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CSBG Archive

2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #30-26

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…

30. Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker’s Gotham Central – 340 points (8 first place votes)

Gotham Central #1-40

Chuck Dixon featured the Gotham police department quite a lot in his Batman comics, and Doug Moench has a soft spot for both Harvey Bullock and Commissioner Gordon, but even compared to them, Greg Rucka seemed to have an uncanny interest in the Gotham police department. His level of interest was equaled by incoming Batman writer (Rucka wrote Detective Comics), Ed Brubaker, who also specialized in the sort of down-to-Earth police stories that also interested Rucka.

Therefore, after a storyline about the Gotham police department (where Commissioner Gordon is almost killed), the pair launched the acclaimed police procedural, Gotham Central.

The book had an intriguing concept – while the two writers would work together, mostly, it would split the book into a “night” shift and a “day” shift, and each writer would handle a shift. The book was ably drawn by the great Michael Lark with excellent inks by Stefano Gaudiano.

The book gave readers insight into what it would be like to work in the police department of a city that is mostly known for needing a dude dressed as a bat to help stop crime. As you might imagine, it gets a bit galling.

The first two-issue arc was co-written by Brubaker and Rucka and it dealt with Mister Freeze killing the partner of one of the detectives. Meanwhile, a kidnapped girl has been missing for quite some time. The cops try to stop Freeze on their own but when they realize that he is planning an attack on a ceremony commemorating retired Commissioner Gordon, they are forced to call in Batman for help…

Rucka and Brubaker really captured the frustration beautifully, don’t they? They also had this clever idea about how the GCPD are not allowed to turn on the Bat-Signal themselves because doing so would officially involve Batman in their case and the legalities of such a move would be a real pain, so instead an unaffiliated worker actually turns on the signal (she was later given a great spotlight issue by Brubaker).

The most famous arc dealt with Renee Montoya’s troubles with coming out as a lesbian.

The book was filled with nice characterizations and intriguing mysteries and drama.

Lark departed the book with #25, but due to artist Stefano Gaudiano staying on, the new penciler, Kano, was inked in such a way that the book maintained a high level of consistency.

Brubaker departed with issue #36, and rather than carry on all by himself, Rucka decided to close shop with issue #40.

Brubaker and Lark later went to work together on a memorable Daredevil run and Rucka even co-wrote a few issues!

29. Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s Avengers – 342 points (6 first place votes)

Avengers Vol. 3 #1-15, 19-56

When Avengers returned to Marvel after the Heroes Reborn storyline ended, putting Kurt Busiek and George Perez on the title was practically screaming, “Everything is back to normal, people! Please come back!”

In the first storyline, more or less every Avenger who ever was participated in the story, with Busiek choosing through all of them to pick his initial “perfect” team lineup, which included Busiek’s attempt to bring Carol Danvers back to prominence, as well as elevate Justice and Firestar to a bigger place in the Marvel Universe.

Busiek’s knowledge of Marvel history helped inform a lot of his stories, but his great attention to characterization was probably his strongest suit, as the book was filled with a lot of interesting character interactions. I especially liked the issue where Beast returned when he heard the news that his old friend, Wonder Man, was back from the dead.

While there was characterization work, there was also a ton of action, and George Perez did a fine job depicting it all, with the most notable storyline likely being the big Ultron storyline, Ultron Unlimited, which contained the classic scene with Thor and a bunch of battered Avengers burst through a wall at an opprtune time to tell Ultron – “Ultron… we would have words with thee.” Probably the acme of Busiek and Perez’ run, as it perfected that fascinating mixture between appreciating the Avengers’ long and sometimes convoluted history and just doing awesome modern superhero stories…

It has to be noted that in order for Perez to hit such a timely deadline, he often did layouts that the great Al Vey would then finish (the pages above, for instance, were drawn in that style). Right before Perez left the series after about three years’ worth of story, Perez would do looser layouts that Paul Ryan would then pencil and Vey would then ink Ryan’s pencils.

After Perez left, Alan Davis had a quick run but Busiek’s run ended with a series of artists, including Ivan Reis and Kieron Dwyer. The majority of Busiek’s final issues were involved with the massive Kang War.

During his run on Avengers, Busiek also wrote the popular mini-series, Avengers Forever, with Carlos Carlos Pacheco.

28. Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard’s Walking Dead – 351 points

The Walking Dead #1-current (#103)

The selling point of the Walking Dead is essentially that is is what happens in a zombie movie after the closing credits finish. What do you do in a world overrun by zombies? How do you manage to form some measure of society in a situation like that?

That’s the problem facing Rick Grimes as he wakes up from a coma to discover that the world has changed much since he was shot on duty as a police officer. He manages to find his wife and son who have joined a sort of collective, led by Rick’s former partner. The group is tight knit with an interesting mix of personalities. Rick soon takes over as the leader of the group, which leads to conflicts.

Tony Moore drew the initial six-issue storyline but Charles Adlard took over with issue #7 and has drawn the book ever since.

Since the series has become such a massive a success in its TV adaptation form, I worry about spoiling stuff, as the TV series has MOSTLY followed the story arc of the comic book. I don’t think it is spoiling too much to note that the series is mostly about Rick’s attempts to find SOME sort of life for his family and for his people, even as tons and tons of shit gets poured on top of them. Not just from the zombies themselves, but by evil people who use the zombie apocalypse to become tyrants. What can one good man do against such mounting terror? And at what point does he cease to BE a good man if he has to constantly lower himself to the level of his enemies?

As you have seen from the TV series, there are a number of particularly engaging personalities in the book, like the group scavenger, Glenn, or the former lawyer turned sharp shooter, Andrea, or the wizened old man, Dale, or perhaps the breakout character of the book (other than Rick, of course), Michonne, a normal woman has adapted to bad assery in a fashion unlike many others.

Because of the difficulty of spoiling the book, along with the fact that I wanted to show you a piece of art from Charles Adlard, I went with this scene where Rick meets Tyresse, a single father who is an important figure in the comic but has yet to be adapted into the TV series (and no, T-Dog is NOT Tyresse). As the two fathers talk, they discuss the very notion of morality in a world like this. Plus, you get to see some zombie killing! Can’t have the Walking Dead without some zombie killing!

27. Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha’s Fables – 358 points (4 first place votes)

Fables #1-current (#122)

Fables is Bill Willingham’s epic story concerning the adventures of the inhabitants of Fabletown, all characters who come from fairy tales and folklore, like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.

They live in Fabletown because they were driven out of the magical world that they used to live in (called the Homelands), by an evil villain known as the Adversary, who has conquered most of the Homelands.

The early stories followed mostly Snow White, who was the aide to the Mayor of Fabletown (Old King Cole) and Bigby Wolf (the Big Bad Wolf), who was the Sheriff of Fabletown, and their Sam and Diane relationship.

Here is a nice sampling from issue #13 showing the vast cast of Fabletown, as the Mouse Police (an elite mixture of Fable Mice, you know, like “Hickory Dickory Dock” and Lilliputians who team up to serve as an espionage squad for Bigby) investigate Bluebeard, while Bluebeard does a fencing exhibition against Prince Charming, while Snow White’s sister, Rose Red, is on the Farm (the special extension of Fabletown for those Fables who can’t mix with humans. Essentially, all the animal Fables)….

Later storylines revolve around the inevitable war between Fabletown and the Adversary’s forces.

While the storylines of the book result in the basic framework of the comic, the key to the book is the character work that writer Bill Willingham does with the characters. To this end, he was greatly helped by the addition to the book of artists Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha with the second storyline (with some breaks here and there, Buckingham and Leialoha have remained the artists of the book ever since). Buckingham’s attention to characterization is perhaps his greatest artistic talent.

Willingham slowly develops characters, and moves them from small roles to big roles without any real warning, so pretty much every character in Fables could be considered the star of the book. In fact, Snow White and Bigby Wolf are currently relatively minor characters in the comic after being the clear leads for the first part of the title.

After a dramatic confrontation in the 100th issue, the lives of the Fables are once more in a state of flux. It will be fascinating to see where they end up. Recently, DC launched a spin-off series called Fairest, which spotlights different Fables characters.

26. Peter David’s Incredible Hulk – 365 points (7 first place votes)

The Incredible Hulk #331-359, 361-388, 390-467

What was probably most consistent about Peter David’s run on the Incredible Hulk was that there was no consistency to the book, David was constantly taking the book in different directions, and it made for an eventful ride for readers.

When he took over the book in 1986, the book was in the middle of a storyline, but David picked it up without a hitch, and soon turned the book into a sort of odd road trip book, with Bruce Banner, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain traveling together. At this time, the Hulk had become Grey again, and turned into the Hulk at night. During this time, Todd McFarlane was the artist on the book, and there was a notable encounter between the Hulk and Wolverine while on the road.

After an encounter with the Leader, the Hulk was feared dead, but he soon popped up in Las Vegas, working as a bouncer called Joe Fixit. Jeff Purves was the artist on these stories.

Eventually, Hulk hit the road again, and Dale Keown joined the book. He and David combined for an impressive run together, and during this run, David made probably his biggest change to the comic, having Doc Samson merge the various Hulk personalities (Banner, Grey Hulk and Green Hulk) together to form one powerful green Hulk whose personality was controlled by Banner.

This version of the Hulk was soon hired by the peacekeeping group, the Pantheon, to work for them as a peacekeeper. This was the status quo of the book for about forty/fifty issues.

However, this ultimately fell apart, too, and the Hulk went on the run once more, and then Onslaught happened, with Banner and the Hulk becoming separated – the Banner-less Hulk went on a bit of a rampage, but eventually Banner returned. Adam Kubert took over as artist for an acclaimed short run on the Hulk, and in his second-to-last issue, David had Betty Banner, wife of Bruce, die. David’s last issue had Rick Jones in the future looking back at all the various stories that David had had planned for his run before his departure.

David’s run was marked by a lot of character work, and also a lot of humor. The biggest vote-getters of all David’s artist partners was Dale Keown

44 Comments

Damn, these are some fine comics. That’s all I’m saying.

Fables puts me at 4 out of 10 so far. Happy to see Gotham Central here too – it made my short list but fell away from there. Walking Dead must just be a massive popularity surge – no first place votes, but enough votes to get it on the list anyways.

Personally, not a fan of the Hulk in general. Gotta say I enjoyed PAD’s Hulk: The End, though – and his work with characters like Doc Samson was excellent. Avengers by Busiek was solid with Perez on pencils – my all-time favorite artist is Perez, so naturally I’m glad to see him hold a high spot on this list.

I’m a little disappointed so far in the DC’s showing in this contest. I feel like a lot of great runs from DC are getting pushed aside for nostalgic favorites from Marvel that just don’t hold up. If you look so far at the the runs from each company, DC’s are runs with little-known characters for the most part; Marvel’s are mostly big-name characters with mass appeal.

Wow, I am properly surprised to see Gotham Central here and this high up. I had written off its chance of appearing once we had seen 100 – 50. This is the only time I have had the original issues of this comic bound, so this was on my list without question.

And Walking Dead I voted for. I was strongly debating this because it is still ongoing, but I eventually decided that the ending doesn’t matter and 103 issues was enough to judge a series. So nobody voted for this in first place Brian?

So nobody voted for this in first place Brian?

Yep.

Tons of great stuff in this round. Gotham Central and Fables are both fantastic (has there every been a omnibus collecting the entirety of Gotham Central? I’d get that post-haste).

Stern’s Avengers is my personal favorite run on the title, but there’s no denying that Busiek and Perez’s run is fantastic and worthy of recognition. I don’t at all mind seeing it place higher.

Haven’t read any Walking Dead yet, just seen the show, but I’m not at all surprised to see it place this high, especially given the popularity bump the latter likely gave it.

I haven’t read all of David’s Hulk run, just bits and pieces, but I’d love to plow through the whole thing someday just to see how all the different phases flow into one another.

Gah, ‘Gotham Central is the only comic I have had bound’ is what I meant to say. That sentence made no sense.

And no first place votes for Walking Dead is VERY interesting for a top 30 book. The most recent book to place without a first place vote was Ex Machina at 50. Weirdly Ex Machina was the title that dropped off my list when I decided to vote for The Walking Dead.

Now 3/10 with the addition of Gotham Central and Busiek’s Avengers.

3. Gotham Central.
9. Busiek’s Avengers
10. Strange Tales

Gotham Central is such a pleasant surprise. Glad to know it made the list again.

I am at 4 now.

3. Bone
4. Love & Rockets
8. Avengers (Stern)
9. Suicide Squad (Ostrander)

Of the six left, I expect to see 5.

Wow, three major points of interest here:

1. I was clearly wrong about Gotham Central, but I’m thrilled to be wrong. There’s no question it deserves to be in the top 100, but jumping nearly 50 spots from the ’08 vote is something that I don’t think anyone saw coming. Obviously the fact that it now exists in hardcover, which wasn’t true 4 years ago, has helped it quite a bit, and probably allowed a lot of people (myself included) to read the series for the first time. Considering how much higher this, Criminal, and Brubaker’s Daredevil placed this year than in ’08, it seems Sleeper really was the big loser, which is too bad. I still think it’s Bru’s best work, and when this blog had a best Brubaker stories poll last year, Sleeper occupied two of the top three spots, so clearly it still has its admirers.

2. We all knew Walking Dead was showing up at some point, but I think it’s VERY telling that it received no first place votes. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with this statement, but Walking Dead just isn’t a very good comic. It’s a comic where it’s greatest strength (hooking readers into needing to know what happens next) masks virtually every weakness, because the sensation of being excited for the next issue effectively fools people into thinking they enjoyed the issue they just read. It’s a comic with a great hook, good art, and a great gimmick to bring back readers. But the actual storytelling and character development by Kirkman just aren’t very well done. It’s incredibly overly reliant on shock value, and the notion of giving the people what they want. It uses constant status quo changes as a remedy for being unable to consistently make any single status quo compelling on its own. I’m sure many people will disagree with all of this, but let me offer this test: One of the most effective ways I use to measure how good a television show actually is, is when an episode ends, do you find yourself thinking more about 1) everything that happened in that episode and how it was all put together, or 2) what will happen in the next episode and how the story will continue? If the answer is 2, it means that you’re on the hook, and the quality of the show is secondary to knowing what happens next. With the best shows, like Mad Men, The Wire, and The Sopranos, they almost never ended on cliffhangers, because that wasn’t the point. They knew that quality was bringing their audience back next week, not resolution. And even Breaking Bad & Homeland (a phenomenal show, for anyone that doesn’t watch it), there are occasional cliffhangers, but not used in gimmicky fashion. I think ongoing comic book series mostly operate the same way. Walking Dead, as both a show and a comic, thrives on the cliffhanger, and I think both would have much fewer admirers without them. And with no first place votes, I think it shows that a lot of people like reading Walking Dead, but few people love it.

3. On a different note, I think it’s interesting to see the effect the Avengers movie has had on bumping the runs in this countdown. Both Stern’s and Busiek’s Avengers finished much higher this year than in ’08, and it seems for both cases that the only discernible reason is the movie. Given that, I think it’s very surprising that the Thomas/Buscema Avengers run dropped off this countdown entirely, after placing in the 80s in ’08. And I also find it disappointing that Englehart’s Avengers run will again be left off. But oh well.

Finally one from my list. Walking Dead was one of the few modern comics I voted for. I just had to acknowledge it because no other comic this century has filled me with the edge-of-my-seat, page-turning glee that I associate with the comics of my youth (although Fables comes close). I think it’s a good sign when a comic makes me invested enough in the characters to want to whip the book across the room when something bad happens (which is pretty much all the time with this series).

Surprised to see Busiek’s Avengers run beat out Stern’s, and to see David’s Hulk drop so low. Cool to see Gotham Central show up, I thought it might be a no-show. This remains a very fun list!

PAD’s Hulk run is a really good one, and managed to bring enough funny without being too wacky. And he does more with Dr. Leonard Sampson than anyone else has done. Keown was particularly well-suited to draw the Hulk back then and it was a lot of fun to read. the Pantheon was an interesting idea, but it’s always a little bit of a stretch when you delve into that “they’ve been around forever, but only NOW do they come into the public eye” stories in something like the Marvel Universe.

I’m a big fan of Fables (although Willingham loses points from me for treating fans like something he scraped off the bottom of his shoe at the last convention I saw him at). Dropped it recently, though, due to getting a little bored with the storylines.

Busiek & Perez were a great combo on Avengers and remind me a lot of Stern/Buscema/Palmer in tone and style. You even had non-terrible uniform design from Perez on Firestar! (less so on Justice)

I have to check out Gotham Central. The comination of Brubaker, Rucka, and Lark is unreal. Somehow, I passed that series up when it was coming out… but I guess I really didn’t get into Brubaker’s work until Captain America and then Daredevil. Afterwords, I tracked down all of the Criminal trades and loved them. Brubaker’s Catwoman is another one I’d like to get. Anyone know how it holds up to his other work?

Wasn’t a big fan of the Avengers, Captain America, and Ironman after the Heroes Reborn debacle, so I stayed away from those titles for years out of spite!

The Walking Dead is a great series and Fables looks decent but I could never get into fantasy comics besides the Sandman.

Now, Peter David’s Incredible Hulk run was brilliant! At the time, I loved the new Hulk. He had the brains of banner, strength of the green Hulk, and the arrogance(?) of the grey Hulk and Dale Keown’s art was fantastic, which was followed by the equally great Gary Frank. Even before when the Grey Hulk was working as Joe Fixit in Las Vegas was a great era for the Hulk. Jeff Purves had a really unique style. Not sure whatever happened to him.

Later in the 3-in-1 Hulk run, David put out some of my favorite single Hulk issues. The Stag party for Rick Jones in issue 417 was hilarious! The Aids story in Issue 420 was also brilliant.

Dropped the title in 1999 or so and didn’t pick it up again until Bruce Jones’ run in 2003

@Third Man:

I truly agree with what you said on your 2nd point of interest. People coming again week after week on great shows or great comic books is mostly because, as you said, quality overruns resolution. Whenever I find myself enjoying a comic book after reading it a thousand times, or watching re-runs for shows I know by heart, it makes me think these have immense value and are very well executed. Cliffhangers are a valid form of hooking people into coming back, but I rather, as you so well put, have quality over resolution.

Just my two cents.

I have some familiarity with 3 out of 5. I never got into “Fables” or “Walking Dead.” (For one thing, I’ve just never been big on zombies, although I hear that for people who love zombie movies, Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” is exactly what they always wanted in a comic book!)

Still only 1 out of 10 have materialized from my ballot, but I still expect 4 more to go the distance!

Gotham Central 2012: #30, 340 points
Gotham Central 2008: #74, 122 points
Up 44 places, +218 points

Busiek/Perez Avengers 2012: #29, 342 points
Busiek Avengers 2008: #41, 218 points
Up 12 places, +124 points
(Although entries are under slightly different names, they cover the same issue runs.)

Newcomer: Walking Dead, #28, 351 points
2008’s #28: Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, 336 points

Fables 2012: #27, 358 points
Fables 2008: #22, 428 points
Down 5 places, -70 points

David’s Incredible Hulk 2012: #26, 365 points
David’s Incredible Hulk 2008: #19, 484 points
Down 7 places, -119 points

Surprisingly, The Walking Dead did not place in the 2008 top 100, despite launching in 2003. The book would’ve had a sizable number of issues during the initial voting, though by now it’s cracked 100 issues. It seems likely the successful TV show has gotten more people reading the comics, though the lack of first place votes is curious.

At this point, the shifts in point totals as returning books climb up and down the list are growing much larger, on average. Brubaker and Rucka’s Gotham Central, for instance, climbs 44 places with an incredible gain of 218 points. It’s a logical climb, given Brubaker and Rucka’s current popularity, but still an astronomical one.

Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run, now listed as the Busiek/Perez run, also climbs up the list and gains a hefty 124 points. I’ve seen the theory forwarded in the comments that the popularity of The Avengers movie is drawing attention to classic Avengers comics, and that’s certainly possible.

We round out this run of entries with some books drifting gently down from higher points in the 2008 list. Fables loses 70 points, but drops only 5 places. A drop for a 2008 Top 100 book that’s still ongoing seems a little unusual, given the 2012 list’s overall trends.

Peter David’s seminal Incredible Hulk run slides down 7 places and loses 119 places, but that seems reasonable for an older, long-complete run. No idea if its trade status has changed over the past few years. At one point, this run was very easy to pick up in trade.

joe the poor speller

October 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I was beginning to worry that Gotham Central wouldn’t make it. Busiek and Perez’s Avengers is also great. I do enjoy PAD’s Hulk up to the merging of the Hulks. Fables is cool, but it’s starting to drag. Don’t care about Walking Dead. At all.

William O'Brien

October 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

“A drop for a 2008 Top 100 book that’s still ongoing seems a little unusual, given the 2012 list’s overall trends.”

Fables has mostly been on a downward trend of quality for most, if not all, of the four years, so it probably fell off the list for some people.

I’d confess to being very susceptible to the shock value of Walking Dead, less so with the cliffhangers, as I’ve read the series in trades and they don’t really break up the chapters, you pretty much just read through ’til you stop. Whether it holds up on re-reading in future years is anyone’s guess, but it’s been a fun ride (despite never having been much into zombies myself).

I guess we won’t be seeing Ennis’ s Hellblazer on the list at this point, will we? I guess a lot of time has passed for it to drop off the radar, but it rounded out my 10 (another run that was a great page-turner, I thought).

Gotham Central was one of the best modern series I’ve read. I loved Peter David’s run on the Hulk. Willingham’s Fables was very entertaining, although I haven’t read the last ten or so issues (trade waiting). And Busiek’s run on the Avengers was the best handling of the group since the days of Steve Englehart.

How in the world did Kirkman’s zombies get on the list with these classic runs? What makes Kirkman’s zombies any better than all the other zombie stories out there? I just don’t see anything special about the Walking Dead.

Hell, I work with zombies all day and I see them driving cars, talking on their cell phones when they should be driving, and I hear them in public having emotionally-charged discussions about one sports team or another. I can’t get away from zombies. Why in the world would I want to read about them?

Well, the appeal of Walking Dead is that it was and is just a damn good zombie movie in comic book form, but one that just keeps going. The inspiring thing about it that hadn’t been done before to my knowledge is that it follows a party of survivors in classic zombie-movie fashion but then sticks with them as their party is picked off one by one and picks up new members until the cast is almost completely different than it was at the start, and Kirkman keeps finding new scenarios to keep it fresh. The sheer size and scope of the story is what made it new, and to my mind keeps it exciting to this day.

I’m surprised to see Gotham Central so high. I’ve only read a couple issues, and I’m sure that it’s a good series and I would like it, but still surprised it’s top 30. I could have seen somewhere in the bottom 50.

I’m pretty much with Third Man regarding Walking Dead. I enjoyed the series for quite a while, but was starting to get a bit sick of it. Then my LCS missed pulling 3 out of 5 issues for me (because they’re terrible with their pull list) and I’ve been unable to find them elsewhere. Because of that I haven’t read the last 10 issues or so, and I have to admit once you break from the constant cliffhangers, there’s not a lot compelling me to start reading it again. I’m not saying I find it bad, just not essential. And I also think the fact that it has zero first place votes is pretty telling.

Well, the appeal of Walking Dead is that it was and is just a damn good zombie movie in comic book form, but one that just keeps going. The inspiring thing about it that hadn’t been done before to my knowledge is that it follows a party of survivors in classic zombie-movie fashion but then sticks with them as their party is picked off one by one and picks up new members until the cast is almost completely different than it was at the start, and Kirkman keeps finding new scenarios to keep it fresh. The sheer size and scope of the story is what made it new, and to my mind keeps it exciting to this day.

Right, like I noted, it is what happens AFTER the end of the zombie movie. Heck, I think Kirkman has gotten great mileage just out of the personalities of the characters as they adjust to new surroundings.

Utterly amazed to see Gotham Central ranked so high.

I’ve always wanted to read Busiek’s Avengers and David’s Hulk, I’ve only heard good things, plus I love Perez, Keomn, Davis, etc. I’ve read maybe five issues of Busiek’s Avengers, and I liked it. My shop just got a bunch of used hardcovers collecting his run, I may have to pick them up lol

Gotham Central – I guess this means Powers isn’t showing up. (sigh) Oh well, I’ll still settle for Rucka and Brubaker in Gotham City. Great book. Ended too soon.

Avengers – Haven’t read it, but if Kurt Busiek wrote it that means I have to check it out someday.

Walking Dead – At one-hundred issues, I am starting to get what people mean about Walking Dead, how it thrives on cliffhangers and status quo changes as opposed to actually carving out particularly memorable storylines, but I don’t feel that disqualifies it from being a good comic. It delivers what it promises: all the intensity of a zombie movie that goes on forever, plus throwing everything people love about zombie movies together into one long story. Perhaps an overrated comic, but hey, it’s a essentially the ultimate mainstream indie book, and 100 issues is damn impressive. No matter how much it frustrates me, I’ll still keep reading what Rick and Carl and the gang are up to until it ends, if it ever does. Just wish Tony Moore had stuck around.

Fables – If I came across as too harsh on Walking Dead, let me be harsh again. I don’t quite see the brilliant mastery of Fables. It’s definitely a good comic, with some damn good dialogue and good uses of humor, but I don’t get what’s so involving about it that it’s lasted for 100+ issues. I guess it’s because things fairy-tales gone real stories are usually pretty interesting, and this has that same Walking Dead effect. Give people what they want: weird, subversive takes on old characters that continues on and experiments with all of them. Not a fault of the book, just feel that it has never risen above ‘damn good.’

Hulk – I’ve only read pieces of this run (I skipped everything Todd McFarlane drew because I HATE Todd McFarlane), but man oh man did what I read deliver. The fact that Peter David could make a Hulk series that didn’t constantly rely on huge action and/or angsty stories about being on the lamb is impressive enough. So many writers feel that they always need to get to the heart of the character, but every so often, it might just be better to completely reinvent what that character means.

joe the poor speller

October 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

@ dhole It’s really sad that Ennis’ Hellblazer won’t make it. Such a great run. I didn’t vote for it, but in a ‘top 15′ it would be included.

the real slim anonymous

October 25, 2012 at 5:02 pm

We also won’t be seeing Rucka’s and Perez’s WW, Palmiotti/Gray’s Hex, Simone’s Birds of Prey, Mantlo’s Hulk (the definitive ‘Hulk Smash’ run), Carey’s Hellblazer, Grell’s Green Arrow, Dixon and Nolan’s Detective Comics, BQM’s Batgirl, Gates/Ingle’s Supergirl, Busiek’s Thunderbolts…

Josh wrote: “the Pantheon was an interesting idea, but it’s always a little bit of a stretch when you delve into that “they’ve been around forever, but only NOW do they come into the public eye” stories in something like the Marvel Universe.”

Yeah, you’d never guess this was where Bendis came up with the idea of the Marvel’s little cloister of “Illuminati.”

“Wouldn’t it be kewl to find out that Xavier and Reed Richards and Dr Strange and Tony Stark were really manipulating everything going on in the post Kree-Skrull War Marvel Universe all these years? I can get away with it because I Am The Bendis.” (followed here with evil laughter)

I think I voted for both the Hulk and Avengers runs on this list (I def voted for Hulk by David, can’t remember if Busiek’s Avengers was on my list or just missed). At any rate, glade to see them here.

I’ll need to check out “Fables” at some point.

VERY solid block; I’ve read at least a sizeable chunk of all of these, and they very much deserve to be ranked this high. I can’t remember if “Gotham Central” made my final top ten or not, but it was definitely in there through several permutations. By Grodd, I miss that book something awful.
The other four weren’t in the running for my list, but they’re all great comics.

Busiek/Perez’s Avengers was one of my runner-ups. I dropped the title after Perez left because I wasn’t enjoying the stories much after Ultron Unlimited, so I didn’t feel it should make my top 10.

Only read a few issues of the PAD/Keown Hulk and enjoyed them but didn’t bother to get more. It’s on my ‘maybe someday I’ll get to it’ list.

Gotham Central I have to check out, always been intrigued but never tried it.

So I’m guess I’m the only one who finds Kurt Busiek’s run almost unreadably bad? I guess so.

I totally agree with Third Man’s critique of Walking Dead. Well said.

I really liked Brubaker’s run on Gotham Central, but Greg Rucka’s “You Go Girl” stories with his pet character Renee Montoya really ruined what could have been a consistently solid run. The good still outweighs the bad though and the book totally belongs on the list.

Gotham Central is the first book from show up from my ballot since Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man. I had it 6th on my ballot. Soft Targets might be my favourite story from the run.

I own the first three volumes of The Walking Dead collecting #1-18 but haven’t got round to reading them yet. Need to at some point.

Huge fan of Gotham Central. Rucka and Brubaker along with Lark are great creators. But the last storyline, linked to the major event comic at the time, was the only let down.

Walking Dead is always enjoyable. But I’m falling behind on my trade reading (still 2 more to check out). But they usually don’t take that long!! haha…

David is always entertaining. But I haven’t read his whole Hulk run.Missed the starting, but the Pantheon ‘arc’ and the short ‘horror’ stint that followed were personal favorites, but I have yet to read the last ‘arc’ that featured Kubert on pencils.

I’m surprised David’s Hulk hasn’t been collected in one of the unwieldy omnibus volumes (or two unwieldy omnibus volumes). And the paperback Visionaries series doesn’t finish the run. Does anyone know a reason for this? I assumed it was because they try to tie the Omnibus releases to the film releases but the Byrne FF omnibus came out independent of a film. Maybe the paperbacks didn’t sell well?

Gotham Central: One of my favorite comics of the last decade. Bru & Rucka built a solid cast and the stories were mostly riveting. The art of Lark & Co. was fittingly gritty.

Busiek Avengers: To me, Heroes Return signals the end of the ’90s as we knew it. After Heroes Reborn failed, more traditional super-hero comics made a comeback. The storytelling-deficient Lee & Liefeld model was purged and a more writer-centric style emerged. I liked the Busiek/ Perez Avengers, and it made me more interested in the earlier runs.

Walking Dead: Repetitive and depressing. Kirkman suffers from Frank Miller syndrome: he can’t write good female characters unless they’re badass.

And yet I get excited when I see a new trade, and have bought them all.

Fables: Once upon a time, there was a fun series about fairy tale characters living in New York. The evil Adversary had conquered their lands. A plucky group of resistance fighters took back their homeland through skill and guile, and they all lived happily ever after. The End.

… and then the story kept going and going until the spell wore off and I realized there was no more there there.

PAD Hulk: The run that made me a comic book fan, and still one of my favorites.

I’m happy to see Fables on the list, but I’m surprised to see it this high on the list. I’ve never been a massive fan of Buckingham’s art. He’s competent but he’s not a great storyteller and he rarely draws dialogue scenes where the characters actually look like they are talking to each other.

Man, looking at those Hulk pages confirms (for me, at least) that Dale Keown really was the greatest Hulk artist ever. It’s funny, he and Sam Keith seem to be the only early Image guys that never really inspire any backlash or vitriol from the blogosphere. Pitt was, of course, a terrible comic, but it’s pretty difficult to find anything to dislike in Keown’s Hulk stuff.

As much as I loved McFarlane and Keowns at the time, I loved Purves even more. His shadow -light art combined with the colorist (Petres?) perfectly. I loved the Hulk during that run. It was the first great anti-hero series I ever read.

Ed (A Different One)

October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Man, it’s a shame that the seeming “peak” of PAD’s comic writing career came during the time I was “off” comics for several years. SSM and “Death of Jean DeWolf”? Missed it. PAD’s Hulk. Missed it? “Of Time and Tides”? Missed it too. I know it’s out there and collected and waiting for me to read it but I just haven’t gotten around to reading those missed gems from this era yet.

I guess you can put Busiek & Perez’s Avengers into that category too. When I head to the library or the LCS to pick up trades of great comics I’ve missed, that era is almost always at the bottom of my priority list, perhaps unfairly so . . .

Everything I’ve ever read by Busiek is drenched in continuity porn. Untold Tales of Spiderman…Avengers….

It makes it so difficult and frustrating to read. Can’t say I’m a fan.

I read the first trade of Gotham Central from the library. It was pretty good stuff.

Busiek/Perez on Avengers: I have bits and pieces. It’s decent stuff, but not a fave. My Busiek vote went to Untold Tales of Spidey, because it is awesome.

Walking Dead — very interesting that it placed so high without any first place votes. That means people really like it, but no one really LOVES it. I’ve only read the first issue, and watched the show. But I have been spoiled on a lot of stuff. Grr.

Fables — I have the first trade and read volume 2, but last year (dumbly) passed up the opportunity to get most of the series for really cheap. I’d say it was because I already had a mass of other comics, but since they included ’90s Marvel books, I have no real defense. The consensus seems to be that it’s losing steam, and yet there’s a new spinoff book out.

PAD Hulk is good stuff. I’ve read a lot of the trades (the Visionaries volumes mentioned above). Dunno why they stopped, but I suspect there’s a bit of the “have to put out the early stuff before we get to the good stuff” and if sales projections were made off that, maybe that’s why the trades stopped. Or Marvel’s just dumb. Those last 2 issues were really good stuff.

Nice to see Gotham Central doing well though I am surprised by it’s rise.

I suspect that the TV show boosted awareness of Walking Dead helping it’s massive rise (though it wouldn’t have worked if the comic wasn’t good).

Busiek’s Avengers -I read it at the time and heard great things about it but it never really clicked for me – so not in my favourite 5 avengers runs (maybe not in 10). Seemed to lack the magic of the Thomas, Shooter, Michelinie, Stern runs I was used to.
(Though I may have been going through superhero burn-out at the time)

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