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Comics Should Be Good’s Top 100 Comic Book Storylines

Yes, I know, you’re questioning your good fortune. First the DC Iconic Covers countdown and now THIS? Yep, it’s true!

Welcome to the Comics Should Be Good Top 100 Comic Book Storylines poll!

It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these, and the end of the year is always a good time for it, I think.

It’s time to vote for your top ten all-time favorite comic book storylines!

Here’s the deal. You folks all vote in the comments section here up until 11:59 PM Eastern time, November 25th (the day before Thanksgiving), I’ll tabulate all the votes and I’ll begin a countdown of the winners starting November 27th!

Sound good?

Okay, here are the guidelines!

1. Vote in the comments section below, making sure to include that classic word “ACBC” somewhere in your comment so your vote will be marked invisible.

2. Vote for your ten favorite comic book storylines. Vote for TEN – less than ten storylines and I don’t count your ballot.

3. Rank your ten favorite comic book storylines from #1 (your most favorite) to #10 (your 10th most favorite). I’d prefer it if you actually numbered your entry, #1-10. It’s easier for me to count.

4. Your top choice will be given 10 points, your second choice 9, etc.

5. A comic book storyline is a main plotline that continues under one title, whether it be the title of the comic it appears in (like the Kree-Skrull War in Avengers or the first battle against Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman) or the title of a crossover (like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Utopia, Kraven’s Last Hunt, Seven Soldiers, etc.).

5A. Note that occasionally a non-explicitly labeled storyline might begin in one book and continue in another, like, say, the Magus Saga beginning in Strange Tales and continuing to Warlock’s own (resurrected) book or the Sise-Neg storyline beginning in Marvel Premiere and continuing into Doctor Strange’s ongoing title. Those storylines are allowed, and I think I can trust that you folks can figure out when something like that happened.

6. A comic book storyline must be at least two issues long. One-off stories need not apply, Even though that eliminates graphic novels like the great Asterios Polyp and one-shots like The Killing Joke, but, well, them’s the breaks.

7. Unless clearly labeled as a storyline, there is a 12-issue limit for storylines (this is to dissuade votes like “Preacher #1-60″ as one storyline). Galactic Storm is clearly labeled a storyline, even though it lasts more than 12 issues, same with Church and State in Cerebus. Fall of the Mutants also likely lasted more than 12 issues, but was clearly labeled as a storyline.

8. When listing your storyline, just try to make it clear what you’re talking about.

9. I’ll make various decisions in the interest of fairness.

If you have questions/clarification requests, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

Remember, please include the following word: ACBC – on your ballot. It will make it so your ballot appears invisible to other readers, so only I can read it (and count your vote secretly).

Most importantly, have fun!

Now vote! :)

389 Comments

Cool idea !
Does 52 count as a storyline ?
Does one of the sories in 52 (example : “Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange in space”) count as one ?

No to the first one, but yes to the second.

In other words, no to “52” but yes to “Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange in space” or “Booster Gold and Rip Hunter vs. Mister Mind.”

OK. Thanks !

Hmm. That ruling on 52 seems to violate rule 7.

Then again I hate rule 7 as it stops me voting for Animal Man 8(ish)-26

Hmm. That ruling on 52 seems to violate rule 7.

It is saved by rule 9, which is the most awesome rule ever!

Seriously, though, the theory is that 52 had 6 main plots that shared the 52 issues (sometimes not even in every issue, as minor plots showed up), so each of the main plots got less than 12 full issues worth of story (those main plots were as follows: Booster Gold’s fight against Mr. Mind, Renee Montoya becoming the Question, Steel versus Luthor, the three lost heroes in space, Elongated Man’s fight with Faust and Black Adam’s rise and fall).

Bernard the Poet

November 5, 2009 at 3:21 am

Brian, in your capacity as judge and jury can you confirm/deny that the following are storylines, please:-

1) Daredevil #31 – #81 (Bendis/Maleev) – from Silke revealing Daredevil’s secret identity to Daredevil going to prison.

2) Wonder Woman #178 – #204 – Wonder Woman loses her powers and becomes a hot white cat-suited kung fu babe ( -I expect to see some of these covers on your list of 75 iconic DC covers, by the way).

3) Any Tintin story – which were originaly published in installments before being released in graphic novel form.

I know, I know… I’ve always got to overcomplicate everything.

Bernard the Poet

November 5, 2009 at 3:26 am

Oh, me again….

Is Frank Miller’s Elektra Saga, one storyline or two (the death of Elektra/the resurrection of Elektra) ?

1) Daredevil #31 – #81 (Bendis/Maleev) – from Silke revealing Daredevil’s secret identity to Daredevil going to prison.

Deny.

2) Wonder Woman #178 – #204 – Wonder Woman loses her powers and becomes a hot white cat-suited kung fu babe ( -I expect to see some of these covers on your list of 75 iconic DC covers, by the way).

Deny.

3) Any Tintin story – which were originaly published in installments before being released in graphic novel form.

Confirm

Is Frank Miller’s Elektra Saga, one storyline or two (the death of Elektra/the resurrection of Elektra) ?

Two.

Last night, when he was giving me some help with the guidelines, Steve Gerding came up with a good term to describe stuff like Daredevil #31-81.

I will not spoil his term in case he ever wants to unveil it himself.

Does the original saga of Ra’s Al Ghul, which ran in non-consecutive issues of Detective Comics and Batman in 1971-1972, count as one story?

Remember when you were back in school and your English teacher would say: “I want you to write a 500-word essay” and right away a few hands would shoot up and you’d hear questions like: “Is a comma a word?” and “What about ‘I’? Is that a word?” and “Does ”two-thirty’ count as one word or two?”

The comments here are a lot like that.

Hey, I’m just sayin’ ….

The Crazed Spruce

November 5, 2009 at 6:10 am

Would a self-contained mini-series (say, “Watchmen” or “Crisis on Infinite Earths”) be considered a storyline?

Actually… I’m questioning whether it would be possible to reduce these features a bit? “Cool Comic Book Moments,” “Iconic Covers,” “Top 100 Storylines,” etc., etc., etc.

Maybe CBR can start a third blog just for list-making?

Just a couple of questions:

1- How are we to treat manga for a list like this? Example: Naoki Urasawa’s Monster as one big storyline? or should I break it up by volume?

2 – Same question for epics like Bone.

Would All-Star Superman count? Its twelve issues, “supposely” an on-going, and it does have an overarching story running through the 12 issues?

Tough call, as this series has me mesmerized every month with all the great arcs… I guess I’ll settle for where it all started…..Walking Dead, Issues 1-6 “Days Gone By” by Robert Kirkman (Image)

Is From Hell discounted because it’s a melodrama told in SIXTEEN parts and not twelve?

Ooh i think All star superman should count, without going into Spoilers for anyone who for some reason hasnt read it yet.

if we provide a top 10 and some of our choices are disallowed (e.g. you decide Watchmen doesn’t count), does that mean the whole top 10 is disqualified?

I thought All Star Superman was really disjointed. A lot of one shots with a single premise that was on the back burner until the last issue.

I’m kinda sad — I don’t know U.S. comics well enough to participate in this poll.

But I look forward to seeing the results!

The twelve-issue rule seems totally arbitrary. I would have picked Planet Hulk, but that’s fourteen issues so I guess it’s not a storyline.

So, wait…does the 12-issue limit eliminate stories like Crisis or Civil War? As individual series, they’re within the limit. However, the tie-in issues on both probably put the story into the 100s.

KJE: you need to include the magic word mentioned above in order for your vote to be counted.

What do you mean Daredevil 31-81 doesn’t count? Yeah, it’s 50 issues, but it’s clearly all one storyline, and if we’re arbitrarily not counting that as one of comics’ 100 best storylines, then what’s the point of this list? That was a great story.

Mory… It’s twelve issues UNLESS it’s clearly marked as a storyline. So Planet Hulk counts, and as he said Operation Galactic Storm counts, The Kindly Ones count… what DOESN’T count are longer storylines that aren’t explicitly defined (like the aforementioned Wonder Woman 178-204).

Adam – Well, he already mentioned Crisis as an example of something that would count, so it’s safe to assume, yes, they count.

Man, I swear people just comment without reading posts. Half these questions can be answered by reading the fucking post! Rule #7 seems to have been glossed over by a number of people. I do think the question about whether selecting an improper run ruins your ballot is a good one to answer though.

I think a good rule of thumb might be: If you can put it in one trade paperback, that’s a storyline.

Brian, what if people forget to mention a Quasar storyline? Does Rule 9 allow you to add it in, since obviously they would have?

So, wait…does the 12-issue limit eliminate stories like Crisis or Civil War? As individual series, they're within the limit. However, the tie-in issues on both probably put the story into the 100s.

No, Crisis and Civil War are not eliminated. #7 says “Unless clearly labeled as a storyline, there is a 12-issue limit for storylines (this is to dissuade votes like “Preacher #1-60″ as one storyline). Galactic Storm is clearly labeled a storyline, even though it lasts more than 12 issues, same with Church and State in Cerebus. Fall of the Mutants also likely lasted more than 12 issues, but was clearly labeled as a storyline.”

So there’s a 12-issue limit, UNLESS a storyline is clearly labeled as such, such as Galactic Storm, Fall of the Mutants, Civil War, etc.

It doesn’t matter how many issues the Civil War storyline runs, since they are all clearly part of the Civil War storyline, as opposed to someone voting for, say, all of the Lee/Kirby FF run as ONE storyline when it’s really numerous storylines.

Look at rule 7, folks. The 12 issue limit is only for storylines not expressly labeled as storylines. Planet Hulk or Civil War would be acceptable.

While we’re vivisecting your standards…

The first story I thought of was American Gothic, which ran from Swamp Thing 37 – 50. Too long?

“I’m kinda sad — I don’t know U.S. comics well enough to participate in this poll. ”

There’s nowt that says that the runs have to be American.

Brian, it’s hard to see through all the nitpickyness, but try to remember: These comments indicate overall enthusiasm and excitement.

Good luck.

So, (1) anything that has an official name as a subset of the overall title is good, even if it runs more than 12 issues, (Even if you’re Church and State or the Blackest Night long) and
(2) storylines that are coherent but do not have an overall title are acceptable if they are 12 or less (for example, the interwoven Manga Kahn/Bialya/Apokalypse plotline in Justice Leauge International 14-21.

But longer stories that don’t have an official name associated other than the series title are out (so no entire runs, since we’ve already done that poll)

What about long storylines with semi-official names? The original clone sage, for example, not that anyone ought to vote for it, or the original Quest of Elfquest

Andrew Collins:

I don’t want to nitpick but shouldn’t Locas be broken up in to storylines like “Wigwam Bam” and “Death of Speedy” since it is it’s own ongoing saga? Sort of like how you have two ZOT stories.

Andrew: Earth Stories, American Gothic and Death of Speedy were the first 3 things that sprang to my mind. Great list!

What about a story that was not contained in consequential issues, but as a dangling plot? For example the revelation of Green Goblin. There were like 5 or 6 stories before the revelation, and all of them added something to the Goblin character. Can i vote this story or not? And this is just an example, there are many others in my mind

Does the original saga of Ra’s Al Ghul, which ran in non-consecutive issues of Detective Comics and Batman in 1971-1972, count as one story?

Yes.

Would a self-contained mini-series (say, “Watchmen” or “Crisis on Infinite Earths”) be considered a storyline?

Yes.

Actually… I’m questioning whether it would be possible to reduce these features a bit?

No.

Is “Kraven’s Last Hunt” invalid by Rule 5?

Theno

1- How are we to treat manga for a list like this? Example: Naoki Urasawa’s Monster as one big storyline? or should I break it up by volume?

Break up by volume.

2 – Same question for epics like Bone.

Bone had separate storylines (like the Cow race), but as a guideline, I suppose yeah, you can use the volumes as a guide.

Is “Kraven’s Last Hunt” invalid by Rule 5?

No, it was the title of the crossover.

Would All-Star Superman count? Its twelve issues, “supposely” an on-going, and it does have an overarching story running through the 12 issues?

Sure, I’ll give you that one as a complete storyline.

Is From Hell discounted because it’s a melodrama told in SIXTEEN parts and not twelve?

No.

if we provide a top 10 and some of our choices are disallowed (e.g. you decide Watchmen doesn’t count), does that mean the whole top 10 is disqualified?

I’d prefer you ask the question here first if you’re unsure, but no, if one of your choices is disallowed, I won’t hold that against you.

The twelve-issue rule seems totally arbitrary. I would have picked Planet Hulk, but that’s fourteen issues so I guess it’s not a storyline.

It is allowed. Rule 7 allows storylines over 12 issues so long as they’re clearly labeled as such.

The 12-issue rule is only to disallow someone picking, I dunno, 20 issues of Byrne’s FF and calling it a storyline.

So, wait…does the 12-issue limit eliminate stories like Crisis or Civil War? As individual series, they’re within the limit. However, the tie-in issues on both probably put the story into the 100s.

No, Rule 7 allows them.

What do you mean Daredevil 31-81 doesn’t count? Yeah, it’s 50 issues, but it’s clearly all one storyline, and if we’re arbitrarily not counting that as one of comics’ 100 best storylines, then what’s the point of this list? That was a great story.

That run contained quite a few clearly labeled stories. If you want to vote for The Murdock Papers, great. If you want to vote for Underboss, great. If you want to vote for “all the Daredevil stories together,” not so great.

Brian, what if people forget to mention a Quasar storyline? Does Rule 9 allow you to add it in, since obviously they would have?

Don’t doubt the devotion of Quasar fans, Jeff! They might show up in droves to vote! He almost made the Top 50 Marvel characters last time we did this!

Look at rule 7, folks. The 12 issue limit is only for storylines not expressly labeled as storylines. Planet Hulk or Civil War would be acceptable.

Correct.

The first story I thought of was American Gothic, which ran from Swamp Thing 37 – 50. Too long?

No, that’s fine.

There’s nowt that says that the runs have to be American.

Yeah, feel free to vote for Manga!

Brian, it’s hard to see through all the nitpickyness, but try to remember: These comments indicate overall enthusiasm and excitement.

Good luck.

Ha! I know that Gary, it’s all good. :)

What about long storylines with semi-official names? The original clone sage, for example, not that anyone ought to vote for it, or the original Quest of Elfquest

I think the Clone Saga has an official enough name. We all were calling it that at the time. Marvel’s releasing a trade of it AS The Clone Saga, after all.

And same with the Original Quest in Elfquest. I think that was pretty clearly known to be one storyline at the time.

What about a story that was not contained in consequential issues, but as a dangling plot? For example the revelation of Green Goblin. There were like 5 or 6 stories before the revelation, and all of them added something to the Goblin character. Can i vote this story or not? And this is just an example, there are many others in my mind

If you can find non-consequential issues that tell the same main plotline (in less than 12 issues), then sure, fair enough.

I doubt there are many issues that Goblin is the main plotline, though, so I would stick to those issues where he is. Heck, #39-40 is a fine storyline right there, isn’t it?

Brian,
Thanks for removing my boneheaded mistake.

I don’t want to nitpick but shouldn’t Locas be broken up in to storylines like “Wigwam Bam” and “Death of Speedy” since it is it’s own ongoing saga? Sort of like how you have two ZOT stories.

That’s a fair point, Kevin. If Brian discounts “Locas” as a whole, then “Death Of Speedy” would be my replacement choice for it on my list.

Andrew: Earth Stories, American Gothic and Death of Speedy were the first 3 things that sprang to my mind. Great list!

Thanks, Patrick!

That’s a fair point, Kevin. If Brian discounts “Locas” as a whole, then “Death Of Speedy” would be my replacement choice for it on my list.

Done and done!

It doesn’t matter how many issues the Civil War storyline runs, since they are all clearly part of the Civil War storyline, as opposed to someone voting for, say, all of the Lee/Kirby FF run as ONE storyline when it’s really numerous storylines.

Correct, and that’s actually one of the specific things that I was thinking about (people just picking chunks of Lee/Kirby FF and calling it a storyline, or Lee/Ditko Amazing as one storyline)!

So one could vote for something that has an unofficial storyline name, like the Galactus Trilogy, but not, say, Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis’ Detective Comics work, as that would be a run and not a storyline. Could one vote for, say “the Terra Saga”, incorporating all the issues of New Teen Titans from the Terra reveal (which really should have won the greatest reveal poll, btw), up to and including the Judas Contract, if one specifies certain issues? That would seem to fit in with the Ra’ Al Ghul example (although why you wouldn’t just vote for the Judas Contract is beyond me…).

Thanks, Brian. Hate to be a pain, but I just caught one more mistake. I meant Incredible Hulk #417-418, not 416-417. Just caught myself on that while reviewing my list above. Ugh.

As much as I hate to ask more nit-picking questions…

Would something like ‘Age of Apocalypse’ count? It wasn’t strictly a single storyline, more like a collection of stories in a semi-alternate universe, but it was clearly defined and labelled.

If one of our choices is deemed ineligible, presumably you’d bump everything else up a place? Does that mean we’d get to choose a new 10th place?

What about your Ghost World? Would that count? I would hope so.

Since Brian brought it up, when we were hammering out the rules for this last night over IM, I mentioned that there’s a difference between a specified storyline like “Fall of the Mutants” and a larger, umbrella event title like “Dark Reign.” While all of the events in stories like “Fall of the Mutants” generally work towards the same end goals and could be pieced together into one large storyline/collection, things like “Dark Reign are more fractured, with many small storylines based on one theme, aka the uber-arc.

Some series – “Preacher,” “Y: The Last Man” – fuzzy the line a bit, but Brian figured, and I agreed, that those titles and suggestions could be handled on a case by case basis.

Believe it or not, folks, but Brian puts a LOT of thought into these things before they see the light of day on CSBG!

Judas Contract ended with #44 and the annual, so any grouping that doesn’t go back further than #34 should be fine. (Was the reveal in #34 or #32?)

As to why, presumably to sneak “Who is Donna Troy” into your storyline…

@Steve Gerdling- I think that’s a good distinction, though “Fall of the Mutants” might not be the best example. It was really three isolated storylines that shared a common logo (and a really cool ad).

Hey, is there a way to know if/when our nominations have been accepted?

Would something like ‘Age of Apocalypse’ count? It wasn’t strictly a single storyline, more like a collection of stories in a semi-alternate universe, but it was clearly defined and labelled.

Yeah, it’s fine by me.

If one of our choices is deemed ineligible, presumably you’d bump everything else up a place? Does that mean we’d get to choose a new 10th place?

Yeah, I’d bump it all up. As for whether you’d get to pick a new one. Well, yeah, if you knew it was disallowed. I dunno if I’m going to be so on top of the ball that I’ll let you know before it was time to count the votes. :)

What about your Ghost World? Would that count? I would hope so.

My Ghost World? :)

And yeah, that would certainly count.

Since Brian brought it up, when we were hammering out the rules for this last night over IM, I mentioned that there’s a difference between a specified storyline like “Fall of the Mutants” and a larger, umbrella event title like “Dark Reign.” While all of the events in stories like “Fall of the Mutants” generally work towards the same end goals and could be pieced together into one large storyline/collection, things like “Dark Reign are more fractured, with many small storylines based on one theme, aka the uber-arc.

You didn’t hype your term enough!!

Hey, is there a way to know if/when our nominations have been accepted?

Does it say that your post is up for moderation? If so, then that is a good sign that it is accepted.

@DanLarkin – fair enough! It’s been a loooong time since I read it.

I do very much like “über-arc” as a catch-all term for the magnitude of Daredevil #31-81.

I was hoping, though, that the descriptor in question would be an all-encompassingly niche term for a massive storyline that features its author in the roles of both The Kingpin and The Watcher. What’s the word for that, again?

Hey, Brian, where would you say the Dark Phoenix saga begins? I have a collected edition that begins with X-Men #129, but I have seen lists that break the story up into smaller, separate arcs (#132-134, #135-137). So, how do you rule it?

The simplest answer is just to say “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” :)

But seriously, I would say #129-137, like the trade collection.

Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about “Days of Future Past” and the original “Brood” storyline in X-Men (that was at least several issues, wasn’t it?)! Oh well. That would have just made picking my final 10 all that much harder.

If you count the entirety of Ultimates 2 in there then add that as my vote instead of just the second trade por favor! Thanks, Brian!

What about Peter Gillis’s Doctor Strange series in Strange Tales vol 2? Does that count as a single story? What about just the first 16 issues? I’m still missing #18 and #19, so it’s quite possible they’re not part of the storyline, and it does seem to be debatable as to whether #17 should count. (It has him returning to his normal life.) On the other hand, you could count the last few issues of the previous Doctor Strange series as part of the story, since they had the events that led into the whole saga.
I’m also unsure which issues of Gillis’s Defenders would count as a single story. I’m thinking of when the Dragon of the Moon possessed Moondragon (the first time, not the second fight against the Dragon at the end of the series). I no longer have those issues, and I can’t even remember which issues it was, or how long it lasted, but I know it was less than twelve.
Whatever happened to Peter Gillis anyway? Does anybody know?

3 things:

a) For this poll’s purpose, I’m guessing The Death of Superman doesn’t count, but either Doomsday!/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen do?

b) Your choice of going by volume for manga doesn’t really make sense… I guess it’s your criteria, but manga does have examples of storylines labelled as such as well and that wouldn’t work going by volume. Just going by mainstream shonen mangas, I can mention “The World’s Strongest Robot” from Astro Boy (which became the basis for a whole another manga, Pluto), “The Cell Saga” in Dragon Ball, “Baroque Works Saga” from One Piece, “Soul Society” from Bleach, “Maximum Tournament” from Grappler Baki. I could go on, and I know it’s technically a nitpick (since I don’t see too many manga stories with chances in this blog, as most of us, including myself, will be thinking more about american comics), but the point I wanted to make was that manga stories tend to go on for many, many volumes, while still clearly being the same story and named as such.

c) Never voted in these before, so do you just include that string in any place on your comment or is it like “Sage”?

You may strike this out if it is irrelevant but would current running story lines that are only one or two issues away from completion be eligible for counting if you think every bit leading up to that point has been stellar??

You may strike this out if it is irrelevant but would current running story lines that are only one or two issues away from completion be eligible for counting if you think every bit leading up to that point has been stellar??

It’s fine by me if you think it’s worthy of a spot on your list.

a) For this poll’s purpose, I’m guessing The Death of Superman doesn’t count, but either Doomsday!/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen do?

Correct.

b) Your choice of going by volume for manga doesn’t really make sense… I guess it’s your criteria, but manga does have examples of storylines labelled as such as well and that wouldn’t work going by volume. Just going by mainstream shonen mangas, I can mention “The World’s Strongest Robot” from Astro Boy (which became the basis for a whole another manga, Pluto), “The Cell Saga” in Dragon Ball, “Baroque Works Saga” from One Piece, “Soul Society” from Bleach, “Maximum Tournament” from Grappler Baki. I could go on, and I know it’s technically a nitpick (since I don’t see too many manga stories with chances in this blog, as most of us, including myself, will be thinking more about american comics), but the point I wanted to make was that manga stories tend to go on for many, many volumes, while still clearly being the same story and named as such.

I think it depends on the context of the manga in question. If you think it is matter of three volumes specifically forming one storyline, then fair enough (for instance, Church and State in Cerebus is more than one volume and so is New Frontier, so is Galactic Storm, so is Age of Apocalypse, etc.).

I’m just “eliminating” stuff like “Fruits Basket Vols. 1-23″ as a choice.

c) Never voted in these before, so do you just include that string in any place on your comment or is it like “Sage”?

Any place in your comment.

Thanks, Brian! I put some good comics on my list.

Does the Englehart/Simonson/Rogers run on Detective Comics count as one storyline ? (the romance with Silver St Cloud and the battle against Rupert Thorne go from the first Englehart episode to the end and it was written as a whole arc)

What about extended series that are not uber-arcs but were clearly intended from the outset to have a finite duration? I’m think of something like the Sandman, Planetary or Y: the last man, all of which are clearly single stories, in the way that, say, 50 issues of Daredevil are not, even though they contain an uber-arc.

He specifically said no to all of Preacher, so break those up into arcs and pick your favorite.

Does the Englehart/Simonson/Rogers run on Detective Comics count as one storyline ? (the romance with Silver St Cloud and the battle against Rupert Thorne go from the first Englehart episode to the end and it was written as a whole arc)

I’d say just go with the Strange Apparitions trade. It contains all that stuff.

This….

This is going to be tough…

Part of me wants to put certain 2000AD storylines in there (Apocalypse War, Khronicles of Khaos, The Dead Man, Judge Dredd: Origins, Mechanismo)…

Another part believes mine will be the only votes they get, and just to focus on US comics…

Does “Scarlet Traces” by Ian Edgington and D’Israeli count? I think it was originally a web-comic, then a mini-series, then collected…

Does “Scarlet Traces” by Ian Edgington and D’Israeli count? I think it was originally a web-comic, then a mini-series, then collected…

Sure.

The whole of Sandman clearly is not a single storyline. The Doll’s House and Season of Mists are very different, very separate storylines, for instance.

And Planetary has a lot of stand-alone issues.

I’m spending far too much time making a huge list! Then trying to whittle it down! I need to get out more. Perhaps some beers in my local might help ;)

“The whole of Sandman clearly is not a single storyline. The Doll’s House and Season of Mists are very different, very separate storylines, for instance.

And Planetary has a lot of stand-alone issues.”

Agreed. It’s a very short step from arguing that Sandman is all one storyline because stuff at the beginning pays off at the end to arguing that the clone saga starts in Amazing Spider-Man 149 and runs for the next 200+ issues.

It all comes down to common sense guys, really.

Read the rules, Brian leaves doors open to almost anything you want to include. Obviously humongous runs are not storylines. Do not be so dense.

I can’t decide between Secret Wars II or Dark Knight II. Should I just flip a coin?

I know I’ve asked as many questions as anyone else but I can’t wrap my head around how to compare parts of a long storyline (let’s say Ditko/Lee’s Dr. Strange) to a complete storyline (let’s say All-Star Superman). Just because one happens to be longer than the other. There still just comics to me and it seems so bizarre to rate parts of my favorite works to complete stories that I also love.

When I submit my list it will be just parts of long form sagas. So even though the rules say I can submit AS Superman I’ll be refraining so I can compare just story arcs. Like Catwoman: Wild Ride to Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter, for example. Just makes more sense to me that way.

Also, I need help. Ditko left Strange tales with 146 and wrapped up the ongoing Dormmamu/Eternity storyline. Does anyone know what issue it technically started? I’ll just submit it as “Dormmamu/ Eternity” storyline if I don
t find out. Assuming it counts.

Kevin: I would say the Eternity Story starts with Strange Tales 136, when Doctor Strange gets back to Earth, Visits the Ancient One and is told he mutters the word Eternity over and over again.

Does rule 5 disqualify Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow because it was split across Action Comics and Superman or are they considered to be one title for the puroses of this?

The title of the crossover, Dan, would be “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.”

Ah – I thought the “title” in rule five was the title of the comic not the story

It’s either.

I see, though, that perhaps putting “Utopia” as an example of an inter-title crossover wasn’t explicit enough, so I went back and added “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” Hopefully that will be clearer.

The Crazed Spruce

November 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

Damn. Just when I thought I had my Top 10 nailed down, I reread the comments and remember another
half a dozen stories. (Seriously, how the hell could I forget “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” And even as I type, I remember “The Man of Steel”, “E is for Extinction”, and the “New World Order” and “World War III” arcs from JLA.

I’m gonna have to bookmark this post and get back to it later. You sure we can’t submit a top twenty?

Don’t waste your New X-Men vote on E is for Extinction. The stand-out arc in that series is Riot at Xavier’s

The Crazed Spruce

November 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Well, DanCJ, turns out that neither of those stories was even a runner-up. They were on my short list, though….

Riot at Xaviers is on my shortlist. I’m still working on my final ten so we’ll see…

I’ve just voted. Those are secret, but here are the shortlisted ones that didn’t make it…

Superman: Secret Identity
Dark Knight Dark City
Grendel – Tim Sale arcx
Ultimates 1
Marvels
Stormwatch v2 #7-9: Bleed
JLA: Rock of Ages
The Golden Age
Sin City: That Yellow Bastard
Ed the Happy clown
Miracleman: Olympus
Preacher 1-5
LotDK: Blades
LoEG vol 2
Riot at Xavier’s
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Box Office Poison
The Return of Superman (aka The Reign of the Supermen)
Clark Kent Fired

Brian,

I guess I didn’t do the secret code thing right, because my top ten votes are showing up on the comments page.

I don’t mind that they are showing up, heck I’m not even sure if I followed your rules correctly, but I would like for my votes to be counted in the final tally even if they are not secret.

Let me know if I have to do anything differently.

Thanks.

The Crazed Spruce

November 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

I had 25 stories on my short list, and somehow managed to narrow it down to a top 10 and 5 runners-up.

@Wade AuCoin

It looks like you did it right, because it’s not showing up in the comments from what I can see. If your voting post says “awaiting moderation,” it means that only you and Brian can see it.

Awesome.

Thanks Wesley. The “awaiting moderation” comment does indeed appear.

gotta agree with the Riot at Xavier’s arc. Didn’t make my top 10. but I already had two Morrison arcs on it.

I know it’s separated into TPB’s but does #1-25 of Brubaker’s Captain America count as one (long) story?

If my post disappeared (the “awaiting moderation” displayed originally; I included the code) does that mean it got counted or I did something wrong?

The former, Andy.

I know it’s separated into TPB’s but does #1-25 of Brubaker’s Captain America count as one (long) story?

No.

My honorable mentions/oh crap I forgot! list:

Immortal Iron Fist: 7 Capital Cities of Heaven
Any New X-Men Storyline
X-Men: Days Future Past
Casanova vol. 2
Scott Pilgrim 1-5
Animal Man: That One Where He Does That Spoiler Thing At The End And Meets That Guy
Might Thor: Siege of Hel
Spider-Man and Human Torch
Neal Adams/Roy Thomas X-Men in the Savage Land
Steranko’s Nick Fury in Strange Tales
Lee Kirby Fantastic Four meet the Inhumans/Black Panther/Dr. Doom steels Surfer’s powers
Watchmen*
V For Vendetta*
Superman: Whatever Happened To the Man of Tomorrow?
Marvels*
Spider-Man: Master Planner
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six (The one Michilene and Larsen did; look, it was one of the few storylines I got every issue of as a kid, okay?)
Any Miracleman arc by Moore
D.C.: The New Frontier*
Flash: Return of Barry Allen
Brubaker’s Cap
Lee/Kirby Dr. Strange vs. Mordo, Dormammu/meets Eternity
Punisher: Welcome Back Frank
Ellis and Hitch’s last Authority storyline

(*I created my own criteria to disqualify these. Cronin’s not the only one that can do that! Well, it only applies to me, but whatever. I can make criteria too!)

Also:

DKR/DKSA.*
Tomb of Dracula: Drac vs. Dr. Sun
The Defenders vs. The Headsmen
Captain Britain and MI-13: Vampire Nation
Incredible Hercules: Love and War
Agents of Atlas (original mini)
Neal Adams’ Deadman
Ghost World**
Black Hole**
X-Men: From the Ashes***
Hitman: Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium****

I just made three more criteria.

Kevin: I would say the Eternity Story starts with Strange Tales 136, when Doctor Strange gets back to Earth, Visits the Ancient One and is told he mutters the word Eternity over and over again.

That’s when the Eternity story point factors in but that particular story began when Dr. Strange was on the run from Mordo who was powered by Dormammu. Then Eternity was introduced. Then to finish it all of Dormammu threw himself in to Eternity. So I wouldn’t say the story begins with Eternity exactly.

It’s hard for me to not consider Animal Man #1-26 as a single, cohesive storyline. #26 builds on and themes established right in #1 about hope, life, death, the randomness and cruelty of violence, animal rights, etc. I can’t think of any logical break point in the story — the trades of that run have fairly arbitrary cut-offs. I’d like to figure out some way to include this, because Animal Man #1-26 is very definitely #1 on my list.

ok Doom Patrol crawling from the wreckage 19 threw twenty three it started out Gran Morrison Doom Patrol
Animal Man Flesh and blood it never gets noticed but it was superier to morrisons it is animal Man 50 through 56

Sand Man The Dolls house it was the story line that got Sand Man noticed

Vertigos childs crusade every issue But Doom Patrol this was the first and only full line cross over Vertigo ever did it had to book ends and some the best work done by the different creative teams the only exception was Doom Patrol were Dorthy Spinner after being taken to a magic world was kicked out for minstrating .

Scalped Casino Boogie story can be read from several point of one as anterduction to the rest of th cast character we had not met . a group of interlocking one shot s and the first day of the casino

I will send more

What about Maus and V for Vendetta, both of which were serialized before they were collected?

Moonshadow is okay to count as a single storyline, right?

Spiderman vs the Sin Eater from Spectacular Spider-man 106-110 is my all time favorite storyline. The follow up is a close second and is up there because it features a classic Spidey rouge (Electro) in his best story ever.

What about Maus and V for Vendetta, both of which were serialized before they were collected?

Both count.

Moonshadow is okay to count as a single storyline, right?

Yep.

There have been a couple of people who have posted their votes publicly to the blog, so I thought I’d save Brian the trouble and remind everyone that you need to include the phrase “ACBC” somewhere in your response, so only you and Brian can see it.

Would Grant Morrison’s The Filth #1-13 count as one storyline?

Merc with da mouth

November 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Its funny how most storylines that people consider there favorites were either just written by the original creators or written in the 90’s makes u think about creator owned projects.

@ Brad Curran:

Captain Britain and MI-13: Vampire Nation
Incredible Hercules: Love and War

i loved these two arcs – but didn’t vote for them. i think it’s because they are so new that i’m afraid i won’t love them as much in the future…

For Planetary can I include the first 12 issues together to make a storyline or must I follow the division made by the trades?
What about Global Frequency?
And Runaways vol.1 #1-18? It’s difficult to see how rule #7 would or wouldn’t apply

Since the Trial of Hank Pym was just mentioned, it’s got me wondering—- What are the rules regarding discontinuous stories? The Hank Pym story began in #211, #212, or #213, depending on how you count it, and it ran until #230, as mentioned above. But there were other, unrelated stories along the way. So should it count as one story or two or three? This is one of the storylines I’m considering for my list, so I’d really like to know.
And what about the (second) Kree-Skrull War, from Englehart’s Silver Surfer? It started just after the beginning of the series and lasted until #31, but for much of that time it was just a background sub-plot. But it played an important part of most of the main stories. Should I only count the last few issues, in which it was the main story?

Does The Long Halloween #1-13 and Dark Victory #0-13 count as one storyline?

Also, How about No Man’s Land? Does rule 7 allow that or is it too big?

Animal Man 1-26 ( i dont care what you say it was freaking brilliant and needs to be on this list)

I always loved the ‘Mutant Massacre’ that ran through X-Men/New Mutants/X-Factor/Thor/Power Pack
‘Fall of the Mutants’
and Alan Davis’ Return to Excalibur run from #42

Also, How about No Man’s Land? Does rule 7 allow that or is it too big?

I’ll count it, Mark.

Animal Man 1-26 ( i dont care what you say it was freaking brilliant and needs to be on this list)

Animal Man #1-26 does not count. Vote for it if you like, but you’ll just be hurting the chances of the storylines within that run getting voted for, as I won’t be counting votes for it.

Does The Long Halloween #1-13 and Dark Victory #0-13 count as one storyline?

No. Two storylines.

For Planetary can I include the first 12 issues together to make a storyline or must I follow the division made by the trades?

Sure. Trades are generally just good as guidelines for stuff, they’re not concrete rules.

What about Global Frequency?

I say no, actually. There has to actually be a shared plotline, and Global Frequency didn’t have one, right?

And Runaways vol.1 #1-18? It’s difficult to see how rule #7 would or wouldn’t apply

I say no. There’s enough individual storylines in there that it wouldn’t have to be one big one. It’s a close call, though!

Would Grant Morrison’s The Filth #1-13 count as one storyline?

Sure, I’ll allow it.

the hard part is picking the best part of runs you just must include; ennis’ punisher, brubaker’s cap, whedon’s astonishing. it’s hard to say “these 5 issues were better than these 5″, but if you really think about it, there’s usually one story that made the others great. the point of cap’s run to me is that we now have, know, and love Bucky. the point of ennis’ run is the brutality, psychological impact, and Barricuda. whedon brought back my Colossus and made maybe my favorite x-men run ever. so even though it’s difficult, there’s always a way to narrow.

I voted back on the 5th, and the comment didn’t disappear so I hope I didn’t do anything wrong. Probably a crapload of votes to take into account >_>

Ok, I’m gonna stop bothering you with questions now Mr. Cronin >_<

The “Shrinking Violet starts acting differently, rejecting long-time boyfriend Duplicate Boy and starting a romance with Colossal Boy but it’s not just that she’s acting different, it turns out she’s actually a Durlan and the real Salu Digby has been kidnapped” storyline has always been a fave.

does jasper’s warp count since it was across a few titles? i just mean the parts written by alan moore.
and for that matter the magus sga since it started in strange tales before moving to warlock?

does jasper’s warp count since it was across a few titles? i just mean the parts written by alan moore.
and for that matter the magus sga since it started in strange tales before moving to warlock?

Yes to both.

I’ll add something to the above guidelines that I’ll allow stuff that’s obviously meant to be an inter-title storyline, even if it was not explicitly labeled a storyline.

“the point of ennis’ run is the brutality, psychological impact, and Barricuda”

Amen regarding Barricuda. My two favorite Punisher stories ever. The only thing missing was Frank getting dismembered. I was really really really hoping Barricuda would gouge out one of his eyes or chop a finger off. Considering how every Punisher villain dies, it only seemed fair that the best one ever should give Frank Castle a little something to remember him by.

By the by, I’m thrilled by how many of you are remembering to number your entries #1-10, that’s a great help and I appreciate it a lot!

Crap! I’m sorry. I misspelled the word. Does my ballot still count?

Does Ultimates 2 count as one story?

S’all good, Jude, I got it for ya.

I’m not familiar with that Legion of Super-Heroes story Rod Townsend mentioned, but it sure sounds a lot like the ‘Alicia leaves Ben and marries Johnny, but she’s really a Skrull’- story from Fantastic Four. I was wondering which came first.
(Of course, in the Fantastic Four, she was never meant to be a Skrull. DeFalco just came up with that idea because he apparently didn’t realise that such a mis-matched couple could just divorce normally.)

Does Ultimates 2 count as one story?

I think it’s fair to consider Ultimates 2 one storyline.

Ultimates vol. 1 is two, though.

I’m not familiar with that Legion of Super-Heroes story Rod Townsend mentioned, but it sure sounds a lot like the ‘Alicia leaves Ben and marries Johnny, but she’s really a Skrull’- story from Fantastic Four. I was wondering which came first.
(Of course, in the Fantastic Four, she was never meant to be a Skrull. DeFalco just came up with that idea because he apparently didn’t realise that such a mis-matched couple could just divorce normally.)

The Legion one came first, by about 10 years.

Thank you, Brain.

Brian damn you for making my mind into mush…lol and damn this comic storyline addiction of mine!!! lol

kisskissbangbang

November 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Zatanna’s search for her father, in which she was introduced, was composed completely of single issues of different titles; but it’s still a single storyline, right? (And has that ever been reprinted?)

Zatanna’s search for her father, in which she was introduced, was composed completely of single issues of different titles; but it’s still a single storyline, right? (And has that ever been reprinted?)

Yes to both (the trade was fairly recent).

Yes, kkbb, there was a trade called ZATANNA’S QUEST a few years back; I’m sure Brian will OK it.

Geez, Brian you’re doing these so fast you must be sitting all night right there at the PC. It’s almost like chat.

Stupid question: any two-part (two issue) story I think really outstanding counts? No three issue minimum or anything like that?

Ha!

When I’m front of the computer, I try to answer as quickly as I can. :)

You’ll note that they pile up first!

And yeah, no three-issue minimum.

I am a little astounded that people don’t think Sandman is one full story. I’m not saying it should count for this as one “arc” but it is very obviously the story of Morpheus’ death.

Not a fan of this 12-issue limit. Y: The Last Man and Bone are both single stories, lasting longer than 12 issues. To discount either, or break them down into smaller parts… Yeah, no thanks.

Not a fan of this 12-issue limit. Y: The Last Man and Bone are both single stories, lasting longer than 12 issues. To discount either, or break them down into smaller parts… Yeah, no thanks.

We’ll miss your participation, JD!

I voted for New X-Men 114-126 (E is for Extinction Part 1 to All Hell), which is the complete Cassandra Nova story and was wondering if that was going to count. I hope it does!

I was also wondering how huge crossover events like the Age of Apocalypse and Inferno would be treated. Hopefully, my votes counted.

I’m going E for Extinction as one storyline, Imperial as another.

You can vote for Age of Apocalypse or Inferno as a single storyline (just specify if you wanted, say, the Avengers issues that crossed over with Inferno, but I imagine anyone who says Inferno will mean the actual main storyline).

I like how you’re answering all these questions as fast as they come in, Brian, but you never answered my question about discontinuous storylines. Can I count the whole Hank Pym saga as one story from #212 or #213 to #230, or do I have to divide it into smaller stories? I could simply count the last several, dealing with Egghead and the trial, but it would more likely qualify as one of my favourites if it could include the earlier court-martial and break-up with Jan.

They can be discontinuous issues, Mary, so long as they continue the same main plotline.

So sure, go for it.

Especially as it is well under twelve issues long.

The Crazed Spruce

November 10, 2009 at 1:20 am

Just for the record, and without revealing my Top 10, my short list included:

Crisis on Infinite Earths
Secret Wars
JLA/Avengers
Reign of the Supermen
The Death of Superman
The Walking Dead (the first six issues)
Identity Crisis
New World Order (JLA 1-4)
E is for Extinction
Riot at Xavier’s
The Supergirl Saga (Byrne’s last crossover through the Superman titles)
The first arc from Runaways *
The whole fake Violet arc from LSH *

…and my five runners-up were:

Crisis on Earth One/Crisis on Earth Two
The first storyarc from Preacher
Formerly Known as the Justice League
Ultron Unlimited
The Ralph Dibny vs. Faust arc from 52

And just to keep you all guessing, my Top 10 included:

8 stories from the ’80’s
2 stories from the ’90’s
8 stories from DC
2 stories from Marvel
3 self-contained mini-series
3 crossovers
4 story arcs from a single series
1 story involving original characters
9 stories involving established characters
10 stories involving superheroes

And if you’ve been paying attention, you can make an educated guess for at least one of ‘em. :)

* Okay, I would’ve included these two, if I’d remembered them earlier than an hour ago….

Stories I would’ve voted if they qualified.

Scott Pilgrim
Y-the Last Man
LOEG: Black Dossier
Ultimate Spider-man(yes the whole 140 odd issues)
The Saint Walker story from Tales of the Corps.

Also I mistakenly wrote The ultimates in my vote instead ultimates 2.

I tried really hard not to pick my ten favorite X-Men stories. I think I did a good job. I threw in some Supes and Madman.

Yo that’s cool and everything and I’m gonna let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best storylines of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Are you not allowed to post your top ten on here if you’ve already voted for them.

Also, I’m surprised by some of these choices. I think I’m going to be afraid of this final list.

Would Thunderbolts 1-12 (with maybe the ’97 annual tacked on) count as a single storyline–i.e., the rise and fall of the original incarnation of the Thunderbolts, with most of the team ultimately deciding to flip on Zemo and try being actual heroes?

Man that was tough! As an X-Fan I didn’t do a great job of not being bias, but I couldn’t help it! Still I think I gave some good DC Titles in there as well. My Honorable mentions:

-Kick-Ass – Even though it’s not finished, you know it’s gonna be one of the best stories of this decade!
-Kree/Skrull War
-Fatal Attractions
-Secret War
-Days of Future Past
-Inferno
-First Authority storyline
-The Masters of Evil Assault on Avengers Mansion.

And I would like to add the Brubaker Captain America run…but stupid rules forbid it!

…Fourth World’s going to be a tough one to go through and pick a single arc, but I think I’d probably go with the first Jimmy Olsen arc. (If I were picking single-issue stories, my answer would be different.)

It’s interesting — I’ve seen comparatively few of my own picks reflected in the list so far.

Mostly it just serves as a reminder of how much great stuff I haven’t read yet. Maybe when I go home I should take the shrink wrap off that Mad Love hardcover.

Well I posted that wrong. Opps. Of well….

forgot about:

Days Of Future’s Past (X-MEN)
Born Again (DAREDEVIL)
Guardian Devil (DAREDEVIL)

This was harder than I thought. The things I left off are impressive. I tried to remember things I was uber excited for when they were being released. There was a long spell in the ealry 90’s when I was getting nothing but Cerebus so I ended up with three Cerebus storylines on my list. I thought about keeping it to one, but ultimately couldn’t . Also left some things off as I knew they would get enough love from others (Watchmen, V, etc.).

I had to include the early Ditko Dr. Strange’s with his journey and ultimate battle with Dormamu! When I read it for the first timke I was amazed how long the story line continued in a day when almost everything was one and done. The Pincers of Power still do it for me.

The Crazed Spruce

November 10, 2009 at 9:57 am

Don’t know about anyone else, Kevin, but I just posted the runners-up and the rest of my short list that didn’t make my final Top 10. If it’s that much of an issue for Brian, though, I hereby give him permission to go ahead and delete my hints for my Top 10, or my entire runner-up list for that matter.

This is my long list. Some titles undeniably deserve to be there. Some place probably because my memory of them has become rose-coloured, but they still count as “favourite” regardless of any shortcomings in quality. Some are undoubtedly missing and I’ll kick myself for not thinking of them before I submitted my top ten.

Astro City: various arcs (though my favourite story might just be the Beauty one-shot)
Batman: Year One
Cerebus: Jaka’s Story
Daredevil #174-181 + 191 (I consider “Roulette” in #191 to be the true coda to #181, whereas #182 serves to set up the weaker resurrection storyline)
Daredevil Bendis run (Too long to qualify under the rules but, yeah, hard to break into smaller components)
Daredevil: Born Again
Doctor Strange vol 2 #48-55 (Stern, Smith and Golden deliver a storyline that’s stylish, trippy, heartbreaking and all kinds of gorgeous to look at)
Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President (sure, lots of issues collected into multiple volumes, but clearly one single story)
Elektra: Assassin
Fantastic Four: Trial of Galactus (Byrne at the peak of his powers… that the actual trial took place during Assistant Editor’s month and he made it work is astonishing)
Green Lantern Corps (the original mini)
Grendel: various arcs, but it’s probably the sweep of the saga overall more than any indiviual storyline
Mars (Wheatley & Hempel)
Miracleman: The Golden Age
Powers: various arcs, but notably Supergroup and Sellouts
Sandman: various arcs, including the one that made it into my top 10 list
Somerset Holmes
Spiderman: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Strikeforce: Morituri #1-12
Superman: Secret Identity
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Swamp Thing: various Moore arcs, but notably American Gothic
Teen Titans: various Wolfman/Perez arcs, notably The Judas Contract
Twilight of the Superheroes (It exists in MY mind, okay? And it’s brilliant)
V for Vendetta
X-Men: original Brood arc (If only for the scene where Kitty and Peter talk about having sex in the days before you could talk about having sex in mainstream comics)
Watchmen
Wolverine 1-4 (Claremont/Miller)

If graphic novels and one-shots had been allowed, the following would have made it onto the list, among others:

City of Glass
Pedro and Me
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

I finally voted.

Since others are posting them, I figured I’d post my runner ups:

Avengers Vision takes over the World Avengers 253-254
Batman Batman Becomes a Vampire Batman 349-351, Detective 517
Batman Death in the Family Batman 426-429
Batman Hush Batman 608-619
Batman Introduction of Black Mask Batman 386-387, Detective 553
Batman Jason Todd Custody Battle Detective 542-547
Batman Knightfall Too Many to List
Batman Lonely Place of Dying Batman 440-442, New Titans 60-61
Batman Many Deaths of Batman Batman 433-435
Batman No Man’s Land Too Many to List
Batman Nocturna / Night Slayer Batman 376-381, Detective 529-530
Batman R.I.P Batman 676-681
Batman The Mud Pack Detective 604-607
Batman Whatever Happened…. Batman 686, Detective 853
Batman Dark Knight Returns Dark Knight Returns 1-4
Cap Cap Vs. Baron Blood Cap 253-254
Cap Cap Vs. Baron Zemo II Cap 275-278
Cap Cap Vs. Deathlok Cap 286-288
Cap Cap Vs. Red Skull to the Death Cap 290-301
Cap Captain America No More Cap 332-350
DC X-overs 52 – Montoya becomes
the Question Too Many to List
DC X-overs 52 – Rise and Fall of
Black Adam Too Many to List
DC X-overs Final Crisis Final Crisis 1-7
DD Original Elektra Saga DD 168-176
DD Death of Elektra DD 179-182
DD 1st DD V Punisher DD 183-184
Excalibur Cross-Time Caper Excalibur 12-19, 21-24
FF Death of Doctor Doom FF 258-260
FF FF v Mephisto FF 276-277
FF Frankie Raye Becomes Nova FF 242-244
FF Invisible Woman becomes Malice FF 280-281
FF Kristoff destroys the Baxter
Building FF 278-279
FF Trial of Reed Richards FF 261-262
Flash Death of Zoom Flash (’59) 323-326
Flash Trial of Barry Allen Flash (’59) 340-350
Flash Going Inside Chuck Flash (’87) 9-11
Flash Introduction of Kilg%re Flash (’87) 3-4
Flash Introduction of Speed McGee Flash (’87) 5-6
Flash Porcupine Man Flash (’87) 24-28
Flash Return of Barry Allen Flash (’87) 74-79
Flash Year One Flash (’87) 62-65
GL Emerald Dawn ED 1-6
GL Sinestro Corps War Green Lantern (’05) 18-25
Hulk Nightmare Messes Up Hulk Hulk 292-300
Hulk Hulk at the Crossroads Hulk 301-313
Hulk Seperation of Banner and Hulk Hulk 315-323
Hulk Unification of the Hulk Hulk 372-377, 379
Marvel X-overs Contest of Champions CoC 1-3
Marvel X-overs Marvels Marvels #1-4
Marvel Team Up Death of Yellowjacket MTU 59-60
New Warriors Nothing But The Truth NW 22-25
Nth Man Nth Man Nth Man 1-16
SM Spidey Joins Doc Ock ASM 53-56
SM Death of Capt Stacy ASM 88-90
SM Drug Issues ASM 96-98
SM Doc Ock v Hammerhead
(aka Spider-man Get an Ulcer) ASM 113-115
SM Spidey vs. Hulk in Canada ASM 119-120
SM Original Clone Storyline ASM 144-150
SM Ghost of Hammerhead ASM 157-159
SM Bart Hamilton – Green Goblin ASM 176-179
SM Spidey Vs. Juggernaut ASM 229-230
SM First Hobgoblin Story Arc ASM 238-239, 244-245, PP 85, ASM 249-251
SM Spidey v Firelord ASM 269-270
SM Sinister Syndicate ASM 280-281
SM Gang War ASM 284-288
SM Kraven’s Last Hunt ASM 293-294, PP 131-132, Web 31-32
SM Original Carrion PP 28-31
SM Doc Ock v Owl PP 72-73, 75-76, 78-79
SM Death of Sin-Eater PP 134-136
SM The Child Within PP 178-183
SM Death of Vermin PP 194-196
Sil Surfer Second Kree-Skrull War SS 25-31
Sil Surfer Return of Thanos SS 34-38
SS Silver Surfer vs. Thanos SS 44-50
Watchmen Watchmen Watchmen 1-12

Well, that didn’t format how I wanted it to. Argh

Just to check, can Ultimate Fantastic Four: Frightful Four/Zombies (issues 21-23, 30-32) be counted as a single storyline? Thanks

Brian:

Where would you define storyline breaks in Animal Man #1-26? The collections are entirely arbitrary in their break points. I don’t see how it’s possible to see that run as anything other than a single distinct unit. I’m not saying “it’s all great — how can you pick one part over another.” I’m saying no part of that run can be teased out as a distinct story from the whole. It would make about as much sense as suggesting that, for example, Watchmen #2-6 function as a single storyline. The entire run builds to a single climax and none of it really works without that. If you can suggest distinct story lines that make more sense than the trades, I’ll break Animal Man into separate entries just to play by the rules, though I disagree.

(I think it says something, by the way, that that run has already been mentioned by 5 different people).

Where would you define storyline breaks in Animal Man #1-26?

Technically it breaks 25 times. Every 22 pages or so.

I don’t know about the whole series but the first four issues could be considered something of a story arc. Didn’t Morrison even say it was originally planned as a four issue mini-series before he got the green light for ongoing? I’d start there.

You’re right about the first four issues. I actually mentioned the same point in the original version of my comment by edited it. So yes, I can see how you’d break off the first four issues. But after that?

Yeah, The Dark Knight Returns. BEST BATMAN STORY EVAR!!! Not to mention, BEST STORYLINE EVAR, hands down! Everyone is just fighting for second place.

My goodness, it was ridiculously hard to keep this to just 10!!!

I’m almost ashamed to say that some of my favorites that didn’t make the list included great, great stories such as:

– Days of Future Past
– The Dark Phoenix Saga
– The Sinestro Corps War
– Hawkworld
– X-Cutioner’s Song
– Kingdom Come
– Daredevil: Born Again
– Any John Byrne FF

Just to check, can Ultimate Fantastic Four: Frightful Four/Zombies (issues 21-23, 30-32) be counted as a single storyline? Thanks

Sure.

Well I posted that wrong. Opps. Of well….

Looks fine to me!

Would Thunderbolts 1-12 (with maybe the ’97 annual tacked on) count as a single storyline–i.e., the rise and fall of the original incarnation of the Thunderbolts, with most of the team ultimately deciding to flip on Zemo and try being actual heroes?

Yes.

Selecting a top t0 has turned out to be a lot tougher than I thought. I have twenty-five stories so far in my top 10.

Brian, if you have not already done this, in the future could you publish a list of the greatest one issue stories (like Pog in Swamp Thing, Crazy Eight in Hulk, Badlands in Daredevil).

A few of my almost-made-its:

DAVID BORING from Eightball
DEUS EX MACHINA from Animal Man
SKREEMER
THE FILTH
US (Uncle Sam)
CAGES
V FOR VENDETTA
BLACK HOLE
THE AMERICAN SCREAM from Shade The Changing Man

I guess it’s really about trying to narrow it down to your top eight, as Watchmen and DKR will very clearly take the top spots. A hunch.

For what it’s worth, I specifically left off stuff like Watchmen and DKR as I’d rather give my votes to some lesser known great comics. And yeah, it was tough as hell narrowing it down to a mere ten spots.

This was a lot tougher than I thought it’d be.
My runner-ups were
Secret Wars
TT: The Judas Contract (LOSH:Great Darkness Saga just inched this one out of my top 10)
FF: Trial of Galactus
Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage (if I could have picked single issues I think Niles Caulder’s betrayal would have made my top 10 – great stuff).

So, Brian how many nominations / votes for original Golden / Silver Age stories so far?

So, Brian how many nominations / votes for original Golden / Silver Age stories so far?

How many multi-issue stories were there before 1970? I’m not a comic book historian, but as far as I know, few stories published before Fantastic Four #1 were longer than one issue, and most were far shorter than that.

Hard to say, of course, because pre-1960 comics are rarely reprinted and expensive.

Off the top of my head: The original C.C. Beck Captain Marvel had a TWO YEAR long arc featuring “The Monster Society of Evil.”

The first Human Torch/Sub-Mariner fight in Marvel Mystery was a three-parter.

Simon and Kirby’s Boys Ranch featured a two-part story in it’s six issues. And maybe? I think? could be? I sort of vaguely remember that Newsboy Legion might have, too.

And the one (coverless) issue of Sheldon Mayer’s Scribbly I own is continued next issue.

And, IF we count the Spirit, there were several multi-part installments, ‘cluding the outer space storyline – which went for ten weeks and included work from Jules Feiffer and Wally Wood.

So multi-part stories weren’t common pre-1960, but they weren’t unheard of.

Wesley Smith,

You’d be surprised! Although I am for the most part a DC fan, how could I deny the magic of Kirby/Lee (OK, it was probably Kirby I was really grokking) when they were at the height of their powers in the mid-sixties?

Until I researched several storylines I loved when they came out, I never would have predicted I’d vote for three from the 60’s Lee-Kirby The Mighty Thor: the original battle against Mangog and the Galactus/Ego saga. Plot threads that were developed over a number of issues were common. I had to break the second series into two separate nominations: first, when the Colonizers of Rigel recruit Thor to explore the mysteries of Ego and Galactus, and later when Thor actually learns the secret origin of Galactus (never in a Silver Age DC comic would you have a different hero seek out the origin of a “villain” from another title; it would be like the Hal Jordan Green Lantern being sent by the Guardians to learn the secret origin of Brainiac).

However, I would not be at all surprised to find I am the only person to list these. And yes, I also nominated the obvious ones like Watchmen and B:TDKR.

I’ll be extremely disappointed if Unity doesn’t make it into the top 10. I almost feel like it’s a given that it’ll be in the top 100, but that story is pretty much Jim Shooter’s comics masterpiece. I’ve been on a huge Valiant kick lately, buying up lots on eBay and raiding my nearest comic shop for back issues, but when I first read Unity, I had never read anything like it in comics. So epic and widespread, and covered the same events from different points of view. A really great story.

just voted…

i resisted the urge to include anything from morrison’s animal man, preacher, starman, y: the last man, miller’s daredevil (first run), and giffen/dematteis JLI because i feel they are all too much of an entire piece that cannot be broken down into individual storylines that have beginnings and endings. we already voted on the best runs ever, all of the above placed highly, so i don’t feel the need to try to arbitrarily dismantle parts of them just to include them again in this list. sandman, on the other hand, can be on this list because even though the whole thing is of a piece, it does have clearly defined individual story arcs that don’t tie to each other until the kindly ones brings it all together.

also, we all know watchmen is the greatest comic story ever, and it is my number 1, but i personally feel things like that, v for vendetta, camelot 3000, the filth, and their ilk should not have been eligible for this exercise. they are not “storylines.” they are stories, certainly, but not storylines because none of their characters have ever been heard from before or since. for something to be a storyline, i feel it must involve characters who have been in other storylines to be measured against. that being said, i still put watchmen #1 on my list because you decided it is allowed, and it would therefore be a crime to put anything else in the top spot.

obviously my votes must be kept secret, but here were the hardest stories to leave off the list:
hellblazer: dangerous habits (41-46)
flash: return of barry allen (74-79)
superman: whatever happened to the man of tomorrow? (superman 423 & action 583)
death: the high cost of living (1-3)
miracleman: olympus (11-16)
magnus robot fighter: steel nation (1-4)
legends of the dark knight: blades (32-34)
wolverine: mini-series (1-4) – has this story ever been given a name?

a final note: i thought about including the dark phoenix saga, the great darkness saga, the judas contract, and the iron man alcoholism saga, but ultimately left them off because nearly thirty years on, their storytelling styles are just a little too dated for me. i still have them all and love them, but it’s getting harder and harder to be able to show them to people and explain why they’re good. some things age well and other things don’t. so it goes.

I think we should discount self-contained miniserieses on the grounds that they’re stories, rather than storylines. For me, a storyline has to take place within the ongoing continuity of something, otherwise it’s a story…

Anybody else make that hair-splitting distinction? That’s why as much as I love them, I won’t be voting for From Hell, Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns.

Animal an would definitely be near the top if I could find a way to make it fit.

For me the arc clearly begins in around 8 or 9 (the one with the ghostly Buddy visiting Maxine) and runs through to 26. There’s no way to split it up within that.

The first four issues are the only clear arc in the series and they’re probably four of the weakest issues.

Never mind – it came 21st in the Top 100 runs which is quite respectible (though clearly it should be higher)

I think we should discount self-contained miniserieses on the grounds that they’re stories, rather than storylines. For me, a storyline has to take place within the ongoing continuity of something, otherwise it’s a story…

Anybody else make that hair-splitting distinction? That’s why as much as I love them, I won’t be voting for From Hell, Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns.

“Storylines” is merely meant to dictate that it is a multi-issue story, so as to differentiate with one-shots, done-in-one stories and original graphic novels.

You can make whatever distinction you wish, of course, but do note that since everyone else IS counting those stories (as the rules say to), I don’t really see much of the point – it’s just taking away a couple of points from storylines that you would normally wish to support.

Not voting for stuff you don’t think should count is at least a “protest” with some bite to it, so I do respect it. On the other hand, I’ve seen a bunch of ballots where people willfully ignore the stated rules. That is just pointless, as I’m the one counting the votes, ya know? So I just chuck the votes from those who are willfully ignoring the rules.

that’s fine, I’m happy to use that as a rule just for me, because it gives me more room for some great storylines and stops me feeling like I should have included Watchmen as, for me, it’s the same as an original graphic novel even though it originally appeared in singles.

it is pretty hard to distinguish between a storyline and a run though, sometimes…

Are Maus and Black Hole allowed since they were serialized before they were graphic novels? What abt Persepolis? I’m not sure if that was ever serialized in America

I went back and saw that my vote was changed like I requested. Thanks Brian! Now I’m even more excited about this.

This competititon was ill-suited for some excellent series, like Sanctuary, Animal Man, Y The Last Man and Doom Patrol. I think they are marvellous runs, but selecting separate storylines just rips the heart out of the whole thing. It’s an all or nothing deal.

I also think it’s dumb that we can vote for “From Hell” but not “Asterios Polyp” just because one was serialized. “Great Expectations” and “Mrs. Dalloway” are both classic novels, even though one was serialized and one wasn’t. According to these rules “Great Expectations” is a storyline and “Mrs. Dalloway” isn’t.

Also, Daniel:

“we all know watchmen is the greatest comic story ever”

Except it’s not, because I don’t think (or “Know”) that at all. It’s not the best superhero comic either. It’s not even Moore’s strongest work.

Would Sleeper season one count as one storyline?

Captain America Vol. 5: Death of the Dream #25-42
DC Identity Crisis

kevin-

watchmen is the greatest comic story ever. something else can be your favorite, and that’s completely fine. if you like dark knight or kingdom come or whatever else better, great. whatever you think is best is totally in your eyes. but when discussing definitive greatness, independent of personal taste, watchmen is the only logical choice. nothing else comes close. nothing else has mattered to the medium as much, or changed as much, both in the way comics are written AND the way comics are drawn. nothing else has harnessed the storytelling ability of the comics medium as efficiently as watchmen. nothing else has had the plot and character depth. watchmen is like the comic book beatles. if you like zeppelin or the rolling stones better, that’s fine. but the beatles ARE the greatest artists ever, and nobody who’s opinion has ever mattered has thought that was even a debate. if this was a poll of the comic book industry (all of the living writers, artists, and editors who have created important works) instead of fans, and they were all voting on the best comic book storyline, watchmen would blow everything else out of the water.

Daniel:

This isn’t a footrace, where the person with the fastest time is by definition the fastest. This is about art, aesthetics and interpretation. This is what debate is all about. You can’t say anything in media can definitively be the best, “independent of personal taste,” because there’s no way to quantatively or qualitatively measure that one thing is better than anything else.

Throwing around absolutes like “The Beatles are the greatest artists ever,” is going to get you into trouble because 1) There are a lot of people who think The Stones or Bob Dylan or even The Beach Boys had a greater impact on popular music than The Beatles did; and 2) even if Lennon and McCartney were the greatest rock music writers ever (which I believe they were), the musicianship of The Beatles as a band was nothing terribly special. Eric Clapton, Jimmi Hendrix and Keith Richards had more skill at playing the guitar than either Lennon or McCartney.

While I agree that Watchmen is probably Moore’s most impactful work, it could be argued, like Kevin says, that Moore’s best work was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, or something else entirely. And as for impacting how comics were drawn, Watchmen utilizes the nine-box grid, which Keith Giffen had been using on Legion of Super-Heroes for years at that point (IIRC).

Star Wars is one of the most popular movies of all time. It has certainly changed the way movies are made and promoted for the past 30+ years, but I think most people would agree that it’s not the greatest movie of all time. A lot of people would argue that it’s not even the best movie in the series.

This poll is all about what other people think is the best or the worst, but if the top storyline turns out to be Secret Wars or The Clone Saga, that’s not going to change your mind about what you think is the best. And that’s okay. But until there is a poll of industry insiders, don’t guess at what they’d say, because if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, its that comic book guys will argue about everything

Wesley,

That was one of the best-written posts about ‘top X’ lists I’ve ever read. Honestly, I am without sarcasm or shoe dropping applauding the way that you wrote that. Excellent, bravo, and hip hip. I salute you sir.

However, there is no chance that lists like this don’t end up turning into eternal posts of , “Anyone who says that X wasn’t the greatest storyline ever is a total $*%&ing moron, who obviously doesn’t understand comics at ALL, and should be banned from even having an opinion.

We’ve all seen it. Heck we’ve all felt that way when something is near and dear to our hearts. And we’ve all laughed at the people who obsess about a specific thing.

But honestly, I salute you for attemtping to bring civility to the arguement and attempt to get people to enjoy themselves on here.

Robert

I think my problem is removing my favorite series from the list because the overall title is far better than an individual storyline (like Ultimate Spider-Man), or others where the storyline I think is tremendous won’t likely be recognized by the group at all (like Starman: Sand and Stars, where Jack Knight meets Wesley Dodds).

grrrrrrr

Watchmen may be the best comic ever, but I really don’t think it has had as much IMPACT on the medium as people claim. For one, genius isn’t easily copied.

And even the bad things people attribute to Watchmen’s influence , such as the rise of the Image Comics style, I think can be more logically attributed to outside influences. I believe the early Image comics have been a lot more influenced by action movies, cyberpunk, and MTV than by any earlier comic books.

Robert Schwabe, why should you remove stories from your list just because others wouldn’t recognise their greatness? We’re not supposed to be voting for what we think are the most popular, we’re supposed to vote for the best. I think most of the stuff on my list isn’t going to be found on anybody else’s, and a lot of people are probably going to think I’m stupid for including some of the stuff. But that’s their problem. By including things other people wouldn’t pick, you might even encourage some people to go out and read the things you like, and it’s quite likely some of them will them, too.

And I happen to think Watchmen is horribly overrated. It’s not a bad story, but I fail to see what makes it so great. Admittedly, I never read it until years later. If I’d read it when it was new, it might’ve made more of an impact on me, but I doubt it. I did flip through a couple of issues back when it was new, and I wasn’t that impressed back then. Possibly because I was looking at things out of context. When I read the whole thing years later, it was better, but it still wasn’t as great as everybody claims. (When I flipped through it years ago, I could only get interested in the parts with Silk Spectre for some reason.)
For some reason, Watchmen reminds me of the Oscar-bait movies that always come out near the end of the year. You know, the sort of stories that are good enough, but think they are much better than they are.

Mary – you might find a repeat reading of Watchmen helpful, its one of only a few books (and I mean books literally) that are genuinely multi-faceted, that will give more to the reader on subsequent readings.

I’d like to thank MarkAndrew for bringing to my attention pre-60s multiple part stories that I was unaware existed (as if choosing 10 wasn’t hard enough already),
and I’d just like to mention that I would have given Elektra:Assassin a top 10 place if I’d remembered it when I voted. On the other hand, the fact that I didn’t remember it at the time may mean it deserves its 11th place.

Finally, to paraphrase Robert Schwabe above:
Anyone who says that Judge Dredd -The Apocalypse War wasn’t the greatest storyline ever is a total $*%&ing moron, who obviously doesn’t understand comics at ALL, and should be banned from even having an opinion.
And that’s the truth.

Daniel:

“if you like dark knight or kingdom come or whatever else better, great. whatever you think is best is totally in your eyes.”

I find it very funny that you since I don’t like Watchmen that I probably like DKR or KC. How about meaningful stories that AREN’T about superheroes.

Sure I voted for some superhero stories. Like 2 from Ditko (You know the guy who was one of the major influence on Watchmen since it was based around his characters.)

“nothing else has harnessed the storytelling ability of the comics medium as efficiently as watchmen. nothing else has had the plot and character depth.”

Except for all the other comics that have? I’d like to know what other comics you read and what genres. I’m pretty sure Ware, Eisner, and Jaime Hernandez have much more character depth in any of their stories than Watchmen does. Not that Watchmen doesn’t have good characterization. It’s just what those CARTOONISTS excel at.

That being said From Hell is so good makes Watchmen look pretty immature. Doesn’t it?

@Mary Warner

Please don’t misunderstand. I agree with you in theory. If everyone was going to specifically look at my list, and say… wow, I like these other 8 titles, maybe I should read these other 2.

However, you’re talking the top 100 storylines. So, limited chance for all of my selections.

But, more specifically, if my #15 storyline is more popular than my #10, then… maybe I should select #15… Cause also the difference isn’t that great.

Now, if it was my FAVORITE storyline of all time, well then I don’t care about anyone else’s opinion, it’s going on my ballot. :)

RE: Watchmen

No one should say that “Watchmen” sucks. It’s well done, well made, has depth, has great plot lines, etc.

However, there is no reason that Watchmen needs to speak to everyone in the same way. For some people, Watchmen is the right story at the right place at the right time. It opened their mind in the right way.

For me, V for Vendetta is better than Watchmen, because I remember it opening my mind in certain ways, impacting me, breaking certain conventions I had about comics.

Considering something automatically better just because it doesn’t feature superheroes strikes me as as bad as “superhero fetish.” Both stances seem pretty immature to me. Being so eager to prove one’s maturity is a sure sign of immaturity.

The Brothers Hernandez are indeed wonderful, and perhaps even unique in the comic medium, but hailing from Latin America myself, I don’t think their brand of magic realism is so special, when you’ve got thousands of writers down here that also work in the genre (in non-comic book media, though).

From Hell so good that Watchmen looks immature? I’m not sure. From Hell is monumental, as social criticism, as a portrait of an age, it’s breathtaking at times. The pacing falters at times, Alan Moore’s story becomes more of a treatise than a piece of fiction at one or two points.

Maybe there is something to be said for immaturity too. The younger Moore in Watchmen seemed a bit more intense than the older man that wrote From Hell.

“Considering something automatically better just because it doesn’t feature superheroes strikes me as as bad as “superhero fetish.” Both stances seem pretty immature to me. Being so eager to prove one’s maturity is a sure sign of immaturity.”

This could of course go in circles. You put us both down as immature. I guess you’re mature now for pointing out our immaturity? I’m just trying to point out Daniel was talking about superhero stories (being as that is all he mentioned.) I’m talking about COMICS (superhero and non.) I read and love superhero comics but I also realize they’re the be all end all either. I try to keep an eye on what DC publishes (okay so mainly just what Grant Morrison writes) and all the other “alternative” presses.

“Maybe there is something to be said for immaturity too. The younger Moore in Watchmen seemed a bit more intense than the older man that wrote From Hell.”

Thank you. He was a bit wiser about his craft though too.

more of a treatise than a piece of fiction

Absolutely, but what a treatise!

watchmen is the greatest comic story ever. something else can be your favorite, and that’s completely fine. if you like dark knight or kingdom come or whatever else better, great. whatever you think is best is totally in your eyes. but when discussing definitive greatness, independent of personal taste, watchmen is the only logical choice. nothing else comes close. nothing else has matte-are drawn. nothing else has harnessed the storytelling ability of the comics medium as efficiently as watchmen. nothing else has had the plot and character depth. watchmen is like the comic book beatles. if you like zeppelin or the rolling stones better, that’s fine. but the beatles ARE the greatest artists ever, and nobody who’s opinion has ever mattered has thought that was even a debate. if this was a poll of the comic book industry (all of the living writers, artists, and editors who have created important works) instead of fans, and they were all voting on the best comic book storyline, watchmen would blow everything else out of the water.

Yeah, those Beethoven fans sure are fucking stupid oh boy.

“if this was a poll of the comic book industry (all of the living writers, artists, and editors who have created important works) instead of fans, and they were all voting on the best comic book storyline, watchmen would blow everything else out of the water. ”

You think R. Crumb would say Watchmen is the best comic ever? How about Jules Feiffer? How about Stan Lee? No, no, and no.

They all matter. Don’t they?

Oh, wait I got one, can you honestly tell me that you think ALAN MOORE would vote for WATCHMEN as the best storyline ever. The answer is fuck NO.

wesley:
you say that “there’s no way to quantatively or qualitatively measure that one thing is better than anything else.” if that’s true, then by extension, it’s impossible to discern what’s better between youngblood and maus. is that really an idea you’re ok with? i agree that there is no mathematical formula to determine the artistic and historical quality of any given thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to evaluate those same qualities through logic and reasoning. every artistic field has a canon of great works, and things that are in the canon, while still debated by some, often come to some type of consensus by the many.

also, your star wars analogy is off base. i love star wars, but it changed nothing about movies artistically, it only changed them financially. it changed what kind of movies studios wanted to make, but not necessarily what kind of movies directors wanted to make. the best comic analogy for star wars would be the sales revolution of spider man, x-force, and x-men in the early 90s

kevin-
no, i’m not trying to imply that you only read super hero stories, i only said dkr and kingdom come because they were the first things off the top of my head that people constantly spout about the greatness of. and yes i know who steve ditko is.as for you list of comics great that don’t write/draw superheroes, yes, i’ve read and enjoyed their works. but you misunderstand my point. my point was to say that watchmen is the work with the best whole package. yes the hernandez brothers had great characterization, but the plot’s weren’t weaved as well as watchmen. yes ware has created one of the best and most unique artistic styles of recent memory, but the stories only function for his art rather than being a marriage. yes eisner is arguably the most influential force in the existence of the graphic novel, but that doesn’t mean he was the best at them. watchmen has it all.

as for from hell, yes i’ve read it, and yes, it’s remarkably impressive. but what’s impressive about it? what stands out most is the breadth of vision and the daunting amount of research. you can’t help but be in awe of its creation. but the product? i’ve spoken to many people about it, and as impressed as everyone is by it, few have admitted to truly enjoying it. while enjoyment is certainly not the only, nor necessarily the most important contributer to an item’s greatness, it DOES matter. from hell is like the moby dick of comics. not to knock anyone that likes moby dick. if that’s your thing, awesome. but seriously, it can’t be a mystery to you that people might find it difficult to get through. and as for eddie campbell, yes, he was probably the right artist for from hell, but at times his work is flat out ugly. and even if you can’t imagine someone not enjoying from hell, do you really believe that from hell has MATTERED to the industry the same way watchmen did?

robert-
i agree that the time and place something hit you definitely matters how much you like it, but it doesn’t affect how good it is. example: eternal sunshine of the spotless mind came out right after i had gone through a bad breakup. it spoke to me in a way no other movie ever had. it will always be one of my favorite movies, and i absolutely like it better than citizen kane. is it a better movie than citizen kane? nope. as for comics, i like x-men: age of apocalypse better than a hell of a lot of stuff that it’s not as good as. it came out when i was a kid and just starting to love comics and to this day i still think it was one of the coolest stories ever. i like it better than anything jack kirby or stan lee ever made. but i would never argue that it IS better. i’m not suggesting that watchmen is the best simply because i like it the best.

markandrew-
don’t be an idiot. comparing beethoven to the beatles is a waste of everyone’s time. writing songs with lyrics in the modern world and writing symphonies a few hundred years ago bear no similarities whatsoever. you might as well compare steve jobs with leonardo. when i called the beatles the greatest musical artists, it was supposed to be obvious that i meant of the recording era.

kevin-

of course alan moore wouldn’t list watchmen as his best work. he would probably list from hell, and if i were him, i would too. it was undoubtedly what he worked the hardest on, spent the most time at, and is therefore probably the most proud of. but as we’ve seen from any greatest hits album that was compiled by the artist, the worst opinion of someone’s work is usually the someone in question.

congrats, you’ve named 4 people that might not list watchmen as the best comic story ever. and the other thousands?

and stan lee only wouldn’t say watchmen because it’s not marvel.

Is it bad that I can’t really respect the opinion of someone who doesn’t use capital letters? Including but not limted to E. E. Cummings. Would it be OK to compare Elvis to the Beatles (although I would say the Beatles were better)?

And I enjoyed From Hell, so there’s that.

yes it is bad, yes i use caps in formal writing but not in comments on blogs because it’s faster, yes you can compare elvis and the beatles, and yes the beatles are still best.

Well you’ve made your points and I made mine. No reason to keep going, they’re there for people to read if they want to. However, I’d like your opinion on one more topic. You keep saying how Watchmen mattered and that it changed the industry. How so? And do you honestly think it was for the better?

The early Eighties were a creative boom for the industry as a whole. Suddenly there books like TMNT, Usagi Yojimbo, American Flagg, Swamp Thing, Ronin, Animal Man, RAW. Things were looking good for the industry. But thanks to books like Watchmen (and DKR) we got the Dark Era of comics. Suddenly Punisher, Wolverine and AzBats are the new standard. Early Image comics are outselling everybody.

Watchmen is a good piece of work and creative masterpiece which belongs on the previous list. But don’t you think it overall had a negative effect on the industry? Right as people were moving away from superheroes Watchmen reignited it all over again and we had hundreds of people trying to be Alan Moore. I’m sure Watchmen wasn’t the only factor in the catalyst from the eighties to the nineties but it was the major one.

I’d argue we are only just getting out of the Dark Age and it’s books like AS Superman are pointing the way, at least in the mainstream. (I know it’s a stretch because it’s too early to tell so I wouldn’t blame you for arguing that point.) But I feel it’s a point worth making.

So my question is since Watchmen MATTERS, how did it positively effect the industry?

Also, you’re right Stan Lee would probably vote for himself. But can you blame him? The Comics Journal did rate his Fantastic Four way higher than Watchmen (I know all about the grain of salt that is worth.) But it does reflect true standards of industry insiders, which is something you mentioned.

daniel,

The issue here… I’d call it an argument, but all of us are enjoying the back and forth enough to keep responding… is that you seem to think that everyone who see something that is ‘the best’ must admit/acknowledge that it is the best.

(Let’s forget the verbage of the topic which is top 100 storylines, and not greatest 100 storylines for a moment).

That everyone must listen to The Beatles and acknowledge they are the best. That everyone must see Citizen Kane and think it is better than Eternal Spotlight. That everyone must read Watchmen and think it is the best.

Why?

Why can’t I think that The Beatles are overrated pop artists who gained fame due to the influence of the generation they impacted (I don’t really, but it’s a valid point). Why can’t I think that Citizen Kane is an overrated lengthy, heavy-handed, ego-centric work by Orson Wells (which I don’t, but is valid). And why can’t I think that Watchmen is a overrated, liberal-blinded, averagely illustrated storyline that gets waaay too much credit because it was released by a mainstream publisher (which I don’t, but I feel it is valid).

Yes, we as comic book readers/amateur critics/amateur historians can certainly say that someone who believes that the story arc of Marvel Divas is better than Watchmen needs a little perspective.

Additionally, it’s a matter of how strongly you judge the subject matter. You can believe that power, corruption, morality, ends-justifying the means, and superhero deconstructionism is extremely important, then you might think that, Watchmen is the greatest storyline of all time.

However, if I believe that loyalty, redemption, and love are more important, then I may think that Strangers in Paradise: I Dream of You is the greatest storyline of all time.

Just more fuel for the fodder

Rob

@Kevin

“since Watchmen MATTERS, how did it positively effect the industry?”

It’s hard to split Alan Moore’s influence in general from the influence of The Watchmen. They kindof go hand in hand. But Alan Moore’s two biggest successes in the 80s were Swamp Thing and The Watchmen, so let’s treat it like this.

First, Alan Moore was a talented writer who created successful and profitable series for DC Comics. Because of the critical and commercial success of Swamp Thing and The Watchmen, DC looked for new talent in Great Britain who fit the Alan Moore mold: Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and Garth Ennis. And I think we all know what they were able to accomplish.

Second, the success of these titles allowed DC Comics to realize there was an audience for this rethinking of superheroes in a different light, so that alternative ‘superhero’ titles such as Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Kingdom Come, and The Authority can be created.

Third and most importantly: The Watchmen was one of the key players in the graphic novel revolution. Fans demanded that it be collected, and it become one of the largest successes. One of the reason that graphic novels are now found in book stores today is because of Watchmen. Return of the Dark Knight also had a hand in this, but not nearly as much.

I really don’t think you can place much blame for the “Dark Age” of comics on “Watchmen”. Most of the blame there goes to the Marvel style and creating the successful anti-heroes like Wolverine and the Punisher. Or more specifically, the recreation of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns which led to the Michael Keaton Batman movie. This finally erased the “Let’s go get them, chum” era of superheroes, leading to the, so-called Dark Age.

I certainly don’t think that Watchmen birthed the ‘grim and gritty’ phase (which I think culminated in Identity Crisis, BTW) all by itself. I think that wave was influenced more by DKR and Batman: Year One than anything else. I don’t think we can blame Wolverine or Punisher on that, because they had been around for around 10 years each at that point. But they did capitalize on the movement more than any other characters.

However, Watchmen did predate DKR by several months to a year, so many fans point to Watchmen as the turning point into darker storylines.

Wesley,

I think you’re wrong. I think DKR predates Watchmen. Wikipedia (not that they’re always right, but it matches my memory) backs this up :

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen[/url] Watchmen Publication date: September 1986 – October 1987

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_The_Dark_Knight_Returns[/url]: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Publication Date: February – June 1986

P.S. Not trying to dominate the topic, just bored on a Friday. :)

Again, I think people seriously underestimate influences that come from outside the comic book medium.

Comic book writers and artists from the 60s seemed to be largely influenced by classic fantasy and science fiction, and this impact can be felt on their work.

I think the so-called “grim ‘n’ gritty” style can be more traced to seminal action movies like Rambo, Terminator, and Die Hard than anything from inside the medium, like Dark Knight Returns. The whole cyberpunk literary movement also is a huge influence.

Brian,

I notice that my post is still awaiting moderation. I’d like to know what this means. If I have not correctly interpreted some of the rules, I’d like to know when you have the chance. Thanks.

Moderation just means that only you and I can see it. That’s what you want to see.

Thanks, Brian. You’re doing great stuff on the site and I just love these lists that you keep generating.

don’t be an idiot. comparing beethoven to the beatles is a waste of everyone’s time. writing songs with lyrics in the modern world and writing symphonies a few hundred years ago bear no similarities whatsoever. you might as well compare steve jobs with leonardo. when i called the beatles the greatest musical artists, it was supposed to be obvious that i meant of the recording era.

So, for future reference.

When you make an argument I should ignore EVERYTHING YOU ACTUALLY SAY, and I should psychically pluck your actual argument (completely unrelated to your written argument) out of your brain.

Because, you know, everyone in the world is a powerful telepath.

That sound fun! Mind if I try?

You are an elephant’s grandmother. The blind catapult resolves the conjoined pigeons. Testingly, testingly, testingly. A verisimilitude of purple.

Funny, but unfair

i use caps in formal writing but not in comments on blogs because it’s faster

I know it’s a crazy idea but perhaps, and just perhaps, it might be worth your while slowing down a little and thinking though what you actually say. You know, as a suggestion.

Okay, I finally voted. Here’s my selections

Honorable Mentions:
Astro City – Life in the Big City (v1: 1-6)
Astro City – Confession (v2: 4-9)
Batman – Year One
Daredevil – Guardian Devil (v2: 1-6)
Fables- Legends in Exile (1-5)
Fables – Homelands (36-38, 40, 41)
Green Arrow – The Longbow Hunters (Longbow Hunters 1-3)
Hellblazer – Rake at the Gates of Hell (78-83)
Hopeless Savages (Hopeless Savages 1-4)
Infinite Crisis (1-6)
Justice League of America – Crisis Above Earth 1 (V1: 171-172) *Death of Mr. Terrific*
Powers – Who Killed Retro Girl (v1: 1-6)
Preacher – Gone to Texas (1-4)
Scene of the Crime (1-4)
Starman – Sins of the Father (0-5)
Starman – Sand and Stars (20-24)
Teen Titans – Terror of Trigon (New Teen Titans v2: 1-5)
Top 10 – 1-12 (probably not a real storyline)
Ultimate Spider-man: Learning Curve (8-13)
Watchmen (1-12)

Damn – I forgot Guardian Devil. Ah well it would probably have been on the honourable mentions list rather than in my top ten

ok, sorry for my hiatus, i was out of town without internet access.

back to every one’s favorite subject, watchmen. when discussing the “greatness” of anything, you’re really discussing two things, and then trying your best to combine those two things into one concept. 1) how important is it? did it matter? did it change anything? was it a benchmark of some kind? did it have a profound effect on its medium? etc. and 2) how good is it? how good was it when it came out? how good is it still today?

we’ll tackle #1 first:
in comments above, people have asked exactly what makes watchmen important, and here’s my answer. every medium of art begins in infancy and a lack of respect. tv, film, pop music, novels, all of it. somewhere along the line, every medium of art eventually has a “moment,” where the public views it to have grown up and is now a “serious” art form. for film, citizen kane became the movie that widely showed people film was an art form. for pop music, the 65-67 stretch of albums by the beatles and dylan (along with pet sounds by the beach boys) became that moment. i am not widely educated enough in tv or novels to discern what their “moment” is, though i’ve heard they’re perhaps nypd blue and dickens, respectively. for comics, is it not obvious that watchmen is that moment? if not watchmen, then what? i don’t mean to disrespect anything that came before (lee/kirby, steranko, oneil/adams gl/ga, the spider-man drug stories, claremont/byrne x-men, death of elektra, judas contract, cerebus, eisner, 2000 ad, etc.), but they’re all baby steps in comparison. all of those listed, and many more that i’ve left out, all represented major innovations for the medium and all helped lead us to where we are today, but at the end of the day, they’re all still more for kids and teenagers than they are for adults. that doesn’t mean we don’t all still love and enjoy them, and i’m certainly included in that, but that doesn’t change the nature of the beast. watchmen became the moment comics turned into a medium that could be for adults as much as for kids. of course that doesn’t mean that all comics after watchmen are for adults (yes, i’m talking to you rob liefeld), just as not all music after the beatles was good. watchmen became the first comic to win a major literary award (the hugo), and was featured on time’s list of the 100 best english language novels of the 20th century. just the idea that a comic could be called a “novel” started with watchmen. the presence of a graphic novel section in bookstores began with watchmen and dark knight. and yes, i know maus won the pulitzer a few years later, and some of you will doubtlessly say that it was the moment and watchmen was not, but maus was not widely read enough to change mainstream comics. it certainly changed underground and alternative comics, but it went unnoticed by too much of the industry.

not only did watchmen forever change the way comics were perceived, but it also harnessed the storytelling style and methods of the medium better than anything ever had before (or, arguably, since). the way the comic was told visually, with the panel liasons between scenes, the recurring motifs and images, the intensely detailed backgrounds, the use of background signs and newspaper headlines to convey information, the lack of any motion or sound effects, the way issue 5 is a mirror of itself, the lack of any characters on the covers, and countless more. a comic had never looked like watchmen did, but it’s hard to understand that now because so many do. in terms of plot, it was a story that was both more complex and simultaneously deeper than anything ever had been before. and yes, i’ve read squadron supreme and i loved it, but again, baby steps. watchmen was a comic that didn’t attempt to offer the answer to the moral question it raised. it was a comic that psychologically got in the heads of it’s characters, a concept that would pave the way for a few thousand batman stories over the last 20 years. it was a comic that ironically winked at itself when it’s “villain” claimed he unleashed his plan 35 minutes ago. it was a comic that allowed itself to have heroes the audience wouldn’t like. some of these ideas had, of course, been explored before, like in squadron supreme, but never all at once.

as for #2, the quality of watchmen stands the test of time. reading it today, it loses nothing. nothing about it feels dated in any way. how many comics from the 80’s can you say that about? as said above, i love the 80’s work of claremont, byrne, miller, wolfman, perez, and their ilk, but none of it reads quite as well today as it did then because the storytelling style of comics has changed too much. watchmen has lost none of it’s entertainment value over time. it can be read by 17 year olds today and not feel archaic like almost everything else from the 80s will. it has some of the best dialogue a comic has ever had.

to address a few specific questions above:

kevin- i actually don’t blame watchmen whatsoever for the dark age/anti-hero movement, i blame dark knight. a few reasons… firstly, the wolverine/punisher/ghost rider/early image comics were marketed to an age range that never would have read watchmen, but might have read dark knight. simply put, watchmen was something who’s success marvel would never have tried to copy for its audience, because the audiences weren’t the same. dark knight was a different animal. but the bigger reason i blame dark knight is because watchmen was always more smart than it was cool. dark knight was the opposite: more cool than smart. kids like cool, cool sells, and marvel copies what sells. look at page 31 of the first issue of dark knight. “there are seven working defenses from this position. three of them disarm with minimal contact. three of them kill. the other… hurts.” no doubt a cool scene, but scenes like that gave people a jaded idea of what consumers wanted. i like frank miller and i think he’s a good storyteller, but he’s not smart like alan moore is. there’s nothing wrong with violence if it has brains attached, which it always did for moore (even in miracleman 15, arguably the most violent comic ever). too often, miller’s violence lacked the brains. it had style, and coolness, and great art, no doubt, but not brains. and it is that type of style over substance violence that led to the anti-hero and dark age movement of the early 90s. i still think miller was never better than he was on his original daredevil run, because that’s before he let his style consume his stories.

and i believe watchmen mattered because it can be credited with turning comics from a juvenile entertainment into an art form more so than any other single work. is it possible for something to matter MORE than that?

robert schwabe- in regards to your question about why people need to understand greatness, they don’t. but they need to if they want to claim to. if someone wants to like journey better than the beatles, i don’t care. but if someone wants to believe that journey is a greater band, more important to music, and all of that, then there’s a troubling misunderstanding of history and culture. as i said above, i view greatness as a combination of two things: quality and importance. quality relies much more heavily on opinion, but importance relies much more heavily on fact. anyone is entitled to find quality in whatever they want. but importance isn’t something that people can place on whatever they want to, unless we’re only talking about the kind of individual importance i mentioned when discussing eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. i understand that a statement like “the beatles are the greatest band ever” can never be as factual by definition as a statement like “2+2=4.” but the previous statement about the beatles is as close to factual as any conversation about aesthetics is capable of getting. for anyone that considers themselves knowledgeable or an expert on any area of culture, they have a responsibility of understanding that culture’s history. if not, they’re just a fan and nothing more. being a fan of something is fine, but if that’s what you are, then don’t claim to have an opinion that carries equal weight to those of us who have done our homework. with tv, literature, and visual arts, i’m a fan. but with comics, pop music, and film, i take great pride in being someone that knows my shit and understands the history. as i said in a previous comment, i’ve never liked the work of lee/kirby. i find it too dated and can’t really get through it. but i GET it. my not liking it has never jaded my understanding of what it meant to the medium and how important it is.

so i suppose the short answer to your question is, nobody has a responsibility to understand watchmen, the beatles, citizen kane, or anything else like that, UNLESS they claim to have an educated opinion on comics, music, or film. a claim like that carries the responsibility of it being true. someone claiming to be a comics expert and not understanding the importance of watchmen is like someone claiming to be an auto mechanic and not knowing how an engine works. nobody wants a doctor that didn’t graduate med school; why should we want someone’s opinions on a different field that didn’t do the equivalent amount of education?

a final question: if everyone agrees that comics used to be for kids, and now at least many of them are not, and many of you don’t think watchmen was the comic MOST responsible for changing that, what do you think it was and why?

daniel,

Well and wordily said. You’re right in one part of your premise. If someone came to me, and asked me whether I was qualified to be on a panel to judge and rank all comic book works, I should be disqualified because I have never gotten around to reading Maus (easiest example, that is highly regarded). That’s fair.

(However, as I am not getting paid, being credited, or even solicited by merits for my opinion, I can pick my top 10 using any criteria I choose.)

But I disagree with the idea, that as an educated comic book fan, I MUST arrive at the conclusion that The Watchmen is the greatest storyline of all time. Or that the very idea, that I am dismissed as an educated comic book fan if I don’t agree is ridiculous.

To me that is conformity. And if we’re all just going to conform to one ideal of what makes a storyline the top, or the best, or the most important, then there’s no reason to have opinion or friendly debate or even enjoy a list of what popular opinion of CBR readers think.

(I could tie this into why I like V for Vendetta better than Watchmen, but I’ll leave that alone)

RE: a final question: if everyone agrees that comics used to be for kids, and now at least many of them are not, and many of you don’t think watchmen was the comic MOST responsible for changing that, what do you think it was and why?

It is an interesting question you raise, and perhaps the best arguement for saying The Watchmen is superior.

I mean the reason is always money. If I was a comic book writer and I could make the same money either writing a story exploring adult, complex, and mature issues or writing a story that had to conform to younger and simpler sensibilities, I would gravitate towards the adult. And if the best creators felt the same way, then you would want to create an environment where those creators were drawn to your mainstay titles rather than your alternative ones. (i.e., if Grant Morrisson attracts readers, then you want him writing Batman rather than The Invisibles).

Additionally, it is audience. Not to be too much of an amateur sociologist, but I think it’s safe to say that children of the 80s and 90s (and 2000s) have more disposable income in their late teens and early 20s than those in the 60s and 70s. There also seems to be less of a stigma with those of us maintaining a fandom for childish things.

But the real reason, most likely, is that mature works attracted a significant number of females to the audience. So comic book fans (nerds) no longer had to make a choice between women and comic books, they could have both!!!!!!

(just kidding…. mostly)

You’ve claimed Watchmen is the most important and greatest work because it is the whole package. Best plot, best art, best pacing, best everything apparently.

Now I find it hard to believe. Can you really tell me that Gibbon’s work is actually better than Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland? I’ve been reading the massive “So Many Splendid Sunday’s” and it’s just brilliant. Watchmen is different than Nemo but it’s not better.

I basically just want to refute the “best package deal” as oppose to overall greatness. Nemo doesn’t match characterization or plot of Nemo. But in no way does Watchmen beat everything at every aspect. That’s just wrong. To me I feel that Love and Rockets has better characterization than Watchmen but I feel it’s because Jaime Hernandez really gets to know and grow with his characters.

You can argue Watchmen is the best overall package, and that’s a fine argument, but it’s only your opinion. The fact that Watchmen could be better than everything at anything is just silly.

if everyone agrees that comics used to be for kids, and now at least many of them are not, and many of you don’t think watchmen was the comic MOST responsible for changing that, what do you think it was and why?

Comics stopped being for kids when kids began to not give up reading their comics. The generation I’d say that didn’t give up their comics would have been the sixties generation of kids. That’s largely why the seventies had such a shrinking market. It began a core fan base instead of new kids joining in on the fun. The seventies is also when you first had artists entering looking for jobs in comics comics to work specifically on the characters they grew up with.

The reasons adults read Watchmen was because adults were already reading comics anyway. That’s what the direct market was for. There was already a fan base for Watchmen to latch on to. Camelot 3000 wasn’t aimed at kids like Spider-man was 20 years earlier. Watchmen was just riding the inevitable wave that was already happening anyway.

Watchmen might have been a flag for adult comic book readers to wave and stand behind for an excuse to why they read comics. But it would just be an excuse. Any adult reading Watchmen in the mid-80’s was already reading comics anyway.

I doubt this one work brought many people to comics. People that have never read a comic before but read Watchmen don’t know where to go afterward finishing it. Not even Alan Moore has anything else that looks like close to it. Many (incorrectly) think they started at the top so they give up.

But I’m mainly arguing over the adult mainstream that led to so much continuity in Marvel and DC. The adults that have been spoofed by the Simpsons Comic Book Guy.

Adults have ALWAYS read comics. So I don’t really understand this argument. Adults loved comic strips at the turn of the century and many love graphic novels now. Watchmen didn’t change much in that regard.

if everyone agrees that comics used to be for kids, and now at least many of them are not, and many of you don’t think watchmen was the comic MOST responsible for changing that, what do you think it was and why?

To answer the question I believe Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko are responsible for building a reliable fan base of the comic book industry instead of a revolving door of kids from 7-14. They just made comics so awesome no one wanted to leave. Unfortunately, they probably never reached those heights ever again.

But as I said, that’s just comic books. I believe the entire medium of COMICS is something all unto it’s own.

sorry to comment again so quickly, but i fear there have been some misinterpretations of what i was trying to say.

kevin-
i never said watchmen has the best everything, only the best package.. and there’s an important difference. the 2009 yankees didn’t win the world series because they had the best player at every single position, they won because they had the best team. comics are a team sport in that sense. by saying watchmen has the best package, that doesn’t imply i believe it has the best art ever, only the best marriage of story and art.

also you misunderstand what i am saying about comics being for kids prior to watchmen. i am not disputing that adults were reading comics, that is obvious. however, just because adults were reading them, that doesn’t mean comics were made for them. the simple fact is that through most of the 1980s, the vast majority of mainstream comics were made for kids, regardless of who was reading them. i understand that a huge portion of readers for x-men, daredevil, teen titans, moon knight, and others were adults, but that doesn’t change that they were made for kids. that’s why every character spoke the plot every issue–so kids could still follow if they hadn’t read the previous issue. and i vehemently disagree that the lee/kirby/ditko canon is when comics started to be made for adults. i agree that that’s when comics started to be read BY adults, but something being made for an adult audience and something being consumed by an adult audience are two very different things. the first evidence that mainstream comics were being made FOR an adult audience is when DC started using the “suggested for mature readers” warning in the mid-80s, which i believe first appeared on swamp thing (is that true? anyone feel free to chime in if i’m wrong), right around the time watchmen started. but until then, even though lots of adults were reading comics, they were made to be accessible by children.

robert schwabe-
i don’t mean to imply that to have an informed opinion you must have read everything good. very few people can claim that, and i’m not one of them either. i personally have never read any cerebus, for example (though i’m still hoping to get to it eventually). for all we know, grant morrison has never read maus either. i only mean that to have an informed opinion, you have to be aware of history and have explored it. i’m a film critic by trade, but i sure as hell haven’t seen every great movie. it’s an ongoing process and i still try to actively knock some off the list every week, but i’m sure i’ll be dead before i see them all.

and i’m not trying to imply that everyone has to understand why watchmen is the best, only that everyone should understand why watchmen is important and often considered the best. in every artistic field, people argue the canon constantly. if you want to argue one work in the canon (v for vendetta) is better than another (watchmen), then that’s ok. let’s hear your argument, and see how it stands up. just understand that you’re arguing against the status quo. however, arguing that watchmen shouldn’t be in the canon is different, infinitely more difficult, and, i would say, not possible. keep in mind, the only reason any field has a canon is because of the existence of dissenting opinions that got us to one.

as for my own opinion of v for vendetta, of course i like it, but i’ve always viewed it (and miracleman) as sort of trial runs for the ideas moore would explore with greater clarity and purpose in watchmen. i also think the art on v for vendetta is only above average–a solid B–and that the story suffers a bit due to the unevenness caused by moore taking about a five year break before finishing it. but a lot of that is just nitpicking. do i still think it’s in the comic hall of fame? of course.

and i vehemently disagree that the lee/kirby/ditko canon is when comics started to be made for adults. i agree that that’s when comics started to be read BY adults, but something being made for an adult audience and something being consumed by an adult audience are two very different things.

I don’t feel the Lee/kirby/ditko comic books were necessarily aimed for adult readerships either. It was no doubt for kids. What I was trying to say is that because of this work the kids never dropped their love of comics, or more specifically, the characters. They came back around for the seventies, eighties, etc. That’s why there was more adult work in the eighties. Because the generation that was raised on early Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were now full fledged adults and they wanted their comics to reflect their mindset. I don’t think any adults were reading any of that stuff. College kids were, but that’s only because they could see past the corny dialogue and appreciate the fine art being produced on a monthly schedule by Kirby and Ditko. That, and it was the sixties so they were all high as balls.

“the first evidence that mainstream comics were being made FOR an adult audience is when DC started using the “suggested for mature readers” warning in the mid-80s, which i believe first appeared on swamp thing (is that true? anyone feel free to chime in if I’m wrong), right around the time watchmen started. but until then, even though lots of adults were reading comics, they were made to be accessible by children.”

It’s evidence that means nothing. DC didn’t start putting up a disclaimer until they had pressure from outside forces to label material that was more mature. The work must have came first and then the :suggested for mature audience.” Therefore it would be impossible because it would just be our opinions of what’s mature and going back in time to poll the readership. However, books like HOWARD THE DUCK and TOMB OF DRACULA were pretty mature for their time and I doubt any “kids” read that. Also, Marvel published both of them in magazine form with nudity. That would be mature content and that was about 10 years before Watchmen and Swamp Thing. I’d also say it’s mainstream because it’s Marvel and they were outselling EVERYBODY.

I don’t see how Watchmen changed readership if adults were already reading comics and there were already comics being produced for adults.

All comics weren’t suddenly made for adults after Watchmen and they weren’t all aimed at kids before. Watchmen was part of a shift that was bound to happen anyway. The 60s Marvel fanbase, the underground comics of the 60s (Crumb), the B&Ws of the late 70- early 80s (Cerebus, Love and Rockets, TMNT), and above ground but not mainstream books like Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg all show a progression of what was inevitable.

I think the black-and-white Warren publications were all aimed at adults, and they were pretty mainstream. At least, they were carried by a lot of newstands and other mainstream distribution sources. The same goes for Heavy Metal.

Bernard the Poet

November 18, 2009 at 6:15 am

daniel, you make some really excellent points regarding the greatness of the Watchmen. I don’t agree with all of them, but you certainly led me to reassess my list, and have subsequently moved the Watchmen to 2nd place, one above ‘From Hell’ and one below, Herge.

Just thought I better write and warn you to brace yourself for disappointment. I’ve seen these lists on here before, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Watchmen lost out to Spiderman v Jugglemaut or Secret Wars.

You’ve been warned.

Bernard,

If I had to guess…. The series that would beat everyone would be The Phoenix Saga (the original one) or the Death of Gwen Stacy or Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Not that I agree… but generally I think they fit the criteria of popularity and impact.

daniel,

Ignoring other genres of music, many people would dispute that the Beatles were the greatest band ever.

Amazing Spider-Man 229 and 230…

cosmic odyssey.

Great discussion about “Watchmen” and all the attendant issues of assessing greatness. Ranking works of art is often difficult for me (and clearly for some others as well); meanwhile, some people have no problem putting things into a hierarchy. In fact they relish it! Which is fine; I like lists too. I just have trouble, sometimes, deciding on my “number one.” Comparing apples to oranges, you know? I imagine some of the debate here comes from a disconnect between those who are comfortable with instituting a strict order of greatness versus those who see gray areas within a range of greatness.

At any rate, I’d also like to note: Hey, Wesley Smith! Yes, I agree with others — your comment from quite a while back (November 12, 2009 at 9:57 am) was excellent. Very well said. Thanks for that!

Buddha, by Osamu Tezuka, can the 8 issues/volumes be considered one story?

Can we just vote for “Born Again ” ten times?

Death of Elektra.

I wonder…

Will the final order of the storylines be five minutes ago (I can see a bunch of people proclaiming Civil War as the greatest thing since sliced bread) or will it simply be filled with the usual iconic stuff everyone knows and loves (and debates endlessly)? When I did my list, I leaned towards the latter…but that was based on my re-read-ometer.

Maybe after the dust settles we can do the top ten worst storylines of all time (assuming it hasn’t been done before).

I doubt anyone voted for Scott Pilgrim, so I had to throw him in there…

i would love a top ten worst storylines… all-star batman and robin is absolutely my number one. two hours of my life i will never get back. totally unreadable, couldn’t even be saved by jim lee. didn’t even really have a plot, yet i still found holes in it. does anyone even like frank miller anymore? i’m the first to proclaim his original daredevil as one of the greatest runs ever, and batman:year one made my top ten for this topic, but the man has been awful for over ten years now. he’s lost it even more than byrne, claremont, or wolfman.

kisskissbangbang

November 18, 2009 at 9:26 pm

If I could take a stab at slightly reformulating what daniel said…

Daniel didn’t name a specific album for The Beatles, so I’m going to specify Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band here. It seems to me that the primary reason it, along with Citizen Kane & Watchmen, are so often mentioned as the greatest of their genre or medium is that they showed how much was possible in their field, when that field was often slighted before. Each of them seemed like a quantum leap in ambition & execution over what had come before, and excited creators and fans by opening possibilities for the medium or genre that hadn’t even been considered before. This comes close to the “most important” or “most impactful” sense of greatness, but I think it narrows it down a little, to the specific kind of importance or impact, the feeling that if you could do this in a superhero comic or rock album, you could do _anything_. I wish I had time to elaborate some , but I don’t; I still hope you guys think it worth running with for a while. I’ll try to get back soon and say a little more.

Brian I’m struggling with trying to identify the particular Kirby/Lee FF storyline I want to include. I’ve always described FF#36-63 (including Annuals#3,4,5) as one continuing story and am having a hard time narrowing it down. Do I need to break it into several storylines and vote for them individually?
Predictably, i’m having the same problem with Thor.

Brian I’m struggling with trying to identify the particular Kirby/Lee FF storyline I want to include. I’ve always described FF#36-63 (including Annuals#3,4,5) as one continuing story and am having a hard time narrowing it down. Do I need to break it into several storylines and vote for them individually?
Predictably, i’m having the same problem with Thor.

Yeah, I’m afraid so.

Daniel is possibly the best example I’ve encountered to date of that certain kind of Beatles fan. The kind for whom it’s not enough to simply like the Beatles best. The kind that sees it as his Lennon-given duty to educate the heathens who might prefer other bands and convert them to The One True Pop Group.

Here’s my take on it: there is no such thing as ‘the best’, there’s only ‘your favourite’. That’s how I’ll be voting, and great as it is, Watchmen doesn’t make my top 10.

i would love a top ten worst storylines… all-star batman and robin is absolutely my number one. two hours of my life i will never get back. totally unreadable, couldn’t even be saved by jim lee.

ASBaRtBW was in my shortlist for the top 100 storylines. Not even Jim Lee’s art could ruin it for me.

Worst storylines of all time: I don’t tend to purchase or read things as they come out, so I’ve generally been able to avoid bad storylines. I think that would be a problem with the voting: while there may be some stories out there considered awful by popular opinion, I think most people consider them awful due to their reputation rather than first-hand experience. That said, the worst story I actually own, by far, is “The Kingdom.”

As far as Watchmen / the Beatles / etc being “The Best Ever”: the philosopher David Hume covered this centuries ago in his essay “On the Standards of Taste”. I’m not a Hume fan in general, but this essay is worth reading and strikes at the heart of what we’re talking about. Hume argues that there is a way to objectively determine the merits of something related to subjective taste: question the experts. He uses wine-tasting as an example.

Wine likes and dislikes are subjective in general, but we can trust wine experts to determine objectively good wine. This is for two reasons: first, wine experts can prove themselves to be experts objectively. The real-life example Hume gives is of a wine expert who determined from the taste of a wine that there had been a metal key accidentally left in the wine cask during fermentation. Secondly, wine experts can come to a consensus on what is good wine and what is not.

Back to comics and pop music. Yes, comic experts are in consensus that Watchmen is an excellent comic. Yes, pop music experts are in consensus that The Beatles were an excellent band. I doubt, though, that you’ll find a consensus that either of them is the “best ever”. And without that consensus, it’s silly for any of us amateur enthusiasts in the peanut gallery to make a “best ever” claim as anything more than just our personal opinion.

Now, to get all the way back to the OP: I think the “Top 100 Comic Book Storylines” is a fun thing to do, and it will tell us something. But that “something” is going to be the _majority_ opinion of (primarily) _amateur_ comic book readers, not the _consensus_ of _experts_.

The thing about the bad storylines is that I think it would be far more subjective. While there may be some difference in order, I think I can reasonably expect things like Dark Knight, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, Born Again, etc. to be at the top of the list for this.

But what makes a storyline truly bad? Is it art? Characterization? An awful plot?

I think that some of the worst writing ever was the first 5 issues of McFarlane’s Spiderman, but I know some people who enjoy it. The same thing (in the issue of fairness to Marvel/DC) with Morrison’s JLA World War 3. What about something like X-Cutioner’s Song? Or Legends? Do we count Annual storylines (like Days of Future Present or Bloodlines?).

And what do we do with Sleepwalker? Or Damage Control?

The possibilities seem endless…

“While there may be some difference in order, I think I can reasonably expect things like Dark Knight, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, Born Again, etc. to be at the top of the list for this.”

What I mean to say was that I expect these to be at the top of the “best” storylines, not the worst…sorry for the confusing wording.

The Beatles were better than Beethoven. Loads of brilliant singles and albums vs three crappy dog movies? No contest.

RE: Worst Storylines

Let’s be fair and honest. None of the ones you are talking about are the WORST storylines. If they were the worst, they wouldn’t be in titles that everyone has read.

I mean what about storyarcs in truly hideous comics that none of us read, simply because the title wasn’t interesting to begin with.

What you are talking about is OVERRATED storylines, or at the very least BAD storylines in otherwise good comics.

If we’re doing those lists, X-Cutioner’s Song would definately be on my list. War of the Gods.

In terms of overrated, I think Final Crisis would be on my list. I won’t say it was AWFUL, but I thought the story was completely emotionless and completely confusing.

Brian; Buddha, by Osamu Tezuka, can the 8 issues/volumes be considered one story?

I feel badly that all of my votes are going to 80s storylines and almost all of them Marvel. I’ve read and enjoyed many storylines from many publishers in the 90s and 2000s. But, when I really think about it, and look at, for example, War Games, and wonder if I enjoyed it more than, for example, The Death of Jean DeWolf, I realize that no, I didn’t.

Theno

Josh, I’m familiar with the Hume piece, and I’m startled but pleased to see someone bring it up here. You’re right, by Humean standards we probably don’t count as a panel of experts (but who knows who lurks behind some of these pseudonyms?) On the other hand, the list of best movies in Sight & Sound (I think that’s the right mag) asked prominent directors every few years or so for their opinion on the best movies, and as I recall, Citizen Kane topped the list since its inception till the most recent one. (Can’t remember the new number one for sure, but it might have been Renoir’s Rules of the Game.) Is that close enough to what you’re asking for?

Like Hume, I’m not an aesthetic relativist, but I’m not an aesthetic absolutist, either. I think there’s no problem saying the Mona Lisa or Night Watch is better than a velvet painting of Elvis. But is da Vinci or Rembrandt the better painter? That’s tougher to say. It’s complicated by the fact that different artists try to do different things; Emily Dickinson goes for concision, Tolstoy goes the other way. That’s one reason genres like tragedy or comedy help; in a sense, that’s what genres are _for_, so you can compare Tiger Woods with Jack Nicklaus rather than Joe Montana. The narrower the frame, the easier the call. Best comic’s tougher than best FF story, and that’s tougher then best FF Hulk-Thing battle (that’s FF25-26, right, everybody?) Looked at that way, it’s amazing anyone agrees on a best film, and that makes Kane’s ride at the top very impressive.

The difficulty of these issues is what led me to use the word “greatest” rather than “best”, since for me there’s a slightly different connotation for each. Is Watchmen the best superhero comic ever? “Best” might imply that all participants & skill sets involved are at the highest possible peak; that might apply to Moore, but probably not to Gibbons (although the hybrid nature of comics, both story & art, might imply we should talk about their marriage as the best, as Daniel suggested). But in the sense of “greatest” I spoke of above, showing that the true possibilities of a genre or medium are vaster than anyone ever thought, I feel pretty comfortable with calling Watchmen, Sgt. Pepper & Kane the “greatest” in their fields; though perhaps it’d be better to say they’re the “greatest” _breakthroughs_ in their fields. Further thoughts, Josh? (And curse you for luring me back to this discussion when I’ve a deadline to meet ! )

(And since you’re into this stuff, I think you might enjoy Cultural Selection by Gary Taylor.)

Forgot to say to Gavin, that I can’t agree that there’s only “favorites”, and no “best”; I have a number of favorites that I’d never dream of calling the best. The Blues Brothers is one of my favorite movies, but I can’t imagine touting it as the best or greatest of anything.

Okay, but what if someone asks you what the best musical is? Or the best John Landis picture?

The first thing that jumps into your head will be The Blue Brothers. Are you telling me you’ll immediately discount that because it doesn’t follow the received wisdom and say Singin’ in the Rain or An American Werewolf in London (respectively) instead?

If so, that strikes me as completely artificial – you’re deciding that one of these other movies is ‘the best’ not because you actively think so, but because it’s what you think you should say.

I just think we’d have a very different (and more interesting) idea of the best or greatest works of art if everybody answered honestly with what they think is best, rather than what they think they should think is best.

btw Sgt Pepper is the most overrated album in history – that’s what happens when the establishment decides something is ‘the greatest’ and brooks no dissent.

It’s ridiculous to believe that there is an objective “best” or “greatest”. It’s difficult to even objectively assess things like “most influential”, nevermind best.

Consider films. What’s the greatest movie ever? There is no definitive, objective answer. Some will say Citizen Kane, others will say Casablanca, others will say The Godfather.

Can you really say any of them are wrong? I don’t believe so.

Same goes for music. What’s the greatest album ever? You’ll get lots of different answers. Rolling Stone magazine decided it was Sgt Pepper, but many would argue that it’s not even the best Beatles album, nevermind best album overall.

Why would it be any different with comics?

By the by, I think Deus Ex Machina in Animal Man works nicely as a storyline for the purposes of this exercise (this is in response to those who have asked about how to break Animal Man up).

So I’d recommend people just voting for that if they want to give the meta-fictive aspects of Animal Man a nod.

I’d be willing to count Buddha as a storyline, yes.

kisskissbangbang

November 20, 2009 at 8:20 am

Gavin, actually I do think American Werewolf is Landis’ best movie.

I don’t think I’m just saying what I’m supposed to say when I distinguish between best and favorite. I just don’t like gangster movies in general, and especially ones that glamorize criminals, but I reluctantly have to admit The Godfather is a great movie, by the same standards I use for movies I like. The Cronenberg Fly is too disgusting to really enjoy for me, but I realize it’s a fine film despite that. Otherwise, how would we ever change our minds about films or books or comics, if we don’t recognize standards that transcend our individual tastes?

Individual tastes, peer pressure, and very subjective emotional reactions are all a part of any critic establishment, even though they may try to deny it.

Subjet matter DO influence critics. Cultural artifacts ARE ignored just because they’re from a different stylistic school than the one favored by critics, and so on, and so forth.

The most famous examples would be the perennial prejudice of many movie critics against any movie that has a fantasy element. The presence or absence of fantastical qualities is a story element that shouldn’t have anything to do with quality, correct? So that is an individual taste right there.

The same thing goes for the literature establishment and the prejudice against any post-1920s work that isn’t post-modernist. That is a lot of books discounted because they’re outside a certain literary school.

My point is, standards do exist, but many of them aren’t fair when you really think about it.

kisskissbangbang

November 21, 2009 at 8:12 am

No one else posting, so this is it for me; but I did want to respond to Rene.

You used the right word when you said “perennial prejudice.” Good criticism tries to get past our prejudices.
Hume, mentioned above, was the one who contributed the phrase “the test of time”. He recognized different times (& places & cultures) had different prejudices, and that by looking at the things that appealed across those borders, we could find more objective standards. We might dismiss Shakespeare as the best if only the British praised him; but when you see artists a world & centuries away like Verdi & Kurosawa inspired by his work, you start thinking maybe there’s something to the claim. It suggests that the best can transcend our prejudices if we open our eyes & minds to it. I’m prejudiced against Westerns; but when a lot of people I otherwise respect said The Searchers is one of the great American movies, I decided I should give it a chance. I went away realising everybody else was right. Still not going to watch a Gabby Hayes marathon, but I did go see Unforgiven, and thought it deserved its Best Picture Oscar.

What does this mean for comics? We all know that there are prejudices against superhero comics as juvenile power fantasy, so when something like Watchmen, that can’t be dismissed that way, comes along & deeply impresses people who normally wouldn’t be caught dead reading superhero comics, that ability to overcome the prejudices against it suggest, to me at least, that it really is (one of ) the best, in a way that my loving it (with my prejudice in favor of superheroes) doesn’t. Any criticism worthy of the name rests on the hope that all our different prejudices cancel out ultimately, and that what is left over is truly gold.

does anyone even like frank miller anymore?

Yes, me.

I’ve been collecting comics for the past 18 years…this is going to be tough. I’ll put them in order later, but I will start off with

Nightly News 1-6 by J. Hickman

Crisis on Infinite Earths 1-12

E for Extinction Xmen????

Punisher Born

Welcome Back Frank

Green Lantern Rebirth

Hush was all right…

I’ll finish later

How about the story of Hal Jordan as Parallax, running through Green Lantern #50 – Zero Hour #0 – Green Lantern #0 – Green Lantern #63-64 – Parallax Emerald Night – Final Night #4? It wasn’t a clear cut story, but a character evolution documented over a couple years. In other words, I feel Hal’s story was a story unto itself running through others. I didn’t think it would count, but the bit about the Magus makes me feel it’s worth asking.

I’d like to toss in my “$1.95’s” worth regarding the Watchmen debate.

I, for one, read the series, just like the rest of y’all. And, like most of ou, I enjoyed it–for the most part.

To me, Watchmen will always be rather overrated because it didn’t live up to its potential or hype.

Now, I know that a lot of you folks are gonna be opening up some cans of serious whoop-@$$ on me, but please hear me out.

The thing about Watchmen that bugs me is issue #12. After all of the delays (remember, there was a long wait between #’s11 &12), after all of the hype, the ending just didn’t work for me. I felt really let down, big time.

It felt like Alan Moore just phoned it in. It was evident that he just didn’t care anymore. He just wanted to finish the story and be done with it.

From what I remember, this was about the time when the DC/Moore feud began.

Comic fans always speak of Watchmen with such reverence. People think that, just because Alan Moore wrote it, it was as if God Himself had ordained Watchmen as the new Bible or some such nonsense.

Watchmen wasn’t “all that,” folks.

Yes, it was revolutionary. Yes, it did have a major impact in the comics industry. Along with Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight,” it ushered in the “grim & gritty” style of comics storytelling.

However, the story wasn’t as original as people make it out to be. Basically, it was a murder mystery. It was a “whodunit?” that was wrapped in a little conspiracy theory & spiced with some spandex-clad characters. That’s all. Pure & simple.

So, please feel free to commence to beating me about the head & shoulders. I can take it. But, that’s NOT going to change my opinion…

The Great Darkness Saga – Legion of Super Heroes vs. Darkseid

The Dark Knight Returns 1-4, easily the best… I have to come up with 10 though? Crud… That’s going to take a while. OK, I’ll be back.

“btw Sgt Pepper is the most overrated album in history – that’s what happens when the establishment decides something is ‘the greatest’ and brooks no dissent.”

Screw that… In NO WAY is Sgt. Pepper “overrated.” I wasn’t alive when it came out, but it’s well-dcumented what a mind-blower and “game changer” (to use a modern term) it was when it released. Whether it’s the “best” album ever or not is a matter of opinion of course (it’s at or near the top of my faves), but it’s not overrated in my opinion. The music endures, it remains both influential and highly popular, and people still talk about it and debate it. If yu like, say, Revolver better, fine. But it’s not overrated.

Overrated, to me, would apply to stuff that was hyped in its time but really wasn’t that or great or at least hasn’t endured in the same way that a Sgt. Pepper or a Dark Side of the Moon has… Anything from Nirvana or Michael Jackson would apply (in both cases, death has given that music far more credit than it deserves). Or most of Bruce Springsteen’s work over the past 20 years.

Superman in Exile
Reign of the Supermen
Blackest Night

Batman: Mudpack (Detective Comics 601-604)
Batman: Contagion
Superman: The Supergirl Saga (John Byrne)
Superman/Batman – Supergirl storyline by Michael Turner
Invasion

By the by, I think Deus Ex Machina in Animal Man works nicely as a storyline for the purposes of this exercise (this is in response to those who have asked about how to break Animal Man up).

So I’d recommend people just voting for that if they want to give the meta-fictive aspects of Animal Man a nod.

Damn – Is it too late to change my vote?

The most famous examples would be the perennial prejudice of many movie critics against any movie that has a fantasy element.

I don’t know – the critics loved Brazil and Pan’s Labyrinth to name two off the top of my head (not that I’m arguing against your point, but it’s not quite that clear cut).

Watchmen, in my humble opinion, is so overrated it’s silly. Won’t make my top 10 or top 25 for that matter(and I’ve been collcting longer than most of you have been alive); if you think Sgt Pepper is the best album ever you should try listening to a little album called “Dark Side of the Moon” much, much better album.

Dark Side of the Moon is nothing compared to Sgt. Pepper. It is a great album, but it doesn’t have the diversity, catchiness, or non-arrogance that Pepper has.

Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is 6 issues that span two volumes. If I were to be voting for it, would I have to vote for either volumes or would I be able to vote for both?

Non-arrogance, really? Paul McCartney has said the inspiration for Sgt Pepper was the need to out do the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. The album’s reason for being is arrogance. The Floyd had just lost the lead singer/frontman/songwriter, were flounder for a voice. Their attempt on their previous album was Echoes, that is when the sid barret-less Floyd emerged. I don’t mind you voicing your opinion, I don’t mind your opinion differing from mine but at least have some knowledge about what your talking about before you open your month. Diversity? Please, I implore you go listen to Great Gig in the Sky. Catchy, you might be right about catchy, but then again I don’t find Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Miles Davis, that catchy either.

Each volume separately.

Sure, Dan, I’ll delete your old list and you can re-submit a new list!

Dark Phoenix Saga (Marvel-X-Men)
Great Darkness Saga (DC – Legion)
Crisis On Infinite Earths (DC)

If I recall correctly, the Comics Journal ran an industry poll a few years back of the top 100 comics of the 20th century… Krazy Kat came in first. I think Watchmen placed 93rd. Just so yuh know…

The Golden Age
Super Villian Team-up Modok’s Eleven
Starman Grand Guigno
Hitman Closing Time

Almost forgot. The Great Darkness Saga. Legion of Superheroes

Skurge’s Last Stand, yo!

Anything Starman really. James Robinsons Best stuff.

Did mine pass okay? I’ve written Ulton instead of Ultron :( lol hope it didn’t get in the way

Your ballot worked fine, kon-el.

Thanks for numbering your votes, by the way! I wish everyone would do that!

Also, do note, folks, if you do not post 10 choices, your ballot will not count.

Okay, then, sign me up for “Deus ex Machina” from Animal Man.

@Gavin Bell:

“Sgt Pepper is the most overrated album in history – that’s what happens when the establishment decides something is ‘the greatest’ and brooks no dissent.”

No, what happens is that when an album tops a number of best ever lists (like “Sgt Peppers”, “Pet Sounds”, “The Queen Is Dead” to name a few), you listen to it and think, “Is that really the best album ever, I expected a lot more.” Being called “the best ever” creates expectations that are impossible to live up to. Choosing your own personal “best ever” list is a whole other matter.
And there’s no such thing as “overrated” in art, it’s a subjective experience.

Brian,just put my votes here in this comment section?

My ballot was pretty-heavily 00s (what can I say, I much prefer modern storytelling styles), but about evenly-split between companies (counting Vertigo as DC).

I did not vote for any Xombi, Animal Man, Starman, or Sandman-four of my all time favorite titles (the first three because I could not pick one storyline).

I voted for two Swamp Thing storylines in my top ten. I voted for them by the trades in which they were collected (Saga of the Swamp Thing and Love and Death). I’ll stand by that vote, but I do think that the more natural breaks are Saga of the Swamp Thing 20-24 (Loose Ends, the Anatomy Lesson, and the Woodrue storyline) and 25-34 (Demon/Arcane/Down Amongst the Dead Men, the Rite of Spring).

My runner-ups (in no particular order)

Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes (we meet both Death and Lucifer-the game Morpheus plays for his helmet remains one of my all-time favorite comic moments).

Miracleman: Olympus

Sandman: Season of Mists

X-Men- 274-275 (Magneto vs. Zaladane)

Flowers for Rhino (Spiderman: Tangled Web 5-6)

V for Vendetta

Thriller: Downtime (if the Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden had completed this story, it likely would have made my top 3)

Twillight (Chaykin’s miniseries about DC’s science fiction heroes-Tommy Tomorrow fans beware)

Batman: Nocturna/Night Slayer

Batman: Year 2 (the Reaper)

Legion of Super-Heroes Great Darkness Saga

Legion of Super-Heroes (the conspiracy to kill the Crime Trapper to avenge Superboy)

Fables: Animal Farm

Faker (by Mike Carey)

The Tale of One Bad Rat (Bryan Talbot)

@ daniel –

You don’t come across as clever not using capitals. Speaking for myself, I don’t read posts when people they’re not easy to read. I assume posting here you want to make yourself heard and exchange opinions.

to Onion:

I can respect your Beatles vs. Beethoven, but let’s be honest, the Beatles never had to carry Charles Grodin.

Would ‘The Death of Captain America’ (#25-42) qualify as one storyline?

I just cast my votes.

All I have to say is: Watchmen can suck it!

azjohnson5:

Revolver begat Pet Sounds and Pet Sounds begat Sgt. Pepper. It was born out of friendly competition, not arrogance. I’m just talking about Waters’ lyrical smugness when I refer to arrogance. And while Dark Side of the Moon is very diverse, EVERY SONG on Sgt. Pepper sounds like it was written in a different decade, yet all are recognizably by the same band. The instrumentation on Pepper is more ambitious and hits its mark, while the instrumentation on Dark Side is excellent, but not nearly as ambitious or varied. It’s hard to make a case for one album being superior because they are both excellent, but Pepper has the edge in my mind. Plus, McCartney kicks Waters’ butt as a bassist.

P.S. I think Miles Davis, Mozart, and Beethoven are extremely catchy. Every time I listen to Milestones, I can’t get the title track out of my head, and I’m certain that everybody can easily hum Beethoven’s 5th.

Sorry, that anonymous post was me.

Agh! Did I really not put any James Robinson on my list? Damn!

There were a bunch of things that stuck out in my memory that got left out either because I couldn’t nail down the exact issue numbers (I’ve been in this for 35 years now and the collection is vast) or because I didn’t think they necessarily belonged on a “Best of All Time” list.
“Superman” 296-299, which I’ve always thought of as “Superman’s Great Identity Crisis.” Multi-part stories were unusual at DC in 1976. Superman discovers his powers only work when he’s in full costume, which makes him loosen up a bit as Clark Kent. He romances Lois and punches out Steve Lombard, among other things.
Any Robinson “Starman” arc.
The meta arc of Morrison’s “Animal Man.” “I CAN SEE YOU!” “It’s NOT a comic! IT’S MY LIFE!”
“The Great Darkness Saga” from Levitz and Giffen’s “Legion of Super-Heroes.” One of the few stories involving Darkseid where I didn’t groan when he showed up.
Pretty much any Garth Ennis story where the focus is on friendship and personal honor, for example “Who Dies Wins” in “Hitman.”
There’s a pretty good Marv Wolfman “Green Lantern” run from about 1981-83 that hangs together as an arc and shows how Kevin Dooley was full of it when he said you couldn’t tell interesting stories about Hal Jordan.
Couldn’t pick a fave from Gaiman’s “Sandman.”
Couldn’t pick a fave from Milligan’s “Shade the Changing Man,” but “Shade the Changing Woman” came close.
I figured “Asterix” albums didn’t count, even though they were originally serialized in “Pilote.” Otherwise, I think I would have had to include “Asterix and Cleopatra.”

Oh, there was a great multi-parter in “Action Comics” in 1980 (early 510s) where Luthor really, honest-to-God reformed and paid a terrible price at the end–so terrible that I actually felt sorry for him.

Whatever happened to Cary Bates, anyway? He was a good, solid storyteller.

Best all-time comic book storyline is the Ostrander-Mandrake run on The Spectre from the early ’90s.

Would ‘The Death of Captain America’ (#25-42) qualify as one storyline?

I’m going with no.

Two stories, one from #25-33/34 and one from #34-42.

Brian,just put my votes here in this comment section?

Yes, with the four letter word I mentioned above.

I would say “Death of Cap” is one story – it’s marketed and labeled as such.

I would say “Death of Cap” is one story – it’s marketed and labeled as such.

I’d call each one of its three “acts” one storyline, but you know what, fair enough, I don’t particularly have a big problem with considering #25-42 one storyline.

Paul1963 thank for bringing up Superman #296-299, it barely missed my top 10, wonderful story that 90% of CBR voters never even heard of. The cover to #296 is one of my favorite Supes cover ever.

As a P.S. Roman, my friend, we will have to agree to disagree. (hee, “roman” is “Namor” backwards, bet you breathe air.)

This is one of the great things about lists like this. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of that Superman # 296-299. I’ll be getting that. Sounds great !

Oh, there was a great multi-parter in “Action Comics” in 1980 (early 510s) where Luthor really, honest-to-God reformed and paid a terrible price at the end–so terrible that I actually felt sorry for him.

Whatever happened to Cary Bates, anyway? He was a good, solid storyteller.

It’s a great story right up until the ending where Superman shows himself as the biggest dickhead ever.

SPOILERS!!!!!!

Even though he’s aware of Luthor’s plot and could easily have stopped the last part happening and had Luthor spend the rest of his live doing great deeds he allows Luthor to turn evil again just so he can shout at him a bit and Luthor can go back to being a villain. And even worse than that he allows an innocent woman (albeit a clone) to be whisked off to another dimension for no reason whatsoever.

Dickhead!

Paul McCartney has said the inspiration for Sgt Pepper was the need to out do the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. The album’s reason for being is arrogance.

I can’t see anything arrogant about that. Resting on your laurels because you think all of your existing albums outdo Pet Sounds would be arrogant.

Sure, Dan, I’ll delete your old list and you can re-submit a new list!

Cool – Thanks. I’ll do it now…

I tried to pick things on my list that I did not think would get a ton of votes otherwise – the Kabbalistic tree of life arc in Promethea, a Sandman arc other than “Season of Mists,” and some other stuff that I think deserves a shot that will be passed over by people who thought Civil War or Knightfall were good. :)

I usually have no knowledge of the DC storylines people talk about on here, but I did read that Action story where Luthor reformed. (I only had the last part, though, but that was the important one.) I felt really sorry for him, too. I nearly cried. (And Luthor did cry. I remember.) I don’t think I was ever able to respect Superman after that. What happened to Lex was tragic.

When I mentioned Luthor crying, I was going to say how that last panel has been seered into my memory ever since, but when I write these things I’m rearrainging things as I go, and sometimes I forget something. But that picture of Luthor’s face is really haunting.

Holy crap, Brian. Can open. Worms everywhere!

This is too sad. I got 9 pretty quickly then agonized over the tenth one; then one occurred to me suddenly and I knew it was right. But there are many great stories I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I’m suffering from not having access to my comics.

I like my list. I love all 10 comics on it. But somehow I found no room for the X-Men. Or Batman. Or Daredevil. Or the Squadron Supreme. And this makes me sad. I’d like to apologise to all of them. And to Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, Paul Jenkins, J. M. Dematteis, Darwyn Cooke, Marv Wolfman, Peter Milligan, Ed Brubaker, Jon Ostrander, Ben Edlund, Tom Beland, Peter David and Neil Gaiman. I don’t know how none of you made it onto my list. 10 must just be too small a number. But that’s okay.

I thought about removing redundancy to add diversity, as my #2 and #6 are similar, and my #3 and #5 are almost identical. But I couldn’t do it. Thus only 8 different writers grace my list. But that’s okay.

9/10 are superhero comics which probably makes me look like, I don’t know, a fan of superhero comics. But that’s okay. 7/10 are Marvel which makes me probably look like, I don’t know, a Marvel zombie of some sort. But that’s okay.

Also didn’t find room for that comic about the watchmakers or whatever they’re called that people are arguing about. Though I like it a lot and it would surely have made a top twenty.

I attempted to mark one of my choices as 8 and inadvertently made a smiley with cool shades.

Hopefully Brian will figure out what number choice is listed between 7 and 9

I attempted to mark one of my choices as 8 and inadvertently made a smiley with cool shades.

Hopefully Brian will figure out what number choice is listed between 7 and 9

This is how dedicated I am to making my counting easier – I actually go through and edit all the pieces where people have their 8s turned into smiling faces. That way I don’t have to do it later.

I surprised myself with my list. I thought Spider-Man would dominate – not one spidey story. I thought there would be loads of Morrison – not a single run. It broke down to 2 non-Dredd 2000ad stories, 2-Batruns (Only one Miller), 1 maxi-series, 1 marvel series (2 if you count (c) ownership), 1 ABC book, 1 Vertigo and 1 Dark Horse. I’m really interested to see the votes on # 100-70-odd, as there will be a lot of interesting overlooked books to investigate!

That was damn near impossible. I’m positive that the order would be different every time I did it, and I’m guessing that 40-70% of the stories would get swapped out too.

of my top storylines, only 4 appeared in long-running titles – the rest appeared in their own mini-series… that said, I wish more great storylines appeared in their own books instead of pulling it out for a mini-series of no consequence

i didn’t vote for Maus cuz I wasn’t sure on how the rules would come down on that one… but if it makes it high, I won’t be disappointed :)

If I have to log in first, just let me know. I have an old CBR login that I can’t remember, and could create a new one easily if needed. I spend tons of time on here, just don’t bothering with “who would win? Hulk or Wolverine?” arguements. And there was no promt for CBR membership or CSBG membership. It’s just that I spent more than a few hours thinking about this, like many people, and I hate to think I wasted that time in vain. If I need to dig out my old login, just let me know.

You don’t need to log in, Gaetano. Just post your list and include in your message the code word given in the instructions.

Grenel – you forgot the code word, but….

The Crow – really? I thought that was terrible!

Remember, folks, if your comment is “awaiting moderation” that means that you successfully posted.

1. Project Pegasus Saga
Marvel Two-in-One #53-58
This is a wonderful, solid storyline that gave us Quasar and featured Deathlok, Thundra, Bill Foster Giant Man, and Wundarr the Aquarian. It’s hard to describe now, but it’s a gem by Mark Gruenwald that showcases both intelligent use of obscure characters and why Mark is so missed.

2. The Child Within
Spectacular Spider-man #178-184
This story juxtaposes the complex relationship between Harry Osborn and Peter with the sad, awful tale of the minor character Vermin. It’s a character study and one of the best “think” pieces about Spider-man ever written. This is why Harry and Peter are friends and is a better showcase for Norman’s evil than any comic he’s actually in. When I hear people say that Spidey as a true adult doesn’t work or Spidey as married doesn’t work I point them to this. I also highly suggest issue through #200.

I’d really like to vote for our 10 least favorite one day. It will be interesting to see the overlap between the two lists.

I can think of two stories that would be on mine that it seems other people are voting for.

I don’t think “Least Favorite” is as easy as “Most Favorite” to quanitfy. On the other hand, I think “Most Overrated” might be doable some day.

does anyone have the link for the 100 greatest fights?

On the other hand, I think “Most Overrated” might be doable some day.

Jeph Loeb would dominate that one

My top ten contain no Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Will Eisner, Neal Adams, George Perez, Curt Swan, C.C. Beck, Jim Aparo, Dave Cockrum, Alan Davis,Carmine Infantino, Jim Starlin,Bart Sears, Kevin MacGuire, Brian Bolland Alan Moore, Len Wein, no Hulk, Spiderman, Daredevil, solo Thor, solo Wolverine, JLA, Superman, Wonder Woman,Flash, Green Lantern or Arrow, Asterix, Tintin, cowboy ,romance,no Dark Horse, Valiant, Gold Key, Dell, Malibu, Charlton, 1940’s, 50’s. WTF, WTF, WTF!
My top 4 are done by two artists, one artist is in my top 10 three times., Two of my 10 are from the 21st century, 2 from the 60’s,2 from the 70’s.
Here’s the Kicker: 6 of my top 10 I read and owned since before I was 12!!!!

@ Wraith – I suppose people – especially lads – simply like lists. Wizard seems to have nothing else these days – from a publication’s point of view they’re easy fillers. Get ready for all the end of year retros and previews!

Mind, happily there’s a lot of other stuff at CBR to enjoy – unlike Wizard, which has a limited page count.

- Astonishing X-Men #1-25

– Dark Reign Elektra

– Thor Ragnarok

Teen Titans Vol 3. # 1-12: A Kid’s Game

ANY 4th volume of a Vertigo series… examples:

Y the Last Man vol. 4: Safeword
Fables vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
100 Bullets vol. 4: Foregone Tomorrow

And so on and so forth…

Son of M ..

Top would have to be The Great Darkness Saga (LoSH) for art and story, building up to an incredible climax. Then would come: # 2 The Coming of Galactus ( FF ~#50), #3 The return of Magneto (X-Men #17-28), and # 4 The Sentinels (X-Men #14-16). Worst for me would be the Wanderers spin-off from the LoSH – so badly done and not much of a storyline.

After voting can you run a top 10 long form comic story vote? THat way I can vote for all of Preacher, Y Last Man, Starman, Punisher Max and Sandman…

Preacher’s “Salvation” was unbelievable. Hopefully at least one of that comic’s run makes an appearance somewhere in the list.

Brian, you’re a brave man for taking this on.

The sinestro corps war.

52-The Black Adam storyline.

The Flash–Blitz.

Batman: Year one.

Watchmen.

All star superman.

@ Shaun:

i can’t believe nobody’s stood up for Michael Jackson after you wrote this:

“Overrated, to me, would apply to stuff that was hyped in its time but really wasn’t that or great or at least hasn’t endured in the same way that a Sgt. Pepper or a Dark Side of the Moon has… Anything from Nirvana or Michael Jackson would apply (in both cases, death has given that music far more credit than it deserves). Or most of Bruce Springsteen’s work over the past 20 years.”

while i think Jackson was a complete loon, “Thriller” has certainly stood the test of time as deserving the reviews it received when released. among other things, it proved the effectiveness of the music video as a sales tool and way for the artist to expand upon their work, certainly affecting how music is created and sold today.

it probably deserves a lot of credit for opening the doors to the mainstream for a new generation of African-American musicians, too. while plenty of white folks listened to performers on the Motown label in the 60’s and 70’s, the success of “Thriller” helped open the eyes of record executives to the profit potential of sharing African-American artists with a broader audience. without “Thriller,” would Public Enemy, Will Smith or N.W.A. managed the same success?

structurally, it may not be as powerful as a “Sgt. Pepper’s” (or even Jackson’s own “Bad”), but i don’t think you can say it has failed to endure – it sold at least 65 million copies worldwide before Jackson died. that’s a lot of influence.

one thing i like to point out to people who dismiss Jackson’s music is this; it’s pop. it wasn’t meant to be great, or enduring, or stand the test of time. it was meant to sell records – for a month, or a week, or a year. and it’s sold records pretty darned well for over a quarter-century. if that’s not greatness, i don’t know what is.

i’m with you on Nirvana, however; distorted mumbled whining about how much life sucks does not a musical legacy make. though they were proficient technically.

My vote is for Flash – Terminal Velocity.
Issues 95 – 100 I think they were.
AWESOME story by Mark Waid who was hitting his stride.

1. Animal Man
2. Planetary
3. Invisibles
4. Rogan Gosh
5. Transmet
6. All Star Superman

geoff johns ruined GL w/ blackest night, fanboys. get over it. Unless you like campy, well then fuck off anyways

Do you people even read the rules for submitting your votes?

Top TEN!!! TEN! 10! Count ‘em!!

>2. Vote for your ten favorite comic book storylines. Vote for TEN – less than ten storylines and I don’t count >your ballot.

Why even bother when they’re not going to be considered?

Now, top ten albums, since we are all talking about it. Again, IMHO

Beatles- Abbey Road
Nirvana- Nevermind
Pink Floyd- Echoes
Michael Jackson- Off the Wall
Stevie Wonder- Songs in the Key of Life
Led Zeppelin- IV
Radiohead- The Bends
Chuck Berry- The Great 28
The Who- Who’s Next
Bob Dylan- Blonde on Blonde

When do we do best Super Hero Movies or TV shows?

“And there’s no such thing as “overrated” in art, it’s a subjective experience.”

ummm… surely there’s such a thing as overrated in any field where people, you know, rate things?

All-Star Superman

couldn’t resist listing my top ten albums, since someone else did.

1. bruce springsteen – born to run
2. the who – live at leeds
3. the rolling stones – exile on main st.
4. the clash – london calling
5. the beatles – rubber soul
6. pearl jam – ten
7. bruce springsteen – darkness on the edge of town
8. the white stripes – elephant
9. the beatles – abbey road
10. talking heads – remain in light

honorable mentions – wilco yankee hotel foxtrot, oasis definitely maybe, stones beggars banquet, who’s next, u2 achtung baby, g n r appetite for destruction, radiohead the bends and ok computer, strokes this is it, prince purple rain, bowie station to station and low, television marquee moon, petty damn the torpedoes, beatles let it be

This is really hard, but at the same time when you’ve been reading comics as long as I have, there are just so many great stories but not all of them come to mind immediately. So in a strange way, my list was quite literally mostly made up of the first ten things that came to mind. I am sure if I thought more about it I would come up with amuch more extensive list and could offer a more critical list as well. Argue the merits, etc, of each. But the fact that these just popped into my head the way they did suggests that there’s something about them which resonated with me. I had to be faithful to that instinct.

At the same time, this has got me thinking about all the great comic stories I’ve read over the years.

Mary, I didn’t vote for it, but I love your tenth choice: the trials of Hank Pym. It is unfortunate that the storyline seems to be remembered mainly for Hank striking Jan rather than Hanks fall and subsequent rise. Hank’s single-handed defeat of the Masters of Evil is one of my all-time favorite comic book moments.

Do not post your lists publicly here.

Maybe after the countdown is over, but not now.

My bad. . .

Top 10 Albums? Easy.

1. Led Zeppelin – IV
2. The Who – Who’s Next
3. Nirvana – Nevermind
4. The Clash – London Calling
5. The Pixies – Doolittle
6. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf
7. Alice Cooper – Killer
8. Nirvana – In Utero
9. The Beatles – The White Album
10. The Who – Live at Leeds

I’m remiss for not managing to fit in Appetite for Destruction, Ten or Led Zeppelin I, but whatever. The first three are virtually interchangeable, by the way.

Brian,

I don’t see my post, it was waiting moderation , did it count or was it deleted?

Tks

Brian,

I don’t see my post, it was waiting moderation , did it count or was it deleted?

Tks

After I count them, I delete them.

But not before I make copies for future reference!

Tks for clearing that up :)

This has been a lot of fun – very curious how the final 10 will turn out.

[…] Should Be Good’s 313th cool comic book moment. They’re also accepting nominations for a top 100 comic storylines […]

#1 batman the dark knight returns #2 spider-man death of gwen stacy #3 dark phoenix saga #4 watchmen #5 kravens last hunt #6 hush #7 daredevil born again #8 death of jean dewolff #9 age of apocalypse #10 spider-man if this be my destiny

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