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CSBG Archive

2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #100-91

The countdown begins…NOW!

You voted, now here are the results of your votes for your favorite comic book creator runs of all-time! The top ten will be posted this first day and then we’ll be going to five runs a day for most of the month. Here is a master list of all of the runs revealed so far.

100. Daniel Clowes’ Eightball – 83 points

Eightball #1-23

Eightball was Daniel Clowes’ long-running comic book series (published by Fantagraphics) where Clowes used to house his trademark offbeat examinations of the human spirit. For most of Eightball’s run, individual issues served as parts of stories that would be collected into graphic novels. Perhaps most famous was Eightball #11-18, titled Ghost World, which viewed the life of a disaffected young woman named Enid. It was adapted into an acclaimed film, as was an earlier Eightball story titled Art School Confidential.

In this excerpt from Ghost World, Enid and her friends discover that detachment is not always what it is cracked up to be…

After another three issues of Eightball were collected into the acclaimed graphic novel, David Boring, the final two issues of Eightball were basically graphic novels in and of themselves. Since he has begun essentially just doing graphic novels, Clowes has ended Eightball and is now doing individual graphic novels.

99. Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury – 84 points

Strange Tales #155-168, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-5

Jim Steranko used the Nick Fury feature in Strange Tales to do broad, epic spy stories featuring Marvel spy star, Nick Fury and his spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Eventually, the series graduated into its own feature.

In the very first issue of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Steranko puts on a clinic of sequential storytelling as well as a great twist to kick of a story…

Steranko’s work was also unusually sexy for the time. Marvel literally edited Steranko stories because they were deemed too sexy. Eventually, though, while Steranko was able to do a great feature in a two-feature comic book, he was not able to hold up to the grind of a full-sized monthly comic book and left the series after only a few issues.

98. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Thor/Tales of Asgard – 89 points (2 first place votes)

Journey Into Mystery #97-125, Thor #126-177,179

As great of a creator as Jack Kirby was, he was that much better when he actually felt a specific interest in the work he was doing, so readers of Journey Into Mystery and Thor were quite lucky that Kirby definitely seemed to be into the idea of the gods of Asgard!

Neither Lee nor Kirby even worked on most of the early Thor stories in Journey Into Mystery, but both slowly worked their way back into the comic, and starting in #97, they worked on every issue together for about eighty issues, all told.

In their very first issue together, they began what they are probably most known for during their run, their classic “Tales of Asgard” backup, which allowed them to expand the mythology of Thor and Asgard. All the work Walt Simonson did on Thor would have been for naught if Lee and Kirby had not established all the great characters and situations they did during their run.

Here’s an example of one of those great Tales of Asgard stories…

The run ended when Kirby left to lay the groundwork for a whole NEW generation of gods, the New Gods of the Fourth World.

97. Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise – 90 points

Strangers in Paradise Vol. 1 #1-3 (Antarctic Press), Vol. 2 #1-13 (Image Comics/Abstract Studio), Vol. 3 #1-90 (Abstract Studio)

Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise was one of the biggest independent hits of the 1990s, which surprised many when it first debuted a small, self-published three-issue mini-series in 1993.

The series follows the lives of two best friends, Francine and Katchoo, who are about as close as you can get – although Katchoo would like them to be even closer (you know, romantic-like).

That alone would cause enough dramatic tension for a series, but Moore also added newcomers David and Casey, who were part of this almost/sorta/kinda love quadrangle, while Moore introduced a number of other interesting supporting characters over the years who gained more prominence as the book went on.

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Moore’s greatest asset was his handling of emotional issues and character interactions. If he was not so good at it, the book would have collapsed under the weight of all the soap opera-esque love stories. Luckily, Moore grounded the work, so it felt real.

Here is a great example from one of the later issues, where the two main characters, Francine and Katchoo have been estranged for awhile…

Powerful work. Moore really knows how to hit his beats.

His artwork was light, but expressive – and he even managed to handle action fairly well when the script called for it (which was not often, although there were a few notable stories with some action).

96. Jack Cole’s Plastic Man – 91 points

Police Comics #1-90, Plastic Man #1-26

Jack Cole was one of the most inventive artists of the Golden Age, and he really went hogwild with his creation, Plastic Man, within the pages of Police Comics and Plastic Man’s own title.

Plastic Man could basically become anything – so that gave an artist as creative as Cole a lot of freedom to draw basically whatever HE wanted to draw, so he would use Plastic Man to tell all sorts of bizarre, slapstick-y stories that hold up surprisingly well to this day.

Here is one from Police Comics #20…

With Plastic Man out of the picture, Woozy has to win the day by himself, which proves to be difficult, so he asks a familiar face for help…

I love the inventiveness of the fourth wall being broken as well as the self-deprecating humor Cole uses.

Cole left the book towards the end of the 1940s and the book was done by imitators under his byline. He returned towards the end of the series’ run but it was too late.

95. Peter David’s 1st Run on X-Factor – 92 points (1 first place vote)

X-Factor (Volume 1) #70 – 90

In what has become a bit of a pattern when it comes to acclaimed comic books, in 1991, when Peter David took over X-Factor, the book was not exactly the highest profile comic book. The first 69 issues starred the original members of the X-Men, but in 1991, X-Men was expanded to two comic books, and the original members rejoined the X-Men, leaving X-Factor without any team members.

So what David did was put together a team made up of the characters that no one wanted in the other X-Men titles, namely Havok, Polaris, Guido, Madrox the Multiple Man and Wolfsbane. In the first issue, David added Quicksilver, as well. The team worked for the government (following up the disastrous Freedom Force team) and was led by Val Cooper.

With the amount of minor characters in the book, David was given a lot more freedom to do what he wanted, so he treated the book as a humor title, much in the same vein as what Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis had done five years earlier with their Justice League International comics.

This was not to say that the book was all fun and games, though, as David did work in a number of social issues into his run, particularly some rather poignant looks at families being given the option of testing to see if their unborn children were mutants, and if they were, given the chance to abort.

Larry Stroman was the artist on the first 10 or so issues of David’s run, and a variety of artists followed him, most notably Joe Quesada, who produced perhaps the most acclaimed issue of the book, where the team are all forced to go see a shrink (Doc Samson), and David spent the issue investigating each of the personalities of the team, including probably the best take on Quicksilver’s personality ever. Here is that take on Quicksilver, which is so good that I’ve seen other writers just directly quote it in comics to explain Quicksilver’s behavior…

Sadly, as the comic market was going through a speculator boom, crossovers became a bigger deal, and David’s run was getting interrupted more and more by crossovers (this is noted with the infamous issue of X-Factor that starred only Wolverine, Cable and Bishop – none of which, of course, were X-Factor characters), and his actual storylines kept getting the bump. So David decided it better to simply leave the book.

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Luckily, David returned to the characters years later and has been working on the title again for a number of years.

94. Gail Simone’s Secret Six – 94 points (1 first place vote)

Villains United #1-6, Secret Six #1-6, Secret Six #1-36

The Secret Six first showed up as a tie-in to Infinite Crisis, with a team of villains, Catman, Deadshot, and Cheshire along with Ragdoll, Scandal Savage, and a Parademon worked for a mysterious Mockingbird. Eventually, Catman, Deadshot, Scandal and Ragdoll became the core of the group. The initial series was drawn by Dale Eaglesham, with Brad Walker doing the follow-up mini-series and Nicola Scott and Jim Calafiore doing the ongoing series. The only constant was writer Gail Simone and, of course, an ever-ending series of maladies headed towards this compelling collection of misfits and villains.

Simone maintained a fascinating mixture of humor and darkness throughout the series. The key element to the book, though, was the emotional connections that these rogues shared with each other (Bane became a major cast member in the ongoing series, as well. Other characters came and went, as well, with Simone/Scott creation Jeannette being the other longest-lasting new addition). Here is a great example of the bond between the team members from the first Secret Six mini-series (so after Villains United and before the ongoing series), where Scandal is trying to find out who tried to kill her lover…

Sadistic AND touching all at once. It is a difficult balance to strike and it was one that Simone struck well for more than five years, as this little series that could, well, did.

93. Chris Claremont’s New Mutants – 95 points

Marvel Graphic Novel #4, New Mutants #1-54, Annuals #1-3

Almost all the votes were specifically for the run Claremont did with artist Bill Sienkiewicz, which lasted for New Mutants #18-31, 35-38, but enough just said “Chris Claremont’s New Mutants” that I combined all of the votes into one “Chris Claremont’s New Mutants.”

New Mutants was the very first ongoing spin-off series of the X-Men, the first of many.

After introducing the characters in Marvel Graphic Novel #4, with artist Bob McLeod, Claremont and McLeod launched the ongoing series, which featured the adventures of Cannonball, Sunspot, Psyche, Karma and Wolfsbane, the newest students at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Claremont had a fairly good eye for teen dialogue, and the book was an engaging place for stories of the teen mutants, but the book really went to another level when artist Bill Sienkiewicz came to the title, hot off of his acclaimed run on Moon Knight, where his art experimentation had begun to catch many reader’s eyes.

Here, from issue #21, we see Claremont’s keen sense of characterization mix with Sienkiewicz’s design skills…

and after they’ve given Rahne a makeover…

Claremont eventually shifted the tone of the series to match Sienkiewicz’s style, which was notably darker than most Marvel comics of the time, so Claremont’s scripts also got darker, dealing with ideas of mysticism, mental disorders and bizarre psychic realities.

Oh, and the group all liked to watch Magnum PI, which was cool, because I like Magnum PI.

Sienkiewicz took some time off to work on a Daredevil project, then left the book for good with #38. Claremont held on for another year or so, before giving way to the editor of the title, Louise Simonson.

92. Frank Miller’s Sin City – 96 points (2 first place votes)

Dark Horse Fifth Anniversary Special, Dark Horse Presents #51-62, then a pile of mini-series, including A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill and That Yellow Bastard

In Sin City, Frank Miller developed a wonderfully brutal noir world where the tiniest piece of affection can change people’s lives. That’s the case with the very first Sin City story, where a woman named Goldie sleeps with a thug named Marv with the presumed intent of having him protect her. She ends up dead the next day anyways. However, their one night together has spurred Marv on to do whatever it takes to avenge her death. Check out Marv’s decision-making, with Miller’s purple prose and striking use of noir shadowing…

While Marv was the first citizen of Sin City we’ve met, he was far from the last, as Miller has shown us different characters all getting into various pieces of trouble. Miller notably has gone back and forth in time, which has allowed him to use popular characters that have been killed. And Miller has introduced a lot of popular characters in this series.

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91. Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty – 97 points (1 first place vote)

Acme Novelty Library #1-current (#20)

One of the most innovative voices in comics, Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library is the ongoing series where Ware (much like Clowes did with Eightball) serializes his stories before collecting them into individual books. This is where Ware’s highly acclaimed novel, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, was original published.

Ware is currently serializing Rusty Brown, yet another breathtakingly nihilistic piece by one of comic’s modern masters.

Rusty Brown (which has been running since #16, with a break for #18’s tie-in to Ware’s Building Stories) is the tale of an exceptionally nerdy young fellow living in Omaha, Nebraska in the 1970s. It is also the story of Chalky White, another exceptionally nerdy boy who just moved to Omaha with his sister and his mother.

In the first part, Chalky is given Rusty’s desk at school – what no one knew at the time was that Rusty had brought his cherished Supergirl action figure to school with him (against the rules), so Rusty, naturally, has been freaking out about the fate of Supergirl. Chalky, meanwhile, upon seeing the Supergirl figure, realize that he and Rusty likely have a lot in common – so how does he manage to relate to Rusty?

I’m going to show you a quick scene of the two interacting…

And a stunning depiction of Chalky’s life to this point…

Ware used a similar approach on the amazing #20, which told the entire life of a minor character from Rusty Brown (#19 spotlighted Rusty’s father).

Each issue of the book is done in different ways, from a standard looking book to over-sized poster book, all based on Ware’s feeling for that issue. The series began in 1995. It is up to issue #20.


Yay – Sin City!! Awesome to see it place this time around!

LOTS of turnover this time around. Just the change in the rules alone opened up six new spots (Claremont solo instead of Claremont/JRjr, Claremont/Smith, Claremont/Silvestri and Claremont/Lee plus no Born Again or All Star Superman).

Lol, Brian, I told you I could change my ballot; does this mean I ended up giving several votes to Claremont solo by myself?

Ha! No, I adjusted accordingly. :)

This is really cheeky and I could of course do it myself after events and all BUUUUTTTTT well if you don’t ask you don’t get huh. Is it possible in the future posts to note the previous placing if any, for the runs that have appeared before and where changes in rules don’t make it inappropriate. just for interests sake?

Either way thanks for all the hard work you’re already putting in, but the whining of fanboys who can’t get off their own arses to do something this much fun might want to add to ya plate.

The standards (different rules, more voters, etc.) are so different that it really doesn’t make sense to compare the two lists in such a direct fashion. So, essentially, nope.

what was your motivation for limiting this to to comic book ‘runs’?
To see how writers and artists handled continuity?
The only thing i can think of…at the moment.

otherwise a good story is a good story, so i dont get why for instance All-Star Superman cant be compared to the other works here.

The original version of my list had Steranko’s Nick Fury and Cole’s Plastic Man on it, but I changed it at the last minute before I voted. Nice to see them included on the top 100.

Also, last time we got a list of like 50 runner-ups after the top 100 count down was posted. Is that going to happen again or no?

Marvel should really put out a nice omnibus (or series of HCs) collecting Steranko’s Nick Fury stuff. I’d love to read that in one go.

Secret Six is probably the title I missed the most as a result of the Nu52 culling. It really was like nothing else out there, touching and demented, as Brian said.

Nice to see Claremont’s New Mutants get some love, even if it was likely buoyed specifically by the Seinkiewicz run. It starts off a little bland, but he really does some good work that tends to get overshadowed by his X-Men material.

Five bucks says Claremont, Gaiman, Miller, Lee, Moore in that order this year for the Top 5.

I’m with Turd Burglar, can we get some runner-ups? Like, everyone who got more than 1 vote? Please? Pleaseeeeeee? PLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEASSSSSEEEEE? Brian, I will make three thousand mock twitter accounts to follow you if you do it.

Well, none of my picks made it into this installment — but I have some familiarity with (sometimes full runs of) most of these ten, and I can generally understand why other people might vote for them!

(The two exceptions are “Eightball” and “Acme Novelty” — I’ve never read a single issue of either.)

Both X-Factor and New Mutants dropped quite a bit from their last appearance on the list in both ranking and points total. Makes me think alot more people voted this time.

There is the first of mine. Secret Six at #8.

I adored Villains United, but Secret Six just didn’t work for me. I just can’t get with Simone.


You kinda answered your own question — All-Star Superman was a great story, one of the best ever. Simone’s RUN on Secret Six involved several stories; “Six Degrees of Devastation” (the one Brian excerpted above) or “Cat’s in the Cradle” probably would deserve mention on a list of great stories along with A-S Supes. To include All-Star on a list of great runs is unfair to All-Star because it simply doesn’t have the volume of work to compete with say, Claremont/Sinkiewicz New Mutants.

That being said, I’m looking at this list and thinking maybe he got it reversed — Steranko’s Fury, Ghost World, Lee/Kirby Thor, Cole’s Plastic Man, Sin City, SiP, and Peter David, too ALREADY? I’m not sure I can find 10 runs better than these, let alone 90!

@ Colin

Your post reminded me of something I should have done earlier:

Thanks for putting all the hard work into this Brian, seriously these contests you do are a lot of fun and make it possible for newer comic readers to find cool stuff to get into; I know there’s a couple of runs the last list brought my attention to (like the mid-to-late ’80s Claremont X-men that has since become my favorite stretch of X-Men issues!) Props on taking up tasks like this, we appreciate it! :)

It’s Brian’s prerogative if he wants to not compare the placement, but if people want to see I’ll look it up.
Daniel Clowe’s Eightball is new to the list.
Steranko’s Nick Fury rose 21 spots from 120 to 99. The point total went from 74 to 84.
Lee and Kirby’s Thor dropped 15 spots from 83 to 98. The point total went from 112 (1 first place) to 89 (2 first place).
Terry Moore’s SiP rose 2 spots from 99 to 97. The point total went from 96 (1 first place) to 90.
Jack Cole’s Plastic Man rose 4 spots from 100 to 96. The point total went from 95 (1 first place) to 91.
PAD’s X-Factor fell 34 spots from 69 to 95. The point total went from 140 (2 first place) to 92 (1 first place).
Gail Simone’s Secret Six is new to the list.
Claremont’s New Mutants fell 33 spots from 66 to 93. The point total went from 144 (4 first place) to 95.
Miller’s Sin CIty rose 8 spots from 104 to 92. The point total went from 93 (1 first place) to 96 (2 first place).
Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library rose 9 spots from 100 to 91. The point total went from 95 (2 first place) to 97 (1 first place).

Also, could we get an approximate number of voters? I’d draw the opposite conclusion from the data than JAlexander. Though I expect that a lot of people who voted for PAD’s first X-Factor may have switched their votes to his second run, and Thor voters could have switched their votes to Stracynski’s run and/or Gillen’s run. Overall it looks like runs are getting higher on the list with fewer points, which I would expect to happen when the voter turnout is lower. Of course this could also be due to more vote bunching. For instance I expect a very good showing for all three Claremont runs of X-Men, one of which will be much higher than any of the other divided runs were last time. Now that I think of it, many people who voted New Mutants last time may have done so on the assumption that their favorite post-Byrne Claremont runlet stood no chance, and put their Claremont vote into New Mutants.

This is a really cool and diverse list of comics!

So far the new additions are Eightball and Secret Six. Pretty sure the other eight were in the original top 150.

I bowed out of voting in this year’s run as well as commenting for the past month due to personal reasons… however I have been observing everyday and I have to agree with Becca. Moore’s SiP, Steranko’s Fury, David’s 1st X-Factor run, Simone’s Secret Six and the Lee/Kirby Thor I really thought would be in the Top 50…

This can only mean that Croni’s brain caught on fire while tallying this and the readers are going to be in for some mighty surprises later on…. Keep up the good work Sir!

“Croni’s?” Of course I meant Cronin’s… Nice to know even though i was away so long, my stubby fingeritis remained… Sowwie…

Gotta love Miller’s work on Sin City…I was sure it was gonna make at least #50 place. Well, at least we can hope on more surprises then!

Wow, great start to the countdown.

I’ve read at least part of 7 of the 10 here, with Secret Six (haven’t gotten to it yet), Lee/Kirby Thor, and Cole Plastic Man being the exceptions.

It’s already interesting to look at the variations from the previous poll. I’m very pleased Steranko’s Fury showed up, as that seemed like a conspicuous absence the first time around, and it’s also nice to see Clowes squeeze into the top 100.

Thought with both X-Factor and New Mutants, I think the increase in voters isn’t necessarily what accounts for their lower placing, but rather that people who voted for them the first time around were presented with different options this time. With Peter David X-Factor, the second run has now been going on so long that some people might have decided they like it better, and switched their vote (I’m operating on the assumption that not many people wanted two spots on their ballot taken up by Peter David X-Factor runs, and therefore chose one or the other). And as for Claremont New Mutants, because of the rule switch regarding Claremont’s 80s Uncanny runs, I suspect some people who voted for New Mutants the first time around switched to Claremont uncanny this time. I know that was the case for me. If I were forced to weigh the Claremont Sienkiewicz New Mutants run against Claremont/Smith X-Men, Claremont/Romita X-Men, and Claremont/Silvestri X-Men, I probably would have voted for New Mutants. But because those Uncanny runs are now all counted together, I chose that over New Mutants (and again, this is based on the assumption that most voters wanted some variation on their ballots, and selected their favorite Claremont mutant run instead of voting for several).

I will say I’m a little disappointed to see Sin City here. I don’t think Sin City is bad, per se. I enjoy Sin City the same way I enjoy, for example, Jason Statham movies. But having said that, I would be disappointed if Jason Statham movies started showing up on any best movie lists. And sure, I appreciate the look of Sin City and understand the creativity behind it. It does an excellent job creating mood. I just struggle to imagine people thinking it’s one of the ten best runs they’ve ever read. And I’m not a Frank Miller hater, I voted for his Daredevil run. Although I do think Miller has been particularly bad over the last several years.

And @ mckracken

The desire to have this list cover just runs is no different than making a best songs list vs a best albums list. Sure they both judge good music, and quality is quality, but long form and short form are two very different disciplines and it’s useful sometimes to look at them separately. This blog also does a best storylines poll, which covers things like All-Star Superman and Born Again. But creating a great run that sustains over highs and lows and different story devices is different than creating a great single story. And no one is saying that one is better than the other, merely that they are different and there’s a usefulness in measuring them separately.

I’m just thrilled to see Jack Cole’s Plastic Man on there, but these are cool choices all around.

on the subject of long form and short form:
all star superman (as example) 11 issues, well over 200 pages.

Eightball: the longest running narrative? Ghostworld? The one with the weird david something…
neither would be 200 pages long.

that argument doesnt hold.

Ed (A Different One)

October 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Wow, I really need to check in more often. i totally missed the voting for this.

That being said, my favorite thing about these polls is learning more about the great comics that make up this medium’s great history. Better than any college class I could take on the subject.

And for today’s lesson, I had my very first glimpse of an original Jack Cole Plastic Man comic. I have never seen one before and I have to say, that guy was innovative as hell for someone who was creating comics in, what was it, the forties? ? ? I remember when everyone was raving about the innovative things McFarlane was doing with panel layouts in the nineties. It looks to me that Jack Cole was doing it, and doing it better, fifty years before Todd & Co. Definitely might be worth looking up an old collection of his stuff and giving it a longer look.

Thanks again Brian for continuing to enlighten us ignorant masses!


It holds just fine. Finding an exception doesn’t disprove the notion that long-form storytelling and short-form storytelling are usually two different things.

Look, if I were setting the rules, I wouldn’t have allowed Eightball or Acme Novelty Library because they’re anthologies, and for me, a run must be a continuing narrative. But Brian set the rules, and because he’s the one doing all of the heavy lifting, that’s his right. Look at the ten runs that showed up today: Half of them are 48 issues or longer, and even the shorter ones, like X-Factor, Sin City, and Fury, all told several different stories during their duration.

As I said, this blog also does a storylines poll, and All-Star Superman placed very high in it. Given that both polls exist, it’s useful to have no overlap between them, so we can celebrate as many different works as possible. The point is to honor great comics. Even if you or I might think Eightball shouldn’t qualify, it’s nice to have it here, because it might be the reason someone discovers the work of Dan Clowes. And that’s ultimately a good thing.

Besides which, polls like this are a gift from Brian to readers of this blog and to comic fans in general. Sometimes it’s useful to remember the old adage “It’s the thought that counts.”

third man:

my list had Eightball at number #3

The Crazed Spruce

October 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

This time ’round, I started with a short list of my 25 favourite runs, then narrowed it down to a top 10 list, with 5 runners up. Turns out, most of my top 10 is pretty mainstream, so I fully expect them to turn up later on in the list. (Except maybe my #10, unless there are a lot more fans of old-school war comics than I think there are.) As far as the rest of my short list goes, I’ll impress myself if at least half of it makes the cut.

As far as this post goes, the only one here from my list was PAD’s X-Factor run, which I had at #7 on my list. (And kudos for using probably the best scene from the best issue from the run.) The only other run I’d read a significant portion of was The New Mutants, but it slipped my mind as I was putting my list together. (I get the feeling I would’ve really dug Jack Cole’s Plastic Man, though.)

I forgot to mention how nice it is to see the 3 sample pages from each run, and that’s a great addition from the previous poll. For the runs I haven’t read, it’s very useful to be able to check out a highlight, and for the runs I have read, it’s interesting to compare what you chose to what I might have chosen.

For example, I really think you nailed the X-Factor pages. That’s one of my favorite single issues ever, and you chose the best sequence. And looking at those pages, from before Quesada was really Quesada, it’s nice to remember that he was a damn fine artist. Great storytelling in those panels.

The Fury pages were also really well chosen, as they perfectly illustrate how groundbreaking Steranko’s style was at the time. And the Plastic Man pages represent the first time I’ve ever seen any Jack Cole work, and I’ll definitely have to check more out. It’s like Ambush Bug, but 45 years earlier. I can’t imagine how ahead of its time it must have seemed in its era.

I’m really interested to see what you pick as the 3 page sequences for some of the upcoming runs.

Ya, I had no interest in Plastic Man after seeing him pop up in the first poll, but seeing those pages makes me want to find it. It has much more artistic complexity than any other Golden Age comic I’ve ever seen.

I thought the list was going to be the same as the first. Glad to see new stuff, especially Sterankos Fury making the top 100 as opposed to top 150.

I never knew that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby:

A. Weren’t the ones to create Thor
B. Wrote Thor so long

To be clear, DayM, Lee and Kirby both DID work on Thor before their extended run. Kirby penciled the first six Thor features and Lee plotted most of the Thor stories (including his debut) before he took over the feature full-time with #97. Lee just wasn’t really all that involved until #97 and Kirby took eight issues off before becoming the regular artist with #97.

Average Joe Everyman

October 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

Even as a 12 (I think) year old kid I could tell how incredibly PAD nailed Quicksilver right there. I remember reading it from back then when I had a subscription to it.

Wow, love these changes. Sternako’s Nick Fury is something I’ve wanted to read for so long, but it was only just recently collected in a Masterworks edition. If Stan and Jack’s Thor is that high, I doubt we’ll be seeing Ditko’s Dr. Strange :/

I think it’s great to see what the fans vote for vs what web sites or magazines just tell us. Keep up the good work.

there better be some uncanny x-force rick remender action on this list!

@ Lorendiac

I’m shocked you’ve never read Eightball. Super excellent !

I’ve read and enjoyed everything here except SiP. What few pages I’ve read just down grab me. Not bad, but there’s scads of other stuff I’d sooner read.

Kinda feel similar about Acme Library. Different, but I’m just not getting all the hoopla. I’ve come late to the game on different things before, but I feel like more people follow the packaging than the actual package, but what do I know.

None of my picks were in here yet, though Cole’s Plastic Man is def a huge favorite. Easily some of the best of the Golden Age.

Thanks again Brian for a great blog ! Always entertaining.

This has started off well; I should be thankful for what many argue are the two best living cartoonist, Ware and Clowes making the list…I will never understand the animosity toward them…although it is true they don’t tend to do them selves any favor sometimes in interviews. However, they are no worse than Miller (who’s work I love as well); did you hear about the work environment law suit levied against him and his girlfriend?

I am stoked to see Cole, Steranko & Claremont’s New Mutants…I could see all of these making my top 100.

@Brian Cronin

Thanks for providing the space for us to slog it out over something we all LOVE, inconsequential, but deserving our passions.

You made your rules, I don’t fault you for them. Though I can see how it limited my lists diversity. However, no more so than my own aesthetic, nostalgic, cultural, educational, gender, and personal interest biases.

I particularly struggle with the lack of females on my list. I have always been a vocal activist for better diverse representation in comics. My female cartoonist friends are not threatening comics. They are resurrecting what was a gender balanced audience and bringing better comics to market through their efforts. Still under these rules and my own preferences, there was no women in the top ten for me. I am hopeful that others have been honestly drawn to diversify this list more.
Gail Simone’s presence is a wonderful sign; maybe I don’t need to fabricate my top ten, because there are others who love women in comics. Chris Ware, Terry Moore & Dan Clowes also help this ideal in the way they portray women in comics. I would say my list with the exception of the EC contributors, at least accomplishes that.


Anyone who paid attention to SPX this year heard that Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Los Hernandez Bro & Adrian Tomine were all there at once (you will notice that Chris, Dan, Jamie and Adrian are on my list above). This in some circles of comics is a small, maybe even unnoticeable event. Which is a shame. If you write, pencil, ink, color, letter, edit, teach or study comics you can at least see the plausible argument that these cartoonists are their generations Eisner, Kirby, Shultz, Wood, Kirtzman, Barks, Cole, Toth, Davis, Infantino, Herrimiman ect… They represent the quality in form and function of storytelling we compare our own work too. They are the ones that for as long as comics are made everyone after will look back at will do the same. Because like all great cartoonist, that is what they do. Decode the work of the masters before them and paradoxically find a way to apply lessons to what they do without compromise of their compilation to do it their own way.

If you have not read Eightball or ACME Novelty Library, please do. It will only make love comics more. I promise it will never replace what you already love. But it will inform all of your comics reading after.


I think you mean Daniel Boring (which actually made me love Clowes work).

@Third Man

ACME and Eightball are not anthologies. Eightball has that feel, but it is one artist. There are long narratives in successive issues. ACME has been two stories, Jimmy Corrigan and Rusty Brown. Each has complex narratives, a diverse cast (like X-Men) but they are two worlds, like marvel and DC. They clearly qualify…intact over qualify because of the amount of work produced. They are published in different formats…one being essentially a standard comic book release…similar to Marvel or DC. Maybe with a higher production quality and slower publishing pattern…because comics are really hard to make and make a living at…REALLY HARD…impossible for most anyone who tries. Anyone in this top 100 or a list of top 1000 are essentially superhuman.

Even Peter David…sorry Peter…I just don’t get it. I am guessing if you have seen this you don’t either.

Can’t wait to see how our feathers are ruffled next…

List has (IMHO) little credibilty if the Lee/Kirby run on the Thor is that low….

I am ticked at myself for forgetting about Simone’s run while voting.

Eightball – Big confession: I’ve never liked Daniel Clowes. I can respect him. I know he has talent. I’ll even admit that most of the stuff in Eightball is really good (especially Ghost World). I guess I just couldn’t connect to his writing style. It’s cynicism in the most boring way, at least to me. I totally get why it’s here, but I don’t care for it.

Nick Fury – Never read it, but I’ve loved Steranko’s art for as long as I can remember. Has this run been collected?

Thor/Tales of Asgard – A classic. No argument there.

Strangers in Paradise – NICE. Thought it wouldn’t make it, but I’m very glad it did. It’s one of the best indie comics out there with some of the best dialogue.

Plastic Man – Weird, fun, charmingly campy and innovative? Should be higher.

X-Factor – Never been a huge X-Men fan, but I like Peter David. I’ll check this out someday.

Secret Six – I have all the trades on my shelf, but only read the first one. Loved it, just haven’t found time to continue.

New Mutants – Again, not an X-Men fan or a Chris Claremont fan. Never read it, probably never will, especially considering how many versions of teen superheroes there are.

Sin City – Behold, the last time Frank Miller was ever good! Seriously though, Sin City is a kistch masterpiece. So ridiculous, so juvenile, so sexist in every way. Essentially, so, so Frank Miller. But it’s kind of endearing, especially in how it can tell drama without taking itself too seriously. It’s just a case of boldness in going for style over substance. Miller believes in the ridiculousness of this world, so we believe it.

Acme Novelty Library – Chris Ware I can behind. That man is a genius of sequential storytelling. I’ll concede I’ve only read Jimmy Corrigan, but I’ll get to the others once my sense of hope is restored. I’d hate to have a conversation with him, as I’m fairly sure prolonged exposure to him directly will cause death by nihilism.

@J-Shap It is likley a nestalgia thing, but I would give this New Mutants run a chance. Same goes for the first few issues of Excalibur and X-Factor (the original). As for The X-Men themselves go with Claremont’s work with Byrne or Silvestri. There is other good stuff around those runs as well. I hope they all make the list. If non of that convinces you Mutants are more than an metaphorical take on Holocosts and Raceism than I don’t know what will. For me it was relatible, flawed individuals, struggling with power in a diverse social enviornemnt. But I was an 80’s kid in California.

I’m a little late on commenting, but hey, I’ll still go.

A great batch of comics here, but none from my list. I might have considered Plas if I’d read more than the first Archive. But it truly is great stuff, and while I’m surprised that some people have never seen Plas by Cole, I’m glad they have now and know the awesomeness of it all.

Clowes and Ware both are like homework to me, or the great literature books that everyone says you should read but just put you to sleep. I can appreciate their abilities from a technical POV, but the subject matter just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m a cultural heathen, that’s all.

That Secret Six #1 vote was Becca’s, wasn’t it? (I’d also guess that Ware #1 vote was Brian’s)

As to the rest, I’ve got some New Mutants (wait, 54 was Claremont’s last ish? I have that one!), particularly the Sink. issues that I’ve been searching for in recent years. Haven’t read them yet, though.

I like Sin City, but don’t expect much of deep thought from it. It’s down and dirty noir.

Strangers in Paradise is pretty good, but you can tell after a while that Moore just didn’t know how to stick that landing, with a circular sort of storytelling where he kept coming back to certain bits and just didn’t land them well. Not sure how to explain it right. Anyway, he’s a really nice guy, and I particularly like…ah, damn, I can’t go into it too much without being too spoilerly. It’s a bit where Katchoo is in the hospital and Francine’s mom, who detests Katchoo, comes to her bedside and holds her, and tells her she’s with FAMILY now. Makes me tear up even now.

Onto the other lists!

Guilty as charged, o rotating shaft with an invasive groove…

Do I think the book is awesome? Yes. Was I slightly surprised to find that a lot of people out here weren’t familiar with it? Yes, but there’s gonna be a lot of books on this poll that I haven’t read yet. Did I use a number one vote to try and make sure more folks on this blog got a little bit of exposure to a truly great comic?

HELL, yes!

I’d daresay that’s why the other #1 votes down here got them, too. Now get back to your homework; you have two collections of Jimmy Corrigan to read by tomorrow, young one. We expect a full report!

I read some Jimmy Corrigan while listening to Morrissey, and now I’m terminally maudlin. “I am human and I need to be loved…”

Secret Six is one that I’ll be back issue/cheapo bin diving for. I assume there are at least a few trades of it, though, right?

Hey, at least your #1 made the top 100. Unless there were a lot more people voting for mine than I thought. (there were a few that voted the same #1 I did that forgot the magic letters, so maybe it will still be on here.)

“…and all my hope is gone…”

There’s plenty of stats talk up in the comments list, so this is really just here for completion’s sake. Delarsco has already presented fairly similar material.

Newcomer: Daniel Clowes’s Eightball, #100, 83 points
2008’s #100: A three-way tie between Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library, Doug Moench’s Master of Kung Fu, and Jack Cole’s Plastic Man, each with 95 points.

Newcomer: Steranko’s Nick Fury, #99, 84 points
2008’s #99: Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, 96 points

Lee/Kirby Thor/Tales of Asgard 2012: #98, 89 points
Lee/Kirby Thor/Tales of Asgard 2008: #83, 112 points
Down 15 places, -23 points

Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise 2012: #97, 90 points
Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise 2008: #99, 96 points
Up 2 places, -6 points

Jack Cole’s Plastic Man 2012: #96, 91 points
Jack Cole’s Plastic Man 2008: #100, 96 points
Up 4 places, -5 points

Peter David’s 1st Run on X-Factor 2012: #95, 92 points
Peter David’s 1st Run on X-Factor 2008: #69, 140 points
Down 26 places, -48 points

Newcomer: Gail Simone’s Secret Six, #94, 94 points
2008’s #94: No entry. Instead, two runs tied for the #93 spot. The two runs are Garth Ennis’s Hellblazer and Bendis/Gaydos’s Alias, each at 101 points.

Claremont’s New Mutants 2012: #93, 95 points
Claremont’s New Mutants 2008: #66, 144 points
Down 27 places, -49 points

Newcomer: Frank Miller’s Sin City, #92, 96 points
2008’s #92: Ellis/Immonen Nextwave, 103 points

Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library 2012: #91, 97 points
Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library 2008: #100, 95 points
Up 9 places, +2 points

There’s three big things you see happening at the bottom of the list.

The first is books returning from the bottom of the 2008 list, but shuffling into a slightly different order. While I’ve included the direct comparison data, Brian’s call that we’re just seeing revised rules at work is surely a correct one. The overall point totals here are extremely similar, and the overall enthusiasm for these books is probably much the same.

The second is newcomer debuts. It’s telling that only one of the newcomers, Secret Six, is actually a new book. Steranko’s Nick Fury and Sin City simply didn’t get enough points under the old rules to place in the 2008 Top 10, while I’m not sure offhand if Eightball would’ve qualified under the old rules. That said, I do think Clowes has become a more prominent figure since 2008, and there may be a genuine surge of interest in his work being reflected here.

The third is books that placed highly in the 2008 list drifting down to the bottom of the 2012 list. Claremont’s New Mutants and Peter David’s 1st X-Factor Run fall the farthest, with both losing a significant number of points. This might indicate the 2012 voters are cooler on the X-family of books than the 2008 voters, who filled nearly 1/10th of the Top Ten with various X-runs. Lee/Kirby’s Thor/Tales of Asgard run also slides down the Top 100. This I’m inclined to attribute to stiffer competition, since Thor as a character is probably more prominent now than he was in 2008.

I’m surprised, but happy, to see that “X-Factor” run. It was one of those things that I read as a kid and never heard anyone else mention it since, so therefore just assumed was something only I liked.

Not only was the writing funny and original, but that Larry Stroman art blew my mind when I was 8. I had never seen comics that weren’t drawn in that mainstream comic-book style. I hated it at first, but over time it became so important to the feel of the book for me. I would definitely say it has influenced me as an artist in a subtle way.

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