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November 22, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: Building A List -- The 83 Best Superhero Projects Of The Decade We're Leaving

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I'm still in the process of building my Best Of lists for the decade we are currently exiting. I realized that I was close on superhero comics to having a representative list, or at least a first good shot at one, so I thought I'd post that stage here today. My final superhero comics list, due in early 2010 along with my overall list, will be posted, shortened a bit, altered slightly (I may change my mind, I may find new comics, I'm still not sure what to do with some comics like Solo) and ranked #1 to #whatever. It will also have some hopefully insightful comments as to the value of each project.

In the meantime I thought I'd make this list public in the hopes that someone might point out those comics of high quality I'm clearly missing -- please note I'm running a pretty tight definition of superhero comic for the purposes of this list -- or For one thing, I'm completely drawing a blank as to what might be on-line, or what random book featuring a superhero might have come out in Europe, or quality short stories in anthologies or as back-ups.

I hope the list will spur conversation about an interesting decade in superhero comics.

As always, anyone who writes in suggesting/demanding their own work needs to have a place on the list does so at the risk of my long-term contempt.

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* "3 Jacks," Daredevil #500, stand-alone story, Ann Nocenti and David Aja, Marvel (2009)

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* 52, series and trades, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Greg Rucka and Mark Waid and Keith Giffen and JG Jones et al, DC (2006-2007)

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* Absolute Watchmen, archival project, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, DC (2005)

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* Alias, series and trades, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, Marvel (2001-2004)

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* All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, series and trades, Frank Miller and Jim Lee, DC (2005-)

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* All-Star Superman, series and trades, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, DC (2006-2008)

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* Astro City: Dark Age Vols. 1-3, series and trades, Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson, DC (2005-2009)

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* Automatic Kafka, series, Joe Casey and Ashley Wood, WildStorm (2002-2003)

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* Batman, Josh Simmons, one-shot publication, Self-Published, 2007

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* Batman And Robin, series and trades, Grant Morrison et al, DC (2009-)

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* "Batman: Deja Vu," Solo #5, stand-alone story, Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics (2005)

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* Batman: The Order Of Beasts, one-shot publication, Eddie Campbell and Daren White and Michael Evans, DC (2004)

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* Batman Year 100, series and trade, Paul Pope, DC (2006, 2007)

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* Cage, series, Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben, Marvel (2002)

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* Captain America, series and trades, Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting and Mike Perkins et al, Marvel (2005-2009)

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* Captain Britain and MI:13, series and trades, Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk, Marvel (2008-2009)

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* Catwoman: Selina's Big Score, one-shot publication, Darwyn Cooke, DC (2002, 2003)

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* Colleen Coover's Marvel Comics work, various one-pagers and short stories, various comics, Marvel

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* Daredevil #26-50, #56-81, series and trades, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Marvel (2001-2006)

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* Daredevil#82-120/500 (re-numbered), series and trades, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, Marvel (2006-2009)

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* Daredevil: Yellow, series and trade, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Marvel (2001-2002)

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* DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories, archival project, Various, DC (2005)

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* Dr. 13: Architecture And Mortality, back-up story and trade, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, DC (2006, 2007)

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* Ex Machina, series and trades, Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, DC (2004-)

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* Final Crisis series and trade, Grant Morrison et al, DC Comics (2008-2009)

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* Godland, series and trades, Joe Casey and Tom Scioli (2005-)

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* HERO, series and trade, Will Pfeifer et al, DC (2002, 2003)

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* Human Target, series and trades, Peter Milligan and Javier Pulido and Cliff Chiang (2003-2005)

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* Immortal Iron Fist #1-16 and related annuals, series and trades, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and David Aja, Marvel (2007-2008)

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* Incognito, series and trade, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Marvel/Icon (2008-2009)

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* Invincible, series and trades, Robert Kirkman et al, Image (2003-)

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* Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vols. 1-4, archival project, Jack Kirby, DC Comics (2007, 2008)

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* Kick-Ass, series and trade, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Image (2008-)

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* Madman Atomic Comics, series and trades, Mike Allred (2007-)

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* Magnus Archives, archival project, Russ Manning, Dark Horse (2004-2006)

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* New Frontier, series and trades, Darwyn Cooke, DC (2004-2005, 2006)

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* New X-Men #114-154, series and trades, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely et al, Marvel (2001-2004)

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* Nextwave, series and trades, Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen, Marvel (2006-2007)

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* Omega: The Unknown, series and trade, Jonathan Lethem and Karl Rusnak and Farel Dalrymple and Paul Hornschemeier and Gary Panter, Marvel (2007-2008)

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* Planetary #7-27, series and trades, Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, DC (2000-2009)

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* Plastic Man Archives Vols. 2-8, archival project, Jack Cole, DC (2000-2006)

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* Plastic Man, series and trades, Kyle Baker, DC (2004-2006)

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* Powers, series and trades, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, Image/Icon/Marvel (2000-)

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* Project: Superior/Superior Showcase, anthology and spin-off series, By Various And Edited By Chris Pitzer, AdHouse (2005, 2005-2006)

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* Promethea #5-32, series and trades, Alan Moore & J.H. Williams III, DC (2000-2005)

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* Punisher MAX, series and trades, Garth Ennis et al, Marvel (2004-2009)

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* Punisher: War Journal #16-25, part of a series, Matt Fraction and Rick Remender and Howard Chaykin, Marvel (2008-2009)

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* Seaguy and Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye, series and trades, Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart, DC (2004, 2005, 2009)

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* Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, series and trades, Jeff Smith, DC (2007, 2008)

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* Sleeper Vols. 1-2, series and trades, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, DC (2003-2005, 2009)

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* Solo #12, stand-alone publication, Brendan McCarthy, DC (2006)

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* Spider-Man: Blue, series and trade, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Marvel (2002-2003, 2004)

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* Spider-Man: Lifeline, series, Fabian Nicieza and Steve Rude, Marvel (2001)

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* Street Angel, series and trade, Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca, SLG (2004-2005)

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* Superfuckers #1-4, James Kochalka, Top Shelf (2005-2009)

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* Superman: Red Son, series and trade, Mark Millar et al, DC (2003, 2004)

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* Superman: Secret Identity, series and trade, Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen, DC (2004, 2005)

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* Supermen, archival project, Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2009)

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* "Teenage Sidekick," Solo #3, stand-alone story in anthology, Paul Pope, DC Comics (2005)

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* The Boys, series and trades, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, DC/Dynamite Entertainment (2006, 2007-)

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* The Dark Knight Strikes Again, series and trades, Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, DC (2001, 2002, 2003)

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* "The Death Ray," Eightball #23, stand-alone publication, Dan Clowes (2004)

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* The Fletcher Hanks Collections: I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets and You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation, archival projects, Fletcher Hanks, Edited By Paul Karasik, Fantagraphics (2007, 2009)

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The Intimates, series, Joe Casey and Guiseppe Camuncoli, DC (2005)

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* The Invincible Iron Man, series and trades, Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca, Marvel (2008-)

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* The Middleman, series and trades, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine (2006)

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* The Order, series, Matt Fraction And Barry Kitson, Marvel (2007)

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* The Pulse, series and trades, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, Marvel (2004-2006)

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* The Secret Voice, stand-alone publication, Zack Soto, AdHouse (2005)

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* The Seven Soldiers Omni-Series, series and trades, Grant Morrison and A Cast Of Dozens, DC (2005-2007)

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* The Silver Star, archival project, Jack Kirby, Image (2007)

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* The Ultimates Vols. 1-2, series and trades, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, Marvel (2002-2008)

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* The Umbrella Academy Vols. 1-2, series and trades, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, Dark Horse (2007-2009)

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* Thor: Godstorm, series, Kurt Busiek and Steve Rude, Marvel (2001-2002)

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* "Ti-Girls Adventures," Love and Rockets Vol. 3 #1-2, story in series, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics (2008-2009)

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* Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, stand-alone publicationAlan Moore and Gene Ha, DC (2006)

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* U.S. War Machine, series, Chuck Austen, Marvel (2001-2002)

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* Ultimate Spider-Man, series and trades, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen, Marvel Comics (2000-2009)

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* Unstable Molecules, series and trade, James Sturm and Guy Davis, Marvel (2003, 2004)

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* Wanted, series and trade, Mark Millar and JG Jones, Image (2003-2005)

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* WildCATS 3.0, series and trades, Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen, DC (2002-2004)

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* X-Force #116-129/X-Statix #1-26/X-Statix Presents Dead Girl #1-4, series and trades, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, Marvel (2001-2004, 2006)

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* Zot! The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, archival project, Scott McCloud, HarperCollins (2008)

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Your Responses:

A ton of you wrote in with responses. Thank you so much.

* a bunch of you corrected the phrase "series and trade(s)" on those series that didn't have them. I intended at first that that describe the kind of approach the publisher took as opposed to whether or not the trade was actually published, but I muddied the waters there and appreciate your corrections.

image* Williams Burns wrote in to say, "It's not an imperishable classic, but I'd say Incredible Hercules deserves a spot on a list of 83."

* John McCorkle wondered why I didn't include Captain America: What Price Glory, and suggested Startling Stories: Banner, Astonishing X-Men, Buffy Season 8, Captain Britain Omnibus, Orion, and Stormwatch: Team Achilles.

* Lee Leslie suggested one or more of the many Hellboy series; Casanova, Heavy Liquid, Northlanders, Scott Pilgrim, Conan and Y The Last Man.

* Chris Duffy risked my undying enmity by suggesting a book he worked on, Bizarro Comics. He also says "I also think for some reason Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers is important."

* a couple of you made suggestion lists that included so many books already on the list I didn't feel like sorting it out for you. I appreciate the effort, though.

* Mark Coale sent in a list of Agents of ATLAS, Wisdom, Incredible Hercules, Marvel Monsters, Hellcat, The Goon, Casanova, Batgirl: Year One, both runs of Detective Comics from Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman by Rucka, Checkmate by Rucka, Enemy Ace DC Archives, Green Arrow by Brad Meltzer, Starman Omnibuses, and then various kids comics by category.

* Chris Beckett enjoyed the list but suggested perhaps adding Nexus Archives.

* Don MacPherson wrote in to suggest, Irredeemable, Dr. Strange: The Oath, The Spirit #1-12, The Twelve, Secret Six Thor, The Incredible Hercules and Agents of Atlas Vol. 1.

* Philip Rippke sent in a note suggesting the consideration of Fantastic Four #51 to the renumbered #524 (27 issues), Iron Man: The Inevitable, Marvel Boy and Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman: Trinity.

* Matthew Wave suggests The Doom Patrol Archives and The Herbie Archives.

image* Kenny Penman wrote in to say we might consider giving the nod to Teen Titans Year One for Karl Kerschl's art the same way we revere runs of comics from previous decades for the art alone.

* Sean T. Collins wrote in to say I should maybe include the Hellboy stuff and books related to it, and says the Banner book is a better common than the same creative team's Cage.

* Jog suggests the "Soldier X version of Cable."

* Cole Moore Odell wrote in suggesting Johnny Ryan's Marvel-related work and Jeff Parker's work generally.

* John Vest recommends Steve Gerber's Countdown To Mystery.

* Marc-Oliver Frisch wrote in to suggest that CR consider Cable #97-107/Soldier X #1-8; The Hood, Blank Panther by Christopher Priest; Truth: Red, White & Black.

* Evan Dorkin likes Jack Staff.

* Steve Stwalley thinks it's not a good superhero list until it has some Flaming Carrot on it.

* Chad Nevett suggests the Casey-Phillips (and briefly, Dillon) run on WildCATS volume two as a supplement to the WildCATS 3.0 listing. He also thinks the last chapter of Casey and Adlard's Codeflesh makes the cut.

* Scott Puckett wants to know, "How is it that no one mentioned The Authority, Atomic Robo (not sure if that really hits the superhero genre), Demo, Global Frequency, Johns' Green Lantern run or Vaughan's Runaways?"

* Neil Kleid wrote in to yell at us: "How could you leave off the amazing Spider-Man: Tangled Web series? The Darwyn Cooke story alone should sell you if not the J Jonah Jameson story or Frog-man issues...!"

* Finally, David Welsh wrote in to suggest that original Agents Of Atlas mini-series and Empowered.

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posted 6:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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