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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #80-76

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.

(NOTE: As usual, I’ll put the results up here to keep us on time, then fill in the details later)

80. “Homelands” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha (Fables #36-38, 40–41) – 126 points (3 first place votes)

One of the most notable aspects of Fables is just how well Bill Willingham uses the ensemble nature of the book.

Characters can stay in the background for years before suddenly becoming the star of the book.

That was the case with Boy Blue, the longtime background character who worked as a clerk in the Fabletown offices. Boy Blue seemed like a nice guy, but pretty unassuming. Soon before Homelands began, though, we learned that back in the days when the Fables were trying to escape from their Homelands (and the evil forces of the Adversary), Blue was quite a little warrior. He also had a relationship with Red Riding Hood.

Well, when Red Riding Hood showed up back at the March of the Wooden Soldiers and turned out to be a phony, Blue felt that he owed it to the real Red Riding Hood to save her.

So Blue surreptitiously stole a number of valuable and potent weapons, including the Witching Cloak (which allows him to teleport) and the Volpal Blade (from the poem Jabberwocky – it goes ” snicker-snack” as it cuts through pretty much anything). He also takes the wooden corpse of his friend, Pinocchio.

The rest of the arc, Blue cuts a swath through the Homelands in pursuit of the Adversary himself, and Blue is shocked to learn the TRUE identity of the Adversary!

It’s a thrilling action-packed adventure with striking art from Mark Buckingham, who has helped Willingham so much in making Fables such a consistently entertaining comic from month to month.

This was a game-changing arc, especially with the identity of the Adversary finally being revealed after almost four years of comics!

79. “Kree/Skrull War” by Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Sal Buscema and John Buscema (Avengers #89-97) – 127 points (5 first place votes)

The most striking aspect of the Kree/Skrull War is just how many different ideas that writer Roy Thomas manages to fit into this one story. So many different things take place that there is never any time to relax, for as soon as you think Thomas is going one direction – he goes another.

The main gist of the story is that the people of Earth, primarily the Avengers, get caught up in a long-time feud between the Kree and the Skrulls.

This shows up on Earth with the shape-changing Skrulls causing trouble on Earth that is a commentary on McCarthyism (shape-changing does wonders for the whole “anyone could be a commie spy!” attitude of McCarthyism). A Senator (actually a Skrull in disguise) causes an “anti-alien” rally in the public, which is bad news for the superhero Captain Marvel, who happens to be a Kree himself! The whole “Communists among us” angle is even played up on a memorable cover during the storyline – “The only good alien is a dead alien!” – taken directly from anti-communism rhetoric.

This storyline is also a major one in the development of the Vision, particularly his relationship with the Scarlet Witch. Speaking of those “out of nowhere” ideas – early in the story, Thomas and artist Neal Adams do a stellar take-off on the Fantastic Voyage by having Ant-Man shrink down and revive a comatose Vision.

Later on, Vision gets to opine about the foolishness of McCarthyism, and it is at this time that he begins to draw closer to his teammate, the Scarlet Witch, who is both a gypsy AND a mutant, so she knows about prejudice!

Thomas has the story leap from location to location, and eventually throws in a number of far-flung space adventures – it’s really a thrill-a-minute.

The artwork by the Buscema brothers and Neal Adams is about as good as you could have possibly hoped for in an early 1970s Marvel comic! Especially Adams’ thrilling issues.

Really, the ideas that Thomas came up with for the Kree/Skrull War would be re-visited time and time again over the next few decades, all the way through to today, making it a truly landmark storyline!

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78. “Winter Soldier” by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Michael Lark and Michael Perkins (Captain America #1-6, 8-9, 11-14) – 128 points (2 first place votes)

In Winter Soldier, Ed Brubaker achieved something that pretty much no one thought he could pull off. Heck, his own editor thought he couldn’t pull it off when Brubaker first suggested the idea. But after Brubaker explained it, his editor realized what readers of the title also realized – Brubaker had a really good way to bring Bucky back to life!

In Winter Soldier, Brubaker told a few compelling stories that interacted with each other – the major one, of course, was the revelation that Bucky not only survived the rocket plane explosion that left Cap in frozen status for decades, but Bucky was rescued by Russians who brainwashed him into a deadly assassin, keeping him in cryogenic status for months and years at a time between missions (so no one would be able to identify him – after all, five years later, they’d be looking for a 25 year old man while Bucky was still 20). This is how he gained the name Winter Soldier.

Meanwhile, the Red Skull is about to start his latest plot against Captain America when a new villain steps in a seemingly kills the Skull. This new bad guy, Aleksander Lukin, was the current operative in charge of the Winter Soldier, and he used Bucky to kill Skull and steal the Cosmic Cube.

This led to a number of daring attacks and a tragic assault on the city of Philadelphia.

All the while, Captain America had been feeling out of sorts (after the events of Avengers Disassembled), so he was in a particularly poor frame of mind to discover that his former sidekick is now a pretty deadly assassin.

Brubaker does a really great job balancing the various characters and their personalities in the series, while never flinching on the action, either. Steve Epting busted out his new Crossgen style of art on this series, and it is truly excellent, with some fine fill-in work by Mike Perkins for Epting and Michael Lark does his typical brillaint work on some flashback sequences.

There is a fill-in issue by John Paul Leon that I suppose you could count as part of the storyline, if you so choose. It’s a spotlight on the last day in the life of a character who Winter Soldier murders in an early issue of the story.

This was an excellent opening story by Ed Brubaker, and amazingly enough, he managed to get even better on the title!

76 (tie). “Unmanned” by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan, Jr. (Y The Last Man #1-6) – 131 points (1 first place vote)

Unmanned is the first storyline in the Y the Last Man universe.

The conceit of the book is that one day, 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% of all the men (and male mammals) on Earth died off. All except one (well, as far as anyone can tell), Yorick Brown, and his male monkey, Ampersand.

When the calamity hit, Yorick was talking to his girlfriend, Beth, who was on vacation in Australia. Yorick was in the midst of proposing her to when everyone died, so now he makes it his life’s mission to get to Australia to be with her again.

Of course, things are not that simple, what with him being the only man left on Earth and all. He travels to Washington D.C. where his mother is a member of Congress and she assigns a government agent to work as a bodyguard for Yorick. The two of them (Yorick and Agent 355) are tasked to find Dr. Ashley Mann, a geneticist who may be the only hope at using Yorick to fashion a cure for the plague. However, an Israeli operative ALSO wants Yorick, so the Israelis trash Mann’s Boston laboratory, Yorick, 355 and MAnn have to head off to Mann’s back-up lab in San Francisco.

And so begins an epic journey through a world where their are no longer any men. How will society work with just women?

That’s the point of this series, and this first arc introduces us to the concept quite nicely. Pia Guerra’s character-driven artwork really helps Vaughan get across the emotional roller coaster these characters are on in this brave new world.

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76 (tie). “Annihilation” by Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Simon Furman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Scott Kolins, Kev Walker, Renato Arlem, Jorge Lucas, Greg Titus, Andrea DiVito and more (Annihilation: Prologue, Annihilation: Nova #1-4, Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4, Annihilation: Ronan #1-4, Annihilation: Super Skrull #1-4, Annihilation #1-6) – 131 points (2 first place votes)

Annihilation is about the forces of the Negative Zone, led by Annihilus, who decide to invade our universe. They do so with the so-called “Annihilation Wave,” a large wave-like formation of powerful battleships.

The whole endeavor is powered by Galactus, who Annihilus has managed to capture and use as a power source.

In the first wave of the war, the entire Nova Corps was wiped out…well, not the ENTIRE Nova Corps. Richard Rider, of Earth, manged to survive and, once he merged with the Worldmind (the computer that ran the Nova Corps), Richard became the most powerful Nova around.

With Nova working as a sort of overall general, the remaining free planets (mostly the Kree) banded together against Annihlilus’ forces.

The series was told in an interesting fashion that was later re-used for the sequel mini-series, Annihilation: Conquest.

There was a prologue issue, where the situation began.

Then there were four separate mini-series starring four characters tied into the mess – Nova, Ronan (of the Kree), the Super Skrull and the Silver Surfer.

Once the four mini-series ended, we got the Annihilation series, written by Giffen and drawn by Andrea DiVito.

There is lots of action and a significant amount of casualties, including an Avenger!

The series basically worked to revitalize Marvel’s pretty much ignored “Cosmic Universe” of heroes, leading to the current situation where Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (who wrote the Nova mini-series this time around) have their own little group of cosmic Marvel books, including Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as yearly crossovers of all the Cosmic characters. First there was Annihilation, then Annihilation: Conquest, the War of Kings and now Realm of Kings.

And all because of this storyline!


I had Homelands on my ten, it is my favorite of the Fables stories so far, Boy Blue really shines in this story. I had Winter Soldier not making my list because I preferred Death of Captain America, but I love the Winter Soldier story. I also am a big fan of BKV and because I couldn’t pick a single storyline from Y: The Last Man I left it out of my top 10, but I love the series.
Annihilation is a story I keep hearing good things about, I’ll try to check it out soon.

I’m actually shocked that Homelands made the top 100. I voted for it, but once I saw Wooden Soldiers make it, I figured it wasn’t going to place. Glad to know it’s as popular with others as it is with myself.

Two Fables in the top 100? Definitely a skewing toward newer stuff so far, but that’s not so bad as we’re still at the bottom of the list. Like with previous iterations of these lists, I’m really curious what will happen if you have the same vote in ten years time. How well will recent hits stand the test of time?

Also, one day I’d like to hear Brian’s thoughts on listmaking psychology. Can you pick out certain list-making personalities? He likes famous works and she likes newer stuff and he’s got his favorite writers and thinking of them first and she’s going through her trade shelf (I find things I have in trade easier to think of) and he’s influenced by when he started reading twenty years ago (I know two books on my list are things I read within my first year of reading comics, one being the first trade I ever owned) and…

I tried to pick from different writers. My favorite writer is Brubaker but I only picked one story from him. All ten of my picks were different writers and all ten are books I really love. It was hard deciding which ones to leave out and what order to write them in.

My percentage is getting worse – I’ve only read three of these, putting me at 16/20

Still none of my votes have turned up.

Bernard the Poet

December 1, 2009 at 3:11 am

That’s a really good question, Chris, but I doubt Brian had time in the midst of collating all of these votes to notice any patterns.

Personally, I spent a ridiculous amount of time compiling a top ten. Should I include more than one story from the same author? More than one story from the same creative run? Should I vote with my heart for people like Herge and Vittorio Giardino, or was that wasting my vote? – they were unlikely to garner much support on an American website. What about uber-arcs like Bendis’s Daredevil run, how do you pick one part of a massive story and say that is the best bit? It is like asking, what’s the best act in Hamlet.

Which story is good, and which just hit me at the right time in my life? Pat Mills’ Charley’s War was a gut-wrenching exploration of the First World War, when I read it as an eight-year-old. Thirty years later, it seems a little childish – but then, it’s meant to be childish, it was aimed at children. Oh decisions, decisions.

I heartedly agree that the Watchmen is probably the best comic ever written, so I should put it on the top of my list, but then again, it’s not really a favourite of mine, so maybe, I shouldn’t include it at all.

Then just as I had knocked up a list I was vaguely satisfied with, I noticed that there were no Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Neal Adams or Steve Ditko on it – oh agony.

Of course, I’m sure most people just thought of their ten favourite stories, sent them in and got on with their lives. The lucky devils.

Which story is good, and which just hit me at the right time in my life? Pat Mills’ Charley’s War was a gut-wrenching exploration of the First World War, when I read it as an eight-year-old. Thirty years later, it seems a little childish – but then, it’s meant to be childish, it was aimed at children. Oh decisions, decisions.

Damn – Where were you when I was looking for inspiration for my votes!

Ah well hopefully it’ll still make the list.

Of the ones I’ve read here, Captain America and Fables are both worthy – but just missed my list.

Y the Last Man is fine, but I’ve never got people’s love for the comic – especially when BKV has written so many much better books.

The Crazed Spruce

December 1, 2009 at 4:17 am

Well, the Kree-Skrull War just barely pre-dates my comic-buying years, Winter Soldier and Anihillation came out after the stores around here pretty much stopped carrying comics, and Fables and Y the Last Man were never available here, so I haven’t read either of these. I’ve heard they were great, though.

Of these, I’ve only read Annihilation and Winter Soldier.

I really enjoyed Annihilation. Not sure wher it would rank in my favourites. It wouldn’t crakc the top 50, but maybe it is worthy of top 100.

I really need to re-read Winter Soldier. I bought the trade because of all the praise it received, but I was severely under-impressed. I found the whole thing very “Hollywood”, which isn’t a bad thing, but also isn’t deserving of such acclaim. Am I missing something? Do you think it’s an American thing?

Haven’t read Y, but I will one day. BKV is the man.

If it helps, I’m English and I thought Winter Soldier was excellent

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 1, 2009 at 6:11 am

More Fables, and Y the Last Man.

The other 3 I haven’t and most likely will not read in this or any other lifetimes.

My favourite Fables storyline is up! I didn’t vote becaue fables seemed like one of those comics that would make it on the list even without my help. glad to see i was write.
Very nice to see Y on the list too even if it’s not the storyline I voted for.
Woot for Captain America but, um, Annihilation? Really? REALLY?! Can someone explain that to me?

Also, im surprised about the amount of more recent comics on the list (by more recent i mean since 2000). I guess Tim Callahan at When Words Collide is right when he says this decade has been really good for comics!

Annihilation? Really?

This decade has been extremely good for comics! Superhero comics hit an apex in the early 2000s, there are more quality independents than ever (Image, Oni, Boom, Dark Horse, and others have opened up a home for really good middle-ground comics), Vertigo seems to have become a home for more diverse and higher quality comics, and we’re getting nerarly everything reprinted (FYI- when the Blacksad hardcover comes out next February, get it. I have 2 softecover ogns, and it’s a good story with amazing art). I only wish I could buy even half of what I want.

Annihilation was very popular with Marvel Cosmic fans, makes sense it would be the first “event” comic on the list. Wouldn’t surprise me with Sinestro Corps War showing up eventually too.

Whoa, two Fables stories. My friends always get hype for that series, I need to get in on that eventually.

Yay Brubaker’s Captain America, one of my votes finally. Although, I voted for “Death of Captain America” #25-42, which Brian said was ok(viva Rule 9!). I wonder if this is one of those “combine the votes” thing, or maybe we’ll get two Brubaker Captain America stories? That’d be great, its one of my favorite runs.

Dammit, I think I forgot to include Safeword in my votes…

Once all this is said and done, I’d like to see a follow-up post or two, sharing the demographics of the stories chosen, broken down by author, artist, date published, genre, etc.

I’m also surprised (pleasantly) to see two Fables stories on the list. Also glad Marvel’s presence is revving up.

Like many people posting I spread out my top ten amongst titles and authors. Nostalgia was a driving force, but I tried to include some recent stuff that’s affected me (like Fables).

I also didn’t list any miniseries, as I kind of feel like that’s its own category. I preferred to focus on fragments of larger works that happened to be particularly outstanding.

Plus I didn’t pick anything shorter than five issues, just ’cause when I think big storylines I kind of think in epic terms (may have made an exception for Batman: Year One, but like I said I spread around the creators and Miller/Mazuchelli already had a story on my list BET YOU CAN’T GUESS WHICH ONE!).

So let the folks at Quantico profile me based on all that! Looking forward to reading my file one day.

Yay, Unmanned makes it into the top 100. So far the only one I voted for, but I voted for some pretty off beat stuff, this is probably one of maybe 2 or 3 that I voted for that will be in. Regardless I thought it would be higher. I think the first storyline was the high mark for Y and I think Y is the best series I’ve read.

Cool! Love the Homelands arc of Fables. Never read the Kree/Skrull War. Loved Winter Soldier (and like DanCJ, I’m also English). Yay for Y making the list. Been meaning to get Annihilation for ages…

Didn’t vote for any of these, but I’m glad to see such variety.

As for the slant towards moer recent storylines making the list, generally speaking, today’s writers have learned from the older stories and tried to “go one better”… The last dozen years, or so, has seen a HUGE rise in writing talent, which can only be good for us as readers, if not for our wallets…


I tried to strike a balance between picking favourites and spreading it around; looking over my ballot, I had eight different authors (seven getting one, one getting three, including #1; that was Brubaker).

I’ve read two of these, “Homelands” and “Out of Time”/”Winter Soldier”. “Homelands” was on the first draft of my ballot, but got kicked off when I decided one “Fables” arc was enough, and “March of the Wooden Soldiers” was my favourite.

I voted for “Out of Time”, the first six issues, which presumably got Rule 9’d into a combined vote. Fine by me, though I think the second half is weaker than the first. The first part is a brilliant introduction to Captain American as a character.

Familiar with the others, though I haven’t read them. All with quite excellent reputations.

I’m Canadian, incidentally; big Cap fan.

At this stage, that makes two of my votes on the list, one of which I didn’t really expect to see; two more sure-things to go.

I got a bookstore giftcard for my birthday, and purchased the trades for Fables Vol. 4-7. I haven’t read the stories yet, and was pleasantly surprised to see two of the stories show up on this list already. I can’t wait to dig into the books now.

Fables is one of my favourite current comics, but I just couldn’t find one arc that stood out enough to make my top ten. Nice to see it’s represented though.

I’m guessing there’ll be at least a couple more entries for The Good Prince and Wolves.

Yay for Y! I didn’t vote, but if I had that would have been the top of my list. It’s tough because while the entire is so awesome, it is hard to narrow it down to one story, but I would have gone with Unmanned (and maybe one other story from Y).

Hoping something from Runaways shows up, but that’s unlikely because a)Y is more intellectual, so will rank higher b)Runaways’ best stuff came later in Vaughan’s run, so the votes might be divided and c)It’s not Vertigo or hard core or classic super heroes, so it may slip under the radar.

Yeah, Y had stages and phases but it didn’t really have concrete story arcs. Most of the trades were sort of arbitrarily titled ’cause there’s not a clear central concept you can point to. I really liked that. I think Vol. 5 was my favorite – that’s Ring of Truth. But why was that one (as opposed to any of the others) called Ring of Truth? I can’t actually remember.

The only good parts of Annihilation were the Nova issues and the actual series itself. You couldnt pay me to sit thru those god-awful Ronan , Silver Surfer and Super Skrull minis a second time.

So far I read 5 out of 25: Jimmy Corrigan, The Great Cow Race, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, March of the Wooden Soldiers and Y: the Last Man.

Pretty good for a guy who started reading comics less than a year ago!

Y: the Last Man is the worst comic book I’v ever read. Just awful. I also started reading Top 10 but dropped it. I guess too much tongue in cheek humor for my tastes (“I belittled him”? C’mon!)

Jimmy Corrigan, the Great Cow Race and League o Ex. Gentlemen are all great, even though none made my list.

“Also, im surprised about the amount of more recent comics on the list (by more recent i mean since 2000). I guess Tim Callahan at When Words Collide is right when he says this decade has been really good for comics!”

I disagree Mario, its simply the younger, computer savvy collector. Older reader are out -numbered on this list due to internet ignorance. It’s not that the 21st century has had better comics (which it hasn’t, the 40’s,60’s &even 70’s had better), it has had better distribution, advertisement and forum for discussion.

Y: the Last Man is the worst comic book I’v ever read. Just awful.
I couldnt let this comment slide. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? ok. sorry but to me Y is easily in the top ten books Ive ever read. I couldnt single out a single arc but the first and the last are effing amazing, as is the whole run. I guess the whole reading comics for a year may shape your tastes but for real?

You know, I’m going to be deeply disappointed if we wind up with the same top two that a list compiled in 1987 would have…(Because this is not a medium that peaked a generation ago…)

does anyone know how long fables is supposed to last? i stopped getting new comics ten years ago because i don’t have the patience for them. since then i’ve just waited until something was over, then read it all at once. this is what i did with both y the last man and 100 bullets. consequently, i’ve read none of fables. but if it’s not supposed to be over soon (issue 100, for example), then i’m thinking i need to just start reading it anyways if everyone thinks it’s this good. does the series even have an ending in sight or will willingham just keep going with it until he doesn’t feel like it anymore?

@Daniel: I believe Fables was originally slated to stop after 75 issues, but due to the sales (particularly of the TPBs) they persuaded Willingham to keep going….

At least, that’s how I understood it.


If you’re talking about super-hero comics, or even other genre fiction, I could buy the argument that previous decades were better. If you are talking about comics as a medium, I have to disagree. In the past decade, we’ve had stories, themes, and experimentation past generations couldn’t conceive. Comics like Asterios Polyp, Love & Rockets, Acme Novelty Library, and Essex County are miles away from most of the earlier work. I like super-hero and genre comics (half or more of my votes went to super-hero comics storylines), but the sheer diversity and quality of original material avaiable now dwarfs any past era (possibly excepting the mid- to late-’80s).

Plus: nearly everything of value ever released has been collected and reprinted. Even if a reader decides he or she likes older comics better, that reader can buy the stories from previous generations. Even into the early ’00s, there wasn’t the cheaper ways to read older comics that we have now, and trade paperback selection was very limited. We’re in a Golden Age of older reprints, and foreign material and hard-to-find gems are easier to get ahold of than ever.


I guess it’s a matter of different tastes.

I felt it was kinda silly. I found it strange that not only all the men died, but it seems that all women are hot, including Yorrick’s mother. Maybe all the fat, old and ugly women also died in the plague? Also, the bit about the mossad women who talk awful hebrew kinda got to me. I can go on and on. like about how silly it is that they call that agent 655 (or whatever) agent 655, instead of giving her some real name. Anyway, it all just felt extremely childish and silly.

Hoping something from Runaways shows up, but that’s unlikely because a)Y is more intellectual, so will rank higher b)Runaways’ best stuff came later in Vaughan’s run, so the votes might be divided and c)It’s not Vertigo or hard core or classic super heroes, so it may slip under the radar.

Do note that I did decided to combine all of Volume 1 as one storyline (I originally felt that that was a stretch, but then I figured A. I let Iron Fist in, and that was just two issues shorter and B. Marvel DID collect it as one hardcover before they even began doing Omnibi).

Mike Loughlin

A.) There have been some brilliant graphic novels released in the last ten years. Absolutely inspiring. I prefer comic books to graphic novels, it’s a personal choose. I consider myself a collector not just a reader. I don’t wait for omnibuses or trades, I like issues.
B.) Older collectors may have read these graphic novels, trades, etc, but neither have nor know how to use a computer or don’t visit this site.
C.) From the list of comments, the average voter here probably has been collecting in the range of 6-16 years.
D.) This list is skewed towards a different generation of collector, because of B & C.

P.S.) I most assuredly prefer super-hero books, but that doesn’t make me narrow-minded. Buddha, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the life of Bob Marley, etc. all are in my collection and all are held dear.

As proof of my point : I can’t imagine a world where Annihilation is considered better then the Kree-Skrull War. Loved Annihilation but….

As proof of my point : I can’t imagine a world where Annihilation is considered better then the Kree-Skrull War. Loved Annihilation but….

Look at the “First Place” votes. Kree/Skrull got 5 to Annihilation’s 2… It may mean more people have read Annihilation than Kree Skrull, but didn’t rank it that highly, while those who had read Kree/Skrull rated it higher in their lists…

Personally, though I’ve been reading comics for well over 25 years now, I slipped in the 90s, mostly due to the dross from both Marvel and DC (I swung heavily over to Vertigo and Indies then). There were gems in the 90s, but I missed a lot of them.

But, as a [middle-aged?] reader, I still believe that the general quality of stories is better now than it was.

From what I hear Willingham didn’t need convincing to keep going with Fables. He mentioned in an interview a while ago that he would go on as long as they let him keep going. There’s no end in sight for Fables, the Fables universe is even expanding. This year we got a book (Peter and Max), a spin off series (Cinderella) and a graphic novel is in the works.

Fables has no preconceived end-point. Willingham’s said that while certain individual stories will end, he’s just going to keep telling them until he gets bored or runs out of ideas.


Interesting notes – Theres a very interesting 1.5:1 superhero to non-superhero ratio going on so far. Alan Moore looks to run around with the list at this point. I’ll have to look up the dates on these things next time.

-10 of the entries are Marvel-related

-2 of the entries are DC-related
-4 of the entries are Vertigo-related(6 entries if you include them together

-15 of the entries are superhero related
-10 are non-superhero related

By Writer:

-Moore (3 entries, 324 points)
-Brubaker (2 entries, 243 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 points)
-Bendis (2 entries, 216 points)
-Ennis (2 entries, 208 points)
-Javier Grillo-Marxuach (1 entry, 131 points)
-D’n’A (1 entry, 131 points)
-Furman (1 entry, 131 points)
-Keith Grifen (1 entry, 131 points)
-Thomas (1 entry, 127 points)
-Vaughan (1 entry, 126 points)
-Ellis (1 entry, 120 points)
-Fraction (1 entry, 115 points)
-J. Hernandez (1 entry, 110 points)
-Windsor-Smith (1 entry, 106 points)
-O’Neil (1 entry, 105 points)
-G. Hernandez (1 entry, 102 points)
-Smith (1 entry, 102 points)
-Ware (1 entry, 100 points)
-Rosa (1 entry, 100 points)
-Morrison (1 entry, 100 points)

Thank you Jeremy!

It’s not just younger, web-savvy voters that explains the high percentage of modern stuff. It’s also that in the last decade the comic books that Marvel and DC (especially Marvel) publish have become much more skewed towards multi-issue storylines that eventually form a graphic novel and less single issue-based. Yes, this really starts in the ’80s with people like Alan Moore and Frank Miller, but even so, I imagine it would be a lot harder for people to come up with ten choices for best storyline if they were limited to pre-2000 stuff.

Like, Lee and Kirby and Ditko figured highly in the Top 100 Runs list but not many of the comics they did are clearly labelled story arcs, like almost everything is now.

That said, I find it interesting and rather amusing that stuff like Annihilation is already better-remembered than, say, House of M or Civil War, which I doubt we’ll be seeing in this list.

Still nothing I’ve read. I’m starting to wonder if I’m a real comic-book fan.

It’s good to see the Kree/Skrull War on here, though. It means old-style super-hero books still have a chance of making the list.

Mike Loughlin above said that the last decade has been the best and the most creative, and then gave Love And Rockets as one of his examples. Doesn’t that date back to the mid-eighties? (Of course, the most recent stuff could be the best. I only ever read one issue.)

“Big names” yet to appear include Gaiman, Miller, McCloud, Busiek, Claremont, Spiegelman, and Johns,(each of whom has at least one near-certain pick as I can reckon.)

Other as-yet-no-shows include Loeb, Robinson, Ostrander, Levitz, Pini,Wagner,Eisner and Simone. Will they all make it onto the list? (Recall that the blokes whose names begin with “Mo” claim more than a dozen of the remaining slots for starters, and about half of the rest of the current list have at least one more hit to come…)

2000s(12 entries, 1395 points)
1990s(6 entries, 614 points)
1980s(5 entries, 533 points)
1970s(2 entries, 232 points

Slight error in the numbering I think. 2779 points total, thats for sure.

What I mean is, the entries are right I believe, but I think I might have got the points per decade messed up, give or take 5 points.

why isn’t annialation considered a cross over which isn’t supposed to qualify in this collom ? I would have sbmitted war of kings or seven soldiers if i had known.


Rule 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.)

Annihilation is clearly a defined storyline, and thus is eligible.

why isn’t annialation considered a cross over which isn’t supposed to qualify in this collom ? I would have sbmitted war of kings or seven soldiers if i had known.

The rules specifically said crossovers DID count. In fact, I’m pretty sure Seven Soldiers was even given as an example!

EDITED TO ADD: I see Jeremy beat me to it, and yep, there it is in the rule – Seven Soldiers! :)

Fables: Great concept, so-so execution.
For the love of god, why is this adored????

Brian, when are you or CBR doing your Best of The Decades lists? I love lists!!!

Brian, when are you or CBR doing your Best of The Decades lists? I love lists!!!

Huh, I really should do one of those, shouldn’t I?

Damn, that’d be really tough. A TON of great comics this decade.

Gotta say (though no one may care)…didn’t like Y or Fables myself. Can’t understand why there’s so much love for these books. And I concur that any world where Kree-Skrull is below Annihilation in popularity is beyond me.

Just for the record, I am pretty sure that the 00s are not the best decade for comics as a medium. I was born in the 90s, but I think the 80s had the best comics overall. In addition to Watchmen, Dark Knight, Daredevil, Miracleman, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow (you can see where this is going) and all the rest of the stuff put out by the then-untouchable Miller and Moore, there are so many great comics. The Question. Thor. Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Arkham Asylum. The Sandman (the start at least). X-Men, New Mutants (by Sienkiewicz!), Moon Knight. Legion of Super Heroes. The Defenders, people! Fantastic Four. The Flash. Nexus. The American. And that’s just a sample of the superhero comics!

We also had indie titles like Journey and Johnny Quest by Bill Loebs, all of Rick Veitch’s early stuff, Zot!, Maus, excellent early work by Charles Burns, Concrete, Mr. Monster, Flaming Carrot, Dreadstar (sometimes great), stuff by Moebius, Moonshadow, Nemesis the Warlock, Marshall Law, Love and Rockets, the Rocketeer, American Flagg!, Tales of the Beanworld… the list goes on. All of this stuff holds up today, and some of it is still ahead of its time.

Someone above (I think it was in this comments section) that you can’t judge a decade by the strength of the Spider-Man books, but I think that is a pretty good watermark. In the 80s, Spidey was generally great. So was Batman (for much of the time). I think that you can tell how good a decade was by the actual greatness of its top selling books (i.e. Hulk is close to the top now – what does that tell you?) as well as all the stuff bubbling under the surface. Plus, there’s a ton of stuff I didn’t mention by guys like Milligan, Delano, Bates, Shooter (hey, Star Brand was awesome!) and others.

I love the 2000s, but the 80s were the greatest.

azjohnson5 you’ve got some good points there.
Aw Brian! You told me that the first Runaways series didn’t count! You said you treated it like you did Iron Fist, does that mean we should be expecting some Runaways on the list?! :O

Again, I am still very surprised/schoked that Annihilation not only made it on the list but is #76. Blows my brains to bits… huh, in that case I should probably go read Annihilation, it must be good now!


As Mario said, good points. It all comes down to preferences, I guess, and when people became fans. I did not mean to imply you had a limited range of tastes, by the way, just giving my reason for why I think we live in the best possible time to be a comic book fan.

Mary Warner,

Yes, L&R started in the ’80s, but it’s still around (and by the same cartoonists), so I included it in my short list of current comics that are awesome. Having the collected editions available now is awesome, yet another reason why I feel we’re living in the best possible time for fans of the medium.


Can’t argue with that list (and I’d add Suicide Squad, Hawkworld, Green Arrow, The Shadow, so many great comics!). The best part? We can read almost all of those comics now! I waited years to read Zot!, L&R, Flaming Carrot, and others without going broke. Creatively, the ’80s were an industry-wide high water mark. I believe the ’00s will be remembered very fondly.

jeff r-

what mccloud do you think will make it? i’m a huge zot fan and would love to see it show up (especially the color issues- am i the only one that likes those better?), but i just don’t see it making this list. not in light of what we’ve seen so far.

Am I the only one who can’t F**KING stand Brubaker bringing Bucky back to life. I can’t stand it. Read WS, read Death of Cap, I just think that it is an awful, cockeyed, hack-kneed, lame resurrection. That fact that its on the list proves how many bought into the hype, I just can’t stand Bucky America. (Do find the art, and use of Faust and Falcon nice though.)

^Or it proves that maybe, just maybe, they thought it was a really good story? I know I did, and I happily own the Brubaker’s Omnibus(plan on buying the new one next month). Hell, I even voted for the Death of Captain America #25-42, and will probably be on this list later.

I voted for “Death of Cap” as well; it was my #1, in fact. I expect that will be all of Brubaker’s work that makes the list, though “The Devil in Cell-Block D” and some part (or all) of “Sleeper” would also be contenders.


December 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm

In the first wave of the war, the entire Nova Corps was wiped out…well, not the ENTIRE Nova Corps. Richard Rider, of Earth, manged to survive and, once he merged with the Worldmind (the computer that ran the Nova Corps), Richard became the most powerful Nova around.

I don’t know, the story setting it up seemed a bit rushed to me, but what they did with Kyle Rayner after this is what led to great stories with a great character.

Certainly some similarities; though the ironic thing is that Nova was the ‘Green Lantern as Spider-Man’ concept 20 years before Kyle was.


December 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Am I the only one who can’t F**KING stand Brubaker bringing Bucky back to life. I can’t stand it. Read WS, read Death of Cap, I just think that it is an awful, cockeyed, hack-kneed, lame resurrection. That fact that its on the list proves how many bought into the hype, I just can’t stand Bucky America. (Do find the art, and use of Faust and Falcon nice though.)

In concept I thought it was a silly idea, but the way they did makes it stand out from the pack.

Winter Soldier was really good, but the storyline where he becomes the new cap is outstanding.

I’ll be sad to see him go.

One of the things I really love about Brubaker’s run is how pretty much every major plot element sounds like a godawful idea…until the story is told. He took on a seemingly impossible story, made it work, and then did it again.

I think the 80’s wins my favorite decade not just for the quality of the material but also benefits from the perfect storm of being in the decade of my adolescence when everything was new and cool and inspiring. I think people hitting their formative years will remember this decade fondly for the same reasons. Personally, I’ve enjoyed a lot of stuff this decade, find a lot of it way better crafted than most work from the previous decades (including some Moore and Miller stuff) but it can’t live up to the emotional kick I got from that groundbreaking 80’s stuff (a lot of which was written by Moore and Miller, of course).

And I don’t think anyone mentioned Squadron Supreme in their 80’s hit lists from the previous posts, so I’ll mention it here. Just re-read it and it’s pretty darned satisfying.

When I first heard they brought Bucky back to life, I thought it was the most sickening idea imaginable. About the only things that could be worse would be to bring back Gwen Stacy or Ben Parker.
And it just sounds like stunt writing to me, that Brubaker just wanted to show off by doing something widely considered to be unworkable.
I still haven’t worked up the nerve to actually read Brubaker’s Captain America yet. I know it’s supposed to be really good, but I have a hard time accepting that it’s been done, and I keep thinking maybe they’ll find a way to undo it if nobody buys the book. But I don’t really see how they could do that now.
I’ll probably read it eventually.
It’s strange. I read ‘One More Day’– although it was without any knowledge of what it would even be about– and I got over it pretty quickly. So I probably will like the new Captain America once I finally do read it. Bucky’s been tolerable enough in New Avengers.

To Roman above– Thank you for listing the Defenders as one of the great series of the 1980s! It’s about time someone gave it the credit it deserves. For some reason, the only stuff I ever see here on the internet about the Defenders is people raving about Gerber, or sometimes Englehart. I’ve only read a couple issues of their stuff so I can’t judge, but I do know that the DeMatteis and Gillis issues were incredible! Especially Peter Gillis. I had one of his Defenders stories on my list, but I’m probably the only one so I don’t think we’ll be seeing it here.


December 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

It’s worth checking out Mary, especially a bit removed from when it came out, it honestly doesn’t feel like a gimmick or stunt writing – a very natural story progression.

It’s made even more interesting by the fact the first 24 issues are solid stories with Steve Rogers – you wouldn’t guess by them that the writer was even thinking about changing the character, let alone killing him and replacing him.

Dematteis’ Defenders is high among my list of favorite runs. I considered the Six-Fingered Hand saga for this list, (though it didn’t make the cut)

I like the review of Brubaker’s run that it’s a bunch of ideas which sound stupid or gimmicky but then work very naturally and beautifully in execution.


Agreed on the magnificence of the 80s (not to mention The Cowboy Wally Show, Akira, Zenith, Matt Wagner’s Mage and Grendel, Evan Dorkin’s Milk & Cheese and Dork, Neat Stuff, Batman: Blind Justice, Kraven’s Last Hunt, The Longbow Hunters, Eightball, Calvin & Hobbes, Tardi’s 120, Rue De La Gare, Blueberry and so many others) :)

I was hoping we would get that “21st Century Blitz” story arc from Brubaker’s Cap. This is the one time in the whole run where Bucky and Cap fight side by side, and its against Super Nazis and a giant doomsday robot. All the characters start to come together(Falcon and Sharon, Spitfire and Union Jack, Bucky and Cap, Sin and Crossbones) and they flow together so naturally because Brubaker’s masterful plotting has been building it up right. Probably my favorite story arc of the first Omnibus.

Daniel: Zot!: The Earth Stories has a real chance; I won’t count it out until we reach #50 or so. (If so, it will have benefited from someone mentioning it early in the original vote thread…)

I would also not give up on Zot!

Good to see some classic Avengers represented here.

While I do enjoy Fables, I wouldn’t have voted for it. It is consistently enjoyable.

I really want to like Brubaker’s Captain America, especially as it has great artwork by Epting…but the whole idea of bringing back Bucky does leave a sour taste in my mouth. Come to think of it…is it just me, or does Brubaker introduce major retcons to every story he does? Cap, Iron Fist, X-men…

It’s surprising to see so many 00’s comics so far. But maybe that will change as we go closer to number 1.

Also: Y the Last Man is -so- much better than 76th place.

I was glad to see my favorite Fable’s storyline, Homeland, made the list. The story, art, and mystery just blew me away. I voted for a storyline at the other end of the Y: The Last Man series, but I’m glad to see the first one on the list. It grabbed me from the very first issue.

As an adolescent and young adult in the 80s, it’s great to hear all the praise for the incredible stories that came out of that decade, especially from someone who wasn’t even around for it. Ironically, though, it prompts me to think about just how many strong decades comics have had.

When we get to the end of this list, I hope there would be enough enthusiasm to have a decade-by-decade list of the best storylines; particularly if the trend so far continues and pre-1980 end up being hughly under-represented.

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