web stats

CSBG Archive

The Greatest Joe Casey Stories Ever Told!

Every day in November 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 Joe Casey Stories Ever Told!


Sorry for the delay! In the rules, I noted that stories could be twelve issues long, so if I had a scenario where, say, the majority of the votes were for Intimates #1-12 while a handful of the votes were for a single issue of the Intimates, I just lumped the single issue in as a vote for Intimates #1-12.

10. Uncanny X-Men Annual 2001, Uncanny X-Men #407-409

It really is a shame that Casey’s X-Men really “clicked” at this late point in his run. His last few issues, as well as the Annual that led to them, had Casey working with two stellar artists, Ashley Wood and Sean Phillips, as Casey takes a crack at turning Warren Worthington into the sort of crusading businessman that Casey later had so much success with with Jack Marlowe. The new take on Vanisher was quite compelling.

9. Intimates #1-12

This offbeat series following a school for superheroes opened up with very strong artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli. Casey used a number of innovative narrative approaches in this clever and unusual series, which I believe was Casey’s farwell to the Wildstorm universe that he did so much good with.

8. Cable #59-62 “The Nemesis Contract”

In this big, Kirby-esque adventure, Cable fights against SHIELD headhunter, Jack Truman. Paired with Ladronn, Casey tells a fun and engaging action romp that allows Casey to play with Cable’s place within the Marvel Universe while also setting up stories that would later come into play during Casey’s run on Deathlok (where Truman returns).

7. Adventures of Superman #612-616 “The Hollow Men”

In this inspired series of stories, Clark Kent comes across an old journalism mentor of his, whose fictional works are coming to life. Casey uses this plot device to compare and contrast modern Superman against how Superman originally appeared, showing just how different Superman is today, and more importantly, Casey shows us a Superman that does not use violence to solve problems. Engaging stuff.

6. Wildcats 3.0 #13-24 “Year Two”

Casey’s finale of his Wildcats run is more or less split into two distinct elements (if it weren’t for the fact that this was, indeed, released as a “Year Two” trade, I would think of it as two stories), with the first being the clever and cerebral examination of how Jack Marlowe’s corporate endeavors are viewed by the United States government and the second being a re-visitation of older WildC.A.T.s stories with the return of Zealot and her warrior group, the Coda, in Coda War One. The series ends on a series of over-the-top dramatic fight sequences. Still an enjoyable ride.

5. Codeflesh

Originally appearing in a couple of different flip books, Codeflesh was eventually collected into a single collection. It is about a bail bondsman who continually offers bail to supervillains because he knows that they will skip bail and he will be able to take them down. Once a judge tells him he cannot do this anymore, he creates a costumed identity to continue doing it anyways. Casey does a sort of old school superhero riff here, in the sense that our “hero” is torn between his private life and his “superhero” life, only what he is doing is really not noble – it is driven more by his enjoyment of hunting down criminals. Charles Adlard did excellent artwork, especially on the final part of the original story where he and Casey do a very experimental story.

4. Wildcats 3.0 #1-12 “Year One”

This extremely ambitious series followed Jack Marlowe, the hero formerly known as Spartan, as he attempts to essentially save the world through his corporation (and his futuristic battery, of course). Meanwhile, Cole Cash trains one of Marlowe’s accountants to become the new Grifter. Dustin Nguyen does the art on this

Story continues below

3. Wildcats Volume 2 #8-13 “Vicious Circles”

This was Joe Casey and Sean Phillips’ first storyline on Wildcats, and this gave the hint of the great promise that they would achieve with taking the initial concept of Wildcats and pushing it into whole other areas. Casey plays with the idea that the Wildcats really do not have a reason for being on Earth anymore. By the end of the story, though, Spartan has taken on a new name and a new purpose. It is strong, character-driven work.

2. Wildcats Volume 2 #14-19 “Serial Boxes”

In their second storyline on Wildcats, Casey and Phillips use a super-powered serial killer to mold the cast of the book to the characters that they most want to write. A result of this is some shocking violence towards some of the regular members of the title. However, Casey introduces us to a bunch of new cast members as he continues his drive towards making this a moody, character-based comic book (having the great Sean Phillips on artwork certainly helps in that regard).

1. Automatic Kafka #1-9

This highly metafictional comic book shows us a washed-up superhero from the 1980s who is being pursued by the government to work for them. To avoid them, he becomes a celebrity game show host. The artwork by Ashley Wood is sublime and Casey has a number of stand-out issues, most famous being #4, an examination of what the Peanuts gang might be up to had they not been lucky enough to be stuck as kids forever and #9, where Casey and Wood break the news to their creation that his book has been canceled.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know! And go vote for the other characters and creators on the list!


Wrong pic for the first entry for Uncanny. Just wanted to let you know! :-)

Other than that, I cannot say much as I’ve only read a couple of these. I did not care much for the Uncanny run, especially how the interaction between Warren and Logan went. I know they weren’t exactly chums, but it had been so long since there’d been so much open hostility and it seemed a bit jarring, especially having read every issue of X-Men since the early 80s and seeing them come to something of an understanding in Apocalypse: The Twelve.

The Superman story was pretty good, but I’d need to read it all again since it’s been so long and I found the entirety of the run a little uneven so my memories of that particular story may be being unfairly clouded by some of the less enjoyable issues I do remember.

In any case, I enjoy these columns. It’s fun to see how different people perceive the same works differently!


intresting to see some of casey wildcat run almost take up the whole list plus was wondering where automatic kafka would rank if it made the cut

I haven’t read any of this, but several of them look awesome, specially Automatic Kafka.

Wonder if we’ll see this list updated when they’re done with Butcher Baker; That series has been utterly, utterly epic.

Wildcats 3.0 volume 1 is frigging fantastic. v.2 isn’t quite as good, but still worth a read.

I agree with Statham. Butcher Baker has been balls out non stop insanity… and I love it!

Totally agree about Butcher Baker. Combine that with Zodiac and Vengeance and Mr. Casey is on quite a hot streak right now. And don’t forget about Godland. Lord Morrison bores me. Casey is where the crazy is.

No Officer Downe!?!?!?!

WTF to no Godland on this list.

Eenteresting. I have read exactly none of these. That could be why Casey’s never grabbed me so far. (I have read Godland, but found that it just made me want to read actual Kirby stuff instead.)

So the Top Ten is bookended by Ashley Wood collabos? Can’t argue with that.

Also, Codeflesh in the Top Five makes me ridiculously happy. That title is fantastic. Everyone needs to get the collection (preferably the original, black-and-white version, which ends with the “only in comics” ish rather than the bonus strip).

I’m kind of surprised that the newest series on the list is The Intimates, which came out in 2005, though. As Benjamin mentioned, Casey’s been on fire the past couple of years. I can understand not voting for Vengeance or Butcher Baker yet, since Casey’s still gotta stick the landing on the former and the latter’s yet to complete an arc. And Officer Downe and Nixon’s Pals probably aren’t weighty or experimental enough to compete with the books that did rank. But no Zodiac? That was the best event tie-in in recent memory, and there have been a lot of event tie-ins in recent memory. Hell, it’s easily one of the best mini series from the Big Two in recent memory, period. Just crackerjack stuff.

I wonder how closely this list mirrors Nevett’s picks…

Joe Casey wrote the best Wildcats run ever. In this specific series, he outdid Alan Moore, a pre-Hollywood James Robinson, and Grant Morrison. That’s nothing to sneeze at.


I don’t think Grant Morrison wrote any WildCats, but Chris Claremont did, and is worth adding to the list of people Joe Casey outdid on the title.

Morrison did a relaunch with Jim Lee that lasted an issue or two. It wasn’t awful, but also not really good enough that there’s been a strong push to revive it or keep it going. Claremonts a fair addition, though.

Casey may be where the crazy is, but I don’t quite get the love for Zodiac. A bunch of wacky stuff happens, but…why? There’s really no food for thought in that story, it’s just well-executed popcorn comics. Now, Buthcer Baker, on the other hand…

I’m amazed that for a writer with such a relatively small output only four of my top ten made the list.

Particularly sad to not see Wildcats: Battery Park, Batman: Tenses, The Milkman Murders and Iron Man: The Inevitable not making the list

Wow, I love Joe Casey stuff (I was actually one of the two people who voted for them as “favorite writer” not long ago) yet I have NEVER read ANY of his Wildcats stuff. It’s been everything else of his I’ve loved. I’m not sure if this makes me sad or pathetic or uninformed or ignorant or just odd. Strange, very very strange…

Spoilers: I’m gonna do one of these for every post.

Ahhhh! No Mister Majestic? I *loved* Mister Majestic!

A couple Elephantmen stories.


November 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I really wish all the Ladronn Cable issues would be collected.

Sorry to nitpick, as I really enjoy these features, but I cringe when I see: “Once a judge tells him he cannot do this anymore, he creates a costumed identity to continue doing it anyways.” Anyways? Really? Just say “anyway.” That’s a real word, no need to add a letter to it. It’s one of my pet peeves as an English teacher (just like writing “aks” instead of “ask” or “should/would of” instead of “should/would have.” Great work otherwise, though!

Glad to see that autokafka is top dog, but I need to echo the glory that is veangence, once completed I’m sure it deserves a spot on this list.

Glad to see alot of nods for zodiac too. One of the best hidden gems in marvel event storyline books in recent memory.

I also feel the need to voice up for the last defenders. Its a loving tribute to the long history of not just the team,but a funny metatext commentary on the no team aspect. Great stuff, a must read for any defenders fan.

I’d flat out posit that Joe Casey is arguably one of the most unhearalded and underrated writers in the past couple of decades.

Yeah, I’ll be glad once “Butcher” has had enough time to really come into its own. I love it so far, even the ridiculous, self-indulgent essays at the end of each issue somehow add to the whole thing.

Also, Ed Z., I’m a total grammar-nazi myself, but I’ve always considered “anyways” to be kind of a slang thing more than a mistake. Totally agree on “should of” and “aks”, though. Those both make me want to bash my head on a wall.

I never got the appeal of Cereal Boxes. It’s just a one-note story. His best Wild Cats story remains Vicious Circle without a doubt. The rest of the series became too “outthere”. I think for Casey too succeed he can’t go too crazy as he loses his way fast. That is why I think Automatic Kafka is overrated. Stuff he did I would have put i there was the Deathlok revamp and Earth Mightiest Heroes.

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