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CSBG Archive

Top 158 Comic Book Runs #107-103

Here are the final six runs!


107 (tie). Mark Waid and Ron Garney’s first run on Captain America – 89 points

Captain America #444-454

Followed up the rather disappointing end of Gruenwald’s run with a bombastic flourish, as the title was suddenly filled with action and intrigue. The idea of returning Sharon Carter to the book was brilliant, and outside of a few issues where his inkers seemed to not be doing him any favors, Ron Garney’s art was incredibly dynamic. This book was constantly moving and had a harder edge to Cap that hadn’t been seen since Steranko (like threatening to chop Red Skull’s head off, then actually chopping his arm off). It was a real shame when this was cut-off by Heroes Reborn. A year later, they got back together for a new volume of Cap, but while they were okay comics, the spark clearly had gone.

107 (tie). Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Legion – 89 points (4 first place votes)

Legion of Superheroes #122-125, Legion Lost #1-12, Legion: Worlds #1-6, The Legion #1-33

Abnett and Lanning joined the Legion with artist Olivier Coipel, and right from the get-go, you knew this was a vastly different take on the Legion (more akin to Giffen’s Legion). They highlighted this by ending the regular series after their first arc and launching two mini-series that bridged the gap to their new series. First, Legion Lost, where a small group of the Legion are trapped in a faraway galaxy, and secondly, Legion Worlds, where we catch up on the various worlds in the Legion universe (and the Legionnaires on those worlds). This all leads to the ongoing series, The Legion, where Abnett and Lanning early on pull a Levitz/Giffen, and update a modern day DC villain to the future, in a rather brilliant move.

105. Dan Slott’s She-Hulk – 90 points

She-Hulk Vol. 3 #1-12, She-Hulk Vol. 4 #1-21

Dan Slott took over She-Hulk, who had pretty much fell to the wayside by this time (she had been without a series for about 10 years), and tried a new take. He would highlight the lawyer side of her character, and turn the book into a superhero take on Ally McBeal. It was a wonderful high concept, and it worked out well, especially with Slott’s hilarious sense of humor. Continuity would often be the butt of jokes, and after the first series fizzled out, sales-wise, Marvel decided to give him a second volume with more fanfare. That series did better, and it still continues today, although Slott left it recently to take over Amazing Spider-Man.

106. Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ Ex Machina – 92 points (1 first place vote)

Ex Machina #1-current (#36)

Ex Machina is Brian K. Vaughan’s take on what a superhero in the real world would appear like, as well as what would happen if a former superhero became Mayor of New York. In doing so, Vaughan gets to make points about superheroes AND politics (as opposed to politics and poker) while being ably assisted by Tony Harris’ realistic artwork. They took an interesting approach vis a vis fill-ins. Rather than having fill-in issues, they would have one-shots by other artists to fill-in. This way, Harris would be the only artist to draw Ex Machina proper.

104. Frank Miller’s Sin City – 93 points (1 first place vote)

Dark Horse Fifth Anniversary Special, Dark Horse Presents #51-62, then a pile of mini-series, including A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard

Sin City started off with a bang in Dark Horse Presents, as we saw the life of the gruesome Marv in this equally gruesome city. Later adventures brought in other characters with similarly gruesome tales of lust, betrayal and revenge. Oh, and lots of violence! Lots and lots of violence. Here, Miller truly perfected his noir art style, and the recent film adaptation of the work kept Miller’s art intact, showing just how cinematic Miller was on this series. A beautifully drawn series of horrible acts.

103. Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar – 94 points (1 first place vote)

Dreadstar #1-26 (Epic Comics), Dreadstar #27-40 (First Comics), plus some annuals and original graphic novels and the Metamorphosis Odyssey from Epic Illustrated

For a man with quite a few epics, Dreadstar probably was Starlin’s finest – or at least his most realized. He had 40 issues to develop the story of Vanth Dreadstar (the lone survivor of our galaxy) and his band of pirates against the bloody war between the Church of The Instrumentality and the Monarchy. In a lot of ways, this was a continuation of Starlin’s Warlock run, only with different characters, but it was a mature, often depressing work, with wonderful artwork by Starlin. What is striking about the work is that it follows the various changes that happen in the “real world,” but are often left unseen in fiction (The Walking Dead was also designed for this point – showing what happens AFTER the end of most zombie films). What happens when the rebels actually WIN? How do things change? It’s Starlin’s most mature work, and it really could use a full trade paperback collection. Luke McDonnell, by the way, drew the last 8 issues or so, the ones detailing what happens AFTER the war is won. It is darker, so it makes sense to use a darker artist like McDonnell.

Okay, that’s it!

Hope you all enjoyed the countdown!


Cool to see the admiration for the LOSH & Slott’s SHE-HULK, & I’m sure Waid’s CAPTAIN AMERICA as well (I’ve got precisely that run coming in the mail from an eBay seller even as I type, so can’t comment on it yet).

Frank Miller? Any chance we can we just pretend he & his creations never existed? Thanks.

Yay!! Shulkie!!!!


Dreadstar 1-31 is not only the most satisfying space opera in the history of comics, they have to be most TIGHTLY PLOTTED sustained run of comics ever written. When the mysteries are revealed in issue 27, the hair can’t help but stand up on the back of your neck from how brilliantly it all comes together. A true masterpiece. I kept waiting for it to show up– who knew it was lurking right outside the top 100 all this time? (Well, Brian did, I guess). REPRINT THIS, SOMEBODY!!!

Isn’t it funny how Brian kept justifying his “run length” standards by saying that “otherwise we’d rule out Stern and Byrne’s Captain America!” when all the while he knew that that run didn’t even make the list. That is strange, isn’t it?

Wow! So Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright/Heart of Empire is 102 or 101??


The other must be John Wagner and Alan Grant’s Judge Dredd…

That or Liefeld’s X-Force!

Oh, arse… just realised that there were three tied for #100… forgot that, it seems so long ago that this started…


Sorry Luther, the Disruptors got there first in this parallel….

It’s funny, Matt, as I was writing up these six, I also noticed that Waid and Garney’s Cap run was only 11 issues.

Also something that everyone considers a run, no question.

And, of course, that’s not counting the other runs of 10 issues or less that everyone considers a run (like, fer instance, Englehart’s Batman and Justice League and Miller/Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil).

Well, I guess the most shocking absences, not necessarily in terms of “greatness” but just in terms of what else showed up on the list, are Perez’s “Wonder Woman” and Claremont and Lee’s “X-Men”. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! You can’t even blame these two on a lack of reprints! They’re both readily available in trade!

I guess the X-Men run is damaged by its association with the atrocious work that Lee did after Claremont was fired, but it’s really, really weird to see stuff like Silvestri’s X-Men outrank this. (Not just outrank it, but blow it out of the water!) When did these two flip-flop in the blogosphere hive-mind? I have to say that, the few times I’ve re-read the whole saga, Claremont seems much more engaged and excited by Lee than he does by Silvestri.

Yeah, the Silvestri love stunned me.

Mobelius Rodelius

May 14, 2008 at 10:59 am

Wow. Someone else likes Coipel’s Legion issues. Those Abnett Lanning Coipel issues are the only readable issues of the series for someone not steeped in the morass of Legion continuity like me. Waid and Kitson’s Legion was ok, too, but Coipel’s art totally sealed the deal for me. Are there trades covering any of this run?

Rucka’s Queen and Country
Conway’s Spider-man
Starlin’s Captain Marvel

I’m glad to see Ex Machina there though.

I voted for Waid and Garney’s Cap, and I guess I’m not surprised to see it off the list — but if this poll had been run when those books were coming out, I guarantee they would have made the top 100.
Also a bit surprising that Sin City didn’t make it — though are we in the middle of Frank Miller backlash? Maybe. These not-quite-in-the-top-100 were a pretty good list, as well.

Someone asked me about Quasar – Gruenwald’s run fell just shy of 50 points.

Thanks, Brian.

For the record, the current Jonah Hex series received at least one point!

I didn’t vote for the Silvestri run, but I do like it a lot, and from what other people have said in comments it seems a big part of the love is because that’s the run we first got into the X-Men with. I’ve re-read it since then, and still like it, but I think that might be a big factor. Of course, I’m assuming a decent amount of people on this site are close to my age (early 30s), so if I’m wrong there this whole theory of mine is probably moot.

Waid and Garney’s first Cap run probably would have made my list if I had re-read their issues more recently. I loved it when it came out, and it ending for the Heroes Reborn crap just further pushed me towards dropping comics altogether for several years.

I love Starlin, but haven’t read Dreadstar. If they ever collect this I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.

I own all of the Waid issues he did for Cap (before and after Heroes Reborn), but I don’t like them much. I’ve read the first “Sin City” mini, way back when, and I think two other story arcs besides, but never even considered voting for any of that material.

As to the other items: I know almost nothing about them! I’ve hardly glanced at anything Legion-related from after the Post-Zero Reboot (that was what, 14 years ago?); I’ve never bought any of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk work, I’ve never read Ex Machina, and offhand I’m not sure whether I’ve ever looked through any of Starlin’s Dreadstar material or not! (If I did, it was so long ago that the details have blurred in my mind.)

Ex Machina should have been higher than 106.

I have very fond memories of Perez’s Wonder Woman, but I have to admit that I’ve never once reread it. That alone was reason to knock it out of my top 10. (I suppose that a few others might also have included it in their top 15 or 20? Though actually I’d say it’s my second-favorite Wonder Woman run, after Rucka’s. Of course, he both returned to and put a fresh sheen on the mythology that Perez so successfully (re)introduced, post-Crisis.) I still lament DC pulling the plug on Rucka’s WW for that waaaay lame, post-Infinite-Crisis reboot.

I’m going to brainstorm a bit about what looks missing to me. (Including a few that I voted for, but more that I’m just generally surprised/think at least 1/3 of the listed runs aren’t really better than…)

So, no love for Zot!. Or for Girl Genius (which has been a webcomic long enough that most people probably forgot it had more than enough regular issues to qualify even without tacking on the post-web trades).

Nor for Busiek’s Thunderbolts, or his Untold Tales of Spiderman, or either of PAD’s Spiderman runs.

Rick Veitch didn’t make it in for either Swamp Thing, the King Hell Heroica (Brat Pack+Maximortal+Specials), or Rare Bit Fiends.

Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles original run is a surprising absence, I think. As is Delano’s Hellblazer.

No Tom Strong or Halo Jones from Moore. No Greg Pak Hulk, even in an extremely present-oriented list…

I re-read (but mostly read for the first time) Dreadstar last year. While it’s not in trade, it’s super-easy to find them* (especially the ones published by Epic) in back issue bins and on eBay. And cheaply too (I think I paid $40 for the entire run all told). The only hard ones to find are the ones toward the end of the run with McDonnell pencils.

The thing about Starlin’s Dreadstar is that it’s a series and a central character that constantly reinvents itself, changing and twisting and bending like a slinky. (That’s without adding the Metamorphosis Odyssey; put it in the mix and it’s even bendier). Probably my favourite issue from the later issues (which I found kind of dreary) was one where Dreadstar takes stock of all the changes that happened to him and the universe he lives in.

The thing about Dreadstar is that the graphic novel and the Metamorphosis Odyssey are these big, ponderous space opera epic graphic novels. The comic book series is a superhero team book in a space opera setting (It’s Omega Men but done well) . It’s great fun and a wild ride of a series, but I found myself always slightly disappointed it wasn’t more in the bombastic ponderous space opera graphic novel style.

* I’m talking mostly of the Dreadstar graphic novel comic book series; I’ve never tried looking for the Metamorphosis Oddyssey stories in Epic as they were reprinted in trade a while back

Oh, by ‘metamorphosis odyssey’ I meant the stories in Epic Illustrated– I was reminded that in fact the whole Dreadstar series is technically a part of that saga

did Englehart’s Avengers make the list? If it didn’t, that’s shocking.

Johnson and Williams’ Chase was a short series, but really well done.

The current Manhunter series also I’d rank higher than some runs that made the list.

I’ve never read it, but Scud the Disposable Assassin has many supporters. I’m a little shocked that didn’t place anywhere.

Joe Casey’s Godland is one of my favorite current series and probably deserved to be on this list somewhere.

Demattais’s Spider-man is another surprising absence.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not being on this list clearly says something about how far the mighty have fallen.

Delano’s Hellblazer probably doesnt belong in the top 150, but I’ll mention it anyway.

Same goes for Ms. Tree, Rucka’s Wonder Woman, McCloud’s Zot, Noble Causes, Davis and Delano’s Captain Britain, Claremont and Lee’s X-men, and Ellis’s Excalibur.

Whoa, you’re right, no “Tom Strong”! That’s really weird, given how well the other ABC books did! Am I the only one who prefers “Tom Strong” to LoEG? They’re both great, but I thought TS grew deeper and richer, while LoEG remained just a neat gimmick.

Yeah. If you’re 30, Silvestri was drawing X-Men when you were 10. Isn’t that supposedly the “golden age” of being a comics fan? I don’t think it’s the best run ever on X-Men, but it’s definitely the one I was most excited about when I was a kid. Even when it was coming out bi-weekly, the wait between issues killed me.

>>Also a bit surprising that Sin City didn’t make it — though are we in the middle of Frank Miller backlash?

If I’m any example. (which usually I most certainly am *not*), perhaps we are.

I’m finding the guy’s works — &, I guess, maybe to some extent the guy behind* the works, if his little whoops-wow-look-they-blew-up-the-Towers-geez-now-I’m-a-gungho-patriot-go-*git*-‘em-Amerika!-yeehaw! about-face a few years ago is any sort of indication — more & more repellent by the month.

I would have liked those Legion issues a lot more without Copiel’s muddy muddy art. I’d rather have clarity than energy most of the time.

Honestly, I’d be happied if Sin City hadn’t made the top 150 and Give Me Liberty/Martha Washington had.

Mike Loughlin

May 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I still like the art on the first few Sin City stories- it blew my mind at age 15. The stories were generally well-constructed, the dialogue suitably noir-ish… but the whole series is so unpleasant, the stories got worse as they went (Hell & Back being among the worst comics I’ve ever read), and most of us aren’t 15 anymore.

>>I’ve never read it, but Scud the Disposable Assassin has many supporters. I’m a little shocked that didn’t place anywhere.

Wow. I’m not absolutely positive, but I’m pretty sure this is the first title mention that I’ve never even heard of. Except maybe for a recent (revival?) issue at the nearest LCS last week, perhaps, but of course it meant nothing to me.

Otherwise, yeah, none of CHASE & MANHUNTER & GODLAND & MS TREE & NOBLE CAUSES would’ve shamed any of these lists with their inclusion.

I guess the X-Men run is damaged by its association with the atrocious work that Lee did after Claremont was fired, but it’s really, really weird to see stuff like Silvestri’s X-Men outrank this. (Not just outrank it, but blow it out of the water!) When did these two flip-flop in the blogosphere hive-mind? I have to say that, the few times I’ve re-read the whole saga, Claremont seems much more engaged and excited by Lee than he does by Silvestri.

The lack of love for both Frank Miller and Jim Lee is pretty easy to figure out: “All-Star Batman & Robin”. An awful lot of people hate ASBAR beyond all reason. That probably had a huge negative impact on the votes for the Claremont/Lee “X-Men”, the Loeb/Lee “Batman” and Miller’s “Sin City”. It is frankly absurd, but it seems like that is what happened. Miller’s “Daredevil” is safely into the proverbial cannon of great comics at this point (and it is the only one of two post-60s Marvels safely in the cannon). That assured its placement.

Conversely, the Claremont/Lee “X-Men” was easy to punish. Nearly, everybody probably had at least one X-Men run on their list already from the look of things. It is a shame, since it was actually a pretty good run.

>>Miller’s “Daredevil” is safely into the proverbial cannon of great comics at this point (and it is the only one of two post-60s Marvels safely in the cannon).

In the canNon? That’s a rather explosive statement …

I imagine the Claremont/Lee X-Men run gets hurt for not being pretty a) not very long, b) split across two books, and c.) part of it being disjointed chapters in a nonsensical crossover. The Shi’ar story was fun, but the rest of it wasn’t particularly memorable.

Dean beat me to me my point – but I think in both artists’ cases it has been building for a little longer. Miller from Hell & Back, Strikes Again, the announcement of Holy Terror! and now ASBAR; Lee from the equally derided-by-the-interwebs run on Superman with Azz, the abortion of WildCATs with Morrison and ASBAR. And this coming from somebody who loves ASBAR for what it is, voted for Sin City and didn’t vote for any X-Men runs.

So, I’m curious if the dread lord & master has any plans to revisit this poll, say 2 – 5 years down the road? Because under the guidelines established here I think this list will always very much be a product of its times…I’m guessing that this poll taken five years from now in the past or future would be significantly re-ordered with at least 30% of the top runs being completely different.

I went with runs that were (a) complete and (b) that I had read all of, but those were my own personal restrictions. Given that, though, I still voted for favorites and not best or most critically acclaimed. Still, in five years Bru & Epting’s Cap, Kirkman’s Walking Dead, Fraction and the Twins for Casanova, etc, etc.

The only thing I voted for that didn’t get a mention was Rucka’s Queen & Country, which I believe would have definitely shown up if this conducted in 2003.

Anyway, just my $.02. Thanks again for doing this, Mr Cronin – it’s been a blast.

Boy, do I wish you could edit posts so that I could, oh, I don’t know, finish sentences and add verbs and stuff. Or, I guess I could just pay more attention to my ramblings before I click publish.

No Furman Transformers either :( I loved that comic as a kid.

I would have also liked to have seen Francis Moore’s X-Force place (the road trip issues anyway) and some form of Dan Dare (Hampson or maybe Ennis’s run when it finishes.)

Were Asterix or Tintin eligible for voting?

Rebis, agreed on the point about Rucka’s WW being the high point for the character creatively (even if he spent so long building up Veronica Cale and then… never really did anything with the character in WW proper).

Waid / Garney Cap is so hard to separate from the shockingly mediocre Heroes Return version that it wasn’t surprising that it wasn’t in the Top 100. Heck, I was shocked that Grue’s run made it in, as the last 1/3rd of that with all the transformations took away from the great stuff building to #350. Then again, the first comic I can remember purchasing in a store was one of the Stern / Byrne Cap issues, so I’ve always been a bit biased against Grue’s stuff… in other words, no Cap runs in my top 10 due to everything cancelling each other out. :)

I don’t think “Hush” ever had a hope in hell of making the list, even before ASB&R. People just got too annoyed with the way it ended and the Jason cop-out (esp. after Winick brought Jason back ANYWAY, after Loeb had gone through backflips to make the story work WITHOUT Jason as the villain). The most recent Batman run I was expecting to show up was Rucka’s ‘Tec.

Manhunter was a title I would’ve considered had the run been over. As it was, Planetary almost got knocked off my list for that same reason, but I figure Ellis has already finished his main storyline with that. Manhunter could still go any number of directions with the same writer in charge, so even if it wasn’t disqualified under the actual rules it was personally disqualified under mine.

Next question for the floor: based on first impressions, what currently ongoing yet ineligible work has a shot at joining the list? From DC, I could see the Tomasi / Rags Nightwing challenging the Dixon / McDaniel version as the definitive take on the character, but I don’t know if they’ll stick around long enough to override the sheer power of Dixon’s tenure (over five years) and “first into the pool” status there. Not sure about recent Marvel creative changes… maybe if Initiative sticks around long enough?

Any chance of getting the complete list, sans commentary? I’d like to know what happened to Impulse and The Adventures Of Barry Ween, both of which I voted for. I’m just curious, and I’m not so adamant about this.

We have 158 runs (and 33601 pts)

– 57 runs are set in the Marvel Universe (13130 pts)
– 14 runs are X-Titles (3510 pts)
– 2 runs are Ultimate titles (679 pts)
– 61 runs if you get Marvel plus Ultimate Universe plus Supreme Power (13864 pts)

– 43 runs are set in the DC Universe (10609 pts)
– 7 runs are Bat-Titles (729 pts)
– 11 are Vertigo comics (4495 pts)
– 48 runs if you get DC plus Vertigo sub-universe plus Plastic Man retcon (10829 pts)

– 6 runs are set in the Wildstorm Universe (1048 pts)
– 8 runs have female protagonists (1188 pts)

– 124 are superheroes or close enough (26600 pts)
– 34 are non-superhero (7001 pts)

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

– 1980s (46 runs – 10703 pts)
– 1990s (38 runs – 8019 pts)
– 2000s (42 runs – 7455 pts)
– 1970s (20 runs – 4311 pts)
– 1960s (8 runs – 2685 pts)
– 1940s (2 runs – 299 pts)
– 1950s (2 runs – 129 pts)

Sorted by associated creator:

– Grant Morrison (9 runs – 2949 pts)
– Stan Lee (5 runs – 2446 pts)
– Alan Moore (7 runs – 1902 pts)
– Chris Claremont (7 runs – 1874 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 (3 runs – 1292 pts)
– Brian Michael Bendis (5 runs – 1141 pts)
– Steve Ditko (2 runs – 1034 pts)
– Brian K. Vaughan (3 runs – 946 pts)
– Ed Brubaker (6 runs – 934 pts)
– James Robinson (921 pts)
– Peter David (4 runs – 771 pts)
– J. M. de Matteis (742 pts)
– John Cassaday (2 runs – 722 pts)
– Marv Wolfman (2 runs – 721 pts)
– George Perez (643 pts)
– Geoff Johns (4 runs – 619 pts)
– John Ostrander (3 runs – 591 pts)
– Howard Porter (574 pts)
– Mark Waid (4 runs – 552 pts)
– Pia Guerra (547 pts)
– Kurt Busiek (2 runs – 541 pts)
– Walt Simonson (514 pts)
– Alex Maleev (480 pts)
– Bryan Hitch (2 runs – 474 pts)
– Bill Willimgham (428 pts)
– Darick Robertson (418 pts)
– Roger Stern (3 runs – 402 pts)
– Dave Sim (370 pts)
– Gerhard (370 pts)
– Mark Millar (2 runs – 369 pts)
– Mark Bagley (364 pts)
– Denny O’Neil (3 runs – 348 pts)
– John Romita Jr. (3 runs – 331 pts)
– Paul Levitz (328 pts)
– Brent Anderson (323 pts)
– Jeff Smith (321 pts)
– Adrian Alphona (307 pts)
– Steve Gerber (2 runs – 276 pts)
– John Romita (270 pts)
– Peter Milligan (2 runs – 255 pts)
– Steve Englehart (2 runs – 255 pts)
– Brothers Hernandez (236 pts)
– John McCrea (232 pts)
– Joss Whedon (229 pts)
– Roy Thomas (3 runs – 228 pts)
– David Mazzucchelli (211 pts)
– Tom and Mary Bierbaum (208 pts)
– Greg Rucka (2 runs – 207 pts)
– Tom Mandrake (205 pts)
– Will Eisner (204 pts)
– Jim Starlin (2 runs – 203 pts)
– Joe Kelly (202 pts)
– Robert Kirkman (2 runs – 180 pts)
– Mike Mignola (179 pts)
– Frank Quitely (176 pts)
– Mike Baron (174 pts)
– Steve Rude (174 pts)
– Alan Davis (2 runs – 173 pts)
– Mike Grell (2 runs – 172 pts)
– Matt Wagner (2 runs – 169 pts)
– Mike Allred (2 runs – 168 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)
– JMS (2 runs – 131 pts)
– Christopher Priest (130 pts)
– Paul Chadwick (120 pts)
– Joe Casey (117 pts)
– Mike Carey (114 pts)
– Peter Gross (114 pts)
– Ryan Kelly (114 pts)
РSergio Aragon̩s (110 pts)
– Mark Evanier (110 pts)
– Mark Gruenwald (107 pts)
– Jim Shooter (2 runs – 106 pts)
– Stuart Immonen (103 pts)
– Michael Gaydos (101 pts)
– Kazuo Koike (100 pts)
– Goseki Kojima (100 pts)
– Denys Cowan (99 pts)
– Stan Sakai (98 pts)
– Terry Moore (96 pts)
– Chris Ware (95 pts)
– Doug Moench (95 pts)
– Jack Cole (95 pts)
– Tony Harris (92 pts)
– Dan Slott (90 pts)
– Ron Garney (89 pts)
– Dan Abnett (89 pts)
– Andy Lanning (89 pts)
– Neal Adams (87 pts)
– Matt Fraction (83 pts)
– Katsuhiro Otomo (80 pts)
– Scott Lobdell (79 pts)
– Gene Colan (78 pts)
– Howard Chaykin (77 pts)
– Gail Simone (76 pts)
– Robert Kanigher (76 pts)
– Joe Kubert (76 pts)
– Todd Nauck (75 pts)
– Jim Steranko (74 pts)
– John Rogers (74 pts)
– Steve Seagle (71 pts)
– Sam Kieth (70 pts)
– Larry Hama (68 pts)
– William Messner-Loebs (66 pts)
– Peter Bagge (65 pts)
– Len Wein (64 pts)
– Bernie Wrightson (64 pts)
– Fabian Nicieza (57 pts)
– Ann Nocenti (55 pts)
– Laura Allred (55 pts)
– Dave Cockrum (54 pts)
– Gerry Conway (53 pts)
– Carl Barks (53 pts)
– Ben Templesmith (52 pts)
– Chuck Dixon (52 pts)
– Louise Simonson (51 pts)
– Kevin Smith (50 pts)
– Joe Quesada (50 pts)
– David Lapham (50 pts)
– Robert Loren Fleming (50 pts)

– 124 are superheroes or close enough (26600 pts)
– 72 are traditional superheroes (17040 pts)
– 52 are non-traditional superheroes (9550 pts)
– 20 are nonpowered superheroes (2764 pts)
– 12 are comedic superheroes (2019 pts)
– 52 are team books (12122 pts)
– 34 are non-superhero (7001 pts)

I find it shocking that George Perez’s Wonder Woman isn’t even in the Top 150. Not to start a discussion about gender, but I think Perez’s WW is as good or better than a lot of superhero series starring male protagonists that made it in the Top 100. It’s certainly holds up a bit better than Byrne’s Man of Stee, but Man of Steel made it, despite all the Byrne-hate. Slott’s She-Hulk also scored surprisingly low, particularly when you note it has everything else going in its favor: it’s Marvel, it’s recent, it’s “fun”, it’s respectful of chronology.

Maybe the simplest explanation of all is that since an overwhelming majority of superhero comic book readers are male, the identification/wish-fullfiment factor that seems to be so strong in superhero fans isn’t as easy to accomplish when the superhero is of the opposite gender, and so these series can be respected, but don’t have that special place in the fans’ hearts that make them include them in their top 10 lists.

I’m not as disgusted with Frank Miller’s personal oppinions on foreign politics. Actually I’m as distrustful of Islam (and any other organized religion for that mater) as Miller is. No, what really sickened me about Miller is his barely disguised homophobia. The utterly bizarre Dick Grayson thing in DK2, together with the old Bruce Wayne making out with a teenaged girl, and the hyper-masculinity of all of Miller’s heroic characters, makes me believe that Miller is a seriously unbalanced individual when it comes to his sexuality. I wonder if he is a closeted gay in painful denial and full of self-hate or something.

Runs missing in my opinion:
L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 by Giffen/Grant/Kitson(or maybe just Grant and Kitson)
D.P.7 by Gruenwald/Ryan
X-Men:First Class by Parker
ElfQuest by Wendy and Richard Pini
Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa
Superman Adventures by Mark Millar

I realize they can’t all make it, and I am sure there are “important” comics that are also absent from the list, but I just really enjoyed these titles when they came out.

I think that Rene is right. Perez’s Wonder Woman is the most glaring omission of this list. She’s one of the Big Three from the Top Two companies! If that doesn’t get you on this list, I don’t know what will. Maybe just the fact that DC has never done anything with the character since. But, I guess that the same argument could be made for Superman.

Brian, I have to know: did Kubert’s Tarzan get any other votes besides mine?

Offhand, no, I don’t believe so.

That’s a shame. Not because Kubert is short on accolades, but because it means so many people have missed out on a brilliant comic. In my opinion, the finest adaptation of novels to comics ever.

Obviously, the Stern/Bryne CAPTAIN AMERICA (247-255) are underrated. If you haven’t read them you should do yourself a favor.

Jeff R. said:
No Tom Strong or Halo Jones from Moore. No Greg Pak Hulk, even in an extremely present-oriented list…

I wouldn’t say “extremely.” According to Rene’s running tallies, we’ve only had 42 runs (out of 158) that began publication within the last 8 years, 4 and a half months (since 1 January 2000). That works out to about 26.6 percent, or just over 1 in 4. Frankly, I would not have been surprised to see runs from the present decade getting one-third or more of the spots on the list because they were so fresh in people’s minds; often still coming out today! (Sure, I would have been a tad disappointed by such results . . . but not surprised.)

The 1990s actually did almost as well — and I don’t think of them as part of “the present” at this late date. The 1980s actually did the best of any decade — 46 runs, or 29.1 percent!

(Heck, 5 of my 10 picks were from the 1980s, although only 3 of those 5 got enough votes to be mentioned in Brian’s results.)

In my opinion, the finest adaptation of novels to comics ever.

That’s a fairly small pond, isn’t it? What’s the competition, apart from BWS and Busiek’s runs at Conan? Classics Illustrated?

(Oh, and Foglio’s Myth Adventures, which would probably be my vote for the winner in that small category.)

I’m really stunned that Perez’s WW didn’t even make the 50 runners-up; just drives home how unpopular the character is, DC’s pretensions aside.

I had the Silvestri run really high on my list. That’s when I started reading X-Men and to this days it’s my all-time favorite of all X-Men runs. Furthermore, I’m really surprised that the Hama/Silvestri run on Wolverine was overlooked. I felt that is arguably the best run on Marvel’s single most prominant character. That seemed like a no-brainer, far better than many of the runs that made the list.

Also a surprise, McFarlane’s Spider-Man did not make the list, his run on Amazing or the “new” title. As big as that was at the time, and as revered as McFarlane’s work is in defining the look of Spider-Man for a generation, it got no love.

As a fan, I’m very artist-centric, so many of the runs on the list didn’t resonate with me at all. I don’t care how good the story is, if the art is lack-luster, I’m not going to get into it. Apparently, many voters have a very different slant on how they ranked arcs because I didn’t agree with a tons of the choices.

Yes, the list is very writer-centric. That is not a problem with me, since I’m very writer-centric myself. It must be a generational thing, I think the majority of fans that got into comics in the 1980s, pre-Image Comics days, are writer-centric.

And to this day, I’m not a big fan of overly distorted art. I prefer art that doesn’t distract me from the story. I’m much more fond of George Perez and Alan Davis than I am of Todd McFarlane.

George Perez and Alan Davis are probably my 2 favorite artists. I’d read almost anything by them.

Glad too see that some things I enjoyed but was sad to see them missing on the list were mentioned by others, like Perez’s WW and Elfquest. Someone mentioned run with the roadtrip issues of X-force. I really loved those issues, however, that run became hit or miss after the roadtrip ended, which kind of dragged it down a bit. Still some good stuff from that era, tho.

Dan Slott must be related to someone at Marvel, lots of series with just as good buzz but just as crappy sales are rarely given a second chance the way he got. I wish Marvel and DC would take chances like that with Other titles. I never got into Slott’s She-Hulk, even though I like the character, but it is nice to see Marvel occasionally try and give smaller but well-received titles a chance.

I think Miller is at the point where he is still a good artist but a crappy writer.

Am I the only one who would have liked to see ‘Next Men’ on the list? I’ll have to reread it to see if it still hold ups. I wonder if knowing that Byrne never ended the series will hurt it’s reread value…

In the end, the big lesson of this whole exercise is that Marvel desperately needs to release Visionary trades of the great runs that didn’t place at all:

DeMatteis and Zeck’s Captain America
Mantlo and Buscema’s Hulk

And the ones that placed way too low:

Stern’s Doctor Strange (one for each artist)
Lee and Ditko’s Doctor Strange
Starlin’s Warlock
Moench and Gulacy’s Master of Kung Fu

Are you listening, Mr. Quesada?

Oh, and DC needs to put out two Showcase’s of Grell’s Warlord!

>>Moench and Gulacy’s Master of Kung Fu

Not gonna happen, unfortunately. Marvel no longer has the rights to the characters created by Sax Rohmer — most prominently, Fu Manchu.

Back issies are, however, surprisingly cheap.

As the comments for Waid/Garney’s Cap run and She-Hulk remind me, books that take a long hiatus (at least, company-owned ones) always seem to come back weaker. I noticed the same thing with Runaways. I think that creators lose that “spark” or impetus or what-have-you and aren’t able to summon it up again. She-Hulk vol. 2 got pretty bad by the end, focusing way too much on continuity. Not sure how PAD is managing with the title right now.

Hama and Silvestri’s Wolverine run just missed my list, Nacho. It was a great read, and even though I have no desire to read any mutant related books currently, I still like that run to this day. If this had been a top 15, it definitely would have made my list. Hell, probably a top 12 it would have been there.

Another good current title that I like is Incredible Herc. Guess there isn’t enough of it yet to qualify for being a run, and the bad thing about voting for current titles is that you don’t know if they will end well or not.

I put the Silvestri run as my #1 run, but not for Silvestri’s art (which I do like), but because I was forced to divide up Claremont’s run and picked the era I felt had the best stories, which was the Silvestriand Lee runs which ran together and slightly overlapped. I decided on Silvestri instead of Lee because when forced to subdivide even that already subdivided run my favorite stories were the Reavers stories, especially Wolverine’s crucifixion.

Sean C mentioned, “I’m really stunned that Perez’s WW didn’t even make the 50 runners-up; just drives home how unpopular the character is, DC’s pretensions aside.”

I think Wonder Woman is popular, but not within message-board-time-spending comic-book-reading community. None of my friends read comic books and most of them humorously look down on me reading them, but every single woman in my friend circle owns at least one article of clothing with Wonder Woman or her logo on it. Most of them identify with the character from the Linda Carter Tv series we watched as kids. It’s the symbolism of Wonder Woman – a powerful, confident woman that can stand toe-to-toe with any super man – which endured, not the stories themselves. I’ve never read her title, but I do identify with the character.

I think Wonder Woman is popular, but not within message-board-time-spending comic-book-reading community.

I think you don’t need the first part.

“not within the comic-book-reading community” is more accurate.

I see some people arguing that ASBAR is so hated by various fans that the negative feelings toward it may have spilled over onto other, even much earlier, works by Frank Miller and/or Jim Lee, causing them to get less votes than they supposedly deserved.

I won’t claim to read anyone else’s minds regarding why they did or didn’t vote for the Claremont/Lee run on the X-Men, for instance, but I can speak for myself on this point.

First, I really don’t think virulent hatred for ASBAR had anything to do with the final composition of my ballot, because I’ve never even read a single issue of ASBAR! I’ve heard enough negative things about it to convince me I wouldn’t enjoy spending my money on it, so I simply don’t. But by the same token, I don’t cry myself to sleep at night thinking about how awful it is, since I’ve never truly been exposed to it! (In fact, I think I had forgotten Jim Lee was the artist on ASBAR until I was reminded in this thread!)

I still ended up voting for one of Miller’s Daredevil runs — I don’t remember thinking about ASBAR at all at the time I was trying to evaluate where some of his work from the 70s and 80s stood in my affections. On the other hand, I never even considered voting for any of the “Sin City” material I’ve read, because I simply don’t like it enough to go back and reread it regularly, which was the key question I kept asking myself when I was trying to narrow down a longer list of “favorites” to a short ballot of just “10 Top Favorites.”

The Claremont/Lee X-Men run fell by the wayside because of that same key question — I don’t remember when the last time was that I bothered to pull those back issues out of my collection and reread them all, straight through; therefore, they obviously don’t have their hooks in me as one of my “Top 10 Favorites.” I believe I did give the run serious consideration for a minute, though, without fussing over any negative feelings about anything Lee may have done more recently. (By the same token, I voted for other favorite runs by other creators who later went on to do things which I found disappointing instead of entertaining!)

Someone mentioned how the anti-ASBAR backlash might even have damaged the Loeb/Lee “Hush” run in the voting. I never even toyed with the idea of voting for “Hush.” Why should I? The most fun I got out of it was writing a scathing parody to highlight its plot holes and such, four years ago. I doubt I’ve bothered to reread it since then. Since I obviously had never seen or heard of ASBAR in early 2004, when I was working on the parody because of my disgust at how “Hush” fell so far short of my expectations for it, I don’t think the negative buzz online about ASBAR had anything to do with my failure to cast a vote for “Hush.” (And for what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve ever said anything bad about Jim Lee’s artwork on “Hush” — it’s the lazy writing I objected to!)

Bernard the Poet

May 15, 2008 at 5:46 am

I am going to stick my neck out and say that the reason Perez’s Wonder Woman isn’t on the list is because it wasn’t very good.

Perez’s Wonder Woman was really too wet to carry an on-going series. Wide-eyed, innocent girls with bodies of women, make a suitable protagonists for Harlequin novels, but they don’t fit quite so well into the superhero genre. Superheroes need a bit of fire in their belly.

Perez (& various scripters) compounded this elementary mistake by making the stories incredibly long-winded – the opening six-issue origin story arc was at least three issues too long.

Obviously the art was nice, but as re-boots go it wasn’t a patch on Mike Sekowsky’s kung-fu Wonder Woman of the ‘Sixties. Now that should have made the list.

Er…Perez’s WW not very good? Kung-Fu Wonder Woman? Fire in their belly?

Well, I suppose it takes all kinds.

I’ll vote for the awful Silver Age Wonder Woman when Hades becomes a skating rink (which, if you believe Dante, it already is).

Perez’s run was a brilliant superhero story; the first dozen or so issues, in particular, are flawless, in my opinion, as both origin and a “coming of age” type drama. It’s unquestionably the most acclaimed run on Wonder Woman’s title ever (in some respects, I think Rucka’s was better, but he never got to finish his run, so it will always be incomplete).

The lack of love for both Frank Miller and Jim Lee is pretty easy to figure out: “All-Star Batman & Robin”.

I think you have it the wrong way around. All-Star Batman and Robin is the latest fruit of a diseased vine that goes back all the way to Sin City and probably before that, not the thing that has tainted all impressions.

Somewhere in the 1990s, Frank Miller became blunter, angrier and less interesting. I think Sin City is visually dynamic and spectacularly shallow; 300 even more so. And, in spite of a brilliant opening, Dark Knight Strikes Back was so bad it would have be now quarter-binned had it been done by a lesser-known artist.

I find the comics work he’s done over the past 15 years shallow, crass and mean-spirited. All-Star Batman and Robin is just the latest in a long line.

I think

Whoops. Somehow didn’t post my last line.

I think Jim Lee is just overrated, but that’s hardly a big sin in this industry!

I greatly enjoyed Slott’s She-Hulk, especially the early issues w/the Bobillo art-he made Jen cute-as-a-button!

I should really great around to reading those Ex Machina trades I have lying around…

…and someone should really get around to putting some Dreadstar trades out, so I can read those. Pretty soon I’m just going to give up and buy the back issues. There just aren’t enough good space operas.

As for Lee/Claremont on X-Men I think there were just too many other Claremont/artistic partner runs that people liked more. For me, it was Claremont/Romita Jr, for many others it was Claremont/Silvestri; even if someone was going to put a few X-Men runs on their list, I still think Claremont/Lee would get overlooked, especially since it was so disjointed and broken up by crossovers and fill-ins that it feels less like a cohesive “run.”

I was actually very surprised at myself when I looked at my ballot after I had finally narrowed it down to 10, and realized that nothing by Claremont had made it through the final cut! Neither had anything by Byrne, for that matter, although the Claremont/Byrne collaboration on X-Men had certainly been on the list of “serious contenders” that I drafted out before I started the culling process. Each of those guys had also been represented by at least one or two other items on that list of worthy candidates . . . but somehow those runs all failed to go the distance when I was asking myself, “How many times have I actually gone back and eagerly reread that material in recent years?”

>>Obviously the art was nice, but as re-boots go it wasn’t a patch on Mike Sekowsky’s kung-fu Wonder Woman of the ‘Sixties. Now that should have made the list.

Except that, y’know, Sekowsky drew it. Too bad.

>>I greatly enjoyed Slott’s She-Hulk, especially the early issues w/the Bobillo art-he made Jen cute-as-a-button!

Same here. I have no idea why so many people objected ot Bobillo’s art.

Bernard the Poet

May 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

“Except that, y’know, Sekowsky drew it. Too bad.”

Needless to say, I thought Sekowsky was a pretty fine artist. The way he laid out his story – with characters sometimes exploding out of their boxes – was dynamic, and his figures were always well drawn.

Diana never looked better than when she was in her floral purple mini-dress.

Yeah, I think Manhunter should have been at least on the top 150. It would have been on my top 10 list if I wasn’t doing comprehensive exams during the voting period and thus didn’t vote. Maybe Chase as well.

One thing Rene has neglected to mention is how many are currently being published. Below is that list, 14% of the top 100 are still being published today.

149 (tie). Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s Fell – 52 points (1 first place vote)
#1-current (#9)

153 (tie). Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal – 50 points
Criminal #1-10, Criminal 2 #1-current (#2)

130 (tie). Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead – 65 points
Walking Dead #1-current (#49)

134 (tie). Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – 62 points (1 first place vote)
Avengers #500-503, New Avengers #1-current (#40), plus some Annuals and I guess Mighty Avengers #1-current (#13)

122. Peter David’s X-Factor (Second run) – 72 points
X-Factor #1-current (#30)

111. Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction’s Iron Fist – 83 points
The Immortal Iron Fist #1-current (#14)

106. Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ Ex Machina – 92 points (1 first place vote)
Ex Machina #1-current (#36)

100 (tie). Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library – 95 points (2 first place votes)
Acme Novelty Library #1-current (#18)

97 (tie). Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo – 98 points (2 first place votes)
Usagi Yojimbo #1-38 (Fantagraphics), #1-16 (Mirage), #1-current (109) (Dark Horse)

79. Robert Kirkman’s Invincible – 115 points (1 first place vote)
Invincible #1-current (#49)

70. Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers – 134 points (1 first place vote)
Powers Vol. 1 #1-37, Powers Vol. 2 #1-current (#27)

62. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets – 150 points (3 first place votes)
100 Bullets #1-current (#89)

53. Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern – 174 points (1 first place vote)
Green Lantern #1-current (#29)

53. Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus – 174 points (4 first place votes)
Nexus #1-current (#101, I believe)

52. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman– 176 points (3 first place votes)
#1-current (#10)

48. Geoff Johns’ JSA – 192 points (1 first place votes)
JSA #6-77, 81, Justice Society of America #1-current (#14)

38. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men – 229 points (2 first place votes)
Astonishing X-Men #1-current (#24)

22. Bill Willingham’s Fables – 428 points (6 first place votes)
Fables #1-current (#71)

24. Garth Ennis’ Punisher – 389 points (5 first place votes)
The Punisher #1-12, The Punisher #1-37, Punisher MAX #1-current (#56) plus Punisher: Born #1-4 and a bunch of one-shots

18. Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary – 493 points (7 first place votes)
Planetary #1-current (#26)

17. Ed Brubaker’s Captain America – 504 points (4 first place votes)
Captain America #1-current (#37)

“The opening six-issue origin story arc was at least three issues too long.”
I’m unsure how cutting down the number in half would have worked.

Waid & Garney’s first Cap run was great at the time, but I honestly don’t feel it holds up so well now, after a recent re-reading. I’d still put it as my second favourite Cap run ever, behind Gru’s, but that’s not saying a great deal. Most Cap writers… well, you can insert an ‘R’ into ‘Cap’ to get their true worth… :D

I’m honestly surprised Ex Machina didn’t place a lot higher. It’s superb. Probably the best comic dealing with politics I’ve ever read.

Now I am REALLY sorry I didn’t vote.

Not having the Perez Wonder Woman on the list is a crime. (NOt having it in at least the Top 50 is a crime…not having it on the list AT ALL is beyond that)

Oh well, no voting means I can’t complain.

Hey I’m taking this to heart, what about 108?


May 16, 2008 at 11:43 am

Tied with 107?

Did Blue Devil net any points?

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