web stats

CSBG Archive

The Greatest Chuck Dixon 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 Chuck Dixon Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

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

15. El Cazador

Dixon’s sadly short-lived pirate series with Steve Epting for Crossgen.

14. Punisher War Zone #31-36 “River of Blood”

A strong arc with art by the legendary Joe Kubert!

13. Way of the Rat #1-6

Along with artist Jeff Johnson, this was a story of a young thief who ends up stealing the wrong objects and gets caught up in a pair of wars – one mystical and one very physical. He also gains a talking monkey as a partner – a monkey who insults him a lot.

12. Robin Year One

Dixon co-wrote this mini-series with Scott Beatty, with Javier Pulido on art. This story of the early days of Dick Grayson as Robin was also Marcos Martin’s big break, artwise.

11. Nightwng #25 “The Boys”

This one-off issue explored the relationship between Batman’s two “sons,” Nightwing and Robin, in an issue drawn by regular series artist Scott McDaniel.

10. Detective Comics #651 “A Bullet For Bullock”

This one-off issue of Detective Comics (drawn by regular artist Graham Nolan) would later be adapted into an episode of the Batman Animated Series -a high honor indeed!

9. Punisher: War Zone #1-6

Dixon and the great John Romita Jr. launched Punisher’s THIRD ongoing title with the Punisher trying to infiltrate a crime family.

8. Nightwing #101-106 “Nightwing Year One”

The original creative team of Nightwing reunited (with co-writer Scott Beatty along for the ride) as Dixon and McDaniel teamed up again to tell the origins of Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Sales jumped with their return to the book!

7. Storming Paradise

What if the Allies never dropped the bomb on Japan? This series tells that tale, with the Allies invading Japan with a traditional military force, with artwork by Butch Guice (and friends).

6. Robin: Flying Solo

This was Robin’s first solo series EVER, as Dixon and Tom Lyle gave Tim Drake his own mini-series and introduced a major recurring villain, King Snake.

5. Winter World

A tale of action and drama set in a world where, well, it was winter all the time. Think Water World only with snow and ice instead of water. Jorge Zaffino drew the series, which came out early in Dixon’s career and really solidified his reputation as an up and coming writer.

4. Batman: Devil’s Advocate

What if, through various machinations, the Joker ended up on Death Row…for a crime he did not commit? What would Batman do about it? That’s what Dixon and artist Graham Nolan ask in this original graphic novel.

3. Batgirl Year One

Marcos Martin went from fill-in artist to full-time artist on this gorgeous 8-issue series detailing the beginnings of Barbara Gordon’s crimefighting days. Co-written with Scott Beatty.

2. Robin II: Joker’s Wild

A follow-up to the super successful first Robin mini-series, we see Robin patrolling Gotham by himself while Batman is on a case out of the country. But while Batman is away – the Joker strikes! This is the first time Joker met Tim Drake, the third Robin – a notable experience since Joker killed the previous Robin! Tom Lyle once again provided the artwork.

1. Birds of Prey #8 “On Wings”

This story was so loved that the individual issue (which has yet to be reprinted, I believe) skyrocketed to insane princes on eBay and the likes. Rarely do you see a comic fetching near triple digits for something as simple as “being really well done,” but that’s what you had with this Greg Land-penciled one-off issue that features Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon going out on a date.

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!

40 Comments

a quick check shows the current cheapest copy of BoP#8 @ $48 !

I have to read more of these. I re-read Airboy 1-50 over and over again, year after year. It’s a beautifully written comic– the gold standard for legacy-character relaunches.

I agree it takes a lot of balls for Batman to go out every night and do what he does, but someone should inform Kelly Jones that those balls are only meant to be metaphorical.

Minor nitpick, but the third paragraph says “Geoff Johns” instead of Chuck Dixon…

Dixon is a great talent. Sadly, I’ve only read half the stories on this list. Gonna have to track down the others. Wish Punisher/Batman would have made the list. It’s one of my personal faves from Dixon and it has gorgeous JRJR art to boot.

Tim Drake would be a footnote without Dixon.

Dixon’s BoP was very good, especially that 8th issue.

The thought of insane princes buying up the copies on eBay and having them shipped by rocket made me smile!

I tend to think Simone improved upon BoP (although I’ve only read the first and only two trades of Dixon’s run) but I still think Dixon did a good solid job as he usually does; seems like the BoP relaunch provides a good opportunity to go back re-collect that stuff. Unfortunately, Dixon seems to be on the outs with DC again, and one gets the impression that they don’t like to generate new royalty opportunities for disgruntled former employees/freelancers. If I’m right in this understanding, it’s a hell of a way to run a business (who’s gonna buy Magog trades, anyway?!).

agreed that punisher/batman would have been nice to see on the list, as well as the first nightwing arc, joker: last laugh, some of the pre-series birds of prey specials, and some of his connor hawke work in green arrow.

but the omission i’m really surprised about is his alien legion work with larry stroman. i can’t be upset because i’ve never actually read any of it, but i’ve always heard it’s his best work. do others feel this way as well, or have too few people read it?

I’ve barely read any Chuck Dixon, so I didn’t expect to find anything here I was familiar with. To my suprise, there was something! I have read Punisher War Zone #1. I didn’t think it was very good, though. It wasn’t awful or anything; I just thought it was kind of ordinary. Maybe I’m just not the Dixon type.

I was very surprised Punisher: River of Blood with Joe Kubert wasn’t on the list of best Punisher stories ever. There is equally good work by Dixon/Buscema, but I didn’t expect it to get any votes because it wouldn’t have been as widely read.It turns out people just read the Ennis stuff and left it at that.

I don’t know how you pick one issue out of that Nightwing run as the best. But I can see why #25 stood out as notable. How are those Nightwing trades not in print? Is it DC being crazy spiteful? I guess it wouldn’t surprise me. It seems everyone knows something is dreadfully wrong at DC these days.

And without Dixon’s Robin I wouldn’t be a comic reader at all. You try picking up an X-Men comic in the 90′s at age 10 and figuring out what the hell is going on. Finally, Robin in the grocery store was something I could simply UNDERSTAND.

Scott Rowland

May 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I always think of Dixon as writing a cracking good action story, but the Birds of Prey issue reminds me that he’s capable of nice character work as well. Sadly, I did find that since so much of the characters he wrote at DC were non-powered urban vigilantes some of his work took on a more generic quality. It’s not that they weren’t well-done, just that they seemed so similar. Although obviously Dixon was successful already, I think he was like Tony Bedard, in that his Crossgen series gave him a chance to show his range.

I have soft spots for both Airboy and the Marvel Knights series he did. Sorry not to see them represented here, but then I didn’t vote, so I can’t complain, I guess.

I’ve read a lot of Chuck Dixon’s Batman related work (Nightwing & Robin for the entire time he was on the books, for example), but other than the Batgirl: Year One — which is probably the best “Year One” I’ve ever read — I can’t think of anything that stands out.

on the other hand, I probably wouldn’t still be reading GIJoe if the latest reboot wasn’t his fault. I mean, doing.

I really liked this two-part story Dixon did in ‘Tec where Batman and the Martian Manhunter (who stayed in the John Jones guise the whole time) teamed up to stop a time-traveller. It was very noir and sci-fi all at the same time.

I don’t think said story warrants being in the Top Ten; I’m just saying it was a good story.

I know the Robin series was the first to bear his name, but wouldn’t the run of solo Robin stories in Star-Spangled Comics in the 40′s count as his first solo series?

Robin Year One was a poor story that just served to introduce a crappy character for Dixon to use in Nightwing. And don’t get me started on his Nightwing and Batgirl Year One stories.

Seriously, VJM? “Batgirl: Year One” is awesome. (That’s largely due to Marcos Martin, but Dixon still deserves some credit.)

Annoyed Grunt

May 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I completely missed my chance to vote on this one, but I would have voted for a great one issue Joker story he did in Detective after Cataclysm but before No Man’s Land. It’s a tense interrogation where Batman visits Joker in Arkham to try and find a missing little girl before she drowns.

Also, he did a great Punisher arc with Russ Heath in #89-92 that I never see get any love.

I can’t complain at all. Eight of the stories I voted for are represented here.

A few more:

He did a short story (a western, no less, a genre he clearly has great affection for) in one of the Shooting Star Comics anthologies called “A LIttle Insurance,” about a double-cross that goes awry. It’s great piece of concise storytelling with a nice little twist.

I loved Detective #725. Set after the earthquake ravaged Gotham and precipitating the sparwling No Man’s Land, it’s just Batman and Nightwing running around trying to keep quake-ravaged Gotham intact and having a conversation as they go about their business. Nice character work, and never dull. There’s a companion story–I want to say it was in Robin, but it might very well have been in Nightwing–with Dick and Tim that’s similarly structured and similarly revealing.

My favorite inter-company crossover is Dixon’s Punisher/Batman. He had both characters down pat by that point, and that familiarity shows in his portrayals of Frank and Bruce (the Jean-Peal Valley Batman, featured in DC’s half, is mercifully absent here). A few moments–the heroes’ brief scuffle with each other, the Joker realizing that this “Punisher” guy is actually going to kill him–rank among the classics as far as I’m concerned. Plus: JRJR art!

Birmy: That is a great little tale and shame on me of all people to have spaced on that one when studying on my list. I concur entirely.

Interesting list. I always wonder about other people’s favorites and a list like the best Chuck Dixon stories really shows that.

I would have hoped to see Alien Legion and (my personal favorite) Marvel Knights on this list, but that’s just me.

Sorry not to see more of his Detective run with Graham Nolan, that was pretty great. Growing up in the 90s, Chuck Dixon’s Robin was my very own 60s Spider-Man.

I think his Detective Comics run was “hurt” by being seen as being part of an overall group of stories, and less specific Dixon stories. I got votes, for instance, for Knightfall, Knightsend, etc.

And it was also hurt by the constant EVENTS that DC had going on back then. But yes it was an awesome and very long run. I did choose one story to represent that run. I had to.

“Growing up in the 90s, Chuck Dixon’s Robin was my very own 60s Spider-Man.” — Ditto for me. Got #8 in one of those multi-packs you can probably still buy at Toys ‘R’ Us, and it started me down the path to reading new comics every month.

Get started on Batgirl: Year One, VJM, and let’s see if you can defend your attack.

I love Batgirl: Year One. The dialogue is snappy, the art is terrific, the cast is written wonderfully…it’s on eof the better origin stories running around.

I’m surprised to see some stuff I’ve never even heard of here.

Odd to see Devil’s Advocate on the list. That just seemed tired to me.

He did some good early work on Punisher War Journal. His first issue, I think was a great stuck-in-a-plane-without-a-parachute issue. The next ish had one of my favorite tough-guy lines of all time “The first rule of a knie fight is you’re going to get cut. Expect it. Accept it.”

How can ‘Devils Advocate’ be tired when it told a Batman and Joker story that had never been told before with an entirely new twist?

I have a strange fondness for EVANGELINE, the series Chuck & his wife (I think) did way back in the day for Comico.

Chuck Dixon’s Tim Drake is one of my favorite characters of all time. The first miniseries is one of my favorite comic book stories.

How can ‘Devils Advocate’ be tired when it told a Batman and Joker story that had never been told before with an entirely new twist?

Because (with the exception of the Joker’s confessional) it was blandly written with bland art, from a writer and artist who usually manage much better work. There was no real sense of any tension in the story. It was like Dixon came up with a decent idea, but then just went through the motions when actually telling the story.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Vengeance of Bane. Bane has been almost universally mishandled outside of Dixon’s work, but both of the Vengeance of Bane specials are exercises in pulpy, powerful stuff. If the new Doc Savage series was being written by Dixon and drawn by Nolan I would actually be buying it.

tangentmechanic

May 27, 2010 at 11:48 am

What? Not even an honorary reference to Team 7 or Team Zero? If anything, those series’ prove that Chuck Dixon is hands down the best writer of military material there is.

Hands down, Dixon is the king of Joker tales. Perhaps even outstripping Paul Dini in that regard.

My favorite Joker story EVER is the ‘tec three-parter he did during Knightquest: Az-Bats vs. Joker in a movie-themed story.

Nolan’s art is incredibly rich throughout the story, since they were done with old-school coloring instead of the flat, computerized shades that brought down Devil’s Advocate. And Nolan draws Joker with a ponytail and makes him look HOT.

Seriously, google “Ponytail Joker” and scroll down till you see the image of him in the baseball cap (that’s the promotional poster for the story). It has to be seen to be believed.

Nice to see some love for the “Ponytail Joker” !

It’s one of my favorite artistic takes on the character…
So much so that I’d bought the original art of that poster !

It really is an amazing piece, and it can be viewed here
(along with a scan of the published version):

http://qurls.com?i=49057

Birds of Prey #8 is number one? …really? It was a good story, but not grea t IMO. The first BOP one shot was way better.

Never heard of that Joker story, but I’ll definately try looking for it. Loved the Robin (Tim) and Batgirl minis.

By far, my favorite series of his was Alien Legion with Larry Stroman. That will be one of my favorite series ever!

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives