2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #80-76
You voted, now here are the results of your votes for your favorite comic book creator runs of all-time! We’ll be revealing five runs a day for most of the month. Here is a master list of all of the runs revealed so far.
Here’s the next five runs…
80. Joe Kelly’s Deadpool – 111 points (1 first place vote)
Deadpool was first introduced by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza in the closing issues of New Mutants. The “merc with a mouth,” Deadpool was an amusing mercenary who often encountered Cable and his gang of mutant mercenaries. He has healing powers, but his body is horribly disfigured.
Popular enough to receive a pair of mini-series in the early 90s, it was still a bit surprising when Deadpool was given his own series, but within a year or so, Joe Kelly’s Deadpool was an acclaimed series.
The original artist on the book was Ed McGuinness, in one of his very first comic assignments. Later artists included Pete Woods and Walter McDaniel.
Kelly played Deadpool up for laughs, including one of the funniest single issues you’ll see, where Deadpool (and his “hostage,” Blind Al, an elderly blind woman) travels back in time…to an issue of Amazing Spider-Man!! Through Deadpool, Kelly plays Mystery Science Theater 3000, of sorts, on an old issue of Stan Lee and John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man.
During his run, Kelly did a great job making Deadpool’s supporting cast interesting. He introduced the aforementioned old blind woman named Blind Alfred who apparently was being kept hostage by Deadpool, even though they seemed like friends. Kelly also increased the role that Deadpool’s weapons supplier, Weasel, had in the title.
The book was amusing, but Kelly also would bring in drama from time to time, particularly the notable Annual where we learned the meaning behind Deadpool’s name – when he was being experimented on by Weapon X, fellow prisoners would often bet on who would die next, since Deadpool had regenerative powers, they all knew he would likely never die, so he was the king of the “dead pool.”
Kelly wrote Daredevil at the same time as Deadpool, so he intertwined a lot of the same plots and characters, including having Deadpool win Matt Murdock’s seeing eye dog in a poker game and naming him Deuce the Devil Dog. Also, Typhoid Mary was a major character in Deadpool, too (I especially enjoyed how Kelly surreptitiously retconned Frank Miller’s The Man Without Fear, in using Typhoid Mary).
During Kelly’s tenure on the book, the sales were never exactly stellar, and the book was actually canceled TWICE during Kelly’s run, only to be brought back from cancellation by fan support BOTH times.
The second time, though, was enough for Kelly. As you might imagine, it’s not fun to work on a title that was canceled out from under you, only to have it brought back (so you have to suddenly come up with a new storyline), only for it to be canceled AGAIN, so Kelly took the second cancellation as his cue to leave.
79. Jim Starlin’s Warlock – 112 points
Strange Tales #178-181, Warlock #9-15, The Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2
Jim Starlin had already established himself as a tremendous cosmic writer with his work on Captain Marvel, but his run on Warlock (spanning FOUR different titles) really cemented that reputation, with his back-to-back classic arcs, The Magus Saga and then whatever you call the story with Thanos.
Starlin had Adam Warlock face off against an evil religious empire, also Magus, his evil future self, not to mention Thanos, who is, as you know, an evil guy who loves him some death. Warlock and Thanos teamed up to fight Magus…
Starlin introduced some notable supporting characters, too, with Pip the Troll and Gamora, the “deadliest woman in the universe.”
Sadly, the books didn’t sell that well, so Starlin had to use other comics to finish his story, with the two Annuals, which ended with, well, everyone dying.
Starlin would later revive all these characters for future fun stories.
78. Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force – 113 points
Uncanny X-Force #1-current(#32)
Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run has been marked by a LOT of different artists, with Jerome Opena being the initial artist on the book but the book ships so frequently that there have been a bunch of fill-in artists.
The book revolves under an interesting concept. Wolverine and Psylocke put together a secret black ops team with Fantomex, Deadpool and Archangel joining them. That conceit is not all that interesting, but what IS interesting is how Remender opens the book with them being a secret death squad and then has the entire series basically be about the ramifications of their actions.
The opening arc, with art by the brilliant Opena, involves the group trying to hunt down and kill a reincarnated Apocalypse while he is still a boy. Eventually, though, Psylocke decides that such actions are wrong, leading to a conflict with her teammates…
That story ends with a dramatic flourish, but the ramifications of that first story are felt throughout the rest of the series’ run, right up until the current storyline.
What Remender has done an especially nice job with is taking cool, under-utilized characters and, well, utilizing them. Fantomex, for instance. Also, Jason Aaron’s revamped Deathlok. In the epic Dark Angel Saga, Remender brought the Age of Apocalypse characters back into play and one of the AoA characters joins the team.
The book is also notable in how heartfelt so much of it is. Remender can really tug at the heartstrings when he wants to, which is weird in such an action-filled series. This has quickly become one of Marvel’s top comic book series.
77. Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – 114 points (4 first place votes)
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1-155
If you had to rank comic books on degrees of difficulty in making them into a good series, you wouldn’t have to look much further than a comic book series that is based on a toy line, where you have to work in new characters based on whatever new toys are being released. And yet that’s exactly what Larry Hama did for over a hundred issues of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Eventually, the toy line got so ridiculous that not even Hama could save things (Eco-Warrior Joes, Day-Glo Joes, Ninja Force, etc.) but while Hama was allowed to keep the book grounded in a general sense of reality (just over-the-top reality), the series was an absolute delight. For a book that had such a massive cast, it was astonishing how good Hama was at developing the various personalities of the cast members. You really got to know the members of G.I. Joe and Cobra, to the point where a good deal of the enjoyment of the series was seeing how things were developing in the lives of the various characters.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of action-packed adventures to keep your attention. Hama was a master of balancing plot lines. He would easily have multiple plots running at once and it would never get confusing. For a book that had so many plots going, it was remarakbly easy to just pick up any issue at random and just enjoy the series.
Hama worked with a number of artists over the years, from Herb Trimpe to Frank Springer to Ron Wagner to M.D. Bright to Ron Garney to Andrew Wildman and many more in between. Hama himself even occassionally drew an issue, including the famous “Silent issue,” which starred the breakout character of G.I. Joe, the silent ninja soldier, Snake Eyes…
76. Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s The Question – 115 points (2 first place votes)
The Question #1-36, Annual #1-2
When DC purchased the Question from Charlton (where Steve Ditko had created the book decades earlier), the book was given to Denny O’Neil, who basically “owned” the Question for the next decade or so (more, even), as he was essentially the only writer of the Question during that time period. However, for most of that time, there was no Question series. From 1987 to 1990, though, there was, and it was by Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan, and it was good.
In the series, O’Neil had the Question become a book that was more about Eastern philosophies than anything else (heck, there were even “recommended readings”!!), as the Question changed his methods and tried to deal with crime in his city, Hub City, by attacking the corruption at its source in the government. Also, he did a lot more as Vic Sage, reporter, as far as being a crusading journalist.
O’Neil worked in a number of intriguing supporting characters, such as Myra, the mayor of Hub City, Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon.
In this scene from an early issue, we see the government corruption plot plus the interactions between Vic and Myra…
Denys Cowan’s art worked well with the almost surreal take by O’Neil. It was an excellent comic book and it is great that DC collected the whole series into trades.