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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #55-51

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.

55. “We3″ by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (We3 #1-3) – 174 points (3 first place votes)

The description of We3 I always like to give to people is “Imagine a trio of high-tech cyber-assassins. And one is a dog, one is a kitty cat and one is a bunny rabbit.”

That’s where We3 begins, only, naturally, things change when the trio (named 1, 2 and 3, respectively) are about to be de-commissioned by the government. Their trainer won’t allow it, and frees the group and then we have basically The Incredible Journey, only with a dog, a cat and a rabbit who have been turned into killing machines.

The group have varying personalities – the dog is the smartest, so he can sort of communicate with humans. The cat is next smartest, so she can only muster up stuff like “Boss stink!” The rabbit just can say when it wants to eat.

But together, they try to find their ephemeral “home.”

It’s a very touching story, and Frank Quitely’s art is simply spectacular – it’s a marvel to behold, really.

The story is only three issues long, but with the emotional punch it packs, you’d think you were following these characters for years, not three short months.

53 (tie). “Confession” by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Will Blyberg (Kurt Busiek’s Astro City #4-9) – 179 points (2 first place votes)

Confession was a major departure for Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. Up until this point, the book was mostly high quality stories on the lighter side of superheroes – not “the lighter side” like humorous, but in the sense that they were more traditional superheroes – the Supermans and the Fantastic Fours of the world. The bright kind of heroes.

In Confession, Busiek and artist Brent Anderson turn their eye to the dark side of Astro City- the dark alleys and the people who inhabit the night.

It is here that we meet Brian Kinney, a young man who longs to be a superhero. Before too long, he is the sidekick to the Batman analogue, The Confessor, and Kinney is Altar Boy.

Throughout the rest of the arc, we see Brian grow as a hero but also see that there is something seriously messed up with The Confessor’s origin story – what it is is the major twist of the story.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot else going on, as there is, with a superhero registration act debate and heroes seemingly acting as villains, this is a packed storyline, but one that, like all of Busiek’s Astro City stories, is based on the complex personalities of the characters involved.

53 (tie). “The Death of Jean DeWolff” by Peter David and Rich Buckler (plus many inkers) (The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #107-110) – 179 points (6 first place votes)

The Death of Jean DeWolff is a powerful examination of the problems you often get when you try to strictly apply morality to the world of superhero comics.

The story opens with the murder of Captain Jean DeWolff, a background supporting cast member of the Spider-Man books (very background).

It turns out that she was murdered by a mysterious new villain called the Sin-Eater.

Throughout the story, through the murderous efforts of the Sin-Eater, Spider-Man and a guest-starring Daredevil continue to find themselves put into situations where they are unsure of themselves. Twice Daredevil is forced to choose between giving up his secret identity and doing something to possibly help stop the Sin-Eater, and both times he chooses to preserve his ID.

Spider-Man, meanwhile, is even MORE upset about the situation when he learns that DeWolff had a heavy unrequited crush on him. By the time the pair catch the Sin-Eater, Spider-Man is willing to kill him, and Daredevil has to stop him.

The heroes fight, but the end result of this story is that the two end up sharing their secret identities and become closer friends than they ever had been before.

This story also worked to set up the later story involving Venom, as reporter Eddie Brock’s career is ruined when he gets acclaim for finding the Sin-Eater, only to learn that he had been duped by one of those “serial confessors” people.

Story continues below

This was a great introduction of Peter David to the comics world. What a strong arc to open your career with!

52. “The Death of Superman” by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern (writers), Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, Jon Bogdanove and Jackson Guice (pencilers) and Brett Breeding, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier and Rich Burchett (inkers) (Superman #74-75, Adventures of Superman #497, Superman: Man of Steel #18-19, Action Comics #684, Justice League America #69) – 181 points (1 first place vote)

The Death of Superman had two prominent “gimmicks.”

One of them was borrowed from writer Louise Simonson’s husband, Walt. In the issues leading up to the introduction of Surtur in Thor, we had seen a loud noise get slowly bigger over a number of issues until we learn that the pounding was the creation of a gigantic cosmic sword owned by a powerful evil creature named Surtur.

Well, in the Superman titles, we kept seeing the sound effect “Doom doom doom” appear at the back of the four Superman titles.

Finally, in Man of Steel #18, the noise is explained – a monstrous creature was pounding away at its captivity and the “doom” noise was it punching its way free.

It then went on a rampage throughout the United States, headed towards Metropolis through sheer happenstance.

The Justice League showed up to stop it, and the creature went through them easily (it was Leaguer Booster Gold who named the creature “Doomsday”).

Eventually, it came down to Superman, who tried to keep the creature from Metropolis, but eventually ended up battling the creature all the way TO Metropolis.

Here is where the other gimmick came in – as the story went along, the amount of panels per page kept shrinking. So first there were four panels per page – then three panels per page – then two, until finally, in the last part of the story, Dan Jurgens’ Superman #75, each page was a full-page spread as Superman and Doomsday went toe-to-toe in Metropolis.

Eventually, in one last blow for each combatant – the two killed each other.

And Superman had died.

51. “Batman R.I.P.” by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea (s #676-681) – 183 points (2 first place votes)

Batman R.I.P. is the conclusion of Grant Morrison’s initial Batman run, and it basically is as straightforward of a “Good” versus “Evil” story as there is out there (which is particularly interesting seeing as how it came out concurrent with another major Good vs. Evil story, Final Crisis).

Batman has been fighting against the criminal organization the Black Glove, but by the beginning of Batman RIP, the Black Glove has struck at Batman through various methods, some physical but mostly psychological, all designed to destroy Batman’s virtue.

Then Batman essentially goes insane, becoming a twisted form of himself…but is that REALLY what’s going on?

Morrison teases the reader with the question – could anyone go through the events that Batman has gone through over the last 60 plus years and NOT go insane?

So that lends some dramatic tension to Batman’s seeming insanity.

So much of RIP is tied up with the twists of the story, I don’t really feel like giving away too much, except to note that the bad guy in the story might very well be the Devil himself, pissed that Batman did not turn evil when his parents were murdered in front of him as a child.

How can you not want to read a comic where the Devil is trying to put wrong what once went right (Batman’s parents’ death making Batman a force for GOOD rather than evil), and is trying to drive Batman insane to do so?


Kinda weird that Death ended up above Reign, but I’m guessing the one that’s gonna really bring in the comments is Batman RIP. I personally liked it, but is it really top 100 material?

Not with Tony Daniel’s art, but I’d rather focus on the fact that Death got a first-place vote. That’s stunning.

I’m four out of five today; nifty!

I really need to re-read Confession. And frankly, any Astro City I can get my hands on.

Death of Jean DeWolfe was probably one of the only times “grim and gritty” storytelling has really worked with Spider-Man, and I think a large part of that is because David showed just how atypical this style of story was for Peter Parker. Spidey is out of his element the whole time, and clearly doesn’t know how to deal with a threat like the Sin Eater; contrast this to Daredevil, who remained calm and level-headed through most of the story.

Death of Superman…meh. It’s hard to appreciate reading it years afterward when the ending is right there on the cover. Complete lack of drama, considering how simple Supes’ death actually was. And Doomsday lost his luster with each subsequent return.

Batman: RIP…similar to Blackest Night and Planet Hulk, you’ve got a story that really only works when read in context of the over-reaching run on the title, but was hyped as an “event”, pulling in a bunch of more casual readers who now have no idea what the hell is going on. And yet it keeps working…

As for the story itself, other than the (intentionally) muddled explanation of Dr. Hurt’s identity, I thought it was a pretty fitting wrap-up for Morrison’s run on that incarnation of Batman. The Hush tie-in from Detective Comics was pretty awesome, too.

So cool to see Batman RIP on the list.

To be honest, I don’t think that it deserves to be in the Top 100, but it got such bad press when it came out (along with Final Crisis) that it’s nice to see that maybe the general opinion has changed in hindsight.

And if House of M makes a list like this, then anything goes, I guess.

I hadn’t even considered Death of Jean De Wolff being overshadowed by Kraven’s Last Hunt in my eyes, but Death of Jean De Wolff is really good.

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Have not read Spider-man: the death of Jean DeWolff, but have truly regretted reading the death of Superman as I did not enjoy it. Death didn’t even mean a damn in DC comics in those days, eh?

The rest is worthwhile reading, in my opinion.

Heck yeah for “Death of Jean DeWolff”! That was on my list, and I consider it one of the defining Spider-Man storylines. It seems to fly under the radar somewhat, I think, mainly because it doesn’t use a well known rogue’s gallery character and the emotional payoff is difficult to condense in other media (ie; it’s not really a storyline that would be easy to do in a cartoon or movie without quite a bit of foreshadowing and setup). But David’s caracterization of Spider-Man was spot on, you really can understand and empathize with Spider-Man throughout the storyline, the twists and turns in the story were well crafted, the villian was mysterious and apropriately evil while having complicated and interesting motivations and the story set up one of the best Spider-Man/other superhero friendships ever.

And the art wasn’t too bad, either, although a bit generic in that mid-80’s kind of way.

I’ve read 4 of the 5 this update, all minus We3, and while I quite enjoyed all of Astro City and contemplated putting Family Album on my list, but I wasn’t impressed with Death of Superman or R.I.P. enough to even consider them for my short list, let alone my top 10.

Sigh, only one; 19 of 50.

“Confession” is quite good; I was wondering if there was going to be any “Astro City” on the list, given how often the one-shot format is used there (most of my favourite AC stories are in that format).

Not read the others; very much would have read “The Death of Jean DeWolff”, but there’s no in-print trade paperback.

Morrison fan contingent is definitely starting to be heard in force.

“similar to Blackest Night and Planet Hulk, you’ve got a story that really only works when read in context of the over-reaching run on the title”

I don’t see how “Planet Hulk” fits within that definition; it was, at that point, the entirety of Greg Pak’s run on the title. He came on for “Planet Hulk”, and went on hiatus shortly after. The start is quite self-contained.

Not Planet Hulk; I mean World War Hulk. My bad.

Oh. Nice. WE3 would have been on my shortlist. (If I voted.) :)

I’m actually more shocked about Batman RIP than I was about House of M. RIP is one of the most embarrassingly bad stories of recent years.

Oh man, I totally forgot to vote for We3. That this is as perfect as comic books are gonna get. Really glad its up here.

Argh more Death of Superman crud. Someone even voted for it in first place. L-O-L

Don’t like Busiek, so never read or intend to read Astro City

Jean De Wolfe! One of the few Spidey stories from the 80s I actually like, thanks in no small part to PAD’s awesomeness. The only part I don’t like was how Matt Murdock let that judge die. Ok, so his secret identity would be outed if he stopped the killer; is it worth a life? Besides that, its a great, surprisingly dark Spidey story, and a MILLION times better than “Kraven’s Last Hunt” which is sure to show up later.

Batman RIP! Tony Daniel artwork isn’t that great(especially when he had Kubert and JH Williams III previously), but its still a very good story, a very good conclusion to most of the plotlines Morrison had built up, and set up the current Batman line, which has never been more interesting(well, when Philip Tan isn’t involved >_>). I’m actually pleasantly surprised this is here.


*That thing is as perfect. Blargh no edit button ftl :/

Is Batman RIP even the best story from Morrison’s run on Batman?

I loved RIP passionately. It wouldn’t have been on my top 10, though, and certainly not over We3.


Interesting notes – Morrison takes the lead with his two entries today, and Roger Stern jumps into the top 3. The ’90s hold onto its lead. See guys? That decade wasn’t so bad!

-18 of these stories are Marvel-related

-21 of these stories are DC-related(9 from DC, 9 from Vertigo, 3 for Wildstorm)*

-24 of these stories are Superhero ones
-16 of these stories are non-superhero ones

-1990s(17 entries, 2700 points)
-2000s(20 entries, 2656 points)
-1980s(7 entries, 874 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points)

By Writer:

-Morrison (4 entries, 606 points)
-Ellis (4 entries, 563 points)
-Stern (3 entries, 520 points)
-Moore (4 entries, 495 points)
-Bendis (3 entries, 381 points)
-Brubaker (3 entries, 376 points)
-Busiek (2 entries, 351 points)
-L. Simonson (2 entries, 348 points)
-Jurgens (2 entries, 348 points)
-Ordway (2 entries, 348 points)
-Gaiman (2 entries, 312 points)
-Vaughan (2 entries, 295 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 points)
-Ennis (2 entries, 208 points)
-David (1 entry, 179 points)
-Kessel (1 entry, 167 points)
-Jones (1 entry, 167 points)
-Pak(1 entry, 165 points)
-Miller (1 entry, 162 points)
-Rucka(1 entry, 160 points)
-Grayson(1 entry, 160 points)
-Robinson (1 entry, 142 points)
-Dixon (1 entry, 142 points)
-Moenech (1 entry, 142 points)
-Aparo (1 entry, 142 points)
-Shooter (1 entry, 141 points)
-Stern (1 entry, 141 points)
-Michelinie (1 entry, 141 points)
-JMS (1 entry, 140 points)
-Starlin (1 entry, 140 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)
-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)

Confession is a great story that deserves to be here.

Death of Superman, really? It’s not horrible, but I don’t think it’s good either.

Interestingly, the Top 100 comic book runs had a lot less of the awful/boring stuff like Death of Superman, Reign of Supermen, Knightfall, House of M…

For instance, few voted for Bendis’s Avengers, or Dan Jurgens’s Superman. The problem is, many awesome runs have no storylines that stand out from the others, while many mediocre runs have famous storylines. So people are voting for famous. I mean, c’mon, I don’t hate Death of Superman, but surely anyone can think of at least 10 other storylines that have higher quality?

Have to agree with Lord Paradise. I’m a huge Morrison fan, but Batman RIP is not on the same level with WE3.

Thok: No, that would be the three issue “Island of Mister Mayhew” story arc, with the gorgeous JH Williams III artwork and Batman with a freakin’ jetpack.

I have a feeling whoever voted for R.I.P. will come to regret that vote later on…

Rene: I noticed that as well. I don’t know if some people just voted for the ten most important storylines, but that has to be the case to get the Death of Superman on here(including a first place vote).

Hey, I hope you don’t mind me taking up the whole list thing that you did a few years back ^_^

” but surely anyone can think of at least 10 other storylines that have higher quality?”

‘Favourite’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘quality’ in an art sense. This is the sort of story that you have a sentimental favourite, something that was really thrilling to read at the time it was coming out, and that leaves an impression.

If you don’t like We3, you have a soul.

Haven’t read Batman RIP unfortunately.

Confession makes the first of my entries to make the list. I fear this will be the highest placing Astro City story which is sad. Astro City is a difficult one for this list due to too many great single issue stories. But it had a few story arcs, all awesome. So I’m glad to see Confession there. For the record, those of you who haven’t read Astro City, please go do so. Some of the best superhero comics ever.

Personal stats-
Read 36/50 in their entirety. Read part of another 4. Read other parts of the same run for 7 of them and have read nothing from the runs of 3 of them.

7/50 I would rank among my favorite comics ever (though only one in my top ten according to my votes) and another 11 are comics I love one heck of a lot. None yet are comics I actually don’t like.

Oh, and Death of Jean DeWolff was one I’d have loved to have found room for in my top ten. One of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever.

Jeremy~ I can’t help but notice your totals are a bit off. In particular you claim we have 24 superhero entries and 16 nonsuperhero ones. Which leaves 10 entries unaccounted for.

WE3 = bunch of animals running around in metal suits with guns. Yawn!

^Surely you are not serious.

Thok: No, that would be the three issue “Island of Mister Mayhew” story arc, with the gorgeous JH Williams III artwork and Batman with a freakin’ jetpack.

That’s sort of my point. It’s getting votes as much because DC hyped it with the term RIP as for its relative merit. (I’ll be happy to be proved wrong and see the Club of Heroes story or Batman and Son show up on this list. I don’t think either will.)

Incidentally, Confession covers a similar story beat (with a Batman expy involved with his last case, and dark secrets from his past being revealed.) Of course, that story is more about character work and seeing the Robin stand in grow up.

We3 is some good stuff. The only thing I have against it is the lenght. I feel if it had been longer the emotional impact might have been increased. Poor Pirate (thats the bunny’s name right? cus of that patch on his eye or something?)

Confessions was good but as many have commented so far, Astro City’s best stuff are one-shots. Still, nice to see some Astro City love.

Never read the Death of Jean DeWolfe but from what I hear it is fantastic. Much better than Death of Superman.

Death of Superman : … WHAT THE HELL?!

As for Batman R.P.I. a very nice conclusion to Grant Morrison’s run on the Bruce Wayne Batman (at least, until he brings him back from the dead because I have a feeling Morrison will have a hand in that). I have to agree with Jeremy that the Island of of Mister Mayhem is Morrison’s best arc out of his whole run.

It’s interesting how we’ve sort of had a bunch of storylines that aren’t as great as what we saw ath the bottom of the top 100. It’s as if there are storylines people had to included in their list but didn’t put in there top spots due to having other favourites there, know what I mean? I feel we will be stuck in this groove until about the top 30 where things will (hopefully) really heat up. Its going to be interesting.

29 read out of 50. Not to bad.

Only read 2 of these, We3 and Superman, and can’t say that I was particularly impressed with either of them!

While I understand that there is a lot of love for We3, there is not a lot from me. I prefer Seaguy to this any day!

I would also think the Superman entry is a nostalgia vote, because I think reading the story isn’t a lot of fun.

I am looking forward to reading the Spidey entry, when I can track it down, and would like to read Astro City one day. RIP i’ll also have a look at, but I think I will start at the beginning of Morrisons run first.

Wow, four of these five actually deserve their spots! And I’m really glad that a lot of people remembered the Death of Jean DeWolfe. Great story. RIP is severely underrated as well — it’s far less confusing than most people make it out to be.

Such is my competitive nature that I feel the urge to buy and read some of the stories on this list solely to increase my “read” percentage.

I actually think my Spider-Man purchasing tapered of and stopped sometime during the Death of Jean DeWolfe storyline, “back in the day.”

“Tapered OFF” not “tapered of,” obviously.

It is terribly entertaining to see people trying to compare different fruits grown in the same orchard. RIP and WE3may have been cultivated by the same person, but they only share a growing medium. It might be odd to see them ranked so closely, but it doesn’t mean one belongs here and the other doesn’t.

For those wanting to find Death of Jean DeWolff in print, Wizard published “Spider-man: The Ten Greatest Spider-man Stories Ever” it includes Death of Jean DeWolff, “Nothing can stop the Juggernaut” (also awesome) and the really good half-issue “The Kid Who collects Spider-man”.

On the Death of Superman~ While I agree there are way more than a hundred stories people could probably find to enjoy more (and certainly 10 such stories out there), I do at least think it’s fun and memorable. The last issue features Superman dying. True, older fans had seen Superman die plenty of times and in plenty of better ways, but I hadn’t when I first read the comic. You have some cool splash pages, and some nice melodramatic final dialogue which still echoes in my head years later. That spiel about how people will remember this day. So I get people voting for it. It was a big event and memorable. And people vote for things they remember. I remember it almost two decades later.

Similarly, I could imagine young people still voting for Civil War a decade from now. (Though I hope I’m wrong)

Contrast to things like House of M… I suspect it has as much chance of showing up on future lists at Atlantis Attacks or Subterranean Wars or Bloodties do on this one.

@Sean C~ I plan to do the same. I may lose at everything else in life but it won’t be at comic reading!

to Sean C and Chris Nowlin

I find that this is part of the purpose of this list. It’s not only about trying to organise which storylines people enjoy the most but also provides a nice source of good to great to excellent comics. I have to say that one i’m particularly interested in taking a look at is Cerebus. Seeing it on this list is just the push I needed to commit to buying one of the trades.

The Crazed Spruce

December 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Well, again, the only one I’ve actually read is the Death of Superman, and I left it out of my top 10 in favour of “Funeral for a Friend”. I think this is only the second or third one to make my short list so far, though.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the other four, though. (Well, okay, it’s been kinda mixed on “Batman: R.I.P.”, but I still want to read it.)

The Crazed Spruce

December 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm

And I still haven’t cracked my top 10. Either I picked ten stories that fit in the top 50, or I made some really lousy choices. Or some combination thereof.

Wow, something from my list actually showed up on here! ‘The Death Of Jean DeWolf’ was my number one, and I guess it was the same for five other people. I’ve been wondering if my tastes are just completely different from everybody else, but it does seem that I’m not alone in loving this one.

That is okay, Jeremy. Nice work, by the way.

Sean, I’m the first to agree that there is no such thing as “objective” worth in fiction, and people vote for their favorites, etc. But the interesting thing is, the Top 100 runs we did some while ago seemed to have more in the way of overall quality.

Maybe because when you ask people to vote for overall runs, people have to consider the whole thing, and then quality is a factor. But when we’re talking storylines people seem to vote for stuff that is big and loud. In other words, feel people are huge admirer of Dan Jurgens’s view of Superman (if it came up in the Top comic runs, it must have been in the 101-200?), but everyone remembers and reacted to Death of Superman.

FEW people

Yes, I just went back and checked, and Dan Jurgens didn’t make it into the Top 100 comic runs, or even the Top 150.

I love We3, but I forgot about it entirely when making my list. At any rate, Quitely’s art is beyond great, and I’m surprised Morrison wrote such an emotionally-involved story. I like most of the Morrison stories I’ve read, but I get a feeling of distance from most of them. Unlike many Morrison stories, We3 got me to care about the characters more than the story or the technique (which were stellar).

Confessions is my favorite Astro City story. Busiek balanced the macro (alien invasion, mystery revealed, hero’s journey, world building) with the micro (all the character bits) skillfully. I can’t recommend it high; enough. I think I read that there will be another Confessor story soon. I hope so.

Batman RIP: I liked it fine, despite a few confusing bits. The “Batman of Zurr-En-Ar” identity and the Bat-Mite parts were highlights.

Death of Jean DeWolfe ranks among the best Spider-Man stories I’ve ever read. I’m a near-Ditko-purist with Spider-Man; I just don’t enjoy most Spider-Man comics by other creators (excepting the few Stern & DeMatteis issues I’ve read, Untold Tales, Ultimate Spider-Man, most of Paul Jenkins run, and occasional issues by others). Outside of childhood, the character hasn’t held much interest with me. Peter David & Rich Buckler crafted a tight, entertaining thriller that has held up well.

Death of Superman: never read. Never was interested in reading it. Probably never will read. If you like it, though, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s just not for me.

Anyone else a fan of Superman vs. Aliens? I had a great time reading that story. It combined the two universes in a logical and fun a manner, and I kind of wish the Kara in that story had become Supergirl.

@The Crazed Spruce~ If your choices don’t make the top 100, it might be everybody else that made the lousy choices, not you!

For example, f the Magneto vs. Dr. Doom story from Super-Villain Team-Up doesn’t make the list, that’s clearly the fault of everybody else, not me.

In particular, it’s the fault of Reptisaurus, who was my one hope for giving that story any other points but apparently didn’t vote.

@Mary~ If I’m keeping track right you’ve now read two stories on this list. But they seem like the right two stories from my POV. Death of Jean DeWolffe is on my top ten list* and seems like a good choice for somebody’s #1.

*unfortunately that list has a hundred or so stories on it because I don’t know what top ten means and Brian wouldn’t let me vote for all of them so it didn’t get a vote from me.

@Mike~ I can’t claim to remember it well enough to really consider myself a fan, but I recall thinking that Superman vs. Aliens was an excellent comic. It’s been many years though.

Mike –

I still didn’t read We3, but Grant Morrison has a big soft spot for animals. Animal Man had stories that were so emotional and committed, usually involving animal rights. His later works, I love most of them, but it’s like you said, there is always a lot of brains, not so much heart.

good to see both astro city and we3. neither would be in my personal top 30, but both are top 100 material.

i’ve never been a spider-man person, really only reading the ultimate stuff and various other stories that all comic fans are “supposed” to read (kraven’s last hunt, death of the stacy’s, nothing stops the juggernaut, coming home, various venom, carnage, and green goblin stuff, etc.). but that being said, death of jean dewolfe is bay far the best spider-man story i’ve ever read, and probably would make my own top 30. i reread it recently, and it holds up quite well. and i do own the wizard spider-man masterpiece hardcover mentioned above (as well as the wolverine and x-men ones too), and it’s great for anyone looking for a sort of primer package of great stories for the character.

death of superman- not much to say that hasn’t been already said. i do actually enjoy the issue where superman dies (#75), and felt jurgens did a pretty good job with it. but the six issues leading up to it are quite blah. really, beyond the fact that superman is a character most people care about to some degree, the content of those first six issues in the storyline isn’t very different from anything rob liefeld was doing during the same time. for any of you younger fans that don’t know who liefeld is, it’s not a compliment. BUT… i also know that this arc brought a lot of people to comics that hadn’t been there before, and maybe some of them stayed. so if those are the people that voted for this, i guess i can be okay with that.

batman RIP- well, obviously i thought it sucked, and it’s good to see from comments above that i’m not alone. but beyond whether you thought it was terrible or a masterpeice, it finished THIS YEAR. this is supposed to be a vote for your favorite comic storylines EVER. granted, i know we’re talking personal taste as opposed to definitive greatness, and that’s fine. my own list accounted for quite a bit of personal taste as well. but the most recent comic on my own list is almost five years old, and i even felt semi-guilty about that. how can something that’s less than a year old be anyone’s favorite of anything? (unless the person got into comics in the past year, in which case, good job finding this list- you have some reading ahead of you) seriously, i thought inglorious basterds was by far the best movie of this year (at least so far). it might even be my favorite movie of the last 2-3 years. but if you’re asking me for my ten favorite movies ever, it would be excluded on the grounds of common sense. the point of something being your favorite ever (music, movie, tv show, book, comic, whatever) is that even if it hasn’t stood the test of time, it’s at least stood the test of time TO YOU. what test of time has batman RIP stood with anyone, even for the people that loved it?

also, jeremy- i think something’s wrong with your by decade totals… they only add up to 48.

and does anyone know if the death of jean dewolfe is part of a larger peter david run on the title, or was it just a one off story? if it was part of a run, is the run good? any info would be appreciated.

Standing the test of time can be an important consideration, I agree, but if you really like something and consider it a favourite now I don’t see that as a reason not to include it. All things like this are a snapshot of the time they were assembled. Perhaps it won’t be on a similar list five years from now; equally, something you put on the list now might easily be knocked off by something you read or feel as aged sufficiently well five years from now.

My list included a couple of things that were only a year or so old, and several I only read within a year or two (I started reading in 2003).

Good point, Daniel. I use the “personal test of time” test on myself, certainly. And ask myself how often I’ve reread it, how well it stands out to me, how well it holds up to multiple readings, and how memorable it remains to me among the scores of other comics I’ve read. These are all very personal, rather than objective standards, but they do take time.

And while I love Brubaker’s Daredevil, Brubaker’s Captain America, Annhilation, I haven’t gone back to reread them yet or really had time for them to sink in.

Looks like 1998 is the newest story on my list, though two stories on my list are stories I first read within the last few years.

Looking closer at dates for my choices, even though I often find myself bashing the ’90s and praising the ’60s, I only voted for one ’60s comic, with 2 ’70s comics, 2 ’80s comics and 5 ’90s comics. I guess I really am attached to the decade I started reading comics in. Hnnh.

Daniel~ I think Peter David’s entire run on Spectacular Spider-Man is awesome. But then I really love Spider-Man and that should be considered. I think David captured Peter’s voice and humour while addressing the themes of power and responsibility I think the comic should address. Among my favorite Spider-Man runs. He’s third or fourth on my list of favorite Spider-Man writers.

Chris-WHOOPS. You’re right, its terribly off. Its 33 superhero and 17 non-superhero. I have no idea how I haven’t been paying attention to that >_>


Peter David did have an extended run on Spectacular Spider-Man, though it wasn’t as long as I would’ve prefered. He wrote #103 (his very first story as far as I’m aware, and still one of the best), and then most of the issues until #123, with some lousy fill-ins by others along the way. Then there were a few more issues, including a three-part ‘Return of the Sin-Eater’ story (sequel to the Jean DeWolf story), and then he moved to Web Of Spider-Man, but I think he only did five issues. And all this time he occasionally did issues of the other Spider-titles. Some were one-issue comedy stories which are absolutely hilarious. And then he moved to the Hulk, and Spider-Man has suffered the loss ever since.

He also did all but three issues of the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man series a few years ago. It wasn’t as good as his old stuff, but it was still pretty good most of the time, especially considering that events in Civil War and Amazing kept getting in the way of his stories.

Glad to see Confession made it. I decided I was only going to vote for one Astro City story and had to decide between Confession and Tarnished Angel. Ultimately I went for Confession, which I think holds up slightly better as a single cohesive tale.

“WE3″ – Oh yeah, now we’re getting some gold in this countdown! This has to be the most emotional power and storytelling chops ever packed into a 3 issue mini. Morrison takes a premise that could easily turn into a big dumb Michael Bay-ish destructionfest or something just…too cuddly to work and serves up all the writing elements we’ve come to expect and desire from him in with a balance we may never see again. This story, because of its premise and format demanded this from him and he delivered like never before… And Quitely, well, is he ever bad or even subpar?

-1990s(19 entries, 2700 points)
-2000s(20 entries, 2656 points)
-1980s(7 entries, 874 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points)

Man, I need to work on my math >_>

Your work is appreciated, Jeremy (I like statistics) and we will try to back you up.

My absolute favorite Peter David Spider-Man comic is Amazing Spider-Man 267, one of the funniest comics I’ve ever read. 266 is pretty damn funny too, actually.

“And Quitely, well, is he ever bad or even subpar?”

Whenever people are involved. WE3 definitely plays to his strengths by having animals at its centre.

“Surely you are not serious.”
Of course I’m serious – between We3, Seaguy, Seaguy II & All Star Superman, I felt that the writer had lost the plot somewhat but then got it back with Black Glove / Batman RIP.

oh this is too good. “david” spends the last week ridiculing my comments for my opinions about RIP, reign of the superman, and knightfall–all of which have many detractors–but then admits to thinking we3 and all-star superman had “lost the plot?” but that morrison “got it back” with RIP? i don’t think i even have to say anything…

Damn, neither We3 nor Confessions made even the top 50!

I’ve read all of these except for Batman: RIP, putting me at 42 read, 8 unread (and counting a couple of half-read ones as read)

WE3 – Fantastic. This might have made my list if I’d remembered it.

Confession – Fantastic. This might have made my list if I’d remembered it.

Death of Jean DeWolffe – This might have been revolutionary at the time, but when I read it for the first time a few months ago it was merely decent for me.

Death of Superman – Rubbish really. The only good thing about it is that it paved the way for the excellent Reign of the Supermen.

Oh and still none of my votes have turned up!

This list includes two stories that I actively dislike and one more than I ‘passively’ dislike and one I haven’t read at all.

The Death of Jean DeWolfe story was good though. :)

(As an aside, how come the ‘Best Runs’ list was so good – imo – while this list includes a bunch of stories that were so bad?)

Hell Yeah Grant Morrison! I didn’t vote for either, but he is probably my favorite writer. Great, Great stuff. I’m waiting to see where Final Crisis is, then people will really start to complain.

Dan Jurgens didn’t make the top 150 runs list because he did 12 years of stories, not all of which were good, including the infamous Blue/Red story. So if Death/Funeral/Return took one year, then basically people felt that 1/12 of a run being good isn’t enough to make it a “good run.”

“Death” doesn’t quite meet my personal fanboy needs, and I imagine will eventually fall into the same area as the old Earth-1/2 team-ups: fun, and memorable to those who read it as a kid, but eventually forgotten.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this list, which seems to be a good indicator of “what’s cool now.” I hope Brian shows the total list eventually, or some part thereof.

That said, “R.I.P.” shocked the hell out of me.

We3: Hooray! (Should be higher.)
Death of Superman: Really?
Death of Jean DeWolff: Wow, never heard of it. I’ll have to check it out.

This list is great for discovering some classics and/or beloved comics. I was traditionally a DC guy growing up, but I thought I’d read most of Marvel’s big epics and critically acclaimed storylines — lots of early Ditko-Lee “Spider-Man” (my favorite); some Kirby-Lee “FF”; Iron Man battling the “demon in a bottle”; Kraven’s Last Hunt; the (first) Phoenix saga; Daredevil: Born Again. It’s fun to find out about the stuff I missed.

I have read all 5 of these bringing my total to 38 out of 50.

I really wish I had voted. WE3 would have made my list for sure,

Finally, something from my top ten. I put Death of Jean DeWolfe at #7 on my list. To be honest, I’m surpised it made it into the top 100. I didn’t think most people would remember it. The Sin-Eater blew my mind away when I was a kid, and the way Spider-Man reacted to him was some powerful stuff. I also liked the way it set up his relationship with Daredevil.

Anyone who even remotely likes Spider-Man and/or Daredevil should probably check it out. They are Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107 – 110. Out of curiousity, I just checked one of the larger online comic book back issue retailers, and they are currently selling all four issues in near-mint for $18 even. I’m sure you can shop around and find it for less.

Now up to 30/50 for me, and I am again embarrassed that there’s a sizable hole (DoJD) in my reading, that’s been filled by a childhood money pit instead (DoSM, and yes I have two copies of Superman #75).


@ Sean C.

“Whenever people are involved. WE3 definitely plays to his strengths by having animals at its centre.”

Really? I’ll admit, I was exposed to Quitely’s work pretty late (New X-Men) and hated it at first (but I think that’s mainly because I just don’t like X-Men team books, obviously with a few exceptions). I wondered why everyone had to look sorta lumpy and have pouty lips in his work and unfairly chalked him up as someone I’d tried and not been hot on. Then WE3 came along, I loved it, and gorged myself on everything he’d done up to that point. Geez, I think I just negated that whole counterpoint..

@ The Comment Community

I really really need to read this Spidey story (“Death Of Jean Dewolfe”) and can’t find it anywhere on Amazon OR Ebay. That posted cover art HAS to be from a collected edition. Anybody know anything about it?

Joshua you can buy “Spider-man: Ten Greatest Stories Ever” on amazon you can find it for under $10 and it includes the Death of Jean DeWolff, the famous Juggernaut story and the really good half-issue of the kid that collects Spider-man. Cheap and it includes really good stories.

joshua nelson-

you’re better off just getting the original issues, as the trad ei sout of print. it’s only four issues, and i would think you’d be able to find them all in the $2-4 range. or, if you want to splurge, the entire story is reprinted in the spider-man wizard masterpiece hardcover edition (along with a handful of other great spidey stories). that retails for $29.95, but can probably be found online much cheaper. if you decide to go the route of the individual issues, check out http://www.mycomicshop.com which is the cheapest place online to buy back issues and has an excellent selection.

Brian would We3 been in your top ten? Ive read a lot of comics and it would have been in mine.

“Oh this is too good. “David” spends the last week ridiculing my comments for my opinions about RIP, reign of the superman, and knightfall–all of which have many detractors–but then admits to thinking We3 and All-star Superman had “lost the plot?” but that morrison “got it back” with RIP? I don’t think i even have to say anything…”
Based on your comments about the 3 storyarcs listed above – I feel you don’t have the faintest clue what a good storyline is!

Now three from my list have turned up – We3, From Hell, and the Kindly Ones.

I’ll also count The Slavers as one of mine, as I voted for The Long, Cold Dark and no other Punisher stories are going to turn up.

I wasn’t sure We3 would make it, as I thought a lot of people would forget it when it came time to make a list, Glad I was wrong.

I was surprised how low From Hell came. Not so surprised by the position of the Kindly Ones, as a lot of people don’t seem to rate it that highly.

As some have already said, Club of Heroes should be higher than RIP, but I guess RIP is the name people think of when they think of Morrison’s Batman run.

Death of Superman sucks, but I’m less surprised by its appearance than I was at House of M making it.

Death of Jean DeWolf is the second of mine to show up.

I felt badly that it was the only Peter David story, but to be honest I really love David’s “runs” more than his “storylines.” I really couldn’t pick a run from Hulk, Aquaman, Young Justice, etc. that I liked more than the others. But back in the day, Death of Jean DeWolf is what turned me from a kid who knew who Spider-Man was into a fan.


We3 – Well, I guess I don’t have a soul lol But, I can see why so many people think it’s good, even though I didn’t like as much as people are telling me I should.

Confessions – Yay to Astro City love! A very underrated super-hero comic. I also really liked the issue where his Superman and Wonderwoman analogues go out for a date..that was from the initial mini-series, right?

Death of JeanDewolf – I liked the 80s era Spider-man. Maybe it’s becuase that’s when I started reading comics, but lots of good stuff from that decade, and this is one of them.

Death of Superman – It is what it is. A gimmick designed to get people interested and talking about Superman, and at the time, it worked. Check your brain at the door and watch an extended fight scene.

Batman RIP – Morrison isn’t my favorite writer, and his stuff is hit or miss for me. This is definitely in the miss camp.

Nice write ups Brian. I really enjoy the write ups you do for each comic. Thanks.

Thanks, Enrique. I get all the comments after my own e-mailed to me, and I had been waiting forever to see Brian’s commentary on Death of Jean DeWolf. Thank you for alerting me that it was here now.

You commented on the one aspect tyhat I thought was clcihe in the Jean dewolf storyline. Namely it was a cliche by the late 80s for one Marvel hero to lose it and want/try to kill an opponent while another Marvel hero reign him in. It seemed like it happened all the time. Got a little predictable.

I’m so sad Superman didn’t stay dead………

… and that he didn’t take the rest of his group of Village People with him.


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