Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Evening Edition • "Voted best hair in high school."

Your Top Creative Runs part 29

Written by rdrsfn82 on Monday, January 31 2011 and posted in Features
A reinvention of an icon, the definitive artist on one of my favorite characters, and one of the most beloved all-ages books of all time.

80. 95 points - Superman (Byrne)
The Man of Steel #1 - #6
Superman #1 - #22
Action Comics #584 - #600 and Annual #6
Adventures of Superman #436 - #444
That's a lot of different series all at about the same time, and it's also one of the most important runs the character has ever seen. John Byrne has had a big impact on many, many characters and has already been seen a few times and will be seen a few more before this list ends. On the Mount Rushmore of Comics Creators, he's got to be on there. Anyways, enough about Byrne, let's move on to Superman.

After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, characters needed to be revamped and given new origins. As we've already seen a few times, such as with Perez's Wonder Woman, some of these runs have become much beloved and very popular. Probably the most publicized of these was Byrne's take on Superman. Starting out with the six issue miniseries, The Man of Steel, Byrne tried to create a Superman that was a little more limited with his powers and had some fairly significant changes to his back-story. For one thing, the Kents were alive. Another big change was taking away the Superboy years and saying that Superman never put on a costume until his first adventure as Superman. By taking away the Superboy years, he also effectively took away his enrollment in the Legion of Superheroes as a teenager.

Another big change to the book was the depiction of Clark Kent. Traditionally shown as a nerdy outcast who kept to himself, Byrne changed that completely giving Clark a much more outgoing personality, and having him be a star football player back in high school. In addition Superman's secret ID, which always seemed extremely obvious, was given a retooling when Byrne attempted to explain the reason it works. Superman would vibrate the molecules in his face (like the Flash) whenever caught on camera in order to disguise his true looks, plus it was revealed that most people didn't think Superman had a secret ID because he didn't wear a mask or anything to hide his face. Clark also kept a set of weights around his house that he'd be sure to mention to people as a way to explain why a reporter had such a large build.

The main Superman book that Byrne relaunched was focused on these sorts of things, while also reestablishing his villains and setting up new ones in the DCU. The book was retitled Adventures of Superman after issue #22 and was written by another team for about a year before Byrne took over writing with #436.

Meanwhile in Action Comics, Byrne basically turned it into a DC version of his Marvel Team Up run, seeing Superman team up with various heroes. This allowed Byrne to set the tone for Superman's relationships with the various other heroes and groups in the DCU. His run ended with #600 (after which the title attempted to become a weekly book), which featured five different stories, teaming Superman with Wonder Woman to battle Darkseid in Mount Olympus, a story focused on Lois, a story focused on the Metropolis police department, a Jimmy Olson story, and a team up with Hawkman and Hawkwoman.

During this time period Byrne also did three four issue minis focused on Superman, a prestige format graphic novel, and provided the art on the Legends crossover that showed Darkseid trying to turn the people of Earth against the heroes, all the while working on all these ongoing titles as both writer and usually artist.

But this was all to be short lived. A dispute with DC over the use of Superman in other media (which upset Byrne because they were using the traditional Superman rather than his revamped version) eventually led to him leaving DC and returning to Marvel to do his runs on She-Hulk and Namor that we saw earlier, after only about two years on the books.

79. 97 points - Bone (Jeff Smith) -3 first place votes
#1 - #55 as well as a few specials and one shots outside of the main series.
Published between 1991 and 2004, Bone was one of the more popular indy books of all time. Writer-artist Jeff Smith created Bone based on his love of older animation and comic strips. The series combined elements of lighthearted comedy with epic fantasy story telling. The series won many awards, from the comic-centric Eisners and Harveys and was also listed by Time as one of the Ten Best Graphic Novels of All Time in 2005.

The series, originally printed in black and white, follows the adventures of the three Bone cousins (who kind of look like all white Smurfs). After one of them breaks the head off the statue of their town founder, they are banished from Boneville and forced to live in the wider world. While they don't show Boneville, it's implied that it's a relatively modern society with nuclear reactors, books, comics, and cars. Meanwhile the outer world, known as The Valley, is pretty much a Medieval world where commerce is through a barter system and people ride horses and live without modern conveniences. As the cousins get used to living out there, they eventually get caught in battles with rat creatures, dragons, and other typical fantasy creatures, eventually finding themselves on a quest to save the world.

The series has been reprinted by Scholastic in color, and while it's aimed at both kids and adults it doesn't shy away from dealing with serious issues like death, as well as having elements like smoking and drinking. As a result some parents have asked to have the books removed from school libraries, but those people are idiots. Like many great kids' stories, the book doesn't talk down to them or dumb things down assuming that kids won't understand, instead challenging them to deal with complex issues like the nature of the world and the consequences of your actions. Following this series, Smith has gone on to do more independent work, as well as a very good Captain Marvel story for DC. Beyond doing family friendly works, he's also released the currently ongoing book RASL, which is aimed at a much older audience and tells a dark story about an art thief in a sci-fi world.

78. 97 points - Silver Surfer (Ron Lim)
#15 - #92 minus some random fill ins over the course of the run
Starting with Silver Surfer #15, Ron Lim drew most of the next 77 issues of the series with various writers, and pretty much defined the way to portray the character. Plus, he did most of the art on the Infinity trilogy by Jim Starlin and did some of the art on the Thanos ongoing just before Annihilation. He also did X-Men 2099, a series I'm sad to say didn't make the list (screw you, it was fun!). Basically, if there's a cosmic character in the Marvel U, Ron Lim drew it, and he probably drew it better than just about anyone else.

Back to Silver Surfer, from about 1987 to about 1993, Lim drew most of the issues of this series, and saw the Surfer deal with just about every kind of cosmic threat imaginable. Having been freed from his banishment to Earth, the series saw the seeds of the Infinity Gauntlet stories planted, with appearances by Thanos, Adam Warlock, and others during a run when Jim Starlin was on the book as writer.

During his run on the book, Lim worked with Steve Englehart, Starlin, and Ron Marz.

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