Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "Because comics!"

Your Top Creative Runs part 7

Written by rdrsfn82 on Thursday, January 20 2011 and posted in Features
Let's start day 3 with a classic from the Golden Age, a fun book from the early 90's, and a zany series from more recently.

149. 14 points - The Spirit (Eisner)thespirit

That movie was garbage. Seriously, what a total pile of crap.

Will Eisner created The Spirit in 1940, and was published in a comic that came out alongside the Sunday paper in first one newspaper, but ended up syndicated in 20 papers with a circulation of about 5 million. The stories came in a 16 page comic along with the usual comics section of the paper every Sunday, and The Spirit usually took up about 7 or 8 pages, while running with a couple of backup features.

Despite being drafted into the Army in 1941, the series continued thanks to ghost writers and artists. After the war, Eisner came back to the book, but by the late 40's much of the work was being done by others, as he'd have guys ink his work or even ghost write the stories while he still got the credit on the issues. The final issue came out in late 1952, but it was far from the end for the character. Throughout the rest of his life, The Spirit was reprinted many times by many different companies, and was involved in various new stories over the years, including a series by DC that started in 2007 and ran through 2009 by Darwyn Cooke. Eisner meanwhile went on to be one of the most influential writers in comics history, creating many famous works beyond The Spirit, working on mostly graphic novels right up until he died in 2005, with his last book The Plot completed just before his death.

147 14 points - TIE Harley Quinn (Kesel) - Namor (Byrne)

Harley Quinn (Kesel)
Created for the 90's Batman cartoon, Harley Quinn is the Joker's sidekick/girlfriend. She became such a popular character that a few episodes of the show were dedicated to her and she was introduced in the main Batman comics, and in 2001 she was given an ongoing series by Karl Kesel and the husband and wife art team of Terry and Rachel Dodson. They took the character out of the Joker's shadow and set her loose on the DCU in a series of wild adventures with a comedic slant, although not as silly as her animated counterpart and had a regular guest spot for Poison Ivy, who is her best friend other than Mista J.

The book attempted to tell mostly done in one stories while Kesel was writing, while also having a side plot connecting the issues. It also attempted to add some depth to the character of Harley and show her in a somewhat sympathetic light without turning her into some sort of full on hero, instead letting her continue to be a mischief maker and at times an outright criminal. The Dodson's left the book after issue 19 (doing all but issue #13 up to that point) and Kesel left after #25. The book continued on for about another year, ending at #38.

Namor (Byrne)namor-submariner

In 1990 John Byrne was given a Namor ongoing series that he both wrote and drew. Starting with issue #26, new comer Jae Lee took over the art. Needless to say, it was a very good looking series. Byrne didn't try to make Namor a traditional hero, instead playing up both his heroic nature and his temper, portraying him as an anti-hero, which was popular at the time thanks to characters like The Punisher. However, unlike some books from this era, that role fit Namor like a glove. Ever since his creation in 1939, he had been used as both a hero and a villain, fighting against the original Human Torch, battling alongside the Invaders, trying to steal Sue Richards from Reed, hanging out with Dr Doom, saving the world with the Defenders, and many other seemingly contradictory roles. His shady actions and nature had made him unique amongst the superhero set for decades, but thanks to the "grim and gritty" era of comics, he was no longer the only character to act in that capacity, although he was still one of the best.

Byrne had Namor deal with his conflicting nature by explaining that his hybrid, half-human/half-Atlantean blood, and that as a result if he stayed either on land or in the ocean too long his rage would win out and he'd start acting erratically. Namor also gained a supporting cast that included a father/daughter team of oceanographers that would help him out over the course of the series. Following Byrne's leaving with issue #33, the book would go through a series of various writers and artists on its way to #65 issues, after which the book was canceled.


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