web stats

CSBG Archive

2013 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #12-10

1 2
Next »

Here are the next three storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.

Note, there may be some spoilers ahead! You are forewarned!
Enjoy!

NOTE: All of these storyline posts will be image intensive, so I’ll be spreading them over multiple pages.

12. “The Judas Contract ” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo (Tales of the New Teen Titans #42-44, Tales of the New Teen Titans Annual #3) – 566 points (14 first place votes)

The Judas Contract was the pay-off on an amazing slow build. In the very first issue of the New Teen Titans, the group faced off against a mercenary named the Ravager. He died fighting the Titans. His father was introduced the next issue, picking up his son’s unfulfilled contract. Deathstroke the Terminator would soon become one of the most acclaimed villains of the 1980s.

Thirty-four issues into the series, we learn that a brand-new member of the Titans, Terra, who had joined a few issues earlier, is secretly working for Deathstroke.

From that point on, the slow burn came to a simmer as readers realized that Terra had to eventually make her move and this storyline was it.

The first issue was an awesome “Day in the Life” issue that doubled as showing us how Terra is monitoring the group and looking for their areas of weakness. She almost breaks cover towards the end, which leads to a really cool transition…

By the way, a quick “yeuch” to the Terra/Deathstroke relationship. I mean, it’s not to say that it isn’t SUPPOSED to be icky, but still.

Anyhow, Deathstroke makes his move the next issue and takes out most of the team, only Dick Grayson (he had recently quit being Robin) avoided capture.

Dick meets up with Deathstroke’s ex-wife and another son of his.

His wife gives Dick the lowdown on how Deathstroke came to be. It’s an amazingly well-told origin and the ending of it is truly outstanding…

How do you beat that origin? What a perfect encapsulation of a character’s personality in a few pages.

Anyhow, Dick of course debuts his new identity in this storyline, with the well-thought reasoning behind the name Nightwing (as a split between his Batman influence and his Superman influence).

Dick and Deathstroke’s family goes to rescue the Titans and it leads to a dramatic conclusion with one Titan not making it out alive (luckily, it is the Titan who betrayed everybody, so it’s all good).

11. “The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (The Long Halloween #1-13) – 631 points (12 first place votes)

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale had already produced three great annual specials spotlighting Batman during Halloween. So they decided to do one better by doing this epic year-long mini-series where they had us follow Batman from one Halloween to the next by following Batman trying to hunt down the mysterious villain Holiday, who murders people on holidays, one a month. Here’s an example from Valentine’s Day…

The comic is set in Frank Miller’s Year One timeline, with the backdrop of the murders being the crime war between the Maroni and Falcone crime families. In addition, the comic deals with District Attorney Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face for the first time. This comic was a major influence on Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy of films.

An undercurrent throughout the work is that this is the small period in Batman’s life where he thinks that he might actually be able to pull off a war on crime.

Check out this sequence to see what I mean (while also getting a glimpse of how amazing Tim Sale’s art is in this story)…

Go to the next page for #10…

1 2
Next »

101 Comments

The Crazed Spruce

November 24, 2013 at 5:58 am

The Judas Contract is a great story, but I reread it shortly before voting, and it felt a bit disjointed, like each issue had a different tone. One issue was a slice-of-life piece, one was a mystery, one was mostly exposition, and the last was a slam-bang action scene. Still a great story, and it was #4 on my list, but it didn’t quite fit the #1 ranking I had it at last time.

Haven’t read The Long Halloween, don’t really plan to. If it goes on sale on ComixOlogy, I might pick it up, but I won’t go out of my way looking for it.

Crisis is, quite simply, the best company crossover ever published. Didn’t crack my top 10, but it was at #19 on my short list.

The Crazed Spruce

November 24, 2013 at 6:01 am

And, just so’s ya know….

The Judas Contract rose from 13 to 12
The Long Halloween climbed from 33 to 11
Crisis on Infinite Earths slipped from 7 to 10

Did not expect Batman or Teen Titans to place so high. Crisis fell right about where I would have expected it to.

Perez’ storytelling never ceases to amaze me. The sheer information, combined with expert direction, pacing, on each page. Love it after all these years and think I’ll dive into my New Teen Titans Omnibuses on this frigid Canadian morning…

Omigod! This poll has jumped the shark. Who in their right minds — scratch that — WRONG minds — put these stories so high on the list?

I guess when you let anybody vote, you get results like these and presidents like Bush.

You’re right Jake, because Obama is so much better than Bush or The Long Halloween, lol

I made up a preliminary list for this along with the Greatest X-Men Story poll. I switched the order about but The Long Halloween was the only storyline I dropped from it. I couldn’t quite say why my opinion of it changed, it just didn’t feel right on the list. Possibly it’s the proximity to a much better Batman comic, possibly it’s because I saw the Godfather again this September.

Unfortunately I’m more dissatisfied with the story that ended up getting the empty spot.

The Judas Contract is a fine story, although I’d agree it’s a bit disjointed. I never got into Crisis, perhaps because of my lack of love for the pre crisis characters. I get more enjoyment out of Secret Wars.

…and this is why democracy doesn’t work.

Seriously though, while suspect we’re basically out of surprises from here on in, I just want to note I found the surprising eclecticism of at least the lower 80 is a good sign compared to the previous poll. While I don’t think the next time Love & Rockets “Deith of Speedy” is going to be number 1, it does suggest more people are voting for a wider range of comic book stories and taking it a bit more seriously than “I liked this superhero story I read as a kid” or “I liked this superhero comic I read last week” .

As for the above nominees: I rather liked the Judas Contract and holds up pretty well as 80s mainstream DC superhero team action with some great repercussions down the road (I’m thinking the Changeling/Deathstroke issue set in the diner.)

The Long Halloween has such gorgeous art from Tim Sale it blinds people to the fact Jeph Loeb is a remarkably stupid writer. By this I don’t mean he’s a stupid human being, but that he writes stories that never have an ounce of cleverness, thought, theme or subtlety to them , but are just based on nothing more than “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if…”, regarldess of whether it really is a good idea. It’s formula tht seems to work for him though.

Crisis on Infinite Earths is stil better than any other DC Crisis event and while I don’t love it, it did what it set out to do and did it very well. If only Meltzer & Johns left well enough alone…

I’m constantly surprised by how much higher Long Halloween keeps ranking in various polls. Sure, the Sale artwork is nice and the story is okay, but, really, that’s it. To say that it’s a stone’s throw away from “best Batman story ever”, much less “best comic book storyline ever”, is insane. Can people really be THAT impressed with the gimmickry of it all? It’s sort of about holidays and reads like a C-list Godfather rip-off. Really. THAT’s enough for people to rank it so high? Great comics should SAY SOMETHING deeply meaningful and/or INNOVATE the medium itself. Long Halloween does neither. It’s basically just like “Well, Long Halloween has a very marketable gimmick and it doesn’t challenge the reader on any meaningful level.”

And before anyone jumps on me, Alan Moore is my favorite comic writer but I don’t think Killing Joke (great as it is) deserves to make the top ten either.

Whoa! I totally forgot about Long Halloween, and never dreamed it’d be this high. Now one of my predicted “locks” is getting bumped (probably also affecting the final Morrison tally on this list).

I recall finding Long Halloween okay, but dragging on a bit. Will reread that someday.

I anticipated the two Wolfman/Perez stories. Even though I wasn’t as invested in the Titans as most readers, Judas Contract was good, I really like Deathstroke.

I read Crisis about 10 years after it came out, and didn’t care for it at all. It has some historic deaths, very nice covers, and ushered in a new era of greatness at DC, but as a story in its own right, I found it very forgettable.

I haven’t read The Judas Contract. I might have enjoyed it once, but somewhere along the way I lost the ability to enjoy Marv Wolfman’s writing. Also I never really liked any of the members of The New Teen Titans.

CoIE I absolutely loved back in the day – but find practically unreadable these days. That can’t take away how much I loved it back then. I’m happy for it to be there on the list.

The Long Halloween is one of the most beautiful comics ever. Tim Sale’s art is incredible. Unfortunately the story is passable at best.

I gave up on this list back with “Final Crisis” appeared in the top third. I clicked in out of curiosity this weekend to find The Long Halloween in ELEVENTH. Sweet fancy Moses. I get it. It’s a popularity contest, and everyone has different tastes. But COME ON. When will the comic readers of the world finally pull an Emperor’s New Clothes on Jeph Loeb? The Tim Sale artwork is quite nice, but that story was one giant gimmick — a not-at-all original gimmick — and a “twist” that was forced and illogical. And he then recycled that exact same set up for “Hush,” minus the holiday part of it. It is the definition of hackery. And it is No. 11 on your Greatest Comic-Book Storylines of All Time list. *Slow Clap*

I have Crisis, but I do not think I would count it in the top 25 greatest stories. It is good, I just do not think it is great.

I am sure I have some of the Judas Contract issues, but I have not read the whole story.

I doubt I will ever read Long Halloween. I think Loeb gets work from Marvel and DC, and got all the good press from Wizard because he gave them (another) connection to Hollywood. All his stories seem to be swipes of classic bits from other people’s stories.

I think you’re all way too tough on Long Halloween myself. Personally one of my favorite Batman stories.

I am surprised Crisis is so high up here. It holds together well but it’s a very workmanship book. It has a job to do and it does it.

Realizing nothing from the old Valiant days is going to make it at this point and that’s VERY surprising. That stuff was very highly thought of.

Dr Traveler there’s two things that are constants among CSBG commenters: bashing Jeph Loeb and sucking off Grant Morrison.

I’ll defend Long Halloween as being fun. Not “better than __________,” but fun. Sale’s art is wonderful. Loeb’s story isn’t great, but I enjoyed seeing Batman deal with his various adversaries while trying to solve a mystery. The Harvey Dent material was properly tragic. The sub-Godfather mob stuff held my interest. If the ending was better, I think the story would be better regarded. I remember enjoying the story as it was unfolding.

It didn’t come close to my Top 10, though.

Good point on Harvey Dent. Much at he rest of the story was lacking, it did give Harvey a good origin.

Huh. Two stories I haven’t read (really need to get to New Teen Titans, don’t feel as pressed on Crisis) and one I strongly /strongly/ dislike.

Crisis is a mess. For a look at what Crisis would be without George Perez, see Zero Hour. Perez is one hell of a gifted super-hero artist, capable of original layouts and large-scale action. Crisis had some great moments, the death of the Flash being the major highlight, but I think the storytelling ambitions tripped up the overall plot.

Judas Contract is very much of its time, but still packs a punch. Wolfman may have had his writerly excesses, but he definitely sold the emotional impacts of Deathstroke’s actions and Terra’s betrayal. Perez’s art was, once again, fantastic (even if his designs for Nightwing and Jericho were terrible).

Why do people get so asspained over Jeff Loeb? His Tim Sale collabs are all legit better than 99% of comics.

@John: That is mostly because Loeb actually is as terrible as everyone here says he is.

Not too fond of any of the stories here. The Last Halloween has great art and a decidedly average story. The best I can say is that, it is better than Hush.

The Judas Contract is ok but seems a bit dated now. I’ve never been the biggest Teen Titans fan (which is weird because I like both Dick Grayson and Wally West), so that probably affects how I see the story.

The Crisis of Infinite Earths is one of the most important stories in DC history, so I can understand it’s high placement. It has a few high moments, the death of Barry Allen is a great sequence (the dialogue is a bit overwritten though) and the final fight with Anti-Monitor is a great spectacle. That aside, I think the story itself is merely good and not a classic a lot of people make it out to be.

Well, we should realize that it isn’t really a “top 100 comic book storylines”, but a top 100 Marvel/DC superhero comic book storylines, with a few Image/British/Vertigo stuff throw in.

Even so, I wouldn’t put these three stories so high. I wouldn’t even put THE LONG HALLOWEEN nowhere in the top 100. Maybe the top 1000? At the bottom, even.

Sadly, most comic book fans don’t know the history and breadth of the media they supposedly love. They don’t even know the history and breadth of superhero comics. In any given decade, I can think of 50 superhero storylines that are better than THE LONG HALLOWEEN.

“Long Halloween” is certainly much better written than anything by Snyder.

@ Rene- True. Although I knew I was basically throwing my votes away, at least half my picks weren’t from Marvel or DC . Heck, they weren’t even superhero stories at all! A couple weren’t even originally written in English (the kiss of death right there). Even when I stuck with the big two, my votes were poured into the ether: how can this list keep ignoring “The Defeat of Dr. Strange”?!? It boggles the mind. Sigh. I never get the President I vote for, either.

I don’t think the majority of CBR readers are erudite enough to hold a conversation with Grant Morrison, let alone convince him to let them to suck him off.

Rene, I don’t know the complete history and breath of TV, FIlm, or Music either. I don’t think most visiters to this site have read EVERYTHING of note. ANd they certainly would find 90% of the 60,70′ and 80’s as unreadable. Its no shame that more people liked these than Swamp THing or Love and Rockets.

The constant ragging on Long Halloween has grown tiresome for about a decade now. Art is king in comics, and LH is loved (is that the right word?) because of the awesome art, weak writing be damned.

It’s better than Hush though, right Jake?

And what can be said about Wolfman? The worst “name” writer of the 70’s and 80’s. No artist has saved a writer more than Perez on TT and Crisis

The Crazed Spruce

November 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

Rene, I count 19 stories so far that weren’t published by Marvel or DC. (20, if the rest of the list shapes up the way I expect it to.) And that’s not even counting Vertigo. The way the big 2 dominate the market, that’s not too bad.

I count 28 that are not superheroes.

Not too shabby.

@Rene: Your taste isn’t mainstream in the context of this poll, but that doesn’t mean its better, nor it does mean those other people are “wrong” for liking what they like instead of what you think they should like.

Last night I tried to predict the top 12 in my head but failed to guess Long Halloween. I think it’s a fine comic but it does seem a wee high. The other two are fine where they are.

I do know what the top 9 are. But in what order?

Hint: They include nothing I voted for.

The best Joker stories haven’t shown up on this list of top 100. I haven’t read the Long Halloween so I can’t compare but I’m sorry to see these stories go unnoticed. My favorite depictions of the Joker were Morrison’s Batman and Robin and Brubaker/Lark’s Gotham Central (they were even better than Moore’s depiction of him in Killing Joke). The thing about the Joker is that he is crazy. People become crazy as a coping mechanism to dealing with pain so that they don’t feel it anymore. These writers really had a grasp of what made him tick and portrayed a truly frightening version of him rather than the silly, seditious one we usually get. It’s a real shame that Gotham Central hasn’t been recognized on this list because it’s one of the best comics to come out of the last decade.

@Thomas: Gotham Central did show up in the list. Half A Life is number 85. Too low perhaps but hey, at least it’s there unlike last time.

Crisis was a slam bang action fest, thrilling to read from start to finish!

Bringing Barry Allen back was the biggest mistake DC ever did. Killing again the whole pass-the-mantle thing, so youll be stuck with the same handful characters forever. (that is one can always quit reading DC – which i did)

While I think it’s true that Crisis has aged poorly I also think that it is one of the best works to come out of the 80’s. For me it is the book that sums up what the 80’s were. While Moore and Miller were making works that looked to the future of what comics would become, Wolfman was summing up what they were and had been till that time. So while I don’t think it’s the best comic ever written, I do think that it is an amazing work in the context of it’s time. It’s true that Perez made Crisis and Titans, you can’t deny Wolfman’s great grasp of the craft of writing comics. While his work can be a little sentimental, the fact that he can juggle so many characters in one book is amazing, AND pull off the death scenes with incredible finesse. I would put this work on a teaching curriculum on “how to write a death scene” no problem. They were dramatic and heart felt with out going too overboard and loosing track of the greater storyline. So while the work is dated, I would say that it’s justified in being here, though I think the 1 Wolfman/Perez book in the top 15 greats works is enough. The Judas Contract is a little overkill.

SpiralArchitect, good catch! Let’s hope it climes the list next time. It’s totally deserving.

@Thomas Morrison,

I think “Half a Life” showed up on the countdown. “Soft Targets” was a great story, anyway, and it would be nice if it garnered enough votes to show up here.

@People who don’t like Marv Wolfman,

Yeah, he’s not my favorite either. I will always stand up for his work on Tomb of Dracula, though. It’s ’70s Big 2 comic book writing with all that entails, but it’s far better than anything else he ever wrote. Sure, he had the great Gene Colan & Tom Palmer providing gorgeous art, but he managed to flesh out the title character and build up a good supporting cast.

@Rene,

This has always been a blog that has a lot of super-hero content. It makes sense that most of the readers (including me) would vote for super-hero comics. A Top 100 from The Comics Journal or a manga-focused site would be very different. I’d be shocked if the countdown was less than 60% super-hero stories.

All I see when I read these comments are comic book hipsters.

Loeb & Sale’s Haunted knight trade was a fantastic collection of vignettes featuring the Dark Knight.. The Long Halloween? It was a mystery without an answer….. As for ..The Eye’s assertion that this is why Democracy doesn’t work…. I didn’t vote. I’m sure many other followers of this column didm’t vote as well… Stunned by the Long Hallowen, but Judas and Crisis are solid. I’m sure that Secret Wars and Bloodlines will get the # 1 & 2 slots, but will not whine if they don’t…. as I didm’t vote. (Where is Promethia?)

After the dominance the 2000s have had on this list, it’s fun to see the 80s come roaring back in the top 20.

It would be interesting to see a list of readers’ Top 100 Comics you’d Recommend to Non-comics Readers. We’d probably see way less superheroes and more indy or creator-owned stuff.

As it is, for superhero fans, this has been a very fun list.

The Long Halloween deserves as a recommended Bat-reading. I really love how a great team turned sour and even so, the impossibility of winning the non-winnable crime, but continues to hope for the better. I know it’s Loeb’s first Bat-trilogy arc (Dark Victory and then, Hush), and it’s simply his best Bat-story yet. Naturally, Tim was on top of his game then. As for Crisis, the art stands out even after more than twenty years since. Well-planned and executed (though a bit jarring for me since I was not used to this multiverse stuff until that one). Excellent!

Folks,

I’m not the elitist I appeared to be. I love mainstream superhero comics. The list has been okay so far. A few things I strongly disagree with, like IDENTITY CRISIS, CIVIL WAR, THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE, SECRET WARS, stuff that seems to be here just because they’re historically important, but okay.

I have a little angel and a little demon inside me. The little angel keeps saying: “Don’t be an asshole. People like what they like. If any work of entertainment has made people happy, then good for them. Let them proclaim it and be cool with it.”

But THE LONG HALLOWEEN at 11th place has broken the camel’s back, and the little devil couldn’t be silent any longer.

As for the predominance of superhero comics, it was more of a passing comment. Just to say that, even considering ONLY mainstream superhero comics, there is as LOT of stuff that is better than TLH. There is even a few of Jeph Loeb’s own work that is better than TLH, such as SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS, and his color comics at Marvel.

Staying just with superhero comics, that storyline where the X-Men fight Proteus in Scotland is better than TLH. Pick any storyline from Moore’s Swamp Thing and it’s better than TLH. Starman is better than TLH from start to finish, and yet there is only one storyline from that book here, and below TLH.

I am simply unable to understand it. Am I to assume that the remaining 9 spots will consist only of Batman stories, because there are at least 9 Batman storylines that are better than TLH. Hell, there must be 90 Batman stories that are better than TLH.

@dhole

I don’t know about recommending non-super comics. There are lots of them out there these days and some are good but superheroes still top the list. The trend today seems to be bucking the norm – a demand for non-supers. It’s understandable since the big two flood the market and over expose their more popular characters. It almost creates a resentment towards these once beloved characters. I do like checking out other companies more than the big two these days. However, if I was to think back and ponder which comics still stick out in my mind, it’s usually the superhero stuff.

Skimmed Long Halloween when it was coming out, but it didn’t grab me.
Reading those pages from the Judas Contract makes me appreciate that while I wasn’t a fan of Deathstroke getting his own book, he did come across as a human being with a personality. In contrast to the two-dimensional thug we get in the New 52.
With stories such as Crisis or Judas Contract, I wonder if reading them years later doesn’t affect the vote. Not just in terms of generational taste, but Crisis at the time was a huge, honking deal–end of the multiverse, death of Flash, death of Supergirl, death of Crime Syndicate, death of umpty-zillion other minor characters. If you read it years later, it’s not going to have the same impact (I must reread it myself soon and see what I make of it now), particularly when most of the changes have been undone. I’ve noticed this reading TPBs of stories tied to 21st century big events such as Dark Reign and Salvation Run: read years later, without context, they feel even worse than they did at the time (I think I skipped 90 percent of Dark Reign). Which of course would be a difference, even if I hated Crisis on rereading, it was damn good the first time.
With the exception of Wolfman’s Superman stories (uniformly poor) I rank him as excellent. But that’s what makes horse-races.

@Saltine – Amen

@ Dave J – post of the year

TLH didn’t grab me as it came out, and I still have never read it, though I will, and see for myself how good or bad it is.

Crisis is another I voted for. Epic isn’t a big enough word for what we had. Universe breaking ! Something that actually mattered and with a top notch team too.

It’s been years since I read that run of NTT, but it was great back in the day.

I agree 100% with everything Rene said. TLH being 11th on this poll is alarming and depressing. Not because there should be more indy comics or European comics, far from it; but simply because of the HUNDREDS of mainstream superhero storylines that are objectively superior to TLH, but that were either below it on the poll or not even included. TLH being 11th on this list is similar to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” being voted 11th on a list of best pop songs of all times; it defies belief and speaks poorly of the selection process. This isn’t being a “hipster”, it’s being appalled at the celebration of mediocrity. As Rene said, I have to assume that the remaining 9 storylines will all be Batman stories, because there are a few dozen Batman storylines that were better than TLH. Not to mention countless X-Men stories, Superman stories, Hulk stories, Starman stories, Fantastic Four stories, Animal Man stories, Daredevil stories, Deadman stories… it’s just sad, really. Even for a celebration of mainstream superhero comics, it’s terrible.

But hey, maybe there are people that consider Nickelback one of the best bands of all time too. And those people might defensively call those who laugh at them “hipsters”, too.

Oh, is that what the hipster thing is supposed to refer to? I couldn’t figure that out, because all the comics in this batch are old to varying degrees, so it’s not like there’s any “I was into Batman before it was cool” thing going on.

In any case, there’s one thing we can all agree on. People who are compelled to come in and call people names for liking some things and not liking other things are surely the best people of all.

I know there were more comments in earlier posts about voting being biased towards 00s/90s/80s, so this is a bit off subject, but how about separate top 25s for Golden Age, Silver Age, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s?

I think that sort of poll might be a little less contentious (not that disagreement is bad) and it might be a way for people to become more familiar with comics from eras they are not so familiar with. Of course single issue stories would need to be allowed.

I know for Golden Age I would vote for Batman vs the Monk, Captain Marvel going to Venus, and Specter’s battle with that ugly guy from the painting.

Well I WAS into Batman before it was cool, so there. Now get off my lawn. And put the baseball cap on the right way around. And stop listening to music made after I was in college.
I have spoken.

Hmmm, I can only figure out 8 of the next 9… interesting. Also, I’m not showing up just to bash The Long Halloween, but I will say that it’s a pity that people remember that storyline the most fondly out of Tim Sale’s Batman stories instead of, say, “Blades” by Sale and James Robinson. That’s such a fantastic story and so very underrated (I also wouldn’t necessarily put it on my list of Top 100 storylines, though).

By the way, has there ever been a “Top 100 Single Issues” poll on this site?

All I see when I read these comments are comic book hipsters.

Which ones are the hipsters?

The Grant Morrison fanatics?

The commenters who only like comics written before 1980?

Or the 16-year-old Goth girls?

I’m sure that Secret Wars and Bloodlines will get the # 1 & 2 slots …

I doubt that I’m the only one who will be surprised if this happens.

… similar to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” being voted 11th on a list of best pop songs of all times …

Bad bad bad example. “Poker Face” is awesome.

In any case, there’s one thing we can all agree on. People who are compelled to come in and call people names for liking some things and not liking other things are surely the best people of all.

Hear hear!

How many teenage goth girls do we have here? Is goth still a thing? Anyway, I do love how this poll is turning out. Reading angry comments can be pretty entertaining.

@Scott Hall

I think I’d recommend non-superhero comics to non-comics folks just under an assumption that unless you grew up with superheroes, you’ll probably dismiss them outright as silly kid-stuff. Maybe that’s an unfair assumption but I do suspect lots of people tune out as soon as they see grown-ups in spandex punching each other, regardless of whether there’s some compelling human drama and clever plotting behind it. Even the movies tend to downplay the flamboyant costumes of someone like Hawkeye or the X-Men to put them in more “realistic” garb.

I’m not saying you can’t still recommend purely escapist action-packed comics…I’d happily point people to stuff like Human Target or Walking Dead for some cool high-octane stuff. But I think even classics like Watchmen would still put off people who can’t get on board with flying owl ships and the like…

@Hoosier X

I’m not sure any commenter’s said they only like comics pre-1980.

For my part, I’m not surprised that that era’s getting the smallest representation, I’m just surprised that it’s really, really small. I just figured that, from past polls and comments on this website, we’d see a few more oldies like Kirby’s New Gods or Goodwin/Simonson’s Manhunter or some psychedelic Dr. Strange…

My own votes revolved around the old Moore/Miller stand-bys, although I was kind of hoping my vote for Walking Dead: Made to Suffer would kick that one into the top 100.

Right now, I’m listening to indie folk while my wife is cooking Paleo Thai chicken. Holy crap, I think I might be one of those hipsters people are railing against. And here I thought I was a sixteen year-old Goth girl. Time to trade my mascara for a fedora I can wear ironically.

Seriously though, the name-calling is ridiculous. Grow up so we can talk about super-heroes with the maturity befitting a genre in which people dress in tights and hit each other.

I was wondering when the original and first dc crisis would show up on this list for not only was it a love letter to the dc universe moving on to a new era. but also big guns like the flash and characters croaked. Judas contract another one was waiting to see show up for not only did it allow Dick to really move on to his next phase as crime fighter as nightwing. but also proved how nasty Deathstroke is even willing to use his own family as pawns. and also a little bit creepy given his relationship with Terra

I went to the library yesterday to see if they had any of the books on the list that I haven’t read. They did have Age of Apocalypse and I almost got it, but one look at the cover made me change my mind. I didn’t even recognize the characters that I recognized. (I may try it out later. I just wasn’t sure I could handle it. That cover just reminded me of why I haven’t read X-Men since the early days of Mohawk Ororo.)

So I ended up with Hush, Vol. 1 and I read it last night. I was a little apprehensive at first because of Jim Lee’s art, but it’s actually pretty good artwise. By the time he did Hush, I think he had matured from the work of the mid-1990s. (And it also helps to remember that one of the problems with a lot of 1990s art wasn’t Jim Lee so much as his many not-as-talented imitators.)

Storywise, Hush is OK. Had I been reading it month by month as it came out (as I was doing with Detective at the time), I certainly wouldn’t have thought it terrible. But I’m not sure I would have remembered it. It’s a little … disjointed. Bruce Wayne recovers very quickly from his brain surgery. Some of the fight with Superman is kinda stupid. Stuff like that popped out at me. Average comic book antics.

I’ll withhold final judgment until I read Vol. 2. But at this point, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as Heart of Hush. Dini does a great job of filling in the holes of the narrative of Thomas Elliott so he makes a little more sense.

The library also had All-Star Superman, Vol. 1, and I flipped through it last night after I got home. I remember looking at the trade at Barnes & Noble at some point. But I didn’t buy because of the art. Everybody looks like Cabbage Patch dolls. It should be called All-Star Cabbage Patch Superman.

I’ll reserve further comment on All-Start Superman for when and if it appears on the list.

Judas Contract, the best Teen Titans story ever told! How great is Terra used in this tale?

I love The Long Halloween so much. There are times when I just start flipping through the trade, then just start reading the dang thing again.

Crisis of Infinite Earths is a saga, no doubt. It feels more like a tome than a story but a good one.

The only one of these three I’ve read is Crisis. A good crossover that’s very enjoyable. I think it’s a bit higher than it should be, but oh well. That art is amazing.

Will get to the Judas Contract eventually, but it’s hardly a top priority.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity about The Long Halloween, and I’m not a big fan of Loeb’s writing, but I will give it a try one of these days so I can decide for myself. I’d say it’s worth it for Sale’s art alone.

I read the first six issues of Crisis of Infinite Earths when they first came out and never read the rest of the series. The art was nice, but I didn’t really find the story very compelling. There was just too much going on. Every panel looked like a lunchbox.

I read Teen Titans for a few years, including The Judas Contract, but I was never a big fan. I was so glad when they killed Terra! This story would not be something I would put on a list of favorites but I remember it being compelling with great art.

I’ve never read The Long Halloween. #11, huh? Must be pretty good.

So where’s Batman: War Games? Coming up pretty soon, I imagine.

I don’t think the majority of CBR readers are erudite Scottish enough to hold a conversation with Grant Morrison, let alone convince him to let them to suck him off.

Fixed your post.

Idea for a New Series: Bruce Banner loses his job and sits at home browsing comic book related comments threads. At least one city leveled by the Hulk per issue.

All the complaining over Jeff Loeb in the top 11 is mind-boggling. Seriously? Excluding someone just because the rest of their work sucks? We might as well take all of Frank MIller’s and Alan Moore’s work off the list because they’ve made nothing but garbage for the past decade.

So Loeb went to shit. So what? His old collabs with Sale ranged from great to classic, and more than just one of them deserves to be considered for a list of the top 100 comics stories of all time. Most comics writers lose their touch eventually. Why does Loeb get held to different standards? Was the entire CSBG readerbase beaten as a child with a rolled up copy of Red Hulk? Calm down, ffs. TLH is legit as fuck, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like a single Loeb comic that isn’t drawn by Sale.

Hey, Brian. Maybe you should exclude all the Stan Lee stories since, y’know, he hasn’t written anything worth crap in a quarter century. Apparently that’s how the rules work I guess. If you aren’t making an awesome comic RIGHT NOW then that means EVERY COMIC YOU’VE EVER DONE IN THE PAST IS NOW SHIT.

All three stories in this part of the list are excellent, even if only one of them made my list.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was one of those huge, spanning epics that actually did something with the confusing multiverse crap. Though the ending itself was a little confusing (did the surviving heroes just forget they were from various universes as their history was rewritten retroactively or what?) And actually there was quite a bit of characterization for characters that were normally just overextended plot devices.

Not sure how everyone can make sacrifices at the alter of Grant Morrison’s tepid, pretentious crap and yet try to tear down Jeph Loeb’s Long Halloween, especially when there aren’t even any specific criticisms. Long Halloween is better than anything I’ve ever read from Morrison. What’s wrong, not enough obscure Silver Age references and metafiction for you guys in LH?

Brian, I would LOVE it if you could do a fan poll of the top 100 comics first published outside the US.

Yes, you’d get a lot fewer votes and so the results would be less “definitive”, but I think it would be utterly fascinating. Instead of comments (such as some of my own) saying “Wow I read all of these and a bunch of them suck!” we’d get more comments like, “Wow, I never heard of that, I’ve got to read it!”

Or for that matter, “Top 100 non-superhero comics.” Or “Top 100 Comic Strip Runs”. That would be amazing.

Loved the original Crisis when it came out, still do. Got that big oversized slip-cased HC on my bookshelf, next to my similarly packaged Absolute New Frontier and JLA/Avengers.

@Matt Bird — Brian, I would LOVE it if you could do a fan poll of the top 100 comics first published outside the US.

This is an excellent idea as long as ALL non-American countries are included and the criteria makes sense/is practical.

Or “Top 100 Comic Strip Runs”.

The biggest problem with this is that it would be awfully predictable. You could basically just pick the 100 most famous comic strips of all time put Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes at the top with the rest in random order and that would be your list right there.

TLH has moments, but not #11 on a list of all time moments. I think that’s a fair assessment of the story and the art together. I enjoyed it when I first read it. I have it and Dark Victory on my shelf and occasionally look at it. But there’s an absolute ton better if we’re talking all comics anywhere in a top 100 list.

COIE is a story that always boiled down to three issues: 7, 8 and 12. Everything else just came across as a confusing mess. Yes, it has historical importance, and yes, it has amazing art work. But man does it just seem choppy as all get out. Deserves to be on the list, but not sure it’s ten.

[…] by Brian Cronin | November 24, 2013 @ 5:13 AM | 68 Comments […]

I love how 90% of threads become about Morrison, regardless of whether his comics have anything to do with the post.

And I’m pleased with all the Long Halloween-hate. Now if we could only figure out who actually voted for it? It’s not so much that it’s #11 as what it finished ahead of. V for Vendetta, “The Elektra Saga”, “American Gothic”, “Deus ex Machina”, From Hell, “Olympus”? I’m not even combing through the entire master list, those are just a few that jump out. If you think Long Halloween is better than V for Vendetta you should be sterilized.

Certainly there’s a selection bias built into any list like this. Since it’s contingent upon what storylines the voters have read, it inherently favors the more popular storylines. For a number reasons, Long Halloween is a very popular storyline. It came out after a period where there was a dearth of “classic” superhero comics, so it was immediately overrated. It was the first time Loeb had employed his boss villain mystery-gives artist excuse to draw entire rogues gallery-plot, so we didn’t yet know that was the only tool in his toolbox. There’s a certain segment of the readership that’s always going to be amused by any story that allows them to see all their favorite characters and pretty pictures, regardless of anything beyond those two factors. And it received the seal of approval and mainstream exposure as a big influence on Nolan’s movies.

Still, you would hope that quality alone would be enough to outweigh all that. That any relatively intelligent person who has read both Long Halloween and V for Vendetta could not place them within 10 spots of each other unless they’d only read 8 other storylines. There we go. Another possible factor: Long Halloween voters have read 10 comic book storylines. Fair enough.

I’m really confused now.

Is The Long Halloween rated highly because of the unfair influence of the 16-year-old Goth girls?

Or are the 16-year-old Goth girls the ones throwing a fit because The Long Halloween made it so high up on the list?

And how do the hipsters and the haters fit in?

@Dr Traveler, I hear you on the classic era of Valiant. I did my best to vote them in.

My Number 1 was Unity.
My Number 2 was Solar: Alpha & Omega

I should have voted for the entire BWS run of Archer & Armstrong as well. Those were great comics.

So Loeb went to shit. So what?…Most comics writers lose their touch eventually.

Loeb didn’t go to shit. He didn’t lose his touch. He was always Red Hulk awful, and Long Halloween is just as crappy as anything he’s done recently. It’s just that the Emperor can only wear the new clothes so long before the jig is up.

Not sure how everyone can make sacrifices at the alter of Grant Morrison’s tepid, pretentious crap and yet try to tear down Jeph Loeb’s Long Halloween, especially when there aren’t even any specific criticisms.

There have been PLENTY of specific criticisms about Loeb’s work over the years on this site. But even if you haven’t read old articles and comments sections going in depth about the flaws in his work, including Long Halloween, even this comments thread has specific criticisms. For example one commenter in this thread called it a poorly executed unoriginal remake of the Godfather (I’d throw in Presumed Innocent and Silence of the Lambs as well). That’s just for starters. Go through this comments thread again and you’ll see that not only are there plenty of specific criticisms of the Long Halloween, you’ll also see that the criticisms are actualy more specific than the supporters, who for the most part seem to be content with variations of “Leave him alone! I like him!” or “Haters gonna hate” or “Oh yeah? Well Morrison is pretentious!”

The constant ragging on Long Halloween has grown tiresome for about a decade now.

Why is the constant ragging on Long Halloween tiresome? Because you personally disagree with it? Is it because there’s some official shelf life on negative opinions? So does that mean we can’t criticize Rob Liefeld’s X-Force anymore either, since that work is even older than this? Is there a shelf life on praise for Long Halloween as well? Is the constant praise for Long Halloween also tiresome, since it actually outweighs the ragging? If so should we make it ineligible for these best of lists in the future?

Can you share with us the rules for these things? Surely it’s not just that you get to just unilaterally declare what opinions are okay and which ones are tiresome and not worthy of repeating simply on whether they align with your personal tastes?

I’m a hipster AND a hater, and I doubt I’ll be reading The Long Halloween anytime soon. When even its most ardent supporters admit that the writing is iffy, you just know there’s something wrong with it. Good art is nice and all, but the whole point of comics is that it’s a mixture of pictures and words. When half the equation is lost, well, the comic doesn’t belong in the top 20.

Heck, it’s highly probable that a number of story lines that are far superior will not even make the list at all. I really doubt a weakly written Batman story could touch say, Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, or Gilbert Hernandez’s Heartbreak Soup or Persepolis or Barefoot Gen or a multitude of story lines by Lee, Kirby, and/or Ditko. For that matter, it probably couldn’t even touch the Baker/Helfer Shadow or most Sandman Mystery Theaters. And there’s very, very little chance it could even be in the same room as the genius that is Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree.

Art is king in comics, and LH is loved (is that the right word?) because of the awesome art, weak writing be damned.

Even if you were right and art is king and story doesn’t matter, this is still the top 100 comic book STORYLINES, not top 100 comics, so for this list at least story is what’s important and the art should be incidental, unless talking about the artists contributions to the story.

For example I am very much a story person over an art person, but if a contest asked me to vote top 100 art jobs in comics, I would do my voting based on the writing because the contest is specifically asking me to judge the art. So in this list, which is specifically asking about story, pointing out how good the art is despite the poor story is not relevant.

I don’t like Long Halloween myself (but thank god the haters/apologists got T to bring out some Loeb hate! I’ve missed it so much! ;) ), but I believe the criteria wasn’t “what are the best/most literary/most artistic comics storylines ever”, but “what are your 10 favorite comics storylines ever”.

And for some people, Long Halloween made that list. I don’t know why either, the mystery doesn’t seem to work at all if you think it over, and it’s yet another story crammed into that mysterious “Year One” of Batman’s career (that apparently really lasted about 100 years somehow…).

But yeah, if LH is one of your favorite storylines, good on ya. Now go read some more of the ones on this list, because a lot of them are really really good too.

Urrrggghh three bad ones (well Judas Contract is OK I guess)

At least Long Halloween isn’t quite as bad as Hush. It’ll never be anything more than a convoluted, messy remake of Two-Face: Eye of the Beholder as far as I’m concerned though.

Its like an M. Night Shyamalan version of Eye of the Beholder.

@T. — Loeb didn’t go to shit. He didn’t lose his touch. He was always Red Hulk awful, and Long Halloween is just as crappy as anything he’s done recently.

This is an objectively false statement. Congratulations.

You sound like the people who retroactively decided that “Frank Miller always sucked” after they read Dark Knight Strikes Again and/or All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder.

@ Joe C – I prefer Long Halloween to V for Vendetta, but unfortunately I’ve already had 3 kids.

I loved the shit out of both Watchmen and From Hell, I just thought V was kind of preachy and blah, and would not be held in anything like the same level of esteem if it didn’t have Alan Moore’s name on the cover.

Long Halloween on the other hand, is a work of art by Tim Sale. Loeb’s script is fine, it doesn’t undermine the comic even if it’s not as outstanding as the art. With the bulk of the top 100 very much writer-focused, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing that we’ve got a story ranking highly that’s driven by the artist.

Welcome, T. Why did you take so long to appear in this thread? :)

Just because I bash Loeb it doesn’t mean I am a mind slave of Grant Morrison or anyone else. I don’t think FINAL CRISIS deserves to be on this list either. Or his recent Batman stuff (although it’s better than THE LONG HALLOWEEN by a long shot, it isn’t Top 100 material).

I don’t favor a comic just because it’s old. Or just because it’s new. Personally, I think that is a silly way of judging things. At best, it’s a clue that the person has a restricted point of view. That is not necessarily bad, it’s inevitable, there is only so much time in the day to read things. But when we speak of Top 100 storylines of ALL TIME, it would be nice if the people voting hadn’t a narrow comfort zone. Well, I confess that I’m too focused on superhero comics myself, but I’m not proud of it.

I started reading comics in the 1980s. But I still think SECRET WARS was rubbish. And a lot of stuff published before or after the 1980s was awesome. But I just can’t help wondering if people voting for TLH or CIVIL WAR or stuff honestly believe those are among the best comic book storylines of all time?

Man, V FOR VENDETTA is a complex political story that is still relevant – real world relevant – today, and probably will be relevant 100 years from now. Preachy? In it, Alan Moore manages to make even some of the fascist characters sympathetic, while V is quite sinister That is a feat. If anything, FROM HELL is more preachy, when it blames the whole anti-feminist structure of Victorian Society for the Ripper murders (not that I don’t agree with Moore, the Victorians were very misogynist).

While LONG HALLOWEEN is just one more Batman story, and a not particularly good one. It’s the very definiton of BLAH.

@Anonymous – You haven’t once explained what is good about the writing on TLH. (And neither has anyone else.) All you’ve done is say that anyone who says the writing is not good is lying to themselves and everyone else (you’re apparently a great mind-reader). And you’ve also called someone’s statement of their opinion “objectively false” – which it clearly isn’t and can’t be. Care to explain what is so good about the writing on the storyline? Those who say the writing’s not good have given plenty of reasons why they feel that way.

The art is good in these three, but they’re not really good comics. The Wolfman Titans stuff in particular, has really not stood the test of time.

I recently reread the Judas Contract, and I have to say, Wolfman and Perez were definitely very skilled but I think Wolfman’s biggest problem is that he seems more obsessed with making Deathstroke look cool than the Titans. Also, in a team that was a little too emo and focused a little too much on being really, really nice people rather than kickass competent superheroes, the addition of the Jericho character was the tipping point that really overdid it in the “sensitive” emo direction for the book.

Some folks, who prefer the post-1980s interpretation that comics should be like movies (i.e. focused on action and naturalistic dialogue, with no thought balloons, no narrative dialogue and no narrative captions) have become a sort of voice of the majority in comics criticism, and that voice is so loud, that it became the accepted wisdom that anyone who wrote in the “outdated” mode has “not stood the test of time” or not aged well, etc.

That is a little like saying old movies, that had more theatrical acting and dialogue are automatically worse than post-1960s movies, with a greater emphasis on naturalistic dialogue and Method acting.

Really, it’s only a matter of personal preference. Bad and good comics have been writtem in both the old mode and the new mode. I think THE JUDAS CONTRACT is one of the good ones.

Having said that, I don’t think Marv Wolfman is a great writer. Most of the stuff he wrote without Perez ranged from competent to horrible. It’s not an accident that the Titans quickly devolved into a mess after George Perez left. But even a writer that is less than a genius can sometimes rise to the occasion, and I think Wolfman was never better than in his run with Perez (well, okay, perhaps with TOMB OF DRACULA he was almost as good, that was another high point of his).

I don’t know if CRISIS and the JUDAS CONTRACT deserve to be this high, but they certainly deserve to be in the Top 100 list, as long as we’re talking mostly superhero comics.

More than 25 years later and I still can’t read that Supergirl sequence without starting to tear up — simply one of the best death scenes of a character EVER. Wolfman and Perez MADE Kara Zor-El in that moment. As significant as The Flash’s death was for the next two decades of DC history, reading that issue of COIE in real time, the event seemed anticlactic coming just one month after the Supergirl epic right before. Even so, a fantastic maxi-series — Wolfman and Perez at the top of their game– that has stood the test of time.

Welcome, T. Why did you take so long to appear in this thread? :)

I actually took a sabbatical from Loeb bashing for a while. I actually didn’t Loeb-bash for all of 2012 even. I was going through this thread though and somewhere around the 5th pro-Loeb comment I just snapped. But I held out as long as I could.

Wow. It’s not just amazing that so many people have come out to say “(BLANK) is factually good/bad”, but also that so many have responded with “You’re being a jerk, every opinion matters, and you’re wrong because actually (BLANK) is factually good/bad!”

Anyway, I read “Judas” fairly recently and still enjoyed it quite a lot. But I have a hard time telling whether things have “held up” or not, because when I read something I can’t help but read them in the context of when they were written. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to enjoy things from the Silver/Golden Age, because they almost uniformly ignore things like continuity or even physics.

I think the most impressive thing about the Wolfman/Perez Titans era is that, almost thirty years later, their team is the one most people think of as the Teen Titans. Even the two recent cartoons made of the team were just the Wolfman/Perez line-up in different styles. I would say, if you asked the average person who the Teen Titans are, they would either say “Who?” or they would name the characters from that era.

I think the most impressive thing about the Wolfman/Perez Titans era is that, almost thirty years later, their team is the one most people think of as the Teen Titans. Even the two recent cartoons made of the team were just the Wolfman/Perez line-up in different styles. I would say, if you asked the average person who the Teen Titans are, they would either say “Who?” or they would name the characters from that era.

The last two Teen Titans cartoons were more like different incarnations of the same cartoon, so I don’t think it’s quite right to fully count them as two different cartoons inspired by Wolfman/Perez. Also, I would argue that that cartoon drew just as heavily from the Bob Haney/Nick Cardy era as it did from the Wolfman/Perez era, despite the Wolfman/Perez lineup. Much of the fun tone and even some of the storylines were right out of Haney, for example the Mad Mod episodes.

Rene – like you, I find Wolfman very uneven and inconsistent as a writer. Even though I think George Perez is good but a bit overrated as an artist, I think he’s CRIMINALLY underrated as a writer. I never realized how much he must have been contributing to the writing until I read Wolfman’s solo writing and compared it to Perez’s solo writing on books like Wonder Woman. Perez is a very solid writer in my opinion.

An attempt (for the heck of it) at explaining TLH at 11:

First, let’s start with the bad and just get it out of the way: the ending makes almost no rationale sense. Sorry. I like it for other things, but Gilda being able to pull it off initially makes no sense. Never has (although I guess she had Jean Loring syndrome before that was a thing). And that Dent is that blind to it in his own house defies logic.

Now what it does that probably got the votes (aside from the art):

1) It is, in essence, an origin story for how Gotham got like it is. It is, I believe (not a historian), one of the earlier attempts at explaining how everything went from the mob to costumed crazies. It’s also an alternate Two-Face origin.

People love an origin story. People like seeing something they have familiarity with presented differently (see every film made that has to give us an origin story; see Marvel and DC resets). Origin stories, especially ones that seem fresh, seem to carry that historical weight to them; add in that it has a connection to the film franchises, and you can see the popularity here.

2) It features a ton of the rogues. If this was just a 13 issue Joker story or Mr. Freeze story, it probably wouldn’t be that memorable. But what you get are a lot of individual issues of Batman facing off against individual rogues (or, like the Riddler issue, features a rogue front and center).

I think that this appeals to people on some level, especially with Batman. We’ve seen the device used in Knightfall, Arkham Asylum, Hush, and others. The rogues for Batman are as much of a draw in some cases as the character himself, and the device works to not only draw readers in but to also give the story a heavier weight to it.

3) It has a mystery gimmick that is just that: a gimmick. But it is a hook to keep the reader coming back.

Identity Crisis, I would argue, is on this list because the mystery made people invest and read it. It doesn’t mean that the mystery was good or that the solution makes any more sense than this one. But people were invested. If it had been a Batman story of who killed Robin, then it would probably be top 10. But it featured Elongated Man, who doesn’t have that weight. So it’s somehow 45.

Likewise, Hush was Hush…but it had Batman and a mystery of who Hush was and had art by Jim Lee. Congrats, you’re #33. The mystery here made little sense either (particularly motive), but hey, it was a hook.

4) It has Batman. And yeah, that matters. If a writer writes a 13 part mystery on the Flash and how Central City/Keystone became a haven for costumed crazies, it probably doesn’t crack the list.

5) It may seem odd to say this, but it was also a big event at the time where we weren’t besieged by events. In any case, event comics tend to do well, even if the story itself is something we’ve seen variations of a billion times before (say high to Blackest Night at #44).

Looking at it all, it’s easy to see why it placed on a lot of lists.

So while this may not all add up to “good writing” (whatever that may be), it is possible to see why it may have placed 11 aside from that. And on its own, it still offers some entertainment value. I don’t agree with the placement myself, but I can at least see why it wound up there.

I put in an inter-library loan request for The Long Halloween through the local library. I’m really looking forward to it! (I also requested the second volume of Hush and also Final Crisis. New Frontier is not available.)

The Crisis definitely deserves to be where it is. It really does work as a huge epic story, and it FEELS very important. Instead of just a random “reboot” they sought out to have a reason everything changed. And instead of a “we have to reboot things because everything needs to be serious and dark”, it sounds like it really was more for the sake of streamlining a confusing universe. I still think its one of the best company crossover stories, ever.

I also want to add that I’m not always on board with an idea that “only the art made it great”. In comic books, art can be just as important to a story as the writing. Remember the old Marvel way of essentially writing WITH the art, and adding the words later. The artwork is about storytelling. Perez was just the perfect person to make it seem all the more epic.

The main problem I have with Crisis is that while it definitively changed things FOR A WHILE, it also gave later writers an established excuse to go back and rewrite the whole universe again and again. That’s not to say every change in the post-Crisis era was great, but DC now has a bad reputation for doing this.

Also, what DC decided to later do to with “Superboy Prime” after the nice bittersweet ending that we got for him — and the old Earth-2 Superman — was one of the things a hated the most about Infinite Crisis. Rebooting the universe is one thing, but going back and crapping on the nice ending of Crisis was terrible.

Smokescreen – I think it’s even simpler than that. Loeb just lazily and shamelessly rips off popular works that are proven to work on audiences and audiences either are too unaware of the far superior originals or are just mentally lazy and have such low standards that they just don’t care. These two articles by Omar Karindu about Grace Notes and Brian Cronin about Karaoke Comics explain Jeph Loeb’s appeal very well.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/07/17/comic-dictionary-grace-notes/

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/06/07/karaoke-comics/

I’d also like those who claim that Long Halloween criticizers never give reasons for their dislike read those articles (although in fairness only Karindu criticizes Loeb in those articles).

Also, what DC decided to later do to with “Superboy Prime” after the nice bittersweet ending that we got for him — and the old Earth-2 Superman — was one of the things a hated the most about Infinite Crisis. Rebooting the universe is one thing, but going back and crapping on the nice ending of Crisis was terrible.

I totally forgot that Infinite Crisis rebooted the DC Universe. I jumped off the DC train by then. That’s amazing, because nowadays we only talk about Crisis and then New 52, but you’re right, there was actually a reboot in between those where the universe now had 52 Earths. What a clusterfuck that was. Nothing of import panned out of that. Remember that Meltzer-written Justice League America #0 that teased all these new developments that never came to pass?

What a mess the Didio era is. He actually had to reboot TWICE.

Oh, The Long Halloween…

It is funny how the internet galvanizes people. I don’t recall anyone hating it so vehemently when it was coming out.

I didn’t vote for Long Halloween and didn’t even consider it. It would not be in my personal Top 100 Storylines. I strongly agree that it hitting #11 is pretty ridiculous (does anyone have a theory for why it jumped 22 spots from the previous list?). BUT, I do like it and I’ll defend it (slightly).

First of all: Sale. When I think of Batman visually, and I suspect when many comic fans think of Batman visually, I think of him as drawn by Tim Sale. The same goes for the Joker, Two-Face, and several other Gotham characters. Comics are a visual medium, and as such, any story drawn THIS well and THIS memorably will always have people that love it. 50% of Long Halloween (the art half) is about as A+++ as something can get, and that matters. It makes sense that a lot of people would like it better than something like, for example, The Death of Jean DeWolff, which has decent art by Rich Buckler, but there’s certainly nothing about it that makes you want to see more. If we made a Top 100 Greatest Storylines list in which the entries were judged ONLY on their art, #11 for Long Halloween wouldn’t seem unreasonable at all.

And yeah, the writing isn’t great. I’ll defend Loeb a little more than others, because I do think he does a very good job of evoking mood and iconography (I study film, so those things to me are often just as important or more important than narrative). Narratively, Loeb isn’t very good. His plots are weak and they suffer from a fatal combination of trying to do too much and actually doing very little. But if you try to ignore the larger story and just treat Long Halloween more as a giant book of Batman vignettes, the stories work better that way, and the art just kills.

Overall, definitely not the 11th greatest storyline ever, but a work that does have attributes and doesn’t deserve the shitstorm that the internet throws at it.

As for Wolfman/Perez, a great team, and these are their two best works. It is truly bizarre how Wolfman wrote his two best works from ’84-’86 and has written virtually nothing good since then. It’s amazing to think that at the time of these works, people generally saw The X-Men and the Teen Titans as competing franchises. Ten years later, the X-Men launched Age of Apocalypse in their 8 monthly titles, while Teen Titans got cancelled. I’m not trying to dog Wolfman, but it really is mind-boggling how quickly and totally he wasn’t very good anymore.

Third Man, I disagree with you on the part where you said Loeb did something good on the book with evoking mood or whatever. If a good sense of mood was evoked in the book, Loeb wasn’t responsible in my opinion.

This is one of the best takedowns of Long Halloween I’ve ever read, and even this still captures only a third of what’s wrong with it.

http://whatculture.com/comics/7-reasons-why-batman-the-long-halloween-is-the-most-overrated-batman-book-ever.php

Also, I wouldn’t call Sale’s art on the book A++, for reasons described in the article I just linked to. While it’s by far the best part of the book I thought it had some serious flaws as well

[…] 10. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Jerry Ordway (C… […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives