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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #100-91

The countdown begins….NOW!

First off, over 850 votes cast! That’s amazing, people!! That’s well over a hundred votes from the last time we did this (with the Top 100 Comic Book Runs)!! Thanks so much for the turnout! The more people who vote, the better the results are!!

Okay, as usual, the votes are more bundled together at the bottom of the list and things open up as we go along. The results will be five a day, except today, when you get TEN! Note, there may be some spoilers ahead! You are forewarned!

So, without further ado, here are your top 100 favorite comic book storylines!!

Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.

100. “Who Killed Retro Girl?” by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming (Powers #1-6) – 98 points

The opening arc of Bendis and Oeming’s crime comic about police officers in a world of superheroes opened up with a bang – the death of popular superheroine Retro Girl.

Retro Girl was a compatriot of Christian Walker, the main protagonist of Powers, who is a detective who once was a superhero.

In this volume, he has to juggle solving the murder of his close friend along with taking care of a little girl whose mother has died, not to mention breaking in a new partner, Deena Pilgrim.

Bendis’ sharp dialogue works extremely well in the world of police detectives, and the look at the grittier side of the superhero world was quite fresh at the time. Oeming’s art was great, as always.

The ending of the arc, in particular, is quite a blast. This opening storyline was a hard one to follow for Powers, but Bendis and Oeming continually managed to meet the standard they set for themselves with “Who Killed Retro Girl?”

97 (tie). “Crawling From the Wreckage” by Grant Morrison, Richard Case, Carlos Garzon and Scott Hanna (Doom Patrol #19-22) – 100 points (2 first place votes)

Next we have another opening arc, this time the first storyline in Grant Morrison’s acclaimed run on Doom Patrol.

What’s really amazing, in retrospective, about Morrison’s first arc is how slowly he teased out the truly bizarre stuff that he would later do with the run. If you were a regular reader of the series, Morrison’s first issue would not have been all THAT different from the previous stories by Paul Kupperberg, but by the end of that first arc, the book was in an entirely different realm of comics.

The basic set-up of the story is that the Doom Patrol needs to regroup (after most of its members were killed or put into character limbo in the issues leading up to Morrison’s run in a very cool piece of assistance by outgoing writer Kupperberg), and Robotman Cliff Steele is the only member of the group still standing. In the first issue, Morrison introduces Crazy Jane (who has multiple personalities, each one having their own superpower) and we are re-introduced to a throwaway character from Kupperberg’s run, Dorothy – an ape-faced girl who can alter reality. Negative Man and Negative Woman return, in a fashion, as Rebis, a hermaphrodite with similar powers.

The bad guys are inter-dimensional “Scissormen” – and things get trippier from there.

It’s a remarkable introduction into the mind of Morrison.

97 (tie). “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” by Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge #285-296) – 100 points (3 first place votes)

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is the type of comic book project that really should not work as well as it does. Over his decades of writing Uncle Scrooge, Carl Barks threw in little details of Scrooge’s past here and there. Occasionally, the details even conflict (although that might not be Barks contradicting himself, it could have been another Scrooge writer contradicting a Barks detail). So writer/artist Don Rosa decided to use all those little details about Scrooge and then fashion a 12-part detailed life of Scrooge from boyhood until his first appearance as regular comic book character.

That might sound like something better suited for an essay or a spreadsheet, yet Rosa’s brilliance as a storyteller make the whole endeavor an utter marvel.

Scrooge’s adventures are all pretty much “done in one”s, yet they continue an overarching character development that is quite impressive. Also impressive is all the actual historical details that Rosa peppers in with Scrooge’s travels. It’s strong historical fiction.

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And Rosa’s art is a detailed delight.

It’s no surprise that this story won an Eisner Award!

97 (tie). “Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy on Earth” by Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library #5, 6, 8, 9 and 11-14) – 100 points (5 first place votes)

Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy on Earth is an extremely layered tale of a depressed man (Corrigan) meeting his father late in his life. This story is intermixed with the story of Corrigan’s grandfather (also Jimmy Corrigan) as a boy and HIS relationship with HIS father. All throughout, we also have the fantastical story of Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy on Earth – showing Corrigan as a child. However, we also see Corrigan as a depressed child dealing with his parents divorce, and so we know that the “Smartest Boy” vignettes are just dreams of a sad man who has great trouble dealing with the world as it is.

The most brilliant aspect of Ware’s book, as is usually the case with Ware’s work, is his amazing design sense – the story of Jimmy Corrigan is really a marvel of design, there are many pages that do not even have text, because Ware designs the pages so well that you don’t NEED text – he’s so detailed and thorough that you feel like you’re inundated with details about these characters without reading a single word.

Is the story depressing?

Yes, in the sense that the actual plot of the book is depressing, but it is done so beautifully that I can’t help but be happy when I read it, no matter how dreary the plot is.

It’s a tour de force performance by one of comics’ greatest creators.

This story won numerous awards and accolades when it was collected into book form, including the Guardian First Book Award, the first comic book to ever be so honored.

It’s a deserved honor.

96. “Love and Death” by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben (Thanks to Stephen Bissette for noting that Rick Veitch also should be credited in this arc – my apologies, Rick) (Saga of the Swamp Thing 28-34 & Annual #2) – 101 points (2 first place votes)

Love and Death is the storyline responsible for Swamp Thing officially moving from a regular Comics Code Approved comic to a “Mature Readers” comic, only in the case of Swamp Thing, it was termed “Sophisticated Suspense” to deter youngsters from reading it.

Alan Moore had already made quite a name for himself on just the first eight issues of his run, but this storyline, which involved Abby Cable’s evil uncle Anton Arcane taking over the body of her husband before killing her (and officially ending her husband’s life) – well, it took the book in a whole different direction of darkness.

After Swamp Thing defeated Anton (killing him once again), he decides to go to Hell to rescue Abby’s soul.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of pretty much every DC Universe character, it is hard to imagine how fresh someone like Moore using Deadman, The Demon and the Phantom Stranger was, but it was – and that’s on top of the fact that he used them all extremely well. Moore’s use of the Demon (who he had used a couple of issues earlier) was extremely influential on later writers of the character, and Deadman, heck, he had not even been USED in YEARS before Moore featured him here.

The storyline concludes with Abby’s return and the famous “sex issue,” where Abby and Swamp Thing make love.

Stephen Bissette and John Totleben are almost shocking at the level of excellence they reach on this storyline – from the darkness of the early story (Bissette’s zombies are gruesome) to the tender euphoria of their love-making (like a kaleidoscope has exploded), they master it all.

94 (tie). “The Great Cow Race” by Jeff Smith (Bone #7-11) – 102 points (1 first place vote)

If you were going to pick one Bone storyline to represent the series, The Great Cow Race is a great one to pick, which is helpful, because it is the only Bone storyline on the list!

This story, which is the second story arc in Jeff Smith’s acclaimed series, gives you a quick and telling introduction to the world of the Bones.

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Our hero, Fone Bone, is his traditional heroic and love-sick self. The greedy Phoney Bone has cajoled the dim-witted Smiley Bone into another one of Phoney’s hare-brained ideas – disguise themselves as cows and win the Great Cow Race against Gran’ma Ben!

The Great Cow Race itself shows readers the wacky nature of the valley folk, and the irascible nature of Gran’ma Ben (the lady races cows!!!).

At the same time, there is a dark side, too, and we see that through the rat creatures and through some new details about Thorn, the love of Fone Bone’s life.

This is a fun, engaging story arc with great Smith art – a real winner.

94 (tie). “Blood of Palomar” by Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets #21-26) – 102 points (3 first place votes)

Love and Rockets primarily showcases the work of brothers Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.

Gilbert’s most significant work was examining the lives of the inhabitants of Palomar, a fictional South American country where crazy things happen.

This storyline, originally published under the name “Human Diastrophism,” follows the people of Palomar as a serial killer strikes the town.

While the serial killer aspect of the story might be the most notable aspect from the outside of the story, within the comic it exists more as a plot device to push the character development that the Hernandez brothers are so well known for.

There IS a mystery, but it is solved (for the reader) fairly early – instead, the main part of the story is seeing all the many (MANY) characters interact with each other as they all grow, some for the better and some for…well, I wouldn’t say “for the better.”

Gilbert’s most notable Palomar character, Luba, has an important storyline as she begins to re-think her life as she grows older, and decides that she wants to change the way she relates to her children as they grow older and older.

This is such a detailed, multi-layered storyline – it’s very dense, but accessible, and Hernandez’ art should get a lot of that credit, as he knows how to simply draw the reader in with seemingly simplistic designs.

Things get even MORE complicated in later Palomar stories, so if you wish to catch on before things get even denser, this is the story to seek out!

93. “The Slavers” by Garth Ennis, Leandro Fernandez and Scott Koblish (Punisher MAX #25-30) – 103 points (5 first place votes)

Honestly, someone else will have to explain why The Slavers, of all the Punisher MAX story arcs, is the only one to make the list.

It is not that the Slavers is not a strong storyline, it is. It is excellent.

The Punisher stumbles upon a slave ring, and as Ennis did throughout his MAX series, since Frank Castle is almost devoid of characterization (he’s basically a killing machine), Ennis goes into DEEP characterization on everyone else in the book, including the slaves, the slave ring leader and the son of the slave ring leader (imagine the kind of daddy issues you would have if you ran a slave ring with your dad), plus some cops who look to use the Punisher for PR purposes.

Ennis weaves all of these plots together and does not flinch on showing us the extreme violence and depravity that goes on with forced prostitution, making it so much more cathartic when the Punisher klls all the bad guys, and in some cases, in increasingly poetic manners.

So yeah, it’s a great storyline, but pretty much EVERY Punisher MAX storyline was great, so I can’t tell you why this one was chosen over all the others. Perhaps someone in the comments section can explain why this one is the best of all the MAX stories!

91 (tie). “First Tale of the Demon” by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Bob Brown, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano (Batman #232, 235, 240, 242-244 and Detective Comics #411) – 105 points (2 first place votes)

The storyline does not really HAVE a name, although I guess you might call it “Daughter of the Demon,” but since it is collected in Tales of the Demon with another Ra’s al Ghul story, I figure “The First Tale” is an appropriate enough name!

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It begins in Detective Comics with a Bob Brown penciled issue, then the story continues to Batman, where Irv Novick and Neal Adams draw three issues apiece (although Adams draws more total story pages, as two of Adams’ issues are full-length stories while none of Novick’s are).

As for the rest of the story, why waste time when I can just re-post what I wrote about this story when it made the Top 100 Battles list?

An interesting aspect of the first stories involving Ra’s Al Ghul by Denny O’Neil and friends is the fact that the Batman within these stories is barely recognizable to the super-competent Batman of today. The Batman of the first Ra’s story really needs the help of other practically ordinary people to help bring down Ra’s.

Ra’s and Talia had been around for a little while before the famous first duel between Batman and Ra’s took place.

Batman fakes Bruce Wayne’s death and takes on the identity of Matches Malone for the first time (Malone is introduced and is killed in these issues, leaving the identity available for Batman to use). He teams up with a scientist who had worked with Ra’s (not of his own volition) and they race to stop Ra’s and Talia from unleashing a deadly plague. Through the story, Batman gets aid from some unlikely sources, like a famous skier!!

Ultimately, Batman tracks them down only to discover Ra’s dead. He takes Talia into custody but is then confronted by Ra’s – this is the first time we see the use of the Lazarus Pit. Batman is quickly subdued and Ra’s and his daughter take off.

This is probably the first “wow, Batman is tough” scene, as Batman manages to catch up with them and confront them again in the desert. Ra’s is suitably impressed. They proceed to have a sword duel in the desert that Batman perhaps would have won, but a scorpion stings Batman.

As he lies dying, Talia’s love for Batman outweighs her daughterly fealty, and she gives Batman an antidote. He then captures Ra’s and takes him into custody, winning their first battle, but not in the ultra-capable way we’re used to Batman winning battles nowadays.

91 (tie). “Welcome Back, Frank” by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Punisher: Marvel Knights #1-12) – 105 points (2 first place votes)

When Joe Quesada’s Event Comics took over production on a handful of Marvel heroes, it was generally a rousing success, especially their revitalization of Daredevil.

One concept that did not work as well, though, was the Punisher becoming an avenging angel for Heaven.

So when Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon began their follow-up maxi-series and it was called “Welcome Back, Frank,” they really mean welcome back!!

In the first page, Ennis does away with the angel plot and it is on to good ol’ fashion mobster slaughter!

The big difference between this and older Punisher stories is that Ennis decided to take an approach similar to his Hitman series, where he would mix in a good deal of humor into the stories, as well as a colorful cast of good guys AND bad guys.

The result was a very fun book (with striking Dillon artwork) that was also quite bloody.

And most importantly, the book made the Punisher a viable property again, and it is likely no coincidence that a new Punisher movie was green-lit soon after Ennis turned the character around.

Ennis would follow this up with a Marvel Knights ongoing, but really, the joke had diminishing returns as time went on – this first maxi-series, though, was extremely tight and fresh (Ennis later changed things up by taking Punisher to Marvel MAX, where Ennis dropped the humor and kept the darkness).

And for those of you who know about Garth Ennis’ general distaste for superheroes, well, you’ll like to see how he handles Daredevil’s guest appearance early on. Some twisted stuff.


So how many storylines didn’t make the top 100?

So how many storylines didn’t make the top 100?

I dunno.

Lots, I’d say.

Definitely in the high three figures…

I can’t even imagine what a nightmare this list must have been to compile. But I sure am glad you do it. I love these Top 100 lists.

I haven’t read any of these, except for the Bone one which was a runner up for me.

I’m pretty confident that a good number of my votes are in that high three figures you mention, Brian.

I’d guess The Slavers was picked because of the intestine scene…. that still kind of sticks with you years after you read it

I actually thought the intestine scene was a bit over the top, given how Ennis previously had grounded the comic in “real world” matters. I think the”moment” is when Frank throws Vera to death against a plate glass window. That was so god damn intense,

The Vera scene in The Slavers was like, “Yes, she deserves it,” and, “Good lord…Punisher’s beating a middle-aged woman to death,” at the same time.

I’d choose “Up is Down and Black is White” personally, but The Slavers was just as great.

And yeah…I’m also amazed that only one Punisher Max storyline got in. Probably equal voting for the others cancelled them out?

“I can’t even imagine what a nightmare this list must have been to compile. But I sure am glad you do it. I love these Top 100 lists.”

Ditto this. And I’m glad to see one of my picks (who killed retro girl) already make the list. And actually I might’ve voted for the Ra’s arc too, I don’t remember.

This looks to be a very useful list. I didn’t vote in the end because It would have taken me half a day to choose just ten stories. I’ve only read a three of this ten. I’ll be interested in picking some of the others up though.

Uau, if these are the 100-91, I can’t imagine what’s coming up next. These are all great stories.

I also agree that The Slavers was the best Punisher MAX arc. The scene that stuck with me, besides the intestines part, is when Frank burns one bad guy alive while videotaping it. He turns to the camera and says “Don’t come back!”.

Ennis is the best!

I’m quite disappointed that Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Bendis’ Powers storylines weren’t higher up the list.
Not to mention the Ennis’s Punisher storylines (both of ‘em) should be up higher too.

STILL, I’ve yet to see the rest of the list.

I think “The Slavers” stands out among the other MAX arcs because it’s as close as Ennis could get from “real” evil. Nick Cavella and his crew, Barracuda, DYNACO, the generals… they were bad, sure… but with some over-the-top flair that kept them fictional.
In “The Slavers”, Frank Castle fights bad guys who feels discomfortably real. And he doesn’t really win (all the girls are damaged goods, some other crew will come to replace Cristu’s).

Heh. Didn’t vote, but “Blood of Palomar” would almost certainly’a been my number one.

Whee its started.

I expect more Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing as this goes on. Great runs.

Didn’t vote for it, but if you can only get two Punisher stories in here, make it Welcome Back Frank and the Slavers. WBF is super awesome(as is the sequel, Warzone) and the Slavers is the MAX story arc that stuck with me the most.

I’m sure they’ll be plenty of Ennis down the road. If “All in the Family” doesn’t make top 20, I’ll be quite surprised. I think thats the best “short” story arc in the entire Vertigo line.

Eh, I’m not terribly impressed so far. Maybe it’s because with 100 comics to list, you don’t get people to think well about what they consider really good… oh well, a fan poll is usually more about favorites than anything else. So far, the only titles I think deserve to be on the list are the Powers and Uncle Scrooge ones.

Read #96, been meaning to get around to the Scrooge story at some point (as well as Bone). Not read any of the others; Grant Morrison when he’s being weird doesn’t do much for me.

powers, i hated that book.


wanted to vote, got to #5, couldn’t think of the next five, then ran out of time…

Oh, well.

My top five would have been…

#1 Animal Man: Origin of the Species
#2 Animal Man Vol. 1
#3 Animal Man: Deux Ex Machina
#4 Maus
#5 V for Vendetta

I voted for the Slavers for the reasons already mentioned, and also because it was more discrete than some of the other arcs (i.e. I think it could be read on its own and be just as powerful).

Yeah, to echo what some people have already said, I think Slavers makes the most impression on people because of all the arcs of Punisher MAX, it’s the most human. It’s really the only arc I can think of where the human cost of the crime is portrayed from every angle: the victims, the police, the social workers, even the slavers themselves, all of them have their lives twisted and warped by this world. For most of Punisher MAX, we’re presented with mobsters or soldiers, told their criminals, and watch as Frank kills them. Viorica’s presence is the game-changer here. It’s the first time we’ve seen the actual victims of the crime in the series playing a role in the story beyond the most superficial level. It’s also one of the only arcs where the revenge aspects fall flat and you see how totally and completely fucked the situation is, that this is something that is so horrible that nothing can ever set it right.

There’s also so many amazing scenes that Leandro Fernandez got to draw in the final part of the story, from Vera and Tiberiu’s deaths to the “Show me what you got” scene, which comes as close to anything as being the most badass moment of the series.

Widowmaker comes close in terms of showing how Castle’s world can destroy a person’s life, but even then Jenny Cesare was already mob and Detective Budiansky was already a cop. They’re already involved, so their ends don’t have the same poignancy as the final image of Viorica howling in despair outside the diner, which is for my money the most heartbreaking image of the series.

So yeah, despite The Slavers being probably the single bleakest arc of the series, I can definitely see why people would consider it the most memorable. For me it’s certainly the one that transformed the series from a highly enjoyable pulp crime comic into an undisputed masterpiece.

Here’s a question: how many of the stories you voted for do you reasonably expect to see on this list?

Looking over my ballot of then, I can identify three that I’d be amazed if they weren’t on this list, another four that I think have a decent-to-good shot, and three that in all likelihood won’t.

One of mine so far (Great Cow Race), and it’s cool to know my voting actually made an impact — my 5 points for it ensured it would be on the list. On the other hand, since it’s the only Bone on the list, another of mine (Bone: Dragonslayer) is already out.

What Dave and JP said is why the Slavers was on my list. Also, for me, it focused on the worst type of crime, crimes against women and children. I’m sure there have been a lot of slave ring operation stories, but very few as well written, constructed, or depicted as “The Slavers”.

Can’t wait for more of the countdown!

Sean C.: I figure six, maybe seven more of mine will be on the list. Days of Future Present was very influential on my comic book reading as a child but I don’t think it gets much love in general, and I don’t really have any idea how Earth X will do. The rest (except for Dragonslayer, as I just posted) are locks.

Wow, just noticed that 9 out of these 10 received first place votes!

Josh, I completely forgot about Earth X! Definitely would make my top 10 Marvel list.

A lot of good comments about The Slavers so I don’t have much to add. I just remember reading an interview where Ennis’ said he had just watched a documentary about sex trafficking and when it was over he never wanted people killed more than he did then. I think those feelings definitely came across on the page.

The Slavers was a darn good arc, but I’m surprised Mother Russia and Valley Forge, Valley Forge aren’t anywhere in the top 100, as those were just as damn good.

Wow, these were arcs I wouldn’t have even thought of (except maybe the Swamp Thing one). Which means this list will be very interesting reading, I think.

I suspect at least two of my votes will be top ten, another five will hopefully show up somewhere, and three probably won’t make it (Astro City: Tarnished Angel, Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers, and the first major Hellblazer arc where he fights Nergal).

But from the list so far, I’m realizing it’s pretty hard to narrow all of comicdom down to just 100 storylines.

Looking forward to more.

Glad to see Blood of Palomar making the cut; hoping to see Death of Speedy further on down the list.

I’m surprised to see Love and Death on the list so early. I had thought it was the most highly acclaimed Swamp Thing story. I would have voted for it had I not read it for the first time on Wednesday. I hope that the first arc ends up being up there somewhere.

I really can’t add anything substantial to Dave’s description of “The Slavers”, so I’ll just say what I told a friend when he asked my opinion about Punisher MAX: most of the arc is a comic book version of “Oz”. “The Slavers” is a comic book version of “The Wire”.

I unfortunately forgot what I voted for, but I’d be unsurprised if I went 0-10, as I tried actively to throw votes to things I didn’t think would make the list.

Well, I haven’t read any of these. I’ve already figured out that only a handfull of stories I’ve read are going to be on this list, and probably not a single one of my choices. And I’m probably the only one who even picked half of the stories on my list.
It’s hard to tell from the descriptions here, but most of these don’t even sound that interesting, except for Uncle Scrooge, and maybe Bone.

I thought I was smart, I thought I was right, I thought it better not to fight, I thought there was a virtue in always being cool.

Was that a Flaming Lips reference that opened the post, Brian?

Nice list, Brian, but I don’t think it’s too shocking that a story about Scrooge McDuck worked better as a comic book than as “an essay or a spreadsheet”. I don’t know about you, but I’d think anyone who put down a Disney comic and said, “You know what? It was amusing an’ all, but I’d have liked to read it as a spreadsheet!” was a little odd.

I was glad to see that “Love and Death” made the list, although it should have been higher. Partly my own fault — – I wanted to vote for something from that whole Moore Swamp Thing run, and that would have been it, but I had such a hard time figuring out what best counted as a discrete storyline there that I just gave up. There were so many things on my original list of 30 or so great storylines that I needed to narrow down to 10 anyway that I didn’t feel too terrible about leaving it out. Shame, though, because it is so very nice. Maybe the one with Constantine and all the other sorcerers where they fight the anti-God-thing will show up…

Hooray for Don Rosa’s Scrooge McDuck! They need to get that back in print. Doesn’t BOOM! have the rights at this point?

Glad to see Welcome Back Frank and Who Killed Retro Girl .

“They need to get that back in print.”

Amazon has two volumes in hardcover scheduled for February and April 2010.

Nice list, Brian, but I don’t think it’s too shocking that a story about Scrooge McDuck worked better as a comic book than as “an essay or a spreadsheet”.

Hehe, yes, but a detailed chronology of Scrooge McDuck’s life sounds more like something you’d find on a website or an article than an actual comic book storyline!

I didn’t feel widely read enough to vote, so thanks to Brian & all the listmakers for this varied & impressive list. From the first ten alone, so much has gone onto my want list.

Brian: In the future, I’d love to see a similar list for great done-in-one stories.

Thanks again.

The Crazed Spruce

November 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm

It’s a shame that I forgot about the first Powers arc, or “Welcome Back Frank”. They were the only ones so far that I read (the curse of not living anywhere near a comic shop), and either of ‘em might’ve squeaked in on my list at #10. They definitely would’ve made my short list, at any rate. And the others definitely seem worth looking up in trade paperback.

Because of my aforementioned curse, my picks were probably a bit more mainstream than pretty much everyone else’s, so i wouldn’t be at all shocked if they all turned up on the list. Even so, it wouldn’t surprise me if my 10 (part of the much maligned “Death of Superman”), 9 (too many good JLA arcs to single out just one), and 8 (John Byrne backlash) didn’t make the cut, or that my top 3 didn’t make the top 20.

Hey Brian. Could you have the list of all the storylines that were voted for? Not anything special, but i’d love to see what people voted for. Just a thot. thanks for doing this1

The Crazed Spruce

November 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

He’s probably a bit busy right now, danjak, but if you give him about a month or so, he can probably put together a list of the top 100 for you. :)

I had a hard time choosing a Swamp Thing story. I only wanted one on my list. I thought about Love & Death, mainly for the final issue, because sex is awesome.

I ended up going with the story where he fights Batman, which ends with him on the blue planet. The blue planet story is my second favorite issue in the series, and the rest of the book features him fighting Batman.

But I figure Love & Death was the one Swamp Thing story we were going to see, so that’s likely one on my list which won’t make the top 100.

Though if Reptisaurus didn’t vote, I’m skeptical of anybody else voting for my one of my choices.

Yes, Punisher as Frankenstein’s monster is SURE to go down MUCH better than Punisher as an Angel!


Dammit, I missed the boat on voting!

Well, the list is really good so far, and refreshingly diverse. Hopefully it doesn’t overload with spandex as it gets to the top.

I’ve read half of those. Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Powers, Welcome Home Frank, and Batman. All of them pretty damn good.

I almost never like Garth Ennis’s bashing of superheroes, it seems like he makes them into one-dimensional straw men. But the Punisher taking down Daredevil is actually good. Maybe because Daredevil is one of the few superheroes Ennis seems to respect, and so it reads as plausible, instead of a cheap shot.

Aw man, i completely forgot about Morrison’s Doom Patrol! I have a feeling there will be many storylines in the top 100 that i forgot while making my own top ten list. Cannot wait to see if a few of mine have made it on the list :D.
This list is probably going to make me want to go out and find some of this stuff to read. :D :(

Ah, the good old days, when people could say they liked Batman “because he’s human” and it was actually true…

Most of my votes were storylines from Superman in the late 80s/90s and Justice League International (my two favorite runs) and I don’t expect most of them to make it. I’m confident that a couple will (including one that’s neither Supes nor JLI) since they’re well known stories. There’s one JLI storyline that I desperately want to see on this list but I’m afraid won’t because it 1) doesn’t have a name, and 2)many readers might not think of it as a storyline but it really is and I’ve never seen it get the full appreciation it deserves.

Any chance I can get a link to the 100 Greatest Runs?

Interesting start.

I’m surprised by the popularity of “Welcome Back, Frank.” I thought it was a fluke, when it made Wizard’s Top 100 TPBs list a few months back. It was certainly a solid and fun story, but Ennis and Dillon soon topped it IMO with their next five-parter (and Ennis topped that with his Max run.)

I’m happy to see the Slavers on the list. It’s my favorite of Ennis’s Punisher stories, because it’s such an effective “problem play.” The villains are sadly plausible, and the victims are memorable, especially the sweet mourning mother. And there are still badass moments with Frank Castle.

I’m pleased to see “Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck” here. If it didn’t make my top ten, it was barely cut off. One of the best comics to give someone unfamiliar with the material.

Of my list, I have 4 that are pretty much guaranteed to be in the top 100, 3 I think have a really good shot, and 3 that I love(and I know I’m not alone), but it would be a surprise to seem them on the list.

I think it says a lot about Slavers and Jimmy Corrigan that they both have 5 1st place votes. I’ll be keeping my eye out for other stories with that many #1’s.

Thanks for compiling this list.

Very cool.

one of my top ten, swamp thing: love and death already made the list, albeit way too low. but it probably split the vote with two other swampy stories i think we’re sure to see higher up the list… american gothic and the anatomy lesson/woodrue story from 21-24.

a general observation: i bet the truly great runs with no single stories that are clearly superior to the others (sandman, doom patrol, swamp thing, preacher, giffen/dematteis jli, starman, bendis daredevil, etc.) won’t play well on this list because all the fans of those runs have different ideas of which the best part, and too much vote splitting happened. with, for example, wolfman/perez teen titans, the judas contract is the clear cut high water mark, and it will probably place high on this list. but what’s the best sandman story? i voted for the dolls house in my own top ten, but wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t make the list because everyone voted for seasons of mist. but if enough people voted for brief lives, or the kindly ones, or preludes, then maybe none of them even make the top 50. in other words, i think this list will (unintentionally) reward stories that were clearly the best of their runs, or not in runs, instead of stories that were just one of a series of great storylines.

as for what from my list will make it, one already has (swamp thing), five should be sure things (watchmen, identity crisis, batman: year one, marvels, and x-men; age of apocalypse), two may become victim to vote splitting (sandman: dolls house and jla: new world order), one might not make it because it’s not widely enough read (supreme: story of the year), and one might not make it because it’s not widely enough liked (green arrow: quiver)

I agree. I also voted Doll’s House, and wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t make it or ends up very low on the list. There are lots of great runs that don’t have an instantly identifiable great story. For instance, Born Again will obviously do well, but I think that Millar’s first Daredevil run won’t make the list. Vote splitting will probably keep out a lot of the stuff that was featured in the top 100 runs, and the allowing of minis will ensure that the top of the list is populated by a lot of Moore works and CoIE.

I usually pick The Slavers since it’s really the only Punisher arc where not only was that a huge cathartic bit but also the only one that had an ending that made me cry.

The Slavers was a fantastic arc, no doubt. Beats me why it was chosen as the best of MAX Punisher, much less why it was the ONLY MAX Punisher to make the list. Would probably be my third choice, after “In The Beginning” and “Up is Down, Black is White.”

I had Slavers on my vote. It is my favorite of the MAX stories. I hadn’t heard of the sex trade before that and I thought the story had a lot of emotional impact because of the victim. I also thought the old guy was a very good villain. I think Leandro Fernandez was the best of the artists on the MAX run, he is great when drawing Punisher.

Slavers is the only one on my top 10 that has made the list so far. Out of this ten I’ve only read Bone besides Slavers. Several of them look really good, specially Jimmy Corrigan.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

November 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

My take on the Slavers? It’s the one arc of MAX Punisher where there’s at least as much focus on the victims and the society around the crime as on the crime and punishment themselves. When the story’s drawn Viorica well enough that she can be the final, tragic moment instead of Frank’s bloody revenge as per the usual structure, you know the story’s done something different.

The Slavers is awesome, and although I didn’t choose it (I voted for the Long Cold Dark as my #2), I would realistically be able to justify placing probably at least five Punisher MAX stories on a longer list. LCD, Slavers, Up is Down, Black is White, Valley Forge, Valley Forge, Born, and the Tyger are all top-notch sequential storytelling.

I’m just happy my #1 (“Blood of Palomar”) made the list.

“and one might not make it because it’s not widely enough liked (green arrow: quiver)”

I voted for “Quiver” too, so there’s at least two votes.

I didn’t put any minis on my list; something about ‘storyline’ just makes me think of one part of a larger whole.

good to hear quiver has at least two picks! i think it’s amazing, but i understand the complaints levied against it. it’s certainly not a comic that someone can read and enjoy if they haven’t been a longtime DC fan. but all of the continuity references, for those of us that get them, are a real reward for our misspent youths.

I’ve read all of those except Scrooge McDuck, but none of them got my vote.

If I had voted for Punisher then The Slavers would probably have been it.

One thing we need to remember, this is a unscientific poll voted on by people who regularly read Brians posting who felt like voting or were able to vote. If this list is done again in 4 months (or had been done 4 months ago), or if people could only vote for their top 5 or top 3 runs, it could turn out to be very different…

It is going to be a fun list, but I wonder if it is pointless to wonder why such and such isn’ t ranked higher/lower, or why such and such didn’t make the cut…

Teensy-Weensy nit-pick…

Shouldn’t that be “Crawling FROM the Wreckage”, rather than “THROUGH”?


Indeed. There is however a Green Arrow TPB called Crawling Through the Wreckage which regularly gets misquoted as “Crawling From the Wreckage”

Jimmy Corrigan *and* Love and Rockets. CSBG is almost becoming an indie comix site!

Hey stealthwise, I also had The Long, Cold Dark at number two. The Slavers is great, as are all the Max storylines. I’m really disappointed that the only one to appear is this low down.

I didn’t vote for any Doom Patrol runs, because I couldn’t split it. I’d imagine one needs to read the whole run, and finish up with Morrison’s final issue.

I actually voted for two Sandman storylines, so I hope at least one of them makes it.

Bone AND Scrooge McDuck… nice start.

Willing to bet only DKR makes it from my list.

So far, so good. One of my picks (First Tale of the Demon) has made the list, although I honestly expected it to be higher.

Let’s see how the other nine do.

“it’s certainly not a comic that someone can read and enjoy if they haven’t been a longtime DC fan. but all of the continuity references, for those of us that get them, are a real reward for our misspent youths.”

Heh. I’m 1987-born, have virtually no experience with Green Arrow, didn’t really affect my enjoyment of it.

I was about to complain about “Valley Forge , Valley Forge” not making it because I do feel that was the arc that crystallized The Garth Ennis Punisher (Knights/Max/Whatevers) for all eternity and made an iconic shadow akin to Miller’s Daredevil and now Brubaker’s Iron Fist that any ensuing writer must at least be aware of (don’t tell me Hurwitz and Aaron would be doing just fine on their own)… The final pages of that arc are so spare in art and narration, yet they’re so powerful and definitive that anything more than those figures, words, and darkness would flower it up…

That said, I’m going back to re-read “The Slavers”…

Two of my votes right off the bat — Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck and the Great Cow Race. I’m glad to see they made — and no doubt will help to broaden out — the list, but I wish they had appeared higher. I voted for a different Swamp Thing storyline, but I’m glad to see Love and Death on the list. It’s also nice to see Crawling from the Wreckage, although I didn’t vote for it.

I can’t believe Earth X didn’t even make the list. It certainly deserves it.

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