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CSBG Archive

2013 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #65-61

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62. “Safeword” by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan Jr. (Y: The Last Man #18-20) – 161 points (2 first place votes)

In this storyline, Yorick (the titular “last man” on Earth) is tortured by an associate of his bodyguard/traveling companion, Agent 355. The associate, Agent 711, reads 355’s journals of their travels so far and determines that Yorick is suicidal, so she basically does an intervention for him – although to him, it appears to be torture. What is striking about this storyline is that Vaughan really turns the book on its end a bit, by having Yorick almost be re-envisioned. He had always been a wiseass, and that had been seen as part of his charm, but in this story, Vaughan’s strips him of this defense mechanism in a highly abrupt fashion. By tearing down the character, Vaughan allowed him to grow as a character. It’s really quite striking work.

This story also has probably the most memorable moment of the entire Y the Last Man series, the famous scene where Yorick tells of his first sexual encounter with a member of the opposite sex.

Penciler Pia Guerra and inker Jose Marzan Jr. do a bang-up job on the art for the arc.

61. “The Great Cow Race” by Jeff Smith (Bone #7-11) – 163 points (2 first place votes)

If you were going to pick one Bone storyline to represent the series, The Great Cow Race is a great one to pick, which is helpful, because it is the only Bone storyline on the list!

This story, which is the second story arc in Jeff Smith’s acclaimed series, gives you a quick and telling introduction to the world of the Bones.

Our hero, Fone Bone, is his traditional heroic and love-sick self. The greedy Phoney Bone has cajoled the dim-witted Smiley Bone into another one of Phoney’s hare-brained ideas – disguise themselves as cows and win the Great Cow Race against Gran’ma Ben!

(I used the more recent color version instead of the original black and white version)

The Great Cow Race itself shows readers the wacky nature of the valley folk, and the irascible nature of Gran’ma Ben (the lady races cows, for crying out loud!!!).

At the same time, there is a dark side, too, and we see that through the rat creatures and through some new details about Thorn, the love of Fone Bone’s life.

This is a fun, engaging story arc with great Smith art – a real winner.

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57 Comments

Wow. I didn’t expect to see Tower of Babel on this list, as it made my top 10 (2 so far, 2 stories others from the same series). I am a big fan of Waid’s run and this is a brilliant arc.
Dangerous Habits is a great storyline.
Wolverine I’m not as big a fan of as most people but I still find it enjoyable.
Surprised to see this Y story in. Not a fan of any of the series.
Never read Bone, it doesn’t seem like my thing to be honest. It’s rare for me to enjoy .

The Crazed Spruce

November 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

The only one here I’ve read is “Tower of Babel”. It made my short list, but not my top 25.

Did not expect a Waid JLA story to get ahead of those two Morrison ones. That’s a nice upset. I’ve been meaning to read this arc for years and this gives me all the more incentive.

Funny we haven’t seen any Claremont or Ennis up till now (we’ll be seeing much more, no doubt). Both their stories listed here are classics.

Don’t have any huge excitement over the Bone and Y entries, but both stories were enjoyable.

Great list so far!

The Crazed Spruce

November 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Oh, bee tee dubbaya….

Dangerous Habits fell from 38 to 64
The Great Cow Race rose from 94 to 61

Tower of Babel, the Wolverine mini, and Safeword are all new to the list. (I’m as shocked as you!)

Two out of ten so far, and I expect I’ll get at least 6 more by the time the list is done.

nice been waiting for dangerous habbits to pop up here on the list for it proved that Consitine is so good a con man that he can ever out smart the devil himself. and tower of babel interesting for grant takes batman practicing the keep my friends close thing to a new level with his plans to take down other heroes. and not telling them

So far the only thing on the master list that I haven’t read was that Locke and Key story. That’s just crazy. I feel so well informed!

WOW! @ Tower of Babel coming in higher than Rock of Ages! Never expected that.

Never like Constantine and absolutely HATED that arc.

Y: The Last Man is the most overrated comic of all time. Didn’t like that arc or any of the others at all.

Wolverine is one of the best stories ever told with the character. And Bone isn’t really my kind of thing, but for what it was Smith did a bag up job on the book and on that story in particular. If it had maintained the style of that single arc instead of going full Tolkien after that it would have been one of the top titles of the 90s AFAIC.

Tower of Babel was as good as most of the Morrison run (I put Earth 2 and Rock of Ages above ToB, but those are my 2 favorite Justice League stories of all time). Waid’s ideas were fantastic. Porter & Dell gave the story the proper amount of adrenalin.

The Wolverine mini has been copied to bits, blunting the effect of the original story. It’s better than most Wolverine solo comics, but it feels almost generic now (through no fault of its own).

Safeword was one of two highlights of Y. It was more daring and shocking than anything else the series had offered. It’s not the most comfortable read, but it is compelling.

Dangerous Habits was a blast. It was the first full-length Hellblazer story I’d read and it made me an instant fan. I found the rest of Ennis’s run hit or miss, but DH was suitably horrific, funny, and touching.

Great Cow Race was the highlight of Bone. The rest of the series was pretty good (and expertly drawn), but GCR was the most fun part of the story.

Good stuff. “Babel” was a great way for Waid to show he could fill Morrison’s shoes, and “Bone” (the series as a whole) is one of my favorite things I’ve ever read. Not just in comics, but in written work period.

I personally voted for Crown of Thorns to represent Bone, but I’m glad to see the sole storyline selected jump so high.

Great bow Y. The scene with the paper full of flies for some reason left me perplexed when I first read it.

Still nothing from my list has shown up. Kind of surprised by that.

I liked Waid’s JLA run more than Morrison’s, and Tower of Babel is probably my favorite story from that. Nice to see it make the list.

What I’ve read of Bone I really like, but haven’t read this story. I need to get the huge One Volume edition and just read the whole series.

I really liked Y as a whole, but didn’t vote for any of the storylines. This was a good one. Although personally I wouldn’t consider that scene one of the more famous moments from the series. I had actually forgotten about it until seeing it again. But maybe it’s better remembered by everyone else.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Wolverine mini, despite being a huge fan at the time of both Claremont and Miller. For some reason it just didn’t do it for me.

Hah! A bit jarring. From flies on sperm and bondage and “Why don’t you have sex with me” to Bone and a cow race. I really do love comics.

Dangerous Habits almost made my list, but I dropped it because I already had the finale, “A Rake at the Gates of Hell”. As wonderful as Dangerous Habits is I have a thing for endings, and no one writes an ending like Ennis. All the little things he introduced in his run all came together for that final great battle against the First of the Fallen. Plus, as much as I love Will Simpson, Ennis and Dillon make such an amazing team that they are the only ones to get two spots on my list.

Nothing from my list time.

I’ve never read Y or Bone (although I’m starting to think maybe I should). If I’d gone for a Hellblazer, it probably would have been Dangerous Habits. I consider Wolverine to the most overrated character of all time, and nothing involving him would ever make my list.

I am also shocked Wolverine didn’t make the last list.

Once again all great stories. Once again nothing I voted for, or even came close to. Wolverine was considered.

I read all of these except Wolverine, which is fine, because I don’t like Claremnot.
Tower of Babel is as bad as the rest of that series.
Dangerous Habits is a nice story (well, sort of nice).
You can write me in the “I hate Y” camp. This series is just so infantile. I’m disappointed to see a second story line of this series.
The Great Cow Race is a lot of fun (I know, this is a strange thing to say just after I called Y infantile…)

Oh Constantine you super cool brit…’ELLO LUV, a pint please! Goddamn that gotta be the most annoying character ever conceived.

And the story itself? Tricks the devil, take 1222234332. I remember Ennis mentioning that his Hellblazer run was one of the weaker things he’s done. I agree.

I’ve read and love all five of these. I voted for Wolverine and Dangerous Habits made my list of 25 candidates but got knocked off. Y and Bone are two of my favorite series, but I didn’t consider voting for any of their stories in this poll because in both cases I feel like the series works better as a whole than it does broken up into elements. But I do think Safeword is one of the strongest parts of Y, and Bone #10 (the actual Cow Race issue) is a strong contender for single funniest comic I’ve ever read. And Tower of Babel is just a really well-done Justice League story, easily one of the best of that run.

I am really happy Wolverine made it here. I thought the first list in ’09 had a handful of really bizarre omissions, with Wolverine, Squadron Supreme, Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle, and Swamp Thing: Anatomy Lesson among them. I’m really happy three of those four have already shown up here, and I hope Demon in a Bottle is still coming. I think Wolverine is a masterpiece of character work within mainstream super-hero comics, and the way Miller structured the story visually–mostly vertical panels and page designs except for the fight scenes that utilized long horizontal panels, lots of negative space in the corners of pages–was quite striking and maybe even more cinematic than his Daredevil work. Just incredible story-telling. And I mentioned this in my comment from yesterday’s post, but thematically, the Wolverine mini-series and the Swamp Thing: Woodrue story are very similar. Both are four part stories that begin with tearing down the main character and making him believe himself to be nothing more than a mindless beast, a shell of a man. And by the end of the story, the main character has reached a level of peace with who he is that he never had before. They’re both really rich works that never get old or feel dated. And as others have pointed out, virtually every Wolverine story since this one has mimicked it in some way.

It’s funny, with the Bone sample pages, I didn’t even notice they were the color versions (which I’ve never seen before) until it was mentioned. Brian- just out of curiosity, why did you go with the color pages? And for anyone out there that has read the series in both black & white and color, are the experiences any different? Does the color add anything or change anything?

I really wish DC would put out Dangerous Habits in hardcover. It’s one of the stories I most want in that format, along with X-Men: From the Ashes, Flash: Return of Barry Allen, and Sienkiewicz’s New Mutants run.

In regards to the colorization of Bone, I think it would only add to the book. I have only read the series in Black and White and I remember thinking that it would help the book if it was in color and a lot of the books I read are black and white (like Love & Rockets, which I would not like in color.)

Any thoughts from anyone who has read both versions?

It’s always surprised me I don’t enjoy Bone more, though that’s definitely more about my taste than the story.
Rock of Ages is a reasonable way for Batman to take out the team, which makes it better than most of Morrison’s Bat-god approach.
Hellblazer rarely works for me–Constantine’s personality works fine when he’s a supporting character but he gets annoying fast in a lead role.

Haven’t read Tower of Babel. I’d be surprised if I like it more than Morrison, but Waid is very good.

Despite being a big fan of Ennis’s stuff, I still haven’t read Dangerous Habits (or any of his Hellblazer work). It is, of course, on the to-read list. Then again, I’ve never read Hitman either, beyond the first trade.

The Wolverine mini is fairly low down my to-read list. I’m sure I’d like it, but it just seems that it might seem dated, especially given how often it’s been riffed on and used for material. Doesn’t mean it’s not good though.

Safeword is the only one of this lot I’ve read (I know, I have a lot of catching up to do), and it’s my favourite part of Y so far (I’m about halfway through the series. Really great stuff from Vaughan and co. I was very impressed and thought it was quite a step up from the earlier issues, though they were also good.

I have the one-volume edition of Bone on my wish list. Starting to think I should maybe just get the colour trade of The Great Cow race and see how I like it.

Tower of Babel, such a fantastic story! Waid really did make it seem like JLA had a chance to be good once Morrison left. Once Waid left, the title drifted hard.

Dangerous Habits is still the only Hellblazer I have read. From what I heard, few other of his stories even come close.

That original and very first X-Mini, still holds up. In Wolverine, we get Claremont working with Miller, it is a shame the two didn’t do more. Fourth issue is my favorite. Rubinstein is amazing as well.

The Great Cow Race was my first exposure to Bone. Then I waited until that glorious hardbound tome came out. I sort of like later Bone, more than the earlier work. Especially with Bartley shows up. I love that little critter and his friend. Surprised they haven’t made plushes of them yet.

How Dangerous Habits has fallen from grace from 38. That’s one of my 10 down.

Loved Bone and agree that The Great Cow Race was the pinnacle of the series. The original Wolverine series is one of his best stories to date in my opinion, could be due to over exposure of the character though. However, I’ve never seen the attraction in Y: The last Man or Hellblazer.

@Third Man — And for anyone out there that has read the series in both black & white and color, are the experiences any different? Does the color add anything or change anything?

I read Bone as it was coming out and bought most of the issues during their first print run. I saw the colored version several years later and was never fazed by it in the slightest. The people who complain are just being purists for the sake of being purists. The coloring works just fine. If anything, I’d actually recommend the colored version to someone who was new to the series.

Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who usually HATES “modified” versions of older comics. The recolored version of The Killing Joke absolutely drives me up a wall every time I see it to this day (just to give an example). But Bone was different. The colorized version looks EXACTLY like the characters/setting did on the covers of the original issues, so it still feels very “authentic” to the original material.

“Tower of Babel” was one of the stories I really wish they would’ve gotten to on “Justice League Unlimited”. I admit it might have retread a bit of the ground covered by “Starcrossed” and Hawkgirl’s betrayal, but since Hawkgirl redeemed herself near the end of “JLU”, it would have been a good reversal to have her in the right and Batman in the wrong.

Got to read Bone one of these days….

Nothing from my list made it this time. No surprise, but I’m beginning to give up on the storylines I thought had a borderline chance of making it.

It’s nice to see from the comments here that Y isn’t as universally loved as the comics blogs make it seem. Don’t get me wrong, I read and enjoyed the series. I thought it was mostly very well done, but Vaughan does have some really annoying writing habits too and the preachy message stuff and the numerous cop outs got old.

Tower of Babel was terrible. It is the epitome of the problem with modern “Batgod” stories. In order to pretend that Batman is truly a credible threat to all these demigods, you have to make everyone else so stupid or incompetent that it does more to hurt the other characters than it does to elevate Batman. It was the start of a really bad DC trend, and something that has escalated even into some of its better stories and adaptations, like when in the excellent cartoon Young Justice we have to be treated to a scene of Black Canary pwning Superboy with ease.

DC has become obsessed with something called the “Cult of the Nonpowered.” They try so hard to prove to readers that nonpowered entities have a place among demigods that the tide has so shifted in the opposite direction that now superpowered people are actually underdogs. Nowadays rooting for Superman to beat Batman is actually rooting for the underdog. How backwards is that? A perfect example of the terrible stories the “Cult of the Nonpowered” mindset leads to is the Deathstroke vs. JLA fight in Identity Crisis. Not only is everyone acting incredibly stupid in order to make the nonpowered Deathstroke seem like a credible threat, the JLAers who do the best against Deathstroke tend to be the least powered ones.

It’s a problem that existed before Tower of Babel, but Tower of Babel pushed it to ridiculous levels and set a new precedent.

I came to the comments section hoping to find more than a personal taste, “I like” or “didn’t like”. I’d like to know why you liked it and those that didn’t like it, why not. I’d love to see some intelligent debate going on. Personally I find this list very weak and I would love to hear arguments so compelling that I am forced to change my mind.

I read Dangerous Habits recently because I wanted to find out about and get into the whole Constantine thing and I have read that it was his best story. Well if this is the best that he’s got I really hate to see the rest. The writing was really weak and uncompelling. I had to force my way through the book and the artwork is dull. Just look at that bland color scheme. You might as well leave it black and white and the art work is adequate at best. The only thing which distinguishes this story from any other story is the mildly humorous and clever ending. I just wish that Ennis wrote made the story a two parter, setting it up in the first issue and giving the pay off in the second, then I would have been spared the boring middle.

Y is another series I have a problem with but it seems like I’m the only one because all I ever hear about it is raves. So please educate me to what you see that I am not seeing. Convince me that it is one of the greatest works that was ever written. Lets see some critical talk about these “greatest” comics and some lively intelligent debate. “I read this” or “I love this” is not an intelligent or critical argument.

Dangerous Habits was a mighty fine story :D

“Y is another series I have a problem with but it seems like I’m the only one because all I ever hear about it is raves.”

Maybe read the comments before you make snide comments, Thomas, as numerous other people in the thread have said they disliked Y (many of them have even explained why they don’t like it). I personally am enjoying the series. But I certainly don’t need to justify myself to you.

@ Thomas Morrison,

“Lets see some critical talk about these ‘greatest’ comics and some lively intelligent debate. ‘I read this’ or ‘I love this’ is not an intelligent or critical argument.”

I get what you’re saying, but this is a fans’ favorites poll. While such debate might be welcome *, I would be surprised if most commenters were coming to a CSBG in order to dissect each individual story. Some of the columnists here will blog about a single work or run (see Greg Burgas’s Comics You Should Own) but the countdowns are pretty much for fun.

There are plenty of people who go the extra mile and explain their positions (see T.’s comments above, almost anything posted by Omar Karindu), so you might be able to find what you’re looking for.

Hopefully, some other commenters will take up your challenge.

* of course, some people can’t handle honest, intelligent debate and we end up in a quagmire of immaturity. Most people who post here aren’t like that, thankfully, but it’s happened.

I’ll admit I don’t post anything on here to persuade anyone, or expect to be persuaded by anyone. These lists are mostly fun nostalgia trips…as are most of my selections. I picked favourite comics because of the way they made me feel when I read them. Most of them involve superheroes, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who didn’t already like superheroes.

On the other hand, I think Scalped is the best comic I’ve discovered in the past year, and I would recommend it to any fan of serious drama. But it’s not on my list, partly ’cause it’s hard to break down into storylines, but mainly because my heart turns back to those books read during impressionable youth that still hold a magic thrill that I wouldn’t assume other people would share (although I’m sure a lot of people did, as the top 20 of this list will probably attest. I guess I am assuming a little bit).

Having said all that, I like reading the debates, too, and think posters like Omar give very interesting analyses. But I’m also all for the “I love this story”-type posts, too.

Bone is a great comic. It also seems to be one of the few black and white comics that looks good colored. I usually hate colored comics that have been made uncolored (like Essentials and Showcase) and vice versa. I also usually hate modern recolorings of work that was colored in the past (the new Rocketeer, the Tales of Asgard trades). But in Bone’s case it really seems to work.

@Thomas Morrison

I think the intelligent arguments are here if you look for them, they’re just not going to be found in every comment. I don’t agree with T.’s thoughts on Tower of Babel, but he certainly made an intelligent argument that looks at serious aspects of the work, and he did a god job making his points. I’d like to believe I did the same thing in my post about what I love about Wolverine, and in a comment a few days ago I tried to clearly reason why I didn’t think Saga or Knightfall belonged on the list.

The other thing you have to understand is that this blog has a large group of commenters that have been weighing in regularly for a very long time, and we sort of feel like we “know” each other at this point. People like myself, T., Travis Pelkie, Omar Karindu, Buttler, Jazzbo, John King, and several others. So we are often interested in just hearing what one another has read and liked.

To be honest, I read so many comics and books that most of the time I don’t remember a lot of details about them afterwards. Usually just if I liked them or not and maybe a key moment or two. So for most of these that I’ve read I couldn’t add much more than “Liked it” or “Didn’t like it” if I wanted to. I do appreciate the comments from the people that do go more in depth than that. Although I certainly don’t expect it from a list that’s essentially a popularity poll. Thomas Morrison seems to be wanting detailed reviews on each entry, which seems a bit unrealistic. I think most people are just here to see what made the list, and share what their impressions are of the list.

All of which is basically just a long-winded way of me saying “What Third Man said.”

I think I may have come off a bit harsh (and possibly whiny) in my previous post, and the above posters put it better than me.

If people want to critically analyse a work in their comments, that’s great. And some write excellent, insightful comments (as others have noted, Omar in particular has serious chops).

On the whole though, I think Brian’s descriptions, along with the scans he uploads, should be enough for anyone to decide whether they want to try something they haven’t read. If not, there are plenty of comments and reviews out there.

If someone wants to pop up to say how much they enjoy a series and how glad they are it ranks, they’re under no obligation to do any more (though I personally think people should offer more when they are negative – saying “that sucks” is just rude – but that’s my view).

No one needs to “educate” you on why you should like something you don’t. You’re free to like or dislike what you want. I personally don’t see how people can rank something like The Ultimates in their top 10, as I personally find it quite shallow and cynical, though fairly entertaining. But that’s my opinion, and if someone really enjoyed it that much, good for them.

If I’ve read something and I’m not really feeling it, I don’t believe I need someone to tell me why I should actually like it. Surely you know what you like, and don’t feel the need to whip out a critical analysis to justify why you like it? Of course, if you want to share thoughts you’ve had about a storyline, that’s cool too.

Yay for Tower of Babel and Dangerous Habits. They’re great. The Great Cow Race is good too, but I prefer the later darker Bone.

Safeword – like all of Y – was merely okay.

I know the Wolverine mini is officially a ‘classic’ but all I can see is the blandest art of Frank Miller’s career to go with Chris Claremont’s writing which does nothing for me. I have no idea why anyone likes this story.

I really need to read Y; I quite enjoy what I’ve read of Vaughan’s previous works. I actually quite like the way that Yorick loses his virginity is depicted; it feels realistic and I like the use of photographs to show it happening.

I have yet to read any of these so I’m only going by Brian’s sample scans and your noting your comments.

Mark Waid writes a mean JLA. I like his work, so it’s very likely that I’ll get Tower of Babel on trade form.

I’ve never been into Vertigo but having viewed bits and pieces of Dangerous Habits, I can see why cancelling Hellblazer and folding him back into the DCU would piss off longtime readers.

Safeword… Same deal as with DH. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen that sequence. Looks interesting but I don’t think I’ll get ever around to actually reading the series.

I got burned out on Wolverine in the late 80’s. The ’82 mini is a classic for him from what I’ve read. I respect it but am not crazy about the actual character.

Bone always reminded me of Carl Barks. It has that quality about itself but unlike the Ducks, it does absolutely nothing for me.

I do believe the JLA big trade volume 4 just came out this week, with both WW3 and Tower of Babel in it.

Terror Incognita came in-between WW3 and Tower of Babel so either that’s a really big TPB – or it skips issues – or it doesn’t have both WW3 and Tower of Babel in. Or I’m talking crap.

It was quite odd that the Wolverine mini-series didn’t make the list four years ago. I’m not the biggest Logan fan; I dig him well enough, but that story was fantastic. It was integral to the character we know today and holds up like it was published just yesterday.

I wonder if the X-men stories list and the X-Men Spinoff stories list that were done recently have anything to do with WOlverine placing this time around and not last. That might have been enough to put it in the front of people’s minds and get the votes it needed to make the list.

Nice to see “Dangerous Habits” on here, even though it’s slipped. I first read that story when I was 19, and it immediately made John Constantine one of my favorite characters. I’d been vaguely aware of who he was before that, but DH was the first of his stories that I actually read. It remains my favorite Constantine story to this day. That said, I still didn’t vote for it, though it was on my short list.

I actually just read the Wolverine miniseries for the first time about a month and a half ago. It was one of those things I’d always intended to read, but never gotten around to. Overuse of the character and the tropes established in that series have certainly dulled its impact, but it holds up very well all the same. Wolverine has never been one of my favorite characters, but that is an expertly-crafted series through and through.

“Tower of Babel” is another on my shortlist that didn’t make my top ten. It’s a great story, and one of the rare instances where a DC animated adaptation did not improve on the source material. (“JL: Doom” was only loosely based on ToB, true, but its influence is strong.)

I can’t think of a better storyline to serve as a “Bone” sampler. I had a hell of a time trying to keep up with this series during the ’90s for various reasons, so my collection of it was full of holes. Incidentally, “The Great Cow Race” was the only complete story arc I had. I love it to pieces. (Again, though, it didn’t quite make my top ten.) For anyone who has yet to read it, get the one volume edition. It’s one of the best bargains you’re likely to find.

“Y: The Last Man” was a decent series. I think it’s overrated, but I certainly don’t begrudge people having their own favorites. I really don’t get why some people take it as a personal offense when others dare to vote for something they personally dislike. Thankfully, that’s something we don’t see too often here in comparison to other online comics communities.

“Tower of Babel” is another on my shortlist that didn’t make my top ten. It’s a great story, and one of the rare instances where a DC animated adaptation did not improve on the source material. (“JL: Doom” was only loosely based on ToB, true, but its influence is strong.)

Although I think Tower of Babel is bad, JL Doom is written by Dwayne McDuffie so I’m not surprised it didn’t surpass the source material. Most animated things written by McDuffie fail to surpass the source material. I found his Justice League episodes to be terrible and fanwanky to an extreme. His are the only episodes of the series I can’t rewatch. I think the best DC Animated outings are the ones that don’t use comic book writers, as they are the least filled with easter eggs and fanwank.

Obviously there are a range of views among commenters on this site, but I find it disappointing how many people feel the need to make blanket value judgments instead of discussing merits. Lots of people like Y: The Last Man, since it is on lots of top lists, but every time it’s mentioned there are a ton of commenters saying that’s it’s a terrible series, or that people who like it must not have read good comics, or stuff like that.

This is nothing unique about comic fans or this site. My dad has a gut feeling that any song written after 1960 is not worth his time, and I’m sure on the opera fan websites there are commenters who consider Verdi fans bandwagon know-nothings.

I personally voted for Unmanned, as well as a Bone story and Jimmy Corrigan (and some superhero stuff and Calvin and Hobbes because I wanted to see a big variety). I don’t think everyone needs to share my opinion, but “it’s terrible” is neither a good way to start a discussion or a likely way to win me to your side. There is plenty of insightful stuff on this site, I’m just hoping for even more.

I think Y was great, although not perfect, because like the Battlestar: Galactica TV show (but with a much better ending) it had a great hook and was fast paced with lots of clever cliffhangers and twists, but did make a lot of interesting points about society. Sometimes the themes were a bit blatant, but some of them I thought were developed nicely without beating you over the head. Also I loved the artwork. It was not flashy but was extremely effective at pushing the story and characters.

Meanwhile, I think Alan Moore is a hack and Chris Claremont doesn’t understand the X-Men. Ok, no, I don’t think that at all, but I’m just hoping for more constructive conversation to make me spend time reading comments.

It’s interesting a commenter above mentioned Y was fast paced. I found the opposite mainly to be true, tending towards the decompressed: a character reaction shot over an entire page when a small panel would have sufficed. Reading it in singles would have felt like eternity.

I’ve tried about half the series, reading the first trade; the last one; the one where the Yorick meets a girl whilst woodcutting, plus the Amazons(?) return with Yorick’s sister (foggy details – some time since I read it); “Safeword”; plus one other whose arc name escapes me. I was underwhelmed by it all and am not tempted to read the rest.

The reason I was eager to try Y was following the series and storylines frequently turning up in CSBG best-of lists. To clarify: I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s a perfectly reasonable comic but I fail to see why it rates so highly.

Further to other comments: it’s a testament to CSBG that commenters are divided on the subject of this other comics, with the usual insightful stuff put forward. I too would welcome more people to explain why they find Y (or any other storyline) so good (or so bad).

As long as we’re on the topic of commenters who just say “this sucks” or whatever… I know I’ve said this before, but there are very few ways to come off as more of a dick on the internet than to just state your opinion as fact. Especially with negative opinions.

Saying something like “This series left me cold” or “I couldn’t get into this” is a way to start a dialogue, especially if you give reasons for it for people to (respectfully) respond to. On the other hand, “This comic sucks” or “This writer is shitty” invites nothing. Without saying it speciifically, the implication is “This is not an opinion, it is the correct view, and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid or has bad taste.”

Somehow, the ubiquity of comment sections, social media, and forums on the internet have convinced a large percentage of people that simply having an opinion is special and interesting, and that an opinion is EVEN COOLER if it’s extreme and cynical. There’s nothing special about thinking “Watchmen” sucks. What’s special and interesting is writing out a list of reasons you personally find “Watchmen” or Alan Moore’s work in general to be overrated, and inviting others to agree, disagree, or share their own thoughts.

The internet is at its best when people come together to have discussions they may not have the chance to have in real life. It’s at its worst when it’s just a bunch of people in a dark room shouting “THIS THING IS BULLSHIT” or “THIS THING IS AWESOME” loud enough to hopefully drown each other out.

@TJCoolguy,

Good points. For me, it can be hard to say much about certain works besides “I liked it.” Take Y, for instance: it didn’t entertain me as much as, say, Preacher. I didn’t find it as emotionally rich as Love & Rockets. It didn’t have the slam-bang pacing of a Kirby comic, the wit of a Gerber story, the combination of beauty and strangeness found in Sienkiewicz’s art…

Y is just a comic I liked. It kept my interest and made me want to follow the story of its characters. I thought Vaughan & Co. staged some decent set-pieces, the cliffhangers were often compelling, the dialogue usually had enough spark (although all those elements had their off moments). The art was nice.

“Safeword” was a bit better than the average Y story. The reader was kept off-balance- why was the Culver ring agent torturing Yorick?- and the revelations about the lead character changed how we readers viewed him. The psychosexual element spiced up the story. The scene Brian scanned in which Yorick tells about his first sexual experience and “the worst thing he ever saw” were well-executed. Juxtaposing the “horror” Yorick witnessed with the truly awful things he’s seen gave me pause, and was genuinely disturbing. I’ve forgotten a lot of the specifics of Y, but “Safeword” and the last issue stay in my memory.

I’m fairly surprised by the amount of backlash Y: The Last Man seems to be getting. I was under the impression it was pretty universally liked. I was definitely a fan of it. I bought the first issue, liked it, didn’t love it, and didn’t buy the second issue. By issue 7 or 8 or so the chatter I was seeing on the internet was positive enough I gave it another look, liked it enough to pick up the issues I missed, and kept buying it in monthlies until the end. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t remember a lot of specifics about the story, just that for the most part each issue left me wanting to see what happened in the next issue. What sticks out most to me from the series is the end of the third to last issue, and how unbelievably angry and upset and surprised and awestruck it left me. And the final issue as a whole was pretty damn powerful, too, but only if you’d read and enjoyed the series to that point. I’d like to be more specific, but it would give too much away.

Anyway, I realize none of that would convince someone that didn’t like Y that it was a good series. But I don’t that’s my responsibility to make people think it’s a good series. While it was coming out I loved it. I’m willing to bet if I reread it I would still like it. But I also didn’t vote for any stories from it. Like most Vertigo titles I liked I was a fan of the whole more than any specific storyline.

@TJCoolguy

Really well-stated points that I completely agree with. I’m definitely one of the people that comes to these comments hoping to find a conversation that I’m not having in real life.

And I agree that it’s surprising how much backlash there is to Y in these comments. In the best runs countdown, Y moved up from 13 in ’08 to 6 last year, so I was also under the impression that it’s pretty universally loved. I definitely like it. I do think it can be a little overrated, and it certainly shouldn’t have ranked as the 6th greatest run ever, but I do think it’s a very good work and I’m shocked that so many people dismiss it. Just because it relied on cliffhangers and splash pages doesn’t mean it isn’t complex.

Add me to the surprised to see Babel over the Morrison stuff. But not disappointed. Though I always wondered why all the heroes thought “just trust me because you know me” was a good reason to be pissed at Bruce, especially in a world where every single one of them had been mind-controlled at one point or another. Isn’t what Batman doing…smart? Especially for the guy without powers who would need a plan to stop any of them and couldn’t just come up with one when it happens. “Oh, damn, Superman is taking over the world after being controlled by/having his mind altered/in a bad mood….what do I have in my utility belt to throw at him?”

Wolverine was on my list, though towards the bottom. Iconic character, iconic team, great story. I miss this Wolverine.

And I thought the hook was good for Y, but never was able to get the first issues, so didn’t collect it. And don’t regret it when it makes these lists because the sequences like those posted here are usually given as an example of why it was “great.” And I still think it was probably very good, but writing like this just seems what a college freshman considers “deep thoughts,” and while it may fit the character, it never seems as it’s just his point of view, but kind of sorry prose. But maybe it doesn’t really show what’s great about the books. It does seem like though they’re only a year apart, a lot of the Walking Dead owes a debt to Y.

[…] 65. “Tower of Babel” by Mark Waid, Howard Porter, Steve Scott, Drew Geraci and Mark Propst (JLA … […]

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