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May 2, 2008 8:38 PM   Subscribe

The 100 best comic book runs as voted for by the readers of Comics Should be Good.

Notes
posted by Artw (97 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
No Flex Mentallo? Dang. I expected it at least around 65 or something. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have had some fine, fine moments, together and separately, but that 4-issue run is by far the best superhero comic I've ever read. By far.
posted by mediareport at 8:57 PM on May 2, 2008


It's a mini, not a run.
posted by Artw at 8:57 PM on May 2, 2008


Yeah, I find it odd that League of Extraordinary Gentlemen can be on the list while Watchmen can not be, but whatever. Your favourite comic run sucks, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 9:02 PM on May 2, 2008


It's a mini, not a run.

Fair enough, but that whole "ongoing" thing makes no sense. How is Sandman, Cerebus or Transmetropolitan still "ongoing"? Am I drunkenly missing something?
posted by mediareport at 9:04 PM on May 2, 2008


They ongoed.

(adding the No X but Y tag for the quibblers)
posted by Artw at 9:06 PM on May 2, 2008


Well, Watchmen is pretty short, really. Sandman, Transmetropolitan, and Cerebus aren't. Cerebus really isn't.

If Watchmen counts, so does Dark Knight Returns, etc. etc. -- the list just becomes too long. Fuzzy distinction, but it makes sense to me.
posted by spiderwire at 9:12 PM on May 2, 2008


mediareport, but "ongoing" they just mean that current (i.e. unfinished) runs are still fair game for the list.
posted by spiderwire at 9:13 PM on May 2, 2008


The Hellfire Club was probably one of the more notable parts of the run, as it also introduced Kitty Pryde. They had already established, early in the run, that Wolverine was willing to kill if need be, but the Hellfire Club took that to a bigger level - due to Byrne’s involvement with Wolverine, Wolverine soon became one of the most popular characters in all of comics - this story has one of the most famous single panels in comic history.

Anyone know what panel they're referring to?
posted by ErWenn at 9:30 PM on May 2, 2008


No "Little Lulu"? This list is prejudiced against girls' comics, Waaaah!
posted by amyms at 9:34 PM on May 2, 2008


Yeah, but there are only, what, 3, 4 issues of LoEG, right? I get the logic, it's just odd that a open-ended 3-issue run can be there when a 12-issue run can't just because it's "closed".

I mean, it seems like it's a top 100 list where they removed some, but not all, of the obvious top picks. Obviously Sandman was going to come in the top handful - why not pull it out too? It's just such an odd inclusion/exclusion metric. But whatever. The top 6 are certainly all classic runs. But Preacher? Starman? Good, sure, but top 10 good? Really?

At least they had people vote on this one unlike the top 100 moves list posted next door.
posted by GuyZero at 9:39 PM on May 2, 2008


Anyone know what panel they're referring to?

I think they're talking about the last panel of Uncanny X-men #132. The one near the bottom of this page.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:42 PM on May 2, 2008


Uh, this is a popularity contest. Pretty straightforward with the "OMG you think FABLES is better than JACK COLE and GOTHAM CENTRAL" and similar shenanigans along with, "Yay, Starman acknowledged as the genius it is!" I'm not sure this is all that interesting except, well, as a popularity contest, though.

ErWenn, I'm wondering if they mean the panel where Charles Xavier is decked out in bondage gear. That one was pretty entertaining.
posted by bettafish at 9:43 PM on May 2, 2008


amyms - thanks for that link! I always loved the Little Lulu comics, and now I finally know why I also liked the (short-lived) Melvin the Monster ones, as well.
posted by yhbc at 9:49 PM on May 2, 2008


The readers of Comics Should Be Good must believe that only mainstream comics are good, since the majority of those listed seem to be mainstream titles. Where's the Doomsday Pack arc for Knights of the Dinner Table? That was awesome.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:53 PM on May 2, 2008


A little anti-climactic, MegoSteve, but thanks.
posted by ErWenn at 9:55 PM on May 2, 2008


amyms - thanks for that link! I always loved the Little Lulu comics, and now I finally know why I also liked the (short-lived) Melvin the Monster ones, as well.

You are a gentleman and a scholar, yhbc.
posted by amyms at 9:56 PM on May 2, 2008


Anyone know what panel they're referring to?

I'm pretty sure they mean this. It's the last panel of X-Men 132. X-Men 133 is basically Wolverine spending an entire issue mutilating the entire Hellfire Club.

I was never a huge Marvel fan so I'm a little vague, but I believe the big deal here was this was the story/issue that made Wolverine.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 PM on May 2, 2008


Wow, the comic experts are all up sourcing 20-year old comic panels on a Friday night. Whoda thunk
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:58 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


quite centered around america at first glance, with occasional exceptions

http://lambiek.net/artists/

posted by sponge at 9:59 PM on May 2, 2008


Anyone know what panel they're referring to?

I'm pretty sure they mean this. It's the last panel of X-Men 132. X-Men 133 is basically Wolverine spending an entire issue mutilating the entire Hellfire Club.


Ah yes... I once re-drew this panel and had it printed on a custom print pot-holder for my mom for mothers day. Because that's the kind of 10 year old I was/still am.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:09 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Where's the Doomsday Pack arc for Knights of the Dinner Table? That was awesome.

Pfft. I think you'll find that the Bag Wars arc was better in nearly every respect.
posted by graventy at 10:11 PM on May 2, 2008


A little anti-climactic, MegoSteve, but thanks.

Yeah, it's not as impressive out of context in 2008, but within the context of that story and what followed in Uncanny X-men #133 as described by XQUZYPHYR, Claremont and Byrne perfectly distilled the character down to one panel, and set the tone for Wolverine for the next 25+ years.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:13 PM on May 2, 2008


Oh.

See, I've never even seen that Wolverine panel. I just know about Charles Xavier wearing a black leather collar. Silly me!
posted by bettafish at 10:35 PM on May 2, 2008


Yeah, but there are only, what, 3, 4 issues of LoEG, right? I get the logic, it's just odd that a open-ended 3-issue run can be there when a 12-issue run can't just because it's "closed".

Twelve 22 page comics, a 100+ page OGN, and three 72 page comics on the way, and whatever comes after that. It's kind of stretching things, and is probably the most questionable item on the list, but I’d say the Hellboy comparison is apt.

FWIW I think the list is a lot more interesting with the noninclusion of miniseries - Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns et al are great comics, and top out "best comics" list all the time, but I think the various high quality runs that these creators have had on monthly (mostly) comics are just as important. The monthlies are pretty much the cornerstone of the (US) comics industry, and contain some incredible work - I’d say that if you picked anything off the list you’d be in for a damn good read (though in some cases you’d have to resort to ebay where runs haven’t been collected or have been incompletely collected).

Many of the runs on the list are iconic or pivotal moments for their characters, and so are part of comics history in a way that event comics and minis, with a few notable exceptions, often fail to be.

(I tend to flit around between titles following creators, rather than sticking with a particular title because it's Character X, so the focus on creator runs, rather than titles or characters, is nice. I think it's a more useful way of looking at things: Any random Punisher title will most likely be dross, but the Garth Ennis run on it is awesome. )
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Preacher? [...] Good, sure, but top 10 good? Really?

AFFIRMATIVE GOOD SIR
posted by spiderwire at 11:01 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yay Walt Simonson's Thor! I first encountered these via my best friend Josh's milk crate o' comics, when I was 10. Pretty awesome and apocalyptic. . .Wonderfully mythic, and clever. . .My Mom had been into these when they first came out, too, so we had a bit of sharing over them. It was one of our odder, sweet moments. . .My Mom explaining to me the cleverly hidden meaning in Beta Ray Bill's name--WHOAH!

Josh moved away to Texas. . .But then on my 13th birthday my Mom surprised me with a complete run of the Surtur Saga that she'd happened on by chance. . .at the fairgrounds I think. Awesome.

Flash forward to age 19, when I got high and entered my "On the Road" phase. This involved the giving away of worldly possessions. . .or, more ambiguously, the abandonment of in the apartments of friends. Years later when I came callin' for the books, they were long gone.

The less picturesque but bitchin' end of this story? I just picked 'em up on ebay! Woohoo! (I imagine a lot of stories like this end like this. . .I also replaced my much beloved childhood Soma Cube this way.)

The cover of THOR #337 still gives me chills.

*off to post a related ? in AskMeFi*
posted by flotson at 11:09 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


No 'Stray Bullets'? List fails.
posted by turgid dahlia at 11:17 PM on May 2, 2008


Don't forget it's free comic book day today!
posted by zarah at 11:27 PM on May 2, 2008


My Mom explaining to me the cleverly hidden meaning in Beta Ray Bill's name--WHOAH!

Now I feel stupid. What is it?
posted by Bookhouse at 11:40 PM on May 2, 2008


WHERE THE HELL IS GAIL SIMONE'S BIRDS OF PREY ON THIS LIST???

On that alone, I cry fowl. *groan* No, really!

"FWIW I think the list is a lot more interesting with the noninclusion of miniseries - Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns et al are great comics, and top out "best comics" list all the time..."

And there are VERY good reasons for that, I think, which a listing like this purposefully tries to overlook. Frank Miller's Dark Knight and Alan Moore's Watchmen were standalone and each pulled all the stops, completely let loose, and they knew exactly how long they had to tell their story and they filled every page with memorable entertainment. There wasn't a lot of fluff. There wasn't room for fluff. They didn't feel like they had to rush something or slow down for an issue or connect the dots from one storyline to another. They said what they had to say and then they closed the proverbial curtain.

That's as it should be.

I understand that the ongoing series are the bread and butter of the comic book industry, but with 20/20 hindsight looking back at my own on again off again relationship with comics, the 'runs' really suck overall.

In a given ongoing title, you might get a good 'run' with a particular artist and writer combination. That's a might. You also might not. Sometimes a title goes on for a year or more riding on the past success of whoever came before it, and it takes the industry way too long to realize when a given title needs to be put out of its misery.

They've gotten better at it over the years, but the real answer is to close up shop when that team chooses to leave, and then open up again when there's a new team with something to say. You don't just try to keep the book alive when there's no new tale to tell.

This list points out over one hundred runs, what with the inevitable 'ties.' However, for every one on this list, there's a hundred stinkers where someone shoulda said, "woah that stinks to high heaven."

When a good artist/writer combo leaves the title, it's very rare that you see an equally masterful team jump on board immediately afterwards and keep with the quality and energy. The quality invariably goes down.

This is not a new phenomenon, but one that has painfully handicapped the industry for close to a century now. Rather than keep the same title going nonstop regardless of the quality behind it, the industry should have allowed artists and writers to mold and shape their own work.

Okay. So if the X-Men had been dropped immediately after Lee and Kirby were done with them, we would never have seen Claremont and Byrne, but that's exactly what I'm talking about. Claremont and Byrne rebuilt the X-Men from the ground up, made them "new" and put their own take on it. They didn't diss the past but they also didn't stick to the old formula.

Perez & Wolfman also stamped "new" on the Teen Titans and built something that was obviously influenced by the previous lukewarm efforts to make a kiddie justice league, but they made it work by infusing their own ingenuity and creative spark into it. Does anyone remember Jergens lackluster efforts after Wolfman left? NO. Why? Cuz after Wolfman left, it sucked. It still sucks. They still keep trying to revitalize it but after the cartoon show they don't know what to do with it. "Teen Titans" has become a kinda victim of its own success.

John Byrne TRIED to imprint his own take on Superman with his Man of Steel miniseries (which made #77 on this list but it wasn't a 'run' and shouldn't have been counted), but it pissed off a lot of people cuz everybody thinks they know what Superman is supposed to be so they wouldn't let Byrne find out for himself. Man of Steel crashed and burned because he wasn't allowed to really let loose and make it his own. There were places where he did, and much of that has since been erased from canon.

Superman's become a trademark. It's no longer flexible, which means an artist really can't make it his own. It's stuck in formula and repetition. That's precisely why the Superman comic book series shoulda died a very long time ago. Notice that Superman only shows up twice in this list. Both times the end result is outside of canon, and NEVER does a run in the multiple decade long monthly Superman or Action Comics titles show up. Where's Curt Swan on this list? He was with Superman for over a quarter of a century, but despite his timeless art, the writing was mostly sub-par and safe. So no one remembers any runs involving Curt Swan.

I argue that Curt Swan's artistic run on Superman trumps all the rest of this list with the possible exception of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, but THERE is the perfect example of taking a title and making it ENTIRELY his own. They gave Gaiman the name of a little-known super hero in the golden age and let him throw away everything else. Well okay. He kinda worked the golden age Sandman into the story a little bit, but only just.

Gaiman invented something so remarkably out there, that the DC marketing people had a cow. They had to make up an entirely separate group of comics (which became Vertigo) to publish it under, because Neil Gaiman's Sandman was so unique and innovative that it didn't fit under the DC umbrella. After Gaiman left Sandman, did they just hire another writer and artist and try to ride the lightning? No. Other titles since have come and gone inspired by Gaiman's original work, but Neil Gaiman's Sandman was done after seventy-five issues. There wasn't a seventy-six issue with another artist and writer team to try to fill his shoes.

That's as it should be.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:48 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


And if more comics were like Sandman, I'd probably buy more comics. I really, really, really hate guys in spandex and giant boobed bimbos in less spandex acting all superhero-y even if it is a darker, more angsty superhero-yness these days.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a "run" if it's a smaller part of a larger series that other issues published, or if the title has been handled by other writers or artists. LOEG is a tough one, probably shouldn't be on the list. Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns definitely don't belong as they are, or were, both fairly singular visions. These days runs are so tightly planned and repackaged as TPBs that they seem like mini-series. After seeing Iron Man today I wanted to go back and read my Warren Ellis\Adi Granov run of Iron Man, titled "Extremis". Highly recommend.

Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon doing Hellblazer is probably my favourite run of comic books.
posted by autodidact at 12:25 AM on May 3, 2008


A bit off topic, but Free Comic Book Day is today!
posted by book at 12:52 AM on May 3, 2008


My Mom explaining to me the cleverly hidden meaning in Beta Ray Bill's name--WHOAH!

Now I feel stupid. What is it?


Try saying it out loud a few times. . .
posted by flotson at 12:53 AM on May 3, 2008


John Byrne TRIED to imprint his own take on Superman with his Man of Steel miniseries (which made #77 on this list but it wasn't a 'run' and shouldn't have been counted),

They're taking a lot more than the miniseries into consideration, if you check the actual listing. I have no opinion on its worthiness, however.
posted by Sparx at 1:02 AM on May 3, 2008


Try saying it out loud a few times. . .

Aww, man, I don't know about Bookhouse, but that's not working for me--can someone take pity on me? This is gonna drive me crazy...
posted by equalpants at 1:04 AM on May 3, 2008


Actually, Kurt Busiek's run on Action Comics (that's a Superman title, for those not in the know) has been excellent - coming from someone who usually finds Superman hit or miss.
posted by bettafish at 1:13 AM on May 3, 2008


be-ta-ray-bill = be terrible?
posted by kid ichorous at 1:56 AM on May 3, 2008


Beta Ray Bill?

[says it out loud to himself a few times]

Betty Rubble?

I don't get it either.

Sparx, they specifically state in the list John Byrne's "Man of Steel" series. One person gave it a number one rating. That series was a miniseries which lasted six issues. If Man of Steel gets to be on the list, Watchmen and Dark Knight NOT being on the list is a travesty.

Furthermore, you can argue that Gaiman's seventy-five issue "run" was the entire series, so the number one on the list should be excluded, given the definition of "run." There was no writer before or after Gaiman on that title. Come to think of it, this precarious delineation of "run" defined, for purposes of this list, is getting more and more preposterously laughable the more I think about it.

Really. Curt Swan. Multiple forgettable writers under his belt, but his "run" on Superman was some fine work that veritably defined the look of Supes for generations, and it's a shame he's not even given a footnote in a list like this. Curt Effin Swan. Really.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:06 AM on May 3, 2008


I'm astonished that Wally Wood didn't place anywhere in there, if only for his work on Daredevil. And T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents! But that's just me.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 4:35 AM on May 3, 2008


For my first 15+ years of comic collecting, I couldn't figure out why Curt Swan was so praised. When it finally clicked I was able to appreciate comic art on a whole new level. Storytelling was far more impressive than busy linework & excessive crosshatching.

It doesn't hold up well, but the Larry Hama GI Joe run has a place in my heart as the comic that got me collecting and (despite the social ramifications) continuity-conscious.

My Beta Ray Bill Theories:
- (acronym) BRB
- (backward without the A & B) LLIBYRATE , he is the poorly spelled liberator!
posted by yorick at 4:42 AM on May 3, 2008


Just out of curiosity, has there *ever* been a top 100 (or top 10, or top 25, or top whatever) list that *didn't* leave out some obviously brilliant choices, put in some head-scratchingly low-quality selections, use an incomprehensibly arbitrary set of inclusion rules, and then clearly violate those rules several times? Because I've never seen one.

These things come with the very nature of a "top [number]" list. They are of necessity arbitrary, subjective, slanted, and incomplete, because they are created by a limited number of people, with a knowledge of the art form that can never be totally perfect, at a specific point in time. While it can be fun to debate the specific choices or ranking order (e.g., was The Sandman more seminal a work than The Spirit?), or use them as a springboard for discussion of the form (does an ongoing character need to be reinvented for a creator to truly make it their own?), pointing out that these lists are flawed is practically redundant.

That being said, where the hell is Scott McCloud's "Zot!"?
posted by kyrademon at 5:21 AM on May 3, 2008


Honestly, I think that limited run stuff tends to be vastly, insanely, better than ongoing series. The problem with an ongoing series, like the X-Men is that everything has been done, and done, and done, and done so damn many times that the only thing left is teenage angst and characters returning from the dead so often that its like the grim reaper installed a revolving door.

So I think their original premise is flawed. If you want to find the best comics, find the ones that start, do their thing, and then END.

Which is why stuff like Bone, and the Sandman are so much better than Superman or Batman. Bone was fairly long running, but it was telling a single story and after that story ended they didn't have to recycle the characters for another story starting next month. Result: it didn't get driven into the damn ground. Sandman was a series of self-contained individual stories (and a few single issue fables and whatnot), and quite often Morpheous was only there in a few brief scenes, almost cameos (The Doll's House, A Game of You).

Which is, among other things, why I think the third Foolkiller series may be the best thing Marvel has ever done. The concept takes the vigalantee aspect of superheroes to its extreme endpoint, there's actual character development and relevant social commentary. I mean, how many other comics involve the main character killing G. Gordon Liddy? It isn't a vigalantee revenge trip full of testosterone fueled rage (and I mean you Frank Castle), its a descent into genuine insanity from a relatively innocent starting point. And, this is the important part, it ended. It didn't go on mindlessly after its story had been told, but rather the writers had the grace to say "its over, let's move one and tell a new story".
posted by sotonohito at 5:41 AM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the "run" stuff needs to be better defined. There are a slew of titles on that list that simply don't exist if the named writer/artists are not there: Powers will always be Bendis and Oeming. Grant Morrison is always Invisibles. Gaiman is the only writer for Sandman.

But hey, this list gives me some more titles to look for in trade and more of an excuse to swing by FCBD today!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:43 AM on May 3, 2008


Beta Ray Bill -- Better Able?
posted by graventy at 5:53 AM on May 3, 2008


No Disney Comics & Stories? No Uncle Scrooge? No ducks at all except Howard?
Nothing of Carl Barks?

It's like a list of the hundred most important events in European History that leaves out any mention of France.
posted by hexatron at 6:45 AM on May 3, 2008


The 100 best comic book runs

YAYYYYYYYY

as voted for by the readers of Comics Should be Good.

...oh.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:47 AM on May 3, 2008


No American Flagg!? Puhleaze. This list is too fan-boy for me...
posted by Bron at 7:03 AM on May 3, 2008


This does seem like a very fanboy list, but I think that's got a lot to do with how they defined a "run".

I personally think that they broke their own definition: there is a fundamental difference between their number one and number two. The Claremont/Byrne X-Men embodies the very definition of "a run", but Gaiman's Sandman certainly doesn't qualify - it's just as much of a one-shot/one-man-story as Watchmen, just more spread out. Same thing goes for a lot of other entries on the list too (Bone, Preacher, Starman, Y the Last Man, just to name a few off the top of my head).

That fact alone makes the list pretty flawed, despite having some great comics on there. Well, actually, all my favorite comics in the world are on there. That means that it has some value, I guess, but the point still stands.
posted by gemmy at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2008


I wonder why had to be a list of men in tights, because Carl Bark's Donald Duck series reprinted by Gladstone at around the time I was in university (and long past the stage of reading X-Men, which I had given up on in frustration at the age of 15 after the Mutant Massacre clusterfuck), and it was a real revelation. Great artwork and great stories.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:04 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think sotonohito hits the nail right on the head. The achillies heel of comic books (and television for the most part) is that it runs through a cycle of story begins, story ends, characters are back where they started in time for the next story.

The things on this list that feel like they belong there are the occasional case where preexisting characters were finally used to their full potential, but mostly are stories that had a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes a la Bone or Sandman with a preplanned arc, somethings where the creative team decided to ignore everything that happened previously and just do their own thing and damn the continuity and sometimes by keeping the story world constant but moving around from place to place and character to character.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:22 AM on May 3, 2008


Yikes. What a list. Horrible collection of adolescent crap.
posted by Glinner at 9:03 AM on May 3, 2008


The Claremont/Byrne X-Men embodies the very definition of "a run", but Gaiman's Sandman certainly doesn't qualify - it's just as much of a one-shot/one-man-story as Watchmen, just more spread out.

I agree they broke their own definition, but the more important way they broke their own definition is by sometimes counting writer/penciler teams, and sometimes picking one or the other. Of course they do address it in the notes:
Claremont’s X-Men and Lee’s Spider-Man are unique cases because the most prominent artists on the runs actually WROTE the comics with them. You can’t call it “Lee’s Spider-Man” when Ditko was coming up with the plots. Similarly, while most of Claremont’s run was only Claremont, the most famous run was co-written by John Byrne. So you have to count that as separate, because it wasn’t Claremont writing, it was Claremont AND Byrne. This is different from other long runs of one writer that had different “eras,” like, say, Peter David’s Hulk or Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America, which were all written by David and Gruenwald, respectively. And once you’ve split up the Byrne stuff, you might as well split up the other artists, too, right? Especially since Jim Lee also co-plotted the book (I forget, did Cockrum co-plot as well?).
But, it is still stupid.

I don't think there is any question that Sandman was a regular series, so in that sense it counts as a run. On the other hand, there was never consistent ongoing writer artist combination, so I can't see any of it qualifying for this list, irregardless of how badly the fanboys want to make it number one yet again.
posted by Chuckles at 9:18 AM on May 3, 2008


I'm glad Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol ranked so high...that is my personal favorite up there with Ditko's Spider-Man.
posted by GavinR at 9:22 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whatever the "Beta Ray Bill" joke is, it's got to be a let-down, because it's totally not obvious. Will someone please tell us anyway, though?!?
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2008


Betty Grable? Does Beta Ray Bill have fabulous gams?

How many of these 100 are not about superheroes (superantiheroes, folk with special powers, etc.)? Not many, guessing by the titles. If that's so, why? Comic books aren't much good for anything but men with logos on their chests and tights on their legs? All the best writers prefer to write about such stuff? That's all comics readers want to read? Or is it that this list is not actually representative of the best comics?
posted by pracowity at 9:49 AM on May 3, 2008


How is Sandman, Cerebus or Transmetropolitan still "ongoing"?

Cerebus: A 300 issue mini-series.

The list is very fanboyish. While Claremonts run on X-Men is a fun read, it's not great writing by any stretch and it's certainly not the 2nd best ever.

On the "obvious" Beta Ray Bill in-joke I'm going with "better able"
posted by Bonzai at 9:54 AM on May 3, 2008


After a night of sleeping on it, I'm guessing that "Beta Ray Bill" is supposed to sound like "Better Able," as in bettle able to be Thor?
posted by Bookhouse at 10:05 AM on May 3, 2008


Whatever it is, obvious ain't it.
posted by dersins at 10:09 AM on May 3, 2008


Or "better able to preview what bonzai said"
posted by Bookhouse at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2008


Betty Grable?

That was my guess too. It's got to be something like that, something that just kinda sounds like "Beta Ray Bill", not something with the exact same syllables.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2008


ZachsMind brings up really interesting ideas of authorship in comics. It reminds me of the debate about creater ownership in comics that raged in the late 80s, and blew up the entire industry a few years later. I'm as anti-corporate as they come, and I really sympathise with creators who have been consistently robbed by the industry. Thing is, a lot of comic book characters resonate because of the petina they gained as they passed through many different creative hands. The mechanisms that allowed for that kind of creativity were destroyed along with the iron grip of the oligopoly..
posted by Chuckles at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2008


Chuckles: I can't see any of [Sandman] qualifying for this list, irregardless of how badly the fanboys want to make it number one yet again.

Bonzai: The list is very fanboyish. While Claremonts run on X-Men is a fun read, it's not great writing by any stretch and it's certainly not the 2nd best ever.

I'm guessing we are talking about different kinds of fanboy :)
posted by Chuckles at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2008


It's a really inconsistent list. Sometimes only the writer is listed and sometimes both the writer and artist. And not always are the writer/artist pairings any more of a co-creative pairing than when the artists are not listed. Darrick Robertson, for example, was no more or less a co-creator of Transmetropolitan (with Warren Ellis) than was Richard Case on Doom Patrol (with Grant Morrison).

The exclusion of miniseries makes little sense, especially as chaptered miniseries (like Hellboy and League of Entraordinary Gentlemen) are included, as are continuing series with planned ends, like Sandman and Starman.

Then there's the problem with popularity contests; the idea that Claremont & Byrne's X-Men is better in any way than Acme Novelty Library, for example, or that AcMENL, at #100, is worse or less important than more than 90% of the rest of the list, is mind-boggling. It's pretty apparent that the voting was primarily by super-hero fans in their 30s. Joe Kelly's Deadpool rated higher than Jack Kirby's Fourth World? Are you fuckin' kidding me?

That said, the folks who came into to take a big ol' shit with their comments about how it's all childish crap? The irony is thick, since you so clearly have the maturity of toddlers. Take a fuckin' walk.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:33 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hadn't seen a lot of these...I get into comics but have never focused on them. This thread's schooling me some, thx! 8-)
posted by owhydididoit at 10:34 AM on May 3, 2008


Axel Pressbutton, Psychotic Cyborg is my new hero.
posted by owhydididoit at 10:47 AM on May 3, 2008


graventy wins the prize. . .

I don't think there is any question that Sandman was a regular series, so in that sense it counts as a run. On the other hand, there was never consistent ongoing writer artist combination, so I can't see any of it qualifying for this list, irregardless of how badly the fanboys want to make it number one yet again.


Gaiman/McKean? I always felt Dave McKean added a lot to my sense of the Sandman universe. . .

gemmy?-- does your name come from where I think it does?
posted by flotson at 10:54 AM on May 3, 2008


I got it! Bait Fee Waybill!
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:19 AM on May 3, 2008


ouch!
posted by owhydididoit at 11:52 AM on May 3, 2008


gemmy?-- does your name come from where I think it does?
Pretty sure not, sry. :)
posted by gemmy at 12:07 PM on May 3, 2008


Heh. Checking wikipedia to see if they mention that 'better able' thing, I find out that there was an Alpha Ray predecessor. No word on if his name was also Bill, though.
posted by graventy at 12:11 PM on May 3, 2008


Or maybe it's 'bator able, as in masturbator.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:16 PM on May 3, 2008


Or possibly Stiv Bators Able.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2008


Heh. What, no Joe Kubert?

Don't forget it's free comic book day today!

Given the, um, "quality" of most of the comments here I'd expect most of the commetors to follow this guys take on it.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on May 3, 2008


Fanboy, fanboy, fanboy.
posted by telstar at 1:18 PM on May 3, 2008


Add my vote for Carl Barks' Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and John Stanley's Little Lulu. And some other non-superhero comics : Barry Smith's Conan, Kubert's Sgt. Rock, Steranko's Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the previously-mentioned Chaykin's American Flagg. But I am glad they mentioned Warrior, if only for Marvelman, Nexus, Cerebus, Plastic Man, and Concrete, any or all of which could have been left off a fan-boy's list.
posted by CCBC at 1:26 PM on May 3, 2008


Totally agree with ZachsMind that Gail Simone's Birds of Prey should have been included in this list. Maybe the title's just not that popular. After all it's not like girls read comics.
posted by tinatiga at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2008


I only checked to see if Morrison's Doom Patrol was on there, as it deserves to be, and it is. So... okay. I guess it gives me hope that it actually was as good as I remember.
posted by squarehead at 5:58 PM on May 3, 2008


Doom Patrol fucking rocked... sadly I enthusiasticly lent my run of it out to people until eventually I lent them who just disapeared with them, but it's pretty well covered in trades now (it wasn't for years) so I might have to buy it and do a reread.
posted by Artw at 6:07 PM on May 3, 2008


In all honesty, I completely agree with the list. Is it in order? Well, to me, not if Love & Rockets isn't #1. But otherwise? It is an exquisite thing. THESE ARE COMICS I ADORE!!

Not only that, I read and loved them. They moved me.

Everything, and I mean everything on the list is solid gold. What I would do, what I would pay to have all those comics back. All of my originals of all of those.

Thank whatever powers that be for all comic books. They saved my life. They kept me sane. And most of all, they inspired me.

Sure, I have my favorites that are not included (The Milestone line—Blood Syndicate, Static, Xombi—and RAW Magazine ie "The Graphix Magazine for Damned Intellectuals" (which I sold for an absurd amount of money due to the Reagan flexi-disc)) but that's only because I have read so many comic books!

Recently, I have begun to buy again, not that I ever really stopped, but after a down-time of about 10 years I am back into it. And I love it.

The best part? Seeing as I work with kids, most of whom are involved with Spiderman, X-Men, Iron Man etc in some way or another, I can put a comic book into their hands for a measly $4, and they become hooked on reading! Pick the right comics and the right kids, and it happens everytime. It's a sure thing.

Lastly, superheroes is a stupid concept, I agree. But learning how and why they are in my life has been part of the fun.

Today, I took a 10 year old to see Iron Man, and he loved it. He gave it a 92 out of 100. (To which he added, "The first Spiderman was an 82. Number 2 is a 62, number 3 is a 64. Transformers was an 88." He also explained, "the last 20 minutes of Galaxy Quest was amazing." I love this kid.) Afterwards, however, considering how he was quoting the mythos to me throughout the movie, we stopped by Borders, and I bought him an Iron Man book. The second I dropped him off, he began reading. And it has actual text!

Sure, comics are a laced with trip wires these days, and I now understand what insane branding machines they are. But the truth of the matter is that good comics read well, and that's that.

The genuine beauty of most these top 100 story lines are fun for kids to read. And like it or not, the only adults they are made for are those of us who are kids at heart.

Excelsior!
posted by humannaire at 10:28 PM on May 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thank whatever powers that be for all comic books. They saved my life. They kept me sane. And most of all, they inspired me.

.
posted by CCBC at 12:59 AM on May 4, 2008


The genuine beauty of most these top 100 story lines are fun for kids to read. And like it or not, the only adults they are made for are those of us who are kids at heart.

That's weird; I gave my ten-year-old my full run of Preacher to read and he seemed a little put off by it. But I'm sure he'll start talking again any day now.
posted by spiderwire at 1:02 PM on May 4, 2008


You could always try him on Hitman or Punisher next.
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on May 4, 2008


hmmm its an impressive list, don't even know more than half on this list...
posted by upick at 3:23 AM on May 5, 2008


See, I've never even seen that Wolverine panel. I just know about Charles Xavier wearing a black leather collar. Silly me!
I'm pretty sure that sequence was in New Mutants, not X-Men.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:29 AM on May 5, 2008


Lifelong collector here. Good to see the Invisible, Fables, Preacher, Authority, The Ultimates, Bendis' Daredevil, etc. on this list. All worth a long read....
posted by Dantien at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2008


For diehard list fans, they're posting the runners up from #153 onwards now (in blocks of 10, with any left over being posted on Friday. I guess they liked all the hits from doing it that way the first time)
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on May 7, 2008


Straty Bullets is at 153, BTW, tied with a bunch of other stuff. The absolutely excellent Criminal by Ed brubaker and Sean Philips is also at 153, though TBH it's inclusion is just as dubious as that of LoEG.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on May 7, 2008


TBH it's inclusion is just as dubious as that of LoEG.

Also: Seven Soldiers????
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on May 8, 2008


Birds of Prey at 116
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on May 13, 2008


Gail Simone belongs a lot higher on that list than 116. She's practically single-handedly rescued female comic characters from "Girlfriend in Refrigerator Syndrome."

But then, for the multitude of reasons given in this thread, I think the list in question has been summarily busted as something we can take remotely seriously. Sure, a lot of the ones listed deserve to be given a doubletake in the limelight. However, the arbitrary and unscientific approach behind the list with its vague descriptions of what qualifies simply rule the list out as noteworthy or valid beyond a cursory meh.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:15 PM on May 15, 2008


She's practically single-handedly rescued female comic characters from "Girlfriend in Refrigerator Syndrome."

I suppose that could be argued, if you agree that such a 'syndrome' exists. I don't. Never found her arguments compelling. Kyle Rayner's girlfriend was killed and stuffed in a refrigerator not because of some overarching misogynism in the industry, but because Judd Winick was a shitty writer and remains a shitty writer.

Actually, I wouldn't argue it in any case, as I've never found her writing very interesting, either. Heavy on the fanservice, light on everything else. And it's not like Simone doesn't unnecessarily maim or kill off female characters.

Gail Simone is one of the two most overrated writers in comics today (the other is Peter David). "Women in Refrigerators" was a cunning bit of demagoguery that helped to get a hairdresser from Oregon a couple of comics writing gigs, where she has yet to distinguish herself except among a niche of slavering fen. That's about it.

(Winick is a worse writer than either Simone or David, but not overrated. He's widely regarded as being a hack.)
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:28 AM on May 16, 2008


Sorry, that was Ron Marz, who can't even get work these days, not Winick, who still sucks.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:30 AM on May 16, 2008


Heh. I just saw this on ask yahoo!.

Question: Any tips for succesful comic book writing?

1st Answer: Avoid the "women in refrigerator" syndrome.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on May 16, 2008


I’m sort of tempted, BTW, to write the kind of detailed and (hopefully) helpful response to that question that I would If I saw it on askMefi,or the comics Yahoo Group where I saw the link, regarding what a comic script looks like, examples of scripts, suggestions on the best types of story to start with, suggestions that they check out small press publishing as a way to get things in print and see results, some good books on the subject etc… etc…. Of course, it’s Ask Yahoo, so I’d be largely a wasted effort. Also the guy writes “the genre is super heroes the setting is the present at a ocean side city”, which somehow suggests to me that he’s actually after story suggestions, or someone to write the story for him.

Avoiding "women in refrigerator" as an answer amuses me though. I mean, sure, you should, but if you’re starting from scratch figuring out how to write things from a technical point of view, or even how to start thinking in terms of structuring a proper story, it’s really super unhelpful as a suggestion - you might as well say "write something good" or "don’t be racist" - and peculiar that soemone would have it as their first suggestion.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on May 16, 2008


ten pounds of inedita: "Heavy on the fanservice, light on everything else."

Ah. So you're belitting her talent as a writer because Gail Simone caters to her audience and gives them what they want? Yeah. Can't have that. What would the community think?

*throws an orange at TenPound's head*
posted by ZachsMind at 3:52 PM on May 18, 2008


I don't think I could belittle her talent as writer, because it's little enough as it is.

And fanservice sucks.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2008


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