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CSBG Archive

Top 158 Comic Book Runs #153-149

As promised, the beginning of the countdown of the fifty-six remaining runs that scored at least 50 points!


153 (tie). Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s Daredevil – 50 points (1 first place vote)

Daredevil #1-8, plus a #1/2

This run revitalized the Daredevil comic book, and most likely led to Joe Quesada becoming Marvel Editor-in-Chief. Nice artwork by Quesada.

153 (tie). Jim Shooter’s Avengers – 50 points (1 first place vote)

Avengers #158-177 (also Avengers #211-222, 224, 226, but since no one specified, I presume they all meant the first run)

This run contained the introduction of Graviton, some awesome Byrne and Perez artwork, and, of course, the Korvac Saga. Epic stories at their finest!

153 (tie). John Ostrander’s GrimJack – 50 points (1 first place vote)

Starslayer #10-18, GrimJack #1-81, plus Demon Knight

Tim Truman should be mentioned, as he is listed as the co-creator of GrimJack, but I’ll admit it, I just didn’t feel like picking out all the issues Truman didn’t draw. GrimJack was a tour de force performance by Ostrander, and I would be remiss if I did not point out that ComicMix is currently doing a GrimJack web comic! Check it out here!

153 (tie). David Lapham’s Stray Bullets – 50 points

Stray Bullets #1-ostensibly current (#40), plus two Amy Racecar Color Specials

Do you know what’s depressing? David Lapham began his brilliant Stray Bullets series twelve years ago, when he was only 25 years old! All that training with Jim Shooter must have paid off, because Lapham is a master storyteller, weaving in multiple characters and narratives to tell a bleak, but engaging story.

153 (tie). Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming’s Ambush Bug – 50 points

Ambush Bug #1-4, Son of Ambush Bug #1-5, Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer (the Nothing Special was too far after the fact)

One of the funniest comic book series I can recall, as Giffen and Fleming savage DC Comics (with love, of course) with their Ambush Bug character. He’s about to return, by Giffen and Fleming!

153 (tie). Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal – 50 points

Criminal #1-10, Criminal 2 #1-current (#2)

Brubaker and Phillips are doing a marvelous job on this crime series, detailing the world of criminals in such a way that you feel like you know these characters like friends, even while noting that you probably wouldn’t want to be friends with most of the characters in this series.

151 (tie). Louise Simonson’s Power Pack – 51 points (1 first place vote)

Power Pack #1-20, 22, 24-33, 35, 37, 39, 40-41

Simonson was ahead of her time with this series of four siblings who gain superpowers. It was a critical darling at the time, mostly due to Simonson’s deft touch for characterization (June Brigman, the original artist, was an AMAZING artist for character work, too). Jon Bognadove joined her on the book after Brigman, and he brought a looser, fun style. He and Simonson worked together for years.

151 (tie). Alan Moore and Alan Davis’s Captain Britain – 51 points

The Daredevils #1-11, The Mighty World of Marvel #7-13

This was an awesomely inventive re-working of the Captain Britain character by Moore, with Alan Davis providing some solid artwork at a young age.

149 (tie). Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s Fell – 52 points (1 first place vote)

#1-current (#9)

Fell is Warren Ellis’ Law and Order, where he can take intriguing/disgusting news stories and work them into this crime book, starring Detective Fell, who is an intriguing character in his own right. Ben Templesmith’s art is amazing on this title.

149 (tie). Chuck Dixon’s Nighwing – 52 points

Nightwing #1-70, plus various one-shots, annuals and specials

It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when Nightwing was a relatively minor character, which is weird, as he really shouldn’t have been, but plans for his own series took so long that he basically laid to waste in the meantime. That is, until Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel took over his rollicking action adventures, making it one of DC’s highest selling titles. McDaniel was followed by Greg Land, and then Rick Leonardi took over (for the sake of everyone involved, let’s just skip McCarthy). Dixon also established the Nightwing/Barbara Gordon romance, which was nice.

Next ten tomorrow!


Thanks Brian, you do spoil us :D

I grabbed Nightwing as it was coming out, and, yes, it was great!

Shooter’s Avengers I gradually pieced together over years from second hand book stores. (Cheaper than comic shops!) You could gauge how in-demand an issue was by how poor condition one could be in and still be offered for sale. The only copy of the final issue of the Korvac arc I could find was a shredded pitiful mess, with much of the cover missing, but thankfully with a readably complete (if torn) interior. I was delighted to find it! :D

Hey! Ambush Bug! I either voted for Ambush Bug or didn’t.

Bernard the Poet

May 7, 2008 at 3:55 am

Brian, actually Moore started writing Captain Britain in Marvel Superheroes #387, the strip was moved to Daredevils shortly afterwards. I’m not (just) being pedantic, I think it is worth mentioning because Moore took over Captain Britain in mid-run from David Thorpe, and immediately put his own stamp on the story. In his first issue, he kills Cap’s sidekick, in his second he kills Cap himself and in his third (which was the first issue of Daredevils), he resurrects him and gives him new powers. This was comics at his best. When the story finally concludes in Mighty World of Marvel #13 everything (including Thorpe’s run) dovetails into a satisfying conclusion.

At the start of his career, Picasso painted figuratively, just to prove he could. In this run, Moore showed that he could have worked on any of the mainstream superhero books for the big two, stayed within continuity and still have created outstanding work.

I voted for this run, very surprised/pleased to see it got so many votes.

Brian Cronin

May 7, 2008 at 3:58 am

Fair enough, Dan! Thanks for the note!

Captain Britain nearly made my list, but just dropped off at the last moment. Good to see it here, though, as it really is an outstanding series :)

Yay! Ambush Bug! One of my three picks to not make the list. Just pure, unfiltered craziness. Has anything from the big two ever been quite that ridiculous?

Also, a small note, Brian – there are six issues of Son of Ambush Bug, not five.

Good stuff. The whole list was, and the work that went into getting it all together – thanks a lot!

(…so, is Judging Books by their Covers now a defunct feature?)

Thanks for the heads-up about the GrimJack web comic! He’s one of my all-time favorite characters, and I’m glad to see him back in action, especially in the hands of his creators.

Doug Atkinson

May 7, 2008 at 5:30 am

I’m responsible for close to 20% of the points Ambush Bug got–it was my #2.

Def need to check out Grimjack, Stray Bullets, and Ambush Bug.

I always enjoyed the first Shooter run over his second run (post #200). Maybe the Byrne/Perez art is a factor? Regardless, I’d recommend issues #158 up until #200 as THE Avengers run, even if they didn’t have the same writer. Some great battles with Ultron and Count Nefaria follow. Plus, the introduction of Taskmaster and a great “Day in the Life of”-style issue as well.

Forgot to mention, the Capt. Britain stuff was good too. Too bad Moore and Davis had a falling out…

Stephane Savoie

May 7, 2008 at 7:48 am

That Moore run of Britain was excellent.
I’m trying to remember… was the trade Marvel printed a few years back one of those internationally deals so they could get around royalties and permission (like the Steranko Fury trade)?

Moore’s CB is the rosetta stone for all of this other work. It’s jam-packed with proto-versions of all his big ideas. Plus, the most beautiful artwork he’s ever had. (Not necessarily the very best, but definitely the most beautiful.) Oh, and did I mention how tremendously bad-ass it was? It was Airwolf before Airwolf was Airwolf.

CB and GrimJack were on my extended list. It’s great to see them here. Power Pack should have been. I love that series. Back in the day, I would recommend it to the other kids and they’d roll their eyes– “You like Power Pack and their little silver booties?” “Yes,” I would say– “I like their little silver booties!”

Brian obviously belongs to the camp that feels “Son of Ambush Bug” #6 was apocryphal because of what Cheeks said on page 18.

Thanks for giving us the rest. I am interested to see the ones that almost made it into the Top 100. Now I will have to check out Nightwing and Fell. Love Criminal.

Bernard the Poet

May 7, 2008 at 8:58 am

Okay, who gave Kevin Smith’s Daredevil a 1st place vote?

Someone sell me on Grimjack?

I like Ostrander a lot but a lot of why i like him is for how well he works in fleshing out parts of shared universes.

Yes! The Captain Britain run is amazing! After Watchmen and V for Vendetta, it was the third Moore title I had ever read, and only solidified my opinion of the man. Also, it kicked off my love of Alan Davis! What more could you possibly ask for in a title?

Shooter’s Avengers is great; it almost got a vote for me, edged out by the nostalgia I feel towards the Stern run.

I’ve enjoyed the little Grimjack I’ve read.

Ambush Bug does little for me, in contrast to seemingly everyone else online.

Power Pack is awesome! Glad to see it got some love, even if I didn’t vote for it. Man, during that run, they seemed almost as prolific of guest stars in other books as Wolverine is nowadays.

I actually voted for the Nightwing run (at 9 or 10). I really enjoyed how they setup a whole new setting/supporting cast for him. It was one of the first runs I read almost entirely in trade.

Mike Loughlin

May 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

I miss Stray Bullets. Is Young Liars any good?

I got the first 25 or so issues of GrimJack in the mail the other day, courtesy of an eBay seller. Haven’t read it yet, so can’t offer anything … except that the idiot hat the character is wearing on the cover above is rather off-putting. I’m shallow that way (lots of others way, too, I’m sure, most of which I of course am too shallow to recognize).

Did Steve Gerber’s Hard Time get any votes? If not, why oh why didn’t I vote? (Actually, of course, I didn’t vote for the exact same reason that I don’t vote in political reasons, either — I’m so often right & everyone else is so often wrong that I see no point in rubbing my own face in the futility of it all. ;-p )

Ok, Rene, update the points!

Uh … “vote in political ELECTIONS,” that is. Duh.

I didn’t vote and now I wish I had but I was shocked Chuck Dixon’s Nightwing didn’t make the top 100… Especially his run with Scott McDaniel! I’m amazed it wasn’t even close to the top 100. What a fun series. If you haven’t read it, hunt it down.

Okay, I included these extra runs in the totals.

People were expecting to finally see some more Silver Age runs? Nope. Still no Silver Age, still very little DC. These are all 1980s-2000s runs. Though we have several non-superhero comics. Not much change in the lists, except for some creators like Giffen and Ellis climbing several places.

We have 112 runs (and 30383 pts)

– 42 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (12064 pts)
– 11 runs are X-Titles (3305 pts)
– 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
– 44 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe (12743 pts)

– 28 runs are set in the DC Universe (9559 pts)
– 4 runs are Bat-Titles (504 pts)
– 10 are Vertigo comics (4424 pts)
– 32 runs if you get DC plus Vertigo sub-universe plus Plastic Man retcon (9779 pts)

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

– 90 are superheroes or close enough (24255 pts)
– 22 are non-superhero (6128 pts)

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

– 1980s (36 runs – 10007 pts)
– 1990s (29 runs – 7333 pts)
– 2000s (27 runs – 6399 pts)
– 1970s (12 runs – 3790 pts)
– 1960s (6 runs – 2555 pts)
– 1940s (2 runs – 299 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

– Grant Morrison (6 runs – 2754 pts)
– Stan Lee (5 runs – 2446 pts)
– Alan Moore (7 runs – 1902 pts)
– Chris Claremont (6 runs – 1820 pts)
– John Byrne (3 runs – 1809 pts)
– Garth Ennis (4 runs – 1579 pts)
– Warren Ellis (6 runs – 1337 pts)
– Keith Giffen (4 runs – 1328 pts)
– Jack Kirby (3 runs – 1322 pts)
– Neil Gaiman (1318 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)
– Ed Brubaker (4 runs – 789 pts)
– J. M. de Matteis (742 pts)
– John Cassaday (2 runs – 722 pts)
– Marv Wolfman (643 pts)
– George Perez (643 pts)
– Peter David (2 runs – 624 pts)
– John Ostrander (3 runs – 591 pts)
– Howard Porter (574 pts)
– Pia Guerra (547 pts)
– Kurt Busiek (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)
– 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)
– Alan Davis (2 runs – 173 pts)
– Sean Phillips (2 runs – 163 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)
– 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)
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)
– Ben Templesmith (52 pts)
– Chuck Dixon (52 pts)
– Louise Simonson (51 pts)
– Kevin Smith (50 pts)
– Joe Quesada (50 pts)
– Jim Shooter (50 pts)
– David Lapham (50 pts)
– Robert Loren Fleming (50 pts)

– 90 are superheroes or close enough (24255 pts)
– 52 are traditional superheroes (15622 pts)
– 38 are non-traditional superheroes (8623 pts)
– 13 are nonpowered superheroes (2234 pts)
– 9 are comedic superheroes (1799 pts)
– 37 are team books (11166 pts)
– 22 are non-superhero (6128 pts)

You are correct in calling Grimjack John Ostrander’s book. Not to take anything away from Tim Truman, but that book was revitalized more than once with new artists, while Ostrander’s vision remained the driving force.

From day one, Ostrander left hints of a long backstory surrounding the middle-aged John Gaunt character. Over the years many different elements were fleshed out and there are still unanswered questions regarding Grimjack’s past.

The book was re-invigorated in issue #55, when artist Flint Henry took over the art chores for a resurrected Grimjack, and from there on out the book was PHENOMENAL. The next trade to be released (if it ever does… arrgh) starts with issue #55, and I would absolutely recommend that as the jumping-on point for the series. I would push those issues even more than the early issues, which unfortunately show their age a bit.

Andrew Collins

May 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

Grimjack! Nice to see Gaunt get some love here. I’m like Chris W., desperately waiting for that next trade to come (if ever) from IDW. The new series over at Comic Mix deserves to be read too if you like the book, as it is a fantastic new tale by Ostrander and Truman.

And I would buy an Essentials volume of Power Pack if Marvel would ever get off their duffs and release one. I loved that book back in the day…

Andrew Collins

May 7, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Matt D said:
“Someone sell me on Grimjack?

I like Ostrander a lot but a lot of why i like him is for how well he works in fleshing out parts of shared universes.”

It’s funny you say that, Matt, because Grimjack is the ULTIMATE shared universe. The setting is a city called Cynosure (pardon the alliteration there), which is a city located on a dimensional vortex. As a result, all realities/dimensions/planets/galaxies pass by or through Cynosure at some point. The main character, John Gaunt a.k.a. Grimjack, is a former police officer turned bounty hunter & detective who tries to solve his cases while navigating a city where the laws of physics can change at any moment. On one block, there could be no gravity, while one street over, you could find a primitive caveman race, and yet on another you could run across a street that looks very much like one of our own. That’s why Gaunt carried a sword, because in some parts of the city, guns won’t work right.

Getting back to the shared universe idea, the book has a large cast of original characters, but also manages to feature guest appearances from many other established comic characters. Mostly through the back-up feature, “Munden’s Bar” (which is the name of the bar that Gaunt owns), characters from series like TMNTurtles, Nexus, Badger, American Flagg, Sam & Max, Fish Police, E-Man and others often wandered in. Creators like Brian Bolland, Rick Vietch, Tom Mandrake, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, Joe Staton, Steve Rude, and of course, Ostrander himself, contributed to the Munden’s Bar stories.

Grimjack’s setting also allows for its other big selling point, that being that Ostrander could tell any kind of story he wanted. When you have a city like Cynosure, it’s not hard to weave in detective stories, horror stories, love stories, political commentary, religious observations, comedies, tragedies, westerns and even a story or two set in space.

And Ostrander made it work. Perfectly. It’s a wonderful series and I urge people to try it out (especially if they can get past the hat on issue #1’s cover… :P )

Well, it IS a stupid hat. I mean, honest to god. Maybe even stupider than Impulse’s hair. Maybe. (TOLja I was shallow.)

But yeah, I’ve been curious about this one since making my way through (& loving) Ostrander’s HAWKWORLD & seeing all the glowing references to GRIMJACK in the lettercols.

If I had voted, Stray Bullets would have been my #1. It’s my favorite comic series ever, and I’ve read tons of great comics (most of the top 100, and a lot of amazing work that didn’t make the list). It’s an absolute masterpiece, both serially and collected. (For those interested: Issue #1 is the worst of the lot. Forgive it, and read on.)

I think this Avengers’s run is superior to Stern’s and Busiek’s. But it’s too old to have registered with most fans.

I don’t understand how ‘Captain Britain’ is eligible but ‘V For Vendetta’ is specifically not eligible. “V” wasn’t initially written with an end in mind, and there were more individual stories published for ‘V’ (26 issues of “Warrior”, plus the last act of the story) than ‘Captain Britain’ (somewhere around, but probably less than, 20 stories).

I was wondering about V FOR VENDETTA as well. If it’s a run, if’s very possibly my No. 1.

Andrew Collins

May 7, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Dan Bailey said:
“Well, it IS a stupid hat. I mean, honest to god. Maybe even stupider than Impulse’s hair. Maybe. (TOLja I was shallow.)”

He he. If it makes you feel any better, they do actually explain why he wears the hat.

And I think V FOR VENDETTA fell under the “no mini-series” rule, but that’s a great choice nonetheless.

I would suspect that Captain Britain counts as a run because other people wrote the character before and after Moore. He was actually created by Chris Claremont, IIRC, on the grounds that Chris was born in Britain (Even though he didn’t remember anything about the place) so was better qualified than any other Marvel writer to create the character :D

Claremont’s original stuff wasn’t bad, IIRC (I read a ton of it a while back and it was pleasant enough read if not exactly burning its way into my memory with lines of fire).

V, by contrast, is a self-contained story of roughly the normal length of a US mini-series so tends to get considered AS a self contained mini-series.

That’s just my guess :)

“I would suspect that Captain Britain counts as a run because other people wrote the character before and after Moore”

There are plenty of series which were eligible which only had one creative team, though.

“V, by contrast, is a self-contained story of roughly the normal length of a US mini-series so tends to get considered AS a self contained mini-series.”

It was published in America as a limited series, where he finished off the story. But I don’t think it was conceived as one initially, he just gave it an ending.

I enjoyed Smith and Quesada’s Daredevil at the time, but I haven’t re-read. It certainly can’t match some of the other great runs the character has had though, and I do think maybe if he wasn’t a movie director they wouldn’t have let him come on for 8 issues, kill Karen Paige and leave.

Stray Bullets definitely should’ve been in the Top 100. I’ve enjoyed the first two issues of Young Liars.

Criminal is excellent.

I enjoy Fell, but I don’t think it’s quite Top 100.

Haven’t read the others.

I got so wrapped up in my all-time favorite comic Grimjack that I didn’t chime in on the rest.

I read the original Power Pack comics, and they were awesome from day one. Sharp dialogue and storytelling with clean, beautiful artwork that matched the tone perfectly. I bailed on Power Pack when they suddenly became the go-to characters whenever Marvel put out a Very Special Public Service comic.

Criminal might be the best comic on the rack today. By far the best crime comic and a great noir feel. We need more books like this.

Fell was (is?) also great, probably my favorite Warren Ellis book from the past few years. Templesmith’s art will either dazzle or repulse you, there’s not a lot of inbetween with him. The stories are unusual and so is our hero, Detective Fell.

So does a first place vote = 50 points? Am I the only one who voted for the Shooter Avengers? I was really hopeful when I saw that Stern’s run got placed.

First place votes equal ten points.

I really figured my first place choice(Fell) would’ve placed higher. Ah well, no big deal

Well, since it seems it may be the minority opinion around here, I feel compelled to put my two cents in on Smith and Quesada’s Daredevil run. Not only did that run completely resell me on Daredevil, but as far as pure enjoyment level and fun I’d rate it above some of the other more noteworthy runs (yes, even some of Miller’s work – sue me!). I didn’t catch it when it came out so I may be out of the loop on why people don’t like it, but as someone who just happened to stumble upon it after the fact, I’d put it as some of the best comics I’ve read in a long time.

I was completely blown away by that run in every area. Amazing art, great story, great dialogue, lots of emotion, and the most badass Bullseye appearance I’ve ever read. Hell, this run even made me interested in Dr. Strange, who arguably hasn’t been relevant since the 70s. The scene where he summons Mephisto is just dripping with cool. No, it’s not “literary”, but it’s a damn good time reading comics and I suggest everyone who hasn’t read it make some time to do so. I’d say it’s way underrated and the hate it seems to get is undeserved.

One of these was actually on my ballot, kinda-sorta — I voted for the Ostrander/Truman Grimjack run, but I couldn’t in good conscience vote for the entire Grimjack series, written by Ostrander, as being a “favorite” run. I’ve never read “Stray Bullets,” “Criminal,” or “Fell.” I’ve read some or all of the other runs mentioned, but didn’t seriously consider voting for any of them. (To me, Dixon’s Nightwing run is just a painful case of Dixon trying to portray Dick Grayson as no more and no less than “Batman Lite.”)

Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to have Shooter’s Avengers in my Top Ten. I definitely prefer it to the Englehart run.

[…] tradução das palavras de Brian Conin: "Brubaker e Phillips estão fazendo um trabalho maravilhoso nesta série policial, […]

Okay, seriously, where was Perez’s Wonder Woman? Someone must have voted for it!

By that I meant how far down the list, or how many points did it have?

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