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The Iron Men of Comic Books!

With Robert Kirkman’s Invincible hitting #100 this week, we figured it would be an interesting idea to spotlight all the other comic book creators that had at least 100 issue long runs on North American comic book series.

The exact issue numbers really don’t matter (there’s a lot of “rough” estimates in the piece), but rather just spotlighting all the creators out there who have put in long runs on series (it certainly is tough to do).

Click here to read the article.

36 Comments

Now that is a cool feature. Well assembled!

Very cool article. Kahniger is truly THE Iron Man amongst Iron Men. That is a ton of titles that he had huge runs on.

Great fun, Brian I believe Cary Bates and his run on THE FLASH qualifies as well.

Good catch, Xum. Bates actually would make it on his Action Comics run, as well.

Oh yeah, good call– that was about 150 issues, something like that? And that’s not even including the Flash stories in Adventure Comics, DC Special, etc.

Another one I left off was Dick Ayers on Sgt. Fury.

Plus, as someone else noted, if you combine all his Conan work (Barbarian, Savage Sword, etc.) when he returned to writing Conan, then Roy Thomas could probably get on the list again.

That was a really great list. I hadn’t realized some people had been on those books that long. Dick Dillin especially surprised me.

Would John Ostrander’s GrimJack count? It’d be close, but if you count the Killer Instinct and Manx Cat mini-series IDW published (12 issues total), the Demon Knight graphic novel, and the back-up stories in Starslayer (7 or 8 issues), I think he just makes it. Guess it depends on whether the back-ups can count as a full issue.

what about Moench on Master Of Kung Fu / Shang Chi?

MOKF 20 – 63, 65 – 101, 103 – 120, 122
Giant Size MOKF 1-4
MOKF Annual 1
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu 3-9, 11 – 14, 16 – 18, 29, 33
Special Edition Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu 1

Instantly my minds goes to: C.C.Beck, Curt Swan, Dick Dillin, Wayne Boring/Al Plastino, and Dick Sprang/Jerry Robinson. Then comes Claremont, Baron/Rude, “Our Pal” Sal’s Hulk, Aragonés, Sims, Banks, and Dan DeCarlo’s Archie. But truly the one that most impresses me today is the length at which J.R.JR has been a part of the Spider-Man mythos. He’s been there for, like 25/30 years. While I can’t stand Klaus as his inker (his best Spidey issue {IMHO} was inked by his Iron Man cohort Bob Layton, featuring the Vulture) his continued association with the character is our generations pinnacle.
P.S. All that being said; the one that I have the most of in a row is Claremont followed by Larson’s Savage Dragon.

As far as I know, Lee Falk was writing the Phantom up until his final days. I’m sure if any Phantom phans read this, they could tell you exact numbers.

Great article! What about Bill Black on Fem Force?

We’re only talking North American comic books here. The Phantom never had a comic book here that lasted that long.

What about Peter David’s X-Factor? The last volume should definitely count.

Sorry half asleep and missed PAD’s mention. Just ignore my comment. :(

Irving Tripp Little Lulu
John Stanley Little Lulu

Great article! What about Bill Black on Fem Force?

Hmmm…it’s interesting. I definitely looked into Black for the piece but I didn’t put him on the list. So I think that he missed enough issues not to qualify, but it might also have been that I just forgot to follow up on it. I hope it is the former.

Damn, that’s cool. Nice work, Brian.

Here are my nitpicks ;)

If you’re counting Space Usagi for Usagi Yojimbo (and that’s questionable, the Space Usagi character is, I believe, a descendant of the Usagi Yojimbo we follow in that series), there were actually 3 3 issue minis — at least 1 from Mirage, at least 1 from Dark Horse, and I can’t remember which of those 2 companies did the other one. So that adds on another 6 issues if you count it, take away 3 if not.

And to be really anal, Gerhard was on 236 issues (all but the first 64).

Otherwise, awesome list. Just had to get my OCD worked out there ;) And is our friend Jones correct about Tripp and Stanley on Lulu?

Yeah, Tripp and Stanley are both correct. I actually had them on the list initially but while I was working out on an exact issue total for them, I must have forgotten to put them back on the final list.

The exact total is, I believe, a zillion issues, every one of them delightful. Stanley/Tripp 4EVA

I guess the Phantom more qualifies as a ongoing newspaper serial than as a published comic in the States.

Maybe a discussion about newspaper serials can be for another day.

Falk’s work on Phantom indeed counts more as newspaper serial, and on that field there are several really artists who worked on same title for decades (Mort Walker, Charles Schultz, Floyd Gottfredson…)

There are couple of other profilic Disney artists who made a considerable career in American comic books beside Barks, though they are less known. Tony Strobl and Paul Murry are first to to come to mind…

My “problem” with guys like Strobl is that I am unsure if they held to the same regularity as Barks. This is not just about volume, but also specifically adhering to a strict schedule for a long time. They very well could have, but I found it hard to demonstrate it either way, ya know? But yeah, I definitely considered the other Disney artists, Strobl especially. I guess I might as well count them, as the odds are that they did, in fact, never go more than three months between comics.

Yeah, several artists of the period probably had the volume but might be more irregular or have stints on strips, illustrations, animation… Strobl probably has the best claim for being “regular” but the info is not particularly easy to get, even from Inducks database…

What makes all of those long runs by Robert Kanigher even more impressive is that they were happening at pretty much the same time!

How long did Bob Haney write The Brave and the Bold? It seemed like he did the book from before I was born until I got out of high school.

@azjohnson5: I can’t agree more about JRJr. He’s one of my favorite artists, and I love Klaus Janson’s work, too, but together it is one of the worst penciler/inker pairings I’ve seen. It played a big part in my dropping Avengers after the last Bendis relaunch. Layton was his best inker, with Scott Hanna a close second for me.

Garth Ennis should get an honorable mention for writing approximately 115 issues of The Punisher, but he wouldn’t make the list for the somewhat scatter shot way they all came out.

I know it’s a bit nit-picky but aren’t some of those Conan issues reprints (at least 2 of those from savage sword)

How long did Bob Haney write The Brave and the Bold? It seemed like he did the book from before I was born until I got out of high school.

He had too many gaps. He just BARELY missed it.

That was an amazing article, Brian. Thank you so much for writing it.

Not a bad article, but could use some more research. A lot of those runs you have as consecutive had gaps you don’t list. In addition to some already mentioned, I know Sal Buscema’s HULK run had an issue by Ditko and and issue by Infantino in there, and Marv Wolfman had a few gaps in his run on NEW TITANS. And Robert Kanigher was the editor of all those early war comics, but didn’t always have a story he scripted in every issue, and he was off Haunted Tank in G.I. Combat for a year that Archie Goodwin wrote, although he had back-up stories in a few of those issues. And I’m not sure why you stopped counting Kanigher’s OUR FIGHTING FORCES run at #104. He was on that until #150, then Jack Kirby took over for a year, then Kanigher did another 19 issues after Kirby left.

And if you applied the same standard to Kanigher as you do to everyone else on the 300+ side of the list, and just list “The DC War books, 1952-1988″, he’d probably come in over 1000.

Speaking of which, one you can add, Sam Glanzman, he had at least one story, sometimes more, in every issue of G.I. COMBAT from #150 to #288, except for one issue where the Haunted Tank story was a reprint.

Also, Dennis O’Neil wrote every issue of AZRAEL, #1 to #100, plus three Annuals, a “One Million” issue, and two one-shots, AZRAEL PLUS and AZRAEL/ASH.

And I’d have to check, but the Carl Barks number seems a bit high, I think you’re counting individual stories, not issues, including single page stories. By those standards, those Archie guys would be up in the thousands easy.

And the Curt Swan number seems low. I’m sure you’d get up well over 500 just with the main titles, SUPERMAN, ACTION, JIMMY OLSEN and LOIS LANE, never mind the Superboy/Legion stories and Superman/Batman team-ups.

As the article notes, creators were allowed gaps as large as three months off of the book while still counting as consecutive.

Also, back-up features count. They’re a story in the issue, so of course they’d count.

If we went by Barks’ stories alone, he’d likely hit the thousands. Heck, if we went by stories, Frank Doyle would likely hit the 10,000 figure. But I think the number is accurate for how many comic books Barks’ stories appeared in.

But good calls on the Glanzman and O’Neil bits! It’s weird, because I actually specifically checked Glanzman, but I guessed I thought he missed too many G.I. Combats (but he didn’t).

Unless I missed him, I suggest Kurt Schaffenberger on Lois Lane, but I don’t know how many gaps he has. I’d forgotten about his being fired for union activity.

Schaffenberger never made it on Lois Lane due to gaps.

While I understand why it isn’t really reflected in the list in this manner, I think the greatest “Iron Man” achievement in comics is the totality of Chris Claremont’s mutant work from 1975-1991, where he was often writing 3 or more mutant titles and tie-ins per month. By my best count, he wrote 384 individual comics during that span that featured the mutant canon, which are:

Avengers Annual 10
Classic X-Men 1-17, 19, 21, 23-24, 41-43 (new Claremont written back-ups)
Excalibur Special Edition, 1-19, 21-25, 27, 32-34, 36, Mojo Mayhem
Fantastic Four Giant Size 4, vs. X-Men 1-4
Iron Fist 15 (the only issue in the run that featured the X-Men)
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine 1-6
Magik 1-4
Marvel Comics Presents 1-10
Marvel Fanfare 1-4, 33, 40
Marvel Team-Up 65-66, 69, 89, 100, Annual 1 (the mutant relevant issues of the run)
Ms. Marvel 18
New Mutants Graphic Novel, 1-54, 81, Annual 1-3, Special Edition
Spider-Woman 37-38, 42-43 (the mutant relevant issues of the run)
Uncanny X-Men 94-279, Annual 3-12, 14
Wolverine 1-4 (mini series), 1-8, 10
X-Factor 65-68
X-Men God Love Man Kills, /New Teen Titans, /Alpha Flight 1-2, /Micronauts 1-4, (2nd series) 1-3

It really is pretty astonishing when you think about how he took a book being published bi-monthly, and over the next 15 years of writing those characters virtually by himself, he transformed it into an empire that was supporting 6 monthly titles at the time he left, and probably over a dozen now. So it’s not just the streak of how long he kept it up, but also the degree to which he raised the profile of what he was working on.

And on the list you’ve created, the number 384 would place Claremont #1 of the Big Two Iron Man achievements. Which I think is where it belongs.

But man, this list was great fun to look at and learn from. Good job Brian.

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