murdock’s college love, Elektra, who was now an assassin.

Another change in Miller’s run was that Daredevil was now a lot more like a ninja than ever before, including introducing Stick, the man who mentored Murdock in the ways of being a ninja.

Isn’t that cover cool?

Notable during this time was the fact that Miller and Janson were absolutely amazing on the artwork on the book. They were bringing in a Will Eisner/manga look (specifically Lone Wolf and Cub) that was quite striking.

The Kingpin became a major Daredevil villain during Miller’s run (soon into Miller’s run, by the way, the book went from bi-monthly to monthly, a sign that the book was becoming popular again).

Towards the end of his run, Miller had Bullseye (a character Miller used to great effect) kill off Elektra.

After a few more issues (Janson was totally drawing the book by this time), Miller left with one fairly depressing issue (with inks by Terry Austin).

Marvel has nicely collected Miller’s entire run into three trades, and they smartly split the trades into Vol.1 (only Miller art) and Vols. 2 and 3 (Miller as writer).

Good stuff.

Tomorrow, #3!!


Not surprised at this being in fourth place; extremely popular, but I couldn’t see it beat Lee/Kirby FF or Claremont/Byrne X-Men, or Sandman (which will be #1).

Wait, has Lee/Ditko Spider-Man appeared yet?


April 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm

It was #6.

I remember how much impact Miller’s art had at the time. So cinematic, with so much motion. Suddenly, half of Marvel’s bullpen was laying out pages with long, horizontal panels. And who can forget the rampant water towers?

The other thing I remember is how quickly Miller started digging deep into the psychology of his characters — like when Matt loses his radar-sense due to deep-seated guilt, and the stellar “Devils” issue when bat-crazy Bullseye believes everyone is DD (except wearing individual pieces of clothing, like mufflers or jackets). And Matt’s world got a lot more murky, morally speaking. Kingpin really is an anti-hero in this run.

Miller printed a short and FAWNING letter from my 13-year-old self in No. 182, which I’m simultaneously proud of and horrified by.

a lot of older buildings in NYC actually have water towers, its kinda funny how FM took small aspect of NYC and ran with it.

Hmm, I remember having some reprint of at least part of this run. I think I will dig it out again.

Two things about the Miller run that I think are often overlooked are, well, overlooked here:

1) Roger McKenzie doesn’t always get the credit he deserves on the book, nor do his predecessors Jim Shooter and Marv Wolfman. The book had gone into some fairly dark territory already with the suicide of Maxwell Glenn and a Shooter-scripted Bullseye issue that reads a lot like Miller’s later use of the guy. And McKenzie brought Bullseye back shortly before Miller took the reins, as well as introducing a number of the elements — the running gag featuring the hapless Turk, the crippled paralegal Becky Blake, and Matt’s precarious mental state — before Miller took over the book completely. Indeed, one of the best-remembered stories from the Miller era after McKenzie had officially left, the Punisher two-parter, started as a plot that McKenzie had drafted which had been shelved due to concerns about its portrayal of drug addiction and its violence. Once Miller had the creative freedom he wanted, he brought the plot idea back and expanded it.

2) The other part of the Miller-Miller-Janson run that no one ever seems to talk about is its frequent use of humor. Turk is remembered, sure, but entire issues were given over to outright comedic tales. The story of Franklin “Guts” Nelson taking on the Kingpin, for example, or Miller’s slapstick response to a request from Denny O’Neil to feature Power Man and Iron Fist in the title were deployed alongside the dark material and the darker characters. It’s a lesson Miller may have absorbed from Will Eisner, or maybe even Will Shakespeare, but too many later DD writers seemed to forget how to leaven the unremitting tragedy with goofy “breathers” beyond recycling Turk being thrown through the window of Josie’s Bar. These days, Stilt-Man is dead and gone, Foggy has to be presented as a competent if dull attorney and a wise friend, and even Turk is being taken seriously a la Born Again (where the point in Turk’s knifing scene was that Matt had fallen so low even worthless pond scum could kick him around). Indeed, as wonderfully executed as it is, I’ve had to drop Brubaker’s run because its bleak plot direction has deteriorated into monotone. Miller’s Daredevil had more than one or two moods, and his Hell’s Kitchen was not simply Hel on Earth.

Yay for my #1 pick.

Just superhero-y enough to appease my pre-teen sensibilities, but the noir-ish elements set it apart in ways that blew my mind. I’d never read characters more ruthless than Kingpin, Bullseye and Elektra (and Punisher, whose profile really got a jolt from this run). When DD shoots Punisher, we’d well and truly departed from standard four-color fare. And of course #181 is my favorite single-issue story ever.

Plus, despite the grittiness, there was lots of humor in the run as well. Like the stories with Power Man, Iron Fist, Stilt-Turk, and the ridiculously delightful Guts Nelson issue.

Fun comics.

All right, fine, I was wrong. You all suck. :)

I still wouldn’t have been surprised if this hadn’t made the top 100. I have no problem with it ranking this high, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. This seems to be remembered more for its impact than its quality. It was extremely influential, but I remember reading it for the first time years later and thinking, “Is that it?” Maybe I had to be there.

Still, Miller’s art is wonderful.

My number 4! You people finally got one in exactly the right place! Hmm, either Brian hasn’t read this run in a while, or he doesn’t actually like it. His write-up is as tight-lipped and non-committal as the one for Ultimates was, which he was clearly writing through gritted-teeth.

Nevertheless, this is one great comic. And compared to everything else on the newsstand in 1981, it was an insanely great comic! In this case the word “visionary” actually applies. I definitely second Omar on the wonderful humor in the book. Turk is one of my all time favorite characters.

Remember how dark the book got after Elektra’s death? DD has gone on to have a LOT of nervous breakdowns since, but the first was in many ways the most harrowing. Matt doesn’t just get depressed, he gets a little psychotic too. He blackmails his girlfriend into accepting his marriage proposal! Dark stuff. All the while, he kept having “Power Man and Iron Fist” cross-overs!

These last two runs have something in common for me. I didn’t collect either of them when they were coming out, even though I was sampling everything at the time and collecting most series that were any good. Why? Guess which issues I sampled of each? Swamp Thing #63: — the painted all-text issue, and DD #177: the “Matt fights the demon in his mind” issue. That’s right, I just happened to sample the WEIRDEST issue of both runs, and I got scared off by both. Of course, that’s probably for the best, as neither was really intended for the under-10 set. Good thing that I tracked both books down when I was a little older.

I guess while I was typing, Omar was pointing out the humor angle in much greater detail than I. It is certainly an aspect I remember fondly about these issues.

The pre-Miller stories with Deathstalker did set a dark, ruthless tone, as did the bleakness of the Purple Man story arc (although for pure slugfest action I love the Arena issue with DD and Paladin against Jester, Gladiator, Cobra and Hyde). I think what set Miller apart was taking the darkness and really portraying some graphic (and neatly choreographed) violence that brought the conflict to life in ways I’d never seen before.

These were the stories where I first learned about ninjas. And that blood was black. There was a lot of that.

So. there it is. All right.

I’ve never read an issue of this. I don’t much like Miller or Daredevil. I probably should some time, since it’s so well-respected.

Good call, Omar. To again reference the “Devils” issue, there’s a hilarious meta sequence where Bullseye is hiding in a theater playing “The Maltese Falcon” (I’m a little fuzzy on this; there may even have been a fight) and Miller instead focuses on the running commentary from a nerdy cineaste on the nature of violence in movies. … That same guy later actually has a chance to clock Bullseye, but chickens out. Great joke, carried all the way through.

Is it just me or is the cover to 189 just unrealistic. granted its a comic and not supposed to BE totally realistic, and i wouldnt have thought twice on it if it wasnt pointed out how wonderful it is.. But that comment DID make me give it a second look and. If DD is right over the armies heads.. how are so many arrows being fired from one spot so fast? And if he is that close.. how crappy are the archers? i mean.. He isnt parachuting in from the sky.. he is jumping into a fray. There has to be like.. 70 guys huddled in a 15 sq ft area.. not including the swordsmen. And unless they are very VERY short people.. or shoot from the hip.. where are there arms and bows?
This isnt meant to be a slam.. I just thought it was amusing

I think the #189 cover is meant to have more of that “symbolic movie poster” kind of thing going on.

Well Greg, not every comic can be the current Moon Knight. :)


April 30, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Hmm, either Brian hasn’t read this run in a while, or he doesn’t actually like it. His write-up is as tight-lipped and non-committal as the one for Ultimates was, which he was clearly writing through gritted-teeth.

I didn’t get that from either of those write-ups – I’m pretty sure Brian quite likes The Ultimates (sure he’s mentioned it before).
Astonishing X-men was the only one I noticed on the list which was entirely un-enthusiastic.

“I still wouldn’t have been surprised if this hadn’t made the top 100. I have no problem with it ranking this high, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. This seems to be remembered more for its impact than its quality. It was extremely influential, but I remember reading it for the first time years later and thinking, “Is that it?” Maybe I had to be there.”

That’s hard to grasp. It’s like saying “I don’t like Kirby FF, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if it didn’t make the Top 100″. Even if the sentiment is true, you´re an internet comic book guy who has to know how revered the run is to other internet comic book guys.

And quality…well, for my money DD #181 is the best single issue of all time.

Well, I don’t exactly like the Lee/Kirby FF, so there’s that. But that is far more influential and more beloved than this run. It’s not that I don’t like these comics, because I do (what I’ve read of them, of course, and I know I’ve missed some because they haven’t been collected), I’m just a bit surprised they ranked this high. I just don’t think they’re better than every single run but three in history. I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I really am surprised. I wouldn’t have been commenting on it if it showed up in the 20s or 30s, because that would have seemed “right.” It’s just that putting this at #4 seems really high, especially when you consider that the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four (which practically invented modern comics), Sandman (which won a freakin’ science fiction award and forced the committee to change the rules, for crying out loud), and Claremont/Byrne X-Men (which made Marvel the juggernaut it is today) are so much more influential (if not better) than this. Miller’s DD is good, solid comic bookery that was influential, sure, but seems really out of place in a group that includes the three above and Swamp Thing. That’s all I mean with my objections. It’s definitely not that I don’t like these comics. But #4? Wow. I guess I’m out of touch.

It’s not about your likings or even quality, it is just about popularity, and Miller’s DD is hugely popular, man.

And, in my own particular oppinion, I think these comics are light-years ahead of most everything else being published at the time, and I think they were also hugely influential. Not quite as much as the other 3 you mentioned, but almost there. Grim ‘n’ gritty was born mostly from Alan Moore + Frank Miller, and this run is the first time Miller unleashes his dark talent. And grim ‘n’ gritty is at least as influential in comics as the Silver Age, so I’d say this run has huge influence, yes.

Cementing Marvel’s lead a bit more. This will increase further, since we have 2 more Marvel runs, and only 1 more DC run.

Frank Miller’s first issue as penciller is from 1979, so this run gets counted as a 70s run. Yes, pretty weird, since this is so very much a 80s run. Maybe a more accurate way would be to assign points to the decade that saw more issues of a certain run, but that can be done later.

We have 99 runs so far (and 26347 pts)

– 36 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (9650 pts)
– 10 runs are X-Titles (2123 pts)
– 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
– 38 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe (10329 pts)

– 25 runs are set in the DC Universe (8139 pts)
– 3 runs are Bat-Titles (452 pts)
– 9 are Vertigo comics (3106 pts)
– 29 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)

– 82 are superheroes or close enough (21739 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 (10 runs – 2558 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)
– Frank Miller (2 runs – 1199 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)
– 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)

– 82 are superheroes or close enough (21739 pts)
– 46 are traditional superheroes (13207 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)

As far as the cover to #189 being unrealistic; sure it is unrealistic, but I think you’re being overly literal. You have to view images like this subjectively. Daredevil may be leaping into the fray and having two or three arrows shot at him, but the cover doesn’t depict the reality of the situation, it depicts the feel of it. The cover show how Matthew feels. Inside his head, the danger of these arrows becomes multiplied and two or three arrows become hundreds. You have to stop looking at the surface of things and assume that because the cover shows an image that it is a physical snapshot of the situation at hand, but instead realize that drawings such as these can show the world as viewed through the filter of one man’s fallible mind.

Or whatever.

And who can forget the rampant water towers?

Old Marvel comics in the 60s were already rampant with water towers. Look at cityscapes by Kirby and Ditko, especially Ditko, and they’re all over the place.

Anyway, I can’t believe this ranked higher than Lee/Ditko Spider-Man, the peak of comics achievement. How disappointing. It should have been #1. Nothing has ever been as good before or after Lee/Ditko Spider-Man.

Greg Burgas said:
I still wouldn’t have been surprised if this hadn’t made the top 100. I have no problem with it ranking this high, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. This seems to be remembered more for its impact than its quality. It was extremely influential, but I remember reading it for the first time years later and thinking, “Is that it?” Maybe I had to be there.

I can’t speak for anyone else regarding their motives for voting for one run instead of another when there were so many to choose from, but I can say that the 10 picks which ended up on my ballot did not squeeze out the other competition because of any perceptions I had of how “influential” they have proved to be on other creators over the years, nor because of how much of an “impact” I believe they made when first being released.

When first announcing this contest, about two months ago — at http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/03/01/comics-should-be-goods-top-100-comic-book-runs/ — Brian Cronin said plainly that he wanted our “Top Ten” to be our own favorites. I took that at face value. So what I ended up doing was typing out some notes on several possible contenders . . . and then going back to them a few days later to see if any new ones had occurred to me since then (they had), and then gradually narrowing that “short list” of serious contenders down to just 10, which wasn’t easy!

The way I saw it, evaluating which ones were my “favorites,” ranking above all the “also-rans” on my “short list,” meant asking myself the following questions in each case: “How often have I reread this run since I first added it to my collection? How much do I look forward to rereading it yet again, one of these days?”

As a general rule: If I had read a run once (maybe when it was first coming out in monthly installments), and later went back and reread it once or twice, years apart, to refresh my memory . . . and that was pretty much it . . . then no matter how much I might “respect and admire” it in some ways, it wasn’t really one of my “Top Ten Favorites.” If I had reread it several times over the years, and if just thinking about it made me start feeling excited about the idea of finding the time to read it yet again, then that made it a much more serious contender for “Top Favorite” status.

At that stage, I really didn’t waste any time worrying about how many of my fellow fans would probably agree with me on any given run; that was their problem! This is reflected by the fact that just half of my 10 picks have actually been mentioned in the Top 100 Winners so far, and I don’t expect any of my other 5 picks to make the grade unless we have a real surprise upset coming in the Final Three Runs — which is always possible, but seems highly unlikely at this point. I’m willing to be shocked, though! :)

I read these comics as a teen, and liked them a whole lot. I prefer Born Again and Man Without Fear, but I can see how nearly everyone reading these books in the ’80s would have been blown away by the well done noir-super-hero fusion. I think Miller’s art hasn’t aged especially well, not to say it’s bad, just rough. The rough quality helped sell the noirish elements, of course. Miller excelled at pacing and tension, and his clipped dialogue was leaps and bounds ahead of most of his peers. Issue 181 was amazing, and I love issue 191. “Guess we’re stuck with each other” killed me, and Miller’s art started to grow (Terry Austin’s inks may account for the difference, but the Moebius-influence apparent in Ronin started showing up, and there are traces of his later Sin City in there as well).

I love Ditko Spider-Man. “Peak of comics achievement,” though, T.? Not “Master Race” or Love & Rockets or Watchmen or Barks’ Duck comics or Akira or…?

There’s your next poll, Brian. What is the peak of comics achievement, and why? Since this poll is ending, and you’ll have so much time on your hands.

About future things for us to vote on . . . I suggested, several threads ago, that it might be nice to see something like this:

“What are the ‘Top 10 Runs’ that still need to be collected in TPB for the rising generation of fans?”

Of course, then I had to admit that we could run into problems with classifying, let’s say, a run of 40 or 50 issues which only had 1 or 2 TPB collections — so that a few chunks of it were available via Amazon (or on the racks of the local comics shop) for new fans to notice and hopefully admire, but the vast majority of it wasn’t! For instance, PAD’s “Supergirl” has a TPB collection of the first 9 issues, and another of the final 6 issues, and I think at least a few other issues (from the “Our World at War” event) are bundled in with lots of others in TPB collections . . . but I think that still leaves over 60 issues which never got the reprint treatment. Maybe the question should be: “What are your ‘Top 10 Runs’ of which less than half (if any) of the issues have ever been reprinted in TPB?”

Sooo glad this wasn’t higher. I have tried so many times to get into Miller-era Daredevil but I’m just not feelin’ it. I own his whole Visionaries series as well as “Born Again,” but despite the obvious impact he had on the character and comics in general, there are much better stories and better storytellers. I’m not dissing his place in the pantheon of Influence (as his place there is clear), but good comics? His Daredevil work is alright and good enough in a drought, but if it was on the racks right now, I would have dropped it after a handful of issues.

Still, I’d say the same for Ditko Spider-Man. I sort of think that a lot of the books that are scoring so well are here not because they are flat out awesome books, but because of the importance of their influence, because they were doing things that hadn’t been done. I think I just used different parameters.

I can read the entirety of Usagi Yojimbo every year or two. I can get away with reading Ditko Spider-Man every five and Miller’s Daredevil every nine (just to see if I get the allure yet). To me, that’s how I distinguish good comics.

To me, it was pretty simple, choosing my picks.

First, I asked myself which runs gave me the most pleasure when reading them. What thrilled me. That was the most important. “Influential” was a secondary consideration when I voted. Also, there were runs that I recognized the technical expertise of them, but they just didn’t engage me emotionally as much, for whatever reason. That is why I voted on Miracleman, but not on Alan Moore’s newer works, though his newer work shows a great deal of expertise. That is also why I didn’t vote for any Morrison runs. Animal Man was probably his only work that played with my emotions as much as with my mind. His other works have dazzled me, and even awed me, but for some reason they do it at arm’s lenght, when compared to the raw emotion Animal Man could inspire in me. Maybe Morrison just became too clever and unable to make his cleverness submerge in the story being told. His ultra-fast pacing also contributes to this.

Second, from those runs that gave me so much pleasure, I also considered how well they stand to current re-readings, particularly in the case of runs from more than a decade ago or so. Some works I eliminated on that basis. I can still re-read Byrne’s Fantastic Four with almost the same love from my teen years, but for some reason his Superman doesn’t seem as awesome to me now as it did back then. I still like it, but not with the unconditional love from before. I won’t vote just on nostalgia. The Ultimates is another run that, for whatever reason, the second reading was vastly less pleasurable than the first. I still like it, and I still don’t jump on the bandwagon that hates anything that is written to shock and features darker versions of iconic characters, but much of Millar’s appeal really is on the first reaction.

Third, I tried to diversify a little so that I could honor as many of my favorite creators as possible. I probably could have voted for Claremont/Romita Jr.’s X-Men too, but since I already voted for the Claremont/Byrne run, I chose not to.

Well said, Rene. That pretty much sums up my criteria as well.

I don’t think my criteria were any more detailed and defined then “I voted for crap I really like.”

My criteria were also pretty similar to Rene’s. Damn, next to Brian, does anyone do more work for this site than Rene does?

Sorry Greg.

I’ve never been a Daredevil fan, and have probably only read 1 or 2 issues from Miller’s run, but just knowing what comics were like at the time and seeing that cover to #189, I can see how it was something new in comics. I think Miller is pretty much bat-shiat insane nowadays, but he did things with comics that hadn’t been done before, or hadn’t been done well. I’d say if a single cover has that effect on me, I probabaly need to check out the run itself.

Whoever it was that reminded me of the great Franklin “Guts” Nelson issue – thank you.

Especially when the same poster contrasted it with the doom-laden monotone Brubaker era. As much as I loved his first arc in prison, any human would have expired under this amount of sheer stress without so much as a single smile.

Daredevil is a blind horny ninja with a sense of humour. Thanks Frank.

I love Daredevil and when I was first reading comics back in the 80s he was my favourite character. Ok true confessions time here, when compiling my list one silly rule I gave myself was only one run per character and or book so I had to pick my favourite Daredevil run. I had 5, count um 5 runs to choose from (how well served is this character been and for some reason has never quite been an A-lister???); this run, Born Again, the Bendis run (much as he bugs me on Avengers, Daredevil was so perfect for him), Brubaker’s run (good point Olav The Hairy – just too grim we need a year plus of happy swashbuckling Daredevil just to prove it can be done and done well) and the run I plumped for in the end cos its just plain my favourite the Ann Nocenti run.

Now I know this run didn’t change comics the way either of the Miller runs did but it was just so much fun. Not for Daredevil, Ann held the party line and made his life a misery for most of the run BUT she did it so wonderfully and she dared to take Matt to places no one has before or since (that I remember I stand to be corrected). Once she’d written her New York stories and introduced my favourite members of DDs rouges gallery, Typhoid Mary (what a genius character she is, second favourite villain ever), Bullet, Bushwacker and co. She used an X-Men cross-over in the most imaginative way (best use of a cross-over tie in ever I think) to take Daredevil out of Hell’s Kitchen and what interesting stories that led to. To the extent that she did the most different and fascinating DD story ever sending him to hell.

Brillant, brillant run. Miller may have set the tone for Daredevil (after as someone else pointed out the ground work laid by McKenzie and Shooter) but Nocenti was good enough to take that and stretch in ways I don’t think anybody else has been bold enough to do since.

Oh and John Romita Jr and Al Williamson art for a vast chunk of it, I mean that was so good I still can’t work out if I prefer these two or Miller inked by Janson.

Sorry to go on about a different run when we should be celebrating Miller and Janson’s well earned place at number 4 but heck this seemed the place to do it.

Brian Cronin

May 1, 2008 at 4:18 am

I think Miller’s Daredevil run is amazing, so any terseness in the review was simply a matter of me rushing to get y’all your installment in a timely manner. :)

Does anyone remember an Alan Moore Daredevil parody from about 1983? I think it was called Grit. Moore and I-think-it-was-Mike Collins really skewered Miller’s style. It was all vertical boxes full of water towers, blood and enigmatic glances.

For me, it was a bit like pulling back the curtain to reveal the Wizard of Oz. I never quite felt the same way about the Miller’s run again. (Still voted for it though).

As for things to do next ( after Brian takes a breather, I’m sure) I have several suggestions. A lot of folks wanted to add limited series to this one so I think top 100 limited series is the next step. Watchmen, Marvels, etc.

Next we could do the top 100 single issues. Self contained stories that really stand out. What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Astro City 1/2, etc.

Then we could do top 100 story arcs. The Judas Contract, Sinestro Corps War, etc.

2 quick things:
1. Issue #191 in this run is awesome! Although now I realize Marvel (at the time) never would have allowed one of their heroes to shoot a defenseless villain in the head, DD playing Russian roullette with a paralyzed Bullseye, when DD was pretty unhinged and ruminating, is one of my favorite single issues ever.

2. This run was crazy influential. It set off the ninja craze (that we’ve never gotten rid of, really) and also led to a little parody called The Tick.

I also think top limited series should come next (though we all know what one and two will be).

This run deserves to be in the top five, no doubt about it.

I’ve also dropped Brubaker’s Daredevil. The prison issues were great though.

Brian Cronin

May 1, 2008 at 5:39 am

I think the next one (by the by, how long is a goodly amount of time to wait until the next one? The last one I did before this one was about five months ago – should I do it sooner than five months? Would that not get annoying to do these things so soon after each other?) will probably be the Storylines one, as that basically encompasses mini-series, right?

Then most likely Writer/Artist again, and then perhaps a return to characters? Maybe open it up to ALL comic book characters?

BDaly said:
I also think top limited series should come next (though we all know what one and two will be).

Well, they’ll probably include Rob Liefeld’s original 4-part “Youngblood” mini, and Mike Baron’s “Sonic Disruptors” . . . but which will be #1 and which will be #2? That’s the question that will keep me awake at night! ;)

And let’s not forget that Miller essentially rescued Daredevil from oblivion. DD hadn’t been selling very well for years before this run.

Hellrazor — years and years ago, I think I read an interview with Jim Starlin in which he talked about taking over on the “Batman” title in the late 80s, and said it can be a more liberating experience when you get the chance to write a title where the sales have been lousy lately, because it means your editors are more receptive to the idea of letting you shake things up and experiment with edgy themes they normally would shy away from, etc., since they’ve just had their noses rubbed in the fact that “business as usual” — the way your immediate predecessor told stories, for instance — isn’t working well. But then (he claimed), as his own stuff (10 Nights of the Beast, A Death in the Family, etc.) improved sales drastically, he felt he started getting micromanaged again by editors who didn’t want to take too many “risks” now that sales were finally good again. He claimed this is a very common pattern in the industry — makes me wonder if Miller ended up feeling the same way toward the end of his first run on DD?

T. said:

Nothing has ever been as good before or after Lee/Ditko Spider-Man.

That implies a long time of stagnation or degradation of the quality of comics, which just isn’t true. Like Rene said about DD, it was light-years ahead of most of what else was published at the time, but as much as it stands the test of time, better stuff has come out since then. It deserves credit for being significant, but that shouldn’t automatically make it anyone’s favorite.

Rene, you probably already explained this somewhere, but how come you’re not counting Wildstorm in with DC like you are with Vertigo? Or are you doing it and I just don’t see it?

Ah! Glad to hear that your lack of effusiveness was just due to a lack of time, Brian.

Isn’t it interesting that many of these runs were preceded by runs that weren’t fondly remembered? They either saved the titles from being cancelled, or jumpstarted titles that were lackluster, or rebooted already cancelled lines. Wolfman/Perez on Titans, Claremont on X-men, Simonson on Thor, Miller on DD, Moore on Swampthing, Levitz/Giffen on LSH, Giffen on JLA, Morrison on Animal Man, Morrison on DP, Morrison on JLA, Morrison on X-men (hmmm, I wonder if his strategy used to be to pick crap titles so that his genius would shine ever more brightly? :P ), Byrne on FF…very few of those acclaimed runs were following up already classic runs.

As for this….ah, the days when Miller wasn’t a crazy batshit writer. A good run, definitely some of the better work done on DD, if you’re going to go the grim and gritty route. Although his art on the visionary trades is….bad.

“Daredevil is a blind horny ninja with a sense of humour. Thanks Frank.”

Heh. Well said.

But don’t forget the Catholic guilt. Or did that come later? Its a such an ingrained element of the character now, I’m having a hard time remembering exactly when it was introduced.

Yes, we should make sure that everybody understands that DD doesn’t suffer from hand-gigantism on the inside, only on the covers.

Great runs follow lackluster runs for one simple reason: the writer is told, “we’re out of ideas, please do anything you can to revive this book.” Behold what happens when given a free hand.

Brian Cronin — hardest working man on the Internet. Take a breather for a couple months. We all should be going on vacation this summer, right?

I think Rene really pegged it. I interpreted the survey to mean which runs you enjoyed the most, which held up well on repeated readings, with maybe a little grading on the curve for older series that were ahead of their time.

I definitely remember the use of water towers in Ditko’s Spidey. I think SM gets trapped in one during an early issue. But Miller bordered on fetish. I think Roger Stern actually called him out in an issue of ASM at the time — Spidey swings by a rooftop, sees a Miller-ish guy with a drawing pad, and thinks, “There’s that crazy artist drawing water towers again.”

Actually, wasn’t Frank’s art much more proportional back then? Granted, about as proportional as people with perfect physique’s always seem to have. it wasn’t until later that he developed the cartoony hand-gigantism and…other gigantisms…

My point Matt was that it seems that there are hardly any great runs followed by other great runs. It’s so very rare…in the 2000s there seem to be some, though.

Sure, we’re saying the same thing, wwk5d: the gigantism is on the covers of the trades Brian is showing, not the covers or insides of the original issues.

And my speculation as to why great runs follow crappy runs carries over to explain why another great run doesn’t follow that one: the editors take away the “free hand” because now the book is selling well. (Not a universal explanation, of course. Lots of other factors.)

Daredevil didn’t make my Top 10, but I am relieved to know that I’m not the only one whose favourite DD was Nocenti’s.

I think that if a favourite writer / artist (although, I’d prefer those to be separate lists, like the favourite Marvel / DC was) list were to be compiled, it would probably have a lot of overlap with this.

Although, a favourite story arc might not be fair. We all know that Watchmen, Squadron Supreme, Kindley Ones, and Kraven’s Last Hunt will split votes to come in 2-5, leaving Brand New Day to come in #1. (On a side note: I went to a new comic book store in town last night, and they had 35 copies of the hardback of Brand New Day on a huge display by the front doors. I almost wept.)


Thanks, Jazzbo. :) But my participation is mostly in the Top 100 runs, I post very little in the rest of the site.

Goodness coming after crappiness really is almost an universal rule in comic runs. Further examples: PAD’s Hulk, Busiek’s Avengers, Waid’s FF, Ennis’s Punisher.

Some of the biggest examples were the post-Crisis reboots: Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Hawkman, even JLI (came after the Detroit League, if I’m not mistaken). And yes, Byrne’s Superman very much included. Don’t believe the myth that says that all the pre-Crisis Superman stories were like All-Star Superman or like the brilliant ones written by Alan Moore as a way to say goodbye to the character. Most of the 70s and early-80s Superman stories fulfill the crappiness criteria with run to spare.

Interesting that, as the Justice League characters found new strength post-Crisis, some others that were earlier successes, suffered, like the Titans and the Legion.

Cases of goodness coming after goodness are rarer, mostly confined to a handful of titles. I’d mention Avengers (from Lee to Thomas to Englehart to Shooter to Michelinie to Shooter to Stern, mostly all good), and the two heroes dressed in red: Flash (Baron to Messner-Loebs to Waid to Johns), and Daredevil (Miller to Nocenti, then later Smith and Bendis and Brubaker). Though even in some cases there are runs that are not as celebrated as others.

Josh, as for Wildstorm thing. I think there are strong conceptual links between Marvel and the Ultimate Universe, just like DC and the All-Star line. And even between DC and the Vertigo titles that originated in the DC Universe. The linkage between DC and Wildstorm is much weaker.

I see the distinction between including Ultimate Marvel with regular Marvel and DC and Wildstorm, but totalling up the publishers makes a lot more sense to me (thereby including Preacher, Y, Wildstorm, Alan Moore’s ABC etc). Since DC has published more new and out of continuity stuff than Marvel for a long time the other way unfairly penalizes DC, IMO.

Just think publisher totals would be interesting to see. I’d do it, but…eh.

Also, the Vertigo line was only introduced in 1993. Sandman, Hellblazer, Animal Man and Doom Patrol all originated in DC’s main line.

Ok, that’s what I thought, although with the Planetary/JLA crossover and Authority/JLA crossovers there might be a weak argument to include them on a case by case basis. Obviously, Ex Machina WoW and are a pretty far cry from Superman and the rest.

Your breakdowns of the runs are great and much appreciated. Have you considered breaking the “associated contributors” between artists & writers?

I don’t know if stroylines would be the best idea. It’s a bit too broad, and something that’s a top limited series might not necessarily be a top storyline (Nightly News, for example).

Pleeeeeaase give us a limited series poll Mr Cronin (after a break of course).

Brian Cronin

May 1, 2008 at 9:29 am

Like with single issues, there aren’t enough of them to fill a good Top 100.

With the former, you’d be getting stuff like Uncanny X-Men #251 at #90, with 40 points or something.

And with the latter, Beauty and the Beast would be a lock for the Top 100.

Never read (or cared for) Daredevil, but this run has been talked about for years and years so I’m not surprised it made it this high up.

"O" the Humanatee!

May 1, 2008 at 10:34 am

There’s probably something to the argument that the artistic freedom granted to creators coming onto low-selling (and presumably – though hardly necessarily! – low-quality) series explains why good runs tend to follow poorer runs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that high-quality work is generally scarce. I don’t know if I’d want to apply the famous dictum that 95% of anything is crap to comics, but I think it’s certainly fair to say that the mediocre or worse outnumbers the good stuff. So on a sheer probabilistic basis, it’s very likely that the runs preceding and following a top run will be of substantially lower quality.

As an old fogey around these parts, I’d have some concern about a story-arc poll. The story arc as a concept in comics is a relatively new creation. It’s easy to recognize and recall an arc – and thus vote for it in a poll – if, say, all the issues are labeled as part 1, 2, etc., or if they’ve been collected into a TPB with a title. But consider something like the “revived Captain America from the 1950s” story by Englehart and Buscema, which is in many ways the story that got me into collecting comics. Each issue in that story had a different title; they haven’t been collected as a single, unified TPB (though they’re included within the Cap Essentials); and – most important – in those days stories tended to overlap with one another: One plot would be building as a subplot while a different main plot would be occurring in the foreground. Nowadays, with the standardization of the TPB format, “arcs” tend to be more clearly labeled and compartmentalized. (I happen to think that that’s hurt storytelling, along with the much-discussed effect of decompression.)

“in those days stories tended to overlap with one another: One plot would be building as a subplot while a different main plot would be occurring in the foreground. Nowadays, with the standardization of the TPB format, “arcs” tend to be more clearly labeled and compartmentalized. (I happen to think that !
that’s hurt storytelling, along with the much-discussed effect of decompression.)”

As a probably-the-average-age-of-most-readers-here person, I can say I agree with you 100%; I miss the days when one story’s subplot would lead into the next story’s (or the one after that) main plot. Heck, I miss subplots, period. They are slowly, but surely, making a comeback, but I don’t think we’ll ever see them used liked they were before.

hi brian!!! Loving your top 100 lists. i ´ll say why wait for another one if we can make a lot of this lists!!!!!! i think they are great for newbies like me , because they give a lot of new things to read.

i would love to see the next one to be top 100 one-shots and miniseris or limited series.!!!! i think after writers , artists, charcters and runs , that´s the one missing.

keep the good work. why i think it´s wrong to wait? because you usually give one month to vote, and then one month to give us the results!! so we have one list every other month. so i think that´s a great schedule.
here is what i would love to see.

may 08: voting for top 100 one-shots and mini or limited series.
june 08: results
july 08: voting for top 100 manga
august : results
september: top 10 runs by book, example top for x-men, top 10 for batman, etc

just my idea. what do u think brian?

Or maybe Top 100 books (series/one-shots/limiteds) not published by the Big Two. It’d be cool to see what less-dependent stuff is really worth checking out. I also like the Top manga idea – though I wouldn’t hold much confidence that the bottom half of my Top 10 really deserve the spot (as I haven’t read widely enough yet to know).

As far as the contemporary practice of arcing stories goes, I don’t think I’ve really seen much dismissal of subplots from what I’ve read. Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil both had plots lurking in the backrounds and coming to light in later arcs. Though it’s true that I haven’t seen anything like Walt Simonson’s DOOOOM-hammering Surtur in years (though that seems to have been rare even back then… I remember Claremont playing with subplots a lot, but other than that, I’m kinda fuzzy on how frequent subplotting was back then).

I think “top 100 single issues” would be fun.

DeMatteis on “The Defenders” had a really neat, formalized way of seeding his subplots. His book had the the main story, then it also had “Prologue the first” and maybe “Prologue the second”, “Interlude the first” and maybe “Interlude the Second”, and so on. Each one would have captions to the effect of “What are these strange people up to? You’ll have to wait till next issue to find out!”. It was, to put it mildly, ape-sh*t awesome.

I say you should make the next one “self-contained comic stories” including, one-shots, OGNs, and limited series.

“Like with single issues, there aren’t enough of them to fill a good Top 100.

With the former, you’d be getting stuff like Uncanny X-Men #251 at #90, with 40 points or something.

And with the latter, Beauty and the Beast would be a lock for the Top 100.”

I think the problem with singles is that there are too many of them and too much divergence of opinion.

As far as limiteds, look how many there were that people wanted to include in the runs, but weren’t allowed to. There’d be no problem getting a good top 100 if we can get a few hundred people to vote again.

Otherwise, you could make it a top 50. There’s no law that says it has to be a top 100.

I think ‘storyline’ is a bit broad, and if you try narrow it to criteria that suit you, you’ll have to put up with even more whining than you did on this.

The cover of 189 was what got me buying Daredevil.

I had just rediscovered comics ala New Teen Titans # 39 and peeking out on the crowded comic rack was a bright yellow cover that shouted “KICK ASS” to me.

I scored all the pharmacies, supermarket, book stores and all my friends at school trying find back issues, and promptly dropped it when Miller left.

Sam, I’ve included Morrison’s Animal Man in the DCU proper tally. It’s very much a DCU run, not Vertigo. Ennis’s Hellblazer is the one that I included only in the DCU + related Vertigo tally.

I think minis plus storylines is better than only minis.

I’m not really interested in manga, but more power to people who are.

Top 10 runs by character I’m not so sure about. That would be a lot of polls. I can see doing a poll by publisher (or a non-Marvel/DC poll), but by character is a bit much.

One possible poll that no one has mentioned yet: Top 100 movies/cartoons/TV shows based on comic book properties. That would be neat! Not sure if stuff that isn’t really based on a comic property, but that has a lot of ties with comic book stuff, should be included (like the Heroes TV show, or the movie Unbreakable).

If it came to a poll of movies and/or TV shows based on comic books, I would prefer to rule out “Heroes” and “Unbreakable.” I’d also rule out “The Incredibles” and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” (I think that’s the title) and anything else that draws upon the superhero genre for inspiration but uses new names for the characters.

I know this is probably off-topic, but since it is related to one run that has made the Top 100 and is lauded by many…

I had heard that Dave Sim was mysoginistic and homophobic, but never knew the details. Curiosity aroused by this poll, I’ve read the wikipedia description of Cerebus. Holy Shit! A feminist/gay group that advocates pedophilia and juvenile drug use? What the hell. Where did he get the idea that gays are any less revolted by pedophilia and drug use than straight people are? I’m astonished to see such ignorant oppinions, usually harbored by uncreative bigots, being defended by someone supposedly so talented and revered by other creative people.

Am I missing something here? Maybe the actual stories are a lot more nuanced than this? It’s just that I assume the plot descriptions in Wikipedia were done by fans of the comic, and fans of Sim wouldn’t make up stuff like that, would they?

I also didn’t know Sim was such a fan of Abrahamic religions. I don’t mean to be a bigot myself, I’m certain that the majority of religious people aren’t necessarily mysoginists and homophobes, but it’s interesting that almost all homophobes are religious. I don’t think I ever met a activist homophobe that was secular.

Anthony Coleman

May 1, 2008 at 8:18 pm

“I also didn’t know Sim was such a fan of Abrahamic religions. I don’t mean to be a bigot myself, I’m certain that the majority of religious people aren’t necessarily mysoginists and homophobes, but it’s interesting that almost all homophobes are religious.”

Are you Blind? I see them all of the time, people who are straight secular who think that homosexuality is a sign of weakness a man having sex with another man is disgusting. Go on any message board and you’ll see how so many people are willing to call a man a “a faggot” “or a homo” at a drop of a dime in order to demonize another person. I’m not being rude but your comments seem very naive to me.

I am in shock and awe to find so many posters not seeing the greatness of Miller’s Daredevil run. My vote was simply for “Miller’s Daredevil” which in my mind was any and all work he’s done on the title. Apparently my vote got split into the first and second runs, which is fine by me, as I think it’s some of Miller’s finest work though in slightly different styles in the two runs.

Maybe it makes a difference that I read these in high school as they came out. I missed out on the Silver Age being born in 1966 and not getting my first comic until 1975. Comics were bought by hook or by crook off of a combination of 4 different newsstands in my hometown (3 grocers and the Candy Kitchen next door to the movie theatre – my best source). It wasn’t until 1980 and Marvel launching there first 3 direct market only titles and the John Byrne Silver Surfer one-shot that I * had * to somehow get. I ordered the Surfer through Superhero Merchandise (Heroes World in NJ that advertised heavily in late 70’s comics) and subscribed to all 3 Marvel titles as I read them all and they were fan favorites but sold poorly on the newsstands : Bruce Jones & Brent Anderson’s Ka-Zar, Bill Mantlo’s Micronauts with art at the time by Gil Kane IIRC, and Doug Moench & Bill Sienkiewicz’s Moon Knight (all excellent reads I still enjoy). That really introduced me to the newly emerging direct market and, being stuck in Smallville, IA, subscriptions were my most economical and reasonable access to getting my “fix.” I had picked up Miller’s Daredevil when McKenzie was still scripting it and really liked it and added the title to my subscription list. That and Claremont / Cockrum, and later Claremont / Paul Smith, were the most exciting new reads every month.

Miller, and host too often overlooked outstanding inker Klaus Janson were turning out some of the best work at that time period. Bullseye was instantly catapulted into super heavyweight status with classic scenes I’ll never erase from my memory like the initial meeting with him and Kingpin and Bullseye demonstrating his skill with a simple rubber band and paper clip taking down an annoying fly. Brilliant. Miller’s visuals of Matt’s radar sense and scenes like when he realizes that Wilson Fisk isn’t just fat, he’s dense and extremely tough in his own right and gets thrashed pretty well. That cover to # 189 that has been unfairly criticized IMO was just brilliant. Literal ? Of course not. In fact, it never occured to me as that cover just blew me away with its use of shadow and sense of dynamism as Daredevil was an armed cult of ninjas at point blank range. Amazing. # 181 with the classic Bullseye / Elektra battle was as epic as the tragic climax and death of Jean Grey in X-Men # 137. My brother and read and re-read those two issues infinite times.

Miller was paying homage to his mentor, comics great and Golden Age pioneer Will Eisner, but part of the appeal of his initial Daredevil run was that, for those of us that were fans of one of the most popular shows on network tv at the time, Hill Street Blues influenced this run as well. To this day, even those it’s roughly 25 years ago now, that’s one of my very favorite tv shows of all time. That added another rich layer of depths that probably is missed by people who didn’t follow HSB, which, btw, earned 98 Emmy nominations in its 7 seasons and tied both The West Wing and L.A. Law (both favorites of mine) for most acting nominations by regular cast members in a single year.

I had Miller’s DD @ # 5 and Moore’s Swamp Thing at #4, just the inverse of what Brian’s tally came up with.

My predictions for how the rest of the list will manifest :

# 3. Lee / Kirby FF
# 2. Gaiman’s Sandman
# 1. Claremont / Byrne X-Men

I’m going to post after the # 1 is finally revealed how I voted and would like to see how and why other people voted the way they did. One thing that’s struck me over the years, and again on this blog, is the love I hear for Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil. I’ve never read it though I like what I’ve heard about Typhoid Mary and am going to at least try it based on the good reviews.

Anthony, I said “activist” homophobes, not just homophobes. Yes, I see a whole lot of secular guys who are disgusted by homosexuality. But it’s a bit rare to see these secular guys actively organizing extensive anti-gay efforts in this day and age. That is what I was thinking of when I said “activists”. It’s a bit rare to see a completely secular homophobe that spends enormous time and energy publishing anti-gay treatises, pushing for anti-gay laws, organizing huge boycotts to TV shows that feature homosexuality in a positive way, etc.

These extensive endeavours seem to be mostly in the arena of persons of religious inclination. It’s like religion gives them an excuse to stop just being repulsed and actively going on crusades to battle this “evil”.

But boy, are we being off-topic here.

Brian Cronin

May 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm

I think ’storyline’ is a bit broad, and if you try narrow it to criteria that suit you, you’ll have to put up with even more whining than you did on this.

If whining really bothered me, I wouldn’t be doing a public blog. ;)

Hondo, you should def check out Nocenti’s DD. While it did go off the rails somewhat, once DD left NYC and he got a new and…interesting supporting cast, I tend to see it as a failed experiment (once he leaves NYC, that is; the stuff in NYC was really great). She did try something different, she took DD out of an urban setting, the only time DD left NYC previously if I recall was to send him to another urban city, San Francisco. So while the non-NYC parts of her story aren’t the best, she gets points for trying. Plus, that run has some really great artwork from JRJ.


Thanks for the input ! I’ve heard over the years that the Nocenti run had some really good stuff. I knew it was different from what Miller did, and has been pointed out, after a phenomenal run, the next creative team usually has nowhere to go but down in quality.

This brings something else up.

I’m going to pick up at least the first of the Nocenti / JR Jr / Williamson run, but was curious what people think of the Karl Kessel run (which I’ve also heard good things about) and the Dan or D. G. Chicester run (which I don’t think I’ve heard many positives about).

All of you who are detracting from this run fail to mention that this is what brought us….


which started out as an adult parody of Miller’s Daredevil.

At the height of this run, Daredevil was not the strongest or most powerful character in the story, and he appeared overmatched when facing off against Bullseye and especially Elektra. Both Elektra and Daredevil couldn’t even finish the training started by Stick and the Hand. The drama increased knowing Daredevil had to be the best man in his world even though he seemed so much less than these battling ninja forces. I had friends reading it at the time who said they were afraid of Bullseye and what was going to happen. Schoolboys afraid of characters in a comic book! Don’t remember this series from Colin Ferrel in the lame Daredevil movie or the wimpering Jennifer Garner.

Remember when Elektra puts her sai through the back of the stool pidgeon at the movie theater and warns Ben he is next if he talks. I always check who is sitting in back of me at the theater.

Remember when Daredevil and the good ninjas finally are able to gang up and defeat the Hand’s resurrected ninja assassin. And then Matt gets the news that the Hand is now going to resurrect an even greater foe….Elektra! That page still gives me shivers, because you know if they had that much trouble even with Stick, they are in loads more in the coming issues. In those issues, Daredevil won but barely.

Remember when Matt thinks he failed in purifying Elektra, and then she scales that mountain at the end. Amazing stuff.

I would put the under-rated poetic Elekra Lives Again graphic novel as the final story to this run. That, even more than Dark Knight Returns, is the greatest work Miller ever did. It ties up this story arc on what really happened to Elektra after she returned.

Don’t forget the two What If issues during that run, particularly the beautiful one where What if Elektra had lived.

If I remember correctly, this run contains one of the most powerful scenes ever. The Avengers jet lands in Hell’s Kitchen and the Avengers warn DD off, they are on important business and he is a nobody. He protests and Iron Man starts warming up his energy beams… DD backs off. What I never forget about that scene is how Miller made the Avengers look so powerful, so other worldly. You realised how lame the actual Avengers writers were (if Avengers was even still going) as they were trite, camp even in their handling of the characters. Miller emphasised the off-the-scope power of the Avengers, and in so doing, he brought home that Daredevil is just a man, a blind man, fighting petty crime in a forsaken corner of the world that no one gives a damn about. And that is why this run is just pure genius.

^ nope, that was in Born Again. with Mazuchelli.

Hondo, don’t misunderstand me. The Nocenti run as a whole was great. The first part in NYC is just as good, IMO, as the Miller stuff (yeah, I said it). The part where he leaves NYC is good in it’s own way. It’s still fun and enjoyable, and you still have JRJ on the art. I just felt that part didn’t necessarily work with DD as the lead. Maybe better had Spider-man been the lead? But as I said, even as a failed experiment, it’s still a good, fun read.

Spike, I always saw that scene as a representation of the viewpoint from DD, that’s how he saw the Avengers. I don’t see the Avengers in their own book as trite or camp – the writers knew how powerful they were, the characters knew how powerful they were, we the audience knew how powerful they were. How could we not? After going up against people like Graviton, Korvac, Ultron, Kang, Nefaria, etc, constantly pointing out how powerful they were in their own title would have gotten tedious (*cough*cough*Morrison*JLA*cough*cough*). That scene works if we’re seeing it through Matt’s eyes…er, you know what I mean.

[…] on Daredevil ?? 988 points 12 first place votes Daredevil 158-161, 163-167 Frank Miller as artisthttp://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/04/30/top-100-comic-book-runs-4/Community Sports: Community Scoreboard for May 3 The WorldBowling North Bend Lanes April 22-28 HIGH […]

I just finally got around to reading Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil up until Elektra’s death and it was pretty much awful. Terrible, overwrought, angsty, melodramatic hack work with huge gaping inconsistencies and plot holes. He basically just put his standard film-noir finish on an otherwise poorly conceived and uninteresting superhero. Then again, I’m not surprised it made it this far up considering about 95% of this Top 100 is superhero comics. Personally I would’ve switched the places of this and Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library which sits at 100 and is about 100 times better. Or at the very least, Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which I understand this run was meant to be a laughable tribute to.

Just wanted to comment (wayyyy late) that Miller’s Daredevil is killer, and clearly a lot of it went over Rank’s head. It doesn’t need to be a favorite, but terrible and filled with inconsistencies and holes it is not.

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