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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #85-81

Here are the next five storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.

84 (tie). “Top 10 Season 1″ by Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon (Top 10 #1-12) – 112 points (1 first place vote)

Another of Moore’s “high concept” comics, Top 10 was about a police precinct (the tenth, natch) in a city where everybody was a superhero – the cops, the crooks and the civilians (even the cats and mice had powers!).

Once you get past the main concept, the book was almost exactly like a comic book form of the television series Hill Street Blues, where each issue would work like an episode of the show. The show tended to dwell upon the cops themselves and less the procedural aspect of the situation, and that is exactly the same with Top 10 (Daniel Travanti, the actor who did such a marvelous job as the Captain of the Hill Street Precinct, described the show as “A character drama where every character happened to work for the police in some form or capacity”).

Alan Moore developed a large cast of interesting characters and then threw them together into an engaging mix of characters.

Meanwhile, layout artist Zander Cannon and and penciler and inker Gene Ha were right there with Moore – just as much part of the book as, say, Kevin O’Neill was part of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or JH Williams was part of Promethea. This was a true collaboration. Cannon, particularly, would add little in-jokes in the panels (Moore, too, would have little in-jokes frequently in the script, but Cannon would add even more).

Once you’ve accepted the series as “Hill Street Blues but everyone is a superhero,” then you can see how Moore deftly works in a lot of the same topics that Hill Street hit on, like racism, only he does so with the racism being against, say, robots. Kid sidekicks are used…well…you might not want to know how kid sidekicks are used.

In any event, it’s a really strong first “season” (see the TV influence even there?), and it is a shame that Moore never did more, but at least Cannon and Ha later did some follow-up work with the characters!

84 (tie). “High Society” by Dave Sim (Cerebus #26–50) – 112 points (5 first place votes)

A previous story in Cerebus (“Mind Games”) was the real demarcation between “Cerebus: silly satire book” and “Cerebus: more serious satire book,” but High Society was the most prominent storyline in establishing Cerebus as a more serious satire.

In this volume, our aardvark protagonist (for lack of a better descriptor for him) gets caught up in, well, high society. He is chosen to be a representative of the city-state of Palnu in the large city-state of Iest (where the comic would be set for the next six years or so). Much of the humor in the storyline is derived from Cerebus’ seeming obliviousness to the standard tropes of high society. In a lot of ways, it is similar to the great Jerzy Kosi?ski screenplay, Being There, only Cerebus is certainly not an innocent – he just views things in a more mercenary fashion than most, and fails to play political games.

He is latched on to by Astoria, the ex of Lord Julius (the head of Palnu), and she uses Cerebus’ charisma as her own, and uses him to further her agenda, and in the process, makes him a popular political figure. As Cerebus’ political ambitions broaden, the book takes an almost frantic nature as Sim makes the book much like an election story – you really begin to care if Cerebus’ campaign will work.

At the same time, though, there are plenty of wacky gags, too (Sim couldn’t divest himself of the early Cerebus stories TOO much, I suppose), including this roach who is manipulated into becoming Moon Roach, a parody of Moon Knight.

When the dust is settled, Cerebus is a changed aardvark, and he is quite ready for the next storyline, Church and State.

Honestly, while there would be some confusion at the start, I think I would probably recommend beginning reading Cerebus with this volume and skipping Volume 1. The book improved THAT much with this story.

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83. “Immortal Iron Fist” by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Travel Foreman and Various Artists (Immortal Iron Fist #1-16, Civil War: Choosing Sides, Annual #1, Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death, and The Origin of Danny Rand) – 115 points (1 first place vote)

This is the first time that I’m invoking the “in the interest of fairness” rule. A bunch of people voted for either the first Immortal Iron Fist trade or for the second Immortal Iron Fist trade (plus a few people tried voting for the whole run). Taken separately, neither of them managed to make the list, which seemed to be a bit unfair, because if I told a voter for the second trade that if they changed their vote to the first trade, the first trade would make it, they almost certainly would, right? In addition, the rules SAY that you can just pick 12 consecutive issues (providing the share a main plotline) and that would count as “a storyline,” so in instances where two consecutive storylines would fail to make the list on their own, but WOULD make it if I combined the two, then I will combine the two (this only counts if the two storylines are clearly part of a continuous story – to wit, I think “Superhuman” and “Homeland Security” are two distinct Ultimates stories, but Brubaker and Fraction’s Iron Fist trades are very closely tied together).

In THIS instance, since I was already going to put the first two trades together, I knew that left only a couple of issues of their run remaining AND that there happened to be an Absolute collection of their run with those couple of issues, so I just threw in the other issues, too. If you want to pretend that this storyline does not count the various one-shots, etc, feel free. The main gist of this story is the first two trades. The last trade is one-shot stuff, only included because it was in the Omnibus of Brubaker and Fraction’s run.

That’s a lot of minutia to start the write-up with, but I figure it’s worth it seeing as how the next two storylines came out the same way.

ANYhow, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction put together a marvelous revision on the history of Danny Rand, Iron Fist, when he learns that a predecessor Iron Fist, Orson Randall, is still alive! Randall delivers to Danny the Book of the Iron Fist, which tells the history of all previous Iron Fists. It is to help Danny in the coming conflict.

Danny is quickly caught up in a plot involving the terrorist organization, Hydra, and the evil Crane Mother (an ancient enemy of K’un L’un, the mystical city where Danny gained the power of Iron Fist). There are six other mystical cities, and Danny and his allies must protect the cities from a sinister plot concocted by the Crane Mother and Xao, the Hydra representative.

Brubaker and Fraction created a story here that is an absolute blast, with lots of high-flying action, but a good deal of interesting characterization work, as well. The former Iron Fist (who quit after the trauma of World War I), Orson Randall, was a brilliant new character (and a great exampel of how to make revisionist history work for you as a comic book writer), as were the other Immortal Weapons, the representatives of each of the other mystical cities.

Sprinkled throughout the run were stories of past Iron Fists from the Book (as well as tales of Orson Randall’s earlier days). These allowed the writers to tell vastly different styles of stories, as Randall, in particular, worked well for pulp fiction stories.

David Aja was the main artist throughout the series, and his depictions of action were extremely dynamic. Travel Foreman was the main fill-in artist, and he was just as dynamic, although I must say that Aja also is a brilliant designer, which helped define the various characters beautifully. Aja is a large part of the greatness that is Immortal Iron Fist.

There are other artists who worked on the various one-shots, but Aja and Foreman are the main artists for the series.

Fraction, by the way, wrote one of the best “send-off” issues you could imagine in his last issue of the series before the next creative team took over the title.

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82. “Hardcore/King of Hell’s Kitchen” by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev (Daredevil #46-50, 56-60) – 118 points (1 first place vote)

Again, if I did not combine consecutive Bendis Daredevil stories, NO Bendis Daredevil stories would make the list, and that seemed like a real shame. The highest vote-getter, upon vote-combining, was Hardcore and King of Hell’s Kitchen, so that’s who makes the list (Hardcore, by the way, was the highest single vote-getter among all the Bendis trades).

In Hardcore, Matt Murdock, who just had to deal with the trouble of being “outed” as Daredevil, is suddenly besieged by bad guys at the behest of Wilson Fisk, who is attempting to make a move to return as the Kingpin of New York.

Typhoid Mary and Bullseye, his secret identity problems plus the fact that he had just begun dating a very nice woman (named Milla) all combined to make Matt extremely distracted, which was the Kingpin’s plan, naturally.

So finally, enough was enough, and Matt took the fight right to Kingpin and, in a remarkable shock to everyone present, Matt savagely beat down Fisk and then tore off his (Daredevil’s) mask and announced that he, Daredevil, was the NEW Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen!

After a break of a few issues for an Echo story, the “Matt as Kingpin” story continues in the King of Hell’s Kitchen, as a year has passed and Matt and Milla have secretly wed. Murdock has basically cleaned up Hell’s Kitchen through a combination of sheer brute force and also the investing of money he made on a large court victory early in Bendis’ run. Things are looking up in Hell’s Kitchen, and the Democratic Party is even looking into having Matt Murdock run for Mayor of New York City!

However, there is a serious problem brewing – Matt’s friends and fellow heroes do not like the idea of Matt becoming, you know, the Kingpin, so they try to take sense into him.

Meanwhile, the Yakuza are trying to work their way into taking control of New York City.

So Matt has to battle the Yakuza AND his friends (the first one physically the second one emotionally), and Bendis introduces what I found to be a really brilliant idea – which is that perhaps ALL of Matt’s behavior stemmed from him suffering a nervous breakdown at the death of Karen Page fifty issues earlier!

By the end of the story, Matt is about as back to normal as you can get for a superhero, and he and his friends make up, but Milla is none too pleased with the idea that her relationship with Matt might have been fostered by a psychotic break on his part!

Alex Maleev’s art is as awesome as ever (there are special guest artists from Daredevil’s past in the issue where he beats up Fisk – as that was the 50th issue of this volume of Daredevil, but otherwise, Maleev handles all the artwork).

81. “Faith in Monsters/Caged Angels” by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato (Thunderbolts #110-121) – 120 points (1 first place vote)

This is another one of those “combined votes for the two trades, especially since they combine for 12 issues anyways” deals.

Probably the most interesting aspect of Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato’s run on Thunderbolts is that, in a story that is basically all about villains, Ellis manages to find a way to nicely highlight heroism. In fact, mixed with all the awfulness of the villains of the book the heroic characters almost shine EXTRA in comparison!

The story of this book is that Norman Osborn is put in charge of the Thunderbolts, a group of former villains trying to become heroes. The group is tasked with hunting down heroes who refuse to register with the Superhuman Registration Act.

Along with the former members of the team, which include former villains Songbird, Moonstone, Radioactive Man and Swordsman, Osborn added Venom and Bullseye (although Bullseye does not work with the team publicly, seeing as how he is, you know, a notorious assassin), as well as Penance, the former hero Speedball who is dealing with some serious guilt issues over being in a battle with villains that resulted in a large chunk of Stamford, CT being blown up.

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Moonstone is put in charge of the team and finds herself slipping back to a more villainous role, as does Swordsman, who is only sticking around because Osborn promises to clone his dead twin sister. So Songbird and Radioactive Man often find themselves being forced to be the conscience of their new group.

Osborn, himself, is dealing with the difficult of acting sane after years of being, well, not so sane.

Ellis also plays with the notion that the public can be tricked into believing anything you tell them, as this group of supervillains, led by the Green Goblin, for crying out loud, are embraced far more vigorously by the public than, say, the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, due to a large public relations push by the government. Heck, kids are playing with Venom toys!!

Ellis does a really great job with the obscure heroes that the Thunderbolts are tasked to take in. Jack Flagg, for instance, was never as cool as he is when shown in this series. American Eagle, similarly, gets a great revamp by Ellis. It is no surprise that both characters, who had been in character limbo for many years, were quickly snatched up by other writers for their books (Abnett and Lanning put Jack Flagg on the Guardians of the Galaxy while Greg Pak just had Eagle guest-star in War Machine).

The run was cut a bit short with Ellis departing the book and the central concept of the book more or less being transported to Dark Avengers, with Osborn going one step further and just dressing up villains as superheroes, co-opting their names and costumes. Mike Deodato (who did strong work on this series, some of his best artwork I’ve ever seen from him) went along with the concept to Dark Avengers.

But it all started here!


Not the biggest Alan Moore fan, but Top Ten was a lot of fun.

LOVE Frubaker’s run on Immortal Iron Fist. Have the entire thing in Omnibus form. It took a ridiculously cliche 1970s character and gave it a mystical kung-fu noir flair. The Iron Fist linage was a genius narrative device. Note to Geoff Johns: This is how you do retcons right. And some gorgeous artwork by Aja doesn’t hurt either.

I was hoping Ellis Thunderbolts would get on here, its one of my favorite works by him. its a really fun story arc that plays with the ideas of how the mass media portrays controversial government program, and exactly what happens when you hire a bunch of assasins, murderers, and wackjobs to form a team(I.E. it blows up in your face). The story arc also contains the greatest Norman Osborn/Green Goblin EVER, including the best GG costume design by Deodato Jr(who’s dark, moody, somewhat realstic style really added to the overall tone). Heck, Ellis even made Penance an interesting character! How about that? Glad this run made the list.

Glad to see Thunderbolts & Iron Fist but I thought that Top 10 would be higher.

Yay!!! The first storyline I voted for: Cerebus: High Society…

One day, Dave Sim will re-release all the “Phonebooks” in Hardcover format… and I will buy two copies of this. One for me and one to lend out to people….


Could you lend me one? :D
I’ve heard some terrible things about the last chunk of issue from Cerebus and for that reason i’ve never checked it out. The list seems to strongly indicate i should! hmmm.
Yay for Top Ten! Its not a storyline i voted because i expected it to make the list even without my vote.

Sure, Mario!

Like someone said on a previous post, it’s not until after “Jaka’s Story” that Cerebus starts to falter a little…

You can even get away with skipping the first volume and jumping straight onboard with “High Society”…

There are a few threads from volume one (“Cerebus”) that carry through, but it isn’t absolutely necessary to have read them in order to enjoy the story…

Top Ten Season one is so freakin’ wonderful. It has two of my favorite comic book moments of all time: Cosmouse giving the Ultimate Pacifier to the Saturnian Scraphunter in order to defeat Galactapuss and the graffiti “I have a giant-sized Man-Thing”. So much wonderful in those ten issues.

And, like a dummy, I forgot to put it on my list!

Interesting choice to connect some of what I thought the rule broke into separate storylines…the two DD arcs and Brubaction/Aja’s Iron Fist, specifically. I guess I was going with the “one trade=one storyline” heuristic when I voted for “The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven” (and also read Rule #7 as precluding voting for the “run” of IIF 1-16).

Viva la rule #9!


Viva la rule #9!


Yeah, this batch, for whatever reason, had three of the five instances where I invoked Rule #9. Odd.

With the exception of the Iron Fist storyline, I’ve read everything else.

Am a bit surprised that Cerebus: High Society made it higher than Church and State on the list.

Warren Ellis version of Thunderbolts was magnificant.

Loved Top 10.

Enjoyed Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil.

The Crazed Spruce

November 30, 2009 at 7:25 am

I read the first Top 10 trade, but again, that’s pretty much it from this list. And again, it’s one I forgot to put on my short list.

Geez, either my picks were so incredibly mainstream that they all made the Top 50, or they’re so lame they didn’t even make the cut.

I’ve read all of these except Thunderbolts. (I’ve got the first TPB but I’m waiting till I’ve got both).

The ones I’ve read are all worthy except Iron Fist which I didn’t like in the slightest.

Still no sign of anything I voted for…

“Am a bit surprised that Cerebus: High Society made it higher than Church and State on the list.”

I can understand that; I think the second part of “Church & State” is overall pretty weak (long stretches of nothing, and, the greatest bane of Sim’s work, a bunch of unfunny comic relief characters; among the many things that made “Jaka’s Story” so great was the absence of that goddamn Roach), saved by a great ending. “High Society” is probably a more consistent package.

I’ve read three of the five here; not read Bendis’ “Daredevil” or Ellis’ “Thunderbolts”, though I’ve heard great things. With the former, it’s such a huge run that I’ve not ever been at a point where I felt I had sufficient cash and priority to do so (I’m a completist). Ellis’ run, from the scans I’ve seen, looked great; again, just never taken priority yet.

Brubaker and Fraction’s Iron Fist was great, though counting the whole thing as one story doesn’t really make sense to me; I could definitely see treating “The Last Iron Fist Story” and “The Seven Cities of Heaven” as one story, since the one flows directly into the other and they have the same villains, but the various one-shots and stuff wouldn’t count.

“Top 10″ was enjoyable, though I didn’t really think it especially notable. Quirky and clever, to be sure.

“You can even get away with skipping the first volume and jumping straight onboard with “High Society”… ”

I don’t know Blackjak. I wouldn’t like to tackle Mind Games II without have read the first “phone-book!”

I started with “High Society”, and managed pretty well; Sim’s not exactly great at reintroducing the characters volume-by-volume, so some of the returning cast can require a bit of work, but otherwise it was fine.

Ah, one of these days, I’ll catch up to Moore’s Top 10.

I’ve never read much of Thunderbolts. Though Songbird remains my favorite member, simply due to her appearance in Avengers Forever. Which is why I hope she’ll get off her butt and work for the good guys soon! It’s overdue.

High Society was my first intro to Cerebus. It’s not as complex as Church & State but that’s fine with me. Seeing the lengths he’d go to win the election and how everyone surrounding him was trying to manipulate that win towards their own agendas was great stuff.

Daredevil and Iron Fist should be higher!

er, by higher I actually mean a smaller number :)

top 10 should have a much better position… its one of the finest alan moore works

Are you kidding me with Thunderbolts?! In five years, no one will remember that.

It was a strong cult favourite; seems like the the sort of thing that the people who liked it will remember. It’s been two years already since it ended, more or less.

Dammit, now I’m going to have to read Ellis’s T-bolts because this is like the 4th or 5th time you people have mentioned it in the context of awesome! I guess there could be worse fates in life. And I wish my library had the first trade of Top 10 because I enjoyed the hell out of the second one and the gn.

@Chris McAree:

Sure, Mind Games II made more sense, having read the first volume, and Bran McMuffin’s appearance makes more sense too, but I also read High Society first (my LCS had run out of the first volume at the time) and had no real problems keeping up…

Reading the first volume afterwards just fleshed a few things out a bit more…

I’m cursing myself for not voting for Top Ten, but I’m glad to see it on the list. I think the overall rankings will be pretty messed up, especially if a bunch of X-Men stuff I didn’t vote for ends up making it really high up there. This list is a pretty wide range of comics, from the mainstream superhero stuff, to the not-so-mainstream superhero stuff, to the rare few indie books that managed to break onto it, so It will be interesting to see what actually makes it.

i love that the best comics writer ever, alan moore, already has three entries. i think he could end up with as many as 15 spots on the top 100.

he has 7 more sure things:
v for vendetta
miracleman: olympus
swamp thing: anatomy lesson/woodrue story
swamp thing: american gothic
superman: whatever happened to the man of tomorrow
league of extraordinary gentlemen vol. 2

and 5 more storylines that i think have at least a 50/50 shot of turning up:
captian britain
miracleman: a dream of flying
miracleman: red king syndrom
from hell
supreme: story of the year

plus there’s an outside chance of a promethea story or some of the stuff he did for 2000AD, like halo jones

he should end up easily having the most stories on the list, maybe even the only writer with more than ten

I love Ellis’ Thunderbolts run quite a bit, nice to see it made the list.

Daredevil #50 is what I’d consider to be the pinnacle of Bendis’ Daredevil run (imo the best Daredevil run ever), so good to see that was represented too.

I enjoyed Immortal Iron Fist, but more so for Aja’s artwork than Brubaker and Fraction’s writing (as good as it was). There was just something about Aja’s style on that book that was very captivating.

I liked Top 10 just fine, but it’d never show up on a top anything list of mine. Not that it was bad, just didn’t leave much of an impact on me.

Never read Cerberus, so I can’t comment on that.

“Maybe even the only writer to have more then ten”

Grant Morrison disagrees. Theres guaranteed to be more Doom Patrol, then theres Animal Man, JLA, New X-men, All-Star Superman, Seaguy, etc etc. I remember he had the most points when CBR did the top 100 runs.

Then again, Alan Moore coming out on top wouldn’t surprise me. In the top 100 runs, you couldn’t enter great work like From Hell, V for Vendetta, or Watchmen. He has the upper hand in this competition.

And then theres Claremont, who even though I HATE his writing, has a lot of fans and 16 years worth of stories to pull from. Things like Days of Future Past, Dark Phoenix Saga, God Loves Man Kills are guaranteed to be high on the list.

Alan Moore will probably have the most entries/points, but Morrison and Claremont should make quite the showing.

God Loves Man Kills

Not eligible for this list, since it was a one-shot.

Oh thats right. Well, I guess we can count Inferno or Mutant Massacre or whatever in its place.

Interesting with the combining of trades. Keeps the voters happy, seeing their picks on the list, and it would be a shame if great runs like Bendis’ DD or Frubaker’s Immortal Iron Fist didn’t show up. Rule 9 is awesome.

I’d be somewhat skeptical about Miracleman making it; it’s got a legendary reputation, but it’s extremely unavailable to modern readers, so it’s rather hard for anyone who started reading comics later to go back. I’ve never read it for that reason.

Well, the three earlier Cerebus issues I read must’ve been from this storyline, since one of them had the Moon Roach (I also saw Wolveroach). I thought they were pretty funny, but I never got the chance to buy Cerebus since there were no comic book stores around here until the 90s, and by that time I was told the story was getting really strange and complex, so I decided against trying to jump into it at that point.

There doesn’t seem to be any commentary about the Thunderbolts. Am I just here too early? I guess I can check back later. I’ve got two issues by Warren Ellis (one of which is pictured!), and they seem pretty good, but my money was pretty thin when those were coming out so I missed most of them.

I’m glad to see more Marvel stories are showing up now. Maybe there will be some stories soon that I’ve read completely. I was scared this was going to be overwhelmingly independents and DC.

I voted for “Out” in Daredevil, so I’m counting this as a win by proxy.

Marvel! Where the hell is my complete Ellis Thunderbolts oversized hardcover? It’s all I want for Christmas!

I voted for “Out” in Daredevil, so I’m counting this as a win by proxy.

I think your logic is sound. :)

Underboss voters should also view it that way! And especially Lowlife voters!

Decalogue and Murdock Papers voters, not so much.

Cerebus seems represented by a Thunderbolts picture at the moment, which is odd because earlier it wasn’t.

One thing I’ll be interested to see: what’s the newest story on this chart going to be?

Currently, both “Immortal Iron Fist” and “Thunderbolts” ended in June 2008; I expect “The Death of Captain America” to show up, which ended in Sept. 2008. Anything else that people can think of?

Sean C: Seaguy 2 was this year, and Brian might combine that with the first one. The first story arc of Batman and Robin is as good as superhero books get, and that was just a few months ago.

Cerebus seems represented by a Thunderbolts picture at the moment, which is odd because earlier it wasn’t.

Weird. I don’t see any problems on my side. Odd. Anyone else see a Thunderbolt picture for Cerebus?

No, looks normal for me.

Wow, three of my favorite runs from my relatively short-lived comics readership. Spent so many hours reading Bendis’ Daredevil, Frubaker’s Iron Fist, and constantly rereading Ellis’ Thunderbolts.

Loved American Eagle in that Thunderbolts run. His beatdown of Bullseye was unbelievably satisfying. Who would have thought American Eagle would ever come off as a) sleekly designed and b) badass?

I love High Society. Its only flaw is that you need to have read some earlier stuff for the ending to make sense,


i’m curious, since you said iron fist and bendis daredevil wouldn’t have made it onto the list without being combined, what were #’s 101 and 102 that were kicked off in favor of combining iron fist and daredevil stories? did you make a judgment call that the list was better served by having immortal iron fist and some bendis daredevil over whatever #’s 101 and 102 were, or had you decided to combine those stories before knowing what they would end up replacing on the list?

or had you decided to combine those stories before knowing what they would end up replacing on the list?

Yep, I decided it pretty early on in the tabulation process that I’d give whichever 12 issue arc of Daredevil had the most points combined a combined spot.

In fact, had they made it, vote-wise, I would have had multiple combined arcs make the list (like Underboss/Out or Out/Lowlife, etc.)

It did not come up all that often, though. I think just five spots out of 100…perhaps 6.

sean c.

no doubt miracleman will be hurt by lack of availability in people reading it. but that didn’t stop miracleman from placing very highly on this website’s top runs list done a year or so ago. the thing about miracleman is, while not alot of people have read it, a huge portion of the people who have read it will vote for it. it’s one of those things that you can’t ever forget having read. i wouldn’t be surprised if the third arc, olympus, gets quite a few first place votes.

but on the other hand, it didn’t make my top ten. it was one of the last few stories i cut off. so maybe i don’t know what the hell i’m talking about.


i definitely haven’t forgotten grant morrison, and i’m a huge fan of his, but i’m not sure he’ll even get double digit storylines on here. first off, i don’t think we’ll be seeing any more doom patrol. not because it’s not deserving, but because people tend to think of it as too much of a whole. difficult to break it down into storylines, and even if you do, which ones are the best? i suspect crawling from the wreckage will be the only one on the list.

animal man (one of my top 5 favorite runs) will suffer from the same problem. i didn’t put any of it in my storyline vote because the rules forbid us from counting all 26 issues together and i don’t know of any way to break it up. but maybe the final 7 or so issues get counted as a storyline and find a spot on the list. flex mentallo is too unavailable, and i don’t think invisibles will make it on here–just not quite as good as his other stuff.

so let’s say he gets two jla storylines on here (i voted for new world order, and i see rock of ages possibly making it), and 2-3 new x-men stories… he’s still only at 6-7 runs. add in we3, all-star superman, and maybe final crisis (if that many people even liked it), or possibly batman & robin (too new, i think). i don’t think we’ll see seaguy, filth, marvel boy, or sebastian o. 52 will fall victim to the same “where do the storylines begin and end” problem, and i think most people (myself included) thought his pre-reborn batman stuff was pretty awful. so really, it would be difficult for morrison to top 10, if he even gets that high.

same with frank miller, chris claremont, warren ellis, geoff johns, garth ennis, and john byrne. even if you give some of their stuff the benefit of the doubt, i don’t see any of them getting more than 7 or 8 stories. keep in mind we’re 1/5 of the way done and claremont, byrne, johns, and miller haven’t even been heard from yet.

Oh good; the Thunderbolts information is here now.
Only one of the issues I’ve read has American Eagle, but I agree that he was a huge improvement over the character as seen in the old Two-In-One annual. (Did he ever appear anywhere else in between these stories?) I was even more shocked over the change in the Spider-Kid (now known as Steel Spider, apparently). If it hadn’t given his real name, I don’t think I would’ve believed it was the same guy.
Maybe Ellis should be given a limited series for the purpose of rehabilitating more of the lousy characters that have piled up over the years.

I wonder how a combined Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing would have fared (Saga/Love and Death/ and/ or American Gothic) if it received the merciful treatment above-higher than 96, I would hope.

Actually, now that I think about it-any combined Swamp Thing scenario would exceed 12 issues.

Man, I’ve been really happy with the results so far. I think I’d rate something like 16-17 of the 20 runs so far (including everything from today) in the A Plus to A Minus range.

I believe that Morrison will make it into double digit storylines. Doom Patrol is much easier to break down than Animal Man, so I’m sure we’ll see at least The Painting that Ate Paris on there. In addition, I foresee New World Order, Rock of Ages, and possibly World War III from JLA. E for Extinction, Imperial, and Riot at Xavier’s have good chances of making it, with New Worlds showing up as a dark horse. We3 and All-Star Superman are well-loved, and someone besides me must have liked Seven Soldiers: the Manhattan Guardian or Seaguy. Toss in some Zenith (I’ve heard that it’s extremely good, so it may have enough cult followers to give it a boost) and Flex Mentallo, and if just 2/3 of the above make it, Morrison will be a lock for double digits.

Hey everybody Animal Man wasn’t that good.

damnit, forgot about seven soldiers. that might push him into double digits. although i imagine the whole thirty issue thing would be counted as one storyline.


since the voting is done, we can all reveal our choices now. tell us what you voted for. it’s easy to say something sucks, but if that’s what you believe, then tell us what you think is better.

although i imagine the whole thirty issue thing would be counted as one storyline.


“And I think most people (myself included) thought his pre-reborn batman stuff was pretty awful”.
What exactly was awful about The Black Glove / Batman: RIP?

just my opinion, and i’m a devout morrison fan, so you don’t need to sell me on him, but all of black glove/return of ra’s al ghul/RIP was aweful.

it seems to me that when a comic writer exits his prime and starts to “lose it,” this happens for one of two reasons…

1) the style and pace of comic storytelling has evolved and the writer in question is too old and/or set in their ways to make the necessary adjustments to keep up with the audience. this is what happened to virtually every good writer from the 70s and 80s, but most notably marv wolfman, john byrne, doug moench, denny oneil, roger stern, walt simonson, and jim starlin.

2) the writer becomes so ridiculously popular that he essentially stops really collaborating with people and nobody dares tell him something is a bad idea because the stuff sells and he starts to overindulge his worst habits, to the point that his strengths quickly become weaknesses. this is what happened to chris claremont and frank miller, and is currently happening to jeph loeb and grant morrison.

with claremont, people loved how huge and grand his mutant universe was, so he just kept expanding it until it no longer had any borders and the stories never ended. while it sucks that marvel eventually forced him out in favor of a bunch of artists who quit within a year anyways, in retrospect, it created an ending to his reign on the x-men that he never would have been able to deliver himself.

with miller, everyone loved his style of storytelling, but he mistakenly believed everybody loved his style only, so he started created comics that were all about style and forgot to include any story. all star batman and robin is the best example of this.

with loeb, everybody loved how iconic and back to basics his takes on the classic characters were, so he started concentrating on making every moment feel as iconic as he thought the readers wanted. now he’s turning out comics where nothing is iconic because everything tries to be. (this is the EXACT same reason that rick rubin is no longer a good record producer)

with morrison, everybody loved how smart and cerebral he is, and how much action takes place between the panels. in jla #7, he gave us one of the greatest superman fights ever, even though it only lasted one panel. it just felt like it lasted longer because that’s the skill of morrison’s writing. but now he’s gotten to the point where he feels he can keep leaving more and more stuff between the panels, until eventually, you end up with a story that not only has no flow, but is really like a series of stills from a movie standing in for the movie itself.

morrison’s pre-reborn batman stuff reads like an illustrated series proposal that someone forgot to add the guts to. they’re just series of moments that have no connectivity. most of the time it just feels like pages are missing. (also, i think tony daniel’s art is aweful)

the same thing that happened to these writers is what killed the solo-careers of the beatles. without collaborators to bounce ideas off of and people to say no to them, each beatle overindulged in his strength so much that it became a weakness. with mccartney, people loved his silly love songs, so that’s all he wrote
for the next forty years. with lennon, people liked that he was smarter than mccartney, so he tried to make music that was so smart, it eventually wasn’t listenable anymore. with harrison, people that his interest in eastern mysticism was cool, until that’s all he kept doing.

for any mega-star in any artistic medium, the worst thing they can do is stop collaborating and stop letting people say no to them.

i don’t want anyone to think that i just don’t like morrison/miller/claremont/loeb… all remain some of my favorite writers, and all had works in my short list for the top 100 storylines vote. morrison and miller both still ended up in my top ten.

too often comic fans (and music fans) remain too afraid to admit to themselves that some of their favorite creators aren’t good anymore, as though it would somehow be “cheating” on them. admiting that miller sucks now doesn’t make batman:year one any less astonishing, it just means he’s not the same writer anymore.

but i’m still hoping morrison doesn’t totally lose it. his batman stuff is the only time i’ve thought he was going down that path, but his batman & robin seems like he may have caught himself before he fell.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. Batman RIP was awesome. Batman runs around in Mardi Gras colors, smacking people with a bat, and talking to Batmite, all so he can beat the Devil, because he’s FREAKIN’ BATMAN. Only thing I didn’t like was the muddled ending because of FC, and Tony Daniel’s Image-style artwork.

And you can apply that “off the rails” theory to Alan Moore too, like how Promethea went up its own ass with its preachiness about magic, or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with its countless text pieces and endless, oh so clever references(and the less said about that atlas in Volume 2, the better).

Yeah, the artwork was bad on RIP (sometimes REALLY bad). Otherwise, it was awesome.

Really? I might have just read it to fast, but I was runnin’ into serious – damn near crippling – pacing problems.

AND the art ran the gamut from very good to the bottom end of marginal. It’s certainly one of my ten-or-so least favorite Morrison runs.

I can’t understand why more writers haven’t ripped off Top Ten. I guess it has happened a bit, but it seems like it would be so easy to just dust off some old Law and Order story and add superheroes to it. And it’s not as if cop shows don’t have commercial appeal, more people would watch your average episode of NCIS than would but comics in an entire year. I have to imagine that if CSI had of come out in 1970 rather than 2000 there would have been nothing but crime books. I guess it just shows how alienated the world of comics is from popular culture in general.

1) What has a writer gettng too old got to do with it?
2) Show me where he stopped collaborating with people?

Daniel, you say that Morrison’s lost it, yet you say that his Reborn stuff is better than RIP. So, he’s losing it, but he’s getting better?

I do think his earlier stuff (Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Invisibles – which I’m readnig now), is overall his best work. But how many people are going to deny that Seven Soldiers, We3, New X-Men, All Star Superman and Marvel Boy are excellent?

I enoyed RIP, though I do need to re-read it. It was let down by Daniel’s art, but the art on Club of Heroes more than makes up for it.

Hey everybody Animal Man wasn’t that good.

Yeah it was. You must be thinking of Iron Fist

“like how Promethea went up its own ass with its preachiness about magic”

“there are 1000 comic books on the shelves that don’t contain a philosophy lecture and one that does. Isn’t there room for that one?” ~Alan Moore

This is especially true in light of this list we made.

Promethea is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. As far as Moore goes Promethea and From Hell are his best works. J. H. Williams is an amazing artist and it’s probably the prettiest series from beginning to end.

Also to Daniel

All-Star Superman is probably Morrison’s best work. Although I’d say Vince had something to do with it as well. That was finished in 2007. Maybe he hasn’t published anything as good as that in the past 16 months doesn’t mean he’s losing it or has been in the past 2 years. RIP might not have has been his best work but even at his “prime” he was always writing other stories that were less than impressive. Books like Sebastian O and his 3 issues of Spawn are far from masterpieces, which were written during his “prime,” but nobody brings that up anymore.

Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. Or in this case the really good with the okay.

So far none of my picks are there, but I’m enjoying what has been presented thus far. Totally forgot about the Daredevil storyline. Wasn’t a huge fan of the Iron Fist stories though, but that can be attributed to the fact that I don’t like the Iron Fist character all that much. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Not a big fan of this “Rule 9″ thing.

As others have pointed out, if votes are going to be combined for storylines that didn’t make the list, why not combine them for those that do, like Top Ten, or Swamp Thing, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

Combining votes for separate storylines (not even necessarily consecutive issues) would seem to undermine the “Top 100 Comic Book Storylines” thing.

If one particular storyline didn’t attract enough votes to get in the Top 100 then it shouldn’t be there. I think this is particularly apt when modern Marvel series are so heavily focused around six issue trades.

And in Immortal Iron Fist, you’ve even counted a whole run! What’s the point of that when we just had the Top 100 Runs countdown?

I’m inclined to agree with Sam here.

Those two Daredevil arcs are distinctly named stories so they really should be separate entries in this list – and if that means they don’t make the top 100 well that’s just tough.

This logic may or may not apply to Thunderbolts and Iron Fist too, but I never made it past the first trade of Iron Fist and I haven’t read Thunderbolts yet.

As others have pointed out, if votes are going to be combined for storylines that didn’t make the list, why not combine them for those that do, like Top Ten, or Swamp Thing, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

Top Ten IS collecting two trades. It’s #1-12.

If Swamp Thing and League had two consecutive storylines that were basically just the extension of one long story, I’d count them, as well.

They don’t (especially League).

Combining votes for separate storylines (not even necessarily consecutive issues) would seem to undermine the “Top 100 Comic Book Storylines” thing.

If one particular storyline didn’t attract enough votes to get in the Top 100 then it shouldn’t be there. I think this is particularly apt when modern Marvel series are so heavily focused around six issue trades.

And in Immortal Iron Fist, you’ve even counted a whole run! What’s the point of that when we just had the Top 100 Runs countdown?

You should read the part where I explain Iron Fist. It’s in the above piece. But to save you some time, I just combined the two trades that really were one big story, and since that just left a few issues left over, I threw everything in. If you wish to read the above as just the first two Iron Fist trades (which is pretty clearly one 14 issue story), then feel free.

As for the other ones, I told people they could include storylines that could last 12 issues, so if someone had told me “Daredevil #46-50, 56-60,” I would have gladly counted it. So I’m just doing the combination for the people who certainly would have had they thought to do so.

Great to see High Society in there. And glad that some awesome modern runs (Top Ten, Thunderbolts, Iron Fist) are showing up too. So far without much grumbling in the comments, which is refreshing.

Iron Fist steals so many votes, he should be called The Immoral Iron Fist.


I would have voted Decalogue or Out for a Daredevil storyline, but Hardcore/King of Hell’s Kitchen were excellent too.

I voted for Decalogue and Murdock Papers but Hardcore is another highlight.

“I can’t understand why more writers haven’t ripped off Top Ten.”

I haven’t read either, but doesn’t Powers owe something to that series? I don’t remember which came out first, though I really do want to read Top Ten someday. And Cerebrus, though I am worried at how long it’ll take me to finish “High Society”, “Church & State”, and “Jaka’s Story” lol

“Iron Fist”…I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. “Thunderbolts” I did like, probably due to the fact that I enjoy the characters more?

“Iron Fist”…I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

Finally! I knew I couldn’t be the only one.

Oh and no. Powers and Top 10 are very different.

Powers is more like Gotham Central (in concept, but not tone or execution) in that it is about police in a world with superheroes – though in Powers the main cop is an ex-superhero.

Top 10 is basically Hill Street Blues, but set in a town where everyone is a superhero.

They’re both very good, but completely unrelated.

I never said they were carbon copies.

I know, but I really don’t think it owes anything at all to Top 10 or vice versa

I was glad to see High Society on the list. I went back and forth in my votes between this and Church and State. I have a greater personal fondness for High Society, but thought Church and State had more heft to it. But, they both made it. Cool!

I didn’t for them, but Immortal Iron Fist and BMB Daredevil stories were great. Glad to see them on the list. I really enjoyed Top 10, but I’m kind of surprised it made the list.

I’m actually surprised that Immortal Iron Fist made the list. It was such a great run but sadly many comic book fans still haven’t read it. It was a risky move revamping his origin but it worked flawlessly and made me care about a character who I had thought of before as a joke(I mean what was up with that 80’s costume?). It really turned Iron Fist into a legit mainstreamer much like Luke Cage’s ascention round Civil War. Aja’s art is an aquired taste as I didn’t care for it at first but it grew on me more and more and now I can’t imagine that run without him. I figured Bendis’ Daredevil run would be alot higer on the list. It’s funny that just like Immortal Iron Fist Bendis’ run on Daredevil really brought Daredevil back into the mainstream. Seems that fans love to see heroes get elevated(someone should tell Marvel and DC that!). Wow Ellis’ Thunderbolts run…good times. That book was the best thing that came outta Civil War. That was when having Norman in a seat of power in the goverment was unique…seems so long ago now. It was entertaining to see Ellis’ interpretation of the characters agenda’s and moral stances. Some were pure villains others were heroes and some were stuck in the middle. It was ridiculous how many sub-plots he was able to balance in such a short run. The Moonstone-Songbird feud, the Swordsman-Osborn mutural hatred, Venom’s obssesion with eating people, Bullseye’s obsession with killing people, the screwed up working relationship between Moonstone and Osborn, the Osborn/Green Goblin duality, Penance’s mental state, Songbird and Radioactive Man’s friendship, Osborn’s media exposure, and Doc Samson’s session’s with Penace were just some of the sub-plots I remember in his 12 issue run. He somehow balanced all these plots while also doing the main plots such as the hero hunt in Faith in Monsters and the telepaths infiltration in Caged Angels without the book ever feeling too bloated. I’ve never been completely in love with Deodato’s art but this was definatly his best work. I don’t know what it was about his art but it fit the chaotic and dark mood set by the team. You know it was a good comic when Marvel pretty much remakes it with their “biggest” writer and tries to make it the flagship book (too bad it’s not half as good). It’s blantly obvious that’s what they did with Dark Avengers…they even used the same artist for crying out loud. Smooth Marvel smooth.

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