This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Blah, blah, Gaia. Blah, blah, moon. Menstrual life-force power thingy."
11944 members | you are not logged in | 21 August 2014




Tweet







March 30 2009

The top 70 Marvel comics. Three issues from Joss' Astonishing X-Men run appear in this "greatest comics in Marvel history" list.

I have to buy and re-read that run.

Sad to see no Runaways up there. (How is Volume 3, btw?)
Yeah i'll have to re-read it too because it feels like i'd have different issues in there but I can't remember them well enough.

Totally agree about 'Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1' that's a pretty good comic that works as a love story and shows us just what's so sensational about everybody's favourite wall-crawler.

And 'Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #1' was pretty cool but including it shows remarkable restraint and objectivity on the part of the voters IMO. No-one else is even a bit pissed off about it (even though it looks like the rest of the series is finally coming out) ?
IMO, this isn't a very good list. Amazingly, I think every single item on the list is currently available for purchase. And the only golden age Timely books worthy of mention are Marvel Comics #1 and Captain America 1? And such literary mega-stars as House of M and Secret Invasion make the list? They couldn't find room for a single Human Torch/Submariner battle? How about the predictable and tear jerking Amazing Spiderman 248? And MARVEL's by Alex Ross doesn't belong on the list but multiple issues of Civil War and Infinity Gauntlet do??? (Jim Starlin is brilliant but this work doesn't deserve two slots on a list like this)

I guess if you grew up in the 1990s, these books might be on your list. I own just about everything on that list and IMO, maybe 25% belong on a list of "the best" Marvel Comics over the last 70 years.

Joss is a comic writing natural. I think when he writes a few hundred books (right now I think he's got a couple dozen under his belt), he will achieve a story-telling level unknown in the current comic world. I really think he could be that good.
I just bought this weekend the #3 comic on the list.
Giant size X-Men #1. Paid a dollar. I am interested
and amazed how much storytelling techniques have changed
since then.
I think every single item on the list is currently available for purchase

Eh? Half of those listed are from the 60's or 70's.
It was by popular vote, which explains half the comics being "currently available".
So arbitrary. None of Grant Morrison's New X-Men? Also, why #6 from Astonishing X-Men? Alright, so Colossus gets to hit a monster with a truck, but surely #4 that ends with that shot of Kitty rediscovering Colossus? That's the better issue.
A lot of the older titles are available in omnibus editions OneTeV (which the site lets the reader know). Business is business though, so long as it's not actively rigged I don't see it as too big an issue.

I am interested and amazed how much storytelling techniques have changed since then.

Yeah, that's one of the great things about comics, the development is right there, plain to see. The downside is, the art is (largely) what's changed the most and I find very early art can be so distractingly bad it's sometimes hard to tell if the story's any good.

IMO, this isn't a very good list. Amazingly, I think every single item on the list is currently available for purchase.

So cynical ;).

Yeah it has the perennial "public voted list" problem in that it's skewed towards more recent comics and I can't tell if they e.g. had a list of nominees that were voted on or just tallied a totally open vote and then put the top 70 up there (there're logistical issues with the latter so the former's often how it actually works). But there's still a fair mix there I reckon (though I don't read enough Marvel stuff to have much feel for the quality - I mean, Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk #1 was pretty good but top 70 single issues ever ? Maybe not).
"Sad to see no Runaways up there. (How is Volume 3, btw?)"

I stopped reading, it's not very good. It's entertaining at best, but I feel like they aren't doing the book justice.

[ edited by Pretty_Hate_Machine on 2009-03-30 16:53 ]
Heh--I am a tad jaded Saje when it comes to the world of comics today. Especially when I keep reading articles about how the comics industry is poised to go belly-up really soon. Apparently, for most comic titles its a losing proposition for Marvel or DC to put out new comics and that they don't recoup their losses until the trade paperback hits Borders and the other big chain stores. (Interestingly, much of the time the publishers print both at the same time to reduce costs and just ship the tpb's at a later date)

I just read an article in Comic Buyers Guide that compared comics to vinyl records. With the advent of the compact disc, the standard LPs became very inexpensive. Then they became a bit less available and that scarcity created a back market for rare vinyl and the prices rose. Now, that market is slowly but surely losing its value as collectors leave the hobby (or die) because there are very few new record collectors entering the hobby.

One of the points of that article was a critique of the current comics' prices. $3.99 for a 22 page comic book seems kind of ridiculous to me and despite my angst, I pay it. I just don't know for how long I'll continue to pay it. For people that are new to the hobby, that must seem like a fortune...talk about barrier to entry.

And yes Saje, the reprints aspect for availability of these issues is what I was getting at. Almost every story on the list can be found in current print somewhere...unlike most issues of golden aged books like Human Torch, Marvel Mystery, Submariner, Captain America, All Winners, All Select, etc. If they don't print it somewhere now, it ain't on the list and yes, from a business standpoint I get it.
alexreager, do you believe those allegations of losing money? I have doubts,
but I haven't heard any more than what you have said on the subject.
As an avid comic book reader for over 45 years l was shocked that certain epic battles like Thor v Hulk Thor v Hercules Cap v lron Man were excluded from the list The people who did this need 2 rethink their survey
Yeah, that's one of the great things about comics, the development is right there, plain to see. The downside is, the art is (largely) what's changed the most and I find very early art can be so distractingly bad it's sometimes hard to tell if the story's any good.

I have quite the opposite issue Saje, I don't really have a problem with the old art (in fact depending on the issue I can have more problems with current artists then I do with older ones if the skill level just isn't there.) But the writing is usually what keeps me from reading "classic" comics. It's often more cheesy then I can tolerate.


One of the points of that article was a critique of the current comics' prices. $3.99 for a 22 page comic book seems kind of ridiculous to me and despite my angst, I pay it. I just don't know for how long I'll continue to pay it. For people that are new to the hobby, that must seem like a fortune...talk about barrier to entry.

3.99 is not too much to me alexreager but I also know what goes into comics and I feel like comic artists are largely underpaid and under appreciated. Granted, it might keep me from collecting as many comics as I might want, but Marvel and DC really don't need to be coming out with 5 million spin offs of spin offs of spin offs anyway. I'm a pretty casual comic reader and only do it when I have the chance.


But back on topic, I'm happy to see Joss's astonishing x-men up there, I loved his arc.
The $3 or $4 cover price represents a much smaller percent of my current income than the 60-75 cent cover price of my youth.

On the other hand how is a 10 year old of today going to justify the 3 or 4 dollars?
They don't.
I totally agree espalier. To purchase one or two comics per month isn't a very daunting task. So those who read BtVS Season 8 and maybe Astonishing X-men or Runaways to follow our fearless purple leader, it's not that big a deal, even for those of us crushed by the current economy. However, I'm guessing I purchase about 20 titles each month (add to that 3x per month for ASM). I average about $100 per month on "new" comics. As far as addictions go, I guess it's better than cocaine or cigarettes.

And yes espalier, I believe the comic publishers are making less and less profit per year. Sales have been on the incline for a number of years but that's gross sales, not net profits. Some have said the monthly pamphlets are a loss-leader. And the cost to create a comic is much higher today than in the past. Now artists and writers are actually paid a lot compared with their historical counterparts. But paying the creators what they are worth is not cheap...thus a $3.99 cover price.

With all this discussion, I am seriously considering liquidating my collection. Right now my collection would be a very nice down payment on house and in this shitty economy, that is probably a much better longer term investment. If I'm losing value each year maybe it's a smart decision. Plus add to my "comics expenses" a fat insurance policy and a safe deposit box at the bank. I'm weighing that against something I've cherished for decades.

Ironically, my biggest nightmare is if I were to drop dead tomorrow and my collection would be sold by family members for 10% of it's value. I'm actually more horrified by that thought than the actual dying part of the scenario. (ugh, what does that tell you about me)

What do you guys think?
wisengrund, as I'm sure you've been told by now--Runaways vol 3 doesn't even count. I'd rather think it isn't even happening.

alexreager, when I started comics collecting in 3rd grade, I was very concerned about the hobby turning profitable. Longboxes upon longboxes later, I really had a hard time giving up on that idea. Not ones for saving much, my family would probably find some "3 for $1" comic vendor and practically give my collection away.

But this list isn't very great. Weird that so many very modern, very recent (not that they're not good) issues so high on the list.
But the writing is usually what keeps me from reading "classic" comics. It's often more cheesy then I can tolerate.

Yeah that's also true nna_funk, the dialogue can be hokey, the plots (nowadays) seem fairly clichéd, it's often psychologically shallow and more about the plot than the characters. What I meant was, it can be hard to appreciate the writing even when it's good just because the art isn't. I.e. the art sometimes makes it harder to judge the writing.

On the subject of selling your collection alexreager, it's tricky. On the one hand it's a lot of money at a time when it'd be bloody useful, on the other a collection in its totality is kind of a one-off entity which has a lot of yourself in it, once it's gone it's gone.

Personally i'm not much of a collector of anything - though I do accumulate books (the booky kind ;) at a fairly alarming rate - so i'd probably sell a chunk of it, replacing the stories I really wanted to keep with trades (or maybe even digital copies). But I get that it's a very tough decision.
I started selling comics last year, mostly trades (single issues are harder to get rid of, not surprisingly, when none of them are really all that rare/uncommon). How to decide what to sell is easy. "Am I ever going to read this again ? In retrospect, was it really that good ? Even if the writing was iffy or flat-out bad, do I love the art enough to justify keeping it ? Wasn't this pretty mediocre the first time I read it, man I should really get rid of this".

I'm finding with trades, you can sometimes break even on what you originally paid (especially if your comic shop gave you 20% off cover price to begin with, or you bought it from Amazon for a similar discount), some I've even profited $20 to $30 on. When you take a loss, I just chalk it up as the cost of renting the book out for many many years. When it gets to the point where nothing is selling for your bare minimum, I dunno if the best course is to get a table at a convention and sell there (your prices getting lower from Friday to Sunday), put 'em out at a garage sale, or just donate them 'cause life is short and it's really not worth your time.

Sounds like your collection is a lot more extensive/vintage and worth something to hardcore collectors rather than just readers alexreager, so your approach to selling would likely be much different. Personally, if you've been touch and go about selling, I would unload it soon if you're leaning more toward "sell". With very few exceptions (things so obscure they'll likely never get reprints and may not even be uploaded online), I have a strong feeling few are gonna care about this stuff all that much to put down cash for it in the next ten to twenty years. Most baby boomers have or will have developed other interests and there's not enough growth with younger readers (late 20s and I still love 'em, but I've slowed down considerably the past couple years). Video games are kind of the logical successor in some respects, though there're far more well-written comics than there are games (very few well-written games, in my experience).

[ edited by Kris on 2009-04-01 09:16 ]

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home