Thursday, November 27, 2014 • Morning Edition • "That smell was here before we went in."

Your Top Creative Runs part 16

Written by rdrsfn82 on Tuesday, January 25 2011 and posted in Features

A classic run from the 70's creating new characters and two much more recent runs for characters that have been around for decades.


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120. 33 points - Fourth World (Kirby)fourthworld


During the end of his tenure at Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby grew increasingly frustrated with them over the fact he created or co-created many characters and had no control over them and didn't own the rights. This frustration eventually led to him leaving the company and going to DC.

One of the first things he did upon going there was to attempt to create a large group of new heroes and villains known as the New Gods. His ambitious plan for this series involved creating a large scale finite series, something that hadn't been done much before at Marvel or DC, that didn't take place within a single book, but instead was comprised of various titles. The initial books were the new books The Forever People, New Gods, Mister Miracle, and the existing title Superman's Pal Jimmy Olson. The various books would introduce characters like Highfather, Orion, Darkseid, and many others to the DCU.

New Gods would focus mostly on the characters like Highfather, Light Ray, Orion, and whatnot. Mister Miracle obviously focused on the greatest escape artist in the world, Mister Miracle. The Forever People were a group of young heroes on adventures. Meanwhile Superman's Pal Jimmy Olson focused on connecting them to the DCU and had Jimmy as the everyman that was caught up in these wild adventures, it also was the series where Kirby introduced some concepts like Cadmus or The Guardian that are still very important to the DCU today, even though no longer connected with the Fourth World stuff as much.

Though it was always meant to be a finite series, the books didn't find as much traction as Kirby hoped for and didn't last as long as he'd originally hoped. Kirby was given time to wrap up storylines, and tried to do so as well as he could, even though the books only lasted about two years. In all, Kirby did about 59 issues between the four series and while none of the characters went on to the same level of fame that Kirby's creations in the Marvel U did, the Fourth World concepts are still around to this day and some of the characters did end up playing big roles in other series and stories outside of Kirby's.


119. 33 points - Detective Comics (Rucka)
#739 - #775
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Greg Rucka did a couple of issues of Detective comics starting with #732, then took over the book starting with #739 becoming the regular writer on the book and wrote just about every issue until #775, only skipping one issue. Following the event No Man's Land, Rucka took over the book and proceeded to tell some pretty major stories involving the GCPD, and the public distrust of Batman that included many crossovers with the other Batman related books.

One of the stories, Officer Down, featured Jim Gordon getting gunned down, with Catwoman seen fleeing the scene. As one could guess, Gordon doesn't die, Catwoman wasn't the killer, but unlike you'd expect it's the police who do much of the work with the heroes in the supporting role. This of course would be seen much more in a different series Rucka is involved in that we'll see later on.

Another storyline, from near the end of Rucka's run, saw Bruce Wayne framed for murder and on the run. Eventually Bruce decides to give up his civilian identity and simply be Batman 100% of the time. In the end, it's revealed that the man behind this was Cain, one of the guys that trained Bruce helping him become Batman and the father of Cassandra Cain, the future Batgirl. Cain was hired by Lex Luthor in an attempt to get revenge for Bruce's stance against him during the events of No Man's Land, which was the series that this run spun out of.


118. 34 points - Daredevil (Brubaker)daredevil-bru
#82 - #500

Daredevil will show up on the list quite a few times. Seriously, it might be the book that shows up the most with the most different writers. Everyone has a favorite Daredevil run, and he's maybe the most consistently well written character from Marvel or DC regardless of the creative team.

Ed Brubaker took over Daredevil following the acclaimed run by Brian Bendis (which will show up later) and wrote from issue #82 through issue #500. Which seems like a historically long run, until you realize there was a renumbering for the final issue that changed it from #120 to #500. Still, nearly 40 issues, as well as a miniseries focused on supporting character Black Tarantula, is nothing to sneeze at.

The run started with Matt Murdoch in jail after it became public knowledge that he was actually Daredevil. While in jail, Matt attempts to deal with the Kingpin, teams up with the Punisher, a new DD running around Hell's Kitchen (Iron Fist in disguise), and the seeds of other major stories are set, including the death of longtime supporting character Foggy Nelson. And this is probably the happiest arc of the run.

The majority of the run, like most Daredevil runs, mostly involved piling worse and worse events on Matt's shoulders to see how much you could pile on before he breaks. Some of the stuff Matt deals with is his wife being poisoned in a way that makes her have psychotic breakdowns whenever she's near Matt, the death of Foggy and the revelation he was alive, a new female version of Bullseye, the Kingpin retiring to live in Europe, the Kingpin returning after having his life ruined over there, reformed villain Gladiator returning to his evil ways, Mr. Fear coming back in a big way and ruining Matt's life as best he can, and just about everything else terrible you could imagine. On the positive side, Foggy's death turns out to be faked, Matt gains two new allies in the form of Black Tarantula and White Tiger, and the run ends with Matt outsmarting the Kingpin and becoming the leader of The Hand.

The majority of the art on this issue was done by the very impressive Michael Lark, whom Brubaker had previously worked with on various other books. One notable exception is the issue showing Kingpin's life in Europe and the destruction of it which was drawn by David Aja, who teamed with Bru on a series we'll see later on. Lark's gritty style was a perfect fit for the character and tone of the series.

This was of course followed by a very happy run by Andy Diggle that involved unicorns and puppies. Or Matt killing his greatest enemy, being possessed by demons, being totally corrupted by the Hand, and Kingpin eventually seizing control of a group of highly trained killers with connections all over the world. I can't remember which. But I'm pretty sure Bendis had stories about unicorns and puppies or something.

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