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The Greatest Brian K. Vaughan Stories Ever Told!

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Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Brian K. Vaughan Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

10. Escapists #1-6

This sort of sequel to Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay tells the story of a young man who buys the rights to his dead father’s favorite comic book character, The Escapist (the comic book character created in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay). He and his friends set off to relaunch the hero for a new generation. One of the creators dresses up as the Escapist for a publicity stunt. Things look great but then begin to fall apart. The whole thing sort of ends on what seems to be Brian K. Vaughan’s current mission statement – it is fine to want to honor the heroes you grew up with, but it is better to do NEW things on your own. There are a variety of artists on the series (especially since we see the comic as they are drawing it as well as their “real life” adventures). Jason Shawn Alexander, Steve Rolston, Philip Bond and Eduardo Barreto all worked on the book’s art.

9. “Pride and Joy” Runaways Volume 1 #1-6

Along with penciler Adrian Alphona, inker Craig Yeung and colorist Christina Strain, Brian K. Vaughan introduced a fascinating group of young heroes. The heroes of the Runaways are all the sons and daughters of a group of Los Angeles-based super criminals known as the Pride (their kids don’t know this, of course). The parents get together once a year (ostensibly for a charity event) and when they do, their kids awkwardly hang out with each other. This year, though, they discover their parents murdering an innocent girl as part of a yearly sacrifice to some ancient gods. The kids go on the run (hence Runaways), each taking with them some aspect of their parents’ abilities (for one, futuristic technology, for another, alien abilities, for another, mutant powers, for another, magic powers and for another, a sharp tactical mind). They decided to band together to take their parents down and perhaps do a little good as well along the way.

8. “Oath” Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-5

This series, drawn impeccably by the brilliant Marcos Martin (with inks by Alvaro Lopez), helped in a many ways to set up Doctor Strange for his inclusion in Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers. The series introduces a new take on the Night Nurse character, this time as an underground medic of sorts for superheroes.

7. Saga #1-6

Saga is the tale of Alana and Marko, two young people from warring planets (well, one is a moon) who have fallen in love and have now had a child. They and their offspring are hunted by both sides of the war. Vaughan and the excellent series artist Fiona Staples populate the world of Saga with a variety of fascinating characters. Most notable are the the bounty hunters hunting down Alana and Marko. Some of the most striking aspects of the series come from the bounty hunter known as The Will, who is accompanied by a Lying Cat, a cat who can tell if you are lying. The Will is not a good man, but he is also driven by a certain code of honor that comes up in a bizarre fashion while on a pleasure planet. The Will has had his heart broken by a fellow bounty hunter and their interaction is fascinating in how it drives him.

This is a great, character-driven series filled with action and adventure.

6. “Unmanned” Y The Last Man #1-5

This is the introduction to the world of Y the Last Man, as one day, all male animals on Earth die except for a young man and the helper monkey that he is training. Vaughan and co-creator and penciler Pia Guerra (with inks by Jose Marzan Jr.) quickly adapt us to this new world, where young Yorick teams up with a government agent and a scientist to hopefully find a cure for the death of all men on Earth. Their journey is a complex and intriguing look at a dramatically changed American landscape.

The top five is on the next page!

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14 Comments

Oz the Malefic

April 6, 2013 at 12:52 am

The final issue of Y didn’t happen in the same way that the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark” didn’t happen

Nope, never occurred, never ripped my heart out.

Dammit.

I hear ye oz, but i always read those pages because while its so painful to read it speaks to the strength of the characters. Considering everything that happens in those final issues it really could’ve killed the enjoyment of the series, but due to the amazing ability of bkv and pia guerra and the whole team it pulled you into a world that could’ve so easily in lesser hands become a string of sex puns and terribly road warrior rips and instead makes you’re heart hurt every time a character leaves the story. Like remember the ending to the talk between Yorick and 355 in the final collection, or how the whole reason for his trek just loses its legs, etc. Even the more minor characters that pop in for an arc or two stay with you in this series.

And thx for bringing up Jurassic Bark….i’m crying now…..about two things.
I’ll say exactly what i said when i read those pages in issues 60 “damn you BKV, damn you”.

joe the poor speller

April 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

good list. I would like to see more ex machina (bkv’s best work, in my opinion), though. glad to see pride of baghadad that high (love that one) and also the oath (hope we will see this one on the dr. strange list too… great, fun story).

Still haven’t picked up Pride of Baghdad, and now I have to add that Dr. Stranger series to my want list. I’ve been picking up Runaways when I can find them cheap, but I don’t think I have more than two consecutive issues yet.

Wish I’d had more time to put my top 10 list together, but everything I like is pretty well represented here. I completely forgot he wrote The Escapists, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Glad to see Ex Machina get some love. I just reread the whole thing a few months ago and I still enjoy it.

It might be time to revisit Y, despite the emotional roller coaster it can be. BKV has a Whedonesque habit of making you emotionally invested in a character and then taking them away. And I’m not just talking about the final issue. The whole thing with 355 just galls me, even though it worked well in the story.

Since it was brought up, Futurama has some great tearjerker episodes for just being a stupid scifi cartoon. Bender’s Big Score has some great moments, maybe not on the level of Jurassic Bark, but awfully close.

Brian K. Vaughn’s Runaways might (very big might) be my favorite in continuity superhero run from either of the Big 2. I love all of his work, but it seems that Runaways was tailor made for me in mind. Speaking of Vaughn’s tendency to kill off beloved characters, the death of my favorite character near the end of volume 2 absolutely destroyed me. Those who’ve read it know who I’m talking about.

And talking about crushing Futurama episodes, my pick would be “Luck of the Fryish”, which sheds new light on
Fry’s older brother Yancy and forces you to reexamine how you listen to that song from the Breakfast Club.

BKV is on a very short list of creators who get my money, no questions asked.

Disappointed that there is only one entry for ex-machina
Presumably due to the number of stories to vote on and the competition from other series (with Swamp Thing not making it)

I can NEVER see “Jurrasic Bark” again.
Just THINKING about it breaks my heart.

Dammit… my eyes really are misting up RIGHT NOW just THINKING about it.

damn

Craig Forshaw

April 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

The best ‘Runaways’ story was the one that introduced Victor, because, as it came out month-by-month, the misdirection of who his father was ended up being absolutely brilliant. Plus, that battle with the Wrecking Crew, future Gert’, Chase’s misuse of the word “gay” – it was the best #1 in recent memory. Then, the bit where Chase and Gert’ just accept that Victor’s dad was going to kill them… Heartbreaking.

“And talking about crushing Futurama episodes, my pick would be “Luck of the Fryish”, which sheds new light on Fry’s older brother Yancy and forces you to reexamine how you listen to that song from the Breakfast Club.”

That is THE most dramatic Futurama episode. And indeed I never listened that song the same way.

following on from my earlier comment I’ll admit I didn’t vote for his Swamp Thing but did vote for his first Mystique story

SPOILERS FOR Y THE LAST MAN
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I was sadder when Ampersand died than when 355 did.

Travis Stephens

April 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Joshschr

Futurama is way more than a stupid sci-fi cartoon.

The last issue of Y is such a reminder of Jurassic Bark and its “right thing/wrong reason” motif.

Saga number one, hands down. BKV also did a nice Tom Strong story that paid homage to Alan Moore’s run on Marvelman/Miracleman, if anyone cares?

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