Okay, seriously…what is wrong with me? I’ve had this damn list finished for going on three months, but I haven’t posted the last two parts.
Time to rectify that!
The rules were simple, they had to be comics I was incredibly excited when they came out. I had to have bought them off the shelf when they were released. This list was about anticipation, and these are the comics that I went absolutely nuts waiting for 30 days to go by so I could find out what happened next.
Second, the previous list (the kids call this “deep linking”).
- Top 50 Comic Runs 50-41
4050 Comic Runs 40-31
4050 Comic Runs 30-21
- Top 50 Comic Runs 20-11
- Top 50 Comic Runs 10-6
- Top 50 Comic Runs 5-1
And now, for the very dramatic penultimate listing of the top 50 comic runs that I collected as they came out in stores.
Top 50 comic runs 10-6
10 – Ultimate Spider-Man 1-6 (2000)
This is often cited as an example of when “decompressed storytelling” wwnt out of control, but Origin, the first six issues of Ultimate Spider-Man told the definitive origin story of Peter Parker, and set up the next 160 issues (culminating in the death of the Ultimate Universe Spider-Man). Peter doesn’t even don the costume for the first few issues. The series is as much about the supporting cast, unencumbered by decades of continuity. Here characters like Mary Jane and Aunt May are fleshed out and given more to do than just be window dressing or convenient plot devices.
9 – Green Lantern V3 21-27 (2007)
Geoff Johns brought Green Lantern to greatness with Rebirth, but then really hit his stride with The Sinestro Wars. Green Lantern became about more than one guy in a costume, it became about brotherhood. The Green Lanterns transformed in this series from police officers to a peacekeeping force…more military in nature than simple cops, and more nuanced as well. This was the beginning of the “Corps War”, where the entire light spectrum got lanterns.
After this series, Green Lantern became the focus of the entire DC Universe for a few years. Blackest Night, an entire line-wide event was teased as coming a year later, and it was followed up by Brightest Day. One knock on this run is that it was the beginning of Johns’ long line of event after event after event. From here on every Green Lantern comic would be part of a larger overarching event.
8 – Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985)
This series changed so much about the comics I loved. Supergirl, The Flash, and Wonder Woman all died during this series. The various earths in the multiverse merged, and brand new heroes and villains were introduced. It was all densely written and plotted by the Teen Titans creative team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
This does not hold up today without the benefit of nostalgia. Everything about comics has changed, from the sophistication of the writing, to the process of creating them, to the very structure of comics themselves. That said, this was the beginning of “My” DC Universe. The tag line was “Worlds will live, Worlds will die, and nothing will be the same again”, and it was true. After this series, the universe was “rebooted”, we got new heroes in old identities, and radically different origins for some of the biggest heroes such as Superman and Wonder Woman.
7 – Kingdom Come 1-4 (1996)
Kingdom Come is the closest thing we will ever get to Alan Moore’s pitch for Twilight of the Super-Heroes. Written by Mark Waid, in what is a love letter to the DC Comics of his child hood and a reaction to the “grim and gritty” 90’s. The painted art by Alex Ross may be his best work ever (better than Marvels, and even better than most of his subsequent work). I also think that the Absolute Kingdom Come is the best absolute edition that DC has put out. It has a ton of really cool extra info stuff, with about 60 pages of script, sketches, and photos that show how much work Waid and Ross put into this.
6 – X-Men Age of Apocalypse (1995)
Imagine if a comic company cancelled all of their best selling titles for four months. Imagine if the replacements were part of a larger event. Imagine if those replacement titles ended up being better than the individual series that they replaced. Now imagine you’re a poor college student who ends up taking a couple of extra shifts at the movie theatre he’s working at so he can afford to pick up all of the titles (admittedly, only about three extra comics a month, back when comics were $2.35 / issue).
This was a great event. For four months, you had no idea who would live, who would die, who would be a good guy, who would be a bad guy. Magneto lead the X-Men. The Beast was an evil, sadistic freak. Some characters who had no more than bit parts in the “real” Marvel Universe (“Morph”, and “Blink” in particular), had key roles in the Age of Apocalypse. In the end, a few characters crossed over to the regular Marvel Universe, but this world was popular enough that even today, nearly two decades later, Marvel makes regular trips back to a world where Mutants win, and really everybody loses.