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CSBG Archive

The Greatest Steve Englehart Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Steve Englehart Stories Ever Told!


I’ll give you the top five stories that DIDN’T make the Top Ten…

15 – Doctor Strange vs. Shuma-Gorath

Boy, it’s crazy how many great Doctor Strange stories Englehart wrote!

This epic battle against a Chtulu-like creature barely even cracks the top FIFTEEN!

Frank Brunner drew the story (and co-plotted it).

14 – The return of the 1950’s Captain America

Years before comic book writers routinely explained away past continuity blips, Englehart wrote this cool adventure where we learn that the 1950s Captain America (the commie smasher) was an actual whole other Captain America!

He and the real Steve Rogers battle.

Sal Buscema handled the artwork.

13 – Eternity helps recreate the world

Another great Doctor Strange story that could not crack the Top Ten!

In this story, Baron Mordo goes nuts and sort of kind of destroys the world!

Luckily, Eternity ultimately fixes everything (I think I’m going to address this story in the future in another spot on the blog – look for it!).

Gene Colan drew the arc.

12 – Steve Rogers quit as Captain America, becomes Nomad

A great storyline that has recently been collected into trade paperback, this story has Steve Rogers quit as Cap over the events of the Secret Empire storyline. He eventually becames Nomad (a man without a country, natch) and some new guy becomes Captain America. Falcon actually, more or less, becomes the star of the comic for this time.

Sal Buscema was the artist on the storyline.

11 – The initial Silver Surfer storyline with the Elders trying to kill Galactus

Englehart was the first guy to take Surfer off of Earth, and he brought him right into a story involving the Elders of the Universe trying to kill Galactus.

Strong stuff. Marshall Rogers did the artwork.

10 – The Justice League versus the Manhunters!

While he did not create the Manhunters (or Mark Shaw), Steve Englehart turned them into a mainstay in the DC Universe, starting with this great Justice League storyline.

Dick Dillin handled the artwork.

9 – Doctor Strange v. Sise-Neg

This is the story so controversial that Englehart had to fake a fan letter to Marvel from a preacher so that Stan Lee would not apologize, as it involved Doctor Strange being present at the creation of the Universe!!!

Frank Brunner drew (and co-plotted) the story.

8 – The Secret Origin of the Justice League!

Englehart uses the entirety of the 1950s DC Universe to tell the secret origin of how the Justice League REALLY got together!

It certainly appears to have been a major influence on Grant Morrison’s first JLA arc.

Dick Dillin drew the story.

7 – Lost in Space-Time

This time travel story is one of the most complex time travel stories in superhero comic history, as Englehart not only had the Avengers go back in time, but he had them interact with OTHER instances of Marvel heroes gone back in time!

It’s as crazy as it sounds!

And yes, this includes the famous Mockingbird/Phantom Rider rape story that ultimately led to the dissolution of Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s marriage.

Al Milgrom drew the story.

6 – Doctor Strange vs. Silver Dagger

You know a story is crazy when a five-parter OPENS with Doctor Strange getting stabbed!

And that’s where things get really weird.

Frank Brunner drew the arc (and co-plotted it).

5 – Avengers/Defenders War

Just how it sounds, really.

Bob Brown and Sal Buscema drew the crossover (Avengers and Defenders, respectively)

4 – The Serpent Crown

George Perez drew the story, so you had two comic greats working together on a fun epic that went really ALL over the place, including making the Squadron Supreme a major part of the Marvel Universe.

3 – The Secret Empire

This is the story that made Steve Rogers quit as Captain America. It achieved things that you likely would never be able to get away with today.

Sal Buscema handled the art.

2 – Strange Apparitions

The amount of awesomeness collected into Englehart’s Detective Comics run is simply staggering. Silver St. Cloud. The return of Hugo Strange! The laughing fish!!!! Plus the revitalization of one of DC’s best baddies, Deadshot!

Marshall Rogers, of course, did the artwork.

1 – The Celestial Madonna

This is the conclusion to Englehart’s long origin of Mantis, and he finished it with an epic storyline that involved an impressive piece of villainy by Kang the Conqueror and finished with an amazing Avengers wedding!

Sal Buscema, Joe Staton, George Tuska and Don Heck drew the storyline.

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!


This says it was posted yesterday, but I never saw it until now and there are no comments yet. Was there some sort of problem that kept it from appearing?

Wow, there are more famous stories here than I thought there’d be. I just didn’t realise how many important stories he did in the seventies.

Unfortunately, I haven’t read much of his seventies stuff. It’s usually too expensive. I have read part of the Serpent Crown story (the issue shown, plus the next one), and parts of the Celestial Madonna, including the one shown, which crosses over with a Doctor Strange story that was also going on at the time. (I’m not sure, but I think he was also writing The Trial Of The Watcher at the same time as well. I’ve only read one issue ever of Captain Mar-Vell, but it takes place at the exact time as the Wedding issue shown, and I think the Trial begins one issue after that.)

I have read the two eighties stories shown, and they are great ones. That Silver Surfer was where I first got to know Mantis (I’d previously read the Giant-Size #4, but nothing else).

Mary, this post definitely didn’t pop up until after the more “recent” post after it. That seems to happen sometimes, and unfortunately I think it makes some people miss the post altogether.

Steve Englehart is amazing. I feel like he’s only in the last few years started getting the respect he deserves. I didn’t vote because I’m not sure I could have come up with a list of 10 (a problem I’ve been having with most of these Top 10s). But the stuff on this list I’ve read is great. I probably would have included more WCA stuff, but that’s at least partially because that was one of the first comics I started collecting, and I still unabashedly love it to this day.

I’ve not read the Dr Strange stories, but the rest of this list is something I can get behind whole-heartedly.

Interesting that in recent years he produced mini-series sequels to both of the top two items. We must not be the only ones to hold them in high esteem! :)

The whole year of his JLA was remarkable, and his Avengers run was one of the highlights of the book’s history.

Based on the quality of the works here I am familiar with, it’d be well worth my time to track down some of his Dr Strange.

This is stuff that I have mostly heard about, but was too young to have read. It looks like the Dr. Strange stories are mostly in the third volume of the Essential Doctor Strange. His Captain America work is divided between the Essential Captain America #3 and #4.

His Batman stuff has been widely re-printed, but I can’t seem to find his JLofA stuff.

Can you fix the “cut and paste” Peter David reference at the top? It actually appears high enough to where it appears on the main CSBG before the break to be continued in the link.

I actually didn’t vote on this one, just because with the possible exception of the Celestial Madonna story, I’ve only read bits and pieces of the rest – it just didn’t seem right to vote in that case.
However, this is a truly fantastic list of stories. Englehart is truly one of the great(est) comic book writers.

Chris McAree

May 6, 2010 at 3:22 am

Anyone know where on the web there might be an issue by issue bibliography of Steve Englehart? Looking over this list makes me want to fill in the gaps in my collection!

Brian Cronin

May 6, 2010 at 3:33 am

Steve Englehart’s own website is very useful for such purposes, Chris.


Chris McAree

May 6, 2010 at 4:16 am

Thanks Brian. eBay here I come!

Rusty Priske

May 6, 2010 at 5:43 am

This is good stuff. I think a lot of his WCA (and Vision & Scarlet Witch) stuff is underrated because the art wasn’t that great.

Cap throws his shield at the floor but won’t it just bounce right back up to him?

You said Falcon basically took center-stage in Captain America when Steve Rogers quit, but did Englehart ever consider having the Falcon become Captain America or would that just have been too out there for the 70s?

It’s at times like this that I see how much I loved Englehart’s Cap run. It sortta puzzles the mind that it is not lone by itself in the top spots.

Now that is an awesome list. I knew Steve Englehart was influential, but I never realized how amazing his body of work really is. Wow.

What an underrated writer…


10) Dark Rider One-Shot (2006)
9) First Nightshade Story – Cap 164
8) Celestial Madonna/Origin of Mantis Avengers 112-Giant Size 4
7) Super-Villain Team-Up 5-8 (
6) Replacement Cap storyline – Captain America 153-156
5) The World Blows up and Everybody dies/Eternity story – Doctor Strange 10-13
5) Secret Empire – Captain America 169-176 or there-a-bouts
4) Night of the Stalker – Detective Comics 439
3) Sise-Neg Genesis – Marvel Premier 13 and 14
2) The Origin of Coyote (From Eclipse Monthly)
1) Silver Dagger – Doctor Strange 1-5.

I’ve been guilty of severely underrating Steve Englehart. In the ’80s I got really tired of his approach of piling on two dozen guest stars in each issue of Silver Surfer or West Coast Avengers At first I liked in in SS because I’m a big fan of cosmic Marvel, but it quickly became overkill.

But his ’70s work with Cap, Doc, Batman, JLA and Avengers was just terrific, not to mention Power Man, Green Lantern, Skull the Slayer, Master of Kung Fu, Defenders, Super-Villain Team-Up…

Over two decades later and I still can’t stand that Wonder Man costume. What’s weird is it’s not really all that terrible, it’s just the blue one with the short sleeves looked better. The haircut didn’t help.

That was one long storyline which ended with Hank Pym dressing like the Fourth Doctor and Moon Knight joining the Avengers.

Peter Woodhouse

May 6, 2010 at 10:44 am

Was Stevie-boy the best writer of the 70s? Long stellar runs on a lot of titles, many of them key titles & stories: Avengers, Dr Strange, Cap, Defenders, Detective, JLA….. The Dr Strange stuff with Colan is superb.

Disappointingly, I’m not tending to vote simply because I don’t remember all the stories enough to give a proper top 10 – it would require major digging-back in the boxes & shelves, not to mention brain-ache! Would love to have done a list for this, Kirby, Joker, etc. Good features, enjoyable seeing what comes up.

Scott Rowland

May 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I’m not getting around to vote, but I’m interested in the results. I’m surprised Engleharts’ Batman story didn’t make number 1.

The Vision and Scarlet Witch limited series he did with Richard Howell is one of my favorite Marvel comics from the 1980s –I’m glad to see Marvel is bringing it back into print soon. It exemplifies what I really like about Englehart’s writing — he really fleshes out the characters.

His Strangers and Night Man series for the Malibu Ultraverse were two of the stronger “independent ” superhero series of the past several decades, too.

Captain Flash

May 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I’m kinda surprised that Secret Empire or Strange Apparitions didn’t win, as they seem to be the first two story lines that one thinks of with Englehart. In a lot of ways, most Cap writers since have been aping Englehart’s work on the character, particularly the “replacement Cap” angle.

@Peter Woodhouse– If Englehart’s not the best, I think we certainly have to put him somewhere near the top– that list Brian compiled is just too staggering to ignore. I really gained an appreciation for Englehart’s work last summer, reading through his Avengers stuff via Essentials and a handful of floppies– I think I’d written him off because I found his WCA so much less interesting than Roger Stern’s miniseries version (and still do), which was how I was introduced to his writing as a kid. But man, the Avengers/Cap issues are just mainstream superheroes at their best– so fun, both epic in scope and driven by sharply delineated character moments, philosophical and political without being portentous…just everything I’d want out of a superhero comic. I wish I’d been old enough to read them when they were first published– that must’ve been mind-blowing.

Haven’t read his Batman stuff yet, but really look forward to it, especially after this list!

Fooey. Forgot to vote for Sise-Neg:(

Aside from 12 and 14 deserving to be way higher, these are all nice to see.
Best. Cap run. Ever.
As far as “best of the 70s” he’s definitely in the front ranks alongside Gerber.

Steven R. Stahl

May 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I left the Batman issues off my list because my standard for judging a story’s success — the standard I’ve used since I began reading comics regularly in ’73 — is the storyline’s literary content. That means change of some sort, even if it’s a change in one’s philosophy about life or in a point of view. Batman is as static as a character as there is. Dr. Strange’s philosophical quandary upon knowing that Eternity had recreated dead people took him all the way to Hell, although he found his way back — with some help. I would have voted for the Eternity storyline, but I didn’t think enough other readers would.

I read the JLA issues as they came out, but wasn’t impressed by them. I’d quit reading about Superman several years before that, so perhaps I was biased against DC.

The only storyline that shouldn’t be on the list, based on the quality of the writing, arguably, is the Avengers/Defenders War. Various interviews, as I recall, indicated that Englehart wasn’t satisfied with the quality of his writing until he got going on the “Celestial Madonna” storyline. The A/D War was certainly historically important.

Strictly in terms of literary merit, I’d argue that Englehart’s strongest storylines were in: Dr. STRANGE, from the “Silver Dagger” storyline thru the journey to Hell; the VISION & SCARLET WITCH maxiseries, in which the characters were realized as fully as they would have been in a prose novel; and the treatment of Hank Pym in WEST COAST AVENGERS. If his reunion with Maria Trovaya had been allowed to stand, he could have been a successful scientist/superhero for decades.

BTW, readers who liked Englehart’s treatment of magic(k) in comics might enjoy his novel The Long Man. The hero, Max August, employs magick skillfully, and the plot, reminiscent of some Bond films, makes the novel entertaining.


His Silver Surfer run was awesome, especially the first 12 issues. Stunning Marshall Rogers art, and a plot to remake the Universe by the Elders. And that was years before Annhiliation, and all the War and Realms of Kings. I wonder why this has not been reprinted. Every issue was a bonanza of cosmic discoveries and weirdness, including the writing of “This One” Mantis, whom Englehart made a fascinanting character. The final battle with the Elders of the Universe was mindblowing.
And his run in West Coast Avengers, up to the “Time and Time Again” was great. After this story, the quality of the book declined, maybe having to do with Marvel’s editorial direction, and then Byrne and Roy Thomas came and messed up things (including the pointless killing of Mockingbird by Thomas). But before that, there were some amazing stories in WCA, including the search for a Sixth Avenger, which had Hawkeye trying to convince the Thing to join the team, while neglecting Firebird. There was also Master Pandemonium, the Tigra saga, and appearances by Hellcat and the Son of Satan. Awesome stuff.

A very solid series of picks from one of the best Comic Book writers of the 1970s.

On a personal not, I am still kicking myself for not noticing this when it was first posted.

In response to no requests whatsoever, I will now post my grades for the Steve Englehart CAPTAIN AMERICA run. The grading will be on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 indicating a heartbreaking work of staggering genius and 1 indicating soul destroying putridity.

153-156: Classic Cap goes up against the more than slightly crazy 1950s Captain America and Bucky. Unbelievably strong debut from Englehart. Noteworthy bits: Nick Fury, crazed with envy over Val’s infatuation with Cap (Nick to Cap: “Pal, do you know that I used to be your age–before you got yourself frozen solid for 20 years? I kept on livin’–fightin’ for my country! through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War–, I lived those 20 years, gettin’ gray for America–and then you pop up, all blond, blue eyed –and young!”) forces Cap to fight him (Sadly, the infinity formula has retconned away this realistic insight into the Fury-Cap relationship).The Falcon, captured by the 50s Cap, is rescued by Harlem Black Power militants. The very well done origin of the 50s cap (note the clever use of inserted quotation marks in the reprinted material on page 22, panel 5).The potently symbolic final confrontation between the two Caps.. The solid art is by the always reliable Sal Buscema. Grade:10

157-158:Solid two-partner.The script in 157 comes from an Englehart-Steve Gerber team. Cap and Falcon go up against the ad-man turned supervillain the Viper (Gerber must have loved writing the Viper’sover the top patter:”You cannot appreciate the genius that created these razor-sharp fangs, –which inject a new, revolutionary–faster-acting venom that brings death within minutes!”).Behind the scenes, lurks the Cowled Commander. 158 also sees Cap super strength as a side effect of the super-soldier serum interacting with the Viper’s chemicals. Grade:8

159:Classic mash-up as the Falcon and Cap go up against the Cowled Commander’s super-villain goon squad (Scarecrow, Eel, Viper, Plantman, Porcupine). The Cowled Commander stands revealed as Muldoon, Cap’s old Police superior.Grade:7

160: Cap goes up against Solarr. Noteworthy for the out and out psychopathic portrayal of Solarr. On page 15, he incinerates a crowd of people for the fun of it, a rather unusual scene for a1973 mainstream comic. Grade:8

161-162: Cap, Sharon Carter, and the Falcon go up against Dr. Faustus. Cap’s WW2 love (from Tales of Suspense 77) is revealed as Sharon Carter’s sister Peggy. Great stuff. Grade:8

163: Cap and the Falcon go up against the Serpent Squad: Cobra, Viper,and the Eel (When did Eels become serpents?). Noteworthy bits: Maimed Vietnam vet turned conscientious Objector Geg Cox is introduced. Ad-man Viper calls up a Madison Avenue pal and orchestrates a media campaign against Cap. Grade:8

164: Cap goes up against new villain Nightshade and her army of Werewolves!Behind thescenes lurks the Yellow Claw! The great art is from Alan Weiss. Grade:8

165-167: Cap, the Falcon, and SHIELD go up against the Yellow Claw. Meanwhile, the media smear that the Viper initiated in 163 goes into full swing. fun stuff. Grade:8

168: Some guys named Roy Thomas and Tony Isabella wrote this one. Wonder what ever happened to them?

169: Steve Englehart and Mike Friedrich share the scripting duties. The ad campaign against Cap goes into overdrive, as brought to you by the COMMITTEE TO RE-GAIN AMERICA’S PRINCIPLES (CRAP, in case you hadn’t noticed. An obvious shout-out to Nixon’s CREEP, COMMITTE TO RE-ELECT the PRESIDENT). Cap is framed for the murder of 3rd tier villain the Tumbler (now given the Lee Harvey Oswaldesque sobriquet of John Robert Keane). Solid stuff, and very political for a1970s mainstream comic. Grade:8

170: Framed for Murder, Cap is captured by pseudo-hero Moonstone. Meanwhile, back in Wakanda, The Falcon gets his wings (Wouldn’t a bell have done the job?). Solid stuff. Grade:8

171: Mike Friedrich scripts the Steve Englehart plot. Cap is busted out of prison by the very people who framed him, while the Falcon returns from Africa. Noteworthy bit: Moonstone makes an out of left field reference to Hank Williams on page 31. MMM. Wonder if this will prove significant? Grade:7.

172: Cap and , using his finely honed detectival skills, figures out that Moonstone must have spent time in Nashville (I mean, who else would reference Hank Williams?). Great Confrontation with the Banshee. Guest-starring Prof. X, Cyclops, and Marvel Girl. Grade:8

173:Cap and the Falcon learn that CRAP is a front for the SECRET EMPIRE. More fun stuff from Steve Englehart. Grade:8

174:Cap and the Falcon infiltrate the Secret Empire and learn that they have been capturing mutants for some sinister purpose. Meanwhile, Moonstone solidifies his position as America’s new hero. Solid stuff from Englehart. Grade: 8

175: The End of the Secret Empire! Guest starring the X-Men! Gabe Jones! Peggy Carter! Great White House lawn confrontation between Moonstone And Cap. Number 1, the ruler of the Secret Empire, kills himself after Cap learns his identity. Now, who could he be? Let me see. He tried to escape by running to the Oval Office. Cap is visibly shocked when he sees his face (“Good lord! You!!”). Number 1 tells Cap that he wanted more power: “High political office didn’t satisfy me!My power was still too constrained by legalities!” Could he actually be ….Richard Nixon?! Great stuff. Grade: 8

176: Cap, reelling from the Secret Empire revelations, decides to quit. Brilliant issue, as Cap’s friends try to talk him out of it. Grade:9

177-178: With Cap retired, the Falcon goes up against Lucifer. Noteworthy bits: Lucifer, newly freed from an extra-dimensional exile, craves candy. Baseball player Bob Russo tries to replace Cap. Solid stuff. Grade:8

179: Hawkeye, disguised as the Golden Archer, convinces Cap to resume superheroics. Meanwhile, Motorcycle gangleader Scar Turpin decides to replace Cap after learning of Russo’s ignominious failure. Noteworthy bit: Both Cap and Hawkeye have read The COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES.Great stuff: Grade:8

180: Cap creates a new secret ID: The Nomad. Meanwhile, the Serpent Squad reforms, and with a new lineup: Eel (still not a serpent), Princess Python, Cobra, the new Viper (Formerly Madame Hydra), and Warlord Krang (Are Atlanteans serpents now?). Noteworthy bits: Madam hydra, desiring the viper’s cool name, skraggs him. Cap, trying to think of a new identity, hopes that a bat does not fly in his window, “Or I’ll be in big trouble!” Cap, as the Nomad, trips over his own cape (Responds the Viper: “I always knew I’d see someone do that some day!”)Grade: 8

181:Cap goes up against the Serpent Squad as they obtain the Serpent Crown(Did you think that the Serpent Squad would go after the Cosmic Cube?). Guest stars Namor. Noteworthy bits: Cap as Nomad visits the Lincoln Memorial. Likeable lunkhead Roscoe tries to get the Falcon to train him as the new CA. Grade: 9

182: Cap as Nomad confronts the Viper and Cobra in a burning building.Noteworthy bits: The confrontation in the burning house, a nice riff on the end of the symbionese Liberation army.Roscoe finally convinces the Falcon to take him on as the new CA. Unfortunately, they run into the Red Skull…. Frank Robbins takes over from Buscema as artist. Be warned, Robbins’ art takes a bit of getting used to. Grade:8.

183: Steve Rogers returns to being Cap. Noteworthy bits: the tragic death of noble hearted simpleton Riscoe. The introduction of the Gamecock (perhaps the most cringe-inducing supervillain name of all time). Grade: 8

184: “Cap’s Back!” Cap goes up against a revitalized Red Skull. Englehart’s depiction of the Skull nicely adumbrates the work that he went on to do with the Joker, as he returns the Skull to his origins as a figure of terror. Noteworthy bit: Englehart, going back to the Skull’s “Look of death” gimmick in the 40s, equips the Skull with his Dust of Death. Herb Trimpe steps in as artist, and does a solid job. Grade:8.

185: Cap vs. Skull, round 2. Noteworthy bits: The Skull, angered over the interracial relationship between Peggy Carter and Gabe Jones, kidnapps and tortures them. The Falcon betrays Cap?! Robbins returns Grade: 8

186:Scripting duties are shared between Englehart (plot and pages 3-17) and John Warner (1-2, and 18-31). Englehart’s last issue.Sadly, Englehart’s swan song on the title is a bit of a let down, as we learn that the Falcon is the product of a Cosmic Cube mind wipe. Before the Skull stepped in, Samuel T. Wilson was “Snap” Wilson, a Blaxsploitation style gangster. Frankly, and for a host of reasons, this just does not make sense. Thankfully, JM DeMatteis provided a retcon that restores a measure of dignity to the Falcon. Grade:7


JLA 144 blew my mind when it came out. I had only been reading comics for less than a year and it totally confused me, but it was AWESOME. So was the “death” of Supes, Hawkman and the Phantom Styranger the next issue, teh return of Red Tornado and his nad Hawkgirl’s inductions the next, hell, his whole run.

Burgas, you need to do a Comics You Should Own on his run of JLA. The Key, Dr. Light, the Construct, the Shadow Thief, the DC Mantis, every member featured prominently, Snapper Carr, …it just goes on.

these selections look great.I never realized how influential Englehart was.

That Doctor Strange run looks really cool.

Okay, I need to read some Englehart


May 8, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Steven Stahl: You mean The Point Man, right? Or is this the long-awaited sequel? I thought it was coming out later this year…

Steve Englehart is one of the main reasons that I first became a hardcore comic fan. That West Coast Avengers arc was the first story that took my imagination and rain away with it.

I can not believe Luke’s Latverian trip to collect from that deadbeat Doom from Hero for Hire 8-9 didn’t make the list!

Sweet Christmas…

Steven R. Stahl

May 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

Steven Stahl: You mean The Point Man, right? Or is this the long-awaited sequel?

Yes, The Long Man, which came out in hardcover in March, is the sequel. If you’re an Englehart fan, the hardcover is worth getting. The style is very familiar — comics writing converted to prose — but people not familiar with his style might have some trouble with the content. Some of the comments I’ve seen online are strange, such as accusations of misogyny, when Englehart handled women in comics (and did a good job in his novel) better than any other writer in the industry. Tor has reissued The Point Man as well.

His best novel to date might be the VISION & SCARLET WITCH maxiseries, which Marvel is republishing as a paperback in June. The most interesting thing about that, for fans which have already read the issues, is that more people will be able to see just how inaccurate Bendis’s depiction of events in “Avengers Disassembled” was. Wanda didn’t use her power to conceive the twins; the Byrne-Bendis retcon was, in effect, an imaginary story, or one set in an alternate universe. One of the difficult things to deal with when that type of retcon appears in print is the presence of mistakes that weren’t present in the original. Since a retcon is an editorially approved continuity violation, what is the reader supposed to do when plot and characterization errors ruin the retcon? File a class action suit against Marvel for selling a defective product? “Avengers Disassembled” was an exercise in editorial malfeasance.


No love for Englehart’s GL run? So much of what is going on in Green Lantern today owes to the Englehart/Staton run during Crisis(which was the best use of Crisis in any DC series).

I have no familiarity with Steve Englehart, but maybe that should change. These all sound freaking epic.

The Dr Strange arc with issue # 13 (Eternity recreates the world) is quite possibly my all-time favorite Doc story.
From ME that is saying something.

Sad that Marvel editorial (and Marv Wolfman in particular) saw a need to retcon that story into “jedi mind trick” non-existence.

“Tamam Shud!”

No love for Englehart’s GL run? So much of what is going on in Green Lantern today owes to the Englehart/Staton run during Crisis(which was the best use of Crisis in any DC series)

That surprised me too. Certainly I preferred it to the Silver Surfer run he did around that same time… and so did Steve himself, or at least he told me so once at a convention.

Steven R. Stahl

May 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

Sad that Marvel editorial (and Marv Wolfman in particular) saw a need to retcon that story into “jedi mind trick” non-existence.

When did they retcon the Eternity storyline, if ever? Wolfman retconned the “Occult History of America” storyline after Englehart left Marvel, but Claremont made use of the recreation of Earth during his run on Dr. STRANGE.


@Steven R. Stahl,

The whole “Occult History” wasn’t retconned, just the part about Clea having sex with Ben Franklin.

*(By the way, I deal with the Clea / Ben Franklin tryst in one or two posts of an “ongoing, but irregular” series called “Clea Loves Sex” in my blog) *

However, you are quite sadly a little mixed up (and understandably so – as I’ll relate in a moment) about Claremont using the “recreation of Earth” in his run (nearly 20 issues or more later).

As you may recall, Doctor Straneg and Mordo were witness to the Earth’s destruction TWO TIMES.

The FIRST was by SISENEG/GENESIS, in the pages of Marvel Premiere. # 13 / 14.
During that experience, both sorcerers also bore witness to Earth’s recreation (or, in “reality” it’s actual first creation – with Siseneg acting as God – something that the author of this blog seems will go into later).

It is THAT occasion which Claremont refers (complete with footnote – how I miss those).

The second occasion (which we are speaking of) deals with a supposedly crazy-assed Mordo causing the end of the World and Doc has to get Eternity to recreate it (with everyone on the planet being recreations – all except Doc – who was to be the SOLE true human).

Sadly, that was “retconned” away as a “TEST by the Ancient One to see if Strange was worthy to progress to the next level of mystic mastery (beyond Sorcerer Supreme) to become “one with all there is”.

It was a shadowplay.

The mention to it was made in Doc (Master of Mystic Arts) # 19 by the Ancient One, as he revealed all the Earth’s people as skeletons and having Doc face that possibility that he is “above” the rest of humanity now.

Doc’s own inner monologe from the issue tells how he only started to become confused and addled after Eternity seemingly recreated the world. Another “sudden inclination” was Doc’s interest in how magic first started in America.

These (and some appearances by the sorcerer Stygero in issue # 19) were all mental implants by the Ancient One.

If you’ll note, many issues between # 13 and # 19 deal with that supposed “recreation” scenario.
However, after # 19, it is never mentioned again.

I was totally bummed out by that situation.
Having that destruction/recreation story be one of the BEST Strange tales EVER.

Unfortunately, the only time it “really” was destroyed and remade was by Siseneg – several issues earlier.
Many people get those two instances mixed up.

Two complete destructions/recreations within a year or so of a title/character’s run is a bit easy to confuse.

I think that was why when Claremont came on board, he made it obvious that Mordo was a “prisoner/guest” inside the Sanctum (mad as a hatter) since the events of the Marvel Premiere incident.

I hope I didn’t bum you out.
I still regret the loss of that development.
It made Doctor Strange even MORE awesome.
(although, if current scribe Brian Bendis thought that Doc not stopping Scarlet Witch was enough for him to lose the Sorcerer Supreme title, imagine how he’d have handled the fact if Doc “allowing” the destruction of Earth was still in the books.)

One last note:
In the recent “Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange” black and white “magazine-style” one-shot, author Keiren Gillenmentions that very adventure in his tale.
It works in that story, as it takes place right at the time just before issue # 19 would have taken place.

I made a mention to it in my review of that issue:

** For anyone who cares about the “Clea Loves Sex” posts – and I know you do, here is the link to ALL of them thus far:

The ones with Ben Franklin are # 2 and # 3 in the series, iirc.

“Tamam Shud!”

Oops. Nope. The Ben Franklin posts in the Clea Loves Sex series were # 3 and 4 of the series.

Sorry about that.


one last note: primarily for the mods of this board –

you should know that pretty much all the stuff on the “Clea” series of posts on my blog are “comics code approved” material from the comics. So, it’s not like I’m trying to sneak some pr0n links past you.

Sure, there’s inuendo aplenty, but only insofar as the actual comics canon dictated.

OK, that’s all – end off-topic post.


Always have respected Englehart, but like a lot of posters, I didn’t really realize the full scope of what he has contributed until this thread.

In fact, I’m really challenged to think of a Englehart story I’ve read that I didn’t like.

Those JLA issues were when I was still a little kid and I don’t have all of them but am going to get them and fill in the missing GL Corps issues too.

I read Steve’s JLA back in 4th grade when they came out & today those same issues still have an honored place in my collection. They’re probably the reason I’m still collecting these stupid things 33 years later!

@ Greg Hatcher:

To me, Engelhart-Staton is up there with the great GREEN LANTERN runs. Two of the great under-rated talents of the Bronze Age teaming up on the most up-and-down DC property. It is a formula for a hidden gem.

Love that WCA time travel story. The splash pages – featuring the same number of time streams as it was parts of the story – were great. It introduces my fave Hank Pym incarnation too.

Yes. “Doctor Pym” as a Dr. Who riff is my fave incarnation as well.

Also, the folding in of many time-travel stories – 2 of Dr. Strange’s – one which coincided with the FF, and had an even deeper reveal than what was already shown in the pages of FF as well as Doc’s own series… truly inspired work.

One of my fave Avengers (West or otherwise) tales.

Someone get Englehart back on Strange!
Keep Bendis faaar far away.



May 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Steven Stahl: Thanks for the tip on The Long Man. Englehart (at the LA Worldcon) told me it was coming in 2010, but I thought it was later in the year. I’m on it now. (And what a treat to meet him!)

First, Point Man, now, Long Man. Is Steve taking it one dimension at a time?

I, too, want to speak my love for his work on GL. One of the best runs on GL ever, and perhaps his best Eighties work, though WCAvengers has to be in there, too. Now that two of the Young Avengers seem to be Wanda’s kids, maybe that upcoming miniseries can undo the retcon, restore Wanda to sanity, and (why not wish for the moon) bring back the real Vision.

HondoBrode: Englehart stories I don’t like…Englehart suffered more than most from from art not being up to the writing, but you can’t blame him for that. But his revisionist take on the Falcon (“Snap” Wilson) left me cold, and was a crummy end to his classic run on Cap (late-period Frank Robbins art didn’t help either).
Some of his Eighties and later work (was Skull the Slayer in the Eighties?) such as Jurassic Park seemed mediocre, but the biggest bummer was his work on the Fantastic Four. I’d liked his handling of FF guest appearances and thought my favorite writer on my favorite book would be golden. ‘Twasn’t (though some-but not all-of his work suffered from editorial interference). But part of that is my distaste for FF alternative casting in general, not just his. It’s not the Avengers, it’s a family, and runs where it’s not the people in that rocketship at the beginning just don’t feel like the FF to me, and (sigh) neither did his.

But, hey, to end on an upnote: Did you know Marvel was considering a book based on The Prisoner back in the Seventies, and Englehart would have been the author? Now, there’s a what if…

Yes. I have to agree now that I think about it that his later FF didn’t hold up very well. You’re also right that he suffered from some less than stellar artists. Never read Skull the Slayer.

I agree with kisskissbangbang.

The FF ceases to work well when you replace the core members.

It is less bad if you do like Byrne did replace only one of them and is careful enough to choose substitutes that are similar to the core member they’re replacing. She-Hulk and Ben Grimm, for instance, both superstrong brawlers with a sense of humour.

But Reed and Sue replaced by Crystal and She-Thing? God, I hated Englehart’s FF run from the start. Shaking things up may work for the Avengers and the X-Men and the Defenders, but definitely not for the FF.

@ kisskissbangbang:

Here is a question regarding art, which of Englehart’s run(s) would you swap artists on? Bonus points for naming a new artist that was active at the time and not scripting their own work.

My pick would be WEST COAST AVENGERS. The visual change from Bob Hall on the mini-series to Al Milgrom on the main title was brutal. Hall was a huge part of what made the mini work and losing him was brutal.

@ Rene:

I totally agree with you about the FF. At its best, the title is about the relationships between those four characters and their extended family. Pull any one of them out of the mix and it stops really being the FANTASTIC FOUR. She-Hulk would be the lone exception, but that only worked because Byrne had such a strong take on the character. Byrne’s late FF was sort a back-door pilot for his She-Hulk run.


May 13, 2010 at 6:05 am

Dean: Sorry for the late reply.

I’m not quite sure what you mean here, a straight swap of artists or a simple replacement? Assuming you mean the latter, I’m fine with Sal Buscema on Cap and Defenders, and Brunner and then Colan on Dr. Strange; the crying need was for someone other than Bob Brown on his Avengers. I think I’d go with putting Perez on it as soon as he showed up. His early work (White Tiger in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu & Man-Wolf in whatever Man-Wolf was in (Creatures on the Loose?) was a little rough, but only in comparison with his work of a year later, and a good inker would have helped that. But his energy, innovative panel layout, and willingness to draw many, many characters was there from the start. He was also fast enough to do three books a month for a while, so he could have handled both ends of the Avengers/Defenders War (just for consistency; as I said , I don’t mind Sal’s work). Everyone loved Englehart/Perez Avengers when it finally did happen; why not do it from the start? Then have him follow Steve over to DC for JLA…


Good call on Perez.

A wonderful list for this old fan to read. I wish I had seen this in time to vote. The first comic I ever bought was Avengers 113 by Engelhart. It featured the “Human Bombs,” who were a group of racist, religious zealots who were so incensed by the relationship between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch that they strapped bombs to themselves and went on a suicide mission. It was a surpisingly adult allegory and is stilling a chilling read (and even more relevant now, needless to say). Englehart was the first favorite writer I had, back when people were much more interested in talking about who their favorite artists were.

Detective 439, “Night of the Stalker,” is one of my favorite comics stories, period, definitely the best one-issue Batman story I’ve read. It was plotted by Vince Amendola, based on an idea by Neal Adams, and has a great script by Englehart. Those two would have been the tops of my list, followed by the Dr. Strange stories with Frank Brunner and the Cap stories (in what order I’m not sure). Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions for things to read.

BTW, kisskissbanbang, was that Prisoner series to have art by Gil Kane? I think I’ve seen pages from it. As much as I love Kirby, who was also going to do a Prisoner series at one time, it would likely have been a much better take than whatever wacky version Kirby had planned.

@Jim Higgins
Hey that was my first comic too — bought at the beach. The “Living Bombs” I think, not the human bombs. Captain America read a threatening note about the Vision “God hates androds, androds have no soles … Signed, a Friend”, crushed the paper and threw it into the fire at Avengers Mansion. He said “I don’t know about you Mr. “Friend” … but a God of love is mine!”

I’ll never forget it! Awesome…

#7 on your chart.
#1 in my heart.

Steven R. Stahl

June 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

AVENGERS: SPOTLIGHT, out this week, has a nice four-page interview with Englehart. The questions are mostly about his ’70s run on AVENGERS. There’s also a passable one-page promo for the VISION & SCARLET WITCH TPB out this month. Unfortunately, there’s also the usual inattention to details. Artists are misidentified twice: Cockrum, not Heck, did the pencil art in GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #2; Perez, not Buckler, was the pencil artist for AVENGERS #147.


I always found Englehart’s Falcon origin retcon racist, especially since he was one of the first black superheroes and maybe the only one that WASN’T originally a criminal (he was a social worker I believe). So of course when he does get retconned he’s a brainwashed ex-pimp talking like a debt-collecting Luke Cage. Ugh. I haven’t read J.M. DeMatteis’ tweaking of it. Does anybody know in what issues that took place?

Thanks for reminding me of how awesome Steve Englehart is!

Lots of interesting things to respond to here. I am a pretty serious Englehart fan, to say the least, and some of these comments deserve some sort of reaction.
First of all, I too was initially disappointed by most of Steve’s FF run. I think it’s a unique combination of editorial interference and well-intended, but wrong-headed plotting. The facts behind the editorial tinkering are available all over the internet, including Steve’s website, so I won’t go into that here, but I believe that if Steve had been left alone to execute his original plots, the bigger picture of his story arc might have been clearer and better-received. Yes, he shook up the family-structure of the FF and that was not a good thing, but after reading about Steve’s intentions that went awry due to Ralph Macchio and others, I believe that the result would have been an epic FF saga that might have blown the readership away. With all of that in mind, I still wince at a few things (Fasaud, Ms. Marvel as a female-Thing, a transformed, horny-Thing, Master Pandemonium), but I marvel (!) at the fact that SOME of Steve’s de-railed story still saw print as dreams that were dreamed by an unconscious/imprisoned FF while throwback duplicates (Englehart’s commentary on Defalco’s retro-fixation -see his Thor run) ran amok!
His West Coast Avengers run also disappointed me for about the first 15 issues or so (excepting the really cool x-over with the Vision & Scarlet Witch maxi-series), but really kicked into gear with the Space-Time story. Stories that followed were un-even, but the sub-plot of Mockingbird letting Phantom Rider fall to his death and the ramifications of that deed dealt with some fascinating issues. Henry Pym as plain-clothes scientist/hero was a neat twist and I loved the stories that brought his first wife back. I certainly can’t say that Byrne was an improvement (except maybe artistically).
And maybe the Sam Wilson/”Snap” Wilson plot is racist and maybe it isn’t, but it didn’t bother me then and it doesn’t bother me now. I just saw it as an unexpected twist and I believe that, had Englehart stayed on as writer of Captain America, he would have gone somewhere interesting with it. I can’t help but think that there’s a little bit of knee-jerk, political correct-ness and over-sensitivity taking place in the various comments condemning the idea as racist.
I have some pretty faded photo-copies of Englehart’s and Kane’s unpublished Prisoner (art and script) and I like it more than the unpublished Kirby version, although, art-wise, Kirby does a good job.
Yeah, Englehart’s 70s stuff is, IMHO, better than his 80s-on up stuff, but there’s still some mighty good stuff in there: Green Lantern, some of Silver Surfer, some of WCA, Coyote, Phantom of Fear City, Congorilla mini-series, some Strangers and Night Man, Scorpio Rose and Warrior Nun Areala (believe it or not), a killer Batman story in Batman Chronicles with art by Javier Pulido, the Black Rider one-shot….there’s a lot of good stuff in Englehart’s total output, but it’s not fair to let the few, lesser works over-shadow an evaluation of the man’s talents. Everyone’s favorite or “best writers” have some moldering stinkers in their past.

I wish some of his Green Lantern work had made it. I really liked his time on that book.

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