Soule Finds a Weakness in the Afterlife, Discusses Surprise "Inhuman" Return
I figured since Brian is doing this every four years, I might as well blather on about my favorites and dig a little deeper into the Top 100 list every four years, too, right? Yay, analysis!
I wrote quite a bit about my personal qualifications about choosing a “run” four years ago, so I’m not going to do that again this time around. (That post is here, by the way.) I will reiterate a couple of things about my personal choices. Despite having read far more older comics now than I did four years ago, I’m still much more keen on “modern” comics – anything after 1980, say – than older comics. That’s just the way it is. Plus, I know I’m beating a dead horse, but I still think runs that aren’t finished shouldn’t count, or I guess I should say that people shouldn’t vote for them. I mean, if it’s just a case of someone writing single issue stories and there’s no overriding story, I guess that’s fine, but the nature of the business these days means that that’s just not happening all too often. I mention this because if a writer is doing an overall story, the plot matters. You’re not going to judge a book two-thirds of the way through, are you? No, you wait until it’s all finished and then judge it. I mentioned this with regard to 100 Bullets four years ago, when it hadn’t finished but made the list anyway. 100 Bullets ends rather poorly, and I think it colors the way the entire run is judged, and I don’t think the second half of the book, or the overall plot, is as good as the first half or the hook of the series. Obviously, that’s just my opinion, and Our Dread Lord and Master counters this by saying that it’s fun to see how people judge a book that’s half-done (or a certain percentage finished) and how it places four years later, when it’s all finished. Well, maybe. I still don’t agree with it, but that’s fine.
Anyway, this is more of an analysis of the Top 100 list, because in the four years since Brian first did this list, I didn’t change my personal list at all. Some of the books that might have a chance – Chew, Milligan’s Hellblazer, Gødland, Morrison’s Batman comics – aren’t done yet (or I haven’t re-read them, so I can’t say if they’re better), while others – Phonogram, for instance – I don’t think qualify (it’s 13 issues, but two mini-series, and I assume it didn’t count). So my choices haven’t changed. I shuffled the order, but that’s it.
So here’s my list, with the number in parentheses indicating where it placed in the final 100. As always, I do this simply to show how wrong everyone is! Deal with it!
1 (32). Doom Patrol by Grant “I had hair when I wrote this!” Morrison, Richard Case, et al. Once again, nothing comes close. I wrote a lot about this run here, so I don’t have much else to say. It’s tremendous.
(Issues #19-63, cover dated February 1989 – January 1993, collected into six trade paperbacks)
2 (53). Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea. Since the last list, I’ve written quite a bit about this series (TONS of SPOILERS there; in fact, several commenters take me to task about it). Absolutely brilliant. This is the reason why I always claim Ennis needs some restraint on him.
(Issues #1-60 plus The Demon Annual #2 and JLA/Hitman #1-2, cover dated 1993, April 1996 – April 2001, and November – December 2007, collected into seven trade paperbacks)
3 (57). The Spectre by John Ostrander, Tom Mandrake, et al. Ostrander takes Jim Corrigan through a spiritual journey as he searches for meaning in a world gone mad, and along the way he manages to confront the AIDS crisis, what it means to be an American, how to be a good Christian and a good man, and why evil exists in the world. It’s rare to get such a deeply religious book in a mainstream comic, but Ostrander manages it nicely. It helps that he had Mandrake to interpret his often wildly violent scripts, as the art was amazingly frenetic and inventive, showing the Spectre’s battles in vivid detail. Corrigan’s quest is meaningful to everyone, and when he finally knows peace, it’s a wonderful moment.
(Issues #1-62, cover dated December 1992 – February 1998, and sadly, there’s only one trade, collecting issues #1-4. If any series would sell well in trades, it’s this. Come on, DC!)
4 (11). Starman by James Robinson, Tony Harris, Peter Snejbjerg, et al. Starman is a perfect example of using continuity without making it too convoluted. Robinson steeps his tale in DC history, but he always knows what he’s doing and he never loses the reader. He manages to create a tapestry of Starman history from the 1940s to the present, and along the way, push the character forward into the future as well. Jack Knight is a fascinating character, as well, because he often acts like a normal person more than a hero, but he struggles mightily to do the right thing and become a hero. The book reads far better as a whole than in individual issues, especially in the latter half of the run, first when Jack went into space and then when the “bad dwarf” took over Opal City, but it’s well worth it. Plus, Robinson made Opal a real city, unlike so many of the fictional DC cities. Harris and Snejbjerg have different styles, but they both complement Robinson’s stories very well. And this is one of the best comics showing the development of a true father-son relationship that you can find!
(Issues #0-80, cover dated October 1994 – August 2001, collected into ten trade paperbacks and six Omnibus editions)
5 (DNP). Shade, the Changing Man by Peter Milligan, Chris Bachalo, et al.. Milligan’s early masterpiece remains his best work, mainly because he tempered his weirdness with a truly wonderful (if twisted) love story, this time with three people. It’s also alternately, a great road trip, a great domestic drama, and then a quest saga. After Bachalo left and Milligan killed Kathy, the book suffered for a while, but Milligan managed to pull it together at the end and give us a sweet ending. It’s certainly uneven, but overall, it’s a great comic book. I’m a bit stunned it fell off the list this time around.
(Issues #1-70, cover dated July 1990 – April 1996, and it appears that only three trades have come out. Does that explain its drop?)
6 (19). Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday. Much more here. It’s really good.
(Issues #1-27 plus three specials, cover dated April 1999 – December 2009, collected into five trade paperbacks and two Absolute Editions)
7 (56). Suicide Squad by John Ostrander et al. This is a wonderful comic book, as Ostrander takes a simple concept – using supervillains to go on dangerous missions – and turns it into an action-packed tale in which you never know who might die. It’s far more than that, of course, as the characters – both the established ones and the new ones – get so much development and the relationships between them become the driving force of the book. Ostrander never lets up on the action, but he still manages to create tension through the way the characters act. As the series progressed, it became more and more a political thriller, especially after Ostrander ditched the costumes. The stars of the book were Amanda Waller, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang, but even minor characters were fleshed out. It couldn’t last, but it was great while it did.
(Issues #1-66, cover dated May 1987 – June 1992, and there’s one trade collecting the first 8 issues)
8 (DNP). Grendel by Matt Wagner et al. I wrote about this series in four different chunks: here, here, here, and here. I’m not surprised it fell off the list – it was at 97 last time, and a lot hadn’t been collected yet. Dark Horse is bringing out the nice Omnibus editions, so maybe more people will read it and it can make a comeback next time Brian does this!
(Issues #1-50, cover dated October 1986 – June 1993, collected in various, somewhat scattershot trade paperbacks, which Dark Horse is remedying over the next year or so)
9 (1). Sandman by Neil Gaiman et al. Yes, it’s a boring choice, but there’s a reason it’s so acclaimed. Gaiman takes a horror comic set in the DC Universe and springboards into a grand tapestry of stories about identity, loss, myth, retribution, and the sins of the past haunting the present. He gives us great single issues and great long-running arcs. He created wonderful characters and used them to tell tales about the human condition, and it becomes a series where every reader can find something that relates to their life. Gaiman tried so many different things with this series, and for the most part, he succeeded. It’s a series where you can find something new each time you read it, and that’s a nice feature.
(Issues #1-75 plus a Special, cover dated January 1989 – March 1996, collected in ten trades and four Absolute Editions and now two – and counting – annotated editions)
10 (DNP). Captain Britain by Alan Davis et al. Once again, I decided to put Captain Britain above several other comics that might be “better,” but which I don’t love as deeply as Davis’ work on this title, over the course of four writers. When the last poll was done, I hadn’t read Dave Thorpe’s work as writer, but once I picked up the Omnibus collecting that plus the writers who came after him (you may have heard of Alan Moore and Jamie Delano, but I don’t know – did they ever make it big in the States?), I saw how much good work Thorpe did on the character before Moore took him over. Captain Britain is raw and rough, sure, but it’s where we can see Moore practicing all the cool stuff he would do later in his career, and Alan Davis becoming “ALAN DAVIS” right before our eyes. Delano and then Davis himself kept up the awesome after Moore left the book. I know, logically, that I should put other runs before this, but I just love these comics so much!
(Several issues, all collected in a fancy Omnibus)
Here’s the Top 100 (yes, you can find this elsewhere, but not with my trenchant commentary!). I’ll break down the numbers later!
1. Sandman by Neil Gaiman et al. (1375 points).
2. Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (1233).
(Issues #108-109, 111-143, cover dated December 1977 – March 1983, easy to find in trade paperback in several different formats)
This is a classic run, and I have no problem with it being at #2 … just like last time, when it also finished at #2. It’s one of those foundation comics, and it was when Marvel didn’t care what Claremont and Byrne did because the franchise hadn’t become THE FRANCHISE. It’s very fun to re-read.
3. Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, et al. (1184).
(Issues #20-58, 60-61, 63-64, Annual #2, cover dated January 1984 – September 1987, with plenty of trades, including recent hardcovers)
This was #13 on my list, if we had to pick 20, and it deserves its spot almost for issue #21 alone, although once Swampy left Earth, Moore did some very interesting experiments with storytelling.
4. Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (863).
(Issues #1-102, Annuals #1-6, cover dated November 1961 – September 1970. All collected in trades, in either color or Essential versions)
As I wrote last time, I just can’t love this run. I’ve gained a great deal of appreciation for Kirby in the past four years, and I’ve started getting this run in Marvel Masterworks versions (the softcovers!), because I like the colors instead of the black and white of the Essentials, but I really do admire this run rather than love it. One day I’ll finish getting all the Masterworks (because I do intend to get the whole thing), and then I can sit down and read it through at once. Until then, I’ll wonder what the fuss is about.
5. Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, José Marzan Jr, et al. (855).
(Issues #1-60, cover dated September 2002 – March 2008, with the entire thing collected in trade)
I’m a bit stunned this is so high. I can see it in the bottom 50, maybe, but fifth? Wow. It’s one of those books with a great hook that, once that wears off, the major flaws in the writing become more and more evident. It ends badly, too. I have to re-read it to see if my opinion has changed, but right now, I might put it in my Top 100, but waaaaaaay down on the list. Ex Machina is better.
6. Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (849).
(Issues #1-38 plus Amazing Fantasy #15 and Annuals #1-2, collected in Marvel Masterworks and Essential volumes)
Like the early Fantastic Four stuff, this is as important as a historical artifact as it is good comics, and while I like this run more than I do the Fantastic Four, I still don’t love it. But I have nothing bad to say about it.
7. Daredevil by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, et al. (838).
(Issues #158-161, 163-167 (Frank Miller as artist, with Klaus Janson inks), #168-176 (Miller as writer/artist, with Janson as inker), 177-184 (Miller as writer/co-artist with Klaus Janson), #185-190 (Miller as writer, with Janson as artist), #191 (Miller as writer/artist, no Janson as inker), cover dated May 1979 – February 1983, collected in three Visionary trades, one Omnibus edition, and some smaller trade paperbacks)
I mentioned last time this list appeared that #4 seemed too high for this run, and #7 still does, a bit. I like it, but I’m always surprised that it’s held in such high esteem. I’m not sure why, either. Maybe you had to be there.
8. Batman by Grant Morrison et al. (830).
Issues: Batman #655-658, 663-683, 700-702, Batman and Robin #1-16, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1-6, Batman Inc. (Vol. 1) #1-9, Batman Inc. (Vol. 2) #1-current (#4) plus a few one-shots mixed in there, like Leviathan, Batman: The Return and Batman Inc. #0, cover dated September 2006 – current, collected in trade in many different versions.
This is the first run on this list that isn’t finished, so it ought to be disqualified, but either way, I’m stunned it finished in the Top 10. It’s had its problems, even though I think Morrison has gotten better on it, and I’m sorry if you like the art, but no run with Tony Daniel, Ryan Benjamin, and Philip Tan on art should be anywhere near the Top 10. When it’s finished, I’m sure it will be considered a classic Batman story, and that’s fine, but I’ve seen a few runs that made this list last time utterly screw up the ending, and if you screw up the ending, it colors the whole thing (in my opinion). I do wonder – did the people who vote for this (and if you did, please chime in) read this more than once? I’m not asking to be a dick, but I can’t vote for something unless I’ve read it at least twice, to kind of get the bigger themes and motifs and character development beyond the main plot. I haven’t re-read this, so I couldn’t vote for it. So let me know!
Man, #8. I’m shocked. Really.
9. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (792).
(Issues #1-66, cover dated April 1995 – October 2000, collected in nine trades – are there any giant hardcovers?)
I re-read this since the last list came out, and my opinion of it has fallen – you’ll notice that in the alphabetical listing of “Comics You Should Own,” it does not appear, because I don’t think it’s really necessary to own. It’s entertaining but facile when you come right down to it, and Ennis explores the themes of friendship and loyalty and violence much, much better in Hitman, which ran pretty much concurrently with this one. I still like this, but it gets worse on re-reads.
10. Thor by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema (701).
(Issues #337-355, 357-382, cover dated November 1983 – August 1987, collected in five Visionary trades (which may be out of print) and one giant Omnibus)
I’ve still only read issues #337-355, but they’re damned good comics, and I have no objection to this being so high. One of these days I’ll read the whole damned thing!
11. Starman by James Robinson, Tony Harris, Peter Snejbjerg, et al. (637).
12. JLA by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, et al. (607).
(Issues #1-17, 22-26, 28-31, 34, 36-41, plus some other issues, cover dated January 1997 – May 2000, collected in several trades, including some nice hardcovers)
I have written about this here. It’s good stuff! If we did a Top 20, this would be #20.
13. X-Men by Grant Morrison et al. (584).
(Issues #114-154, plus an Annual, cover dated July 2001 – May 2004, collected in seven trade paperbacks, three hardcovers, and I think one giant Omnibus, or maybe two?)
I haven’t re-read this since it finished, or I suspect I’d have it on a Top 20 list somewhere (maybe even Top 10!). I think it’s excellent, from what I remember, and I’m sure I’ll appreciate it more reading it knowing some of the spoilers that are coming. Maybe I’ll even figure out if the God of All Comics really did set up the Xorn reveal!
14. New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, et al. (560).
(Issues: New Teen Titans #1-40, Tales of the New Teen Titans #41-50, New Teen Titans #1-6, plus three Annuals, cover dated November 1980 – March 1985, collected into some trades, but I don’t think the entire run has been collected. It hadn’t been four years ago, anyway)
I still think this is another “you had to be there” comic, as I’ve read the two most famous parts of it and wasn’t too dazzled by it. It’s pretty good, but not the 14th-best run of all time.
15. Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont et al. (533).
(Issues #165-279, plus a bunch of Annuals, cover dated January 1983 – August 1991, collected in a bunch of Essentials, with the end of the run apparently getting reprinted early next year)
I love the X-Men, so of course I like this whole bunch, although I wonder if it should have been broken up a bit more. And, of course, this includes the Outback Era, which is the best X-Men run ever. THE BEST, JERRY!
16. Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, et al. (514).
(Issues #26-50, 56-81, cover dated December 2001 – March 2006, collected in several trades, including some Omnibus collections, if I’m not mistaken)
This is a very good run, and while I’m a bit surprised it’s this high, I’m not too put out. I wrote about these comics here.
17. Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, David LaFuente, et al. (501).
(Issues: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-133 (plus a #1/2 issue), Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1-15, Ultimate Spider-Man #150-160, cover dated October 2000 – August 2011, collected in many trades)
This is a pretty good superhero comic, but I’m very surprised it made the Top 20. There’s nothing really bad about it – well, the decompression gets a bit annoying – but #17 all time?
18. Green Lantern by Geoff Johns et al. (498).
(Issues: Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6, Green Lantern #1-67, Green Lantern #1-current, cover dated December 2004 – current, collected in many trades)
I’ve read Rebirth and did not think it was very good (although it wasn’t terrible), and I’ve picked up a random issue here and there and was not impressed. I didn’t think much of this four years ago, and I seem to recall several people mentioning that it probably wouldn’t make the list if Brian did this again. Not only did it make the list, it rose from #54 to #18. Blech. I know it has a lot of fans, but I’m really, really not one of them. Of course, I can count on one hand the number of Geoff Johns comics I’ve actually enjoyed (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. was the shit, man!), so I’m probably not the best person to ask.
19. Planetary by Warren Ellis, John Cassaday, et al. (489).
20. Justice League by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, Ty Templeton, Adam Hughes, Bart Sears, et al. (474).
Issue: Justice League #1-6, Justice League International #7-25, Justice League America #26-60, Justice League Europe #1-8, Justice League International Quarterly #1, plus some Annuals)
I don’t think the main title finishes well, which is why I only wrote about issues #1 through #45 here, while all of JLE is quite good. I understand putting it all under the umbrella of Giffen/DeMatteis, but General Glory? Really?
21. Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (463).
(Issues: Astonishing X-Men #1-24, Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1, cover dated July 2004 – July 2008, collected in several trades, including a super-duper Omnibus)
Back when we first moved over to CBR, I read the first trade of this and dared not to like it. If I had known of the rabid Whedon-Love on yonder Internet back then, would I have written that, or would I have been too afeared to suggest that the first arc of this series was made up of “awesome” moments with nothing holding it together? We’ll never know!!!!! I’m kind of interested in reading this entire epic, but I ain’t spending the money on it. My kingdom for a good library near me!!!! So, yeah – #21? Man.
22. Captain America by Ed Brubaker et al. (445).
(Issues: Captain America #1-50, Captain America: Reborn #1-6, Captain America #600-619, Captain America #1-19, cover dated January 2005 – December 2012, collected in several trade paperbacks, including nice Omnibus editions)
Ed Brubaker, you’ll note, has written TWO Captain America #1s AND an issue #600. If that doesn’t show how fucked up 21st-century Marvel and DC are, I don’t know what does. Anyway, I dropped this after Rebirth, because I just lost interest. Brubaker did a nice job reinvigorating the character, even if his work on the title is remarkably conventional – it’s “good” conventional, I guess, so there’s that. Again, I’m stunned this ranks so high, but that’s the way it is.
23. Animal Man by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog, et al. (393).
(Issues #1-26, cover dated September 1988 – August 1990, collected in a few trade paperbacks – three of them?)
This would probably be #11 on my list. I wrote about it here, with Peter Milligan’s weird six-issue arc tacked on, because that was cool.
24. Fantastic Four by John Byrne et al. (381).
(Issues #232-293, plus some random Thing issues, if I recall correctly, cover dated July 1981 – August 1986, collected in 8 Visionary trades)
I enjoy these comics, and I think Byrne’s work on the book is probably the best of any creators, even though I recognize he was standing on the shoulders of giants. I do think it ended weakly (Byrne simply left the book in the middle of a story), which is kind of frustrating, but it’s still good stuff.
25. Punisher by Garth Ennis et al. (380).
(Issues: The Punisher #1-12, The Punisher #1-37, Punisher MAX #1-60 plus Punisher: Born #1-4 and a bunch of one-shots, cover dated April 2000 – October 2008, collected in a bunch of trades in many different formats)
I mention this whenever this comes up, but I don’t like this very much. People tell me not to judge it based on “Welcome Back, Frank,” so I didn’t – I skipped the Marvel Knights series and got the giant collection of the first 12 issues of the MAX series. And I didn’t like that either, and people told me it didn’t get really good until his second year on the MAX title. I’m sorry, but if you can’t make me interested in 24 issues, that’s your problem. I don’t feel any inclination to read this, either.
26. Incredible Hulk by Peter David et al. (365).
(Issues #331-388 and 390-467, cover dated May 1987 – August 1998, collected in some Visionary trades – through issue #396?)
I think this also should be broken down into sections, but whatever – these comics are very good. I wrote about most of David’s run (issues #427-453 weren’t that great) here, here, here, here, and here.
27. Fables by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al. (358).
(Issues #1-123, cover dated July 2002 – current, collected in a lot of different trades, including nice hardcovers)
You might recall that I dropped this with issue #121, because I think Willingham is just spinning his wheels these days. When we last did this poll, Fables was one of my favorite comics, but after they defeated the Adversary and especially after issue #100, it’s just not the same. Much like two other runs on this list (both by the same writer), this book demonstrates the danger of not resolving your story. Stories have endings, people!
28. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore (351).
(Issues #1-#103, cover dated October 2003 – current, collected in a bunch of trades and some big hardcovers and at least one GIGANTIC hardcover)
I’ve read the first 12 issues and have no desire to read the rest. From what I hear, that’s a good idea. I’m sure this is so high because of the television show, which is fine, I guess. Kirkman, I hear, will stop writing this when he drops dead, and that’s awful. Stories have endings, people!
29. The Avengers by Kurt Busiek, George Perez, et al. (342).
(Issues #1-15, 19-56, cover dated February 1998 – September 2002, collected in eight trade paperbacks or five hardcovers)
I’ve read some of this, and it’s okay, but I just can’t get into the Avengers. I don’t know why.
30. Gotham Central by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, Kano, Stefano Gaudiano, et al. (340).
(Issues #1-40, cover dated February 2003 – April 2006, collected in a bunch of trades, including some nice hardcovers that I really ought to pick up)
I haven’t read this in a while, but I remember thinking it was pretty darned good. I also remember it weakened a bit toward the end, which is too bad. It’s a cool-ass idea. I wonder if the hardcovers collect the back-up stories that introduce Josie Mac. Those were some cool comics by Judd Winick (of all people) and Cliff Chiang.
31. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos, et al. (336).
(Issues #1-60, cover dated September 1997 – November 2002, collected in ten trades, and maybe some giant hardcovers?)
Even though many, many Ellis characters are iterations of Spider Jerusalem, in Transmetropolitan we get the distilled version, and it’s quite good. This isn’t my favorite Ellis comic, but it’s very good. I would probably place it about here or maybe a little higher, but this is a pretty good spot for it.
32. Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison, Richard Case, et al. (333).
See above. Obviously, the seven other people who voted this #1 are people with exceedingly good taste. The rest of you … I don’t know, people. What are we to do with you?
33. Scalped by Jason Aaron, R. M. Guéra, et al. (289).
(Issues #1-60, cover dated March 2007 – October 2012, all collected in trade – or it soon will be – and it probably deserves some nice giant-sized hardcovers, too)
I haven’t re-read Scalped, but it’s very good, and I don’t have any issue with it being about here on the list. I think it might benefit a bit by just ending and may slide a bit in the interval between now and the next poll, but maybe it will even rise as people re-read it – like me!
34. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, et al. (272).
(Issues #1-18, #1-24, cover dated July 2003 – November 2004, April 2005 – March 2007, collected in several “digest-sized” trades and three really nice giant-sized hardcovers)
Runaways is better than Y: The Last Man, so obviously I have no problem with it being on this list. I probably wouldn’t have it this high – I might not even have it my Top 100 – but it’s a pleasant read, and it’s impressive that Vaughan was able to create new characters in such an anti-new-character environment as the Big Two of the 21st century.
35. Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch (265).
(Issues #1-13, #1-13, cover dated March 2002 – April 2004, February 2005 – February 2007, collected in a few trades)
Ultimates is big and stupid, but it’s lots of fun to read if you don’t think about it too much. I stopped buying Mark Millar comics in the middle of the second series, so I don’t know how it ends, but I was losing interest anyway. It’s fascinating to watch the transformation of the writer in this series from a dude who was trying to become famous to a dude who was famous. The arc of Mark Millar’s skills is far more interesting than the series itself, ultimately. I don’t have too much of a problem with this being on the list – it’s very influential, even though it’s not all that good.
36. Flash by Mark Waid et al. (263).
(Issues #62-129, cover dated May 1992 – September 1997, some of it collected in trade … unless they got around to finishing the collections in the past four years, but I don’t think they have)
As I’ve often mentioned, I’ve read some of this run and just can’t get into it. I bought “Terminal Velocity” but saw no reason to keep getting the single issues, and years later I got two different trades, including the return of Barry Allen one. For some reason, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t hate it, certainly, but I don’t feel like reading it. So sad!
37. Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee, John Romita, et al. (262).
(Issues #39-71, 74-75, 81 (as inker), 82-88, 89-92 (as inker), 93-95, 96 (as inker), cover dated August 1966 – August 1971, collected in a variety of formats)
I think I like this more than the Ditko stuff. Either way, the first 100 issues of Amazing Spider-Man are better than the first 100 issues of Fantastic Four. Yeah, I said it!
38. Marvelman/Miracleman by Alan Moore et al. (254).
(Issues: Warrior #1-21, Miracleman #7-16 (#1-6 reprinted the Warrior stories), cover dated March 1982 – August 1984, August 1985 – December 1989, collected in three long out-of-print trades)
I have a feeling that this isn’t ranked higher because people haven’t read it, as the issues are hard to find and the trades – due to McFarlane and Gaiman’s legal wranglings – have been out of print for 20 years or so. It’s a superb comic – it would be #12 on my list if we did a Top 20 – and I wish people would get their heads out of their asses so the issues can be reprinted. It’s one of those comics that you can’t believe lives up to its reputation, but it really does!
39. Hellboy by Mike Mignola et al. (247).
(Lots of mini-series from 1995 to the present, collected in a lot of trade paperbacks and currently five really nice “Library Editions”)
I read this in the Library Editions, so I’m a bit behind, but it’s still very good. I don’t have any problem with it being here, and this is a pretty good spot on the list for it.
40. Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (and I guess Mario too) (231).
(Issues: Love and Rockets #1-50, Love and Rockets Vol. 2 #1-20, Love and Rockets: New Stories #1-current, cover dated June 1982 – current, collected in too many trades to count)
As I mentioned the last time we did this poll, I’ve never read any Love and Rockets, nor do I have too much inclination to do so. It’s not that I don’t like the Hernandez Bros. – I don’t love their work, but it’s okay – I just don’t feel like diving into such a vast world. I don’t have the time, for one, and something about the Hernandez Bros.’ work just doesn’t seem to click completely with me. Such is life.
41. Bone by Jeff Smith (230).
(Issues #1-55, cover dated July 1991 – 2004, collected in several trade paperbacks, including a giant black-and-white complete collection)
Bone is a marvelous comic, great for adults and kids, and I think it should probably be a bit higher here, although I suppose maybe people just haven’t read it. I picked up the 1300-page complete collection a few years ago and had a hard time putting it down – I blew through that thing very quickly and loved it. So, yeah. Read Bone. It’s really good.
42. The Avengers by Roger Stern et al. (228).
(Issues #227-279, 281-288, cover dated January 1983 – February 1988, and it seems like only a few Kang stories and the “Under Siege” story in this run have been collected in trade, which is somewhat odd considering the recent popularity of the team)
I’ve never read this, nor do I have any interest in it. I like Stern’s work on Amazing Spider-Man, but not enough to make me find these issues. I’ve just never been all that big an Avengers fan.
43. 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (226).
(Issues #1-100, cover dated August 1999 – April 2009, collected in many trades)
I used this as an example of not allowing a run that hadn’t finished four years ago, because, well, it hadn’t finished. At that point, I thought it was quite a good comic, but Azzarello really screwed up the ending. I think his reliance on the “100 issues” format really hurt him, because the book went on far too long. I’ll have to re-read it to see what I think of it now, but I think it’s a very good case of not voting for something that you know is a complete story (unlike runs where it’s just the same writer telling small stories who just decides to leave), because the ending is as important as the beginning and the middle.
44. Amazing Spider-Man by Roger Stern, John Romita Jr., et al. (214).
(Issues #224-227, 229-252, cover dated January 1982 – May 1984, collected in some trades, but I think you can only find the whole thing in the Essential versions)
These are good comics – I’d probably have to revise my two separate Comics You Should Own posts (here and here) to include the entire run when I get around to re-reading them. I don’t have a problem with them on this list or where they show up.
45. The Invisibles by Grant Morrison et al. (204).
(Issues #1-25, #1-22, #12-1, cover dated September 1994 – June 2000, collected in a bunch of trades, and I think DC has started releasing them in big hardcovers, but I don’t know if they have or if they’ve finished publishing that way yet)
As I have pointed out before, I simply don’t get The Invisibles. I’ve only read it once, so it’s possible I’ve missed some things, or it could be that I’m not very bright. Consequently, I can’t really comment too much on it being here – I don’t think it’s that good, but I could be completely wrong. Oh well – I’ll get around to re-reading it at some point!
46. Cerebus by Dave Sim and Gerhard (203).
(Issues #1-300, cover dated December 1977 – March 2004, collected in many trades)
As I’ve noted before, much to Travis Pelkie’s chagrin, I have never read this and I really have no interest in reading it. It’s not really Sim’s personal beliefs, although that does come into it a bit. I don’t know – none of the descriptions of it, even the most glowing ones, make me want to jump right up and read it. Sorry.
47. The Legion of Super-Heroes by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt, et al. (201).
(Issues #281-313, #1-5, cover dated November 1981 – December 1984, some it collected in trade – most notably “The Great Darkness Saga” – and I have no idea if DC will ever collect the entire thing)
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read “The Great Darkness Saga” and didn’t think much of it. Maybe it’s another “you had to be there” comics. That story is perfectly fine, but nothing really that special, and it didn’t make me want to find the rest of the run.
48. Astro City by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (198).
(Issues: 57 in total, in a bunch of different mini-series and one ongoing, cover dated August 1995 – June 2010, collected in many trades)
I love Astro City. I think this spot on the list is a little low, but not too egregious. I’m very upset that it hasn’t been back since “The Dark Age” ended, and now Brent Anderson has to spend his time drawing absolute shit for Danny D’s ego. In other words, I really miss Astro City. Waaaaahhhhh!
49. X-Factor by Peter David et al. (189).
(Issues: Madrox #1-5, #1-50, #200-246, cover dated November 2004 – current, collected in many trade paperbacks)
This isn’t finished, so it’s not eligible, but I like it quite a bit. David knows how to write serialized fiction far better than most of his peers.
50. Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris et al. (184).
(Issues #1-50, plus 4 specials, cover dated August 2004 – September 2010, collected in several trades)
I haven’t re-read this since it ended, but while it was going on, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I think it’s far better than Y: The Last Man, for instance. I think this is a decent place for it – maybe a little high, but that’s fine.
51. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World (176).
(Issues: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133-148, New Gods #1-11, Forever People #1-11, Mister Miracle #1-18, cover dated October 1970 – March 1974, collected in four nice giant-sized Omnibus editions)
I have finally gotten around to acquiring this, so I’ll probably read it soon. I’m looking forward to it!
52. Fantastic Four/FF by Jonathan Hickman et al. (171).
(Issues: Fantastic Four #570-611, FF #1-23, cover dated October 2009 – December 2012, collected in several trades)
I dropped this early on, mainly because it was kind of boring – Hickman was obviously going for the long con, so I figured I could easily get the inevitable Omnibus editions in a few years. I’ve heard good things about it, but I’m content to wait. If you recall, the whole “Valeria calling Franklin a retard” didn’t help, although that’s not the reason I dropped it. There are people who told me a few years ago that once my daughter went to school with other kids, she’d pick up bad language. She’s halfway through second grade and she still doesn’t use bad language and is horrified if she hears it. Just as an update.
53. Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea (168).
54. Carl Barks’ Duck comics (167).
(A variety of Walt Disney comics from 1943 through 1972, most notably Uncle Scrooge #1-71, collected in some trades, but it doesn’t appear that all of it has been)
I have never read these, and I probably never will. Anytime Our Dread Lord and Master posts pages of it, it doesn’t look interesting. I guess I’m defective in some way!
55. Detective Comics by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, Len Wein, and Walt Simonson (161).
(Issues #469-479, cover dated May 1977 – September 1978, collected in a trade)
I think Cronin “massaged” the rules a little to get this onto the list, but it’s his list, so okay. Englehart wrote issues #469-476, Wein wrote issues #477-479, Simonson drew issues #469-470, and Rogers drew issues #471-479. The ones every one remember are issues #471-476, when Englehart and Rogers were together (I wrote about them here). I haven’t read the Wein issues, but the two issues prior to Rogers coming on board are okay, I guess, notable only for the introduction of Silver St. Cloud (and Dr. Phosphorus, I suppose, but he had to wait before James Robinson got his hands on him to be interesting). I don’t have a problem with this being on the list, because the famous issues are very good, and I guess Brian knows what he’s talking about, so it’s fine that he calls all 11 issues a single “run.”
56. Suicide Squad by John Ostrander et al. (158).
57. The Spectre by John Ostrander, Tom Mandrake, et al. (155).
58. Batman comics by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle (154)
(Issues: Detective Comics #583-594, 601-621, 627, Batman #455-466, 470-476, Shadow of the Bat #1-5, cover dated February 1988 – May 1990, October 1990 – April 1992, June 1992 – October 1992, collected in exactly one trade paperback, which only collects the first three issues of the Batman section, because DC hates money)
I would have this at #18 if we voted for 20 runs. I love it so much! I wrote a lot about it here, but I really ought to revise that to include the Batman stuff. I remember when I re-read the Batman section, I thought, “I’ll just go back and include that when I read their run on Detective.” And then I forgot. I suck!
59. The Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis et al. (152).
(Issues: The Avengers #500-503, New Avengers #1-64, Mighty Avengers #1-20, Dark
Avengers #1-16, The Avengers #1-#31), New Avengers #1-#31, Avengers Assemble #1-#7, plus a bunch of mini-series, specials, and crossovers, cover dated September 2004 – current, collected in too many trades to count!)
I think this might have replaced Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern as the most controversial selection on this list. A LOT of people love what Bendis did with the Avengers, so I’m not surprised it’s here, but I don’t really like it at all. I’ve read very few of it, of course, because I learned early on that it probably wasn’t going to be for me, but it’s one of those books I’m curious about (much like Johns’ GL!), because it sells so well yet has so many very intelligent detractors. Not for the first time, I wish I had a decent library near me, so I could read more of this for free.
60. Invincible by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley (149).
(Issues #1-#95, cover dated January 2003 – current, collected in many trades of several different formats)
This is the second Kirkman book on this list that I don’t think should be on it. As I mentioned with Fables, Kirkman has mentioned he has no intention of ending this anytime soon, and while I really enjoyed the first 50 or so issues of Invincible, it just got kind of dull when Kirkman just kept making Mark’s life more and more bloody. It actually got unpleasant to read, and with no possibility of it ending, I had no interest in keeping up with it. Nice art, though.
61. Immortal Iron Fist by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, David Aja, et al. (143).
(Issues #1-16, plus one Annual and one special, cover dated January 2007 – August 2008, collected in three trades and one Omnibus)
This is a Comic You Should Own, so of course I don’t have a problem with it being on this list. It’s quite good!
62. Superman by John Byrne et al. (134).
Issues: Man of Steel #1-6, Superman Vol. 2 #1-22, Action Comics #584-600, Adventures of Superman #436-442, 444, The World of Krypton #1-4, The World of Metropolis #1-4, The World of Smallville #1-4, cover dated October 1986 – November 1988, collected in some scattershot trades, but it’s kind of hard to figure them out)
I’ve read a handful of Byrne’s work on Superman, and like all Byrne comics, I enjoy them. I’ve never been compelled to track them down, but if DC released them in handy, chronological, numbered trades, I’d probably pick them up.
63. The Spirit by Will Eisner et al. (131).
(The Spirit Newspaper Strips 1940-1942, 1945-1950, collected in a bunch of nice trades by DC)
I’ve read my share of Spirit stories, and I like Eisner’s experimentation with the form in both the writing and the art more than the stories themselves. They’re not bad, and I don’t have a problem with them showing up on this list (although based on influence, they should be much higher), but I wouldn’t think to vote for them.
64. Green Lantern/Green Arrow by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams (129).
Issues: Green Lantern #76-87, 89, back-up stories in Flash #217-219, cover dated April 1970 – December 1972, collected in a really nice trade that came out earlier this year, plus some other places)
As I’ve mentioned before, these are almost insufferably earnest, but O’Neil is a good enough writer that he overcomes it to a degree. Plus, Adams’ work is wonderful. I’m not entirely sure how this finished above the creators’ work on Batman – maybe it’s slightly more famous? Their work with Batman is far superior to this.
65. Nextwave by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen (128).
(Issues #1-12, cover dated March 2006 – March 2007, collected in two trades, but not a giant 12-issue Omnibus, because Marvel also hates money!)
These are wonderful comics, as I wrote about here. It’s much better to read all at once, because the lull around issue #5 doesn’t affect your enjoyment too much, and it comes on stronger toward the end of the run. It’s really, really fun stuff.
66. Iron Man by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, et al. (125).
(Issues #116-157, cover dated November 1978 – April 1982, some of it collected in trade, most notably “Demon in a Bottle”)
I’ve only read “Demon in a Bottle,” and it was pretty good. It wasn’t great, but it was decent reading. I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more of it, but I’m not dying to, either.
67. Promethea by Alan Moore and J. H. Williams III (124).
(Issues #1-32, cover dated August 1999 – April 2005, collected in five trades, and I think two Absolute Editions?)
Well, it started off really well, and then Alan Moore decided to start lecturing us. Look, I don’t mind it when Moore lectures, because his lectures are usually pretty interesting, but they do get a tiny bit tedious. This, of course, was saved by Williams’ art, which was stellar throughout. It’s a good comic, certainly, but it just drags on in the second half a bit.
68. The Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch (123).
(Issues #1-12, cover dated May 1999 – April 2000, collected in two trades and one Absolute Edition)
It might be heresy, but the end of this initial iteration of The Authority – when Millar wipes out the group and Tom Peyer writes the anti-Authority – is a bit more interesting than Ellis and Hitch’s run on the book. The first 12 issues are a ton of fun, to be sure, but like Ultimates, they’re kind of big and dumb. I still enjoy them and don’t really have a problem with them showing up on this list.
69. Batman comics by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams (122).
(Issues: Detective Comics #395, 397, 400, 402, 404, 407-408, 410, Batman #232, 234, 237, 243-245, 251, 255, cover dated January 1970 – March 1974, intermittently, collected in two trades, although Adams’ work on Batman without O’Neil is also in trade)
These were some of the first comics I ever read, back when I could get collections out of the library, and they’re really, really good comics. I think they probably ought to be higher on this list, and I’m a bit surprised they’re not. Oh well. You should really read these if you haven’t already.
70. JSA by Geoff Johns et al. (121).
Issues: JSA #6-77, 81, Justice Society of America #1-26, cover dated January 2000 – March 2006, February 2007 – June 2009, collected in several trades)
This is the comic that really put Johns on the map, isn’t it? I’ve read a few trades, but they didn’t really impress me. This seems like a fairly middle-of-the-road superhero comic. Nothing wrong with that, but I don’t know if I’d put it on this list.
71. Daredevil by Mark Waid et al. (120).
(Issues #1-19, cover dated September 2011 – current, collected in a few hardcover trades so far, but only one softcover)
Is this one of the ones Chad Nevett was talking about when he said the people who voted in this poll were distracted by shiny objects? I mean, I liked the one trade I read of this, but barely over a year into it, and it’s the 71st best run in comic book history? I loathe Skip Bayless, but he does have a nice phrase: “prisoner of the moment.” This is the hip comic right now, and while I agree that it’s good (so far), I don’t think there’s enough of it or enough perspective to rank it, even this low. But this is democracy, so that’s that!
72. Batman by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, et al. (119).
(Issues #1-14, cover dated November 2011 – current, collected in one hardcover trade but as yet, no softcover trades, for some idiotic reason, I’m sure)
Man, talk about “prisoner of the moment.” This got two first-place votes. Think about that. Two people out there think this is the best run on a comic book ever. EVER! I can only conclude that those people began reading comics when DC rebooted their entire line and those comics are the only ones they’ve ever read. I’ve read some good things about this run (and some bad), and I’m curious about it, although the first issue didn’t make me think it would be the best thing ever. I very much doubt it belongs on this list. Once again, though, this is a democracy. All hail voting!
73. X-Force/X-Statix by Peter Milligan, Mike Allred, et al. (118).
(Issues: X-Force #116-129, X-Statix #1-26, cover dated May 2001 – October 2004, collected in six trades – seven if you count the Dead Girl mini-series)
I still haven’t finished reading this – I read all the X-Force issues and about half of the X-Statix ones, but the fake Princess Diana story was a bit boring, so I dropped it. Then it got cancelled, and I picked up the rest of the issues just to see how it turned out. And then I never got around to reading them. I will soon enough! I don’t have any problems with this being on the list, as the X-Force stuff is really, really good.
74. Doctor Strange by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (117).
(Issues: Strange Tales #110-111, 114-146, cover dated July 1963 – July 1966, collected in two Marvel Masterworks)
I haven’t read any of this. I’m sure it’s pretty awesome. It’s DITKO!
75. Journey Into Mystery by Kieron Gillen et al. (116).
(Issues #622-645, cover dated June 2011 – current, collected in four softcover trades so far, and probably more hardcover ones?)
Sigh. FOUR first-place votes? I know this is another current favorite, and I liked the first trade (I’m still waiting for volume 2, which is coming in the mail, before I read volumes 3 and 4), but four people thought this was the best run ever? Wow. Maybe it belongs at #75, although that seems a bit high, but #1?
76. The Question by Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan (115).
(Issues #1-36, plus Annuals #1-2. cover dated February 1987 – April 1990, collected in six trades … which don’t include the annuals)
I’ve read this once, and it’s not bad. I wouldn’t consider it for a Top 20 list of runs, but that’s okay. I’ll have to re-read it again all at once (I read the trades as they came out) to see if I like it better, but I don’t have too much of a problem with it being around here on the list.
77. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama et al. (114).
(Issues #1-155, cover dated June 1982 – December 1994, and it looks like the whole thing has been collected in 15 trades?)
I haven’t read any of this. Sorry!
78. Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender et al. (113).
Issues #1-33, cover dated December 2010 – December 2012, collected in a bunch of trades)
The first five issues of this series were really good, but Remender spun his wheels a bit over the next 15 issues or so. I haven’t read the “Otherworld” story onward, so I can’t speak to its quality after that, but I don’t think this really ought to be here. It’s entertaining enough, but it feels somewhat shallow.
79. Warlock comics by Jim Starlin et al. (112).
(Issues: Strange Tales #178-181, Warlock #9-15, The Avengers Annual #7, Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, cover dated February 1975 – summer 1977, collected in one Marvel Masterworks)
These are pretty keen comics, full of Starlin-y stuff, which is always fun. Starlin in the 1970s was quite the mind-fuck. I don’t have any issues with this being on this list.
80. Deadpool by Joe Kelly et al. (111).
(Issues #1-33, cover dated January 1997 – October 1999, collected in three trades, which goes through issue #17)
I’ve read the trades that collect this series, and I’m just not impressed. I know it gets a lot of love, but for some reason, it just doesn’t do anything for me. Oh well. I can’t say that I hate it, so I’m not too put out by it being on this list, but it’s not for me.
81. Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (108).
(Issues: Criminal #1-10, Criminal Volume 2 #1-7, Criminal: The Sinners #1-5, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #1-4, cover dated October 2006 – September 2011, collected in several trades)
Criminal is very good. That is all.
82. Daredevil by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, et al. (107).
(Issues #82-119, #500, cover dated April 2006 – October 2009, collected in several trades)
After Bendis’ Daredevil, I stayed with it to read Brubaker’s run, because I like Brubaker. However, while Bendis’ run was pretty brutal, Brubaker’s was even more bleak, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I know that a lot of people dug it, and that’s fine, but it’s kind of interesting that Waid’s run, which was a direct answer to the bleakness of this and Diggle’s work with the character, is ranked higher than this is.
83. Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (106).
(Volumes 1-28, cover dated September 1970 – April 1976)
I’ve never read this. I don’t have any objection to it, but there are a lot of comics out there! Maybe some day I’ll get around to it.
84. Top 10 by Alan Moore, Gene Ha, and Zander Cannon (105).
(Issues: Top 10 #1-12, Top 10: The Forty-Niners OGN, Smax #1-5, cover dated September 1999 – October 2001, October 2003 – May 2004, 2005, collected in a few trades, including an Absolute Edition that will be out in April)
Top 10 is a very good comic book, and I think it should probably be higher on this list. That’s fine, though – I imagine a lot of people haven’t read this, so it didn’t get as much support. I’m looking forward to re-reading it, although I should probably buy the trade of Smax before I do, since I haven’t read that yet.
85. Legion of Super-Heroes by Keith Giffen, Tom Bierbaum, Mary Bierbaum, et al. (104).
(Issues #1-50, cover dated November 1989 – November 1993, and exactly none of it has been collected in trade)
As I’ve often mentioned, two things I just can’t get into in Big Two comics are the Avengers and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t know why, but whenever I’ve dipped into those two worlds, I haven’t been hooked in any way. Therefore, I doubt if I’ll ever read this, so I can’t really comment on its quality. Sorry!
86. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley (103).
(Six volumes, cover dated July 2004 – July 2010)
I read the first volume and was largely unimpressed. I don’t know if I’m just not the audience because I’m too old – although other oldsters like me have said that they really like it – or if I’m just too square, but it didn’t do anything for me. Others have said it gets better, but if it’s not good 200 pages into it, do I really want to stick around? It’s not that I don’t like O’Malley – Lost at Sea is quite good – so I don’t know what it is. This is another book I wouldn’t mind checking out from the library, because I’m curious about it, but not enough to spend money on it.
87. Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott et al. (102).
(Issue #648-695, cover dated January 2011 – current, collected in plenty of trades)
I don’t mind Slott’s writing, but ever since Marvel wiped out Peter’s marriage for something stupid (I don’t mind getting rid of the marriage, but just let him get divorced, for crying out loud) and started shipping this thrice a month (since downgraded to twice a month), I just didn’t feel like keeping up. I have very little interest in it, even though I love Spider-Man as a character and have heard good things about it. It’s just too much, Marvel!
88. Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (100).
(Five mini-series of six issues each, cover dated February 2008 -current, collected in trade)
This isn’t finished yet, so it should be ineligible, but whatever. I read the first trade and wasn’t impressed enough to get the others, although it wasn’t bad. It just seemed kind of there – some interesting stuff, some nice artwork, but nothing that made me think I desperately needed to read the entire saga.
89. Fantastic Four by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo, et al. (99).
(Issues #60-70, #500-524, cover dated October 2002 – June 2005, collected in six trades or three big hardcovers)
I’ve read the first two giant hardcovers, and the first one is much better. The Doom story is very good, and the aftermath is all right. I don’t know why I never got the rest of the run – maybe I will some day.
90. Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (98).
(Issues #1-29, cover dated June 2009 – current, collected in five trades and two giant-sized hardcovers)
Chew is one of my favorite current series, but it’s not even halfway done, so it ought to be ineligible. I imagine if Layman and Guillory manage to finish it by the time this poll comes around, it might rank higher on this list.
91. Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware (97).
(Issues #1-20, cover dated 1993 – current)
I still haven’t read any of this. In fact, I still haven’t read anything by Chris Ware – Building Stories is behind me as I type, mocking me with its gigantic-ness! I’ll probably get to that over Thanksgiving, so that should be fun. But yeah – I can’t comment on this, because I’ve never read it.
92. Sin City by Frank Miller (96).
(Several mini-series, cover dated April 1991 – April 2000, collected in a bunch of trades)
I like Sin City a lot, but it’s also very much style over substance. That’s fine, but it’s definitely the kind of comic you shouldn’t examine too closely or you’ll start to see the cracks. Still, it’s fun to read.
93. New Mutants by Chris Claremont et al. (95).
(Issues: Marvel Graphic Novel #4, New Mutants #1-54, plus Annuals #1-3, cover dated 1982, March 1983 – August 1987, collected in seven trades)
As Brian noted, most of the votes were for the Bill Sienkiewicz part of this run (more on that here!), which is really all you need, because the rest is … just okay, I suppose. With Sienkiewicz, this probably deserves to be a bit higher. With Sienkiewicz plus everyone else, this is not a bad place for it.
94. Secret Six by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Jim Califiore, et al. (94).
(Issues: Villains United #1-6, Secret Six #1-6, Secret Six #1-36, cover dated July 2005 – December 2005, July 2006 – January 2007, November 2008 – October 2011, collected in several trades)
Secret Six was a good comic. I haven’t re-read it, but as it was coming out, it was consistently one of the best comics DC was publishing. It got a bit weaker at the end, but it seemed like Simone was trying to wrap things up with the reboot looming, so perhaps she was rushing it a bit. But it was still very good, and it’s too bad it sold poorly. Such is life!
95. X-Factor by Peter David (92).
(Issues #70–90, cover dated September 1991 – May 1993, collected in some trades, but it appears it’s not all in trade)
I’ve read these, but not for many, many years (since they came out, in fact), so I can’t remember much of it. One of these days I’ll re-read it and can have a more definitive opinion about it, but I remember they were pretty good. I guess I don’t have any issues with it being here on the list.
96. Plastic Man comics by Jack Cole et al. (91).
(Issues: Police Comics #1-90, Plastic Man #1-26, cover dated August 1941 – November 1950, collected in eight trades)
I still haven’t read any Jack Cole Plastic Man comics, except maybe one or two back in the day (my library had a nice collection with a bunch of Golden Age origin stories in it, and I’m sure Plastic Man was one of them), and I might get around to reading them some day. I’m sure these are good comics, but I can’t really say much about them.
97. Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (90).
(Issues #1-3, #1-13, #1-90, cover dated November 1993 – June 2007, collected in many trades)
The first long-form work by Moore I ever read was Echo, and I liked that quite a bit. I know SiP is different than that, but it made me want to track this down. I’m sure I will at some point.
98. Thor/Tales of Asgard comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (89).
(Issues: Journey Into Mystery #97-125, Thor #126-177, 179, cover dated October 1963 – August 1970, collected in six Marvel Masterworks or three Essential volumes)
I still haven’t read this. Thor’s all right, but I’ve never been that interested in him. I’m sure I’ll get around to this one day.
99. Nick Fury comics by Jim Steranko (84).
(Issues: Strange Tales #155-168, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-5, cover dated April 1967 – October 1968, collected in one Marvel Masterworks)
These comics are awesome. They should be much higher on the list, both because of their sheer awesomeness and because of how influential they are. I can only conclude that not enough people have read them. You should take care of that right away!
100. Eightball by Dan Clowes (83).
(Issues #1-23, cover dated August 1989 – 2004, collected in a bunch of trades)
I’ve never read this. I don’t really have much interest in reading them, either.
Okay, now that we’re done with that, let’s break it down! First up: Where the runs came in four years ago as opposed to this year, and then we’ll check out the ones that dropped off. Sound good?
Sandman. 2008: 1. 2012: 1. Change: —
Uncanny X-Men (Claremont/Byrne). 2, 2. Change: —
Swamp Thing (Moore). 5, 3. Change: +2
Fantastic Four (Lee/Kirby). 3, 4. Change: -1
Y The Last Man. 13, 5. Change +8
Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Ditko). 6, 6. Change: —
Daredevil (Miller). 4, 7. Change: -3
Batman (Morrison). DNP, 8. Change: +150, at least (but probably N/A)*
* This did not place in the “Top 158″ Brian did four years ago. He listed runs that got at least 50 points, so this didn’t even get that much.
Preacher. 8, 9. Change: -1
Thor (Simonson). 15, 10. Change: +5
Starman. 7, 11. Change: -4
JLA (Morrison). 12, 12. Change: —
X-Men (Morrison). 10, 13. Change: -3
Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez). 11, 14. Change: -3
Uncanny X-Men (Claremont). 71, 71, 90; 15. Change: +11*
* Last time, Brian didn’t count everything after Byrne as one run, and the run was split into three parts – the Silvestri part and the Smith part tied for 71st, and the Romita part was #90. If you count up the point totals those three runs got, they would have placed 24th, which is why I put the change at +11. In case you were wondering.
Daredevil (Bendis/Maleev). 20, 16. Change: +4
Ultimate Spider-Man. 26, 17. Change: +9
Green Lantern (Johns). 54, 18. Change: +36
Planetary. 18, 19. Change: -1
Justice League (Giffen/DeMatteis). 9, 20. Change: -11
Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday). 38, 21. Change: +17
Captain America (Brubaker). 17, 22. Change: -5
Animal Man (Morrison). 21, 23. Change: -2
Fantastic Four (Byrne). 16, 24. Change: -8
Punisher (Ennis). 24, 25. Change: -1
Incredible Hulk (David). 19, 26. Change: -7
Fables. 22, 27. Change: -5
Walking Dead. DNP, 28. Change: +102*
* This finished at #130 four years ago.
Avengers (Busiek/Perez). 41, 29. Change: +12
Gotham Central. 74, 30. Change: +44
Transmetropolitan. 23, 31. Change: -8
Doom Patrol (Morrison). 14, 32. Change: -18
Scalped. DNP, 33. Change: N/A*
* This also did not get 50 points four years ago. That’s not surprising, considering the run hadn’t been going on for very long at that time.
Runaways (Vaughan). 33, 34. Change: -1
Ultimates. 32, 35. Change: -3
Flash (Waid). 39, 36. Change: +3
Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Romita). 34, 37. Change: -3
Miracleman (Moore). 36, 38. Change: -2
Hellboy. 51, 39. Change: +12
Love and Rockets. 35, 40. Change: -5
Bone. 31, 41. Change: -10
Avengers (Stern). 58, 42. Change: +16
100 Bullets. 62, 43. Change: +19
Amazing Spider-Man (Stern/Romita). 55, 44. Change: +11
Invisibles. 27, 45. Change: -18
Cerebus. 25, 46. Change: -21
Legion of Super-Heroes (Levitz/Giffen). 29, 47. Change: -18
Astro City. 30, 48. Change: -18
X-Factor (2nd David). DNP, 49. Change: +73*
* This run finished 122nd four years ago.
Ex Machina. DNP, 50. Change: +56*
* This run finished 106th four years ago.
Fourth World. 50, 51. Change: -1
Fantastic Four (Hickman). DNP, 52. Change: +101*
* This run also did not place on the “Top 158″ four years ago.
Hitman. 37, 53. Change: -16
Duck comics. DNP, 54. Change: +92*
* This finished in a tie for 146th four years ago.
Detective (Englehart/Rogers). 49, 55. Change: -6
Suicide Squad (Ostrander). 28, 56. Change: -28
The Spectre (Ostrander/Mandrake). 45, 57. Change: -12
Detective/Batman (Grant/Breyfogle). 65, 58. Change: +7
Avengers (Bendis). DNP, 59. Change: +75*
* This finished in a tie for 134th four years ago.
Invincible. 79, 60. Change: +19
Immortal Iron Fist (Fraction/Brubaker/Aja). DNP, 61. Change: +50*
* This finished at #111 four years ago.
Superman (Byrne). 77, 62. Change: +15
The Spirit. 46, 63. Change: -19
Green Lantern/Green Arrow. 59, 64. Change: -5
Nextwave. 92, 65. Change: +27
Iron Man (Michelinie/Layton). 61, 66. Change: -5
Promethea. 40, 67. Change: -27
The Authority (Ellis/Hitch). 60, 68. Change: -8
Detective/Batman (O’Neil/Adams). DNP, 69. Change: +40*
* This finished 109th four years ago. I’m surprised it rose so much, frankly.
JSA (Johns). 48, 70. Change: -22
Daredevil (Waid). DNP, 71. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
Batman (Snyder/Capullo). DNP, 72. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
X-Force/X-Statix. 81, 73. Change: +8
Doctor Strange (Lee/Ditko). 88, 74. Change: +14
Journey into Mystery (Gillen). DNP, 75. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
The Question (O’Neil/Cowan). 96, 76. Change: +20
G.I. Joe (Hama). DNP, 77. Change: +49*
* This finished tied at #126 four years ago.
Uncanny X-Force. DNP, 78. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
Warlock (Starlin). 86, 79. Change: +7
Deadpool (Kelly). 47, 80. Change: -33
Criminal. DNP, 81. Change: +72*
* This barely made it onto the list four years ago, finishing tied for 153rd, or last place (among runs with 50 points). Only 11 issues had come out, so it’s not too surprising that it leaped up.
Daredevil (Brubaker). DNP, 82. Change: N/A*
* This did not appear on the “Top 158″ four years ago.
Lone Wolf and Cub. 95, 83. Change: +12
Top 10. 68, 84. Change: -16
Legion of Super-Heroes (Giffen/Bierbaums). 44, 85. Change: -41
Scott Pilgrim. DNP, 86. Change: N/A*
* I don’t think this was eligible last time. Even if it was, it didn’t place in the “Top 158.”
Amazing Spider-Man (Slott). DNP, 87. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
Locke & Key. DNP, 88. Change: N/A*
* This had just started four years ago, so I doubt if it got any votes.
Fantastic Four (Waid/Wieringo). 62, 89. Change: -27
Chew. DNP, 90. Change: N/A*
* This didn’t exist four years ago, so it’s not surprising no one voted for it.
Acme Novelty Library. 100(t), 91. Change: +9
Sin City. DNP, 92. Change: +12*
* Four years ago, this finished at #104.
New Mutants (Claremont). 66, 93. Change: -27
Secret Six. DNP, 94. Change: N/A*
* The ongoing hadn’t started the last time Brian did this, so I assume the first two mini-series didn’t count.
X-Factor (1st David). 69, 95. Change: -26
Plastic Man (Cole). 100(t), 96. Change: +4
Strangers in Paradise. 99, 97. Change: +2
Thor (Lee/Kirby). 83(t), 98. Change: -15
Nick Fury (Steranko). DNP, 99. Change: +21*
* In 2008, this finished in a tie for 120th.
Eightball. DNP, 100. Change: N/A*
* This did not place in the “Top 158″ poll. Was it eligible? If it was, it seems remarkable that it suddenly got 83 points.
As I did before, now let’s check out the list by the number of first place votes it received. The first number in parentheses is the number of first place voted the run received, while the second one is where the run actually placed.
1. (42, 1). Sandman
2. (39, 2). Uncanny X-Men (Claremont/Byrne)
3. (29, 4). Fantastic Four (Lee/Kirby)
4. (27, 3). Swamp Thing (Moore)
4. (27, 8). Batman (Morrison)
6. (24, 6). Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Ditko)
7. (23, 5). Y The Last Man
8. (22, 9). Preacher
8. (22, 11). Starman (Robinson)
10. (17, 7). Daredevil (Miller)
11. (16, 10). Thor (Simonson)
12. (14, 15). Uncanny X-Men (Claremont)
13. (13, 14). Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez)
14. (11, 18). Green Lantern (Johns)
15. (10, 46). Cerebus
16. (9, 13). X-Men (Morrison)
17. (8, 19). Planetary
17. (8, 20). Justice League (Giffen/DeMatteis)
17. (8, 21). Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday)
17. (8, 22). Captain America (Brubaker)
17. (8, 30). Gotham Central
17. (8, 32). Doom Patrol (Morrison)
17. (8, 40). Love and Rockets
24. (7, 12). JLA (Morrison)
24. (7, 16). Daredevil (Bendis/Maleev)
24. (7, 26). Incredible Hulk (David)
27. (6, 23). Animal Man (Morrison)
27. (6, 29). Avengers (Busiek/Perez)
27. (6, 31). Transmetropolitan
27. (6, 34). Runaways (Vaughan)
27. (6, 36). Flash (Waid)
27. (6, 38). Miracleman (Moore)
27. (6, 39). Hellboy
34. (5, 25). Punisher (Ennis)
34. (5, 43). 100 Bullets
34. (5, 47). Legion of Super-Heroes (Levitz/Giffen)
34. (5, 60). Invincible
34. (5, 83). Lone Wolf and Cub
39. (4, 24). Fantastic Four (Byrne)
39. (4, 27). Fables
39. (4, 33). Scalped
39. (4, 42). Avengers (Stern)
39. (4, 45). Invisibles
39. (4, 75). Journey into Mystery (Gillen)
39. (4, 77). G. I. Joe (Hama)
46. (3, 37). Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Romita)
46. (3, 52). Fantastic Four/FF (Hickman)
46. (3, 55). Detective Comics (Englehart/Rogers)
46. (3, 57). Spectre (Ostrander/Mandrake)
46. (3, 58). Detective Comics/Batman (Grant/Breyfogle)
46. (3, 62). Superman (Byrne)
46. (3, 67). Promethea
46. (3, 70). JSA (Johns)
46. (3, 88). Locke & Key
55. (2, 35). Ultimates
55. (2, 41). Bone
55. (2, 48). Astro City
55. (2, 49). X-Factor (2nd David)
55. (2, 51). Fourth World
55. (2, 63). The Spirit
55. (2, 72). Batman (Snyder/Capullo)
55. (2, 76). Question (O’Neil/Cowan)
55. (2, 82). Daredevil (Brubaker/Lark)
55. (2, 85). Legion of Super-Heroes (Giffen/Bierbaums)
55. (2, 92). Sin City
55. (2, 98). Thor/Tales of Asgard (Lee/Kirby)
67. (1, 44). Amazing Spider-Man (Stern/Romita)
67. (1, 53). Hitman
67. (1, 54). Duck comics
67. (1, 56). Suicide Squad (Ostrander)
67. (1, 59). Avengers (Bendis)
67. (1, 74). Doctor Strange (Lee/Ditko)
67. (1, 80). Deadpool (Kelly)
67. (1, 84). Top 10
67. (1, 90). Chew
67. (1, 91). Acme Novelty Library
67. (1, 94). Secret Six
67. (1, 95). X-Factor (1st David)
79. (0, 28). Walking Dead
79. (0. 50). Ex Machina
79. (0, 61). Iron Fist (Fraction/Brubaker/Aja)
79. (0, 64). Green Lantern/Green Arrow
79. (0, 65). Nextwave
79. (0, 66). Iron Man (Michelinie/Layton)
79. (0, 68). Authority (Ellis/Hitch)
79. (0, 69). Detective Comics/Batman (O’Neil/Adams)
79. (0, 71). Daredevil (Waid)
79. (0, 73). X-Force/X-Statix
79. (0, 78). Uncanny X-Force
79. (0, 79). Warlock
79. (0, 81). Criminal
79. (0, 86). Scott Pilgrim
79. (0, 87). Amazing Spider-Man (Slott)
79. (0, 89). Fantastic Four (Waid/Wieringo)
79. (0, 93). New Mutants (Claremont)
79. (0, 96). Plastic Man
79. (0, 97). Strangers in Paradise
79. (0, 99). Nick Fury (Steranko)
79. (0, 100). Eightball
There’s a couple things of note here. One, Cerebus finished quite far down but got a significant number of first-place votes, meaning the people who voted for it placed it fairly highly. Second, The Walking Dead finished fairly high and got zero first-place votes, which means, I think, that people who voted for it didn’t think it was the best thing they’ve ever read, but they liked it. Third, when Brian did this poll four years ago, only two runs got no first-place votes, and this time around, an amazing 21 of them did. I don’t know what that means. I know Brian changed the definition of a run, so maybe it resulted in more things being eligible (and certain other things, like “Born Again” and All Star Superman, being ineligible), and people were able to vote for a wider variety. Beats me. I just find it fascinating. Four years ago, Lone Wolf and Cub didn’t get any first-place votes, and this time around, it got five. The other run that didn’t get any first-place votes, Master of Kung-Fu, dropped off the list altogether.
Here’s the list with the percentage of the first-place votes as a total of the whole. Each first-place vote was worth 10 points, so how much of the first-place votes made up the point total as a whole? Let’s find out! The first number inside the parentheses is where the run finished, the second is the number of first-place votes, and the third is the percentage of first-place votes making up its total.
1. Cerebus (46, 10, 49.26%)
2. Lone Wolf and Cub (83, 5, 47.17%)
3. G.I. Joe (Hama) (77, 4, 35.09%)
4. Love and Rockets (40, 8, 34.63%)
5. Starman (Robinson) (11, 22, 34.54%)
6. Journey into Mystery (Gillen) (75, 4 34.48%)
7. Fantastic Four (Lee/Kirby) (4, 29, 33.60%)
8. Invincible (60, 5, 33.56%)
9. Batman (Morrison) (8, 27, 32.53%)
10. Uncanny X-Men (Claremont/Byrne) (2, 39, 31.63%)
11. Sandman (1, 42, 30.55%)
12. Locke & Key (88, 3, 30%)
13. Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Ditko) (6, 24, 28.27%)
14. Preacher (9, 22, 27.78%)
15. Y The Last Man (5, 23, 26.90%)
16. Hellboy (39, 6, 24.29%)
17. Uncanny X-Men (Claremont) (15, 14, 26.27%)
18. Legion of Super-Heroes (Levitz/Giffen) (47, 5, 24.88%)
19. JSA (Johns) (70, 3, 24.79%)
20. Promethea (67, 3, 24.19%)
21. Doom Patrol (Morrison) (32, 8, 24.02%)
22. Miracleman (Moore) (38, 6, 23.62%)
23. Gotham Central (30, 8, 23.53%)
24. Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez) (14, 13, 23.21%)
25. Thor (Simonson) (10, 16, 22.82%)
26. Flash (Waid) (36, 6, 22.81%)
27. Swamp Thing (Moore) (3, 27, 22.80%)
28. Thor (Lee/Kirby) (98, 2, 22.47%)
29. Superman (Byrne) (62, 3, 22.34%)
30. 100 Bullets (43, 5, 22.12%)
31. Green Lantern (Johns) (18, 11, 22.09%)
32. Runaways (Vaughan) (34, 6, 22.06%)
33. Sin City (92, 2, 20.83%)
34. Daredevil (Miller) (7, 17, 20.29%)
35. Invisibles (45, 4, 19.61%)
36. Detective Comics/Batman (Grant/Breyfogle) (58, 3, 19.48%)
37. Spectre (Ostrander/Mandrake) (57, 3, 19.35%)
38. Legion of Super-Heroes (Giffen/Bierbaums) (85, 2, 19.23%)
39. Incredible Hulk (David) (26, 7, 19.18%)
40. Daredevil (Brubaker/Lark) (82, 2, 18.69%)
41. Detective Comics (Englehart/Rogers) (55, 3, 18.63%)
42. Captain America (Brubaker) (22, 8, 17.98%)
43. Transmetropolitan (31, 6, 17.86%)
44. Avengers (Busiek/Perez) (29, 6, 17.5438596%)
44. Avengers (Stern) (42, 4, 17.5438596%)*
44. Fantastic Four/FF (Hickman) (52, 3, 17.5438596%)
47. Question (O’Neil/Cowan) (76, 2, 17.39%)
48. Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday) (21, 8, 17.28%)
49. Justice League (Giffen/DeMatteis) (20, 8, 16.88%)
50. Batman (Snyder/Capullo) (72, 2, 16.81%)
51. Planetary (19, 8, 16.36%)
52. X-Men (Morrison) (13, 9, 15.41%)
53. Animal Man (Morrison) (23, 6, 15.2671755%)
53. The Spirit (63, 2, 15.2671755%)
55. Scalped (33, 4, 13.84%)
56. Daredevil (Bendis/Maleev) (16, 7, 13.62%)
57. Punisher (Ennis) (25, 5, 13.16%)
58. Ultimate Spider-Man (17, 6, 11.98%)
59. JLA (Morrison) (12, 7, 11.53%)
60. Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Romita) (37, 3, 11.45%)
61. Fourth World (51, 2, 11.36%)
62. Fables (27, 4 11.17%)
63. X-Factor (2nd David) (95, 1, 10.87%)
64. Secret Six (94, 1, 10.64%)
65. X-Factor (1st David) (49, 2, 10.58%)
66. Fantastic Four (Byrne) (24, 4, 10.50%)
67. Acme Novelty (91, 1, 10.31%)
68. Chew (90, 1, 10.20%)
69. Astro City (48, 2, 10.10%)
70. Top 10 (84, 1, 9.52%)
71. Deadpool (Kelly) (80, 1, 9.01%)
72. Bone (41, 2, 8.70%)
73. Doctor Strange (Lee/Ditko) (74, 1, 8.55%)
74. Ultimates (35, 2, 7.55%)
75. Avengers (Bendis) (59, 1, 6.58%)
76. Suicide Squad (Ostrander) (56, 1, 6.33%)
77. Duck comics (54, 1, 5.99%)
78. Hitman (53, 1, 5.95%)
79. Amazing Spider-Man (Stern/Romita) (44, 1, 4.67%)
80. Walking Dead (28, 0, 0%)
80. Ex Machina (50, 0, 0%)
80. Iron Fist (Fraction/Brubaker/Aja) (61, 0, 0%)
80. Green Lantern/Green Arrow (64, 0, 0%)
80. Nextwave (65, 0, 0%)
80. Iron Man (Michelinie/Layton) (66, 0, 0%)
80. Authority (Ellis/Hitch) (68, 0, 0%)
80. Detective Comics/Batman (O’Neil/Adams) (69, 0, 0%)
80. Daredevil (Waid) (71, 0, 0%)
80. X-Force/X-Statix (73, 0, 0%)
80. Uncanny X-Force (78, 0, 0%)
80. Warlock (79, 0, 0%)
80. Criminal (81, 0, 0%)
80. Scott Pilgrim (86, 0, 0%)
80. Amazing Spider-Man (Slott) (87, 0, 0%)
80. Fantastic Four (Waid/Wieringo) (89, 0, 0%)
80. New Mutants (Clarmont) (93, 0, 0%)
80. Plastic Man (96, 0 0%)
80. Strangers in Paradise (97, 0, 0%)
80. Nick Fury (Steranko) (99, 0, 0%)
80. Eightball (100, 0, 0%)
* Yeah, it’s spooky – Busiek’s and Stern’s runs on Avengers got the same exact percentage of first place points to their total points. Hickman’s FF got the same exact percentage, but that’s not as spooky!
Obviously, some numbers jump out. Four years ago, Starman got the highest percentage of first-place votes, with 38% of its points coming from first-place votes. This time, both Cerebus and Lone Wolf and Cub got almost half their point totals from first-place votes, which is impressive. It’s easy to figure this out – the higher the percentage of first-place votes, the more likely the run is beloved by people who’ve read it but perhaps not enough people have read it. The top four in this list finished 46th, 83rd, 77th, and 40th, respectively, so it’s not like they were picking up a lot of votes … but they got a lot of first-place votes, so their percentages went way up. Of course, some runs are going to get a lot of first-place votes AND votes in general, because they’re well known and critically acclaimed, but it’s interesting how easily a run can catapult up this list even if not a lot of people vote for it. That’s why voting something #1 is important!
Now, here is the list, with the vote total for Sandman and how far behind each successive run is from the top and the one in front of it. That’s always fun!
Uncanny X-Men (Claremont/Byrne) (-142)
Swamp Thing (Moore) (-191; -49)
Fantastic Four (Lee/Kirby (-512; -321)
Y The Last Man (-520; -8)
Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Ditko) (-526; -6)
Daredevil (Miller) (-537; -11)
Batman (Morrison) (-545; -8)
Preacher (-583; -38)
Thor (Simonson) (-674; -91) ——> Only the Top 10 came within half of the points Sandman racked up!
Starman (Robinson) (-738, -64)
JLA (Morrison) (-768; -30)
X-Men (Morrison) (-791; -23)
Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez) (-815; -24)
Uncanny X-Men (Claremont) (-842, -27)
Daredevil (Bendis/Maleev) (-861, -19)
Ultimate Spider-Man (-874; -13)
Green Lantern (Johns) (-877, -3)
Planetary (-886; -9)
Justice League (Giffen/DeMatteis) (-901, -15)
Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday) (-912, -11)
Captain America (Brubaker) (-930, -18)
Animal Man (Morrison) (-982, -52)
Fantastic Four (Byrne) (-994, -12)
Punisher (Ennis) (-995, -1)
Incredible Hulk (David) (-1010, -15)
Fables (-1017, -7)
Walking Dead (-1024, -7)
Avengers (Busiek/Perez) (-1033, -9)
Gotham Central (-1035, -2)
Transmetropolitan (-1039, -4)
Doom Patrol (Morrison) (-1042, -3)
Scalped (-1086, -44)
Runaways (Vaughan) (-1103, -17)
Ultimates (-1110, -7)
Flash (Waid) (-1112, -2)
Amazing Spider-Man (Lee/Romita) (-1113, -1)
Miracleman (-1121, -8)
Hellboy (-1128, -7)
Love and Rockets (-1144, -16)
Bone (-1145, -1)
Avengers (Stern) (-1147, -2)
100 Bullets (-1149, -2)
Amazing Spider-Man (Stern/Romita) (-1161, -12)
Invisibles (-1171, -10)
Cerebus (-1172, -1)
Legion of Super-Heroes (-1174, -2)
Astro City (-1177, -3)
X-Factor (2nd David) (-1186, -9)
Ex Machina (-1191, -5)
Fourth World (-1199, -8)
Fantastic Four (Hickman) (-1204, -5)
Hitman (-1207, -3)
Duck comics (-1208, -1)
Detective Comics (Englehart/Rogers) (-1214, -6)
Suicide Squad (Ostrander (-1217, -3)
Spectre (-1220, -3)
Detective Comics/Batman (Grant/Breyfogle) (-1221, -1)
Avengers (Bendis) (-1223, -2)
Invincible (-1226, -3)
Iron Fist (Fraction/Brubaker/Aja) (-1232, -6)
Superman (Byrne) (-1241, -9)
Spirit (-1244, -3)
Green Lantern/Green Arrow (-1246, -2)
Nextwave (-1247, -1)
Iron Man (Michelinie/Layton) (-1250, -3)
Promethea (-1251, -1)
Authority (Ellis/Hitch) (-1252, -1)
Detective/Batman (O’Neil/Adams) (-1253, -1)
JSA (Johns (-1254, -1)
Daredevil (Waid) (-1255, -1)
Batman (Snyder/Capullo) (-1256, -1)
X-Force/X-Statix (-1257, -1)
Doctor Strange (Lee/Ditko) (-1258, -1)
Journey into Mystery (-1259, -1)
Question (O’Neil/Cowan) (-1260, -1)
G. I. Joe (Hama) (-1261, -1)
Uncanny X-Force (-1262, -1)
Warlock (-1263, -1)
Deadpool (Kelly) (-1264, -1)
Criminal (-1267, -3)
Daredevil (Brubaker/Lark) (-1268, -1)
Lone Wolf and Cub (-1269, -1)
Top 10 (-1270, -1)
Legion of Super-Heroes (Giffen/Bierbaums) (-1271, -1)
Scott Pilgrim (-1272, -1)
Amazing Spider-Man (-1273, -1)
Locke & Key (-1275, -2)
Fantastic Four (Waid/Wieringo) (-1276, -1)
Chew (-1277, -1)
Acme Novelty (-1278, -1)
Sin City (-1279, -1)
New Mutants (Claremont) (-1280, -1)
Secret Six (-1281, -1)
X-Factor (1st David) (-1283, -2)
Plastic Man (-1284, -1)
Strangers in Paradise (-1285, -1)
Thor (Lee/Kirby) (-1286, -1)
Nick Fury (-1291, -5)
Eightball (-1292, -1)
The difference between #1 and #100 is a bit larger this time around, although Sandman got more votes this time, so the #100 place didn’t get too many fewer votes. I do find it astonishing that there’s such a big gap between Moore’s Swamp Thing at #3 and Lee/Kirby’s Fantastic Four at #4, plus the fact that Y The Last Man almost finished in 4th place. That just blows my mind.
Finally, here are the runs that dropped off the list. This is all the work of our friend Lynxara, who I will link to more below!
#100: Doug Moench’s Master of Kung Fu (95 points)
#97: Matt Wagner’s Grendel (98 points)
#97: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo (98 points)
#93: Garth Ennis’s Hellblazer (101 points)
#93: Bendis/Gaydos’s Alias (101 points)
#91: Mike Grell’s Green Arrow (104 points)
#89: Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America (107 points)
#86: Roy Thomas’s Avengers (109 points)
#85: Aragones/Evanier’s Groo (110 points)
#83: Ellis’s Stormwatch (112 points)
#81: Brubaker/Phillips Sleeper (113 points)
#80: Carey/Gross/Kelly’s Lucifer (114 points)
#78: Casey’s Wildcats (117 points)
#76: Chadwick’s Concrete (120 points)
#74: Claremont/Davis’s Excalibur (122 points)
#73: Priest’s Black Panther (130 points)
#70: Bendis/Oeming Powers (134 points)
#67: Milligan’s Shade, the Changing Man (142 points)
#64: Moore/O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (148 points)
#56: Alan Moore’s Supreme (168 points)
#56: Johns’s Flash (168 points)
#53: Baron/Rude’s Nexus (174 points)
#41: Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck (218 points)
Most of these are fairly surprising, except maybe the ones right at the bottom. None of them seem like “flash-in-the-pan” runs, current when the first poll was done but no longer in the public consciousness. I mean, they’re all pretty old. I imagine that some of the runs are on this list right now because of movies (Avengers-related, Batman), but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong, just that they’re on people’s minds and something like, say, Black Panther isn’t. Beats me.
Anyway, if you’d like to know how the point totals and shifts in position stack up over four years ago, I will link to Lynxara’s comments, because why should I do the work when she already did? Here they are:
Phew! Well, that’s about all I got. I know, you want more!!!! As always, thanks to our Dread Lord and Master for running this thing – the dude has a job, you know, people, yet he indulges our obsession with list-making like a pro! It’s always cool to see people arguing over things in the comments sections, because that’s the whole point of a list like this! Let’s all do it again in four more years!
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