Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mark Millar's "Swamp Thing" Run & More Comics You Should Own!

via Comic Book Resources

Comics You Should Own Archive

Here are links to all the Comics You Should Own essays I have written so far. Plus, I’ve added some explanation.  Enjoy!

I figured I would update this now that all the links are working again and everything is archived on this blog. I never really explained my method for doing these, so here it is. I decided to start re-reading my collection of single issues and was inspired to do these posts, because five years ago, I didn’t see too many blogs with critical examinations or even reviews (I’ll let you decide which these are) of older comics. You’d see the big guns, of course, but not many of the other comics that deserve it. Of course, as I’ve read more blogs, I’ve found more posts about older comics, but back then, I was naïve and thought no one appreciated the genius of, say, Scorpio drinking beer as he plotted the destruction of the United States. So I was off!

There are several reasons why comics that you think should be on this list aren’t. One reason, of course, is that you’re wrong. (HA!) But let’s move on – currently I’m only reading the comics I own in single issues. So if I own a series in trade paperback, I haven’t gotten to it yet. Some day in the distant future I will, but not now. Another reason is that if a run is not finished yet when I reach that letter in the alphabet, I won’t consider it. Since I started this, I’m sure there have been some comics that begin with “A” or “D” that I probably think you should own. But they weren’t finished when I reached that letter, so I moved on. There’s also a possibility that I simply don’t own it. I own a lot of comics, but I also don’t own a lot comics. That’s the way it is. That’s why I encourage people to let me know about comics they love in the comments, because I’m always keen to read new stuff, even if it’s 10 or 20 or 30 years old. So if your absolute favorite comic failed to make this list, let me know about it. Maybe I have read it and hated it. It’s more likely that I either have it in trade paperback or I simply don’t own it.

Anyway, here’s the list so far. Now that all the links work, I will try to clean up the posts that got screwed up when the formatting apocalypse took place. Those are kind of annoying to read. But at least they’re here! Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something you might have missed below.

300 by Frank Miller.

1963 by Alan Moore and some of his Swamp Thing collaborators.

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis and (mostly) Michael Gaydos.

Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

Amazing Spider-Man #238-251 by Roger Stern and (mostly) John Romita Jr. 

Animal Man #1-32 by Grant Morrison and (mostly) Chas Truog, with Peter Milligan’s weird six-issue story added on, because it’s cool.

Arrowsmith by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco.

Atlantis Chronicles by Peter David and Esteban Maroto.

Aquaman #0-25 by Peter David, Martin Egelund, and Jim Califiore.

The Authority #22-29 by Mark Millar, Tom Peyer, Frank Quitely, Dustin Nguyen, Arthur Adams, and Gary Erskine.

Automatic Kafka by Joe Casey and Ashley Wood.

Avengers Annual #10 by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden.

Avengers Forever by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco.

Aztek the Ultimate Man by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, N. Steven Harris, and Keith Champagne.

Batman #452-454 by Peter Milligan, Kieron Dwyer, and Dennis Janke.

Batman #515-552 by Doeg Moench, Kelley Jones, and John Beatty (mostly).

Big Numbers by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Camelot 3000 by Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland.

Challengers of the Unknown by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

ClanDestine by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.

The Crow by James O’Barr.

Daredevil #283-300 by Ann Nocenti, D. G. Chichester, and (mostly) Lee Weeks.

Daredevil #26-50; 56-81 by Brian Michael Bendis and (mostly) Alex Maleev.

Defenders #46-50 by Roger Slifer, David Kraft, David Warner, and Keith Giffen.

Detective #471-476 by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin.

Detective #569-574 by Mike W. Barr, Alan Davis, and Paul Neary.

Detective 583-594; 601-614 by Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle.

Detective 629-633; 638; 643 by Peter Milligan, Jim Aparo, and Tom Mandrake.

Detective #801-808; 811-814 by David Lapham, Ramon Bachs, and Nathan Massengill.

Dr. Fate by J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen (artist on the mini-series), and (mostly) Shawn McManus.

Doom Patrol #19-63 by Grant Morrison and (mostly) Richard Case.

Dreadstar #1-40 by Jim Starlin and Luke McDonell (for the latter issues).

Dreadstar #41-64 by Peter David and (mostly) Angel Medina.

Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Elementals #1-5 by Bill Willingham.

Enigma by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo.

The Extremist by Peter Milligan and Ted McKeever.

Fantastic Four #347-349 by Walt Simonson and Art Adams.

Firestorm #58-100 by John Ostrander, Joe Brozowski, Tom Grindberg, and Tom Mandrake.

Flex Mentallo by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

Four Women by Sam Kieth.

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.

Fury by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.

Grendel #1-12 by Matt Wagner, Arnold and Jacob Pander, and Jay Geldhof.

Grendel #13-23 by Matt Wagner, Bernie Mireault, Hannibal King, and Tim Sale.

Grendel #24-33 by Matt Wagner, John K. Snyder, Jay Geldhof, and Bernie Mireault.

Grendel #34-50 by Matt Wagner, Tim Sale, and Patrick McEown.

Hard Boiled by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow.

Hard Time by Steve Gerber and Brian Hurtt.

The Heckler by Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum.

Hellblazer #27 by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

Hellblazer #41-50; 52-83 by Garth Ennis, Will Simpson, and Steve Dillon.

Hellstorm #12-21 and Druid #1-4 by Warren Ellis and (mostly) Leonardo Manco.

High Roads by Scott Lobdell and Leinil Francis Yu.

Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea.

Human Target by Peter Milligan, Edvin Biuković, Javier Pulido, and Cliff Chiang.

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura.

The Incredible Hulk #331-346 by Peter David and (mostly) Todd McFarlane.

The Incredible Hulk #347-367 by Peter David and (mostly) Jeff Purves.

The Incredible Hulk #368-401 by Peter David and (mostly) Dale Keown.

The Incredible Hulk #402-426 by Peter David and (mostly) Gary Frank.

The Incredible Hulk #454-467 by Peter David and (mostly) Adam Kubert.

The Intimates by Joe Casey and (mostly) Giuseppe Camuncoli.

The Immortal Iron Fist #1-16 by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, and (mostly) David Aja.

Justice League/Justice League International/Justice League America #1-45 by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, Ty Templeton, Mike McKone, and Adam Hughes (among many others).

Justice League Europe #1-28 by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Bill Loebs, Gerard Jones, and (mostly) Bart Sears.

JLA #1-41 by (mostly) Grant Morrison and (mostly) Howard Porter.

The Killer by Matz and Luc Jacamon.

Legends of the Dark Knight #28-30 by Matt Wagner.

Legends of the Dark Knight #86-88 by Doug Moench, J. H. Williams III, and Mick Gray.

Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly.

Major Bummer by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke.

The Maze Agency by Mike W. Barr and a bunch of artists, most notably Adam Hughes early in the series.

The Middleman by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine.

The Monarchy by Doselle Young, John McCrea, Warren Pleece, and Dean Ormston.

Moon Knight (volume 1) by (mostly) Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Moon Knight (volume 6) by Charlie Huston, Mike Benson, David Finch, Mico Suayan, Tomm Coker, Mark Texeira, Mike Deodato Jr., and Jefte Palo.

Namor, the Sub-Mariner #1-25 by John Byrne.

DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke.

The New Mutants #18-31 by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman.

Noble Causes by Jay Faerber and a bunch of artists, most notably Fran Bueno and Yildiray Cinar.

Northlanders #1-8, 20 by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice.

Northlanders #11-16 by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly.

Northlanders #21-28 by Brian Wood and Leandro Fernandez.

Orion #1-25 by Walt Simonson (mostly).

Pax Romana by Jonathan Hickman.

Phonogram by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.

Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday.

The Question #1-6 by Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Rex Libris by James Turner.

Rex Mundi by Arvid Nelson, EricJ, Jim Di Bartolo, and Juan Ferreyra.

Robotika by Alex Sheikman.

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and a whole lot of other folk.

Sandman Mystery Theatre by Matt Wagner, Steven Seagle, and (mostly) Guy Davis.

Scalped by Jason Aaron and (mostly) R. M. Guéra.

Secret Six by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Jim Calafiore, and others.

Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison and a bunch of excellent artists.

Shade, the Changing Man by Peter Milligan and (mostly) Chris Bachalo.

Shark-Man by Steve Pugh.

She-Hulk by Dan Slott, Juan Bobillo, Rick Burchett, and others.

Silverblade by Cary Bates and Gene Colan.

Small Gods by Jason Rand and Juan Ferreyra.

The Spectre by John Ostrander and (mostly) Tom Mandrake.

Spider-Man/Human Torch by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton.

Stalkers by Jan Strnad, Mark Verheiden, Mark Texeira, Vak Mayerik, and others.

Starman by James Robinson, Tony Harris, Peter Snejbjerg, and others.

StormWatch vol. 1 #37-50 and vol. 2 #1-11 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, Oscar Jimenez, Bryan Hitch, and others.

Suicide Squad by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Luke McDonnell, Geof Isherwood, and others.

All Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Jamie Grant.

Swamp Thing #20-64 by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, et al.

Swamp Thing #140-171 by Mark Millar, Phil Hester, Kim DeMulder, and others.

More are coming! These do take a while to read and write up, unfortunately!


Does anyone know who did the covers on the Milligan / Aparo run of Detective?

I believe it was Norm Breyfogle… it was actaully a crossover between Detective and Batman… Milligan wrote all issues and Aparo and Breyfogle doing the interior art.

So Greg, how about Blaze of Glory/Apache Skies by John Ostrander? I usually don’t like Westerns, but read this, and loved it!

I don’t own it, Tom. I’m always on the lookout for Ostrander comics, though, so I’ll have to keep that in mind!

Also, thank you for your review of Daredevil. I bought these as they were being released, and…THIS is what made me love Daredevil. Chichester’s writing is amazing, and he succeeds where others would have failed. The story is so powerful because it’s so average.

Thanks for these great recommendations. I’m putting together a back issue shopping list for the next time I’m in the states and this has helped a lot. But does anyone have an idea of where I could look for more ideas? Sorry Greg, but unless you’re planning on finishing I-Z in the next 3 weeks then I need another place to look!

Um, Greg, some of the links to popculture shock, like the ‘Avengers Forever’ review, are dead. Could you retify the problem? Been meaning to read your take on these comics. Thanks in advance!

sads: Yeah, I know about the dead links. I have to move the essays over to my old blog until I can update them here. Sorry about that! I’m trying to get it done when I can!

Hey, do you think you’ll be getting the rest of those dead links up anytime soon? I know people are bugging you with it but I’m just asking.

is there some reason I can only see the list up to Legends of the Dark Knight?

Is that ALL?!?

You’re slipping, Mr. Burgas.
I would have exPECTed the complete alphabet listing. ;-)

But still, all in all, an impressive comprehensive list.

Which, I’m sure, would put all the other bloggers to shame.

What?! No Sleepwalker? Oh, it looks like this is only the first half of the list… :)

Chris: That’s as far as I’ve gotten! I’m working on getting the dead links back up and I’m almost done with the ton o’ graphic novels I’ve bought recently, so I think I’ll be back to new stuff fairly soon. Sorry – I’M ONLY ONE MAN!!!!!! :)

No Love and Rockets?!?!? Without a mention of the greatest independent comic series, this list is dubious at best.

No Love and Rockets?!?!? Without a mention of the greatest independent comic series, this list is dubious at best.

Please, please tell me that you realize that the list is only up through “Le

Greg, you are performing a valuable public service!

And I hope you are getting a kickback from the Back Issue Dealers.

Real happy to see the Killer on here, that is the best book no one has heard of.

Only one brief Fantastic Four run??

Very underrated, but I would include Power Man and Iron Fist #115 – 125 as comics everyone should own. Great art by MD Bright and top-flight characterizations of Luke and Danny. And the issues are super cheap, to boot!

Iron Maiden: I’m going through these in individual issue format, and those are the only ones I own in individual issues. The other stuff I own in trade paperbacks, and I haven’t gotten to those yet. So it will be a while until I get to those.

Krishna: Thanks for the tip. I’m always looking for stuff to track down!

It seems like your initial objective and your selection method are somewhat at odds with one another, at least when you reach a certain point. You say you started this project to review old comics, but by only reviewing comics you own in single issues, you preclude a lot of the great 70s and earlier material (I’m assuming you’re not some wealthy collector with a stash of Finger/Kane Batman lying around). This is not a complaint, mind you – CYSO is one of my favorite columns on the site – I’m just thinking maybe you yourself will be annoyed that certain comics you really adore are overlooked simply because you don’t own them in floppies.

Cass: True enough, but I own a lot of the older stuff in trade format, and I’m getting more all the time. So when I do get to the trades, I will get to a lot of the older stuff. I knew I wanted to do them in alphabetical order because that’s how my mind works, and I didn’t want to jump back and forth between floppies and trades, so I decided to stick with the one and then move to the other. You’re right, though – and people have pointed out that I’m lacking, say, Byrne’s Fantastic Four (not to mention the original Lee/Kirby stuff). That’s because I own them in trade!

Hell of a list Greg!

I have almost all of those! Missing Local, The Intimates, Hard Time, Firestorm #’s 80-100, Dreadstar #’s 41-64, and Automatic Kafka.

Two titles that come to mind that you are “lacking” is Legion of Superheroes – Legion Lost saga by DnA, and Chase.

I like your list because (with the exception IMHO of the above Legion comics) “Top Ten” lists are all over the internet and are comics that very likely collectors and fans 1) already have, and 2) are easily obtained. For example, Best Superman Stories? Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow? / For the Man Who Has Everything. Best Batman Stories? Year One / The Dark Knight Returns. All of these are very easily obtained and in all sorts of formats.

A little off-subject here, but looking at the whole DC Trinity thing, what would be the best Wonder Woman story?

Moving along, your list is by no means obscure, but it is a great resource to find hidden gems.

Perhaps there should be other lists to complement yours:

– a list of excellent cancelled titles (Major Bummer, Chase, Chronos),
– a list of the Greatest Stories Never Told (I remembered there was one such list somewhere… and it
included 1963)
– a list of comics you should own featuring one character. For example: this is a list of the best Little Archie
Stories that I found in an old issue of The Comics Journal:

Little Archie # 20 – The Long Walk
Little Archie # 18 – On Mars / The Happy Gang / In Animal Land
Little Archie # 32 – Time Taxi
Little Archie #’s 1, 17 & 19 – In Animal Land
Little Archie # 21 – Pirates / The Secret Room
Little Ambrose # 1
Little Archie # 10 – Ark Antics / Civilized Savages / Little Ambrose: Balloon Boy
Little Archie # 13 – The Flash
Little Archie # 145 – You Win a Few
Little Archie Mystery Comics #’s 1 & 2

With the recent posts on Archie’s Freshman year, I remembered I had this list. It is easier to find a list of the best Little ARchie stories than of “big” Archie – although Freshman year and House of Riverdale (both by Battion Lash) would certainly qualify.

Anyway, again, great job and thank you for giving nerds like me these lists.

Have a great Labor Day Holiday everyone.


Luis Jaime

Luis: Chase is one of those ones that I only bought after I passed C, so it didn’t make it. I didn’t buy it when it came out (because I’m dim), but I did track down all the issues in the past few years. In the distant future, when I get back around to C, it will be on the list.

I’ve wanted to get the Legion Lost trade for a while now, and I may eventually. I tend to avoid the Legion mainly because I’ve read so much about its convoluted history that I fear I’d be lost, but I did hear that particular mini-series was pretty good. I know it’s in trade, though, so I’ll have to look for it.

Man, I don’t know about the Wonder Woman stories. I haven’t read enough. The Perez run was quite good, though.

That’s not a bad idea about doing comics you should own starring one character. That might be too ambitious for me. I don’t think I own enough comics to make a comprehensive list for many characters!

Thanks for reading, sir!

some things i noticed aren’t on the list that you should definitely check out if you haven’t:

-Garth Ennis’ Demon run, where Hitman was introduced. You mention Annual #2 in the Hitman write-up, but Ennis’ entire run was spectacular, particularly the last four issues (#s 55-58), which chronicle a war between heaven and hell. I believe #40 was his first issue, and the series ended with #58, but there may have been a fill-in or two in there somewhere.

-My favorite Legends of the Dark Knight story is Blades, from #s 32-34. I think it may exist in trade, so it’s possible you have it there, but if not, definitely pick these up from a dollar bin. Written by James Robinson with art by TIm Sale, it’s a fantastic story.

-Ron Marz’s Green Lantern run, particularly the first two years or so (#s 48-75 is the high point). For anyone that likes the “new hero learning the ropes” type of story-telling, this is second only to Starman. I particularly love Kyle’s split with Donna Troy in #70, his search for advice from other heroes in #s 71-73, and the funeral for Hal Jordon in #81.

-The first 3 or so years of L.E.G.I.O.N. might be DC’s all-time most underrated series. Giffen was plotting and Grant was scripting when both were in their primes, and it introduced Barry Kitson to mainstream comics. I’m convinced the series was a major influence on Y: The Last Man, because it had the equal parts funny/dramatic/soap-operaish, and every single issue ended on a splash page cliff-hanger. I don’t think the series exists in trade, but you can probably find it cheap on ebay. I’m pretty sure Giffen and Grant left with #39, which ended the golden era, but then Kitson was writer/artist from #40-50 and it was still pretty good.

-A reader above briefly mentioned it, but the short lived, late 90s DC series Chronos was really great and deserved more recognition. It was coming out ata time when I felt Starman had a slight dip in quality (when Tony Harris was only doing about one out of three issues and then left), and I really felt like this could be the next title to capture the Starman magic. It only lasted 12 issues (#1-11, plus a One Million tie-in), but I highly recommend it. The art doesn’t hold up well, and may be why the title never caught on, but the story-telling is fantastic.

CONCRETE (Dark Horse)
D.P. 7 (Marvel/New Universe)
EL DIABLO (DC’s Latino hero)

It’d be nice if DC collected Ennis’s Demon run with their new “lost” collections stuff they’re doing. Apparently they’re (sort of) collecting Chase.

I believe that the LDK “Blades” storyline is in a trade, but I in fact picked up the three issues recently in a cheapo bin (I think they were 3 for a dollar).

I dig Ron Marz on GL.

I really liked the 90s Chronos series myself. I think I have everything but the 1million issue. The art doesn’t hold up well, though? I don’t remember it being bad myself. I thought it was Paul Guinan (of Heartbreakers, which would deserve a CYSO feature) and Steve Leialoha, who are pretty good.

Rob, are you talking that fairly recent El Diablo mini (by Nitz and Hester) or the 90s one that Parobeck drew? I have the first half of the more recent one, and it’s decent.

I have the last issue of DP7, and surprisingly, it’s a pretty good read even not knowing the rest of what happened in the title.

And yes, Concrete is awesome too.

And I can’t think of anything else to recommend right now. I just like agreeing with other people, apparently.

Some more good suggestions …

I’ve never been able to find all of Ennis’s DEMON issues. I have a few, but the back issue boxes are surprisingly thin with those, confound it!

“Blades” is an interesting story, because I know many people like it. I also like it, but I don’t think it’s the kind of story that really resonates. It looks great, for sure, but it’s fairly predictable and doesn’t really get into the characters all that much. So while I own it and like reading it, I don’t think it’s something everyone should own.

I own GL #48-50, mainly because I wanted to read about Hal’s crack-up, but never read further than that. It’s not a bad suggestion, though, because I’ve heard good things about the early Kyle issues before.

Concrete is one of those comics, like Love and Rockets, that I’ve never read and probably should. But I also know that when I start buying them, it will be in trade format because they’re relatively old and somewhat hard to find, so even if I did own them, I wouldn’t have covered them yet!

I’m talking about EL DIABLO the 1990s Parobeck series. Sixteen issues that are good and cheap (probably cover price or less). I haven’t seen EL DIABLO mentioned in this blog, so it needs some love.

Someone did mention D.P. 7 once, claiming it was the best series of Marvel’s New Universe. I agree.

I think all the early CONCRETE stories are available in TPBs. Maybe the whole series is.

Mark Gruenwald wrote D.P. 7. Speaking of not getting enough love, he was a great writer who’s rarely mentioned these days. His best work includes:

* The original SQUADRON SUPREME 12-issue maxi-series.
* The year or two of CAPTAIN AMERICA where the Super-Patriot (now USAgent) replaces Cap.
* Good chunks of the QUASAR series.

Greg, I shall present you with the full list of comics I have purchased based solely on your reviews (and most of them without even having read all the way through),

Complete runs of: Ostrander’s Spectre,Animal Man 1-32,Arrowsimth, Avengers Annual 10, Avengers Forever
Aztek, Challengers of the Unknown, Clandestine, the Nocentis and Chichester DD run from 250 -300, City of Crime, Dr Fate 1 – 42, Doom Patrol, Enigma, The Extremist, FF 347-349, Flex Mentallo, Four Women, Hard Boiled, Hellstorm, Druid, LODk 28-36, LODk 86-88, Big Numbers 1, 1963.

and most of Atlantis Chronicles, PAD’s Aquaman, Major Bummer, Norm Breyfogle’s Detective run and half of Kelly Jones’ Batman run,

Phew!! I don’t know how I’m going to read all of this but I, ebay and a lot of back issue sellers thank you!

This is the very best resource for collecting old(ish) comics and it’s an awesome task you set yourself and achieved. You are the Dave Sim of comic critics!

BTW, why not the whole of Walt Simonson’s FF run or Cerebus?

Hanif: I actually don’t own Cerebus. It’s a huge hole in my collection, I admit. By the time I get to “C” in the trade paperbacks, maybe I’ll have purchased some or all of it. And I don’t own Simonson’s FF run in single issues, having started getting it in “Visionaries” trades when Marvel began publishing them. I own quite a bit of FF in trade paperbacks, so the FF stuff you should own will grow significantly once I get to the “F”s in my collection.

I’m glad that I’m a good resource for you! I hope you enjoy the comics, of course – now I feel all kinds of pressure because you based your purchases on my recommendations!


Thanks for the list and thanks moreso for updatting and adding to it regularly. Your recommendations have led me to some great reading (I owe you for turning me onto Ostrander’s excellent Firestorm and Giffen’s underrated JLE!) and increased my appreciation of old favorites that I knew were good already. I don’t have the time to read all the comments here just yet, but I presume this is a place for your readers to make recommendations to you. Therefore, I strongly suggest you check out ‘Mazing Man (12 regular issues and 3 specials) by Bob Rozakis and Stephen DeStefano as well as Blue Devil 1-21 by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, and company. The Blue Devil stories in Showcase ’93 1-6 were also very good.

P.S. Speaking as one John Ostrander Fan to another (he’s my favorite comics scribe of all time), I’m suprised you’ve reglected to mention Grimjack 1-81 and the Demon Knight grphic novel by Johnny O, Tim Truman, Tom Mandrake, Flint Henry, and Tom Sutton. It’s good for your soul.

Jonathon: I missed your comment, so I do hope you come back at some point! I’m glad I was able to give you some recommendations, and thanks for the Blue Devil mention – I’ve read a few random issues, but I might have to track those down. I’ve always heard good things about ‘Mazing Man, even though the one issue I read I didn’t love (but I was also told that all of them together are very good). So there’s another one! I didn’t get GrimJack in single issues until much later on in life, and I passed “G” before I could get the later ones, where Gaunt has been replaced. So I’ve read the IDW trades of the early part of the series, but I haven’t had a chance to read the entire series as a whole. I’m sure I’ll put it on this list when I do, but until then, I must wait!

No problem, there, Greg. I’m just glad you responded to the above comments! It’s true that ‘Mazing Man works best when read as a whole. The first one I read was issue 5, which I found to be a very sweet and endearing story. I found the rest of the series within a month after that, which may have influenced my reading experience. ‘Maze is very much a character piece, so the “slice of life” events in the comic may seem a bit mundane to readers who’ve had no chance to learn about the characters or bond with them.

I’ve just recently found the complete Maze Agency in a quarter bin and scooped them all up for a song. I haven’t read them yet, but based on your review, I’m looking forward to them! I’m also currently on the lookout for Major Bummer. I loved Arcudi and Mahke on The Mask and this series looks like a blast to read! And getting a comment from Mr Mahnke himself; how cool is that?!

I’m on pins and needles awaiting the time when the broken links are fixed and the alphabet has been completed to Z. When you get towards the end of the alphabet, have you considered Wasteland (DC, 18 issues) by Ostrander, Close, Simpson and company? The title was a little hit-and-miss and had wildly inconsistant stoytelling, but it was never, ever boring. Besides, any comic that features a showdown between Santa Claus and Idi Amin must be doing something right!

Lastly, I’d like to put a word in for Bill Loebs’ run on Jonny Quest (Comico, 31 issues) and Mike Grell’s Jon Sable, Freelance (First, 56 issues) Thankfully, Sable is being reprinted in trade, but I doubt the formers two ever will be, which is a shame.

Keep writing, Greg, and I’ll be your loyal reader. See you in the funny papers!

You left off Astro City, Alien Legion, Grimjack, and Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children

Please don’t leave off Sandman, Starman (Robinson), Preacher, and Spectre (Ostrander)

Steven: Astro City is still going (sort of), and I don’t want to add anything until it is finished. I’ve never read Alien Legion or Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children. I own GrimJack in trades, so I’ll get to it eventually! As for the other four – fret not.

still loving this series! more please!

Ur, when is the list for P onwards coming out?

Cant wait to see Sandman and X-men (Jim Lee classics especially) and Siege and Secret Invasion and Secret War rank among what is listed thus far.

This is a pretty random question, but I figure this as good a place to ask it as any.

I’ve recently read Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing run for the first time, which I really loved. It’s about as good a job of following Alan Moore as I can really imagine someone doing. So I looked Veitch up on Wikipedia to see what else he’s written, and I noticed three creator owned series that sound interesting: The One, Brat Pack, and Maximortal. Have you read these Greg? Any other commenters read them? I’m curious what people think of them and whether they’re worth trying to track down.

All three of those works by Veitch are good.

I agree with Brian, based on what I’ve read of them, Third Man. Definitely worth tracking down. I have all of the One and Maximortal, but haven’t read them all yet. I have just the first issue of Brat Pack, but it’s good enough that Steve Bissette wrote a whole book about it (see here: )

Brat Pack’s ending was apparently changed from the original issues to the collection, but I’m not sure how.

If you like Veitch’s stuff, his Roarin’ Rick’s Rarebit Fiends series, with his dream comics, is pretty interesting. Depends on how much you like people’s dreams, of course. His Vertigo series from a few years back, Army @ Love, didn’t do a whole lot for me. I understand Can’t Get No was decent.

Third Man: Yeah, I haven’t read them. I always think about getting them, but I just don’t. It doesn’t help that I wasn’t impressed by Army @ Love and Can’t Get No was just okay (in my humble opinion). But I always think I should give one or all of those comics a chance, just because they do have a pretty good reputation.

Oh, and I forgot to say, I believe that Veitch has somewhat recently (past 5 or so years) reprinted some or all of the stuff that Third Man mentioned. He also did a collection (or collections) of some of the old Epic Illustrated stuff that he did.

One of the things about Army @ Love that made me not like it was that the art just didn’t work. Somehow, Veitch inked by…Gary Erksine, iirc, just didn’t look that good. I like Veitch solo and I like Erksine, but the 2 together just wasn’t that good.

Secret History??

I just realized Miracleman was skipped over, which surprises me given that 1) you obviously have read and highly enjoyed it as it made your top 20 runs list, and 2) it seems at least somewhat unlikely that you own it in trade given how rare they are.

So what gives? Are you actually one of the few people on the planet that own the Miracleman trades, or is there some far more nefarious reason it was skipped? I’m actually going to be rereading the run for the first time in 12 or so years in the near future, and I’ll be sad if I can’t consult your always wonderful analysis after I do. And really Burgas, if you’re not here to meet my needs, then what are you here for??

Most likely when he was doing M, he didn’t have the comics, and being the anal retentive OCDer that he is, won’t get back around to Miracleman until he’s at M again. He’s so WEIRD!

And hey, Third Man, you asked for Veitch, you got Veitch! BACK OFF!!!! :)

But oh, back around 15 years ago or so, I went to Toronto for a school related trip, and at one point went through a book store that had a Miracleman collection (Golden Age, maybe?). I SOOOO regret not using that funny colored money to pick it up!!!

Whoops, I’ve missed some comments. Sorry!

Rubso: I haven’t reached “S” yet, so you’ll just have to wait and see if Secret History shows up! I do like it quite a bit, though, so we’ll see!

Third Man: I do indeed own the Miracleman trades and I don’t own the single issues, so it will be a while before I get to the book. Yes, it will show up on this list someday, because it’s such a brilliant comic.

I got the trades in the early 1990s, before the kerfuffle really took off, so I guess I got lucky. It’s very odd that the trades are rarer than the single issues, but I guess that’s the way it is!

@ Third Man- I haven’t read BratPack, but the other two by Veitch (The One and Maximortal) are both very good. I’d especially recommend Maximortal. Had I a Comics You Should Own list, it would be on there.

After almost two decades of searching(and saving), I finally was able to get my hands on the Miracleman series. I’ve just finished Moore’s run, and. . . wow! It seems a cliche to say(or type) that, but it really is as excellent as everyone says. These issues are far from mint, but I’m not a collector, so much as a reader. And I feel like I could be missing out since issues 23 and 24 were not included in the set. But then I think to myself, “Self, you also have a copy of the Warrior 1982 summer special. Don’t you think that is some consolation?”
My self thinks it is.


I know one of your stipulations is that any comic series included here has to be one that is no longer ongoing.Now that DC comics has done their “New 52″ relaunch, there are many titles in their back catalogue that have been canceled and are valid nominations. With that in mind, I would like to recommend “Secret Six” (both the regular seies, the mini series, and the “Villains United” mini) by Gail Simone and (mostly) Nicola Scott. I could heap ihgh volumes of praise on this series here, in this tiny little text box, but I think the comics would do a better job speaking for themselves. These are definately comics I should own!

Also, have you conisidered Archie Comics “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures” series? I came across my back copies that I bought when I was nuts about the cartoon show and have been re-reading them. Despite the being based on the cartoon show turtles, this series is suprisingly good. Check them out if you get the chance.

good list but what about french comic books?!

kurgan: Since I’m going through my back issues right now, they’re going to be pretty much English language comics. I do have The Killer on this list, which was originally in French! When I get to collected editions and graphic novels, they’ll have to be translated into English because I don’t read French. But I’ll probably have some when I do get to the collected stuff, because I have more French comics in that format than in single issues.

i have in my mind the Soleil-Marvel collaboration, now i’m trying to find the most iconic comic books translated to english…Thorgal, XIII, Lanfeust of Troy

Interesting list. You’ll never please everyone with these things but it is a nice try. I really enjoyed Byrne’s FF as well. Lots of memories on this list.

I can’t say I’m a big Grant Morrison fan. He puts thought into some of his work and there is some originality but, at the end of the day, it isn’t all that enjoyable. He has a cult following, I know, but his stuff is just too campy and cheesey at time. Other times it just falls flat.

I enjoy a well thought out product and there are some on the list. It isn’t easy to make a good, overall comic but this list contains some good stuff and would like to see the updates as they roll out.

Scott: Thanks. I’ll get around to Byrne’s FF – I own them in trade, and I’m currently just working my way through single issues. I try to update this list as quickly as I can, but I know it’s irregular, mainly because of the length of the various series, how much I want to write about them, and how often I can sit down and read these big chunks of stories. But I love writing them, so I try to keep up!

Obviously, Morrison is my favorite comics writer, so I’m going to have some of his stuff on here that maybe others don’t think is up to snuff, but I also don’t think all of his stuff belongs here, either. So I do try to be objective about his work! :)

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Kudos for including THE HECKLER on your fantastic list.
I thought I was the only one who loved this loony series, but I’it looks like I was wrong!

Dario: No problem. I just wish it had lasted a bit longer!

Where’s Astro City?

Since I know you haven’t gotten to the ‘S’s yet, I won’t get on you for forgetting this, but it seems like as good a time as any to say, “DC, please, please, PLEASE give me a Spectre Omnibus by Ostrander & Mandrake! (I’l be your friend forever!) ;-)
Oh, and I cannot recommend highly enough Aztec Ace by Moench & (mostly) Dan Day!

Dwain: Astro City isn’t finished yet, and I don’t do things that aren’t completely finished. When I started in the “A”s, it was even less finished than it is today! But I will get to it when I get back to “A”!

Joel: Oh, you bet The Spectre is coming. And yes, while a few Omnibus volumes would be nice, DC should just try to do trade paperbacks for the book!

Just read your write up of Shade as a comic you should own, I’ve been waiting for you to get to this point in the alphabet. Sleeper by Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips better be the next one….or at least soon in the queue. Sleeper is pretty much the quintessential work of the Brubaker/Phillips collab that’s been going on for years now.

Tim: Well, it will be a while, unfortunately. I own Sleeper in trade, and as I’m reading my back issues, I’ll have to swing back around to it. I agree, though – it will be on this list, I think (I still have to re-read it!), but it’ll take some time until it shows up.

When you get to the ‘S’s will there be a recommendation for Spectacular Spider-Man? I have in mind two stories in particular, the Tombstone/Robertson arc by Gerry Conway and the Son of the Goblin arc by JM Dematteis, both illustrated by Sal Buscema I believe. Both stories are really well plotted and the Son of the Goblin arc is really sad and moving. It’s too bad that One More Day retconned it. Sal Buscema’s art is beautiful and underrated (I believe that he’s a better artist than his brother). It’s a shame that Marvel haven’t collected more of his work (but then again, so much of the stuff here is uncollected)

Ultimate Spider-Man should also get a recommendation. I know its ubiquitous and practically everyone has probably read it but Bagley’s run on the series in particular stands out as some of the best Spider-Man ever written, certainly better than most of what was around in the 1990s.

I love the Atlantis Chronicles – why has it never been collected as a hardback by DC??

Bill: I didn’t see your comment, so I hope you come back around! I own very little of Spectacular Spider-Man, unfortunately – I bought some issues in the late 1980s/early 1990s, but when I dropped Amazing Spider-Man, I stopped buying all the Spidey books. I actually just got out my SSM issues and I’m about to start reading them, but I don’t own those two stories. I’ll have to look for them, though – thanks for the recommendation!

I own Ultimate Spider-Man, but all in trade, so it will be a while before I get to it! But I do like it a lot.

Peter: DC is very bad about collecting things, so I’m not surprised Atlantis Chronicles hasn’t been collected yet. I imagine it’s very far down on the list of things DC feels like putting out in a collection!

Dude how come there’s no Brian K Vaughan or Scott Mcloud on this list? come on.

It is so weird that a guy whose best comic book work is Zot is not on an alphabetical Comics You Should Own list that is currently up to the letter S.

Some nice choices, from the top of my head without scrolling up…good to see those Ann N’s DD run, Moench’s Batman, only got two issues but I enjoyed that Killer Croc story and found the Deadman issue really “weird” . Wow, a whole lot to comment on, haven’t even read all the links.

Would like to see what your choices will be when you reach Superman, a bit curious why there was no Action Comics in there tho when there was Batman/Detective Comics.
Anyway, being an 80’s baby (and I adapt to new comics) my choice for Superman titles from that era would be anything after the reboot, the Byrne-Perez-Jurgens,etc. era- Exile, The Day of the Krypton Man, those were my favorite story lines and I could go on.

Thanks for the list! A lot of great stuff for me to consider! I would add some of Roger Stern’s run on Avengers and Strikeforce: Morituri (#1-20). Was thrilled you included Slott’s run on She-Hulk. Absolutely missed gem of a series!

I forgot, I would include some New Mutants from Claremont’s run too!

Sorry, didn’t see you had New Mutants in there.

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN by Jonathan Lethem


WARLOCK by Jim Starlin



Great list, but I gotta say the entire run of “The Authority” deserves to be on there, not just the Millar stuff. Kind of a slap in the face to Warren Ellis, the guy who created it (and who was subsequently ripped off by every writer that read it).

I know some of these are redundant, you have in trade or you haven’t reached
them alphabetically yet, so, Just in case you haven’t read them:
FEAR AGENT by Rick Remender, Tony Moore, Jerome Opena mostly
UNCANNY X-FORCE by Rick Remender
SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM by J. Micheal Straczynski
BANNER by Azzerello & Corben
I loved these, Totally! Thanks for the list and well designed site. Happy reading and happy collecting!

Man, a bunch of new comments!

Christopher: As Brian noted, McCloud is mostly noted for Zot, and I haven’t gotten to “Z” yet. Plus, I own that in trade, and I’m going through my single issues, so it will be a while. As for Vaughan – I own Ex Machina in single issues, but it didn’t finish until I was well past “E,” so I have to wait until it comes back around. I own Y: The Last Man in trade, so it will be a while before I re-read it, but I wasn’t too impressed with it, so we’ll see if my opinion changes by the time I get around to it.

Damian: I actually don’t own a lot of Superman comics. I’ve never been a big fan of Superman, and so for years I simply didn’t get many comics with the character. I only own a few issues of Action Comics, for instance, and I don’t have the Byrne stuff, because I started reading comics a few years after he left the books and I’ve never picked them up. I know DC is releasing them in trade, so I’ll probably get to them eventually, but we’ll see. Superman just has never really interested me, so it’s hard for me to recommend too many of the comics starring the character. I’m getting close to All Star Superman, which I haven’t read in a while, so that might make the list, but we’ll see!

Rick: I’m getting close to Strikeforce: Morituri – I started getting back issues a few years ago, and I’m almost done with the series, so when I sit down and read it, I might share your love for it (I’ve never read the issues I already own because I wanted to get the whole thing). Much like Superman (see above), I’ve never been a huge fan of the Avengers – I got Avengers Annual #10 because it’s Rogue’s first appearance, and I got Avengers Forever because I liked Busiek and Pacheco. I keep reading good things about Stern’s Avengers, so maybe one day I’ll pick it up.

The only New Mutants that I really love is the Sienkiewicz stuff, even though I own every single issue. The rest is okay but nothing great.

billy thunder: I own Omega in trade, so it will be a while. I don’t like Identity Crisis at all. I have Warlock in trade. I don’t own the Silver Surfer book. Ellis’s Secret Avengers is okay, but not great.

TC: When I first started these posts, I was focusing on runs that were a bit lesser known, and the Ellis/Hitch Authority is, of course, really famous. I’ll probably include it when I get back around to it, but I really do think that it’s a bit more simplistic than the strange Millar/Peyet stuff, which shows the consequences of their actions a bit better. The Ellis/Hitch stuff, as awesome as it was, is basically just a really big action movie. Fun to read, beautiful to look at, but I’m not sure if it really has much to say. Ellis’s StormWatch is much more interesting to me.

Rio: I’ve never read the Silver Surfer book, and I don’t know much about it. I own the other three in trade, so I’ll get around to re-reading them eventually. I really like Fear Agent but I don’t think Uncanny X-Force ended well, so I’m not sure if I’ll write about it. We shall see.

I do love reading suggestions, so I’m glad people are still commenting here!

Man, if Zot! doesn’t get a write-up when it’s around to Z, I will curl into a fetal position and cry for days. I’d also love to see Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme get featured (or maybe even his Quasar or Cap runs?), but they’re a bit more polarising and dated so I wouldn’t blame you for skipping them.

Drax: Well, I own Zot! in trade, and I’m going through my single issues first, so it might be a while! I do have Squadron Supreme, and it’s coming up, so I’ll have to see about it. It’s been a while since I read it, so I don’t know if I like it enough to feature it.

Note: In your essay pages, you have a link to this archive, but a reader can alternatively just click the “Comics You Should Own” category link at the top (or in the subsite-wide sidebar), leading to where there isn’t any explanation.

Maybe it’s possible to edit that category page’s header to add an intro sentence linking to this archive, as they do on Wikipedia category pages? Just a thought.

Simon: I’m not sure how to do that. I don’t have control over the “look” of the blog, as that’s Brian’s thing (and, I imagine, CBR if they feel like it). I’ll have to see if I can do something, but I’m not sure if it’s possible.

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