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CSBG Archive

2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs #11-9

You voted, now here are the results of your votes for your favorite comic book creator runs of all-time! We’ll be revealing three runs a day for the rest of the month. Here is a master list of all of the runs revealed so far.

Here’s the next three runs…

11. James Robinson’s Starman – 637 points (22 first place votes)

Starman #1-80, plus a #1,000,000 and two Annuals

One of the few good things to spin out of Zero Hour, Starman begins with Ted Knight (the Golden Age Starman) passing the torch (or, in this case, his cosmic energy staff) to his son David. Sadly, in the very first issue, David is murdered, leaving the family title to Ted’s OTHER son, Jack Knight, who was wholly uninterested in becoming a hero.

Jack owns an antiques and collectibles store, and is quite happy to just do that – but with his brother dead, Jack feels the need to take up the Starman name, but only if his father would agree to use his research that led to the cosmic staff’s creation for the good of mankind.

Jack then began one of the stranger superhero tenures, as the whole time he’s doing it, even as he grows more and more as a hero, he still does not exactly fit in with other typical heroes.

While Jack is nominally the star of Starman, the REAL star is the city Jack and his father, Ted, live in – Opal City. Throughout the series, a message writer James Robinson gets across is an appreciation for the classics, and Opal City is a whole city that is BUILT around that notion – that the classic stories need a city, too, and that’s what Opal City. This leads to the Shade, a classic villain who Robinson re frames as an almost immortal man who just wants to enjoy his time in Opal City, the city he loves. The Shade even ended up getting his own series!

There is a family of cops in Opal City, the O’Dares, who also play a major role in the series, including former crooked cop Matt O’Dare who is pushed into heroism by the spirit of his ancestor.

Artist Tony Harris co-created the book, and did the art for the first 45 issues or so. He was responsible for all of the design of both Jack, Jack’s tattoos (a notable style element of the book in the early days) and Opal City. Harris left the book after 45 issues or so, and was followed by Peter Snejbjerg, who stayed until the end of the book.

Starman was one of the most cultured superhero comics – you’d have stuff like thugs debating the works of Stephen Sondheim!!

In fact, that’ll be our sample. From #14, a spotlight on the O’Dares…

In addition, Robinson revisited the past to find every past bearer of the name “Starman,” no matter how obscure. Other old heroes and villains kept popping up in the series, as well.

The book was such a massive critical success for DC that they allowed Robinson to end the story as he wished, which is a tremendous compliment in this day and age of “the show must go on, no matter how bad!” publishing.

10. Walter Simonson’s Thor – 701 points (16 first place votes)

The Mighty Thor #337-355, 357-382 (writer/artist for #337-354, 357-367, 380)

There’s not much cooler of a way to introduce yourself to a title then to break the old logo of the book in your first issue and debut a new logo the next one. And that’s just one of the dramatic things Walt Simonson did with his first issue of Thor, a book that was not selling particularly well, so Simonson had a great deal of freedom to TRY these dramatic things. The other dramatic event in the first issue of Simonson’s Thor was just WHO it was that was wielding Thor’s hammer on the cover – some weird looking creature!

Beta Ray Bill, the noble alien who was found to be worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, was an attempt to shock readers, and to give his book a try, as Simonson spent the next thirty issues or so both writing and drawing an eventful time in the world of Thor, as Simonson used his extensive knowledge of Norse mythology as the foundation for his stories, which were a bit more serious and true to Norse culture than previous writers.

Simonson’s stories were mostly plot-driven, but he gave a number of interesting character moments along the way, as well, and of course he delivered that fantastic, stylized dynamic artwork that he is so well known for using.

There was a major story with a fight between Odin and Surtur that took advantage of Simonson’s ability to draw really outstanding fight scenes, but perhaps the most notable storyline during his run was when a number of souls of living Earth people are trapped in the land of Hel. Thor, Balder and a few other people lead a rescue mission to save them, and the evil toady of the Enchantress, Skurge the Executioner, asks to be allowed to help, too. At the end, when they are about to be overrun at a bridge by the hordes of Hel right before becoming free, Thor vows that he will stay behind and hold off the hordes himself while the humans escape. Skurge knocks Thor out, and while everyone at first thinks he is being a traitor, he is instead opting to take Thor’s place.

It’s an amazing sequence of events, beautifully written and drawn by Simonson.

Soon after, Simonson concluded his run as an artist with an amusing story involving Thor being turned into a frog.

Then Sal Buscema joined the book as the artist, and Simonson continued a long story he had in which Thor is slowly beaten and scarred by battles, to the point where he is forced to grow a beard to cover his scars and wear a special suit of armor to maintain his strength. During this time, Thor takes on a new secret identity (Don Blake had been eliminated as Thor’s alter ego) of basically Thor wearing a pair of glasses, as a nod to Superman/Clark Kent.

The next few issues have a LOT of crossovers with various other books Simonson was involved with at the time, mostly X-Factor, and finally, his run concludes with a tremendously ambitious storyline including the Destroyer and the Midgard serpent. A classic finale to a classic run.

Oh, I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing lettering John Workman did on this series. Amazing stuff.

9. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher – 792 points (22 first place votes)

Preacher #1-66, plus some mini-series and one-shots (almost all of the one-shots and minis were not by Dillon)

Small-town Preacher is given the Word of God, so goes off to search America for God, along with his ex-girlfriend (who has since become an erstwhile assassin) and a hard-drinking 100-year-old Irish vampire.

Come on, how awesome is that?

Luckily, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon deliver on the promise of that description, and THEN some, with their epic run together on Preacher.

Before reading this series, do note that not only is this book filled with horrifically violent images, but it also has some extremely disturbing NON-violent aspects, of which I won’t get into right here, but do note that if you are easily offended by stuff, then Preacher is not the book for you. That being said, as outlandish and disgusting as some of the parts of Preacher are, at the heart of the story are three well-crafted, complex characters, particularly the Irish vampire, Cassidy.

The book is designed like a Western, and a lot of famous Western locales are used in the comic, from Monument Valley to the Alamo. Heck, John Wayne is even a spiritual adviser to Jesse Custer (the nominal Preacher of this book). A great deal of this comic is based on Jesse and his ideas of honor.

While the three main characters are, well, the main characters, Preacher is known for its colorful cast of supporting characters, all so good that almost all of them had spin-offs during the series run, from the Saint of Killers, who is sent after Jesse by some scared Angels, to the evil Herr Star, the head of the Grail – a group that wants to control Jesse to bring about Armageddon, to Arseface, a young teen who tried to kill himself after Kurt Cobain shot himself, only he lived – just with a face that, even after plastic surgery, looks like, well, you know, to Jody and TC, two extremely disturbing “Good ol’ Boys” from Jesse’s past – all of these memorable characters ended up with their own spin-offs, all written by Ennis, and all collected in the trades that make up this series.

Let’s use Jody as our sample pages. Now Jody was a hard ass who worked for Jesse’s sadistic grandmother and Jody tormented Jesse his whole life and also killed Jesse’s father. So the two finally had their dramatic confrontation (it is very violent! Do not read if you are averse to graphic violence)…

Powerfully messed up stuff.

Steve Dillon’s gritty and humanistic artwork could not be any more appropriate for this series if you had asked a Magic Mirror who would be the fairest artist for this book in all the land.

By the time this series ends, you’ll be so attached to the characters that you will be quite disappointed to know this will be the last you’ll see of them, but Ennis manages to come up with a tremendous farewell to them all.

65 Comments

Woah, I see Morrison’s Batman has climbed really high.

To not be completely off-topic – I approve of Preacher’s position. Great comic book. At times silly, at times serious and with -consistently- fantastic Dillon’s art.

Garth Ennis’ Preacher is another pick of mine. I don’t think it’s quite as good or straight up entertaining as his other 60-issue opus Hitman, but it’s totally masterful nonetheless. Some of the best dialog in the business and an artist completely in-sync with him, featuring a huge eclectic array of wonderful characters and emotionally-powerful stories. It peaked early on All in the Family, pictured above, but that’s more because All in the Family is SO FUCKIN’ GOOD. Like, one of the greatest story arcs in Vertigo history good.

“Starman” was my number one. Shame it just missed making the overall top ten, but this is still a damn impressive showing for a series that ended so long ago, and whose writer has since had his rep sullied by work that is, shall we tactfully say, less than stellar. I adore this series as much as I love anything fictional, and this cast of characters remains near and dear to me. I re-read the entire run every year, and it continues to reward me for doing so. Anyone who likes comics needs to read this series; it has something for everyone, and then some.

I actually picked up a run of Simonson’s “Thor” run last year, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. There’s just so much I want to read, and so little time, and lately, working on my own stuff has been eating up much of my reading time. I’ll get to it one of these days…

I enjoyed the hell out of “Preacher” while it was running. It still holds up pretty well, but it suffers a bit for me due to my personal Ennis fatigue. It also has a lot of soapboxing, which annoyed me even when the series was still coming out monthly. Still, for all of that, it’s good comics, and I’m not at all surprised to see it make the top ten.

All 3 deserve top marks. It’d be interesting to see what made the top ten!

Most interesting indeed.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

“Anonymous” was me.

Didn’t Staman also have an issue #0?

Also, Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8.

*Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8*
*Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8*
*Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8*
*Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8*
*Grant Morrison’s Batman is going to be in the top 8*

GRANT MORRISON’S BATMAN IS GOING TO BE IN THE TOP 8.

WWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Seriously, this is like an elaborate prank. This is the most devisive run in comics in decades and it made it into the top 8 runs OF ALL TIME? The comment section of the post that it makes it into is going to be an absolute shitstorm.

Ashamed to say I have never read an issue of Starman. It’s on the list now.
Aside from that I have read pretty much the last 15 places. I half hope there are a few other suprises as it will give me something to hunt down.

Starman: While I liked Flash, Impulse, and Grell’s Green Arrow, Starman is the comic that gave me an appreciation for the DCU as a whole. At the same time, it was the only DC. comic that matched the Vertigo books. Harris, Von Grawbadger, and Snyder (not to mention some excellent fill-in/ guest artists) brought Opal City and its denizens to life. Starman was Robinson’s show, however, and he crafted a memorable supporting cast to go with his unique lead. I honestly can’t remember all of my list, but I’m pretty sure Starman was on it.

Simonson Thor: Pure awesome. I don’t have an interest in Thor. Simonson made me care about his world. The art and scale of the stories elevated a concept that had limited success without Kirby to a must-read. Beta Ray Bill is one of my favorite characters. I know this run was on my list!

Preacher: At age 16, Preacher was the perfect comic. The juvenile humor, ass-kicking, and anti-religious sentiment was tailor-made for an adolescent know-it-all. I reread the series a few years ago. Ennis’s writing is a bit too self-satisfied, some of the gross bits aren’t as funny, the phillosophy seems immature… but I had fun with much of it. The characters and action still work, and Dillon’s art still looks good.

I find Walt Simonson art crude and unreadable. I dropped Thor when he came on board.

Starman and Preacher were both wonderful, but Starman is probably the most consistently astonishing 80- issue run in the history of comics.

Turd Burglar I honestly don’t see what’s so surprising about Morrison’s Batman getting to the Top 8. It’s like if I started shaking my head realizing that Lee’s Fantastic Four run is still coming up. All of these picks are reflections of the generation that read them. I appreciate JLA more no doubt because I’m a 90’s kid. I don’t get the appeal of JLI or X-Men on the other hand because I don’t enjoy the sitcom/soap opera nature of those stores.

I very much believe that Morrison’s Batman was the forerunner of this generation’s comic book. I see stylistic similarities in Waid’s Daredevil and Fraction’s Hawkeye in the way they embrace a character’s history that I (maybe foolishly) attribute to Morrison’s Batman run for starting. I should mention that Brubaker’s Captain America did so as well, but I think there’s a whole article that could be written on the similarities between Morrision’s Batman and Brubaker’s CA.

Also I think Morrison’s Batman sustained a level of quality while making major stylistic changes (R.I.P., B&R, and Inc. all vary in tone) that no other writer has managed to achieve (For example, Brubaker’s last years on Captain America).

Sorry for the derail, I also wanted to mention that next time I get the chance I’m going to start reading Starman. I’ve been looking for a good 90s series to start reading for awhile, and it was either this or Spectre.

James Crankyman

October 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thank you, Ennis and Dillion. However, I have one bone to pick here. I think that the redemption angle of Cassidy was a little “Um, no”. This guy is a good friend, but a pretty horrible person, but I get where Ennis was comiing from. Also, the finale moment with The Saint and God more than makes up for any mistakes they ever could have made EVER.

Now, going forward, 1 of 2 things is going to happen: Vaughan’s Y: THE LAST MAN will be in the next few, or it’s been omitted completely, and then I will scream. The odds of the latter are too far off the scale to be realistic, but if Morrison’s BATMAN is up there, hope is rapidly circling down the crapper. I’m a little sad that the Wolfman/Colan run of TOMB OF DRAC isn’t on the list, because it’s sooooo good, but the rest of my top 10 (with the other exception of the Lee/Kirby AVENGERS, but that could be coming) has made it here so far. So, what do we have to look forward to coming up, other than the incredibly divisive Morrison run on BATMAN (I’m on the nay side of that run, in case you couldn’t tell)?

And Macc, I’m wholly in agreement with you about the frustrating similarities between Brubaker’s CAP run, and Morrison’s BAT run. But for some reason, I loved the first volume of Bru’s CAP, and hated almost all of Morrison’s BAT. I think it has to do with the tone. Morrison wanted too much to play in Batman’s silver age sandbox (with the exception of Damian, which I think is the only remarkable thing about his legacy on that run), and Brubaker’s was very forward-thinking, while still maintaing some of that 60’s super-spy vibe. And while I kind of see (through a distorted lens) what you’re stating, I would disagree that Waid’s DD comes from a similar place, because Waid has built a good part of his career on bringing back elements of characters that have been missing, and particularly disagree that Fraction’s HAWKEYE comes from a similar place since it seems to be having too much fun showing a completely different side to the character that we’ve never gotten to see.

But again, opinion. Not fact. Fanboys are notorious for flinging their poop at one another. Let’s keep it civil, folks.

William O'Brien

October 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I mean, there’s always the possibility that Morrison’s Batman didn’t even make the list. Remote, but it’s there. I don’t know what would replace it, since there are only 7 runs left from the previous top 20. Maybe Moore/O’Neil’s LXG or Claremont/Cockrum X-Men made a big jump.

Simonson’s Thor! I re-read it in that bigass hardcover last year. I was sick in bed through some of that time, and that giant book was too heavy to move, so I’d just sleep with it, wake up and crack it open again the next morning. Good times.

Starman! My number one! I love how Starman always has a ridiculously high number of first place votes in relation to its total. That means something, people – it’s an oft-overlooked gem. Robinson has had several misses rather than hits recently, but his Shade mini-series was something special that really reminded me how much I loved 90s. Characters like Jack, Davey, Solly the Grund, the Shade, and lest we forget – BOBO BENNETTI!!! – how can you not love a title where the main character spends more time haggling for bakelite products than fighting villains (most of whom end up on the side of the angels).

When the series ended, you knew this town was in good hands – Opal had a Condor, two Dibnys, a time-displaced detective, a Victorian-era immortal, a 50s-Sinatra-lovin’ swingin’ supe, an Irish brood of cops… man, I jsut loved how the Opal was a living, breathing character. And every issue evoked emotion in me; I can’t think of a run tht was so highly successful in making me care for fictitious characters. And the art – oh, Nelly, the art! Harris went from a nobody to one of my personal favorites, with every cover just being a true piece of glorious art. Then came Snejberg with his great continuation of what came before. And don’t forget Gene Ha on the first Shade mini-series.

I can’t say enough.

And I loved the Preacher series, too. Thor, I enjoyed a lot, but it would never make my short list.

And just for posterity, I’m sitting at 8 out of 10 right now with one for sure making at least the top 3 (if not #1), and one for sure not making the list at all. Pretty good odds.

#1 – Starman
#2 – Astro City
#3 – NOT HERE
#4 – JLA
#5 – NOT HERE
#6 – Invincible
#7 – Transmetropolitan
#8 – Fables
#9 – Ultimate Spider-Man
#10 – Planetary

Aw, you left out the bit where Jesse hits Jody with the fence post, and the nails stick in Jody’s head! That’s the best part of that whole sequence!

So, what’s missing?

Morrison’s Batman
Claremont/Byrne Uncanny X-men
Stan/Jack FF
Stan/Ditko ASM
Frank Miller’s Daredevil

Which are the other three?

Aw, you left out the bit where Jesse hits Jody with the fence post, and the nails stick in Jody’s head! That’s the best part of that whole sequence!

I love that bit, too, Dean, but that’d be too many pages. If I included that, it’d be like seven pages! That’s too much for a “sample.”

Preacher was the first postmodern comic and brought with it a sensibility that a comic doesnt need to read like a comic, yet doing things it could only dare on page. This was a movie in 66 installments.

Besides, pissing off devout ALLAH, GOD, and JAHWE worshippers around the globe gotta count for something?

Yes, Number 1, here.

Holy Crap! I know it’s one of the best comics ever made, but I never thought Marshal Law would be in the top 5!

Awesome!

Thor’s another of mine that made it. One of the few 80s runs I picked that was fuelled more by recent enjoyment than by nostalgia. I used to pick up issues of it here and there and thought it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the art and ultimately I liked a lot of other comics more.

Over the years I picked up the entirety of the run and when I read it straight through a couple of years back, I was amazed at how enjoyable it was. Fun, action-packed, dramatic, status-quo-shaking, and well worthy of its awesome company amongst great Shooter-era Marvel books.

So it’s kind of retroactive nostalgia. Anyway, it’s a great run (and great choice of sample sequence, too.

Someday, I hope to read that Starman stuff, too.

All very good comics and good choices by everyone who voted for them. I’ve never read Simonson’s Thor past the first trade of it Marvel released many moons ago, but it was really enjoyable. Preacher and Starman are both personal favorites.

Starman – Props on choosing the right sample page. I voted for it, and really, in the storm of the ultra-cynical 90s characters, Jack Knight was such a breath of fresh air that current readers can’t really imagine. And Robinson’s manner of presenting Opal City as its own character is a major part of why it worked. It didn’t have to lean on the endlessly complicated contrivances of manufactured drama, and just have Jack go from investigating city history to traveling through time and space.

Thor – I will not pretentiously analyze this as I have with every other run on this list, but I’ll simply present a poem I wrote in 8th grade about it:
THOR IS THE GOD OF THUNDER
AND SIMONSON IS A WRITER OF WONDERS
FROM BETA RAY BILL
TO JOTUNHEIM’S CHILL
ALL OTHER THOR STORIES RANKED UNDER

Preacher – I don’t really think this Garth Ennis’ best work (that’s Hitman) because it’s clear that it was written by a younger, overly-enthusiastic writer. The humor ranges from brilliantly dark to simply juvenile, and the excessive ranting about religion gets tired by the end. But hey, it’s still Ennis, and that means some of the most well written characters and idiosyncratic dialogue around. If they ever do make a Preacher movie, they should just go with adapting All in the Family. I’d love to see that in live action.

Macc, Morrison’s Batman was shit. That’s why it’s surprising. Were people allowed to vote multiple times by using different names or were IPs actually checked? If the former then I call shenanigans on BatMorrison making it so high.

mccracken: “Preacher was the first postmodern comic”

Do you know what “postmodern” means?

Also, Simonson Thor is awesome.

That’s right, Morrison’s Batman is gonna rank so high because people cheated! It can’t possibly be that a lot of people simply disagree with you.

I find the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four unreadable. Stilted dialogue, “developed” characters that are at best two-dimensional, people loudly explaining their powers and motivations to each other at ridiculous and unnecessary times. Surely if this overrated pile of exposition ranks, it’s because of a massive campaign of deception aimed at me, personally.

I will be so angry if Morrison’s Batman stuff makes the top 5. It is so disjointed and random, and he selfishly makes it all part of his own personal mythology. Talk about “Batgod”.

I need to go get me some Preacher

Two of my picks in one post. I love Preacher, but not “Top Ten” love.
Starman was such a beautiful story. Heard about it for years, and when DC finally decided to collect the entire series in hardcovers I scooped them up(first hardcover books I bought, in fact).
Simonsons’ Thor was my number one pick. Between my brother and I, we only had a handful of issues. They were some of the first comics I owned, and I can say that these are the books (along with Moores’ Swamp Thing, my #2 pick) that turned me into a life long junkie. I spent years piecing together the entire run in single issues, and bought the omnibus (which did’t need to be recolored) the day it went up for sale.

Brian will be saying this soon too, but here it goes:

Could we not speculate or discuss who will or will not be in positions 1-8 on a comment section of post about 9-11? Especially since Morrison (or Lee or number of others) was not involved in the runs on positions 9-11?

The difference between Lee/Kirby FF making it into the top 8 and Morrison Batman making it into the top 8 is that the former is one of the most universally beloved runs of all time. The latter is one of the most hated. The former was to be expected. The latter is utterly baffling. There’s no comparison.

And the question is a valid one: Were IPs checked before votes were counted to make sure people did not vote twice?

I never really liked Thor when I was a kid – oh, I loved the Norse mythology that he introduced me to, but Marvel’s Thor was just dorky-looking and spoke funny. Then I picked up an issue of Thor where he was a frog! WTH? Simonson’s Thor totally made me reevaluate Thor as a character, and Loki as a villain. And I love Simonson’s art (I even like what Sal Buscema was doing in the later issues he was drawing).

Funny, imaginative, and epic, Simonson’s Thor was my #2 pick on my list.

Robinson’s Starman 2012: #11, 637 points
Robinson’s Starman 2008: #7, 921 points
Down 4 places, -284 points

Simonson’s Thor 2012: #10, 701 points
Simonson’s Thor 2008: #15, 514 points
Up 5 places, +187 points

Preacher 2012: #9, 792 points
Preacher 2008: #8, 857 points
Down 1 place, -65 points

Simonson’s Thor surges up the charts into the Top 100’s Top 10. Thor has become a high-profile character these days, and I’m sure the recent omnibus collection of the run has exposed to the material to a lot of new readers.

Robinson’s seminal Starman run drops out of the Top 10, and loses a pretty substantial number of points. This seems a little odd to me, since if anything Robinson’s Starman is more widely in print now than it was in 2008. Of course, Robinson’s written a number of poorly-received comics since 2008, too, and I wonder if that’s soured voters on him a little bit.

Preacher primarily holds steady, which makes sense. Preacher is probably the Ennis/Dillon duo’s signature work, and has rightfully earned its modern classic status. I’m also pretty sure it’s material that DC keeps in print.

turd burglar:
LOL.

Also:
Morrions’s Batman is probably the best superhero run ever.
Deal with it.

3/10 runs on my ballot have shown up, another three I think will make it. None showed up this time around.

joe the poor speller

October 29, 2012 at 5:13 am

I really need to read Starman.

Simonson’s Thor was on my list.

Although I like Ennis (love his Hellblazer and Punisher MAX runs), never really cared much about Preacher.

I own full runs of Robinson’s Starman and Simonson’s Thor runs. I don’t go back and reread them regularly, but I do own them, and I can understand why people would vote for ‘em.

A long, long time ago I had a chance to read the first and second Preacher TPBs. Having done so, I decided I could continue to live a happy life without ever bothering to read any more of it to see how things turned out for the very unlikable Jesse Custer . . . and that’s just what I’ve done!

mckracken: “LOL” doesn’t answer the question, and “Morrions’s Batman is probably the best superhero run ever” seriously makes me think you’re trolling.

So do people tend to consider Morrisons Batman to be his best work now?

@Manymade1
I think it may be his most read work right now. Don’t forget superhero comics are what the most people read in the US.

And Burglar, this top 100 are made for fun. Why would someone go to great lengths (posting many top 10s with different IPs) to annoy you personally?

There was a lot of hate for Morrison’s run during RIP (it was 4 years ago). Since then it has become universally loved. Besides, it is drawn by a large number of top comic book artists. It has to count for something even if Morrison’s writing is not to your taste.

Matthew Johnson

October 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

It’s funny — I really like Starman, but I’ve always thought of the scene with the gangsters discussing Sondheim as an excample of Robinson’s worst tendencies as a writer.

Y’know, that Skurge bit in Simonson’s Thor seems familiar. I think the guy who wrote Ganner Rhysode’s death scene in the Star Wars Yuuzhan Vong books was a Thor fan. Here, look at this:

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ganner_Rhysode

Not only does it have the lone “flawed hero” holding off a numberless horde of enemies for the “true” protagonist bit, but it copies the idea that his actions are so epic that they are remembered into the afterlife and become a part of the religion. Crazy.

Manymade1: “So do people tend to consider Morrisons Batman to be his best work now?”

There are FAR more people that dislike it than any of his other work.

cich: “And Burglar, this top 100 are made for fun.”

Yeah, no shit. What does that have to do with anything? No one’s demanding a recount or doing anything else that would indicate that anyone takes this any more seriously than any other internet poll.

The Grand Rapidian

October 29, 2012 at 8:27 am

Does anyone remember First Comics? Nexus, Badger, American Flagg!, Jon Sable, Grimjack. Not one of these was in the top 100? Ah, man, I’m disappointed.

I just think it’s crazy that these comics didn’t crack the top 100:

Priest’s Black Panther
Johns’ Flash (which is his best work, people!)
Carey’s Lucifer
Ennis’ Boys and Ennis’ Hellblazer
Grell’s Green Arrow
Milligan’s Shade
Moore’s Promethea
Wagner’s Grendel

Promethea made it.

Oh! My mistake. Forgive me, for I know not what I say.

@Anonymous:

I think the guy who wrote Ganner Rhysode’s death scene in the Star Wars Yuuzhan Vong books was a Thor fan.

I too have always thought that. Given what I know of Mathew Stover’s (the author of New Jedi Order: Traitor background/interests, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was indeed a fan of Thor.

After waiting for years for a comprehensive reprint of the series, I’ve managed to get ahold of those great Starman omnibuses, yet I still haven’t made the effort to read them all. Shame on me.

I haven’t read the entirety of Simonson’s Thor, but I can’t deny the sheer energy and craft on display. Great stuff.

Preacher is a favorite as well. Been awhile since I read it though, so when I was thinking of likely candidates for the rest of the list, I’d completely forgotten about it. There are very few spots for a lot of stuff I’d have expected to make the list. Should be interesting.

manymade:

in my opinion his best might be FILTH or SEAGUY. (He said so himself, and i agree)
but Morrison’s Batman is right up there with his All Star Superman and his best superhero work.

I really like “Starman,” and I think it still holds up as a great comic today. I’ve been wanting to sit and re-read the entirety of Simonson’s Thor and see if I still like it as much as I once did.

@ Teebore

Wow, I actually wasn’t expecting anyone to know what the hell I was talking about lol Thumbs up, sir, to a fellow Star Wars EU buff

Preacher is my all-time number one. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever read that came out of comics. I’m glad to see it was a top ten book with fans.

@Anonymous:

Thumbs up, sir, to a fellow Star Wars EU buff

And to you! Always fun to find a fellow fan in seemingly random places. :)

Wow there was some heavy masturbation all over that Starman sample. Were the original pages sticky?

3 truly amazing runs that I’ve reread more than once.

Starman- This, Bone, and Y were the last 3 runs cut from my list. It fell prey to the “Ten just isn’t enough” problem for me. I’m sad to see it lose so much ground here (down from 35 first place votes in ’08), but that was to be expected. Robinson wasn’t a hated and divisive figure in the industry in ’08, and some people see him that way now. His latter works have made Starman appear somehow less amazing by association for some people. Sadly, that’s the way these things work. But I have to say Brian, this is the first time that I’ve disagreed with your selection of sample pages. This is a very VERY minor quibble, since you’ve shown us 91 samples now and I think you’ve basically nailed 90 of them, but as good as these pages are, I just don’t think you can capture the series without Tony Harris and Jack Knight.

Here are my picks for what I think would have been the best sample page choices:

My top choice would be pages 19-23 of Starman #4, where Jack sells the Hawaiian shirt instead of fighting for it, and then his dad tells him “the weirdness finds you.” I think this captures the essence of the series better than any other short segment.

My second choice would be pages 17-21 of Starman #5, sort of the meat and potatoes part of the conversation from the first Talking with David issue, and I think the issue where Harris really came into his own as the artist of the series.

And my third choice would be ages 11-15 of Starman #16, which is the conversation where the Mist proposes they meet again when they’ve both become the best versions of themselves. Even though we’ve already had plenty such moments in the first 15 issues, this was one of those defining bits where you think to yourself “I’ve really never read a series like this before.”

But like I said, minor quibbles. I still think you’re doing a fantastic job on this countdown.

Thor- I’m surprised this run has climbed, just in the sense that I can’t think of a logical reason for it to have done so. I mean, sure, the movie, but I don’t believe the run is any more available in trade than it was 4 years ago, and I don’t think Simonson is any more of a present figure in the industry (discounting the awesome Judas Coin, and who knows maybe seeing that reminded people how good Simonson is/was). But, of course, this a great run. The first time I discovered Simonson Thor was in Wizard’s “Good & Cheap” section way back in the day, when they highlighted the Frog issues. I loved those 3 issues so much I asked my dealer about more, and he lead me to the whole run. And Brian, I’m really pleased you mentioned John Workman. In general, I would say I don’t notice lettering and probably don’t have as much of an appreciation for it as I should. But Workman and Todd Klein are the two exceptions. I can always make out Workman’s stuff, and it’s awesome. He really was a key element of that Thor run. And for anyone that wants to try out this run but doesn’t know where to start, get issues #364-366, which can probably all be found in dollar bins. Thor gets turned into a frog, and then rallies the other frogs of Central Park in an epic battle against the sewer rats. It has the charm and ridiculousness of Silver age DC but with the sophisticated storytelling and maturity of 80’s Marvel.

Preacher- My #8 vote. This is one of those runs that completely changed for me as I’ve aged. When I bought it coming out in singles as a teenager, I loved the violence, the humor, the adventure, the inappropriateness. But rereading it as an adult, I think it’s one of the greatest explorations of the concept of “masculinity” that I’ve ever read. It’s a truly intelligent analysis of what it means to be a man, what it means to love unconditionally, and what it means to be a good mate. And it’s one of the most memorable “into the sunset” endings I’ve ever seen, movies included.

Don’t worry, third man, the Starman pages are a part of a little in-joke. So they wouldn’t be the ones I’d normally choose otherwise.

I hope that the in-joke is that everything about them is horrible.

If I had your position (great power/authority) I would have just posted the back matter from the hard covers. I think you get a pretty good sense of how awesome James Robinson thinks Jack/he is.

I give artist all the rope in the world, but the writers don’t get that kind of latitude.

More comments later, but holy crap, scroll up and down that last Simonson page! Those panels on the right are awesome!

No, I’m not on anything, thank you very much!

Ed (A Different One)

October 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Wow, I hadn’t read/looked at that Skurge sequence for a handful of years now. Damn! I’m in goosebump city right now. Talk about the ultimate bad ass way to go out.

I don’t think a run on a comic was ever as personalized as Robinson’s work on Starman. I’ve always looked at it as his great big wet kiss to Golden Age DC, with thoroughly modern storytelling techniques. My only quibble was that I thought the 2nd artist who came on (name’s escaping me right now) had a style that was too disimilar to the original artist and the change in the visuals was far too jarring, but a minor quibble indeed. And as someone already pointed out above, as good as this is to read now, it was like a cool, refreshing oasis and that 90’s era desert of grim, gritty badassery and style over substance. Robinson almost single-handedly redeemed traditional super hero comics in the 90’s. I think he strained things too much though when he tried to “unify” the origins of all the different “Starmen” in DC history (I also have a soft-spot for Stern’s version in the 80’s and, I guess, resented Robinson a little for horning in on that one).

And, yeah, Jesse was technically an asshole, but i sure enjoyed reading his comic. Not as deep a body of work as I might have once thought, but thoroughly enjoyable. One of the more enjoyable things I took away from my reading of all 300 issues of Cerebus was their parady of Preacher (“Rabbi” in Cerebus). I think Preacher had more redeeming qualities than Mr. Sim was giving it credit for though.

Onward!

I’m surprised that Starman dropped on the list. I first heard about it from the last list and read it when DC released the Omnibus books soon after that. I assumed that having it available in a good reprint edition would help out it’s standing.

Third Man, there was a big Omnibus of the whole Simonson run in the last couple years, I think. Probably due to the movie, so we can thank that for something. That’s probably where a lot of people have read it.

Mind you, I’ve only read 337. But it is awesome.

Starman is good stuff but I can see where the recent Robinson stuff would cause some to reassess his work. I like Leave it to Chance pretty well myself.

Those sample pages are totally Robinson riffing on Tarantino, right?

Preacher — I re-read the first 2 trades in the last couple years, and I can see both the good and bad. It’s one that eventually I’d like to get the rest of but it’s not a priority. I wish Ennis and Dillon had decided to do City Lights like they were going to. Alas.

And Rabbi, the Preacher parody in Cerebus is pretty damn funny. Thanks for the reminder, Ed.

Is it a different fight when Jesse gets his arm broken by Jody? THAT is one of the most brutal things I’ve read in comics. So cringeworthy!!!

John "Ratty" Arbuckle

August 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm

PREACHER is vastly overrated and has definitely dimmed with time.

Yet STARMAN eclipses it in sheer over-ratedness. I prefer the Stern & Lyle Starman to Robinson’s, and Robinson made sure to shit all over that version of the character, didn’t he?

Thank God these two awful runs didn’t make it any higher.

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