web stats

CSBG Archive

The Greatest Kingpin 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 Kingpin Stories Ever Told!


10. PunisherMax #1-5 “Kingpin”

Jason Aaron takes over the Punisher Max title with this storyline where he introduces the Max version of the Kingpin in a brutal story about the price to be paid for power. Steve Dillon did the artwork.

9. Daredevil (vol. 2) #26-31 “Underboss”

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev begin their acclaimed Daredevil run with this story about a mutiny within Kingpin’s ranks, and the dramatic actions taken by Wilson Fisk’s estranged wife after the attempted assassination of Fisk.

8. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #76-81 “The Murdock Papers”

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev conclude their acclaimed Daredevil run with this storyline involving a sort of cat and mouse game between the Kingpin, the United States government and Matt Murdock, with a nice callback to Kingpin’s debut in the pages of Daredevil (the Kingpin tells everyone he has a “file” on Murdock, and everyone then goes nuts to get said file).

7. Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #50-52 “Kingpin’s Debut”

Wilson Fisk arrives in New York to consolidate the crime families against outsiders like the Maggia. J. Jonah Jameson gets in his way, so the Kingpin wants him dealt with – Spider-Man luckily gets in the way. This storyline includes the famous issue where Spider-Man almost decides to quit being a superhero for good! The creative team is Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

6. Ultimate Spider-Man #8-12 (with #13 as an epilogue not really having anything to do with the Kingpin) “Learning Curve”

Peter Parker gets a job at the Daily Bugle and decides to try to take down the Kingpin of Crime, but as a teenaged hero, is Spider-Man way out of his depth here? Can he survive the learning curve? Brian Michael Bendis wrote it and Mark Bagley drew it.

5. Daredevil #46-50 “Hardcore”

The Kingpin begins to solidify plans for a comeback after the events of Underboss, and Matt Murdock just cannot take the idea of the cycle just starting over again, so in a dramatic finale (filled with a pile of classic former Daredevil artists joining Alex Maleev on art), Matt decides to flip the whole Daredevil/Kingpin dynamic up on its ear. Brian Michael Bendis wrote it.

4. Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #4 “Severance Package”

In this one-shot issue by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso, we see the aftermath of what happens when Spider-Man foils one of Kingpin’s crime plots. We follow one of Kingpin’s top lieutenants who was in charge of the operation and see just what happens when you fail the Kingpin. Brilliant issue with amazingly evocative art by Risso.

3. Daredevil: Love and War

An original graphic novel by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz, this story sort of bridges the gap between Miller’s first Daredevil run and his second stint on the book, in a gripping tale of a psychologist who Kingpin tries to force to work on his wife by kidnapping the psychologist’s wife. Daredevil gets involved, naturally, in a moving tale rich with character moments.

2. Daredevil #170-172 “Gang War!”

Just when he thought he was out, they dragged him back in. Fearful of rumors of files he supposedly kept on all the major underworld figures, Wilson Fisk is dragged out of retirement through an attempt on the life of his wife, Vanessa. You really don’t want to anger Wilson Fisk, and in this three-parter, he returns to New York with a vengeance, hiring Bullseye as his personal assassin. Daredevil manages to stop Bullseye, but Kingpin continues to build his organization back up to full strength. Frank Miller wrote and drew this storyline.

1. Daredevil #227-233 “Born Again”

A runaway winner, Born Again is one of Frank Miller’s best stories, with beautiful artwork by David Mazzucchelli. Through Matt Murdock’s old girlfriend, Karen Page, the Kingpin learns Daredevil’s secret identity and then conspires to destroy his life before ending it. However, much to Kingpin’s dismay, when the end game seemed complete, there turned out to be “no corpse.” And he realized that a man without hope, well, that is a man without fear. So the second half of the story is Matt making his comeback to take the Kingpin down.

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!


6 out of 10! This seems like the only list I scered so high. I don’t really like ASM #50 – 52, part 1 is amazing, but the other two, not so much.

Oh, there’s a problem, all stories show the DD #227 cover…

Thanks, Matthew, I fixed it!

I didn’t think I had read enough Kingpin stories to vote, but I guess I was wrong. I’ve read most of the ones that made the top ten.

Happily surprised that “Severance package” made it so high; I thought it might’d been a bit obscure. On the other hand I also thought “Fall of the Kingpin” still was regarded as one of the classics.

Dang, I forgot “Severance Package!”

My votes:

1 – Spider-Man’s Tnagled Web #4
2 – Born Again
3 – PunisherMax #1 – 5
4 – Murdock papers
5 – The Devil in cell block D
6 – Daredevil: Underboss
7 – Daredevil: Hardcore
8 – Return of the king
9 – The name of the rose
10 – Spectacular Spider-Man #100

Mike Loughlin

May 25, 2010 at 6:12 am

I didn’t vote in this one, but I’m surprised the post-Gang War Miller issues didn’t get a mention. Issues 380-382 are more remembered for the Elektra storyline, but Kingpin set the whole thing in motion.

Ann Nocenti & JR Jr. handled the Kingpin well in the Typhoid Mary stories.

DD 297-300 (“Last Rites,” a sequel to Born Again) were among the best Chichester issues, with excellent art by Lee Weeks.

Good list, though, and Severance Package is an underread classic. I’d love to see Rucka & Risso team up again.

Off the top of my head, Mike, the post Gang War issues were near #15, like #17 or something like that. I think Devil in Cell Block D was #16.

Spidey Super Stories #18, “Kingpin in Fun City”

the Kingpin BUYS New York.


I always thought that the whole tablet business was the most well-regarded Spiderman-Kingpin story, not the debut…

Well my spots 1-4 are identical to these spots 1-4 so I guess those were pretty safe bets.

I almost voted Underboss, but decided to forget the Bendis stuff altogether. The ending of “Hardcore” bugged me (DD’s big solution to defeat the Kingpin is to beat him up? Effortlessly? It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and wasn’t very exciting).

I’m surprised Fall of the Kingpin by Chichester and Weeks didn’t show up.

I’m not as surprised Guts (DD 185) didn’t show up as it’s more of a Foggy story, but I voted for it anyway!

I’m glad someone else liked Spectacular Spider-Man 100. That’s got a pretty good Kingpin/Spidey fight.

But Born Again, Gangwar and Love and War are of course the greatest. Miller was sure good back in the day.

I didn’t vote for this one, but if I had, my 1-3 would probably have matched these and Bendis’s arcs would have got some votes too.

I voted for:

1. Learning Curve; Ultimate Spider-Man #8-12, by Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley
2. Born Again; Daredevil #226-233, by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
3. Love & War;Marvel Graphic Novel #24 by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkisomething
4. Men of Influence; Ultimate Spider-Man #47-49, by Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley
5. Daredevil #168-172, by Frank Miller (or some subset/expansion you think makes a story)
6. Devil Inside & Out, Daredevil (vol. 2) #82-87, by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark
7. Batman & Spider-Man, by J.M. Dematteis and Graham Nolan
8. Daredevil: Man Without Fear #1-5, by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.
9. Fall of the Kingpin; Daredevil #297-300, by D.G. Chichester and Lee Weeks
10. Hardcore; Daredevil (vol. 2) #46-50, by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev

But I forgot about Severance Package. My bad. That would go somewhere on the list and kick off Hardcore. Oops.

Great list. Brubaker’s “Return of the King” prologue was also a very strong Kingpin story.

I don’t understand how “Return of the King” didn’t make this list. The first issue in that arc alone should get it into the top ten. It actually had me feeling bad for the Kingpin.

Leave a Comment



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