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CSBG Archive

Top 16 Team-up Runs: #13-11

Here’s the next three. Introduction and “What the heck is all THIS then explanation” over here.

Worth Noting: While I know what the top runs are, the ORDER of the top five or six isn’t set in stone yet. If you have a favorite team-up run, lemme know in the comments and it might effect the outcome.

13) Nick Cardy(Artist and Inker) on Brave and the Bold (1970-1971)

Issues: 91-92, 94-96 and inker on # 97 over Bob Brown(6 Issues) Bob Haney writer.

Team-Ups: Batman with the Black Canary, the Teen Titans, Sgt. Rock, Wildcat, a Mystery Guest, and the Bat Squad – a Haney creation that had never appeared before. Or since.

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Reasons Why This Run Rocks:

1) Nick “Sex legs” Cardy.

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2) Nick “No! NO! NOOOOOO!” Cardy

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3) Nick “VROOOOO KRAAAAAaaaaCCCKKKK!” Cardy
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(All panels from Brave and the Bold # 91)

Sometimes, there are no words. Also…

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(From Brave and the Bold # 96)

4) In the very specific area of writing dialog spoken by people who are really, REALLY angry Bob Haney is the best writer comics have ever seen.

On the Other-Hand: In general, Haney’s writing tends to improve as he’s writing for an older audience. His worst Brave and the Bold team-up writing is his earliest – semi-traditional Silver Age stories aimed at young children. His best is later on in the mid-to-late ’70s, aimed at teenagers and college kids. The Cardy issues… Well, he didn’t seem to know WHO his audience was, and there’s a little bit of tonal floundering. Also, while Cardy’s always SOME kinda great, his work definitely gets progressively less good (more rushed?) as his short run commences… Hence all the panels from his first issue.

Bonus link! Here’s Noah Berlatsky on the first two issues of this run (and a Neal Adams joint tossed in for good measure) and Tucker Stone on the last three.

12) Tom Defalco(Writer) on Marvel Two-In-One(1981-1982)

Issues: 75-87, 91-93, 96 and Annual 7 (18 issues) David Michelinie co-writer on 76 and 78. Jerry Bingham, Alan Kupperberg, and (mostly) Ron Wilson artists.

Team-Ups: Oh boy. The Thing meets Iceman, the Man-Thing AND Nicky Fury and his Howling Commandos, Wonder Man, the Blue Diamond, Ghost Rider, Sub-Mariner, Captain America, Sasquatch solo, Sasquatch with Alpha Flight, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Sandman, Ant-Man, Batma… I mean the Spynx, Jocasta, Machine Man, and ALL of the Avengers… Which, surprisingly, isn’t the most guest-star cluttered issue of Defalco’s run….

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Reasons why this Run Rocks
1) Tom Deflaco is the best Marvel Two-In-One writer the book’s ever seen, and he’s regularly doin’ stuff on a technical/literary level I’ve never seen from any other team-up book writer. (And I’ve read a lot.) Why? Actual, honest-to Buddah character development. Defalco doesn’t Not just introduce the character and their milleu to the audience, but allows for actual change and growth. Spider-villain the Sandman decides to retire from evil-doing over a beer with Ben Grimm. Machine Man finds, and loses, true love. The Bill Foster version of Giant Man confronts and conquers his fear of death over a multi-issue sub-plot. The Blue Diamond overcomes his feelings of inferiority, finds true love, and ascends to psedo God-hood. (You GO boy!) It may not be especially, y’know, subtle character development… But it’s more than you’re gettin’ from any of Defalco’s peers.

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(From MTIO # 79. Ron Wilson artist. Chic Stone inker.

2) If Defalco’s stuck with a character firmly under the control of another writer and CAN’T do progressive characterization… At least he has everyone fight MODOK.

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(From Marvel Two-In-One # 81. Ron Wilson Penciler. Chic Stone inker.)

3) There’s quite a range of emotional textures to the individual comics, from the Epic space opera of the Avengers team-up to the initmate “Two guys talking in a bar” Sandman story. Then there’s the just plain goofy Wonder-Man story (Wherin this guy…

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uses a children’s television show based on the Thing to try to conquer the world) to…

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(From MTIO # 82. Ron Wilson artist. Chic Stone inker.)

stories that seem to be intended to exist ONLY to invoke suicidal depression in their audience. Defalco’s not just paying a lot of attention to establishing a specific mood and tone for his stories, he’s really working to present a variety of ‘em.

4) And, of course, this run contains the Greatest Comic of All Time (scroll down.)

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On the Other hand: There’s a goodly number of clunkers here, like Ant-man’s guest spot in # 78 and the unispired Iceman team-up in # 76. More troubling, while artist-for-16-of-these-18 issues Ron Wilson is my favorite COVER artist for MTIO – even ahead of George Perez, John Byrne, and “King” Kirby- his interior pencils are somtimes a tad chunky and stiff… And the whole effect is further devalued by the “A crowd scene? Just color it all yellow!” approach to production values that held sway at Jim Shooter’s Marvel.

Bonus Link! Here’s Cronin again on the greatest comic ever.  Edit:  And Chad Nevett, too.

And, what the hell, Bill Reed and Brian Hughes on Modok.

11) Mark Waid(Writer) and George Perez (Artist) on Brave and the Bold – Second Ongoing Series(2007-2008)

Issues: 1-10 (10 issues)

Team-Ups: There’s no “set” hero that appears in every issue, as Superman did in DC Comics Presents. It went: Batman and Green Lantern, Green Lantern and Supergirl, Batman and Blue Beetle, Supergirl and Lobo, Batman vs. the Legion of Superheroes, Batman and Green Lantern again, Wonder Woman and Power Girl, the Flash and the Doom Patrol, The Boy Commandos AND the Blackhawks AND the Atom AND Hawkman AND Dial “H” for Hero AND the Metal Men, and finally Superman AND the Silent Knight AND Aquaman AND the Teen Titans – With Metamorpho, Adam Strange, the Challengers of the Unknown and freaking Destiny of the Endless (and probably a half-dozen dudes I forgot to mention) running around in supporting roles. Sheesh.

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Reasons Why this Run Rocked:

1) George Perez and his insane page design skills. Yes, that is an entire Superman/Silent Knight team-up adventure, shrunk down and reflected in the Knight’s helmet. Even if you don’t share my PERFECTY RATIONAL love for the Silent Knight (who showed up in Brave and the Bold even before it was a team-up book) or my excitement at seeing him again, it’s still an indisputably great page.

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(From Brave and the Bold # 10. Bob Wiacek inker.)

You guys twisted my arm. Here’s 0ne more Perez full pager. Supergirl and Green Lantern in other-space Las Vegas.

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(From Brave and the Bold # 2. Bob Wiacek inker.)

2) Mark Waid has the time of his life making and exposing the subtle connections in the DC Universe. The Challengers of the Unknown escaped Death, and aren’t in Destiny’s book. The H-E-R-O dial turns Tin of the Metal Men into an overconfident jerk. Wally “Flash” West’s kids amalgamate with the Doom Patrol….

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(From Brave and the Bold # 8. Bob Wiacek inker.)

3) And, for the love of God don’t tell anyone, but Waid and Perez made me kind of like Lobo. Just a little bit.

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(From Brave and the Bold # 4. Wiacek inker, again. Tom Smith does the fine coloring on all of these, BTW.)

On the Other Hand: Perez work, do to it’s extreme detail, can get ever-so-slightly cluttered and hard to follow, and his figures sometimes come off a little.. TOO realistic and slightly plasicine looking. And the intense love for the DC Universe is fine, I mean I like Metamorpho too, but there comes a point where you’re making connections instead of telling as tory and it does get a little bit… what I’m trying to say is… y’know… All this….. this… continuity…
THAT’S NOT WHAT BOB HANEY WOULD DO HOT-DAMMIT!

Just doesn’t feel right.

Bonus Link! Here’s the Comic Treadmill in excruciating deal on issues 1-6. I was going to link to Joe Rice complaining about this series (for a nice change of pace from all the praise, praise, praise) but, man, something messed a bunch of old CSBG posts up, so I won’t. Just take my word that it was funny.

So, that’s it for THIS go-round. Next time, when I get around to it (probably a couple of days) we’ll start out the top ten with two famous and popular runs, and a couple days after THAT we’ll have numbers eight and seven, one obscure-but-great run you guys’ll probably never guess, and one that you’ll definitely never guess.

26 Comments

Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 is indeed fantastic. I wrote a piece on its brilliance on my blog a couple of years back: http://graphicontent.blogspot.com/2007/09/greatest-comics-youve-never-read-002.html

Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 is easily the greatest comic ever written. I concur.

Man, I wish Marvel Two-in-One still existed.

I also found the Waid/Perez B&B to be fun, as well.

And if Haney/Aparo ain’t #1, I’ma cut me a switch.

Ugh. You’re all insane. The DeFalco MTIO’s were unreadable. When reading through my 3000+ issues 1960s- late 1980s collection, those were among the only books that I just could not force myself to read. Stiff, never-ending dialogue filled with Ben Grimm’s annoying self-pity. I sold them all off on eBay for 20 cents apiece. #75 stands out in my mind as being the height of DeFalco’s crimes. A double-sized Blastaar/Negative Zone issue that even as a kid in my mid-teens I just could not bring myself to care about. It forever changed the way I felt about any story dealing with the Negative Zone. Booooorrrrinnnnng. MTIO Annual #7 is the best of the bunch (probably), but its “greatness” is overstated and laughable.

Two observations about the Waid/Perez Brave and the Bold:

First, even though many readers were creeped out by Supergirl flirting with Green Lantern, I’ll defend it as perfect characterization for both characters. Creepy? Maybe. But it’s an absolutely natural reaction for both. Hal IS a teenage girl’s perfect hearthrob, after all, all alpha-male and glamorous. And a flirty short-skirted Supergirl WOULD make most grown men at least consider the possibilities, and despite having a very human reaction to that flirtation Hal did behave like a perfect gentleman. And I say that as a longtime reader who generally considers Hal a dumbass (he was the GL of my childhood, and even then I considered him a dumbass; but he was undeniably a perfect gentleman to the hot underage girl who openly flirted with him).

Second, about Waid and Perez making you kind of like Lobo “Just a little bit”… you DO know that the reason Lobo is the “sole survivor” of his race is because he personally slaughtered every other member of his race when he was younger, right? Having that in mind, that exchange between Lobo and Supergirl is far creepier than anything that happened between her and Jordan.

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I laugh everytime I think about that scene. Poor Hal. Wonder if that’s why he did the three way with Zinda and Helena? (Sorry, couldnt resist.)

Cheers,

B

I have to give a nod to Bendis’ run on Ultimate Marvel Team-up. He was working with some really good artists, including Allred, Sienkiewicz, Totleben, Ted McKeever,and more, and doing done in one-or-two stories (so no insane decompression) that often included first looks at the “Ultimate” versions of popular Marvel characters.

Waid’s writing for the first 6 issues of Brave and the Bold was very good. The Megistus/Challengers stuff in the second arc was much weaker.

nice choices for oved the story with the thing and the champion and also the george perez and greg ruka run on brave and bold found cool espically where lobo tells super girl to get over crying about being one of the few kryptonians left

Apparantly my comment didn’t go through, but what I want to know is, who was the “Mystery Guest”? Don’t leave us hanging!

MTIO Annual #7 is overrated, but DeFalco’s other double-sized story, MTIO #75 (Ben and the Avengers vs. Annihillus and Blastaar), is way UNDERrated. I recently was seized with an urge to re-read it for the first time in 20 years and I was blown away at how well it had held up. I was shocked to discover that DeFalco wrote it. Along with the Machine Man mini, it was his finest hour.

I’ve always liked team-up stories. Specially in the old days, when most series were so self-contained, in some cases the *only* clue you had tthat a series was part of a larger universe was when a crossover happened in a team-up book.

But the team-up story is its own kind of beast, and seeing these series of articles, it becomes more clear than ever to me that some of them were competently written, and others were- not. Some of those team-ups in fact seemed like excuses for a type of story that a writer wanted to tell, with the supposed protagonists almost secondary. That’s not really fair to the readers.

Also, as good as the Haney “Brave & Bold’s” were -and I saw and liked many of them way back when- they ALWAYS felt off, not just in the continuity, but even the characterization and story logic, like the way Plastic Man came across as pathetic rather than funny, or The Spectre got kicked around by some Chinese demon. Definitely not the best stories of their time. (The art was great, though!)

Here’s a suggestion for a team-up run: Jim Starlin did a run in DC COMICS PRESENTS in the early 1980s that was very interesting both in ideas and visuals. Of course, I now realize that he was just adapting many of his own concepts from his run on Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Warlock, such as creating an analog for his own creation Thanos in Mongul, but I was totally unfamiliar with that at the time. They were still pretty dynamic stories (even if some of them had Superman acting uncharacteristically overconfident.)

The surprise guest star was, in fact, Plastic Man. Batman was hired to track him down without knowing who he was.

DeFalco’s MTIO stuff deserves better–it was the first run I thought of for this list.

And I am a much bigger fan of Spidey & Batman than the Thing, so that says soemthing.

I’m assuming Claremont and Byrne’s Marvel Team-Up will rank high on this list, and rightly so.

I am curious to see how Byrne’s Action Comics run does. I really enjoyed it, as it introduced me to a lot of DC characters, but I know it’s infamous for certain plotlines, notably the Big Barda porn.

I loved the MTIO annual and remember really liking the hospital issue featuring Sandman (as well as the Ultron/Jocasta/Machine Man stuff). I never knew DeFalco wrote these. Probably worth perusing them again someday.

Hey, Sijo, nice shout out to the Starlin DCCP issues (I posted a comment about those issues on part one of this thread). I wasn’t really up on Marvel when I first read those issues so it was all new to me what Starlin was bringing to DC. That whole big cosmic vibe that Jim Starlin brought to those issues was a breath of fresh air since the bar was set so low on so many other DCCP issues. I can think of 6 issues he did: GL, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Spectre, Starman (the Levitz/Ditko version) and Hawkgirl(woman). I wonder if that constitutes enough of a run for Mark to spotlight on his list?

I like Defalco, but he wasn’t the best MTIO writer. What about the Serpent Crown Affair or Project Pegasus?

I really think MTIO Annual 2 was way better than 7. I guess it might lose some points for not being a self contained story, but I can’t see how 7 even compares.

I loved the Cartoon “Dial M for Monkey” homage to Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7. I wonder if there is a database of Comic homage anywhere?

“such as creating an analog for his own creation Thanos in Mongul”

He was? Does that make him an analog of an analog of Darkseid? Is that a thing? You can do that?

The DeFalco run on MTIO is the worst run of that title, taking place as it does in DeFalco’s early “terrible” period (he wouldn’t become even remotely bearable until the “Machine Man” mini, and even then just barely).
The assertions about character development in this post are just insane. The Blue Diamond’s yes-I-see-now-I-shall-go-with-you-and-here-are-all-my-motivations-in-one-sentence might be considered a form of character development, but of a type I would call “shitty.” That issue is the only comic where I actually carried out the threat that (I’m pretty sure) we’ve all made, if not carried out, to, uh, “use” it after going to the bathroom.
Plus, this is an absolutely terrible period for art in second-tier titles at Marvel.
Ah, well, at least the run with Project Pegasus came in ahead of this low, low point.

My votes are for the following:

1. Haney and Aparo on Brave and Bold

2. Claremont and Byrne on Marvel Team-up

3. Macchio and Gruenwald with Perez and Byrne on MTIO

4. Haney and Adams on Brave and Bold

Wade – One of those already showed up at the link below (in a bit broader form.)

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/08/27/the-top-16-team-up-book-runs-10-9/

[…] by the other great Mark in comics, I picked up a bunch of your Brave and the Bold run recently. Here are some […]

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