145. 15 points - TIE Aquaman (Peter David) - Howard the Duck (Gerber)
Aquaman (Peter David)
Following a couple of miniseries, Peter David was given a solo title for Aquaman in 1994, which ran for #77 issues (including tie-ins to both Zero Hour and DC One Million that had odd numbers), ending with #75 in 2001. It is the longest running solo title for Aquaman, and to many fans of the character it's their favorite. David stayed on the series until issue #46, those stories in particular were favorites to many fans. David took away the traditional look of the character, and gave him a new look with long hair, a bear, and generally made him look like more of a Viking warrior than the clean cut guy he was usually shown as. Oh and he had his hand cut off and replaced by first a harpoon and later a cybernetic upgraded harpoon that could do a bunch of stuff. One of the major plots of the first half of the run was Aquaman uniting the lost sister cities of Atlantis to stop a major invasion by some aliens, with the second half of his run dealing with Aquaman coming to terms with his life on the surface and as king, dealing with his dual nature.
Overall, the series tried to show that Aquaman is a hero worthy of his status and present him in a more serious light than he had long been seen in thanks to Super Friends and other mainstream books showing him as a joke. This was the best version of the character until the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold turned him into Ron Burgundy of the ocean. OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!
Howard the Duck (Gerber)
Think about the movie, then think about the opposite of that, and you get an idea of what the comic was. Created in 1973 as a secondary character in a Man-Thing story, Howard the Duck soon got his own backup feature and in 1976 was given a solo series. Steve Gerber created the character, and wrote the series for the first 27 issues before being removed from the series due to a clash over creator's rights. Marvel was also sued by Disney at one point (ironic considering what's happened with these two companies) due to Howard looking like Donald Duck, but smoking and doing other non-Disney things.
The series itself, was an absurd parody comic that was willing to go after any target, try weird things (like a text issue dealing with Gerber's writer's block), and even featured a presidential campaign for the character during the real presidential campaign in 1976. In the years since the series ended, others have tried to recapture the magic that Gerber had, but few were willing to take the character or the joke as far as Gerber did, and without taking it to the extremes it's not really the same thing. Many creators and fans look back at this series as one of the best comedy comics to ever be published. The movie, not so much.
144. 16 points - JLA (Kelly)
Thanks to e_galston for this write up. Take it away!
When Joe Kelly started his run, he had some big shoes to fill. Following in the footsteps of Morrison and Waid is always a daunting task. Kelly stepped up. This run, which was mainly illustrated by Doug Mahnke, brought back Aquaman to the DC Universe. It also elevated John Stewart to League status, borrowing from the cartoon. Kelly introduced many concepts in his run. There was the Batman/Wonder Woman romantic pairing that sadly never really got off the ground. He also introduced the "interim" League during the epic Obsidian Age.
While the League was in the past helping Aquaman, Batman set up a new team to take their place. Consisting of Nightwing, Atom, Firestorm, Jason Blood (and the Demon), Hawkgirl (another nod to the cartoon), Major Disaster and Faith (a character Kelly created). After the fallout from the Obsidian Age, Kelly mixed the Big Seven with the interim league to make one big team. Kelly also introduced the concept of the Justice League Elite. They were a black ops team for the Justice League. Kelly did some amazing things with this book.