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CSBG Archive

2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #60-56

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…

60. Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley’s Invincible – 149 points (5 first place votes)

Invincible #1-current (#95)

Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker first gained Image’s attention with their mini-series about Erik Larsen’s SuperPatriot character.

Soon, Image decided to buck industry trends and attempt to launch a brand new, old school superhero line of comics.

Invincible is the only comic left from that line. It has managed to draw attention due to Kirkman’s interesting blend of Silver Age-style stories with a more modern feel. It is like a mixture of Ditko/Lee Spider-Man and Superman, as Invicible is a young teen whose father is the revered superhero, Omni-Man, and Mark learns that he has superpowers as well!!

Taking the name Invincible, Mark begins his training as a superhero. Soon after, though, Kirkman pulls out the rug from under Invicible’s world by revealing that his father is evil and is actually an advance scout for an alien invasion of Earth!

Invincible stands up to his father, and it is dramatically violent…

Now stuck as a hero on his own, the series becomes about a young man coming into his own as a superhero, as Invincible grows from being a naive teen to a mature young adult, capable of being the leader of a whole generation of heroes.

The comic is a fun action-filled comic book that has a great deal of good-natured humor, although Kirkman is never afraid to bring drama into the book at times – characters ARE killed, and there ARE effects to actions. Also, relationships grow and mature as the series goes by.

Original artist Cory Walker left soon into the book’s run, but Kirkman was lucky to land replacement artist, Ryan Ottley, who has been an excellent addition, and has remained the artist ever since (Ottley drew the above sequence).

As the series has continued, Kirkman has added more and more characters to the point where his universe was so vast that although he wanted the series initially to be self-contained, he recently had the first official spin-off, with the Guardians of the Globe (the Justice League type characters from this universe) getting their own book.

The series nears its 100th issue where one of the characters we have gotten to know and love is apparently going to die.

59. Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – 152 points (1 first place vote)

Avengers #500-503, New Avengers #1-64, Mighty Avengers #1-20, Dark Avengers #1-16, Avengers #1-current (#31), New Avengers #1-current(#31), Avengers Assemble #1-current (#7), countless mini-series, one-shots and crossovers

One of the fascinating aspects of Brian Michael Bendis’ eight-year run on the Avengers franchise is how much he “put the pieces back together” before he left. Among the many changes he did to characters, almost all of them were reversed by the time he finished his run (which is ending at the end of this year).

Instead, when Bendis leaves the titles, it will be mostly his ADDITIONS that will be remembered, like the way that he transformed one of Marvel’s mid-level books into the biggest franchise in the entire company. It is fitting, then, that he leaves after getting to see the Avengers become one of the biggest comic book movie successes ever, something that would have seemed quite unlikely when he took over the book in 2004.

Bendis essentially blew up the original Avengers, taking them out of their comfort zone and replacing them with a new team that basically put together the most popular Marvel characters all on one team – Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Sentry, Luke Cage and Spider-Woman rounded out the roster and those last three saw their profiles significantly increased, especially Luke Cage, who Bendis clearly had a special affinity for.

One of Bendis’ major additions to the book was the introduction of the Illuminati, a group of the top Marvel minds who would meet to help shape the Marvel Universe…

That was what Bendis’ Avengers run did, in a nutshell, it shaped the Marvel Universe. Pretty much every major Marvel crossover of the past eight years has centered on the Avengers and Bendis himself has written many of them (House of M, Secret Invasion, Siege and Avengers versus X-Men). And the ones he didn’t write himself he played a role in shaping (Civil War and Fear Itself).

As the Marvel Universe changed, so, too, did Bendis’ Avengers. After Civil War, he split the Avengers into the Mighty Avengers (the “official” team) and the New Avengers (the rogue team). After Secret Invasion, he saw the Dark Reign come over the Marvel Universe as Norman Osborn rose to power. He then had Osborn lead the Dark Avengers and hunt down the New Avengers. After Siege, the age of heroes returned and Bendis celebrated with the return of the flagship Avengers title. However, the New Avengers stuck around for more ground-level heroics. Recently, he launched Avengers Assemble, designed to tie-in with the movie franchise.

Along the way, Bendis has worked with some of Marvel’s hottest artists. David Finch launched the run with him, then Steve McNiven took over, then Frank Cho (who launched Mighty Avengers) and then Mike Deodato. Deodato later launched Dark Avengers and has been working on New Avengers for awhile now, as well. Leinil Francis Yu, Stuart Immonen and John Romita Jr. were the other major artists on the main books, but Bendis has worked with many other artists on short arcs or in the tie-in mini-series. Greats like Alan Davis, Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Olivier Coipel, it is like a Who’s Who of great comic book artists.

When Bendis’ run comes to an end at the end of the year, he’ll certainly have left an impressive mark on the entire Marvel Universe. Not something many creators can truly say.

58. Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s Batman – 154 points (3 first place votes)

Detective Comics #583-594, 601-621, 627, Batman #455-466, 470-476, Shadow of the Bat #1-5

As I related in an installment of Urban Legends Revealed, when Alan Grant began his run on Detective Comics with co-writer, John Wagner, the two were not even making royalties on the comic, that’s how low Detective Comics was selling. Then the Batman movie hit, and suddenly, the books were goldmines again.

So to a whole generation of new Batman readers, the creative team of Alan Grant (Wagner left right before the movie kicked in) and artist Norm Breyfogle were their introduction to the world of Batman, and what an introduction it was (Steve Mitchell inked Breyfogle on most of the issues)!

Grant’s specialty during his run on Detective Comics was to introduce new Batman characters, including the memorable Ventriloquist and Scarface, Cornelius Stirk, Anarky and more.

Breyfogle’s stylized Batman soon became the Batman for the aforementioned new generation of Batman fans, and Breyfogle’s professionalism did him proud, as well, as he did an extraordinary amount of issues in a day and age when six monthly issues in a row is an achievement.

DC moved the pair from Detective to their flagship book, Batman, in 1990, where they introduced the new costume for Robin (designed by Neal Adams, but first drawn by Breyfogle).

In 1992, DC launched a brand new Batman book, The Shadow of the Bat, which was, in a way, a bit of a make-up for taking the pair off of Detective Comics right before #600 (imagine the royalties on that baby! The 600th issue of Batman right after the movie came out? Yowsa!), as a new Batman comic on the eve of the Batman film sequel was a good combination.

In this arc, their last sustained effort on Batman together, they introduced their last memorable new villain, the sadistic Mr. Zsasz.

This sequence from Shadow of the Bat #2 shows them at their best. First, the emotional side…

And next, when Batman goes to Arkham Asylum to see who murdered the girl’s parents, we meet Zsasz…

Awesome work by both Grant and Breyfogle.

57. John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s The Spectre – 155 points (3 first place votes)

The Spectre #1-62 (plus a #0 issue)

John Ostrander had just wrapped up work on two of his acclaimed DC runs, Firestorm and Suicide Squad. Along with his Firestorm artist, Tom Mandrake, Ostrander began work on a run of the Spectre that was so definitive that DC allowed Ostrander to essentially end the character with the end of his and Mandrake’s run.

Ostrander’s run was built around the notion that Jim Corrigan had been The Spectre for about fifty years, and yet nothing had changed – HE had not changed. And that doesn’t seem right, does it? You can’t really become the embodiment of God’s Wrath without changing, and Corrigan’s quest for an understanding of good and evil is what drives the bulk of Ostrander’s run, concluding with his final issue, where Corrigan’s quest draws to an end.

Mandrake’s dark, moody artwork fit the mood of the series perfectly, and Ostrander’s ability to work with continuity has always amazed me, as he managed to constantly bring in characters from outside The Spectre, and always have them work well inside the story, particularly Ramban, the Jewish magician that Ostrander had created for his previous Suicide Squad run.

During their Spectre run, Ostrander and Mandrake also introduced the latest Mr. Terrific, who has gone on to become an important member of the JSA under Geoff Johns.

But mostly, as I mentioned before, this comic was Jim Corrigan’s story – how he dealt with the ambiguous situations the Spectre was sometimes faced with, and also how a 1930s cop dealt with the modern world.

Ostrander also came up with some fascinating set-ups, like the Spectre let loose in a prison…

and later…

It was a brilliant run, and I am quite impressed with how much class DC handled the end of Ostrander’s run.

56. John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad – 158 points (1 first place vote)

Suicide Squad #1-66

The Suicide Squad is a rare comic that stars mostly supervillain characters, although with some superhero characters mixed in, and it is quite impressive that it managed to last five whole years, and wow, what a good five years it was.

Based on an old comic series (which was a backup in Brave and the Bold in the late 50s) that was a lot like the Challengers of the Unknown, the Suicide Squad a group of adventurers who had missions that one would term were, well, suicide missions.

When he joined DC in the late 80s, writer John Ostrander revamped the series as a Dirty Dozen-style comic, where a group of supervillains were given time off (or their freedom outright) if they would go on missions for the government.

The head of this group was a new creation, a middle-aged, stout black woman named Amanda Waller (the “Wall”), who was one of the most engrossing new characters that DC had at the time. Due to the fact that the members could easily die, membership in the Squad was always changing, although there were a few members who hung around for mostly the whole run, such as Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and the heroic Bronze Tiger and Vixen.

The book had a lot of political storylines, and had a LOT of great action stories, but what the book is probably most remembered for is the character work that Ostrander did with these characters, who were such minor characters (or new ones, entirely) that he was able to do whatever he wanted with them, so he was able to make them, well, HUMAN – and it was such a great thing to see. He would routinely have “downtime” issues, where we would see the characters when they were NOT on missions.

Deadshot became a major character in the DC Universe thanks to Suicide Squad, even gaining his own mini-series. In one of the series most classic moments, Amanda Waller sends the Squad after rogue member Rick Flagg. She tells Deadshot to stop Flagg from killing a Senator by any means necessary. Let’s see how he took that instruction to mean…

The pencilers on the series were Luke McDonnell for the first half of the run, and Geoff Isherwood for the latter half of the run (with a number of fill-in artists, as well).

83 Comments

Still 1/10

I don’t get the love for Bendis’ Avengers. I dont see this reappearing on the list four years from now. Bendis Daredevil i get, so I don’t hate everything Bendis…but his Avengers did not feel like anything in the realm of “THE” Avengers.

I have a bunch of “Invincible” trades a friend loaned me, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. One of these days…

Bendis’s run on the Avengers books is something I’ve never been able to enjoy. I’ve tried to get into his run multiple times, but each time the books have been either agressively bad, or else just bland. I’m no Bendis-basher, mind you; he’s just very much hit-or-miss with me, and his Avengers run is a big miss.

The Grant/Breyfogle Batman run is the first from my list to show up. Too bad it didn’t crack the top 50, but this is still a very strong showing for a 20 year-old run that is long out of print. Every time DC announces upcoming collections, I hope to see the first volume of a series collecting this run. Some trades, and omnibus series, a few volumes of the “Tales of the Batman” hardcovers, even some Showcase volumes, anything! Sure, I have all of the issues, but it would be so much more convenient to have a few collections, instead of contending with all those floppies every time I want to read part of it.

Ostrander & Mandrake’s “The Spectre” is one of those great books for which I just couldn’t find a spot on my list. This is another book that DC really needs to collect.

I haven’t read all of Ostrander’s “Suicide Squad.” Anytime you wanna finish that series of trades you started, DC…

First of my runs on this list: Invincible. Yeah, I know it’s an in-progress run, but given its current longevity, I felt comfortable voting for it.

I’m actually reading Suicide Squad for the first time right now, and I really enjoy it. I’d like to read the Spectre, but I have a hard time finding it. And Avengers is, like, the fourth best Bendis run. Ult. Spidey (with Bagley), Powers, and Daredevil are all better.

Bendis transformed the Avengers from a mid-selling title to Marvel’s top book by adding Spider-Man and Wolverine to the roster and featuring them on as many covers as possible. That’s not exactly rocket science or the mark of a creative genius.

I was looking at Marvel Now the other day and there are, what, like seven ongoing Avengers titles planned? Maybe eight. Bendis’ legacy is the fact that the Avengers brand no longer has any meaning. When every character in the MU has to be an Avenger in order to be viable, and every title needs to have Avengers in the name to make it marketable, you end up with an MU that’s completely homogenized.

Obviously, somebody liked it. I just can’t see why or how.

Bendis’ Avengers making the list makes me sad.

the “spectre” should be much, much higher. (maybe even top 10)

I tried to read suicide squad but couldnt get into it because the characters are so cheesy and lame, it nullifies
even a great writing effort.

Bendis’s Avengers is fun, great superhero comic that owes a lot more to classic silver/bronze age Marvel than its detractors give it credit for. I didn’t vote for it, but it definitely belongs on this list.

Bendis’ Avengers has a distinct voice to it in a way that, say, Geoff Johns’ everything doesn’t. There were individual stories in there that I liked a lot, and individual characters that he wrote really well. So while there were also parts of it that were boring as hell, I can’t entirely hate it. I think it did some interesting, cool things to the Marvel Universe, most of which led to better stories in other books (Ellis’ Thunderbolts, Fraction’s World’s Most Wanted). Still, I’m glad to see Hickman taking the reins.

Love Invincible, love the two Ostrander series. Never much liked Grant’s writing and I dislike Bendis’s Avengers work. (I liked his DD & Ultimate Spider-Man a lot, but his dialogue & sluggish pace in team books irritates me.)

So far nothing on this list has surprised me by its inclusion more than Bendis’ Avengers work, mainly because there’s very little the internet hates more than that.

Personally, I never loved it or hated it enough to get too riled up either way. On the one hand, I appreciated the elevation of the franchise to the forefront of Marvel’s publishing efforts, on the other hand, as an Avengers fan, I’m somewhat bothered by the watering down of the franschise and the fact that nearly everyone these days is or has been an Avenger.

I’d probably never include it in my favorite ten runs of all time, because I never thought it was across the board great, but I did find it remarkably consistent and entertaining.

I have the first couple Invincible hardcovers, but haven’t made the time to read them yet. Ostrander and Mandrake’s Spectre has been on my radar for some time, and Suicide Squad represents probably the biggest gap in my comics reading. I really wish DC would get around to putting out those trades….

Also a little surprised to see Grant and Breyfogle’s Batman run make the list, especially this high. I haven’t read it all, but what I have read I enjoyed. I just figured it would be overlooked in favor of other, more famous runs.

Wow, I’m kinda shocked Breyfogle made this list. I mean, he’s still my favorite Batman penciler (I even debated putting him in my top 10, but I figure it would have been a wasted vote), but I always thought he was kind of a cult favorite, like not that many people appreciated him. I’m extremely glad to see this is not the case :)

@ Teebore
I think Liefeld, Greg Land and Chuck Austen are the 3 guys who get more hate than Bendis, but I don’t think we’ll see any of them on the list lol

@JAlexander, 1/10 for me also. Looking at my ballot, I’m thinking if four of my picks were going to show up, they needed to by now. I especially want my #3 to make the countdown.

Hope the four appear.

“I’m innocent.” Excellent work.

Bendis’ Avengers is pure quantity over quality. So disappointed it made it this high.

I love most of the stuff here, even though I didn’t vote for any of it. I’ve been reading Invincible in those big hardcovers (the current one is number six, I think) and it can be hit or miss at times, but the last bit was enough of an upswing that, if I was going to vote for a current book, it or Fables might have been it. Grant/Breyfogle is the best of all the longterm Bat-runs (as opposed to, say, Englehart/Rogers or Miller/Mazzucchelli, which are excellent but very short). DC won’t reprint them of course, but luckily they are so easy to find in back issue bins. Ostrander is one of my favorite writers and I seriously considered voting for either Spectre or Suicide Squad (or maybe Grimjack, or even Hawkworld). I think I should have voted for Spectre. On the other hand we have Bendis’s Avengers, which is the George W. Bush of comics. There I said it, so nobody else has to.

Suicide Squad was a great, great book.

Bendis made Avengers matter in a way they hadn’t in years.

Both those Spectre and Batman runs are things I have read but not be blown away by.

I have never read Invincible.

your statement on Breyfogle and Grant’s run on Batman being the one for a new generation of fans is right on the money for me!! had just seen the movie and started buying the comics. had almost the entire Grant / Breyfogle run (might have missed some of the early Detective issues). They were great comics!! don’t understand why DC hasn’t collected them!
Am in the process now of reading Bendi’s Avengers in trades and have to say they have all been great so far.

WTF at Bendis’ Avengers. That’s even more baffling than New 52 Batman making the list.

Also, nice to see Alan Grant’s Batman on the list and ranked as high as it is. Totally deserves it, too. One of the most underappreciated Batman runs of all time.

And I’m starting to realize that Carl Barks’ Disney Duck comics run isn’t going to make the list. And that’s a shame because it’s pretty much the greatest comics work of all time.

@Rusty

Just because he made them relevant doesn’t mean he made them well written. Slapping Wolverine and Spider-Man into any book is going to make it relevant.

Grant and Breyfogle also did Shadow of the Bat #13 together, fyi.

Great list so far!

Does anyone know why DC decided not to release any more Suicide Squad after the first TPB? The second one was already available as a preorder on Amazon, then all of a sudden it was gone, with no info from DC why that happened. And they’ve done pretty much the same with Shade the Changing Man and Human Target too: collect some of the issues in TPBs, then suddenly stop releasing more, with no way of knowing whether the rest will be collected (with Human Target they’ve actually done this twice, and all it would’ve taken is one lousy TPB more to collect the whole Milligan run). That’s pretty much the worst way to treat readers: publish some TPBs, get them interested on a series, then fail to finish it, with no explanation given.

I see this “Bendis made the Avengers matter in a way they hadn’t in years” thing a lot and it’s just not true.

Bendis took over with Avengers #500, which went on sale in July of 2004.

So how relevent were The Avengers at that time? You need look no further than March of 2004, a whole whopping four months before Bendis took over to see the answer. that’s when the final issue of Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s “Avengers/JLA” mini-series came out. It placed #2 on the sales chart, with the previous issues all coming in at #1 or #2 on the sales chart as well.

The Avengers were relevant. It was Busiek who restored the to relevance at the end of 1997 with a relaunch that debuted at #2 on the sales charts, was still in the top 15 in sales as of #50 and consistently remained in the top 25 even after both Busiek and Perez had departed.

Did Bendis boost sales? Obviously. And was the Chuck Austen era that preceded him completely terrible? Yes it was. But Bendis wasn’t making silk from a sow’s ear, here. He was taking what was already one of the premiere franchises at Marvel and adding (Wolverine and Spider-Man) to it.

@ Tuomas, it would be my guess that sales for the first collections weren’t as high as DC wanted, so they didn’t continue. It’s still really annoying, though.

Interesting selections, especially when juxtaposed against each other.

Spectre, Suicide Squad, and Batman you can tell got here purely on merit and the passion of those that read them, because they’re long over, mostly not available in trade, and by creative teams that are no longer very present in the industry. In other words, nothing was really triggering the memory of the people who voted for these other than how good the runs were. Personally, I love Spectre, but haven’t read too much Suicide Squad, even though I have all the issues. One day. But Grant/Breyfogle’s Batman I’ve never been that impressed by. I’ve only read a handful of issues here and there, but none of them convinced me to seek out more. I like Breyfogle’s art quite bit (his silhouette of Batman is pretty definitive, and no one has EVER made the cape and cowl look more consistently dramatic), but the stories always seemed slight. It might be one of those things that loses a bit if you didn’t read it at the time.

I’ve never read Invincible, but don’t have much desire to because I’m not particularly impressed by kirkman’s Walking Dead or Ultimate X-Men. He seems like a writer who eschews characterization and sub-plots in favor of just constant cliffhangers and status quo changes, which isn’t a style I like.

It’s weird to see Bendis’ Avengers here, though not for qualitative reasons like everyone else is bringing up. I just think it’s odd that it made this poll after falling short in ’08, when it was arguably a much hotter, bigger, well-liked book, before the Bendis fatigue on the Marvel U really started trending as heavily as it has been the last few years. Brian, if you still have the data, any chance you can reveal how many points it got in ’08? It just strikes me as a no-brainer that the run would have bene more popular four years ago than it is now.

As for quality, I like some of it and I heavily dislike some of it. I did think the first story arc of the Heroic Age title, with Ultron and JRJR, was quite good, and I like the idea of Spidey being on the Avengers, and the Illuminati. There have definitely been some positives, even if a lot of it is incredibly representative of the problems with the Big 2 today. Oh well.

joe the poor speller

October 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s Batman. THAT’S my Batman. 2/10 now. Suicide Squad is pretty good, too. Invincible is cool, but I haven’t read much. For what I read, though, I can say that’s way better than Walking Dead. WD should pop very high on this list, because of all the hype.

Whether or not the book is quality (I liked it), the popularity of Bendis’ Avengers pretty much guaranteed it a spot. With it this high though, I expect/hope that Busiek and Perez’s Avengers will at least break the top 30.

Well, I guess I should comment on Avengers, too, since everybody else is. Also, it’s the only one of these series I’ve ever read.
There were some good stories in there, and I did like a lot of the scenes in which they just sat around talking. But there was a lot of garbage, as well. I still think adding Spider-Man and Wolverine was a horrible idea. Just because Spider-Man works well in Team-Ups doesn’t mean he works well on a team. And it just made absolutely no sense for them to always be around in nearly every issue considering all they were doing in all the other series they appeared in. I don’t think Doctor Strange really fit, either, although he fit okay in the Defenders.
I hated the whole concept of the Illuminati. I hated the crossovers (they were just TOO big– I hate overkill). I hated the whole idea behind Dark Reign and Siege.
But I loved Luke and Jessica (I’d never even heard of her before).
The Avengers needs to be restricted to no more than two teams (East Coast and West, or something similar– I might be able to tolerate a third team, but only if it’s based in Europe or somewhere else outside North America), plus Avengers Academy. (I didn’t like the idea of the Avengers having a school at first– isn’t that what the X-Men are for? But the series turned out to be so great, that I’ve changed my mind on that.)

The Crazed Spruce

October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I haven’t read either “Invincible” or the Ostrander/Mandrake “Spectre”, but I get the feeling I would’ve like either of them.

Grant and Breyfogle’s “Batman” run had its moments, for sure, but it didn’t make my short list.

I never really took to Bendis’ “Avengers”. While I do appreciate his bringing Luke Cage and Spider-Woman back to prominence, I never felt that Spider-Man or Wolverine should be on the team. (The former because it destroyed what I felt was a key element to his character, the latter because he was overexposed as it was.)

Ostrander’s “Suicide Squad” was a runner-up to my top 10 list, but didn’t make the final cut. It was a great book, though.

I’m surprised that all of his Avengers stuff is counted as one. Had it been a top 20 I may have cast a vote, but one specifically for Dark Avengers. It felt like a distinct story from the rest of them and was a very pleasant surprise for me. I bought the first issue out of morbid curiosity, not expecting it to be any good and it blew me away and I loved the entire series. And while that was the most different, I really felt like each of his Avengers titles had their one distinct feel to them. I can see grouping them all together to create more space on the list, but to me it’s 4 separate runs. His main New Avengers run that really starts with Dissassembled, his Mighty Avengers run, Dark Avengers (which, BTW, did not include #8-9 which were written by Matt Fraction), and the current Avengers series.

Bendis’ treatment of the Avengers always seemed like he was getting away with anything he wanted, with no editorial constraints from his lover and #1 fanboy JoeQ. BROTHER F***IN’ VOODOO?!?! To this day (albeit I have yet to read “Avengers Assemble) his run never seemed like the AVENGERS to me. Conversely I thought his treatment of Vision and Wanda was masterful. Since Byrne’s run on WCA, I wanted to see Magneto, Quicksilver and Wanda form an eeeeevil alliance once again. Her destroying Vison, one of my all-time favorite Avengers seemed to cement that. As for the rest of his run, if it wasn’t for the artists afforded him, they would be unreadable as Avenger titles.

Invincible – Don’t give away spoilers! That’s one of the best plot twists in comic book history. Even if I’m not the biggest Robert Kirkman fan, I’ll concede that Invincible is a series that anyone can enjoy and with good reason: it’s consistently fresh, always exciting, and completely free of the problems that plague superhero books. Every time you think you’ve read the best issue of the series, Kirkman & Ottley blow you again. On a side note: I just met Ryan Ottley at NYCC; friendliest guy you’ve ever met.

Avengers – Never really bothered with this, but I really like Brian Bendis. I’ve heard some pretty polarizing things, and I may never end up reading it, simply because trying to figure out what order the trades go in is impossible. The impression I always got was that the run was more of a business move, especially adding Spidey and Wolvie. Even as someone who hasn’t read it, I don’t think I can forgive it for bringing about Marvel’s “WE MUST HAVE A MASSIVE CROSSOVER EVENT THAT EATS UP EVERY SINGLE BOOK WE’RE SELLING EVERY THREE MONTHS” mentality.

The bottom three are just sad casualties of DC’s refusal to reprint. They’ll print a million poorly made absolute editions but not John Ostrander and Norm Breyfogle?!

Grant and Breyfogle’s Batman just missed my top 10. They were on my list until I was actually typing it up and went with a different choice. But they’re great comics.

Brian, I agree with the above poster about your page choices for Invincible. If this post was to inspire a person to go out and sample the book, you will have effectively spoiled the most pivotal plot twist for them before they even crack it open.

Overall a great list. I used to enjoy Invincible, but much like his book Walking Dead, Kirkman lost me with his growing gore obsession. The violence started becoming too gratuitous for me on both books, so I lost interest, but if that stuff doesn’t turn one off I would still recommend someone else to try Invincible, even if it eventually turned out not to be for me in the long run. In the beginning I really enjoyed it, and even after it got too dark and violent for me I still thought it had great character moments.

Finally, one of my picks shows up. Grant and Breyfogle were my first taste of the dark knight, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
In fact, this is the first grouping that I’ve read at least a portion from every entry. Suicide Squad was so close to making my list, but I’m only about half way throught the series. Maybe next year.

While I don’t like spoilers, especially unlabelled ones (read too many things from stuff I want to read and haven’t yet — although I am addicted to clicking SPOILER links of books I have little or no interest in), I think that the Invincible one happened so early on in the title (by, like, issue 12, wasn’t it?) that at this point, it’s not the “main thing” of the title, if you know what I mean.

Now, if Fables is on the list and he shows who the Adversary is, I’ll be pissed (even though I’m pretty sure I have read who that is…) :)

I’ve read a few issues of Invincible, it’s ok stuff. I will second the above poster who said that Ottley is a nice dude.

I also dug the other old school hero books that tied with Invincible — the guys in the new Pact, like the young Shadowhawk, Firebreather, that girl from Noble Causes. All good stuff too.

Bendis’s Avengers — I’m not sure why anyone is surprised that the biggest franchise in comics that’s been written by one guy for nigh on 8 years made this list. I’m more surprised it didn’t last time. I wonder if Brian combined some point totals to keep the Bendis run to one space on the countdown.

I haven’t read enough of the Grant/Breyfogle Batman, but what I have is great. Batman 459 is a good one if you want a taste of it.

Ostrander!!! Yay! I have a bunch of Suicide Squad that I’ve read some of (the ones I’ve had for years) and not read others (the ones I’ve picked up since it gets lots of love here), and just saw some more of the early issues at one of my LCS that I’ll have to pick up next time I’m in there. It’s good what I have read. Spectre is good stuff too, but I need to get more of that.

I believe that Ostrander’s doing Star Wars stuff for DH, and Mandrake just finished up the new Night Force (pretty good stuff, although I haven’t finished reading the whole mini, so no one spoil it for me!)

Also, I think a big issue with why SS, Spectre, and that Bat run aren’t reprinted has to do with the contracts from that era — they “favor” the creators so much, it’s supposedly not cost effective for DC to reprint the books, as they won’t make enough money off them. So ironically enough, a contract that was supposed to be good for creators royalty-wise appears to have backfired as their work is kept out of print.

But considering how much EVERYTHING is getting reprinted, I think we’ll eventually get collections of them. What DC ought to do is offer those books digitally — they can gauge interest by number of downloads, and I’m sure that they could somehow claim that they don’t really owe royalties on digitally released comics ;) , so it’d be cost effective.

I know Brian doesn’t like speculation on what else is to show up on the list, so I won’t. Just will say that out of my long list of 13/14 runs, 2 have made it so far, and I think 6 more are a lock to make it. Another couple are maybes, and one I wasn’t sure would count. If anyone cares, I’ll be posting my list once everything’s up.

This is a damn good list, and we’re not quite halfway through. Go us voters!!!

Glad to see some John Ostrander series doing so high. I’ve really enjoyed all the stuff of his that I’ve read (e.g. Grimjack, Hawkworld and Hawkman runs, Martian Manhunter, Suicide Squad, and The Spectre.) Anybody looking to buy long enjoyable runs of back issues at a good price would do very well, I think, by buying any of his long runs.

I’m also among the camp that’s surprised to see the Brian Bendis Avengers run so high… I dropped out after 12 issues when nothing seemed to happen. It doesn’t surprise at all to learn that nearly all the “big” character changes he made at start of run were reversed towards end… that’s an illustration of one of the main weaknesses of mainstream super hero comics.

I hope the BB runs I enjoyed far more (Alias and Daredevil) are a bit higher… indeed, in case of Alias, I hope its a lot higher.

Noiiice to see Alan Grant’s Batman in here :)
Ostrander’s Suicide Squad is on my reading list and I guess I’m going to add his Spectre as well, heh.

Brian, I agree with the above poster about your page choices for Invincible. If this post was to inspire a person to go out and sample the book, you will have effectively spoiled the most pivotal plot twist for them before they even crack it open.

Four years ago I didn’t spoil it. But that was 50 issues ago. The events resulting from the twist have become the key driving point of the entire series, so it is now inescapably tied in with the series’ description. The importance of the twist has dulled as time has passed. At one point, the twist was the key selling point of the series. It’s gone long past that now. That’s how things go with longer series. Heck, Spider-Man’s actions leading to his uncle getting killed could have been a spoiler-worthy event at one point.

Yay for Invincible and Batman!

I’ve never got on with Ostrander’s writing, but I’ll concede that he is a good writer who just doesn’t work for me.

Bendis’s Avengers is a bit of a conundrum. It’s decent at times, badly padded to the point of tedium at others. No matter how you look at it though it’s one of Bendis’s worst books. Way behind Powers, Daredevil, Alias, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Pulse, Jinx, Goldfish, Fire, Ultimate Fantastic Four.

In fact his only worse work that I can think of offhand is the big event books like Avengers Disassembled and House of M.

I wouldn’t give Bendis much credit for boosting sales on the Avengers. It’s a no-brainer that adding Spider-Man and Wolverine to the Avengers would boost sales. Never-mind that Spider-Man and Wolverine don’t belong in the Avengers (from a story standpoint, Spidey has always worked best as a loner, and Wolverine is supposed to be a killer — and both of them are too frickin’ busy in their other multitudinous titles to realisticly be in the Avengers).

No, I would give Bendis credit for destroying the integrity of the Avengers comic. And I guarantee you that if Brian made a list of the WORST runs of all time, Bendis’s Avengers run would score higher than it did here!

How about it, Brian? A list of the worst runs of all time?

Invincible: I got the Compendium on the cheap, and enjoyed it. Nothing especially earth-shaking, but consistently readable. Nice art, too

Grant/ Breyfogle Batman: haven’t read it, but always wanted to.

Bendis Avengers: er… not my thing.

Spectre & Suicide Squad: YES!!! Ostrander is one of the writers on a very small list whose work I will buy no matter what. He balanced drama and humor expertly, and his character work elevated nobodies and throwaways to favorites. My favorite aspect of Ostrander’s writing is his exploration of character choices. The entirety of The Spectre revolves around Jim Corrigan & the Spectre entity finding the limits of the effectiveness of lashing out in anger and doing their duty without thought to repercussions. Amanda Waller’s choices in Suicide Squad lead to disaster and death, but also save the day. As soon as I can afford to, I’l check out Ostrander’s Star Wars.

@J-Sharp:

I don’t think I can forgive it for bringing about Marvel’s “WE MUST HAVE A MASSIVE CROSSOVER EVENT THAT EATS UP EVERY SINGLE BOOK WE’RE SELLING EVERY THREE MONTHS” mentality.

To be fair, Bendis’ Avengers stuff didn’t so much bring about that crossover mentality as it did resurrect it. Marvel had plenty of line-wide crossovers before Bendis (Inferno, Acts of Vengeance, Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade, Maximum Security) and even more “family” crossovers. They had just been taking a little break from the huge line-wide ones before Civil War, and frankly, it was probably only a matter of time before they brought them back, Bendis or not.

That doesn’t change the fact that some of those crossover are annoying as hell (especially in their frequency), but I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame entirely at Bendis’ feet.

To be fair

Clearly, that’s not in the cards when it comes to discussing Bendis’ Avengers.

Well, I’ve read at least portions of all five of today’s runs . . . although I didn’t vote for any of them. (For instance, several years ago I read the first couple of arcs of Bendis’s Avengers run, and found myself feeling a profound lack of interest in the idea of pressing onward with collecting all the rest of it.)

I have a much higher opinion of “Invincible” and Ostrander’s “Suicide Squad,” and I can at least tolerate the Grant/Breyfoggle run (although it’s not one of my favorites). I’ve only read maybe 3 issues of Ostrander’s “The Spectre” — never really grabbed me, but it didn’t repel me the way Bendis’s first few issues on the Avengers did.

P.S. I am inclined to agree with Brian that at this late date it’s fair game to “spoil” the “shocking twist” that came along in the early days of “Invincible” and thus set the stage for a lot of stuff in later years.

I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw reprinted in “Newsweek” back when “Titanic” was setting box office records.

A bunch of people are standing in line outside a theater that’s showing TITANIC (as seen in big letters). A woman says to a friend: “I hear the special effects as the ship sinks are incredible!”

A man standing right behind her says angrily: “The ship sinks? Thanks for giving away the ending!”

(The actual sinking of the Titanic had occurred about 87 years earlier, but apparently this guy had never gotten the memo!)

I’m on the same boat as Tuomas. Read the first trades of Suicide Squad, Shade, and Human Target only to be cut off by DC later. Maybe it costs a bundle to get these things out in the marketplace, but really, how could they not be making their money back? There’s gotta be several hundred CSBG readers alone interested in sampling the Squad.

I’ll second the idea for a Top 100 WORST Comic Book Runs list/poll. 100% serious.

Also, I can’t believe that Lorendiac felt the need to explain the Titanic joke, as if someone somewhere might not have gotten it.

I didn’t vote for Bendis’ Avengers, and I think the two books have had a prolonged dip in quality after the first arc of the Heroic Age, but I flat out don’t get the level of vituperativeness his run inspires. I didn’t read most of the run from month to month, so maybe that has something to do with it. But most of the criticism seems complaints about Bendis not living up to some ideal of the Avengers concept. I think the most annoying thing about certain fans is that they constantly complain about the lack of new ideas, except when you try for certain changes they react like you repeatedly ran over their puppy, but thats another topic. That critique is a fine reason for disliking a book, but it’s a an absolute shit reason for saying a book is bad. I don’t mean to attack people who are not fans of Bendis’ run. Like I said, it’ hit and miss with me. But I am genuinely curious about why people get so worked up about it. Are you still pissed about Hawkeye?

Oh, and I don’t really get what you mean by integrity when it comes to super hero comics. But the notion that Bendis destroyed the Avengers integrity is completely laughable when you remember that Chuck Austen was writing the book before him.

Bernard the Poet

October 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

The trouble with a Top 100 Worst Comic Book Runs is that only the most masochistic fans read runs they don’t like. Most of us will try one -maybe two- issues and if we don’t like what we see, then we don’t buy anymore. It would hardly be fair to describe a run as “the worst” on such a small sample.

About the Titanic joke — first, my explanation of it was in much the same playful mood as that of whoever it was who did that one-panel cartoon over a decade ago.

Second, I did feel it was a distinct possibility that some of the readers in this thread might not remember how many years had passed between the historical sinking and the blockbuster movie adaptation. (Although I was optimistically prepared to give everybody full credit for remembering there had been a real ship of that name which sunk!)

P.S. I am inclined to agree with Brian that at this late date it’s fair game to “spoil” the “shocking twist” that came along in the early days of “Invincible” and thus set the stage for a lot of stuff in later years.

Nah. In this age of trade paperbacks there are always new people reading Invincible from the beginning. It’s a shame to spoil it for them.

But how long is that “no spoilers” policy supposed to remain in force? The traumatic moment in question happened to Invincible maybe 8 or 9 years ago, didn’t it? Are we supposed to spend the rest of the 21st Century keeping that plot twist “a deep, dark secret”?

(Heck, by the time I first read “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” about a decade after it was published, I knew exactly where it was all going to end up! That didn’t ruin the experience for me!)

The issue in question, Invincible #7, came out in December of 2003.

What!?! or should I say…my low expectations have been resurrected.

This has been the best selection of books so far in the countdown.

I enjoyed Bendis’ run on Avengers at first (I say this as someone who previously had never touched an Avengers book) but after about 2-2 1/2 years, it became clear that Bendis only had one voice for his characters and was essentially telling the same couple stories over and over again, so I dropped it just as it was getting mired in Secret Invasion. Though I will tip my hat to him for reinvigorating the franchise. I also still enjoy his work on Powers, where his style just seems to work better overall.

The other 4 books here, however, are fantastic and all favorites of mine. The two Ostrander books I discovered back in the 90′s and have re-read them each several times, and each time I have noticed or discovered something new about them that has only enhanced my enjoyment of Ostrander’s writing. Up until the recent reboot, Deadshot was one of those characters who’s mere appearance in a book was usually enough reason for me to buy it, and that was all thanks to the depth and characterization Ostrander worked on him, making him as cool as his costume in the process. It’s so sad that neither book is available completely in trade as they deserve to be more than filler for quarter bin back issue boxes. I personally think they should be required reading for any of DC’s current crop of writers…

Grant & Breyfogle’s Batman and Kirkman’s Invincible were both books I decided to try out for the first time just a couple of years ago. I had read the occasional issue of Batman or ‘Tec back in the late 80′s during the Bat-craze that followed the movie and while I liked them, I was reluctant to buy into the whole Bat-franchise (I was 12 and money WAS limited.) But reading them now, the books sustain a terrifically consistent narrative and form their own isolated world-within-a-world where none of the other Bat-books seem to matter except for the story Grant is trying to tell and Breyfogle illustrate.

Invincible I read in the nice hardcover Ultimate Collections so I have to wait each year for my (roughly) annual fix of Invincible, but it is always worth it. Kirkman has created a nice sense of wonder where other writers may have left you feeling “been there, done that” with Mark’s coming-of-age stuperhero story. Something that also works really well with Invincible is the palpable sense of danger and risk that each character takes on in every story. Since the cast haven’t reached the “protected IP” status of most of Marvel and DC’s characters, Kirkman can take chances, like killing/maiming/drastically changing characters, and I read each collection eager to see what happens next, crossing my fingers that Mark, Eve, or any of my other favorite characters will make it out alive to the next adventure. Now to spend the next year or so avoiding every spoiler there is about the events of issue #100…

@Andrew Collins –

I wouldn’t say “reached protected IP status” was the key difference — it gives me impression that maybe you think the key thing about the JLA and the Avengers is just that the characters have already been around for decades. (Although that may not be quite what you had in mind.)

I’d say: “Kirkman owns the ‘Invincible’ characters free and clear, so he gets to decide which ones are expendable, and his decisions can STICK! No editor can fire him and hire someone else to bring all the dead ones back on some lame excuse in order to enhance the bottom line for a soulless corporation that wants all of those characters to keep earning money for it!”

The same way J.K. Rowling could kill off any character in the “Harry Potter” books, and leave that person dead FOREVER. She could be true to her artistic vision, and no one alive had the authority to “override” her hard-and-fast decisions. (People at Marvel and DC get to kill off corporate-owned characters, of course, but without any real guarantees that those deaths will “last.”)

@Lorendiac

You get the general gist of what I was going for in that yes, Kirkman is his own boss and can make those kind of calls about his characters. With the Marvel/DC characters, it’s not so much their age as the fact that their original creators have (mostly) moved on or passed away and the characters themselves exist in this sort of permanent stasis where major character changes or deaths are eventually overturned to bring the status quo back because their publishers/owners make the decisions about the characters, not the writers and artists, and those decisions are almost always business driven rather than artistic. I’m not saying that’s necessarily right or wrong, just that it limits the tension for me as a reader. Character deaths and resurrections, especially, have been so overdone by the Big Two that I consider myself amongst those just completely jaded by their attempts at still trying to make it meaningful.

Rosebud is his sled!

Jaye Davidson is a MAN!

Man, let’s just turn the comment thread into people spoiling things. Douchiest comment thread EVER!

Anarky NOW!

No, wait, that’s douchiest villain ever…

Some more statistical fun with the countdown.

Invincible 2012: #60, 149 points
Invincible 2008: #79, 115 points
Up 19, +34 points

Newcomer: Bendis Avengers: #59, 152 points
2008′s #59: Green Lanter/Green Arrow, 162 points

Grant/Breyfogle Batman 2012: #58, 154 points
Grant/Breyfogle Batman 2008: #65, 146 points
Up 7, +8 points

Ostrander/Mandrake Spectre 2012: #57, 155 points
Ostrander/Mandrake Spectre 2008: #45, 205 points
Down 12, -50 points

Ostrander Suicide Squad 2012: #56, 158 points
Ostrander Suicide Squad 2008: #28, 336 points
Down 28, -178 points

Invincible is a logically big winner in this edition of the Top 100, with four more years of plot twists and story development to drive voter interest. In future polls, it seems likely that Invincible will either hold steady or just keep moving upward as more readers discover the series.

The Grant/Breyfogle Batman run is also up, holding nearly steady in points while climbing several places up the Top 100. This could easily just reflect how beloved the run is by its fans, or renewed interest in roughly this era of Batman thanks to the popularity of the Nolan films.

The big loser in this wave of picks seems to be poor Ostrander. Suicide Squad takes a tremendous dive from its high standing in the 2008 poll, losing over half its points and falling down into the middle of the poll from a top 30 slot in 2008. Is the run sliding back into obscurity in an era dominated by trade collections? That seems a bit fishy, though. If anything, there’s more books than ever on stands influenced by Suicide Squad.

Ostrander/Mandrake’s Spectre run also falls down the charts, but not nearly so far. There’s lots of new entries on the charts, so this could simply be a case of new competitors helping to push an old favorite down a bit, especially since the run is reportedly difficult to find.

The newcomer to this stretch of the Top 100 is Bendis’s Avengers. This controversial run was still going strong during the 2008 poll, but failed to garner enough points to get into the Top 100. It would make sense that the run would have more devotees now that it’s drawing to a close. There’s lots of complaining about putting Spider-Man and Wolverine on the Avengers in the comments, but clearly there’s voters out there who wanted to see exactly that.

Lynxara: You know, if you don’t want to do this, I’m going to when the whole thing is over. I’m just pointing it out in case you think no one else will compare the two lists. If you’re having fun doing it, don’t let me stop you!

I found myself doing the math as I read the blog entries, so I figured I might as well post it up with a bit of commentary . Feel free to use it in your own post when all’s said and done, if it would be of any use to you. (And sorry if I stepped on your toes!)

The Planet of the Apes was Earth all along!

After the last poll I got tired of waiting for DC to collect Suicide Squad and have me pay them for it, so I decided to put the run together with back issues. Got almost the entire series in bargain bins at cons for less than a dollar an issue. The last 4 or 5 issue I needed I paid a little more through ebay. Probably averaged about $.75 per issue for the entire series. I definitely would have bought the trades if they were available. I’m sure I’m not the only person interested in the series to go this route. I would think the longer DC waits to put out the trades the less they’ll sell. Maybe not, though.

In regards to the Invincible spoilers, it happened in issue #7. There were 6 issues pre spoiler, and there have been over 90 post spoiler. The vast majority of the story takes place after the spoiler is revealed. If knowing it ahead of time ruins the entire series then it really can’t be that good of a series.

I have always felt that Luke McDonnell’s art was under rated and not appreciated.

Lynxara: Fret not – you’re not stepping on any toes whatsoever! I will probably steal your research, however, so if you want to keep doing it, I certainly won’t have any problem with it! :)

I agree that the Invincible twist happened so early on that it’s the setup/premise of the series more than some huge spoiler. It’s like spoiling the fact that Krypton was destroyed.

That said, when I was a kid I was pretty pissed at Lucy van Pelt for ruining Citizen Kane for me.

@Greg Burgas: Feel free, I’ve crunched the numbers for all of the bottom 50 thus far, and plan to continue through to the end. I think there’s one error you’ll have to correct (I conflated Criminal and Sleeper for some reason).

Tyler Durden is Keyser Soze, and HE’S DEAD!!!

That said, a “worst” comics poll isn’t what we’re all about here. Comics Should Be GOOD. We’re all about celebrating the good, not tearing down the bad.

As to Titanic, earlier this year was the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and there were people on Twitter who were amazed it was real and thought it was just a movie. Damn kids should get off my lawn!!!

Also, unless I’ve got my dates wrong, I believe that DC’s Identity Crisis pre-dated the newer Marvel mega crossovers (Civil War and House of M), so we can’t really blame Bendis for the new era of “every month a mega crossover”.

As with so many things wrong with comics today, it’s all Identity Crisis’s fault. :)

(way off topic side note, I was in one of the LCS’s the other day and a lady was looking for Zatanna comics for her 11 year old daughter. I was asking the kid’s age because I wasn’t sure how appropriate JL Dark was, and she mentioned how her daughter had read “one with Zatanna and a rape scene, so I got to have that conversation”. I groaned inwardly and said “yep, Identity Crisis”. “Keeping 11 year old girls from being able to enjoy comics since 2006″. ;) )

But tearing down the bad is so much more fun.

Also, unless I’ve got my dates wrong, I believe that DC’s Identity Crisis pre-dated the newer Marvel mega crossovers (Civil War and House of M), so we can’t really blame Bendis for the new era of “every month a mega crossover”.

As with so many things wrong with comics today, it’s all Identity Crisis’s fault.

Yes, you’re right. Marvel was actually still on the Nu-Marvel experiment where everything was stand-alone and had very few crossovers. Didio had just taken over at DC and started the crossover madness with Identity Crisis, then Countdown to Infinite Crisis and all the tie-ins. Marvel stuck to their course for a while after that but when the sales started rising and rising for DC’s books they changed course, especially once Jemas left and Buckley replaced him. They did their first of the current crosssovers, House of M, around the time Infinite Crisis was ending. In fact, I think House of M #1 came out the same month the last issue of Infnite Crisis came out.

I remember this clearly because I recall feeling very, very disappointed that Marvel didn’t stick to their guns.

Lynxara said: “If anything, there’s more books than ever on stands influenced by Suicide Squad.”

But that’s not Suicide Squad. As is often the case, the original influence isn’t looked on as highly as some of the people influenced by it.

I’d say that not having trades of SS and the Spectre HAS hurt the standings in this poll. If people haven’t been able to read a certain book (and both are over 15 years old now, I think), they aren’t going to remember it to vote here.

Like Jazzbo, though, I’m going to be trying to get more SS issues at my LCS’s back issue bins. I just saw the early part of the run the other day, and I plan on picking them up when I get there again next week. Kick ass!

I liked the first year or so worth of Invincible, the big fight with his dad was great. But then it just lost my interest.

The Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s Batman run is one of my favorites. Its on a 3 way tie with Rucka/Martinbrough and Moench/Jones (hell, I’ll even admit the Dixon/Nolan is a great run! But his Robin and Nightwing work was better). I wasn’t collecting at the time, but got alot of it in the 90′s – and pretty much got what I was missing over the last 5 years or so. The scene with Tim in the window in his updated Robin costume is amazing! You should of included it!

If you include all the announced results from last time, Bendis’ Avengers is the highest climber (so far)
Last time it was equal 134th with 62 points
(second highest climber (so far) is Criminal)

Wow, I literally just came across one of those comic cover wall plaques that Wal-mart sells that has a Breyfogle Detective cover. It’s got Batman standing in a rain soaked ally with lighting crashing in the background and his face hidden by shadows like a BAMF. I got it hanging over bed now, figure it’s way more effective than a dreamcatcher at keepin the bad dreams away lol

Is there an answer about why DC stopped the Suicide Squad trades? This makes me sad.

Ed (A Different One)

October 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I was showing my 9 year old nephew through some old comics of mine that turned up in my mom’s attic this weekend and I think it illustrates nicely some of those things people mean when they hate on Bendis and talk about the homoginization of the Marvel U. I was showing said nephew through the old pile o’ comics when he picked up “Marvel Team-Up” and asked what it was. I had to explain to him that this was a title dedicated to showing what happens when two superheros meet up and decide to go on a mission together. Nephew’s response was, roughly, “So what? That happens all the time. Why did they have to have a whole book dedicated to that? Didn’t they have the Avengers back then”?

To which I said, “why yes, they did have the Avengers back then, and here’s an old issue that was plotted by Jim Shooter (and scripted by someone whose name I forget) and drawn by Bob Hall. But you have to realize, the Avengers were much different back then. Yes, they had different super heros working together, but they were kind of in their own corner of the Marvel Universe. They weren’t always running into Spider-Man or the X-Men or Daredevil or anything. And not everyone was an Avenger or even worked with the Avengers. They kind of had their own thing going on”

“What do you mean? Wasn’t Spider-Man in the Avengers back then?” young Nephew asked.

“Why no. In fact, there was a time when such a thing was inconceivable. Spidey operated way over here (metaphorically) in the Marvel U, handling street level crime and his own unique brand of super villains while trying to maintain his life as regular guy. In the meantime, the Avengers were over here having cosmic adventures and being millionaires and taking care of the truly omega-level threats.”

“Well they had to cross paths once in a while, right?” Young Nephew asked.

“Well, yes, once in a while. But not often, and when they did, it was pretty special, and didn’t last long. And in fact, the first time the Avengers asked Spidey to join them Spidey got into a fight with virtually every Avenger in the room because he was so different and his temperment was as a solo agent, not a team player”.

“Really, wow thanks. You’re the coolest most awesome uncle ever!!”

Ok, he really didn’t say that last line but you get the gist. It just really pointed out to me how totally homoginized the Marvel Universe is nowadays. I mean, it was always the “original shared universe” in comics but it had it’s distinct corners and territories. Spider-Man was it’s own unique flavor and tasted like Spider-Man. Same with Avengers. Same with DD or the X-Men or, hey, remember when Power Man and Iron Fist were strictly “street level” and rarely had anything to do with the Avengers? Hell, now Luke Cage owns Avengers mansion. Cross-over events have everyone operating in each others laps and hanging out in each others’ living rooms and everyone now is, or at one point has been, an Avenger. And then even if you’re not talking about the Avengers per se you’ve got the Illuminati getting together and “plotting the course of the Marvel Universe together”. Bendis wasn’t the only one or even the first one to get the ball rolling, but he’s responsible for a lot of it and has probably had the most commercial success with it. Now, those distinct corners of the Marvel Universe aren’t so distinct or special anymore.

And it’s not to say that I hate the Marvel U now or don’t enjoy it. It just used to be a lot more special, you know?

Wow, I literally just came across one of those comic cover wall plaques that Wal-mart sells

Were you arrested?

This is the first list that really speaks to me. Add me to the Bendis Avengers confusion. Did anyone in the thread actually admit to VOTING for it? Maybe not hating it, but putting it on their ballot. Avengers is the same as all his books…bad characterization, because they all speak in “his” voice…just worse, because there are so many characters together to compare. I guess I don’t mind characters like Luke Cage getting some prominence, but I’d rather he’d have taken over a Power Man and Iron Fist comic and made that a best seller than just populate the Avengers with them. (Remember when a good creative team could make 2nd and 3rd stringers popular?) He did some good things…the Illuminati was good, but not really an Avengers thing, since only one of their members was an active Avenger anyway for most of the story. And Dark Avengers was good, as mentioned above, as it was self-contained. But it works when you accept he’s doing the characters his way. The apex of fail of the run is when they go “arrest” Dr. Doom…just to prove how bad the are. And how much Dr. Doom is not at all like Dr. Doom. If Bendis was the true EiC of Marvel, that story would be retconned to “just a Doombot” in a second. The Busiek-Perez arc is hopefully higher on the list, but didn’t make my cut either for the Stern run.

Was glad to see the Batman run on here. I voted for it, but didn’t think it was a sure thing. Grant might be the only guy to create more than one bad guy in the modern era that’s really stuck. And Norm deserves to be up there with any of the big time Batman artists. Beyond stylistic a cape as we’ve ever seen, and great silhouettes, it also marked some of the best new Batmobile designs after an era where it was just a blue sports car. They got pulled off that Detective 600 so they could get the Batman movie screenwriter to write the issue…and we got Batman getting his back broken, for the first time.

Spectre was great, but my only real head-slapper from reading the comments in previous editions of one I should have voted for and I totally forgot was the Suicide Squad. That would have made my top ten, but I just had a major brain fart on that one. Glad to see it make it.

[...] ya Yes he did. His Batman run with Norm Breyfogle came 58th in cbr's best 100 comic book runs. 2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #60-56 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources Truly great DC [...]

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