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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #25-20

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.

25. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” by Alan Moore, Curt Swan, Kurt Schaffenberger and George Perez (Superman #423 and Action Comics #583) – 308 points (4 first place votes)

With the John Byrne revamp of Superman due soon, DC had one last opportunity to “say goodbye” to the pre-Crisis version of the character, and editor Julie Schwartz was delighted that Alan Moore was the man to do the farewell.

The result was “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” a story of the last days of Superman, utilizing pretty much every Superman villain and supporting cast member, in a story that was at both times dark and touching.

The main gist of the plot was that Superman’s enemies all become more and more vicious, with normal bad guys suddenly becoming murderers.

With the D-Level villains suddenly causing problems, the A-Level threats like Lex Luthor and Brainiac are REAL problems for Superman, so he collects his closest friends and holes up at his Fortress of Solitude and awaits the siege.

What follows next is a mix of horror and heroism, love and loss and one of the more brutal twists involving a longtime Superman villain becoming an extremely deadly threat seemingly out of nowhere.

In the end, Moore took the toys that were available to him and used them all up, essentially, in such a way that the book could not have continued otherwise, leaving it perfect for a revamp of the title.

And having it all drawn by Curt Swan (with Perez inking the first issue and classic Superman artist Kurt Schaffenberger inking the second) was just a master stroke – seeing Swan draw some of the death scenes is just beyond touching.

24. “New Frontier” by Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier #1-6) – 314 points (2 first place votes)

New Frontier was Darwyn Cooke’s love letter to the Silver Age of the DC Universe.

The set-up of the series was to present the formation of the Silver Age in the contxt of the actual late 1950s/early 1960s.

So Cooke highlights the days of McCarthyism, and applies that to the world of superheroes, painting a bleak picture for heroes.

Probably the two main characters in New Frontier are J’onn J’onnz and Hal Jordan, as Cooke shows each of their journeys to superherodom from start to finish.

The rest of the series is populated with essentially a who’s who of DC characters, all drawn wonderfully by Cooke.

The book is more or less a collection of set pieces (a Losers story here, a Superman story there, a Hal Jordan here, a Flash story there) all leading up to the point where an alien invasion forces all the heroes to band together – but can they hold it together? And do they have enough time to stop the invasion?

Well, find out in this visually striking story!

23. “All in the Family” by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Preacher #8-12) – 318 points (13 first place votes)

In “All in the Family,” we fully examine the background of the hero of Preacher, Jesse Custer (the Preacher of the book’s title).

We see the family life he came from, a terrible world where his grandmother and her two goons controlled his family’s life and abused Jesse terribly.

Now he is back for revenge, along with his girlfriend, Tulip and his new best friend, Cassidy (and Irish vampire).

Well, Tulip gets her face blown off – so you can imagine how smoothly it all went.

All in the Family shows Ennis at his best – coming up with absolutely twisted stories involving sex and violence, but somehow managing to also make the whole thing filled with so much strong characterization that characters who are killed in this story (and only appear in a couple of issues, really) became fan favorites and even get their own spin-off later on (via flashbacks, of course)!

There is a tremendous scene where Jody (one of the aforementioned goons) has a showdown with Jesse – Jody, as twisted and demented as he is, effectively was Jesse’s father figure growing up, so even as they are fighting to the death, Jody can’t help but be proud of the man Jesse grew up to become.

Story continues below

When you mix in a scared God (who is afraid of Jesse, who gained the Word of God early in the series), just when you think things couldn’t get any freakier – well, they do.

And it is excellent.

I forgot to mention what an excellent job Steve Dillon does – maybe that’s because Dillon does an excellent job on each and every issue of Preacher. That’s probably it.

22. “American Gothic” by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, Stan Woch, Ron Randall, Alfredo Alcala and Tom Mandrake (The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37-38, 42-45, Swamp Thing #39-41, 46-50) – 330 points (5 first place votes)

American Gothic involves the introduction of John Constantine, and what that meant for Swamp Thing.

Essentially, Cosntantine works as a sort of plot driver for the series of stories that make up “American Gothic.”

An evil South-American magic cult named the Brujeria are using the Crisis on Infinite Earths to help them take over the supernatural arena, and as part of their plot, they began having all sorts of evil events take place across America. Constantine manipulates Swamp Thing into taking down these threats.

Eventually, it all leads to basically one big ol’ fight between good and evil, and literally the Ultimate Darkness against the Ultimate Light.

There are a series of artists at work during this storyline – the standard brilliance of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, but also impressive work from Rick Veitch and Stan Woch on pencils.

Moore handled the slow build towards issue #50 about as well as any writer has ever handled a build to a “big” issue number – this is a storyline without being a strict storyline (for most of the story, at least).

The final battle in #50, though, is given all the trappings you would expect from a “big” issue, with Moore playing with the vast history of DC Comics and their supernatural characters.

Moore stayed on the title for a little while longer (and did some excellent work), but in many ways, this was the capper to his Swamp Thing run.

20 (tie). “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #141 and Uncanny X-Men #142) – 350 points (2 first place votes)

Days of Future Past was a major X-Men storyline, as it introduced many key figures and plotlines that would reoccur many times over the next 30 years (and counting).

The main concept of the book is that a group of X-Men in the future, a dark future where most mutants have been hunted down and killed by government-mandated genocide (using giant robots called Sentinels), decide to try to change their present by sending one of them back in time to stop the problem before it began.

The way they do this is by sending the mind of Katherine Pryde into the mind of herself as a teenager, Kitty Pryde of the X-Men.

You see, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are destined to kill Senator Robert Kelly, an anti-mutant Senator who wants to run for President. If they succeed, this will lead tot he backlash that made their timeline occur. So the idea is to avoid that by saving Kelly’s life.

The rest of the comic mixes in the present-time X-Men trying to stop the Brotherhood along with the future X-Men facing off against the Sentinels.

The story introduced the dark future timeline, which became a major trope for the X-Books (alternate timelines), plus introduced major characters like Rachel, the telepath who sends Katherine’s mind to the past, and a few new evil mutants who kept popping up over and over again over the years (Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro).

This was also notable in that it was the last storyline that the classic X-Men team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne did on the book (Byrne left the book after one more issue, a classic Christmas tale).


Wow, 13 first-place votes for the “Preacher” arc.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is a fine story, but I actually prefer “For the Man Who has Everything” in terms of Alan Moore Superman stories. And in terms of “The final Superman story”, it doesn’t have SHIT on All-Star Superman.

New Frontier is a fantastic celebration of the era of silver age hero, even though it makes that era seem a lot better than it really was. BEAUTIFUL stuff though.

I’m go on record and say that “All in the Family” is the best short story arc to come out of Vertigo. The emotional power in this thing is just unparalleled in the medium. By the last issue, I wanted that family to die in the most gruesome way, and that whatever they got had coming to them was too good for him. The lat fight between Jesse and Jody was incredible as well. I can’t believe I forgot to vote for this.

And now we have the best long story arc to come out of Vertigo with “American Gothic”. The gradual build up the ultimate confrontation in #50 had me flipping the pages like a mad man, and the last issue was everything I wanted and moore.

“Days of Future Past” was inevitable, as is Dark Phoenix Saga. I’ve showcased my distaste of the Claremont run, but whatever. 4/5 great entries today is really nice to see.


If I had remembered to vote for “All in the Family”, it would have probably made top 3 easy. Oh well, its still in the top 25. Still…that means Infinite Crisis is gonna place over it. Yay.


Interesting notes – Moore is less than a hundred points from overtaking Morrison(with V for Vendetta and Watchmen on the way, it seems inevitable),

-28 are Marvel stories

-35 are DC stories(19 are DC, 13 are Vertigo, 3 are Wildstorm)

-55 are superhero stories
-20 are non-superhero stories

-2000s(31 entries, 5080 points)
-1990s(26 entries, 4386 points)
-1980s(14 entries, 2708 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points)
-1960s(1 entry, 206 points)

By Writer:

-Morrison (8 entries, 1403 points)
-Moore (6 entries, 1330 points)
-Gaiman (4 entries, 839 points)
-Ennis (4 entries, 748 points)
-Millar (2 entries, 598 points)
-Claremont (2 entries, 568 points)
-L. Simonson (3 entries, 566 points)
-Brubaker (4 entries, 564 points)
-Ellis (4 entries, 563 points)
-Busiek (3 entries, 537 points)
-Stern (3 entries, 520 points)
-W. Simonson (2 entries, 429 points)
-Bendis (3 entries, 381 points)
-Shooter (2 entries, 361 points)
-Jurgens (2 entries, 348 points)
-Ordway (2 entries, 348 points)
-Cooke (1 entry, 314 points)
-Meltzer (1 entry, 304 points)
-Vaughan (2 entries, 295 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Johns (1 entry, 231 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 points)
-Loeb (1 entry, 220 points)
-Ditko(1 entry, 206 points)
-Lee(1 entry, 206 points)
-Whedon (1 entry, 195 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)
-Stern (1 entry, 141 points)
-Michelinie (1 entry, 141 points)
-JMS (1 entry, 140 points)
-Starlin (2 entries, 408 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)

Can’t argue with any of these, read four of five, all but New Frontier. Didn’t vote for any of these in particular, but all excellent stories, and if I’d thought about it harder I’d have picked All in the Family, as it’s probably the best representation of everything that Preacher stands for. I really do want to read New Frontier, I’ve seen the animated movie and thought it was excellent. Looking forward to seeing the whole thing in print.

I agree with all but New Frontier, New Frontier should be up around # 80-90 on the list.

Two Alan Moores and an Ennis is fantastic.
Claremont and Byrne is a classic.

OK, as a long time lurker on this blog (and when I say long time, I mean years :-), this is my first post!

I just wanted to say that this has been a fantastically useful poll Brian – my reading list is now booked up for months to come :-). So far I’m only 30 out of 80 lol. First up, American Gothic – I picked up the early TPBs and enjoyed them yet some how never got around to completing the set when it came to Moore’s classic Swamp Thing run. Looking forward to the run up to no 1 and quietly confident that my ‘hit rate’ will improve :-).


I’m sure Moore is going to overtake Morrison, but on the other hand, New X-Men hasn’t charted anything yet, and I’d be a little surprised if it doesn’t. That may well swing it back to Morrison in the end. That said, I hold out hope for Promethea getting some representation.

I an have few complaints about this particular stretch. I’m surprised to see Days of Future Past so low, actually.

Read only “All in the Family” (I’m currently reading “War in the Sun”), and it also made my list (second hit so far, after “A Game of You”). Absolutely best Preacher story I read so far, and one of the best stories I read in comics format.

I fully expect “E for Extinction” and “All-Star Superman” to show up for Morrison. I had voted for “Riot at Xaviers” but I doubt its gonna show up now.

Another 5 for 5 day bringing me to 65 out of 80. Let me just say, and pardon my French, that All in the Family is the shit!

Finally something I voted for. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is perfect.

All good stuff tthis time around, I’m happy to see.

Whatever Happened… is my favorite Superman story (the only real competetition: All Star Superman, Secret Identity, For all Seasons [yeah, yeah, Jeph Loeb is the devil, but I liked it], For the Man Who Has Everything). Moore, Swan, Perez, & Schaffenberger cooked up a beautiful send-off.

All in the Family is my favorite Preacher arc as well. It’s both a devestating tragedy and a satisfying revenge story.

New Frontier was a fun comic with gorgeous artwork. I could stare at Cooke’s art all day long. I was particularly impressed by its scope and the way Cooke tailored his art to each character. The Flash sequence was a standout.

The Curse contains my least favorite Moore Swamp Thing story (the title story), but the rest of it is gold.

I had the Days of Future Past “bookshelf format” reprint as a kid, and must have read it 100 times. I’m amazed at how much Byrne and Claremont packed into two issues.

Moore and Morrison have each got probably two entries left, but I’m guessing Moore’s will chart higher (and one of them is guaranteed #1). It’s very likely Moore will win the points, though not the number of entries.

3 of 5 here, brings me to 34 of 80.

“What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” is a brilliant little finale to the Silver Age Superman (though Moore’s stories with him are among the handful of those that I’ve found to be actually worth reading).

“New Frontier” – this I’ve always found to be really overrated, honestly. The narrative is scattershot, permitting minimal characterization, and the villain ultimately is a complete bore. It looks great, though.

“American Gothic” – an interesting way of tying the series into the Crisis, with a lot of good parts (though those cave guys really never came across as the threat Moore seemed to be implying they were).

Haven’t read:

“Days of Future Past” – one of those X-Men stories that everybody knows about. I bought the first UXM omnibugs and enjoyed it, and I’ve been waiting for the second one for years, since that would include it. Will get to it eventually.

“All in the Family” – never read Preacher. I’m not really interested in Ennis’ take on God.

I was just looking at Jeremy’s post about the totals, and something occured to me. People have been complaining that this poll celebrates bad taste, but if you look at the top five writers we have:

-Morrison (8 entries, 1403 points)
-Moore (6 entries, 1330 points)
-Gaiman (4 entries, 839 points)
-Ennis (4 entries, 748 points)
-Millar (2 entries, 598 points)

I mean, those are pretty good writers. And I’m guessing that once we get the point totals for Born Again and Dark Knight Returns added in, Miller will be in the top 3 or 4, pushing out Millar. I’m pretty sure that even though we have aberrations on the list like Meltzer and Shooter (go Shooter!), in the long wrong the writers with the most votes will be relatively representative of the best writers in comics.

Oops, meant long run, not long wrong. Jeez, I gotta stop playing video games all night long. I’m supposed to be a grown man.

19 stories left to go, and none from my list have made it yet. am i THAT out-of-step with the average comic reader?

What tied with “Days of Future Past”? Ooooooo, the suspense…

I think, with the exception of V for Vendetta and Batman: Year One, I’m probably done. Seems that my favorite arcs of long runs (such as “Assault on Weapon Plus” from Morrison’s X-Men and “Long Cold Dark” from Ennis’ Punisher) are not favorites of the masses.

Pretty good list today. JoeMac makes a great point. The list is shaping up to be a pretty good representation of the internet-Wednesday crowd: a lot of the “classics” by the “masters” with a bunch of the “f*** yeah” superhero epics we love-to-hate and hate-to-love.

Uhm… what tied for #20 with “Days of Futures Past”? Shoudn’t that be listed?

We only get five per post. Technically speaking, this post should be #25-21, but the tie means one of them gets placed in the next post.

Oh, I forgot about Batman: Year One. Hell, Miller may end up being #2 overall, maybe even #1. It’s possible. Almost definitely in the top 3.

Another one of mine in — Days of Future Past. 3 in for me so far; still waiting on 4 locks and 1 maybe, with 2 I know won’t make it.

The Crazed Spruce

December 12, 2009 at 9:42 am

“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is #6 on my list. Definitely one of Moore’s best works. And that’s saying something….

To date, I’ve only read Preacher up to the end of “All in the Family”. (I really have no excuse, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it.) And while I agree that this story belongs on this list, I actually had the first arc on my short list.

I’ve only read two issues of “American Gothic” (although one of them was issue #50), but I did love those issues. (In fact, issue #50 has at least two or three moments that definitely belong on your “cool moments” list.)

Haven’t read “New Frontier” or “Days of Future Past”, but I definitely plan to.

Jeremy – If it makes you feel any better, even if you had voted for All in the Family it wouldn’t have given it enough points to move up even one spot. Unless you meant it would be in your top 3, and not the list’s. I didn’t vote for any Preacher stories, because I more or less view the run as a whole (and I think it made #1 or 2 on my top runs list) but I did almost include All in the Family. It’s my favorite story out off a run full of favorite stories.

And I don’t think Infinite Crisis will show up on the list at all. Even with several titles showing up that have led to a lot of debate, I just don’t see that many people being fans of IC. I could have seen it towards the bottom of the list, but not in the top 20. But who knows? This list has definitely shown that the people that comment regularly on this blog are in the minority on a lot of their opinions.

Now this is moore like it. This batch probably includes my last vote to appear on the whole list… Oh wait, there is one more.

I just went through and counted how many total stories I’ve read of the list so far, and I’m only at 46/80 plus 4 or 5 more that I’ve read parts of. I would have aexpected it to be closer to 60. Guess I have some reading to do.

Jeremy, your tally on the decades sums up to 76 instead of 80.

I like it that since we got to top 35 almost everyday someone says, now we will only see DC or Marvel and then something pops up. I know technically Swamp Thing and Preacher are DC but I think Vertigo should count differently when discussing this. Vertigo’s track record is superb.


i agree about preacher counting separately, but swamp thing is not really vertigo. even though the trades are under vertigo, the comics were published 7-8 years before the vertigo imprint even existed, and the stories are incredibly tied into the dc universe. the american gothic stories are heavily involved with what was happening in crisis on infinite earths, and guest stars include zatanna, zatarra, the demon, phantom stranger, deadman, the spectre, dr. fate, and sargon the sorcerer.

but enrique brings up a god point. i would like to see the vertigo stories split into the ones that take place in the dcu and the ones that do not. all of the swamp thing, sandman, animal man, doom patrol, and hellblazer take place in the dcu, while all of the transmet, preacher, fables, and y: the last man. do not. so the former part of the list should be listed with dc, and the latter part should be listed with the wildstorm stuff.

4/5 today. i actually own the new frontier trades, just haven’t gotten to them. read everything else, and while i didn’t vote for any of it, it all would have made my top 30, and is all justifiably classic. great stuff on the list today.

and i agree with a previous poster that infinite crisis won’t be making it at this point. while a lot of people liked it, not a lot of people loved it, and with the point totals we saw today, the only stuff making it from here on out has to be pretty widely loved. however, i still think civil war will show up in the next day or two. not saying it’s good, just saying it will show up.

I’m optimistic that “Infinite Crisis” will not chart at the top. It just wasn’t good. (And I say that as someone who very much enjoys Johns’ Wally West Flash run and his current GL work.) If it does sneak in, whatever, I’ll just shrug. There’s no sense at getting worked up over any aberrations we personally perceive in this list, which is, overall, shaping up to be a fine guideline of comics to read. I feel like we could all take the entire month of January off to catch up on the great stuff we haven’t yet enjoyed!

i would have thought both what ever happen to the man of tommorrow and new frontier would have been in the top five along with days of future past. also glad to seem some swamp thing and preacher lovin on this list so far

I’m honestly surprised Days of Future Past is ranking this high. It’s not one of the X-Men classics that have held up especially well in trade. Even when I first read it I left the issue with a feeling of, “What, that’s it?”

Well, with the Vertigo Firewall that Levitz has set up, at the moment it seems to me that the DCU Vertigo stuff almost has to be counted as a separate universe to the DCU at this point – a sort of shadow DCU that is neither one at this point.


Why would the non-DCU Vertigo work be listed under Wildstorm? It doesn’t take place in that universe either, and I think it’s sufficently different in tone to be counted as it’s own thing, yes?

These are five pretty fantastic entires.

The most amazing thing about “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” is how tight it is. Every page pays of a long-standing character arc, or two. The final page is the perfect ending for the Superman saga.

I think NEW FRONTIER is amazing and really does tell a nearly perfect “first JLA” story. It is the perfect book-end to KINGDOM COME.

“American Gothic” blew my mind. John Constantine was an amazing creation by Moore and he added an interesting dynamic to Swamp Thing. Also, this is probably the best ever tie-in to mega cross-over. It leverages COIE, but tells its own story and keeps Swampy in his own world.

“Days of Future Past” was another mind-blower. It is a nearly perfect “last X-Men” story that serves as the capstone of their definitive creative team. However, it leaves a couple decades between the dystopia depicted and the heroes we know, so there is a feeling of creeping doom behind the “happy ending”. How much has Geoff Johns learned from that dynamic?

“All In The Family” was in my top ten! Really glad to see it so high, as there’s really nothing else quite like that story in 99.8% of comics, if any.

I limited myself to one X-men story when I was making my list. The final four were Days of Future past, the Dark Phoenix Saga, Inferno, and Age of Apocalypse. I went with Days of Future Past because it absolutely blew me away when 141 came out. I was 10 and had been reading X-Men for all of five issues when this story happened and I remember just staring at the cover and then reading the book about a million times. I loved absolutely every moment of it and I was insanely impatient for 142 to come out.

Every now and again I take out a storyline I loved as a kid and read it again and wonder how it would be done today. If Millar or, god help us, Bendis were to write this story today it would probably take three years to tell. Hell, Kitty finding her way back to the South Bronx Mutant Containment Facility would take up at least an issue all by its lonesome. X-Fans would drop 40 or 50 bucks and spend the time between issues on the internet picking apart the plot and bemoaning the lack of Dazzler. But back in the day you spent one dollar and spent the two months in between issues (yes, kids, not only was there only ONE X-men book- it was bi-monthly) wondering what was gonna happen next.

Which is my roundabout way of adding my own “philosophy” of list choice to the ongoing comments. When I made my list I picked stories that I loved. Some of them I loved for the craft that went in to making them. Some of them I loved for the sheer fun of them. Some of them I loved because of how they made me feel at the time. The best of them combined all three. I think that there should always be a combination of intellectual admiration and love.

I admire the craft of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow but it didn’t make me feel a thing. It’s not a bad story. It’s just not a story that succeeded with me. I’m happy to see it on the list, though, because I think there’s a need for the occasional reminder that individuals read comics and that different opinions and points of view are a wonderful thing.

-2000s(30 entries, 5080 points)
-1990s(31 entries, 4386 points)
-1980s(14 entries, 2708 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points)
-1960s(1 entry, 206 points)

I’m 99.9% sure thats accurate. Man, I gotta stop messing this up :(

I’ve read one of these! (I think that’s four now.) I’ve been hearing about Days Of Future Past for years, and I finally read it last Spring, in an Essentials volume from the library. I was kind of disappointed, actually. It was a decent story, but it wasn’t the brilliant masterpiece I’d always heard about. I guess my expectations were probably too high. (And it would probably be better in colour, too.) It’s definitely an important story, considering all the later stories and characters that sprang out of it. (Mostly garbage, but you can’t blame the original story for that.)
I’ve been wondering about Wolverine’s visible age in this story. Obviously, his healing factor wasn’t so powerfull back then and they hadn’t established yet that he ages so slowly. Have they ever explained why he was so much visibly older in this future?
I thought X-Men was already monthly by this point, but I could very well be wrong. Maybe it became monthly shortly afterwards. I know it happened sometime around that time.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is a fine story, but I actually prefer “For the Man Who has Everything” in terms of Alan Moore Superman stories. And in terms of “The final Superman story”, it doesn’t have SHIT on All-Star Superman.

i thought moore`s was much better.

Mary is correct. X-Men went monthly with issue #113.

@ Chad:

I am not sure that “Days of Future Past” is the kind of story that can really be told anymore.

As Mary mentioned, it really is not the same thing in isolation as it was within the context of the Claremont-Byrne run. We had just seen the death of Jean Grey, who was (I believe) the first Silver Age hero to die. We had seen the funeral and the first major change in the status quo of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. As a reader, I was reeling. Then, this story happens and heavily foreshadows the death of effectively the entire cast. I totally bought it in a way that I never would today. Sure, Benids (or Brubaker, or Fraction) is killing off Wolverine. Whatever.

However, at the time it seemed like anything was possible with the X-Men. This was the last moment that I felt like that until the first wave of Morrison issues.

Like all Moore’s most mainstream stuff, I’m lukewarm on Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.

I read the first half of New Frontier. It was okay, but there’s no way it should be this high.

I really thought Preacher would be out of the running because of a nine-way vote split. All in the Family is great, but I didn’t know it would be this popular. Does this mean Alamo (which I think is much better) will make it too?
Also, that cover is one of my favorite covers ever. Something about Jesse’s head in the sky over the murder of his father really speaks to me for some reason.

I’ve read about halfway through Swamp Thing in the old trades, and I think I’ve read “the Curse” but not “A Murder of Crows.” Anyway, there’s nothing to say about Swamp Thing that hasn’t already said. It is so freakin’ good.

Days of Future Past deserves this, despite setting a disturbing trend for bad alternate X-Futures (“Here Comes Tomorrow” was certainly the best to follow it, but still wasn’t a high point of Morrison’s run, which really climaxed in “Planet X.”) It’s a pretty perfect story. While I’m on covers, both the Days of Future Past covers were excellent excellent excellent. I want “In this Issue… Everybody Dies!” to be written on my gravestone.

The Crazed Spruce

December 12, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I agree, “For The Man Who Has Everything” was one hell of a story, but it was a single self-contained issue, so it doesn’t count as far as this list goes. (Haven’t read All-Star Superman, so I can’t make a judgement on it.)

While some parts (mainly the scenes with “Future Lois”) seem just a little dated, for the most part, I find that “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” holds up pretty well. But it was especially good in context. Remember, it was literally the last Silver Age Superman story, and was published a full month before John Byrne’s reboot. Today, the story’s great. At the time, it was awesome.

New Frontier doesn’t show up this highly if Cronin doesn’t do his multi-week tribute to the story(in his “cool” comic book momments” right before(well during) he takes in the votes. It was campaigning, he likely didn’t do it on purpose but you can see the effect.

I ain’t mad at you son….but it needs to be said

This was a good day!

I read 4 out 5 of, I still haven’t read The New Frontier, but I definitely plan on buying that (I almost included it in my amazon order a few days ago)

“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is a striking story, with a lot of emotional moments, that even led me to tears at a few times. It’s definitely worthy of being so high on this list. It didn’t make my shortlist, but it almost did, I was reluctant to not include it, but the rest won over it.

And then 2 of my picks showed up!

I voted for “All in the Family” because it’s the best Preacher storyline of all, and it is amazing, with the number of tragedies that it shows, the intense emotions that transmits. This is the story that made me really care about Jesse and that made me start to root heavily for the customer. It has great moments (BURN, I’m proud of you, boy, among others), and great characters. I could not have included it on my top 10.

My second pick was American Gothic, which is the storyline that basically made me stop liking bland superhero stories (although I’ll always keep liking good superhero stories) and made me seek more mature works, because there was no going back for me after reading this. I read it at a pretty young age, around 11 or 12, and it made a strong impression on me, with the horror moments, John Constantine and the philosophical discussion of what is evil. Thanks to reading American Gothic I then followed with Sandman, Invisibles, and all Vertigo and simmilar mature works ensued.

I read Days of Future Past and I liked it, I don’t remember a whole lot about it now because I read it several years ago and only read it once, but I recall that for me it stood out from the rest of the stories in the Claremont era that I read, even more than Dark Phoenix. I’m not sure that it belongs so high up here, but I do believe that it certainly deserves to be on the list.

I thought that both All in the Family and American Gothic were going to place higher on the list, but I’m still glad to see them in the Top 25, it’s not a bad placing at all!.

So… I think that more good days are coming

One question, is the absolute edition of New Frontier worth it? Is it a good absolute edition? Or should I buy the paperbacks. I’m not asking money wise because then the answer would be obvious, but I ask because I have a lot Absolute volumes that are better than others.


Of all the Absolute editions, the New Frontier edition is one of the more “worth it” ones.

Thanks for the reply Brian, I almost bought it a few days ago but I wanted to wait to gather some opinions because no Absolute Edition is cheap, and you’re advice is usually good. I left it waiting in my shopping cart saved for later, so I’ll definitely include it in my next order, I am pretty anxious to get it and read it!

Very nice list today!
The only one I find that sticks out a bit is Days of Future Past. I don’t remember who, but someone in the comments above mentionned that sort of story just doesn’t work anymore, even the classic ones, like DoFP, which were quite succesful back then no longer have that same affect today.
It’s funny, i htink it was on yesterday’s post where I mentionned this Preacher storyline. Very happy to see it here.
Yay for American Gothic, one of my votes!

Good day today :D

“Byrne left the book after one more issue, a classic Christmas tale”

Yes, Byrne leaving a book, seemingly without warning (at least as far as fans could tell back in those days) certainly seemed like a time-honoured tradition after a while, right up there with yearly showings of “Rudolph” and-
Oh. That’s not what you meant. Never mind.

Jeremy, I must respectfully disagree.

Morrison’s A.S. Superman doesn’t hold a candle to Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”. IMO, Morrison’s story has way too many plot-holes (example: Superman should have been cured of his poisoning via the fact that he lost virtually all of his powers while in the Underverse, meaning his Solar Energy Reserves had to go back if not below normal levels, thus any cells that had yet to go through apoptosis would now be safe and new cells would replace the dead ones without being immediately over-loaded by the excess solar radiation within his body) and too many instances of Superman doing things un-Superman like (creating a parallel Earth just to examine it and make sure Earth could get by without him? Really?) that pull me right out of the narrative.

Moore’s story on the other hand is very tight and what few things you could find that are questionable are covered by other aspects of the story (needless to say, Mxylptlk’s overall meddling of people’s minds, which even includes Superman if you stop to think about it). And as sad as that not all characters get a happy ending, it shows the strength of Superman’s character in that he’s trapped in a no-win scenario, makes a horrific choice and lives up to the consequences of his actions by giving up his right to be Superman.

As much as All Star Superman is one of the better Superman stories to come out in recent years, I don’t think it’s the be-all, end-all ‘finale’ of Superman. That’s still Alan Moore’s epic.

Although Issue#6 is one of the best Superman issues ever. So heartbreaking and well done.

Still, it might be personal experience. The first time I read Superman#423 at a cousin’s house, tears rolled down my face when I turned to the last page and read, “It looked as if he’d been crying”. That has stuck with me for years and I doubt I’ll ever forget it.

Just my .002 cents, since I didn’t get the time to send my own votes in (in which “Whatever Happened” would’ve gotten a few more points, if not another #1 vote).

I love my absolute edition of “New Frontier” – enough that it’s now the second title of my choices to appear. I think two of my other choices will show up as well, plus an outside chance at a third.

By the way, this is a nit-picking point, but the big threat in New Frontier isn’t actually an alien invasion, although dramatically it functions pretty similarly to one. In fact, Cooke has said that he came up with the idea he did because he was trying to think of something other than an alien invasion.

I didn’t vote for Moore’s Superman story, but I did enjoy that as well.

I just had a thought… is anyone else interested in what the results of this poll would be if you left out all of the superhero stories?

Lynxara, Mary –

“Days of Future Past” is an example of a story with themes and ideas that were very novel when it was first published, but ever since these themes have entered pop culture in such a pervasive way, that the modern reader that goes back to read it will think the story is nothing special.

I read it when it was first published, and it seemed HUGE at the time. Today, I’ve read and seen dozens of apocalyptic-futures and the-machines-have-taken-over and we-have-to-go-back-in-time-to-fix-it and they-all-die-in-the-alternate-timeline and a-politician’s-death-started-it-all.

But man, in 1981 it was hot stuff and it blew my young mind.

And yep, Wolverine was far less powerful in the Claremont stories.

And I gotta say, these five picks are truly worthy of this list!

My bad about the bi-monthly X-men thing. I remember waiting forever for issues, but that may have been because finding specific comics was sometimes a bit harder back in the day. I’m pretty sure I got issue 142 in a drugstore of a town that was an hour and a half away from where we lived. Luckily my mom was used to me saying things like “Mom! Safewaydoesn’thavethisoneanditsasecondpartofatwopartstorysoifIdon’tgetitrightnowImaynevergettoreadit!pleasepleaseplease?”

If any art can be described as perfect its those 2 covers to the New Frontier trades

I really like this list. It has one of my picks “American Gothic” and three other stories that I love: Days of Future Past, New Frontier, and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.

I like All-Star Superman, but, for me, Whatever Happened is the stronger all around story. In part, I like it more because it creates such a powerful story drawing on only the characters, storylines, and artists that had gone before without having to write anything out. As much as I remembered looking forward to seeing what John Byrne was going to do, I remember thinking that these two issues made the case rather effectively that you could tell great stories without a reboot.

Both stories capture a certain feel and are somewhat nostalgic. In the case of Moore’s story, it was the classic comic book stories of the Curt Swan, Kurt Schaffenberger, Cary Bates, etc. era. I think All-Star Superman captures a different feel and nostalgia. It’s appeal is much more a cinematic quality and, I think, is much more evocative of the Donner Superman movies. It also plays around much more with the classic mythos; throwing out and adding in elements all over the place. I think the challenge that Moore set for himself was much tougher and I think that’s part of what makes it a more satisfying read.

I have now had seven of my somewhat arbitrary “top ten” appear on the list. There’s only one of the remainign three that I feel confident will appear — Watchmen (#1-12). I’m disappointed but I’d be surprised to see the other two pop up so close to the top of the list. But, since part of the value of the list (and these comments) is picking up tips for good reads, I’d like to put in plugs for Tale of One Bad Rat (#1-4) and Concrete: Think Like a Mountain (#1-6).

I loathe Preacher. Weak plots, awful dialogue, shallow characters. Nice art though.

Hi! Thanks for the countdown, Brian!

Until the End of the World is definitely my favorite part of Preacher that I’ve read so far. It uses violence instead of being used by it.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is actually pretty weak by my standards. I think it’s just because of all the hype–I expected the best Superman story of all time, but didn’t get it.

I voted for a Murder of Crows. It was the first Moore Swamp Thing that I read, but upon reading the whole run, it still struck me as the creepiest.

@Rene: I am pretty sure the basic “messenger from doomed future begs heroes of the past to avert an upcoming disaster” plot archetype predates Days of Future Past in other pulp entertainment. I definitely recall seeing a Dr. Who episode predating DoFP that used it, though I’m not nearly enough of a Whovian to tell you the name of the ep or anything.

I think DoFP just crystalized that plot type in the minds of superhero comic book readers. It definitely crystalized the trope as something X-Men comics would be heavily concerned with. That’s still a perfectly worthy reason to defend it, if not one I agree with.

I’ve read all 5 of these taking me to 64/80 (1 point behind Michael Mayket in my imaginary competition)

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow – Quite simply the best Superman story ever and one of Alan Moore’s finest moments. This got my #4 vote.

New Frontier – A passable bit of nostalgia. I’ve never seen what all the fuss is about.

All in the Family – Very good stuff. The only Preacher story that made my shortlist was the first storyline though.

American Gothic – My Swamp Thing vote went to the Gotham City arc (51-53) but this is fantastic stuff too.

Days of Future Past – Pretty crap really.

Yay for Preacher making it so high up…

Hope “The Alamo” is even higher?

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