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You Decide ’09 – Which Title Has Had the Highest Percentage of Great Stories?

You know the bit – each day in October I’ll give you folks a poll question. Each poll will last four days. The results will be posted every Tuesday leading up to (and ending with) Election Day on the first Tuesday in November. Here is the master list of all questions asked so far!

Enjoy!

NOTE: We’re talking Amazing #1-now (so including the re-numbering), same with Daredevil. Flash is just the Wally West Flash series, while Hellblazer only had the one series, so that’s self-explanatory.

81 Comments

The Frank Miller run on DD alone sealed it for me. I’d vote for Hellblazer, but I haven’t read enough stories.

Daredevil was the first title that came to my mind when I saw today’s poll.

The Frank Miller run is the most obvious of course, but besides that one, Daredevil has had one great run after another throughout the years.
Hell, I don’t like Bendis and I still think that his run was amazing. To me, it’s his best work.

Hm, okay, this seems too complicated. I mean, who can make a meaningful comparison here, even if you’re familiar with all titles? How many people can sit down and think back over 45 years of Spider-Man stories, but JUST those in ASM; being sure to not let any of the other Spidey comics influence their estimate, even though many key stories ran through all the titles.

Forgive the whining, Brian; on the whole I really enjoy this feature. FWIW I’ve had the opposite reaction to the apparent complaints about “why didn’t you include…?” I usually think more than, say, 8 choices is too many. :-)

Daredevil is probably the most consistently good superhero book in the last 10 years, and thats not even including Millar/Nocenti’s work.

Flash has Mark Waid AND Geoff Johns so thats a good choice too. Spidey has just as many good stories as he does bad ones. You don’t see Daredevil with any crappy Clone Saga, One More Day, The Other, or Maximum Carnage.

Never read Hellblazer, I think that crappy Constantine movie turned me off(even though I know its probably not accurate). It apparently has writers like Millgan and Ellis, I’m sure I’ll get around to it.

Hell Spidey is my favourite hero but I still had to give it to DD. In terms of %age of stories since Frank came along the title has rocked! The Marvel Knights relaunch has got to be the most consistant run ever IMHO.

hard choice for would have gone with spider man but with one more day and the clone saga. had to go with flash . espically the way brad meltzer showed wally deal with loss of kids only to then have to balance being a father of twins. due to a twist plus having to make a deal with the spectre to save his wife from dieing.

@Chad: That was not Meltzer but Geoff Johns. Also, IIRC, the deal was not made in order to save his wife from dying, but only to make everybody forget his secret identity, and Wally made that choice out of the guilt of it endangering his wife.

Daredevil; I haven’t read enough Hellblazer to give an informed opinion, and I haven’t read much Flash outside of Waid and Johns, and we all know how riddled with crap Spider-Man’s past has been.

sandman, without a doubt.

Can’t imagine going for anything other than Hellblazer. I feel like a solid 50% of the series has just been really good comics from creators with something to say. Writers like Delano, Ennis and Ellis all put some of their best work into Hellblazer, and there were some very good arcs from others like Azzarello and Diggle (not to mention some great one-offs / two part stories from people like Gaiman, Morrisson, Eddie Campbell and Jason Aaron).

It’s not all been perfect, but I feel like I’d be far more likely to pull out a very good issue at random from my Hellblazer collection than I would from any of the other titles given.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 27, 2009 at 7:05 am

I’d say Hellblazer.

Where else would you find a character saying “Cor blimey! I’m shagging a lesbian!! Do I get a prize?”

This is a very interesting selection.

I’m going with Hellblazer myself, if only because even bad Hellblazer’s still kinda neat. Azzarello’s run was really tough to get through, but still qualifies as an interesting failure, y’know?

Saying that Daredevil wins because of Frank Miller seems odd, since the question was about percentage. Frank still only has x number of issues. No matter how good they are, they can’t overwhelm all the other issues if they are NOT great.

(Not saying there is anythign wrong with voting for DD, just for doing so due to one run.)

You had me at the “Flash is just Wally West stories” part.

10+ years straight of good comics.

The fact that Spidey and Daredevil have so many issues makes it hard for me to vote for them. For every “Born Again” there’s also a “Clone Saga.”

Flash.

William Messner-Loebs, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns.

Seriously, how is this even a contest?

Eh, Waid has some great issues, but some of his runs felt like filler as it went on, Johns’ Flash overstayed its welcome about half-way through. Really, I haven’t read a good Wally West Flash in years.

Daredevil is likely your best candidate, what with McKenzie, Miller, Nocenti, Kesel and Brubaker all kicking tons of ass, but realistically, that’s only since the 80s, and there were a ton of crappy issues from the 60s until that point.

ASM would have been the easiest choice up to the 90s, then the Clone Saga and some other suspect garbage poked in. After that we had JMS’s excellent (for the most part) run, but since Sins Past and through to the modern-day tri-monthly garbage, it’s now not even close.

For the reasons above, the default is Hellblazer, which had the inimitable Delano, Ennis, Ellis, Azzarello, Diggle, and some fill-ins by guys like Neil Gaiman. When your worst run is by Mike Carey, you know you’ve got a solid series.

Yeah, that Flash run is amazing through the end of Johns (and starting right at #1 with Mike Baron). There are comparatively weak issues, of course, but no subpar run of issues. One of my favorite comics ever.

I went DD as well… easy choice for me. DD’s had some chokers… but mostly late in the first run. While it certainly had campy bits early in the series, hey, it was the 60’s! Then there was that San Francisco goofiness… but for the vast majority of the series, DD has been highly engaging and entertaining, and the art is almost always top notch!

ASM, however… I thought the first Stan Lee penned issues were just… bad… I only read them in the Masterworks collections, but the dialog and the situations… just… no. I can think of plenty of bad ASM stories, but I actually can’t really think of a single great run in ASM – it’s always been serviceable but too high profile for writers to really do anything interesting. JMS was entertaining, but it wasn’t great, and it all got wiped away anyway. McFarlane on art duties makes me love it, but were the stories great? eh. Can’t even really include Kraven’s Last Hunt… I think the mid to late 80’s stuff in ASM was also entertaining, largely due to the excellent portrayal of the supporting cast members… but great? Again… eh.

Hellblazer grabs me every once in a while… I go back to it every now and then, but it’s always a fleeting thing – I never want to stick with the title.

The Flash is the only title here I haven’t read most of… but I was never a fan of the character (or most of the DCU), so, maybe unfair, but it loses by default.

I almost voted Spider-Man, but then a weird, magical field washed over me and made me forget that stories that I really loved ever really happened.

Weird.

So I voted Daredevil.

I’m abstaining, as I haven’t read much Hellblazer.

DD’s been blessed with some excellent runs, so I would probably vote for that, but when I look at the creators who’ve worked on Hellblazer, I’d rather not skew the result with my uninformed vote.

Hellblazer. There’s a reason I own more of it than any other comic.

If the criteria is PERCENTAGE of great stories, Hellblazer wins hands down.

Nexus

Hellblazer was never below great. Compared to all other comics, which had really sub-par eras, it’s a no brainer, really.

Planetary. Y The Last Man. Invincible. Then Flash.

@Chad Nevett: I knew there was a reason I liked you.

@Benhameen, really glad you like Planetary, but that’s kinda missing the point – Planetary was 27 issues (and three specials) by one creative team, telling one story. Same basic logic with the others.

The others are books with hundreds of issues under their belts, many different creators, and recognizable eras of storytelling. That’s a different type of thing to compare.

(The second “the others” is the books we’re actually voting on, sorry for the repetition.)

ooooo…Planetary…yeah

Oh good lord. Making me choose between Daredevil and Hellblazer? Neck and neck my two favorite books from both Marvel and DC.

Gotta go with Johnny boy, though.

Planetary, Y, Invincible, Sandman, etc. had the same writer for the entirety of their existence. They will not continue with other writers, so it’s hard to think of them as having “runs.”

Flash had some greatness, but a lot of dreck, and it’s only been running since ’89.

Hellblazer had Delano’s run (never interested me, but I know it has a fanbase) and Ennis’s initial run (great). It loses points with me for Azzarello’s deeply unpleasant run, Ellis’s aborted work, and Mike Carey failing to engage me. I think the quality has always been on the high side, but I rarely find myself sticking around.

Daredevil has had some out and out bad runs, but a) the work of Bill Everett, Stan Lee, Wally Wood, John Romita, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, Miller & Janson, Miller & Mazzuchelli, Nocenti & JR Jr, some Chickchester & McDaniel, Kesel & Nord, and nearly everything from the last 11 years has been at least good, often great; b) it’s been around a lot longer than Hellblazer. No other super-hero title around since the ’60s or before can boast as much quality.

Of the 3 that I’m familair with, Daredevil’s far and away the winner. I can’t really remember a time when the book was bad. Spidey’s high points are great, but honestly, the series has more bad issues than good ones. I haven’t read enough Hellblazer to judge the entire series- though I’ve liked most of what I’ve read.

I went with Flash. Both ASM and Daredevil have very long runs with some crappy stories. The first 170 or so issues of Daredevil before Frank Miller are as take-it or leave-it as comics come. That’s like 34% of it’s run right there. And ASM was written by David Micheline for like 100 issues or something. He’s a good enough workaday writer, but besides Venom, can you name any memorable Micheline arcs? Personally, I can’t.

Anyway, that left me with Flash and Hellblazer. I was never much of a Vertigo guy until I got older, so I missed out on Hellblazer. But I read Flash from issue #1 on (although I missed some of the 90s stuff), and love Wally. So I went with Flash.

I know Brian gets a little sad when people complain about his polls, like we said his kids were ugly or something, but I think this one is a bit odd, since the lengths of the runs are so different. 500-600 issues for Spidey and DD, and 200-250 for Flash and Hellblazer – kinda apples and oranges, IMHO.

I’m almost ashamed to say it, but I’ve never read an issue of Hellblazer (or Swamp Thing, or Sandman; and I just read my first Animal man story a couple of weeks ago in trade).

I may not vote on this one, because Daredevil overall has the most great, or very good stories, but the first 50 or so issues of Flash seemed to have the higher percentage of great ones, then I lost interest. As for Spidey, sure some great ones, but tons of filler.

This is a tough one…they’re all winners today.

I was never into Hellblazer and positively hate Flash, so that’s between Daredevil and Spider-Man for me.

Of the two, Spider-Man wins. Both books were terrible in the 90s and later, but ASM was consistently great on the 60s and early 70s, while Daredevil wasn’t.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Hellblazer.

Didn’t even have to think about it.

I voted Flash. With Daredevil as runner-up.

I didn’t read enough Hellblazer, so I may be commiting an injustice. The only run I read most of was Garth Ennis’s (one of the best Ennis works, IMO). I’m also familiar with Constantine appearances in Swamp Thing, but apart from that, I didn’t read much of him solo.

Amazing Spider-Man is one of those marvel series that alternates good decades with crappy ones. It was great in the 1960s, mediocre in the 1970s, mostly great in the 1980s, utter crap in the 1990s… and I think it has been good in the 2000s, though I know many in the Internet disagree. JMS has been mostly interesting, except for Sins Past. OMD was awful, but I love the current stories, they have that Spidey feeling that’s been absent since the early-1980s.

I almost voted Daredevil. But as people have noted, DD in the 1960s and 1970s was good, but rarely spectacular. I like Roy Thomas on the title and Steve Gerber and even Roger McKenzie, but it was never spectacular. After Miller, sure. We have Ann Nocenti and Bendis and Brubaker. But we also have the horrible and confusing D. G. Chichester.

Flash is the one. Mike Baron, Messner-Loebs (VERY underrated), Mark Waid, Geoff Johns. All four were excellent, and that accounts for most of the issues in the run. So Flash has my vote.

Daredevil and Flash. What is it about red-clad superheroes that makes their stories so good? Maybe because they’re intermediate characters. Big enough to be… big, but not on Superman or Spider-Man level, so they’re spared overexposition.

(And I know many on this board disagree with me, but Wonder Woman since George Perez has been a consistently great read too).

I know Brian gets a little sad when people complain about his polls, like we said his kids were ugly or something, but I think this one is a bit odd, since the lengths of the runs are so different. 500-600 issues for Spidey and DD, and 200-250 for Flash and Hellblazer – kinda apples and oranges, IMHO.

Right, they ARE different, but that was te point – two long series (so bad stretches are not as problematic, percentage-wise) plus two short series (so less time to screw up) – what ends up giving you better percentages? The short series or the long series?

This is not fair wiyh Spidey an DD cause both have more than 500 issues. I mean, bad writers/artists had plenty of time to give readers a lot of crap. If you take just the first 100 issues of each series there would be no doubt about it: ASM wins by far. But if you take the mos memorabel runs I gotta go with DD. How could you not love Miller in those days? Hellblazer is cool, but still a baby in comparison and Flash is just all right.

I mean, bad writers/artists had plenty of time to give readers a lot of crap.

But because they were so long, the bad writers/artists have a lesser impact, percentage-wise.

A bad writer on the Flash takes a much larger chunk than a bad writer on Amazing.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 27, 2009 at 10:47 am

Someday someone’s going to have to explain the appeal of Hellblazer to me, because the Ennis run is the only bit I ever cared for.

I ended up voting Spider-Man. Yeah, you’ve got crappy years there, but I’d have to say the first 100 issues were greatness in their context, that Roger Stern’s 1980s run and the DeFalco stuff that followed it were likewise great, and then even in the midst of utter shite like the Clone Saga are issues like ASM #400.

Daredevil has had several great runs, but I think they amount to fewer actual issues than most people seem to recall. Bendis kind of sucked after issue #50, so I only count half his run. Miller only did about 40 issues of the title. Brubaker adds up to something like 30 more. That’s about 100 great issues in 500 or so total, a much weaker percentage than I’d give anything else on the list. (In fairness, fan favorite books like the X-Men would suffer similarly by dint of having such long periods of utter crap going back to the 1960s.)

I suspect that Flash won’t get much love here, but that is how I voted. Most people have referenced Johns and Waid, and rightfully so as those were some great comics. I would mention that Messner-Loebs wrote one of the creepiest Gorilla Grodd stories I have ever read. All in All, from start to finish, I think flash has had the highest density of great stories.

Flash was consistently one of DC’s best straight-ahead superhero comics for 206 issues, and at times the best. Pretty incredible run for such a high-profile super-hero (and one with a fairly boring power at that). It tailed off very dramatically after that point though.

I seem to be one of the few people voting for Spider-Man.
I’ve never read Hellblazer, and I don’t really know anything about it. I haven’t even seen that Constantine movie, but it didn’t sound interesting in any way. And I’ve only read a handfull of Flash issues, and they were all Barry Allen, and I guess we’re not even supposed to consider those.
Daredevil has had some great stories, but I haven’t read all that many of them. I know I really liked some issues back in the ’70s, but my memory of them isn’t all that clear. For some reason, I missed both of Frank Miller’s runs when they were new. I’ve since read his first batch in reprints, and they are pretty good, but I think they’re somewhat overrated. As for Born Again, I’ve only read a couple of them, and they do seem great, but it’s hard to judge from such a small sample. I wish I’d known about them when they were new, so I could’ve bought them then. Everytime I decided to check out Daredevil in the ’80s, it was written by Denny O’Neil or Ann Nocenti, and it just wasn’t worth buying any more issues. The Nocenti stuff I’ve read was especially bad. So either everyone is completely insane when they praise her stuff, or I was extremely unlucky and only got to see her worst issues. I’ve bought a few of the recent issues, and they are decent enough, but not great.
But Spider-Man has had a lot of great stories over the years, and the mid-80s in particular was nearly flawless for several years. True, it has gone through some very bad periods– most of the ’90s from what I’ve seen, and at least a few years of this decade (whatever it’s called)– but I think the good periods really make up for it. And the last couple of years have been great, despite what a lot of people on here say. (And two years of new Amazing Spider-Man equals six years of most other series.)

But with that horrible decade, can I really say Spider-Man has had the highest percentage of great stories? Sure I can! If I look at all the great comics I have read over the years, the highest percentage of them have been Amazing Spider-Man.
It all depends on how you read the question.

I can understand people saying Daredevil due to to the Miller run, but for % of good comics are you taking into account the pre-miller period? If you did a comparison of the 1st 150 issues of Spider-man and the first 150 issues of Daredevil it would be a huge route in favor of Spider-man. I don’t think the Miller issues cancel that out.

“That’s about 100 great issues in 500 or so total”

No love for Nocenti, Omar?

I’m a little flabbergasted at some of the Daredevil love in these comments. Yes, DD has had some good stuff since Miller took over the title, but the first 157 issues ranged from mediocre to bad to downright unreadable. Mike, I have to particularly take issue (no pun intended) with your statement that “No other super-hero title around since the ’60s or before can boast as much quality”. I might argue that over the 15 years Daredevil was being published prior to Miller taking over, every single Marvel title of similar vintage was better, and several DC titles as well. For my money, Daredevil was the most consistently poor book Marvel published over their first twenty years.

I’m not familiar enough with all the titles listed here to actually vote, but I know I would rather read any of the other three than try to choke down that old Daredevil stuff again.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Nocenti was very good up until Inferno or so, but I never really got into the whole protracted Number Nine/Mephisto/Blackheart thing that dominated the last ouple years of her run. And then there was the absolutely inane Bullseye vs. amnesiac Matt story. Nocenti writes beautiful narrative caption and created a couple of great characters in Typhoid and the criminally underused Bullet, but I don’t know that her run adds up to “greatness.”

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 27, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Put short, Nocenti had one great year on the book with JRJR, after which diminishing returns set in with a vengeance.

I get that a lot of people are ignoring the pre-Miller years, but I liked them. He was sort of a B-grade, blind version of Spider-Man, much more lighthearted than what would come later, and had some really fun (if not always imposing) villains. I do think the long-running title have a disadvantage over the shorter ones when you’re really talking about percentages, and Hellblazer has a leg up on the writing over some periods of either DD or Spidey. (Pretty sneaky not counting the Barry years to make Flash a little more comparable, Brian.)

But not giving Nocenti’s run props is just crazy. Sure, Fraggle Mephisto was kind of funny looking, but come on, Matt beat Ultron to death with a stick!

As a percentage of the total run?

Hellblazer without a doubt.

Then the Wally West Flash run.

Well, I’m a Nocenti fanboy, so I think her stuff is great even when it’s crazy and misguided (“The hundred heads of Ultron” is totally awesome).

Comparing DD to Spider-Man, DD has IMHO – barring issue 300-350 or so – been good ever since Marv Wolfman took over the title. Spider-Man has only been good in short patches for the past 20 years. The question being how much we should count in the Stan Lee SM vs the Stan Lee DD, which admittedly has to be a lot.

Ah, I’m a little dumb. Didn’t see the entire point was long series vs shorter series. I see your argument that a bad run in a shorter series has more impact percentage-wise, but I think you are more likely to have a repeat of bad runs in a longer-series. By their definition, longer-series can survive the vissitudes better than shorter-series, therefore they are more likely to have long runs of bad issues and survive.

As people have pointed out, Spidey and Daredevil have had DECADE long runs of mostly bad comics, but they survived somehow – I suppose since they are Stan Lee created (i.e. flagship) titles.

Arguably, as long as Marvel is publishing, there will always be an ongoing Spider-Man title and Daredevil title (and X-Men, Fantastic Four, Thor, Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, etc) – since it would take a lot of terrible stories for a very long time to make these titles sell poorly enough to be cancelled for good (I mean, Spidey survived the 90s!).

Whereas Flash (Wally West) and Hellblazer aren’t as entrenched in the fabric of their respective universes – Wally is a replacement of Barry, and Hellblazer is in a niche Vertigo universe that isn’t really a ‘shared’ universe – and are more likely to be killed off or cancelled than long-running titles (as Wally seems to in the throes of right now, essentially being put out to pasture for the return of Barry – which could never happen with Peter Parker, as Ben Reilly proved). Therefore, these shorter titles can’t afford to have a decade of bad comics, because the readership are invested in them as characters, not as icons, and if the stories and characterization suffers too long, the readership will fall off and the title can easily be cancelled or reimagined without shaking up the landscape of all of the other comics within their imprint.

Basically, I’m saying it is easy to imagine the DC Universe without Wally as the Flash (although painful to some), but it is essentially impossible to imagine the Marvel Universe without Peter Parker as Spidey and Murdock as Daredevil. They are part of the very fabric of the MU, IMO.

Ann Nocenti’s run was awesome, except perhaps for the Bullseye’s end issues.

@azjohnson5:

Yes! Nexus for the win! The Dude (and Paul Smith) kicked tail along with Mike Baron’s scripts. Speaking of Baron, his Wally West Flash run was really, really good too, but it gets lost in the shuffle between Waid and Johns. Another really consistent, long series was the Defenders. Steve Gerber, Dave Kraft, J.M. DeMatteis, Peter Gillis, not to mention Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, and Len Wein…all classic stuff (but Ed Hannigan’s run was not so good).

While so much of the recent run of Daredevil has bordered on fantastic, I’m still going to go with Hellblazer. Runs from Azzerello, Delano, Ennis, Ellis, Carey, Jenkins, plus stories from Morrison and Gaiman. Can’t ask for more.

” I get that a lot of people are ignoring the pre-Miller years, but I liked them. He was sort of a B-grade, blind version of Spider-Man, much more lighthearted than what would come later, and had some really fun (if not always imposing) villains. I do think the long-running title have a disadvantage over the shorter ones when you’re really talking about percentages, and Hellblazer has a leg up on the writing over some periods of either DD or Spidey. (Pretty sneaky not counting the Barry years to make Flash a little more comparable, Brian.) ”

Also, if you go by quality as well as quantity, mediocre early Daredevil has much more weight than outright awful Spider-Man ( Maximum Clonage, Chapter One, Sins Past, One More Day, etc. etc. etc. )

But JoeMac, by saying it’s possible to imagine a DC without Wally as the Flash, you’re ignoring an essential hook to the entire concept of The Flash: legacy. After all, it’s present in the very first Barry Allen story, and is an essential component to the character’s place in the DC universe. Of course no one other then Matt Murdock could be Daredevil, because the story is about Matt. With The Flash, it’s not just about Barry, Wally, or Jay, it’s about the mantle of the Flash.

I voted for the Wally West Flash series. Hellblazer I’ve never read, though I hear its good. I’ve only read a handful of Daredevil stories, from Miller to Kelley to Bendis, but none of them really wowed me. The early Spider-Man stories by Stan Lee were great, but from the 80s on up it really hasn’t done anything for me. Flash on the other hand has had some great writers in Mike Baron, Bill Loebs, Mark Waid and Geoff Johns. Granted, there are a few arcs/issues that I could just as easily forget, but the really great ones made it worth following the series. To this day, its the only comic book series that I own every issue of just because I love the character and his world so much.

Roman– Thanks for mentioning The Defenders. It really was great, and horribly underrated. I really love the DeMatteis and Gillis issues (nearly sixty issues of [mostly] great storytelling). And many of the David A Kraft stories were pretty good, too. I’ve only read two of the Englehart issues, and they weren’t very good. I usually like Englehart, though, so I’m assuming I just accidentally read his worst ones. As for Gerber, I always hear about how great he was, but I’ve only read one, so I can’t say for sure. (You’re right about Ed Hannigan being awful. I think that’s always the case.)
It always upset me that they killed off the Defenders just to make way for X-Factor, which was excruciatingly bad for the first seventy or so issues.

I agree that the choices seem a little too exact. Limiting the Flash stories to just Wally’s for example put his at a disadvantage next to the longer running series. In any case, I voted for Spider-man, since his stories are the most classic (Hellblazer shouldn’t be on the list either; he’s not a superhero, his stories are “good” in an entirely different way the others are.)

I voted Daredevil but Hellblazer is on my mind as well. Just in the moment, I couldn’t think of a lot of Hellblazer stories I loved off the top of my head, whereas with Daredevil there’s been lots to love. I’m even a fan of runs no one mentions very often, like Shooter and Denny O’Neil, let alone the great Miller work and Brubaker stuff.

But both series do seem to attract very strong writers who go on to do interesting runs.

I guess if I honestly thought in terms of percentage, DD’s been hurt by some real corny stuff in its first 100 issues, but out of the stuff I’ve read, I’ve really liked most of it. So the heart votes DD.

Also just want to say, i think this is one of the more interesting poll questions we’ve had (and I’ve liked pretty much all of ‘em).

Good going, Brian!

Daredevil. You got:

(A) Wally ****ing Wood.

(B) Gene Colan’s playing around with shadow and movement (and absolutely dominating 98% of his artistic competition at the time),

(C) EFFECTIVE social relevance with Brother Take My Hand,

(D) the most sexually risque superhero books EVER during Conway’s run,

(E) some of the darkest storytelling in superhero comics ever even before Miller started – Anyone read the Marv Wolfman Copperhead story? That stuff was pitch freakin’ dark.

(F) Frank Miller, giving us (I believe) the first Manga inspired artowork in American superhero books and reincorporating Eisner,

(G) John Romita Junior his mixture of down-to-earth grittiness and Kirby grandeur,

(H) A couple years I didn’t read that looked terrible. and

(I) Bendis completely structurally re-inventing mainstream comics story-telling.

Hellblazer didn’t have quite the same caliber of artists. Spider-man had… the ’90s, basically. The Flash had Geoff Johns, who was at the time a REALLY technically poor writer. (Although I figure the slasher-movie influenced violence and shock-value cliffhangers felt new and made his stuff seem relatively exciting.)

So, overall, Daredevil in a walk. Of long-running non-creator owned titles, I think only Swamp Thing (vol 2.) was better. Captain America was damn close, though.

Before, I even clicked on this poll I was thinking, “Hopefully, Brian will include Daredevil, because that would be my number #1″ And, yes DD was there was I went to the poll. Next I figured, well, everyone’s going to vote Spider-Man, with a good dose of Hellblazer. But I’m definitely voting DD.

Lots would seem to agree.

As for why, I’ll just say… right on Mark Andrew. And he didn’t even mention Brubaker or the brief presence of the great Bill Everett.

Also, I’ll echo Mark again and put out a word for Captain America. There were lots of great runs in that title(s).

For those that haven’t looked at the first 110 or so issues of Daredevil (and I haven’t read them all, either), let me repeat:

Bill Everett. Wally Wood, including that great fight with Namor. John Romita. Gene Colan. The scripting wasn’t always great, but the art was usually excellent. DD really started to suck following Gerber’s run, but only for a few years. Then, Miller got the party going in the late ’70s, and it’s been mostly quality since.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm

As opposed to Spider-Man who had Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr, and Gil Kane for its first 110 issues? Yeah….it’s easily tied with DD for art and trumps it on stories for the same span.

The greatest Hellblazer story for me? “Hard Time” by Azzarello and Corben.
For those of you that’s never read even a single issue of Hellblazer (and there seems to be a lot, juding by the posts in this poll), i suggest you pick up this TPB.
It’ll change your mind and keep you hooked. Trust me.
Personally, i think Constantine can beat any of the Superheroes shown in this poll, especially if they’re in London. Easily.
The only person that he can’t beat is himself. He’s his own worst enemy.
Yeah, i’ll be voting for Hellblazer (this after reading significant runs of Daredevil with Miller, Smith, Bendis and Brubaker as well as Spiderman with Michelinie, Larsen, Strackzinsky, and others).

I have never read Hellblazer. I didn’t enjoy most of the Wally West Flash series. Daredevil only worked for me during Frank Miller’s two runs and the Nocenti/Romita Jr. era.

It’s gotta be Amazing Spider-Man for me. I’ve read stories ranging from Stan Lee through David Michelinie over several decades.

Easy one for me.

Has anyone here read enough of all four titles to REALLY answer this, or are we all just going with our biases?

I’ve read all 4 titles to some degree (I started HellBlazer at the beginning of Carey’s run, thus I missed most of the “good stuff”, I guess), I just think that there was very little bad stuff from Flash V.2. If you throw out the Millar “Black Flash” dreck, it’s basically all readable or better, ranging to absolutely great at points.

I’d like to cast my vote for either Love and Rockets or Eightball. While I enjoy many features on this site, it seems strange that something called “Comics Should Be Good” spends so much time obsessing about superhero comics, which rarely rise above mediocrity, when there have been so many great non-superhero comics that get ignored. The first series of Love and Rockets contained more “great” stories than the entire runs of your four choices above.

This question is mind numbing. For anyone I’d have to truthfully answer they’d have to have read 600 some Spidey issues. 500 some Dardedevil issues. 200 some Flash issues. And over 250 Issues of Hellblazer. Has anyone here read all 1,550 comics? There’s some good stuff in there but a whole lot of shit.

I’ve only read the Ditko run on Spidey. The Miller issues of Daredevil and maybe a quarter of Brubaker’s run. Al most all of John’s run on Flash. None of Hellblazer.

It came down to Ditko and Miller so I gave it to Miller (although John’s Flash was good, just not great.) He created the character and essentially mapped out the series bible in 40 issues. This would have been tougher though if Frank’s other Elektra work was included, but it’s not.

“The first series of Love and Rockets contained more “great” stories than the entire runs of your four choices above.”

Agreed. Wouldn’t a better comparison be Cerebus, Love and Rockets, Usagi Yojmbo, Savage Dragon?

Actual well planned ongoing series with a single narrative.

Percentage-wise, it’s Hellblazer in a walk. Ennis, Ellis, even a Morrison fill-in, it’s like a whose who of the modern greats. Even what I would very subjectively label as the second stringers (Milligan, Azzarello, Delano, etc) would be a powerhouse line-up on any other book.

I concede that Daredevil has probably had more great runs than any other mainstream superhero, but people forget that there were a hundred plus issues before miller came along, and another long drought prior to the Smith relaunch.

Spidey and Flash, as others have mentioned, have as many bad spots as good.

Remember when Daredevil had armor? Remember when Spider-Man had armor? Remember when Wally had to eat a million cheeseburgers and could only go 700 mph?

Hellblazer, it is. Never had armor, for one thing.
And he’s the Mary-Sue of the Greatest Writer Of All Comics. Plus all his friends. (And no, jeff Whats-His-Name never worked him over. Honestly, I spent an afternoon wiki’ing his mainstream superhero work, just to see if I can get into it and I CAN’T. It all seems like re-hashed crap.

Daredevil a close second, although you GOTTA BE A REAL FAN to even look at the first 157 issues. (Remember when DD flew a plane from Latveria to Englandland? Even though he’s blind?) Spider-Man is more inconsistent than the average soap opera and I like Barry better.

I rather liked it when Wally had clear limits to his powers.

Though I also enjoy the Mark Waid all-powerful Wally.

I concede that Daredevil has probably had more great runs than any other mainstream superhero, but people forget that there were a hundred plus issues before miller came along,

I didn’t.

“The first series of Love and Rockets contained more “great” stories than the entire runs of your four choices above.”

Agreed. Wouldn’t a better comparison be Cerebus, Love and Rockets, Usagi Yojmbo, Savage Dragon?

Actual well planned ongoing series with a single narrative.

Actually, Cerebus, Love and Rockets, Usagi Yojmbo, Savage Dragon, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Groo seem like a nice set of things to compare…

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