SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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…
45. Grant Morrison’s Invisibles – 204 points (4 first place votes)
The Invisibles #1-25, The Invisibles Vol. 2 #1-22, The Invisibles Vol. 3 #12-1
Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles was designed to deal with the edges of society, in a post-modern explosion/examination of pop culture and paranoia. It was a trippy series that was also a lot of fun.
We are introduced to the world of the Invisibles through the eyes of the latest addition to the Invisible College (a group designed to fight against evil, whether it be physical or mental), or more specifically, the specific cell of the Invisible College that is led by King Mob, Dane McGowan, who is a young man who disbelieves until he is confronted with the reality (or rather, unreality) of the world after King Mob frees him from a sinister facility where young men have their souls essentially stolen…
Dane takes the name Jack Frost, and joins up with King Mob and their other members, Ragged Robin, Lord Fanny and Boy.
The series opens with a time travel story involving the Marquis de Sade and then…you know what, giving the “plot” of the Invisibles really does not do it justice – it’s not really a plot-driven book, as the plot goes in all sorts of directions, and at times, Morrison even drops the main characters to focus on other people before returning to the main Invisibles.
So let’s just say that the Invisibles is an ambitious mind-blowing experience that you must see to believe.
So many artists have worked on the Invisibles that it is almost impossible to name them all, but I’d say Steve Yeowell, Phil Jimenez and Jill Thompson drew the most issues of the series.
44. Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man – 214 points (1 first place vote)
Amazing Spider-Man #224-227, 229-252
A funny thing about Roger Stern’s legendary run on Amazing Spider-Man is the fact that it followed an eighteen issue run on Spectacular Spider-Man! Heck, Stern even introduced Roderick Kingsley (the man he had planned as as the secret identity of the Hobgoblin) in the pages of that run! The run (which went from Spectacular Spider-Man #43-61) was an important part of Stern’s overall Spider-Man work, as a lot of plots he began in Spectacular carried over to Amazing Spider-Man.
That said, when Stern took over Amazing Spider-Man with Amazing Spider-Man #224, he clearly turned his work on to a whole other level. There was a clear change in how he wrote the “secondary” Spider-Man title and how he wrote the “main” title, as he was now in the driving seat for the Spider-Man books as a whole and he was a great driver.
Stern’s early issues re-introduced the Black Cat into the Spider-books, where he helped to make her the staple of the Spider-Man books she remains today. An interesting aspect of Stern’s books, also, is after a number of writers who tended to downplay Spider-Man’s powers, Stern went the other direction, highlighting just how powerful Spider-Man can be.
One of the most acclaimed issues in Stern’s run came early on when he had Spider-Man fight against the unstoppable Juggernaut in a two-issue story that did not CREATE the “superhero battles against a much more powerful foe,” but certainly put a twist on the theme that later writers have followed frequently. John Romita Jr.’s excellent action-packed artwork was on great display during the Juggernaut story arc.
Here’s a piece of it…
What a wonderful sense of power and also such a feeling of dread. Stern and Romita really nailed the “unbeatable odds” thing here.
Stern brought Mary Jane Watson back into the Spider-books and did good work with Spider-Man’s supporting cast. Romita Jr. did strong work on the character moments, as well.
Stern also introduced the Hobgoblin, a mysterious new villain who used the Green Goblin’s devices and serum to become a powerful crime boss. The Hobgoblin was not just interesting because of the mystery of his identity, but also because of his off-beat approach to villainy. He was no mad man, he was a businessman and he used what he learned from Osborn’s in ingenious ways.
Even as his run came to a close with Amazing Spider-Man #250, Stern plotted two more issues of Amazing for incoming writer, Tom DeFalco, and one of them was the story of the alien costume in #252.
Perhaps Stern’s most famous story was a short story in Amazing Spider-Man #248, the tale of a young boy who we learn in a newspaper story is “The Boy Who Collects Spider-Man,” Spider-Man’s biggest fan. It is a real tearjerker.
43. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets -226 points (5 first place votes)
100 Bullets #1-100
At first glance, 100 Bullets was a simple concept. A guy named Agent Graves would come up to people with an attache case containing a gun with 100 bullets, plus a photograph of a target, including proof that the target was responsible for whatever woes existed in the person’s life. The offer? Use the gun to get revenge, and if you use the bullets given, you will never be arrested for the crime.
This was the simple concept at first, as Graves went to random people making the offer, and each person would have different reactions to the offer.
Here’s an example…
However, over time, readers learn that there is a method to the seemingly random offers, and it all ties to a msysterious group called the Minutemen who are tied to an equally mysterious Trust.
Writer Brian Azzarello has created a sprawling and engaging mystery comic that truly took the full 100 issues allotted to him to tell the whole story, which is an impressively ambitious feat on his part.
Azzarello’s partner in crime is artist Eduardo Risso, who is a master of noir art, so he fits in perfectly on this style of comic. When I say partner, I mean partner, as the two have worked together on every single issue of 100 Bullets, which is an impressive level of commitment by DC to the creative team, as they are on a schedule of “when you get the issues done, you get them done.”
In fact, the book even went on hiatus for a time when the entire creative team (colorist, letterer, editor, all of them) took over Batman for six months when DC hired Azzarello and Risso to do an arc of Batman.
This is a book made by a creative team that cares about each other.
The story of the comic is filled with characters that readers grow to care about, even if they are enigmatic and hard to understand.
I must not forget to mention cover artist, Dave Johnson, who is as much a part of the book’s success as anyone else, with his absolutely stunning cover work.
42. Roger Stern’s Avengers – 228 points (4 first place votes)
Avengers #227-279, 281-288
I actually did not remember that Roger Stern’s first issue of Avengers was also the first issue with Captain Marvel, I thought he was on the book already when he added her. Huh. Interesting.
In any event, when Avengers writer Jim Shooter stepped down, Roger Stern picked the book up and finished Shooter’s Hank Pym storyline, then began a long and eventful run on the book himself.
Perhaps Stern’s most notable achievement was the introduction of Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), where Stern really made her one of the bigger characters in the Marvel universe.
Stern also introduced the West Coast Avengers during his run.
The most notable artist working with Stern on his Avengers run was John Buscema, who took over penciling chores around #250 or so, and stayed on for the rest of Stern’s run (and beyond). In #256, Tom Palmer began inking the book, and Palmer stayed on as Avengers inker until the book ended in #402.
Stern’s most famous storyline was Under Siege, where a large group of the Masters of Evil systematically took the Avengers down, including taking control of Avengers Mansion. A lot of Kurt Busiek’s Thunderbolts run had its roots in the Masters of Evil during this storyline (as Stern heavily featured a character he created during his run on Hulk, Moonstone).
Here we see Captain America and Black Knight being tortured while captive in the Mansion…
And here we see the Wasp determined to re-take the Mansion…
Sadly, due to a difference of opinion over how to handle the book, Stern was fired from the title, and left Marvel to work for DC for the rest of the 1980s.
41. Jeff Smith’s Bone – 230 points (2 first place votes)
Jeff Smith’s Bone is the epic tale of three cousins, Fone Bone, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone, and their adventures when they are thrown out of their hometown of Boneville, and end up in The Valley. The series is filled with drama and fantasy, but with a great deal of humor involved. It is one of the best All Ages comic book series that there is in the comic book world.
Smith’s cartoonish artwork is inspired by the work of the great Walt Kelly, and certainly, Bone owes a visual heritage to Kelly’s Pogo, but Bone is a worthy successor to Pogo in more than just great artwork, for Bone is filled with the same sense of humanity that made Pogo such an amazing series.
In the Valley, the Bones interact mostly with Thorne, a young woman, and her grandmother. Plus, of course, a dragon.
The Bones mostly try not to run up against the evil giant rat creatures who wish to kill them.
Phoney Bone is a bit of a con man, so a lot of Bone stories involve one of his get rich schemes. Smiley Bone is a dumb galoot who ends up going along with Phoney’s schemes.
Fone, on the other hand, is a virtuous, romantic figure, who tries to do good in the world, while also staying true to his cousins.
While there is a great deal of fantasy, adventure and humor, like Kelly’s work, there is also a great deal of social commentary, but it’s not over-the-top, and it’s never preachy.
This is a great work that is fun for the whole family, and the entire series is available in one over-sized black and white book!
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