Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Very Best 10-Issue Runs

Doug:  A long time ago we did an Open Forum on the best runs of the Bronze Age.  Since we got a lot of mileage in January out of both older posts reprinted as well as turning our new and larger audience loose with some of their own ideas, I figured we could sort of hit the best of both worlds today with a fun comic-oriented question that plays off of an older topic and showcases what we do best around here:  discuss stuff!

Doug:  So here's your task, and it's a bit of a toughie.  What is your favorite 10-issue run of any comic, any era?  It doesn't have to be a run that begins and ends in nice and even numbers; for example, one of the first things that comes to mind for me is X-Men #'s 56-65, the bulk of the Thomas/Adams run on the book.  You can choose any 10-issue series of books that has consecutive numbers -- even if the title had a reprint or some other interruption in the middle, you'd still count it in the 10 issues of the run you're going to brag on.

Doug:  In your comments, please mention the creative teams, plotlines, villains, significant doings, etc. that make the run one of your all-time favorites.  And thanks in advance for your consideration -- who knows, you may sell someone on the purchase of a new trade paperback or other collection.


Edo Bosnar said...

Hmm, that's really kind of an odd category: a 10-issue run. I think the X-men run you mention would probably pop into my head as well, since most of the other good runs that come to mind tended to last a bit longer (if this were a roughly 20-issue run, there's two Marvel series I can think of that would fit perfectly...)

Anyway, my cop-out choice is the Charlton run of E-man (#s 1-10). Nothing beats that original run. Off-beat yet fun and engaging satirical stories by Cuti, and lovely art by the young Joe Staton.

If a series that only lasted 10 issues doesn't count, here's a more 'legitimate' pick that roughly fits into the 10-issue constraint: Dectective #s 469-479, which includes the entire Englehart run, and the Clayface two-parter at the end written by Wein, with continuity provided by Rogers' art. Do I really need to explain why this is such a great run? It has the Hugo Strange story arc, an actually very good Penguin story, arguably one of the best Joker stories ever, and my second-favorite Bat love interest (after Catwoman), Silver St. Cloud. And of course, that lovely art by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin.

Matt Celis said...

Infinity Inc. #1-10 is one long story by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. I thought it was pretty good Earth-2 fun. Can't think of much else that qualifies.

Anonymous said...

I’m assuming we’re going to take Kree/Skrull , Celestial Madonna, Dark Phoenix, the C&B Team Up run, Pegasus, Miller’s DD and the stuff we usually talk about as a given, right?

OK, these won’t be tens, exactly, but:

Xmen 1-14. So much great stuff and very underrated for the parade of villains (Magneto, Toad, Mastermind, Vanisher, Blob, Unus, Lucifer, the Stranger, the Juggernaut and the Sentinels), and, lest we forget, Wanda & Pietro, Kazar, an early SA appearance from Subby and a guest appearance from the Torch. Not to mention a clash with the Avengers. I love the way Magneto is built up, first as a solo villain, then with the Brotherhood. As they get defeated, Magneto recruits first Subby then the Blob, so that the Brotherhood gets continually more powerful with each clash. Issue #12, with the Juggernaut’s inexorable approach to the mansion outside as Professor X tells his story inside has stayed with me for 35 years. That huge shadow lumbering ever nearer.

Xmen 97 – 108: kind of the same thing. So much stuff created (Lilandra, Star Jammers, Phoenix) but also so much old stuff (Maggie, Juggernaut, Firelord, Sentinels) brought back to great, great effect. We rave about C&B, but we forget how truly good it was even pre-Byrne.

Tales of Suspense #64 – 74. I love the silver age Cap WW2 stories and that first ‘modern day’ story where ‘the Sleeper awakes’.

Strange Tales 135 – 151. I’m so tempted to go with the Steranko issues, but I have a lot of love for the early Fury stories with Hydra, then Fixer & Mentallo and then AIM. It’s actually all one huge extended story arc that also ties into the Secret Empire arc in Cap.

Iron Man: I tried to single out 10 issues from the Michelinie/JRJR/Layton run, but it’s all good. Maybe 122- 133?

Avengers #46 – 58. Thomas/Buscema. Hank in the anthill, Magneto seducing Wanda & Pietro, the new Black Knight, Hercules’ return to Olympus, the Masters of Evil take the mansion for the first time, first glimpse of Ultron, return to Bucky’s death via the time machine and intro of the Vision. That’ll do me.

I’m going to go for 2 runs in Marvel Premiere: Doc Strange & Iron Fist.

Astonishing Tales 25-28; 30-35. Deathlok.

OK, I feel I’ve outstayed my welcome.....


Anonymous said...

How about the Black Panther in Jungle Action 6-17 - Panther's Rage/Killmonger storyline? McGregor/Graham with some Rich Buckler mixed in, I think.

I really don't remember the details but I remember thinking at the time that this was what I thought the Black Panther character should be. When Kirby came back to Marvel and started a new Black Panther series shortly after this one, I remember thinking - "Is this the same guy?"


david_b said...

A few easy ones come to mind..:

1) CA&F's 'Secret Empire', which started around ish 166/167 with anti-Cap public announcements and completing with a very memorable ish 176. It's what arguably made Cap the flagship title that year, outselling so many other titles. Cleary Englehart/Buscema's greatest triumph.

2) Defenders ish 4-13, adding the Valkyrie and Hawkeye to not only create an actual team, but 'course give the Avengers a run for their money. Another clear Englehart/Buscema triumph.


3) Fantastic Four, ish 51-63 (ok, a couple extra issues..). Common sense would dictate we'd suffer through some laidback stories directly after the grand spectacle of Galactus. Nay, true believers. Doom jumps in with, stealing the Surfer's cosmic energy, Sandman (and later Blastaar) nearly obliterates the FF and we glimpse Mr. Fantastic's climatic entrance into the Negative Zone..

Lee/Kirby utterly created new realities here.

4) Spiderman ish 121-132, starting with Gwen saying goodbye (along with the Silver Age in the rear view mirror....), ending in a memorable wedding for Aunt May with Doc Ock and Hammerhead crashing the party. If that wasn't enough, Harry's getting suspicious and even a Spidermobile to boot.

Bruce said...

Two 10-issue runs stand out in my mind:

Amazing Spider-Man #121-130 (Conway/Andru/Kane) . In addition to the Death of Gwen Stacy two-parter, this period also brought us the debut of the Punisher, the start of the original Clone Saga with the Jackal, Harry Osborn's descent into madness, the start of the Peter-Mary Jane romance, the intro of Man-Wolf, Spidey vs. Luke Cage and the Spidey-Hammerhead-Doc Ock three-way rivalry. Oh yeah, and the Kangaroo hops in here, too. All of this is memorable stuff 40 years later, and it took place in the span of just 10 months.

The second would be Uncanny X-Men #128-137 (Claremont/Byrne). Most of this is the Hellfire Club/Dark Phoenix Saga, but you've also got the introduction of Kitty Pryde and the end of the Proteus epic. These guys were cranking out masterpieces on a monthly basis.

J.A. Morris said...

Here are some runs that come to mind(besides the obvious ones Richard mentioned):

FF#251-262:Reed & Co. went 'Into The Negative Zone' and came back to find Annihilus trashing the Baxter Building. That was followed with a 3-part Doom story, then Reed went on trial in front of an intergalactic tribunal for saving Galactus.

Defenders 31-40(or so) & Annual #1. The Defenders vs. the Headmen & Nebulon, I believe Elf With A Gun shows up too in those issues. Brilliant, fun stuff from Steve Gerber.

Peter Parker,The Spectacular Spider-Man #43-52. Great stories by Roger Stern, Vulture, Mysterio,Eric "Power Man" Josten. Plus a bunch of down-to-Earth stories that feature Spidey investigating murders of NYC crime bosses. Available in a nice(cheap) tpb if you haven't read those stories:

Hoosier X said...

A lot of the obvious stuff has been mentioned, but I'm kind of partial to Panther's Rage and Spidey #121 to #130 and that Englehart/Rogers run on Detective.

But an oddball pick that popped into my mind is The Super-Villain War from Iron Man. It started in #68 and ended in #81 but there were a few fill-ins and a reprint, so I think the total came to 10 or 11 issues.

I read only the last two issues when they were new, but I picked up most of the rest of them over the next two or three years at used bookstores (usually priced at 2 for 25 cents - those were the days!)

The Super-Villain War was totally CRA-ZEE! The Black Lama was enticing people like MODOK and The Yellow Claw and The Thinker to fight each other over a Globe of Power that could ... well, I don't remember what was so great about that globe. Iron Man somehow got involved and always zipping around and getting involved in everybody's business. It was very unpredicatle. And there would be a lull and Iron Man would go to Vietnam or the San Diego Comic-Con for a fight that had nothing to do with the Super-Villain War.

It's not drawn by John Buscema or Neal Adams ot anybody like that, but that's one of things I like about it. It's real comic book-y, and it's awesome.

vancouver mark said...

I'll try to focus only on Bronze Age and not repeat what's already been mentioned. I'm just starting my morning coffee so forgive any typos or sleepy poor judgements...

The first two that come to mind are DC,
Swamp Thing# 1-10, the original series by Wein and Wrightson.
A very original character and concept, with breathtaking artwork. I was twelve and bought every issue as they came out.

New Gods# 1-11 (just sneak in that extra issue) The best of the Fourth World books. The first few issues are hampered by some unfortunate inking, but the middle issues, especially 6-8, are among my favorite comics of all time.

Master of Kung Fu #38-50 (OK if you want to be sticky you can limit it to the ten issues 41-50 but you'll miss out a great lead-in and intro) A beautifully executed spy intrigue drama extravaganza, lovely artwork and memorable characters.

Captain Marvel# 25-34 - Hey, exactly ten issues! Jim Starlin finds his groove in his first major work. The run should be supplemented with Iron Man 54 and the awesome Marvel Feature 12.

OK that's a start. I also love the run of Man-Thing that includes the last couple issues of Fear (to include the Wun-darr intro) and the first issues of his own title (up to the death of Dawg).

And and and

Edo Bosnar said...

Something interesting stuff here; for many of them, i.e., McGregor's Black Panther, Byrne's FF, Gerber's Defenders, Gerber's Man-Thing, Claremont/Byrne/Austin's X-men, Master of Kung Fu, I find it too difficult to just pull out any 10-issue run and proclaim it better than the rest.
By the way, J.A., I'm really fond of that Stern run on Spectacular Spider-man as well. Similarly, I really like that Mantlo run that preceded it - too bad there's no Mantlo Spider-man Visionaries collections...

Since everyone's picking multiple runs here, I thought I'd cut those two Marvel runs I mentioned in half, so they qualify:

Avengers #181-191 - the first half of Michelinie's great (except for ish #200) run, all beautifully drawn by Byrne. With the Nights of Wundagore saga right in the middle, it also has a great brawl with Absorbing Man, and closes with a similarly action-packed throwdown with the Grey Gargoyle.

Marvel Two-in-One #50-60 - starts with that famous Byrne written and drawn Thing meets the Thing story, continues with that great Helicarrier siege story, includes the entire Project Pegasus saga, and finally closes with a light and humorous Impossible Man team-up. Great writing by (mainly) Gruenwald and Macchio, and wonderful art by Byrne, Perez and even Frank Miller. (The next 10 issues are almost as good, with two back-to-back 3-parters - the Her space opera and then the Serpent Crown story - and closing with a similarly humorous non-team-up with the Yancy Street Gang.)

And Adventure Comics #469-479, when the title was split into two features (three toward the end when Aquaman was added): Starman by Levitz and Ditko, and Plastic Man by Wein and Pasko, with art by Joe Staton. Just great Bronze Age fun.

Doug said...

I have a snow day today, but that doesn't mean I don't have a red pen handy. If you don't want the hand of justice dispensed, take heed --


I appreciate all of the suggestions, but let's face it -- there really isn't anything we haven't seen before. Part of the "odd" choice of 10 issues was to engender conversations on that periphery. So let's say the best part of the Lee-Kirby run on the Fantastic Four is after Joe Sinnott became the inker. Well, the series wasn't totally stellar all of the time. So if you pressed me to pick a 10-issue run that I could recommend to you, I'd probably go with #'s 44-53. Inhumans, Surfer/Galactus, and the Black Panther. Not to mention the "This Man, This Monster" story. But let's say you favor the Doom/Surfer story that was in the mid-50's... Then you would want to slide my scale forward and leave out that first Inhumans arc. See?

Over in the Avengers, I'd recommend #'s 158-167 to you, which would include a nifty fight between Wonder Man and the Vision, the return of the Black Panther to the team, the trial issue with the Grim Reaper, the first half of the Bride of Ultron, a Champions guest appearance, and the Byrne 3-part Nefaria story.

Got it? That wasn't so hard...


david_b said...

Yes, Doug, I heard O'Hare shutdown over a thousand flights starting last night..?

We just started getting our whitestuff an hour ago, but it'll just be a few inches up here I suspect.

As for the Lee/Kirby FF arcs.., there's like 20some issues there that all literally have CLASSIC stamped on the covers, so any sliding scale of ten issues will be difficult.

It was all truely magnificent.

I'm just drawn to those issues from 61-69 because they were being reprinted in MGC when I first started collecting in '73.

(I love hangin' around the comic shop with a coffee on a snowday..)

Doug said...

Thanks, David.

I'd suggest this, too: So often we focus on the "arcs". Today's topic gives you an opportunity to group together a bunch of little stories, as my Avengers suggestion in my previous post featured.

Was there a 10-issue run of Marvel Team-Up (during the Claremont/Byrne run comes to mind) that was outstanding? Edo mentioned Marvel Two-In-One. Where are those nice 10-issue runs of any title that bring back fond memories for you?


david_b said...

I find most of my suggestions are based on 'beloved collecting memories' rather than excellence in comicdom.

Saying that, I'd recommend MTU 12-21, excellent entertaining with Spidey mixing up with solid, frothy line-up of Werewolf, Cap, Subby, Ghosty, Mar-Vell, Richards, Kazar, T'Challa and Strange, with only with a dismal Hulk-Torch tale thrown in to keep it from being even better.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hopefully all of our snow days here are over, I've had quite enough of the shoveling this year...

All right, Doug, although I stand by my earlier suggestions, I've refined some of my picks to fit into your apparently very strict no-more-no-less than 10 issues contraint:
The Marvel 2-in-1 run I left out, issues 61-70. Starts with the cosmic Her 3-parter, followed by the Serpent Crown 3-parter, and then four solid done-in-ones, featuring Hyperion, Angel, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Yancy Street Gang. The last two are really good: the Guardians story is quite nice, and the Yancy Street Gang issue has some rather rare art by Michael Nasser (Netzer). Also notable is that the late, great Gene Day is the inker throughout. I wouldn't mind this little run being collected, in fact.

Spectacular Spider-man #25-34 - the best of Mantlo's first run on the title: the Carrion story, aka the second Clone Saga, followed by a 3-parter featuring the Iguana, the Lizard and other assorted reptiles.

Marvel Premiere #41-50 - ten issues of random fun and greatness: Seeker 3000, Tigra, Paladin, Jack of Hearts, Man-Wolf, the introduction of Scott Lang as Ant Man, the Falcon playing detective, and finally the famous Alice Cooper issue. You've got everything here: a little SF, lots of action and thrills, and, well, whatever that Alice Cooper story is. And it's a great sampling of various Bronze Age writers (Moench, Hannigan, McGregor, Kraft, Michelinie, heck even Mark Evanier) and artists (Sutton, Vosburg, Byrne, Perez, Sal Buscema).
Happy now, Teach?

Garett said...

Alpha Flight 1-10! I ran across the first TPB in a second hand store last week--read through it--then had to go pick up all of Byrne's run (TPBs 2+3). But the first 10 issues are all-Byrne, writing-drawing-inking, and it's become my favorite Byrne art and story. Byrne's inking is delicious (in later issues Bob Wiacek still does a good job). His layouts are big and open and appealing.

But what surprised me is how I got pulled into the story! Byrne really gets into these characters, diving into their histories with backup stories. Also he does the unexpected by not having the team generally all together, but in separate stories in different places, like Puck's solo adventure in a hospital in issue 5 while recovering from a serious wound.

They battle a variety of villains, from elemental creature Tundra (makes sense that a Canadian team battles the elements!) to supervillain The Master in a futuristic, growing spaceship; to the street gangster St. Ives. Guest stars include Sub-Mariner, Invisible Girl and the Thing.

I can laugh along now with the issue that features a polar bear fighting in a snowstorm--5 pages of white panels, with only dialogue! That made me so mad when I read it back in '83 that I dropped the series--I wanted to see Byrne art, not pay for a cheap trick! Sasquatch has become a favorite character--like furry Hulk, with brains and a sense of humor.

This series has aged way better than I would've thought, with a high emphasis on character development, and excellent writing and art by Byrne. I was going to throw in a couple more 10 issue runs, but I've gone on so long, I'll leave it for now! : ) The colors and art look great in the TPB reproduction.

Hoosier X said...

OK. Ten issues. Not yet mentioned. High quality.

Best ten consecutive issues of Frank Miller's Daredevil. #169 to #172 are among the best comic books of any era, so they must be included. (So that leaves out the death of Elektra.)

I'm tending to the issues that preceded the Kingpin storyline. #163 - Daredevil vs. the Hulk! - is a great place to start, and we have a Dr. Octopus story I've always liked, the Gladiator, and the first Elektra.

(But looking at what comes next, it could just as easily have been #168 to #177. Or #172 to #181. This is hard!)

I'm sticking with my original choice of #163 to #172.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm with Hoosier X in re Miller's DD issues.

The best are the first 10, after that, there's too much Ninja stuff. Still good, I own tpbs of all the Miller/Janson issues, but it's the early stories I keep pulling off the shelf year after year.

Doug said...

Mr. Wadley will do just fine, Edo. I tend to stay away from Waddles, Dougie-fresh, D-Wad, and most certainly "Teach".

And yes, the conversation has turned just a bit toward the agonizing sense of loss when the parameters are put in place. I like it.

And I think everyone knows that what we are doing/have done is to use these sorts of post to create a repository of reader recommendations so that we can choose wisely when making our tpb purchases, and especially keep our eyes peeled for new offerings from our favorite comic companies' backlog of stories.



Matt Celis said...

I think the Puck issue is my favorite Alpha Flight comic. What an appealing and original character he was. I liked AF for the first 12-15 issues...my interest petered out when Talisman showed up and then byrne left and the change was too jarring for me.

Bruce said...

Doug, you mentioned Marvel Team-Up. I'll throw out MTU #41-51 from Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema as a highlight of that series (yes, that's 11 issues, I know!)

The first four issues are the big time travel storyline involving Spidey, Dr. Doom, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Moondragon, where the heroes go to Colonial Salem to fight Cotton Mather and the Dark Rider. Multi-issue storylines weren't common in MTU, and this was a good one, involving a fairly complex plot, lots of guest stars and some honest-to-goodness real history.

From there, Spider-Man teamed up with Killraven and Deathlok in a coda to the time travel storyline. A crossover with Marvel-Two-In-One followed (Spidey & the Thing vs. the Basilisk), and then the excellent four-part Wraith storyline involving Spidey, Iron Man and Dr. Strange. This storyline made Jean DeWolff a compelling supporting character.

William said...

One of my favorite 10 issue runs has got to be Avengers #157-166. All of these issues were written by Jim Shooter (except for #157 which was penned by Gerry Conway) with art by George Perez, John Byrne, Sal Buscema (and others). This run features my two very all-time favorite Avengers stories which are "The Bride of Ultron" (issues 161-162) with art by Perez, and "Nefaria Supreme" (issues #164-165) with art by Byrne. The other issues feature the first appearance of Graviton (#158-159 with Buscema art) and some nice Wonder Man and Vision conflict with the Grim Reaper thrown in for good measure. There is also a great issue in which Iron Man takes on most of the Champions in a knock down, drag out battle that spans the entire book (#163 with art by G. Tuska). All of these issues have been recently collected in a hardcover called ("The Bride of Ultron") which I highly, highly, highly recommend picking up.

For my second favorite Avengers 10 issue run I'm going to have to break the rule and go with 11 issues, and say Avengers #181-#191 with art by John Bryne and written by David Michelinie and Steven Grant (with a Bill Mantlo fill in). This run features my all-time favorite Absorbing Man story, and favorite Grey Gargoyle story as well. It is also the run that included the "Nights of Wundagore" plotline and the government takeover of the Avengers that forced their ranks down to only seven members. Most of these stories are included in the "Nights of Wundagore" trade paperback (issues #181-187).

One of my favorite Spider-Man runs fits this category perfectly. It's exactly 10 issues of Amazing Spider-Man #252-261, written by Tom Defalco with art by Ron Frenz and Rick Leonardi. This is the time when Spider-Man was first wearing his black alien costume. This run features some great stories with new villains like the Rose and Puma being introduced. This run also includes my two all-time favorite issues of ASM which are #260-261. These are the issues where Peter goes back to his classic red and blue suit and battles the Hobgoblin. It features art by my favorite Spider-Man artist, Ron Frenz, and it's just a really cool and classic story. Most of this run is collected in "Spider-Man: Saga of the Alien Costume" trade paperback, available cheap on Ebay or Amazon. Pick it up.

Inkstained Wretch said...


Matt already mentioned Infinity Inc. #1-10, so let me second that. That was the best run on that title, period. It suffered badly later on due to the loss of Jerry Ordway and DC's constant post-Crisis revisions.

Related, All-Star Squadron #27-37 is the best run on that title with the tales featuring the Justice Society of America, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the Freedom Fighters AND the Marvel Family in quick succession.

Saga of Swamp Thing #46-53 is one of the best on that title and very neatly ties in with the Crisis as DC's magical heroes take on a mystical disaster caused by the end of the multi-verse. This is followed by a great run of stories set in Gotham.

Justice League of America #189-197. The bulk of the George Perez issues. Enough said.

Avengers #267-277 -- The best of the Stern-Buscema-Palmer run. The Kang and the Masters of Evil storylines. The last hurrah of the Bronze Age.

Marvel Two-in-One #53-63 -- Project Pegasus, the Return of Adam Warlock(?) and the Impossible Man, too. Sweet.

Anonymous said...

Exactly 10 huh? Sorry Doug. Can I get "re-graded"?

How about Iron Man 57-66? Starts with a 2 part Mandarin/Unicorn, then Firebrand, Masked Marauder, Whiplash and concluding with a 4 part Dr. Spectrum story with Thor guesting in #66.

Avengers 113-122 - Starts with crazy bigots trying blow themselves up to kill the Vision, Mantis and Swordsman, Avengers/Defenders war, a Collector Rutland story and a 3 part Zodiac.

Like David_b, I am mainly partial to these because '73-74 was the time I started really getting into comics.


david_b said...

Tom, those are actually among my favs as well..

I'll add DD&BW issues 103-112.

Starting off with a silly Ramrod story (with the gratuitious Spiderman appearance.. MAN, he was EVERYWHERE in '73, wasn't he..??), but getting much better as it 'turned Starlin-esque' with Moondragon, Terrax and Mar-Vell (still love him explaining the concept of 'non-life' to the Widow in ish 107..), then after a couple of weaker issues, the grand arrival of Mandrill & Nekra's Black Spectre army and their assault on the White House.., with a 3-issue guest appearance by Shanna.

For you cheesecake lovers, Natasha tied up on the cover of 104 and the later storyline with panels of Shanna in either her negligee or her leopardskin bikini outfit were quite.. inviting.

(.."kept me interested..")

Teresa said...

Infinity Inc. #1-10 I second that one. I was always an Earth-2 fan. The heroes and their world of Earth 2 were unique in comics, they lived.

Iron Man 122- 133 I second that one too. I bought these off the spinner rack. Tony Stark-007 and Iron Man in one package.

Fantastic Four 250 - 260 ish range. When they got back to their cosmic adventures. I liked the entire Byrne run on FF

Alpha Flight: 1 - 10. Tight stories and wonderful art. Most important, there were cool new characters I had never heard of. It also had a Pacific Northwest feel. I grew up there.

Legion Lost (first series) 1 - 12. It is out of the range of the Bronze Age...But it is the LSH. They never left the Bronze Age. This often overlooked mini-series is incredible. The big reveal still gives me chills.

Legion of Superheroes 286 - 296 The Great Darkness saga is in there. But some of the best issues are after that saga ended. It just kept getting better and better.
(Little did we LSH fans know, The Great Byrne was coming to destroy us all.)

Marvel-Two-In-One 44 - 54 It hit its stride for me. The guest star list was always a surprise. I always like Ben Grimm's team up more than Spiderman's. Spidey was too much a smart-ass for me.

Hoosier X said...

And then there's the Ditko Spider-Man. My favorite comic book run EVAH is the first 40 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man.

So, what are the best 10 consecutive issues?

It's tough, but after careful consideration, I'm going with #25 to #34. Classics all!

#25 - The first appearance of the Spider-Slayer! With J. Jonah Jameson's gloating face and his fat cheeks on the screen that is the Slayer's face!

#26 to #27 - The two-part story with the Green Goblin and the Crime-Master. My nominee for best Green Goblin story. Action-packed! Suspenseful! Continuing drama with all the Spider-Man cast members.

#28 - The Molten Man - I love this cover! It's also a great story. The Molten Man didn't excatly set himself up as a major fixture in the Spidey Rogues Gallery, but I've always liked his first appearance. And Spidey graduates from high school!

#29 - The return of the Scorpion - Another second-rate villain that I've always liked. He didn't appear in Spider-Man for almost 10 years after this issue.

#30 to #33 - The Cat Burglar and the Master Planner three-parter. This may be the best of the lot, especially #33, with Spidey finding the strength to overcome his biggest challenge and save Aunt May's life! And he starts college and meets Gwen Stacy in #31. (And Ditko's Gwen is so awesome!)

#34 - Kraven returns. This would be my nominee for best Kraven appearance ever.

I had to leave out so many favorites, like #4, #6, #13, #15, #17 to #20, #22, #24, but this run of #25 to #34 is just one winner after another!

Hoosier X said...

I think DD&BW #103 to #112 is a fine addition to the list. Daredevil was CRA-ZEE in that era.

Anonymous said...

Agreed _b & X on DD&BW 103-112. I wanted to do a DD run. Thought about going back to #99 where Hawkeye comes calling for the Widow, but David I think you picked a good 10.


Edo Bosnar said...

Hoosier, I really, really like the original Lee/Ditko run on Spidey as well; however, as I mentioned for other titles above, I really have a hard time isolating a 10-issue run that I would put above the rest. Your selection, and explanations, are quite good. Well done.
Teresa, I have the same problem with the Legion, and you're right - it kept getting better right after the Great Darkness saga.

I'll just throw two more that came to mind:
Marvel Team-up #76-85 - starts off with some magic, as Spidey teams up with Dr. Strange and then Ms. Marvel joins in on the fun.
Then there's this rather middling Wonder Man issue, followed by #79, the famous team up with Red Sonja, my favorite single issue of the series.
The mysticism keeps coming with another Dr. Strange 2-parter, with Satana showing up as well.
And then #s 82-85, my very favorite multi-part Marvel Team-up epic, featuring Black Widow with amnesia, Nick Fury and Shang Chi. And really lovely art by Sal Buscema and Steve Leialoha.

And Bizarre Adventures #25-34 - back then, I didn't know this was actually Marvel Preview under a different name. What a great magazine, though: really good stories and fantastic black and white art, and that final, rather cynical Christmas issue in full color.

Karen said...

Gee, you guys are doing an awesome job today! Great to see you back in here, Teresa, and you too, Tom! I wish I could jump in but I have two dreaded deadlines hanging over me at work today (no snow days out here in the desert) so I can't take any time out really -but I did love those Marvel Two in Ones you all have cited! And the Starlin-era Captain Marvel was just the best!

david_b said...

Thanks a bunch, Tom and X. My recipe was..

- A pinch of Spidey/Kraven with as LITTLE Heck art as possible,

- A generous helping of Colan and Bob Brown,

- An out-of-this-world glob of Terrax, some zesty Mar-Vell.

- Add a salty, dense backstory of Mandrill and Nekra,

- And top with a layer of rich Shanna frosting.

Eat hearty, everyone.

EJK said...

I'm gonna shake things up a bit...Marvel Star Wars 18-27. House of Tagge. Valance the Hunter. The Wheel. And my irrational love for Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek's artwork, plus some Dave Cockrum covers. Pure, early EU Star Wars, without continuity baggage.

Anonymous said...

David Anthony Kraft's run on the Defenders, when Keith Giffen was penciling it.Don't have my comics handy but it was from somewhere in th 40's# to the 50's#. also, now that I think of it, Giffen, Wally Wood and gerry Conway had a nice run on All-Star Comics, also in the 70's.

humanbelly said...

Ohhhhhhh man-- great discussion today and, like Karen, I've been far too strapped to participate! I'll take the chance and crash the party late, here. . .

I'm liking that Doug's holding hard and fast on the 10-issue rule. It forces one to weigh their choices (and rationalize them) all the more carefully. I guess it really is too easy to just go "X-Men 94 through 142", and think the job's been accomplished.

So, without any surprise to or suspense for those what knows me--

Incredible Hulk #110-119, baby!! What did I want? Well, 109 to 122, but we've gotta honor the parameters. And it's kind of cool, because we begin w/ the conclusion of a hoot of a Lee/Trimpe/Severin (art team supreme) 2-parter in the Savage Land, and we end with a cliffhanger against a particularly insiduous incarnation of Maximus and the evil Inhumans. We have issue #111 which I have expounded on at length at being maybe Greenskin's best (and most satisfying) outer-space waste-laying ever. Galaxy Master, Mandarin, Sandman-- and then a three-parter against the Leader (& his Android) that distressed me as a youngster w/ the hopelessness of Greenie's situation. And a milestone battle with Subby in issue #118. This particular run is where Stan really did find the Hulk's voice that we're so familiar with-- where he became more childlike, manipulable, emotionally vulnerable, and finally dropped first-person pronouns altogether. My main regret is that we have to jettison the GLOB story in #121-- a poignant classic itself.

Aaaaand let me pound another familiar drum: Avengers #57-66. Again, I've gone on at length about this run before, but EVERY SINGLE ISSUE in that run is its own little masterpiece. And this is made all the more remarkable because the team itself is in a complete state of flux, with some aspect of the line-up changing almost every issue. AND because there are three very notable pencilers at the helm: John Buscema, Gene Colan, and . . . a very young BARRY SMITH! And yet there's never a sense of being lost in the upheaval, but rather a sense of excitement at how much is going on. In fact, I would say that this run, strictly speaking, is better than my favored Hulk run.

And. . . I think I'll hold there, as this could easily turn into a book-length, self-involved epic, eh?


Anonymous said...

Haven't seen anyone mention it yet, so can I nominate Astonishing Tales #25 - 35....the coming of Deathlok, possibly Rich Buckler's finest hour.

B Smith

Doug said...

I thought it was interesting that no one chose a 10-issue block out of the O'Neil/Adams collaborations.


Hoosier X said...

I heartily agree with HB on The Hulk.

It's just that I never had ten consecutive issues of The Incredible Hulk from anywhere in the Herb Trimpe run.

Hulk #115 to #117 has a storyline that's one of my very favorites. When I was kid, I used to get CREEPED OUT thinking about The Leader's motivations. (It still kind of creeps me out. I'm so glad the Hulk stopped him.)

I sold a lot of my comics to pay for college. But last year, I bought new copies of Hulk #115 to #117 because I need them for my collection.

humanbelly said...

OMG-- aaaaand HoosierX is now my new best friend-! (*sniff*) I'm always gratified that there a few fellow-Hulksters bouncing around this board. Heh.

I think, B Smith, that someone up the chain there did mention Deathlok's Astonishing Tales run-- but it totally bears being seconded. And the Guardians of the Galaxy reprint in the middle of it was even kind of neat, too, even. I really, really liked the original Luther Manning Deathlok, and never understood why no other writer was able to take that specific version and make it work, rather than creating different ones or, geeze, just killing him off completely as a minor plot device (!@#$ Bendis). The original Deathlok's personal story was quite compelling.

Looks like our wave of Doug's storm is now working its way into the DC Metro area. Hitting Manassas as we speak. .


Fred W. Hill said...

I'll go for Defenders 31 - 40, the Headsmen/Nebulon fracas by Gerber & Sal Buscema and Master of Kung Fu circa 41 - 50, perhaps the greatest work by Moench & Gulacy chronicling one of Shang Chi & the MI-6 gang's greatest battles against Fu Manchu. Also great fun was Gerber & Colon's run on Howard the Duck issues 5 - 14, wherein Howard runs for President and ultimately "quacks up" after a confrontation with Le Beaver. Oh, and of course there's also Jim Starlin's run on Warlock, including the startup in Strange Tales. Lee & Ditko on Amazing Spider-Man was on a peak on issues 24-33, and Lee & Kirby on FF from #48-51 and 56 - 62, featuring the Galactus trilogy, the cosmic-powered Dr. Doom, Sandman at his most fearsome, and the Negative Zone, among so much more; as well on Thor from 126 - 135, the conflict with Hercules, Pluto and Ego!

William said...

Hoosier X, I love the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man run, and I like your selections. My favorite story from that entire era was #31-33 which featured the Master Planner story arc. Great pics.

Rip Jagger said...

I'm going to stray off the beaten path a bit and recommend some Charlton efforts.

E-Man #1-10 (the complete original Charlton series)- an utterly charming take on the superhero genre with lovely scripts by Nicola Cuti and art by Joe Staton. The back up features in this series were Rog-2000 by John Byrne, and Killjoy by Steve Ditko. There's also work by Tom Sutton, Joe Gill, and Wayne Howard.

Another Charlton series which might fill this bill is Hercules (1-11) with work by Joe Gill and Sam Glanzman, with back up by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo, along with Sanho Kim.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Cool, another vote for E-man! I'm not alone! And Rip, kudos for mentioning something I forgot to: the great back-ups - the Rog 2000 bits were particularly enjoyable. In fact, those Charlton back-ups in general are often hidden gems.
As for Hercules, I've got no complaints, but you've exceeded the apparently rather strict 10-issue limit; Doug, excuse me, Mr. Wadley, might get cross ... ;)

Another one I can't believe hasn't been mentioned up to this point is Marvel Presents #3-12, the first solo run of Guardians of the Galaxy.

It occurred to me that probably my favorite 10-issue run of New Teen Titans is #11-20. It was sandwiched between the epic first ten issues and the equally epic 20s, with the Brother Blood story, the Starfire/Blackfire/Omega Men space opera and the runaways 2-parter. But for me, #11-20 was probably when I was enjoying the series the most: it just seemed to hit its stride, with the storytelling, characterization and art just meshing perfectly. It starts with that 2-parter in which the Titan Hyperion 'seduces' Wonder Girl, and then continues into that awesome Doom Patrol 3-parter, followed by five spectacular done-in-one stories. My favorites of those are #18, featuring the original, Russian, Starfire, and #20, which is narrated by Kid Flash in the form of a letter to his parents. There's a little of everything here, all perfectly balanced: action, drama, touching human moments and occasional humor.

david_b said...

Geez, Hoosier and X, did'ja have to mention that awesome Hulk run....??

One of my very first issues was 114 and if I ever want a gorgeously-colored Silver Age cover, I head for this run of Hulk's (like 104, 107, and 112..).

I only have the first ish of that Leader story arc, will continue 'my hunt' again soon. Not a Trimpe fan outside of Hulk but the Lee/Trimpe team here was spectacular.

("..there goes my eBay bill..")

- David 'perpetually-explaining-to-his-wife-why-he's-getting-comics-in-the-mail-every-other-day' from Milwaukee

Garett said...

Good call on Titans 11-20 Edo. My favorite run of that series! If Doug refuses to hand out a gold star for that review, I will! : )

david_b said...

Count me in for giving you a gold star too, Edo.

It's when that series acutally 'glowed in the greatness'..


Doug said...

Now that the five links at the bottom of the original post have kicked in, I hope the grumblers among you who felt constrained by my request for 10-issue runs can see the method to my madness. On several previous occasions we've done variations on this idea. As I've said, I was looking to put a unique spin on it, and hoping to scratch a little new material in terms of reading lists out of this post.

The old man does know what he's doing.

And yes, I do say that to my students. Often.

Thanks for the wonderful participation. A total right now of 45+ comments says that talking about the Bronze Age still has some legs!


jim kosmicki said...

Hey Edo, Rip and other Charlton fans: I did not even know this until a few years ago, but Charlton published an issue of Hercules as a B&W magazine. that same great Glanzman art, but at magazine size and in its original B&W glory.

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