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Five For Friday #16: Modern Superheroes
posted February 11, 2005

Recommend Five Runs, Four Issues or More, of Superhero Comics, 1980-2005

Batman #404-407 by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Doom Patrol #19-63, Grant Morrison and Various
Flex Mentallo #1-4, Grant Morrson and Frank Quitely
Watchmen #1-12, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Zot! #1-36, Scott McCloud


Other Lists and Responses


Marc-Oliver Frisch

Black Panther #1-12, by Christopher J. Priest, Mark Texeira, Joe Jusko, et al.
The Hood #1-6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Kyle Hotz
Marvel Boy #1-6, by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones
Startling Stories: Fantastic Four - Unstable Molecules #1-4, by James Sturm and Guy Davis
X-Men Archives featuring Captain Britain #1-7, by Dave Thorpe, Alan Moore, Alan Davis and Paul Neary


Kevin Leslie

1. The Daredevils (Captain Britain stories) # 1-11, by Alan Moore and Alan Davis
2. Quasar #20-25, by Mark Gruenwald and Greg Capullo
3. The Mighty Thor #337-353 by Walt Simonson
4. Batman: Gotham Adventures #1-14, by Ty Templeton, Kelley Puckett, Rich Burchett, and various
5. Superman Adventures #21-31 , by Mark Millar, Evan Dorkin (issue 21 only) and various

None of these stand up to serious criticism, but then, they're superhero comics, so why should that matter? I recommend them purely on entertainment value alone. I would also second the nod for Flex Mentallo, which is still in my mind far and away the best thing Morrison has ever written. Those four issues of a fictional story do a better job of describing why we love those crazy Silver Age stories than any essay I've ever read.


T Fraga

Marshal Law #1-6 by Pat Mills & Kevin O'Neill
Excalibur (Vol. 1) #42-52, 54-56, 61-67 by Alan Davis
The Punisher (2000-01 Maxiseries) #1-12 by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon
Animal Man #51-79 by Jamie Delano & Steve Pugh
X-Force #116-129 - X-Statix #1-26 by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred


Steve Block

I think you nailed it. I've never had the pleasure of Zot, I was going to pick up the collections but I wanted to wait until the final one came out, so I'm still waiting.

I think I'd drop Animal Man #1-26 by Morrison, Truog, Hazelwood and Wood in since I've not read Zot. On an aside, all of your list are written by writers with a surname beginning with M. This is probably a well commented fact.

To come up with another four is very hard. There's Zenith, Morrison & Yeowell, although perhaps only the first arc, 2000AD #535-550, and yes it's that man again.

I really enjoyed the Giffen Bierbaum LSH, but it's not a run that has a definite end point, instead disappearing up its own arse, if one can say that, before the story finished.

I'd recommend the artwork in Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown, by Kent Williams & John J Muth, although the story by Louise and Walter Simonson doesn't stick in my memory and I'm not going to reread it in a hurry.

Marvels, by Busiek and Ross was a good read, and was four issues if memory serves.

That's four more, and I guess someone could make a case for Ellis & thingummy's Authority run, #1-12, but I'm not that person, even though I enjoyed them. Starman by Robinson and Harris had promise but no legs, Promethea needs to finish and is probably way too dense. It's strange, that in a genre where so much is published, so few works both manage to embrace and to simultaneously transcend the trappings of a superhero idiom. I think I'll quit there before I turn into a critic. Like I said in the beginning, you nailed it, and the only one I've listed here I'd deem worthy of inclusion is Animal Man, and is one I've heartily recommended in the past.

A last gasp addendum to point out if you'd had a 3 issue limitation I'd have mounted a mention of Black Orchid by Gaiman and McKean.

And struggling to come up with this made me feel better about my struggle with mini-comics last week. I neglect all fields with equal intent.


Ian Brill

1. Batman Adventures #1-36 by Kelly Puckett, Ty Templeton, Mike Parobeck and others
2. Sleeper Season One #1-12 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
3. Madman Comics #1-20 by Mike Allred
4. Miracleman #1-16 by Alan Moore, Alan Davis and others
5. Kurt Busiek's Astro City vol. 1 #1-6 by Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and Brent Anderson


Alan David Doane

Street Angel #1-5
Promethea #1-32
X-Man #63-75
The Authority #1-12
Wildcats - Vol. 2 from where Joe Casey takes over (#5? #6?) until Vol. 3 ("Wildcats 3.0") when "Coup D'Etat" rips the shit out of what was a great book for a long, uninterrupted run. Also Alan Moore's Vol. 1 run of Wildcats.