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May 04 2008

The Top 100 Comic Book Runs Master List. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's run on AXM takes the #38 spot, while Brian K Vaughan's Runaways comes in at #33 and his Y: The Last Man #13.

Readers at Comics Must Be Good voted on their top ten "best comic book runs ever" - the results were tabulated and this is the Top 100.

This is a wonderful list, all major runs with consistently great work. I certainly can't argue w/Gaiman's Sandman in the #1 spot (although I thought Moore's SiP deserved better than #99)!

[ edited by embers on 2008-05-04 16:26 ]
Wow, great list. Some real classics mixed with some newer stuff that is destined to become classic.

I'm surprised SiP isn't higher as well. And The Spirit should be in the top 10 as far as I'm concerned.

Little light on the indies, but oh well. No list like this will be perfect. It has Bone, SiP, and Usagi Yojimbo, so I won't quible about the lack of Skelton Key (so much love for Andi Watson) or Ghost World or The Tick.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2008-05-04 17:31 ]
Cool. All my votes made it on the list, including Sandman as my #1.
Not surprised Strangers in Paradise is at #99. When it comes to comics, fantasy/sci-fi/superheroics are more widely read and reviewed than relationship dramas with mob elements. All equally worthwhile genres, but the majority of comic book readers wouldn't be into what SiP was selling, or be willing to give it much of a chance based on a premise.

I see there's a lot of love given to classic runs of milestone books like Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run on Spider-Man and while I know it's good to not forget the classics...c'mon, can the quality of plot and dialogue really compare to some of the stuff lower on that list ? Nostalgia seems to trump objective quality in lists way too often. Good thing lists aren't to be taken too seriously.

Was a nice reminder of how little I've read of the stuff I've wanted to read. All I've got under my belt are Y: The Last Man, Sandman, Runaways Strangers in Paradise, and Alias. I read the first two to four trades of Lucifer and 100 Bullets, but life got busy and I stopped buying, much as I loved both stories. Definitely pick them up down the road, same with Hellboy, which I've read a little of (still haven't seen the film or the animated DVDs). I read a sample of Concrete and liked it well enough. Even though it was interesting, I don't know if I'll ever go back to Alan Moore's Promethea. Blind-bought the first two trades, but only got through the first one. Just didn't get me, for whatever reason.

Grendel looks and sounds cool, and I really haven't read much of the older stuff Dark Horse put out, so it's up there.

Been close to buying Powers a number of times.

Have the first trade of Top Ten, will get to it some day. Same with Fables.

I was lent all but the last story arc of Bone (including the excellent Rose mini-series/prequel), so I'll re-read it all after I've bought the color versions and finally get to know the ending (I've never had issues with black and white comics, but Bone suits color a hell of a lot more, IMO).

Have the first collection of Transmetropolitan, will try that eventually. Likely a lot of other stuff Warren Ellis has put out as well, like Planetary and The Authority (is Stormwatch essential background for that series?).

Might read Astonishing X-Men (more inclined to with all the fever pitch press surrounding its conclusion) and Ultimate Spider-Man (actually there's a lot in the Ultimate line I'd like to check out), but hopefully by way of borrowing.

Unsure whether Usagi Yojimbo, Lone Wolf & Cub,, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are worth the time and cash.

The biggest glaring ommission on my personal check list, I think, is Preacher. Need to read that. Less of a rush to now, since I think the developing HBO series is dead in the water...but it's been high on my list for a decade.

[ edited by Kris on 2008-05-04 19:29 ]
Having read most of the things on your checklist, I would have to agree that you should start with Preacher. I read a lot of comics when I was a kid, but stopped with the whole clone saga in spider-man. Preacher is the book that got me back into comics and for me would be the book I would put at the top of the linked list. I'd suggest reading it before the HBO series comes out, because that might just end up stopping you from reading the book.
Kris, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is excellent (but skip the horrible movie).
Glanced over the list. Thought it pretty much sucked. Way too biased to post-1980 stuff, which is probably to be expected from an internet fan list. There was only one Golden Age run that I saw (The Spirit). Only a handful of Silver Age runs, most of which involved Stan Lee, and the only pre-Bronze Age DC run was Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Nothing from EC's classic horror comics (were there any horror comics in the entire list?). Nothing from Fawcett (like CC Beck's highly popular and influential Captain Marvel run in Whiz Comics). No Golden Age DC or Silver Age prior to Kirby. I could go on, but basically... meh.
'Hellblazer' is most definitely a horror comic (not sure if Ennis' was the best run but it's certainly up there).

Gotta say, given that proper serial storylines and decent art (by today's standards) were arguably thinner on the golden/silver age ground i'm not sure if a lot of those would've made it on there even if most of the voters had read much of the stuff.

Good to see Planety ( ;) on there, of Ellis' stuff i'd put 'Global Frequency' on there too (not ongoing but then neither was 'Nextwave') and i'm fairly astonished that O'Neill/Adams' Batman isn't on there (unless I just missed it) - even with the recency bias the 70s was when the whole approach to Batman started changing and that run definitely contributed in a big way.

Apart from that, not a terrible list though (as usual) i'd have a different order (i'd have Bendis' 'Alias' much higher for instance, that's a brilliant bit of work IMO). And yep, second the 'League of Extraordinary Gentleman' recommendation, really great comic that turned into a fairly shite film (you'll probably get more out of it if you've read the source material but it's not essential).
Yea missing Preacher is odd, and unless my search Watchmen is playing silly buggers, missing Watchmen is even more odd.

However Sandman at number 1 made me very happy. And the fact that Cerebus was so high up was good as well.

have fun

[ edited by fmwt on 2008-05-05 13:51 ]
Kris,

Yea Promethea is one you have to try hard on at first, but it is very worth it.

If you're into story about story, and language, and magic (oh nearly went all 80/90s and put a k on the end :) )

I saw an interview with Alan Moore where he said that he spent the rest of his career writing comics that wouldn't work in any other media.

And Promethea is possible the most extreme example of that. The final issue in book 5 is like nothing I have ever seen in comics or in fact any media ever.

But yea not everyone's cup of tea :)
@ fmwt

Preacher placed 8th and Watchmen was not an ongoing series...
Ops :), but was Promethea? But yea I didn't pick up on what they meant as a run. :)

[ edited by fmwt on 2008-05-05 14:42 ]
Long ago in a galaxy far away, MAD was on the comic-book stands right next to Little Lulu and Uncle Scrooge, opening minds that would be blown a half-generation later by ZAP. I'd want both of these on any best-comics list. (But maybe that's like saying the Iliad and Odyssey belong on any best-book list.)
doghouse, MAD certainly belongs on a "best of" list for comics--MAD was my first taste of satire as a kid, and it was awesome--but this is a list of best RUNS, meaning either on-going stories told over several issues or several issues done by the same writer/team.

Also adding to LoEG love. Very fun book.
I think Lone Wolf is absolutely worth checking out, although I wouldn't, say, buy the entire series blind, since it's going to be an issue, like with SiP, of whether you want what they're giving you, and you'll be able to decide that pretty quickly.

In terms of whether it's nostalgia alone that gets, say, Stan Lee runs on the list, I can't speak to too much of the older stuff, but I recently read my first classic Fantastic Four (about whom I've never been particularly enthusiastic). They included FF #2 in a trade they just put out for the current Marvel "event," and I actually went a bit nuts over it. It took me forever to get to the rest of the trade's modern stuff because I was going to everyone I know demanding that they read FF #2.

It's still very 1960's, clearly a product of the story and artistic conventions of the time, but the level of story and creativity and even character on display in that issue was amazing to me. Yes, it has hilarious panels where people are narrating the visual action so we aren't confused, but it also has the kind of economy of space that fits what would be a 6 issue storyline today into the space of a single comic and pulls it off.

It includes big action scenes, character confrontations, a little suspense for future issues, and some plot resolution twists that actually play to the fact that Reed Richards is the world's smartest man (because a character who's a genius shouldn't solve all his problems by fighting). Not to mention they happen to create the Skrulls for that issue, whose character designs have essentially not changed since then, because they got them right the first time.

A bit of a lengthy reply to a minor comment, but I was so excited to learn just how good those game-changing comics really were, and feel compelled to share about it.
Promethea is awesome. It's Buffy meets MirrorMask.

Golden Age Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 featured a story that ran for over 2 years, The Monster Society of Evil. It was reprinted in hardcover format in 1974 (under the MSOE title) but there were only something like 1500 copies produced. I found a copy on Ebay about 6 months ago (but dont get your hopes up too much, it only comes up for sale on the market a couple times a year). It's a great golden age tale thats certainly worthy of the top 100.

#93 Alias should totally be higher on the list. Modern age classic. It should also be noted that you should definately read the corresponding monthly Daredevil issues. Brian Michael Bendis was writing both titles at the time and the stories interweave several times throughout the run. (Kind of like seeing the different perspective of Angel, Dru and Darla walking down the street versus the view of pre-vamp Spike heading the other direction)
That Alias/Daredevil run is one of my all time favorites!

(and to add a note on POWERS!, it is "must reading" for anyone that reads comics regularly. Start with the Who Killed Retro Girl tpb and go from there--you'll love it! Warning: adult language abounds)
alexreager, I'm not sure I ever noticed the interweaving of Alias and Daredevil, and I love both of them! I'll have to look for those when I reread Alias (and then Pulse to finally finish off that story) and catch up on Bendis's run on DD.

I also love Powers. I was pleased to see a lot of my favorites on the list.

I must say I think AXM is way too high on the list. It shouldn't be above stuff like Powers and 100 Bullets. It's really high! Why is it so high? I just caught up yesterday, and I did like it, but my enjoyment was hindered by not being familiar with recent events and characterizations in the canon.

I'm actually about to start reading Preacher tomorrow, so I'm glad to see all the positive comments! I really don't know what I'm getting myself into and why it's so good. It never sounded like something I'd be interested in.
Polter-- In regards to Alias and Daredevil, at the start of Alias, I think there are subtle references to events that happen in both titles and then when Jessica started acting as Matt Murdoch's bodyguard, the two titles actually felt like one story. I know the verses of Marvel, DC, etc. have character crossovers all the time but (for a while there), this felt a lot more like the books were just extensions of one another.

It is kind of like BtVS and ATS versus some meaningless crossover like Wolverine appearing in Spiderman's book a few weeks ago. Wolvie's roll could have easily been replaced with most any of the characters from the Marvel U. There was no purpose to the appearance and the story suffered for it.

Its obvious that when Bendis was writing those titles at the same time, he was working off a single palette and that's why Alias is on the list to begin with.
Grats to Joss, JC, and BKV for their stories being honored. My fav, Midnight Nation, is nowhere to be seen. (I'm a neophyte comicateer).

Golden Age Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46 featured a story that ran for over 2 years, The Monster Society of Evil. It was reprinted in hardcover format in 1974 (under the MSOE title) but there were only something like 1500 copies produced. I found a copy on Ebay about 6 months ago (but dont get your hopes up too much, it only comes up for sale on the market a couple times a year). It's a great golden age tale thats certainly worthy of the top 100.


Absolutely. The Monster Society of Evil was the first super villain group in comics, and Captain Marvel at the time was hugely popular (regularly outselling Superman's titles). This was (part of) Otto Binder and CC Beck's run I was thinking of when I mentioned Fawcett above, but I was incorrectly thinking it was in Whiz Comics (which also featured Captain Marvel) rather than his own title.

I remember seeing something about DC planning on reprinting this story in the relatively near future, but I don't see it on their site.

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