The DCUI Community’s Greatest Comics Of All Time

I recently heard about The British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound list, where critics are asked to name what they believe to be the best films ever made, in attempt to create the ultimate list of the greatest films of all time.

This thread is an attempt to do something similar with comic books. To participate, just reply with your ballot for your top ten comic books ever created. They don’t just have to be your favorites, they can also be comics you believe deserve recognition, or a mixture of both. By the end of the year the votes will be tallied and the results will be revealed.

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So a simple list.

Does this mean storylines?

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Yes.

Storylines, one shots, and graphic novels all count.

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Great idea for a thread @TheRealDetectiveChimp!

In no particular order and with some brief descriptions:

  1. DC Universe: Rebirth
    Written by Geoff Johns. This Amazing one-shot includes a multitude of artists and stories focused on bringing back core elements to the DC universe, a fan-favorite character, and one of the most emotional and iconic endings to a comic in years.

  2. Legion of Superheroes: The Great Darkness Saga
    The saga of the finest and darkest hour of the legionnaires. Writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen bring every Legion together to confront the DC universe’s biggest bad Darkseid in an epic cosmic storyline that is the greatest Legion of Superheroes story ever told.

  3. The Authority Book One (The Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch Run.)
    The 12-issue run excelled in modernizing the superhero medium with a no-nonsense team with cinematic storytelling and high-concept sci-fi in a simple yet epic fashion.

  4. Justice League International Book One-Born Again.
    The series that made the Justice League laugh. International is a perfect blend of comedy and superheroes in a way that no other book has done before or since.

  5. Superman Smashes The Klan
    An inspiring series for all ages. Superman Smashes The Klan is an amazing-looking book about fighting prejudices and racism only in the way Superman can and why he is such a great character.

  6. Shazam Power of Hope:
    Alex Ross tells a compassionate tale looking at Shazam, the boy who becomes the world’s mightiest mortal who spends their day uplifting children at a hospital.

  7. Batman Universe.
    The series that makes Batman fun again. Brian Bendis’s best work at DC. Batman Universe is a globetrotting and sci-fi adventure that shows him at his best.

  8. Wonder Woman Dead Earth
    One of the best Black Label books and one of the greatest Wonder Woman stories ever told. Dead Earth is bleak but beautiful and encompasses everything great about Wonder Woman’s character.

  9. Batman/Superman: World’s Finest (2022)
    Nostalgic. Iconic. Fun. That’s all that can be said.

  10. JSA By Geoff Johns Book One
    A series that revitalized the JSA in the modern era and showcased a new kind of legacy for the team along with it. JSA book one by Geoff Johns is a iconic run and one of the best series of the 2000s.

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My List:

  1. Kingdom Come
  2. DC: The New Frontier
  3. Batman: The Long Halloween
  4. Superman Smashes the Klan
  5. Crisis On Infinite Earths
  6. Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth
  7. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Saga
  8. Super Sons
  9. Superman: For All Seasons
  10. Super Powers by Jack Kirby
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  1. The Dark Knight Returns (I know how shocking).
  2. Princes of Darkness (JSA 45-51)
  3. Master Race
  4. Black Vengeance (JSA 73-75)
  5. My Heroes (JSA 81)
  6. Black Reign (JSA 56-58 and Hawkman 23-25)
  7. Thy Kingdom Come (Most of the good Justice Society of America issues. Before the dark times. Before Guggenheim).
  8. Cataclysm (Hawkman 8-12)
  9. Batman Year One
  10. Green Lantern Secret Origins (Green Lantern 29-35)

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I’ll have to think on it, but I guarantee Strange Apparitions (Detective Comics nos. 469-476) will make the list.

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Great lists @MatthewHecht and @Samsonkillingtime.

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I will probably edit this regularly, but for starters, here’s an initial start at a top ten that I will rank when I finish this:

52 - entirety of run

Flawed in ways both minor and major, and far too tied in some respects to the mainline DC canon at that instance, which came with its own baggage, but FUN and entertaining, with great action pieces, plenty of twist, loads of emotion, all of which are elements of what every great comic should - at least in part - be about.

Adventures of Superman (2013) #46-#48

Strange Visitor was a three part story in this DC Comics digital first anthology series that focus on Superman, by a mix of creators who had never (or infrequently) written or drawn this character, which began shortly after the initial releases in the New 52; the series as a whole is worth checking out, but I would put this particular three-parter, which is about the length of a standard floppy (and how it was released to the direct market) as one of the stand-outs in the three collected volumes and, as one of the modern classics in Superman story-telling.

The Flash of Two Worlds Deluxe Edition

Collecting Barry Allen’s and Jay Garrick’s initial adventures and one of the earliest exploration of the DC Multiverse, so important but also very inventive and, again, emotionally impacting story-telling by Gardner Fox and others in these six issues, months apart over more than a year, also noteworthy as an early example of serialized story-telling that puts the lie to decompression or trade waiting.

World’s Finest (1990)

Three greats Steve Rude, Dave Gibbons and Kark Kesel give us, in three prestige format issues, one of the great Superman Batman team-ups of all time, with both the clown prince of crime and the greatest criminal mastermind of the DCU and that puts a lie to the normie no-metas in Gotham belief. This is the plot to the Worlds Finest movie we could have gotten that would have made more money than BvS without all the bitter aftertaste and ill-effects on the franchise, and given us a characterization of the Last Son everyone could agree one and an angsty emotionally constipated dark Bat for those that desire that.

The Golden Age

I could fill this list with Elseworlds and while this is not one I would nominally go to, it has some distinctions that other Elseworlds do not, in that it’s not limited by some of the predictable and simplistic plot conventions that most of these are constrained by (What if Kal-El ship landed in Gotham, What if Kal-El’s ship landed in Russia, etc.) and more significantly, it’s a darn good story, that remains relevant to this date. Another significant aspect is that while they are certainly Golden Age characters and two were significant members of the JSA, the Trinity is not mentioned to the benefit of letting other characters get their standout moments, particularly Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. While not a good book for beginners, it would not be hard to get to the end of issue two with just a few visits to some good wikia entries for some of the more obscure DC characters.

DC - The New Frontier

I will always give props to creators who want to aim high and attempt difficult or challenging storytelling projects. This limited series, as with 52, has flaws both minor and major, and far more interested in creating an OC villain even though the historic Silver Age beginnings of the Justice League provided Cooke with the opportunity to do a more insidious and perhaps seductively dangerous and threatening Star Conqueror would could bend wills and minds telepathically without the use of spores. However, this is also a very entertaining book, with huge chunks that are emotional or FUN and sometimes both. It also has peak origin stories for J’onn and Hal and, most significantly, Darwyn Cooke art, which is always superior to much other interior work when matched to the time period or story that calls for it, and which here Cooke clearly went above and beyond even his innate abilities to give us what is ultimately a timeless classic.

Justice League - A League of One

When people think hand-painted illustrated sequential art, their mind often goes to a particular person, who certainly deserves his props, but there were other excellent artists who also attempted and often succeeded in this process as a way to do not just covers but interior illustration. This is one particularly successful example, and while there are some plot contrivances that the story takes to get to it’s second act, they are no less implausible that those used by a number of writers to create plot armor for a particular character who utility belt seems to be a never-ending collection of just-the-exactly-right-thing. It also features an unexpected type of villain, particularly for a super hero book, and while one could argue that there are a number of other good stories that focus on Diana, some of which are named here as I type this, this is one that merits bringing attention to.

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Okay, here’s my list. I didn’t put them in any kind of order, as I have trouble making up my mind! Strange Apparitions would be in the top spot, though.
Strange Apparitions (Detective Comics nos. 469-476)
The New Frontier
“Flash of Two Worlds” (The Flash vol. no. 123)
Batman: The Long Halloween
“The Doll’s House” (The Sandman nos. 9-6)
“Snowbirds Don’t Fly”/“They Say It’ll Kill Me… But They Won’t Say When” (Green Lantern vol. 2 nos. 85-86)
Crisis on Infinite Earths
“Dangerous Habits” (Hellblazer no. 41-46)
“Crisis on Earth-One” /“Crisis on Earth-2” (Justice League of America Vol 1 nos. 21-22)
The Dark Knight Returns

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Dark Knight Returns :batman:

Watchmen :watch:

Death of Superman :superman:

Reign of the Supermen :00_superman:

William Moulton Marston’s Golden Age Wonder Woman :wonderwoman:

Robert Kanigher’s Silver Age Wonder Woman :00_wonder_woman_1982:

George Perez’s Post-Crisis Wonder Woman :00_wonder_woman_gold:

Jon Ostrander’s Suicide Squad :00_suicide_squad:

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol :doom_patrol_club:

Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey :00_birds_of_prey:

These were all runs that really defined both the characters and the eras they were written in, and I think they influenced much of the material that followed after them, even if subtly. Some changed the entire genre, or made lasting changes to how comics were written. The world would be a poorer place without any of them.

Honorable mentions to all the other Wonder Woman runs, naturally. I also admit I might have stacked the deck a bit as far as Wonder Woman goes, but it’s my list and I can do what I want. :grin: :00_wonder_woman_stars:

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I cannot judge. You had 3 with her having being the star. I had 5 Justice Society ones all where Stargirl has a major or leading role, and I am sure one reason I made my debated pick for 10th was the other option would have meant Stargirl would have a major role in 6 of 10.

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Here’s ten of my favorites that I consider classics.

  1. Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
  2. Green Arrow (1988-1998)
  3. Starman (1994-2001)
  4. Kamandi: Last Boy On Earth
  5. New Teen Titans (1980-1988)
  6. Superman Annual #11 For The Man Who Has Everything
  7. Sheriff Of Babylon
  8. All Star Superman
  9. DC: The New Frontier
  10. The Dark Knight Returns
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You didn’t specify which company, so I slipped in a few non-DCs . . .

  1. “Superman in the Slums” (Action Comics #8)
  2. “Judgment Day!” (Weird Fantasy #18)
  3. “The Super-Key to Fort Superman” (Action Comics #241)
  4. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (Marvel Graphic Novel #5)
  5. “Fearful Symmetry” (Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132)
  6. “My Beginning . . . and My Probable End” (Detective Comics #574)
  7. “Night of the Stalker” (Detective Comics #439)
  8. “No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!” (Green Lantern #76)
  9. “The Man Who Killed Mlle. Marie!” (Detective Comics #501)
  10. “Superfriends, Part 2” (Batman #37)
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I was thinking of drawing up some graphs, charts, and the like but I’m just gonna wing it.

Since we’re limited to 10, I’m going to pick 5 that “totes deserve it” and then 5 from my guilty pleasures list.

5 “Totes Deserve”

  1. DC: The New Frontier

  2. Watchmen

  3. All-Star Superman

  4. The Dark Knight Returns

  5. Kingdom Come

5 Guilty Pleasures

  1. Knightfall - It’s not the best writing, but rereading Knightfall/Quest/End is always a fun time.

  2. Emerald Twilight - Say what you will, Hal fans, but this storyline absolutely rocked the comic world in the 90’s and rejuvenated the brand.

  3. DC One Million. The greatest DC crossover of all time.

  4. Hitman # 34. Garth Ennis won an Eisner for this Superman tale before he created the Homelander.

  5. Tower of Babel. Batman might be a little paranoid ya’ll

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Gonna take my time with this until I get to 10 or more likely can’t think of any more.

Swamp Thing: Anatomy Lesson
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia

Sandman
Death: The High Cost of Living

Y, the last man
Scalped

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I both love and hate making these lists. I could’ve named around 100 different stories for this. Still, there’s something I likely for got. I’ve also probably made a list like this before and this one will be slightly different due to my fickle/forgetful nature, but, hey, here it goes:

  1. All-Star Superman
  2. Weisinger Era (Silver Age) Superman stories- If I were making a favorite Superman stories list then I’d list out individual stories from this era, but that doesn’t make sense here as none of them, individually, are likely to make the cut.
  3. Jack Kibry’s Fourth World
  4. Watchmen
  5. Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol
  6. Kingdom Come
  7. William Moulton Martson’s Wonder Woman (Golden Age Wonder Woman)
  8. Sandman
  9. Grant Morrison’s Action Comics
  10. Peter Milligan’s Shade, The Changing Man
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Great pick.

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