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The Greatest Marv Wolfman 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 Marv Wolfman Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

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

15. New Teen Titans (Baxter) #1-5 “Titans vs. Trigon”

The all-new, straight to the direct market comic book series starring the Teen Titans (on fancy new paper) opened up with Marv Wolfman and George Perez taking us back to the very beginning as the Titans once more take on their first major foe – Trigon the Terrible!

14. New Teen Titans #26-27 “Runaways”

This Wolfman, Perez and Romeo Tanghal story about young runaways inspired the government to ask DC to do a special anti-drugs issue of Teen Titans.

13. Night Force #1-7 (plus #8 as an epilogue) “The Summoning”

This story is just what the name sounds like, as sorcerer Baron Winter summons his specialized team of folks to fight against the supernatural! Gene Colan drew the book.

12. New Teen Titans #23-25, Annual #1 “The Vegan War”

This Wolfman, Perez and Tanghal storyline was about the Titans fighting a group of folks who won’t eat anything derived from an animal.

That, or it is a story of Starfire being captured by her evil sister who traps her into a war in Starfire’s home galaxy – the Titans team up with Wolfman creations, the Omega Men, to save their teammate!

11. Tomb of Dracula #7-14 “To Kill Dracula”

I think it’s fair to lump these seven issues together – they constitute the first issues of Wolfman’s run on Tomb of Dracula along with Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, and it introduces Quincy Harker, his daughter and, most importantly, Blade the Vampire Slayer, as they team up with the already established hunters (like Frank Drake) to fight Dracula. We get Blade’s origin as well as seemingly the death of Dracula, but not before Quincy’s daughter Edith falls prey to Dracula! What will her father do?!?

10. Tales of the Teen Titans #54-55 “The Trial of the Terminator”

Slade Wilson goes on trial for his actions in the Judas Contract, but soon finds that the REAL trial comes outside the courtroom, at the hands of a revenge-seeking Changeling! Marv Wolfman wrote both issues, George Perez co-plotted at least one of them, and Rich Buckler and Ron Randall each drew an issue.

9. Fantastic Four #196-200

These series of stories lead directly to an epic battle between Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom in Fantastic Four #200 – Doom’s actions in these issues rank up there with the harshest of his comic book history! Keith Pollard, Joe Sinnott and Pablo Marcos drew the issues!

8. Batman #441-442, New Titans #60-61 “A Lonely Place of Dying”

Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Jim Aparo and Tom Grummett combined for this crossover that introduced Tim Drake and established him as the new Robin!

7. Tomb of Dracula #25 “Night of the Blood-Stalker!”

In this acclaimed stand-alone issue, we are introduced to Hannibal King, an intriguing private investigator who is caught up in a case of murder that might be vampiric in nature. A brilliant mix of fantasy and crime noir by Wolfman. Colan and Palmer.

6. New Teen Titans #8 “A Day in the Lives”

This one-off issue showing the Titans on their “Day-off” was an important issue in showing how the New Tieen Titans were going to be based on characterization more than anything else! Another Wolfman/Perez/Tanghal joint.

5. Amazing Spider-Man #200

Wolfman, Keith Pollard and Jim Mooney come together to tell a story that, well, I think the cover really explains it, doesn’t it?

4. New Teen Titans #13-15 “The Search for the Killers of the Doom Patrol!”

After the deaths of the original Doom Patrol, surviving members Robotman and Mento agreed to leave the situation be so as to not get Beast Boy involved. Once he joined the Teen Titans, however, the two set off to get their revenge. Things went poorly and Beast Boy (now Changeling) and his new teammates must pick up the challenge themselves! Another Wolfman/Perez/Tanghal joint.

3. New Teen Titans #38 “Who is Donna Troy?”

Wolfman co-plotted and scripted along with Perez as co-plotter and artist for this landmark issue where Dick Grayson, as a wedding present, decides to find out once and for all – who IS Donna Troy?

2. Crisis on Infinite Earths

You all know what Crisis on Infinite Earths is, right?

1. Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44, Annual #3

Wolfman co-plotted and scripted along with Perez as co-plotter and artist for this storyline, the culmination of more than a year’s worth of stories – heck, when you look at it from Deathstroke the Terminator’s perspective, this story had been building since Deathstroke’s first appearance in New Teen Titans #2!!! Anyhow – one teammate betrays them! One teammate debuts a new superhero identity! And one teammate joins! A truly titanic tale!

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!

55 Comments

The images for 6 and 7 are flip-flopped (Tomb of Dracula is where New Teen Titans should be and vice versa).

The images for 6 and 7 are flip-flopped (Tomb of Dracula is where New Teen Titans should be and vice versa).

Thanks! I swapped them.

So, out of all the characters that Marv Wolfman helped to create, which are the worst and which are the best?

He has creator credits on Blade, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire, Jericho, Tim Drake, Bullseye, Deathstroke, Felicia Hardy, Nova, Terrax, Trigon, the Omega Men, the Anti-Monitor (and the Monitor), Harbinger, Lady Quark, Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), Vigilante, Chesire and Cat Grant, among others.

My personal favorite, though, is Big Wheel.

I find it amusing to note that “Vegan” now means something different than “related to the star Vega.”

Also, did John Byrne do the cover of TT #26? The runaways look a lot like his style…

Isn’t Amz. Spider-Man 200 the issue where it was revealed that the burglar was after buried gold in the Parker house?

I still hate that idea. Why would you want to take away the randomness aspect of the crime? It seems like he missed the point.

I am glad to see at least one of his FF arcs made it, although the one with the Sphinx should have made it too.

Great list – Wolfman is truly one of the giants of the field. And while I’m happy to see that two of my picks actually made the top five, coming in at # 4 & 5 (with 2 more in the 11-15 bracket), I simply can’t believe that awesome, multi-part epic space opera from Fantastic Four 204-214 didn’t make the cut. Did it even make the top 20, Brian?

Did it even make the top 20, Brian?

Off the top of my head, I believe it actually was the next story on the list – either that or the Green Lantern story that introduced the Omega Men. The first appearance of the New Teen Titans and the initial Terra storyline are also mixed in there for the next five or so stories.

I was devastated when Night Force got canceled! I had a mail order subscription and had to choose from a short list to finish out what I paid for. I was probably about 12-13, and still go back to re-read those every once in a while. There hasn’t been anything like it since :(

Glad to see FF and Spidey represented. I fondly remember that Dr. Doom story (even if I did mistakenly remember it drawn by Perez, leading me to vote for it in the Perez entry).

I do agree that the Sphinx story should be right up there with it.

Pete Woodhouse

May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

Saying those Perez covers above are awesome is no great relevation, but I do like that Night Force #1 too. Once again proving Colan’s one of the all-time greats as well.
Others have commented about it in the Perez section, but I imagined the Perez top ten would have had the same sort of Teen Titans ratio as this list.
P.

Wolfman co-plotted and scripted along with Perez as co-plotter and artist for this landmark issue where Dick Grayson, as a wedding present, decides to find out once and for all – who IS Donna Troy?

Bwah-HA-HA-HA!

These are some great childhood memories uncovered by this list….btw Trial of The Terminator may be the most under appreciated Titans story arcs ever….Unbelievable characterization…

Yeah, the Sphinx storyline of FF was on my list. But then so was the first few issues of Spider-Woman and Skull the Slayer. And I’m tickled to see that Night Force made the top 15

Tomb of Dracula #25 was at the very top on my list, but I also thought the Janus Saga that closed the series was freaking amazing.

I quite honestly would have put Crisis as number one — it’s still my favorite Wolfman/Perez story, and I always thought that the Judas Contract was a little oddly paced. In any event, I’d also put “Who is Donna Troy” and the Donna’s wedding as higher than the Judas Contract.

And I’m a huge Nightwing fanboy, so I’m surprised I’m saying these things.

Dr. Doom doesn’t look cool in that FF cover.

shouldn’t wolfman get co-creator credit on nightwing too? not only did he create the new identity, but he’s pretty much the writer that took dick grayson from being the boy hostage and turned him into a full-fledged character.

All those Titans stories rank as my all time favorites, glad to see them on this list! I sure wish we could get all the early TNTT stories collected in trade, especially if the trades include forwards written by Wolfman and Perez.

Wow. This is so cool. Anyway, I thought I’d give an answer or two to questions raised here. 1: Spidey 200. I agree with Ian about the randomness of Ben’s murder. Had a burglar just killed Ben that would have been fine. But Peter first meets him in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden then, for no reason at all, he’s in Forest Hills, Queens robbing a house. That coincidence didn’t make sense to me so I tried to square it up. I would have preferred it if Peter, coming home from the wrestling match saw the burglar running down a street, robbing, say, a lady’s purse, and he let him go only to discover the guy had just killed Ben. At least there would have been no geographical anomaly. 2: Byrne did NOT draw the cover of Titans #26. That was all George. 3: For Saturn Girl, the Early Titans have been collected in DC Archives.
And again thanks.

A solid list. A few comments:

10. New Titans 54-55: a fine pick.

9. F.F. 196-200: Frankly, Wolfman’s FF run is overrated. These five issues have some good points, but they have not aged well.

8. Batman 441-442, Titans 60-61: Solid choices.

7. Tomb o f Dracula 25: A superb choice, possibly the best stand alone issue in Wolfman’s fantastic run.

6. Titans 8 : A nice change of pace issue.

5. Amazing Spider-Man 200: The jewel in the cardboard crown that was Wolfman’s run on Amazing. Seriously, compare Wolfman’s mediocre tenure on the title to Wein’s or Stern’s, and you will see what I mean. Heck, for a one issue illustration of Wolfman’s club-footed take on the character, just look at Amazing 194 (the intro of the Black Cat), where Spider-Man marvels at the Black Cat’s ability to jump over his head from a standing start! Stern, in my opinion, did a subtle take that on this scene when he had the Black Cat in Amazing 226 marvel at Spider-Man’s jumping power.

4. Titans 13-15: Solid choices.

3:Titans 38: Good choice. a very moving story.

2:Crisis on Infinite Earths: If Wolfman had written nothing else, this series alone would have guaranteed him Comics immortality. Fabulous stuff.

1: Titans 42-44, Annual 3: Great stuff, possibly Wolfman’s finest work on the title.

Does it say anything about him that the bulk of his perceived best work was done in collaboration with one guy? I ask this because the quality of his Titans work really dropped off after Perez left.

Does it say anything about him that the bulk of his perceived best work was done in collaboration with one guy? I ask this because the quality of his Titans work really dropped off after Perez left.

That’s true as far as the Titans goes, IMO, but nah, I don’t think it says anything about Marv. And Gene Colan gets some props on the list as well, as well he should.

Mike Loughlin

May 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

I voted all Tomb of Dracula (and one issue of Dracula Lives!, the one with the Neal Adams story) in hopes of seeing the title represented somewhere on the list. I’m glad to see that not all my votes were in vein.

I like all of those, except for FF#200. I think the Sphinx saga that came later is much stronger. It was one of the few times in Marvel story that the Skrulls seemed really scary. Rapid aging as an execution method? Scary.

Spidey #200 was readable, but that is all. The rest of the list is awesome.

Is there a checklist on The Titans by Wolfman and Pérez? I´ve alwalys wanted to read that spectacular run but I´ve never been able to track down the actual order. Is it available on trade paperback? I´ve had the same problem with Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League.

I was stunned to see Night Force on the list. I didn’t know very many people even read it. Sadly, I only got to read the first few issues. It was the last DC series I bought more than an issue of.

It’s great to see Marv himself reply here. But I think his memory of Amazing Fantasy #15 may be a little off. There are several days in between Spidey’s encounter with the burglar in the TV studio and the murder of Uncle Ben in Forest Hills. That burglar could’ve been robbing places all over the city in between those times.

They debuted in an insert in DC Comics Presents #26 then New Teen Titans (Vol. 1) #1-40 which continues into Tales of the Teen Titans #41-54 (Perez co-plotted and drew it until 50, and co-plotted until #54).

Then the next volume, New Teen Titans #1-6 (with Perez co-plotting and drawing the first five and co-plotting the 6th) and then Wolfman wrote it solo until issue #50, where the book was re-named New Titans. Perez co-plotted and drew #50-55, #57 while co-plotting #56. Then he did co-plotting and layouts (for Tom Grummett) from #58-61 (with #60 being full pencils by Perez).

In addition to those issues of the regular series, they also did the first three Titans Annuals (New Teen Titans into Tales of the Teen Titans) together, with Perez co-plotting and drawing all three.

So if you want issues that Perez worked on, it goes:

DC Comics Presents #26
New Teen Titans #1-40
New Teen Titans Annual #1-2
Tales of the Teen Titans #41-54
Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3
New Teen Titans (Vol. 2) #1-6
New Titans #50-61

The first 27 issues of New Teen Titans (plus the DC Comics Presents story plus the first Annual plus the tie-in Tales of the New Teen Titans mini-series which spotlighted the four new members of the team) are collected in four hardcovers by DC. Then there is a softcover collecting #28-34 plus Annual #2. Then there is a softcover collecting New Teen Titans #39-40, Tales of the Teen Titans #41-44 and Annual #3. Then one collecting Vol. 2 #1-5. Then one collecting New Teen Titans #38, Tales of the Teen Titans #50, New Titans #50-55. Plus a trade collecting #60 and 61, which were part of a Batman crossover, A Lonely Place of Dying.

So all said and done, the ONLY Wolfman/Perez issues NOT available in a collection are:

New Teen Titans #35-37
Tales of the Teen Titans #45-49, 51-54
New Teen Titans (Vol. 2) #6
New Titans #56-59

Not bad, eh?

Mike Loughlin

May 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

At least one of the Titans anti-drug comics sponsored by Keebler was by Wolfman & Perez.

This might be slightly off-topic, but did the newsstand edition of Batman #442 not have that ridiculous “DC Comics aren’t just for kids!” blurb? (I’m assuming it’s the newsstand edition in the picture above, since it has a bar code.)

Wow, thanx, Brian. Great research and great answer.

So then what issue did Tales of the Teen Titans start reprinting New Teen Titans Vol. 2?

Im confused New Teen Titans debut cover has Nightwing on the cover, than #23 cover has someone (Dick Grayson) in a Robin Costume??

Can anyone clarify?

The New Teen Titans #1 cover shown is the second series. The #23 shown was the earlier series.

Louis Bright-Raven

May 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Jax:

Probably the Jason Todd version of Robin, IIRC.

Louis Bright-Raven

May 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Or as Dan Larkin suggests, #23 was the earlier series. But I seem to recall Jason Todd as Robin in the Titans, too, so it could be either / or.

What a strong list!

One I didn’t expect to place, but which I ranked #1 in my ballot, was Detective Comics #628, “Hearts”, featuring Abattoir. It has one of the most powerful endings I’ve ever seen in a monthly comic, accomplishing a trick of pacing rarely seen in comics, where the excitement peaks on the last page, even in the last couple of panels, yet it is also clearly the end of the story. (It’s much easier and more common to have the most exciting panel in the issue be the last one when it’s just a surprising cliff-hanger setup of next issue’s story). I don’t recall a more powerful evocation of Batman’s rage ever, anywhere! It radiated off the page like the heat from an open blast furnace door.

I also voted for The Penguin Affair (Batman #448, #449 & Detective Comics #615), another gem from the Bat-run that gave us A Lonely Place of Dying.

Very cool that Marv Wolfman has seen this. One wonders if anything surprised him by being on the list.

Night Force came in at # 13 !!! Woo Hoo ! I would kill to write that series. Out of everything Marv’s done, I think that’s my favorite one. Better than Titans or ToD.

These are all great stories IMO. I have to agree that the Sphinx FF story was awesome. Forgot about it.

It’s Dick on all those Titans covers.

OK so that #23 is Dick Grayson Robin but from an earlier series, looking at the covers its says Aug 1984 on the #1 (and just Sep on the #23) but the give away is that #23 is 60c to #1 $1.25.

So that makes sense.

How cool is it that Wolfman commented here?
Anyway, I meant to ask in my first comment but forgot, does anyone know if that Skrull-Sphinx-space saga from FF has ever been collected in any form (besides a possible Essentials volume)?

Great list, and one of the few I’ve read ALMOST all of the books on it.

One quick note: Lonely Place of Dying (literally the 2nd Batman story I ever bought after Batman: Year 3) was five parts. Batman *440*-442 and New Titans 60-61

Brian,

With regard to the list of Wolfman and Perez Titans issues, I know that you mentioned it in passing, but it bears repeating that there is also the fantastic Tales of the New Teen Titans #1-4 mini-series that recounts the origin of each new character. The Raven issue (#2) is the one that got me hooked on the New Teen Titans in the first place.

There is also the DC Comics digest that has an original story by Wolfman but it is drawn by Infantino. I think it’s Best of DC Comics Digest #18. It has great front and back covers by Perez. I think that this story was reprinted in Tales of the Teen Titans #59.

Patrick Hamilton`

May 22, 2010 at 5:28 am

That is Dick Grayson as Robin on the cover of NTT (Vol. 1) #23, as several have noted. As for Jason Todd, he briefly shows up as a Titan in Vol. 2 (the Baxter series) starting with issue #20 IIRC. This happens when the original team breaks up and Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) has to put together a new team that includes herself, as well as Robin (Jason Todd), a post-Dove’s-death-in-Crisis Hawk, and Speedy (I forget if there were others). These issues might be what Louis Bright-Raven recalls above.

If Marv Wolfman is still hanging around to answer questions….

Weren’t you planning a follow up to the Doctor Doom story that brought him back to sanity but using the mystical aspects of the character?

P.S.

Didn’t you write the FF paperback novel around the same time as your run on the FF? I think I still have that somewhere! LOL

Just a good example showing why these entries should have dates on them.

I really wish I’d found time to vote for this one, but I needed to review to come up with ten. #1 would have been Amazing Spider-Man #200 (the whole stint 192-200 is just perfect) and #2 would have been a Lonely Place of Dying. Then I couldn’t decide. Tomb of Dracula #25 was my first thought for such a story, but I wanted to reread them. I’ve only read through New Teen Titans and Tomb of Dracula each once, and my memory isn’t good enough to form substantial opinions without several rereads.

——–

Regarding Marv’s comments on the burglar scene: I disagree.

I prefer the story the way it was.

1) In Ultimate Spider-Man, Jemas felt precisely as Marv suggested above, and so changed things so the burglar was closer to home. But the change they made gave us the odd dynamic of a shopkeeper yelling at a teenager for not stopping an armed burglar. Which is less sensible than a guard yelling at a masked guy with superpowers.
2) It’s a coincidence no matter what; making it slightly less coincidental has minimal impact on that fact, and seems a pedantic concern, rather than a meaningful one.
3) The fact that it’s such a coincidence adds a thematic richness to it. It teaches us that actions have consequences beyond those predictable. And that the choices we make, good or bad, have ripple effects that are fundamentally unpredictable. To quote Sandman, “Our existence deforms reality. That’s responsibility.”
4) In summary, I like that it’s a coincidence and don’t see the particular value in attempt to alter the story to take away from that
5) All that said, despite my disagreements concerning the role of coincidence in Spidey’s origin, Amazing Spider-Man #200 is one of the best Spider-Man stories ever (top 7, I’d say) and makes a nice thematic conclusion to the series as a whole by virtue of Spider-Man confronting the burglar again and thereby facing his past.

Surprised at Crisis on Infinite Earths wasn’t #1. Still, the Judas Contract is a good story to end up at #1.

Wow! Marv Wolfaman puts in his words for the list! Awesome!

Mr. Wolfman, you are one my favorite comic writers of all time. Can’t wait to read Tomb of Dracula and eventually the animated adaption.

I don’t like Wolfman’s Spider-Man run AT ALL. For a long time I considered it the worst the character ever had, but then the 90s came and made his run look much better. Heck, later JMS came and made Wolfman’s Spider-Man seem as good as Stan Lee’s, but I digress.

Just another thing:

“So, out of all the characters that Marv Wolfman helped to create, which are the worst and which are the best? ”

Best to me is Nova (he was “my” Spider-Man – and has weathered quite well multiple reimaginigs!), worst is, beyond ANY doubt, Terry Long.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Adam Weissman

May 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I’ve never understood the appeal of the Judas Contract. Lots of other Wolfman stories have done a lot more for me. Interesting that none of his work from Action Comics (pre-Crisis) or Adventures of Superman (post-Crisis), or Vigilante made the list.

So did everyone who voted on George’s list just forget the Judas Contract and Who is Donna Troy?

Great list. There were so many Titans gems though. Sorry to not see the Donna Troy wedding issue here, or the russian Starfire story here (Maladi). Such pathos, thank you Marv!

I enjoy a lot of Marv Wolfman’s work. Especially the Titans and Crisis stuff.

Yes, yes, yes – and YES! So glad to see Who Is Donna Troy? rank so high on the list.

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