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Old 06-10-2019, 01:53 PM
Jonathan Chance is offline
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What are the greatest Comic Story arcs from the big two (Marvel and DC)


I'm reading io9 about how things went wrong with Dark Phoenix and why it did so poorly this weekend at the box office.

One statement that commenters seem to have latched onto on one person's statement about the Phoenix storyline that:

Quote:
Itís in the running for most famous comic arc ever (along with Killing Joke and Death of Superman) and the only one by Marvel.
Which is, to me at least, absolute nonsense. I remember the entire Phoenix storyline. There were hints of it earlier but the actual action didn't start until three issues before X-Men #137. Despite attempts to retcon it as some sort of monster magnum opus it wasn't. Yes, you can include her going wonky a few issues earlier and such and Clarement said he'd been setting it up for a while it just wasn't a real thing. I was reading then and still have them.

It's silly to think it's the only thing worth reading. Hell, especially when the X-Men at the time were really just terribly written. "Now this thing can only be defeated by the LIVING STEEL of COLLOSUS!!!" and similar lines as various characters used their powers even when we were seeing it. God, rereading comics from the big two of the 80s drives me bugfuck. They're so BAD even though they're revered.

</rant off>

Anyway, there's no way those are the only things worth developing. Days of Future Past worked fine even though it was just two issues.

What others are there? The Galactus story? Kang the Conqueror in the year 3000? What others?

Don't get me started on stories not by the big two. That's where we saw real sagas and long-form storytelling. Dave Sim on Cerebus along told longer and more complex stories than Clarement ever dreamed of.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:14 PM
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I Reread Days of Future Past a few years ago and I was surprised at how short it was. With only two issues, it gets the story going, shows how everyone's dead in the future, then works towards the resolution. Great story that probably would have been stretched out into more issues had it been made a decade or so later.

the Kree/Skrull War in the Avengers was pretty good from what I understand but I don't recall reading it.

I really enjoyed the West Coast Avengers mini series arc. I thought the initial line up with Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Tigra, Jim Rhodes' Iron Man, and Wonder Man was a good mix.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:31 PM
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Hmm.

What about the Heaven/Hell war in Swamp Thing. That was loads of fun and Moore can write rings around anyone at the big two.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:46 PM
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Secret Wars II stands out to me because it was the first one to happen after I started buying Marvel comics. Mutant Massacre from nearly the same time. House of M from more recently.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:53 PM
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Walt Simonson on Thor was pretty epic.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:57 PM
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So, I posted that, then wandered over to browse i09, and found the exact post the OP is talking about.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:22 PM
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The Fantasic Four had several story arcs in the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days, of which the Galactus Trilogy (mentioned in the OP) was probably the most famous (and arguably the best). But there were plenty of others -- The Hive (creation of Adam Warlock), The Thing Enslaved (sort of the proto-Planet Hulk), the FF trapped in Latveria (Sort of the FF as The Prisoner*).

I wasn't as heavily into the other comics but they had the aforementioned Kree-Skrull War and the Ultron series in The Avengers

and that's only the late 60s/early 70s.


(Conan the Barbaian had the Turanian War that ran for quite a while, but I don't think you're counting non-superhero arcs. And Namor had the truly interminable Naga Crown series that started even before Namor got his own comic and continued for , like, twenty issues or so. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.)






*which Kirby later started to do an adaptation of)
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:27 PM
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As someone who discovered Marvel in 1963 and read all the classic stuff month by month as it appeared, I have to agree that the Galactus issues were peak Stan and Jack - with one caveat. The reign really starts with issue #38, when the FF are defeated by the Frightful Four, need Daredevil to help them recover the Baxter Building from Dr. Doom, meet the Inhumans in #44, battle Galactus, and then discover the Black Panther in #52, as well as having to deal with Ben Grimm's lowest points.

That year-and-a-half was nonstop amazement, launching a series of major franchises, creating the first real cosmic menaces, and delving into depths of characterization that few if any comics of that era had ever achieved. If Marvel had published nothing else, those would still be the foundation for an empire.

I don't think I'm relying on mere nostalgia, mostly because the next fifty issues of FF were unmemorable and the momentum switched over to other titles. Additionally, I freely admit that modern comics are much better written and drawn, although arcs are ruined for me because you have to find 202 issues of 32 titles to figure out what it happening to 3002 characters. The simplicity of having the greatest arc in your lead title with no need to read anything else to get the full splendor is what makes this the best.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:33 PM
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Hard to narrow down so ill throw out a few

The Korvac saga

The Thanos arc that starts in Warlock and concludes (sorta) in Death of Captain Marvel

God Loves and Man Kills continues the humanization of Magneto

A lot of the first Suicide Squad series

Mike Barons Flash

LSH Five Years Later
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:33 PM
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I'm mostly a Marvel guy but I think I can say that one of the biggest story arcs in both companies' histories was the DC vs. Marvel limited series published in 1996. And its subsequent followup Amalgam Comics which featured mash-ups of both companies top characters. For example, Dark Claw--a combination of Batman and Wolverine; Doctor Strangefate---a combination of Dr. Fate, Dr Strange, and Professor X; Spider-Boy---a combination of Super-Boy and Spider-Man; and Super-Soldier--a combination of Captain America and Superman.

Last edited by dorvann; 06-10-2019 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:55 PM
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For reference here are two links to both companies' publication history:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public...ossover_events

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public...ossover_events

Also with recent success of the past two Avengers movies I'd say that The Infinity Gauntlet and The Infinity War arcs are probably more famous the Dark Phoenix storyline.

And if were going famous alone The Spider-Clone Saga in the mid 90s is notable mostly for the negative reaction it got among fans. It was originally planned to be under year. When the first few books sold well, the writers were encouraged to extended it as long as possible which resulted in the whole thing becoming a gigantic mess. Here is a long read on the whole experience:
http://lifeofreillyarchives.blogspot...nd-update.html

Last edited by dorvann; 06-10-2019 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:21 PM
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Deadman (Strange Adventures #205-216)

Nick Fury & Agents of SHIELD vs. Yellow Claw (Strange Tales #161-167)

Captain Marvel vs. Thanos (Captain Marvel #25-33)

Marvels

Kingdom Come
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dorvann View Post
I'm mostly a Marvel guy but I think I can say that one of the biggest story arcs in both companies' histories was the DC vs. Marvel limited series published in 1996. And its subsequent followup Amalgam Comics which featured mash-ups of both companies top characters. For example, Dark Claw--a combination of Batman and Wolverine; Doctor Strangefate---a combination of Dr. Fate, Dr Strange, and Professor X; Spider-Boy---a combination of Super-Boy and Spider-Man; and Super-Soldier--a combination of Captain America and Superman.
I JUST read a couple of those yesterday (shout out to the 50Ę bins at Graham Cracker Comics)!

I almost didn't take the time to keep reading at the end of the story, but... the cleverest part was the letter columns. Where made-up fans (with names that are an amalgam of noted DC and Marvel writers, like "Simon Siegel") referred to previous issues: "I noticed in Spider-Boy and the JusticeLeagueAvengers issue 16..." or "No! How can ShatterStarFire be part of a team? She's so strong and independent, and here you shove her into a book like X-Patrol! She's going to have to do what the leader, Niles Cable, says instead of blazing her own path!"



On topic: I loved the Age of Apocalypse story arc, but it would only work with people who were devoutly familiar with X-details. Would not translate to the big screen as a result.

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Old 06-10-2019, 08:06 PM
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I'm mostly a Marvel guy but I think I can say that one of the biggest story arcs in both companies' histories was the DC vs. Marvel limited series published in 1996. And its subsequent followup Amalgam Comics which featured mash-ups of both companies top characters. For example, Dark Claw--a combination of Batman and Wolverine; Doctor Strangefate---a combination of Dr. Fate, Dr Strange, and Professor X; Spider-Boy---a combination of Super-Boy and Spider-Man; and Super-Soldier--a combination of Captain America and Superman.
I loved Amalgam, but it doesn't strike me as a story arc. Yeah, there was an ending, but the issues all worked on their own (I was partial to Lobo the Duck).

If we are talking about mashups, though. It's hard to beat DC vs. Looney Tunes. The Batman/Elmer Fudd team up transcends the goofiness of the premise and is pure genius.

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Old 06-10-2019, 08:19 PM
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secret wars one was like the first year-long arc i bothered to read .... and they killed it in fox's spiderman TAS ...........
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:26 PM
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The Fantasic Four had several story arcs in the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days, of which the Galactus Trilogy (mentioned in the OP) was probably the most famous (and arguably the best). But there were plenty of others)
Later on, I recall a great run of about 5-6 issues of FF leading up to issue #200. It's a Doom thing, of course. It featured Doom capturing the FF and cloning himself. He imbued the clone with the powers of the FF and his own intelligence. The clone eventually was killed fighting against Doom in a self-sacrificial thing. See, he was as smart as Doom - and as Richards, they're equals - but he hadn't been scarred and lived a life of resentment and shame that Doom had so he didn't go for the whole 'evil dictator' thing.

I recall it being a great, great arc.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:18 PM
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Space opera bores me to tears. My favorite Avengers stories--I'm a big fan of Bendis--pitted the team against the Hood and his gang. My single favorite panel has to be the one where Mandrill and Griffin, the two most freakish-looking bad guys, are bickering about money.

For DC, probably Grant Morrison's first few issues of DOOM PATROL. It spun out of control with the next storyline;how couldn't it? But for those four months, it was sheer perfection! (I also liked ANIMAL MAN from the same timeframe, but never warmed up to the artist.)
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:25 PM
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Seriously...nobody's mentioned the original Crisis yet? It was THE original multiverse reboot.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:39 PM
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There was that one where Luthor was doing a crime, and Superman flew down, and Luthor took out some kryptonite and Superman fell down, and then Luthor laughed and went away with the money, and Superman figured how to get rid of the kryptonite by washing it down the sewer or throwing a lead blanket over it or something and then he felt better, and flew to Luthor’s hideout and took him to jail.

That was a good one.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:51 PM
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There was that one where Luthor was doing a crime, and Superman flew down, and Luthor took out some kryptonite and Superman fell down, and then Luthor laughed and went away with the money, and Superman figured how to get rid of the kryptonite by washing it down the sewer or throwing a lead blanket over it or something and then he felt better, and flew to Luthorís hideout and took him to jail.

That was a good one.
Is that the one where Lois is helping Luthor kill Superman on the cover? What a skeez!
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:14 PM
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Is that the one where Lois is helping Luthor kill Superman on the cover? What a skeez!
No, nothing from the cover was in the comic. it was much more... generic than that. All I remember Lois doing was plotting to find out Superman's identity and get him to propose. But then Perry White yelled at everyone, which made Jimmy drop the secret potion, and the fumes turned him into an Elastic-Jimmy and Clark had to pretend to be helpless and chaos ensued until the last page where everything got resolved and lessons were learned and Supes winked at the reader.

So, the opposite of a story arc...

Last edited by digs; 06-10-2019 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:19 AM
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As someone who discovered Marvel in 1963 and read all the classic stuff month by month as it appeared, I have to agree that the Galactus issues were peak Stan and Jack - with one caveat. The reign really starts with issue #38, when the FF are defeated by the Frightful Four, need Daredevil to help them recover the Baxter Building from Dr. Doom, meet the Inhumans in #44, battle Galactus, and then discover the Black Panther in #52, as well as having to deal with Ben Grimm's lowest points.

That year-and-a-half was nonstop amazement, launching a series of major franchises, creating the first real cosmic menaces, and delving into depths of characterization that few if any comics of that era had ever achieved. If Marvel had published nothing else, those would still be the foundation for an empire.

I don't think I'm relying on mere nostalgia, mostly because the next fifty issues of FF were unmemorable and the momentum switched over to other titles. Additionally, I freely admit that modern comics are much better written and drawn, although arcs are ruined for me because you have to find 202 issues of 32 titles to figure out what it happening to 3002 characters. The simplicity of having the greatest arc in your lead title with no need to read anything else to get the full splendor is what makes this the best.


I disagree about the post-Galactus issues being "unmemorable" -- and you yourself praised the Kirby run of FF (that went to just after issue 100). The next fifty issues gave us the arcs I mentioned above -- The Hive/creation of Adam Warlock, The Thing Enslaved, the "Prisoner" series., all mentioned in my post above. There were also Dr. Doom capturing the Silver Surfer's powers, The Sentry Sinister and Ronan two-issue run that introduced the Kree, and others.

According to some, the Kirby/Lee schism began with philosophical disagreements with issues 66-67, but , if so, Kirby continued to put out quality stuff for a while yet. But before he left his storylines and ideas were definitely becoming subpar, with the FF fighting what was basically The Creature from the Black Lagoon or the Mafia (her called the Maggia). But, heck, even Kirby's last direct contribution (which was delayed and partially redrawn before being issued as #108; it was later reprinted in as close to the original form in 2008 -- https://www.marvel.com/comics/issue/...venture_2008_1 )was pretty classic Kirby, and pretty damned good.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:57 AM
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secret wars one was like the first year-long arc i bothered to read .... and they killed it in fox's spiderman TAS ...........
Secret Wars got me back into reading comics when it came out. Or rather, I was already reading G.I.Joe comics and saw the ads for SW and started with that and expanded into X-Men, Spider-Man, and others.

I liked the arc with Spider-Man's alien costume. It made an interesting concept and was intertwined with his return from Battleworld, dating Black Cat, Mary Jane revealing that she knows Pete is Spidey, and a new Goblin villain causing trouble. I'm not the biggest fan of Venom but I did like the events with the symbiote costume leading up to his creation.

G.I.Joe had a good arc where Snake-Eyes, Kwinn the Mercenary, and Dr. Venom work their way from a South American banana republic to the states and have a final showdown in front of the Joe HQ. Snake-Eyes was a fan favorite and Larry Hama used to run him through the wringer so seeing him reunited with the Joe team and Scarlett was nice.

For DC, I did like the arc where Prometheus takes over the JLA Watchtower and is running through all the heroes until Batman finally stops him by replacing the fighting skills downloading from his helmet into his mind with the physical skills of Stephen Hawking.

I also liked Underworld Unleashed. There's a nice bit where Trickster gets a little redemption arc. It is also implied that Neron is after Superman's soul until the revelation that it's actually Captain Marvel that he's after.

And of course, the Bwahahaha Justice League.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:59 AM
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God, I'd kill for an original piece of Kirby's Marvel work. But it's just too expensive, dammit.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:10 AM
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I'm partial to Marvel's "Kree-Skrull War" from 1971-1972. I was just starting to collect comics, and it really was a blast! Really exciting stuff to my pre-teen self. Perhaps my nostalgia is getting the better of me, though; I need to take time to re-read it, and see how it holds up.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:12 AM
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I'm partial to Marvel's "Kree-Skrull War" from 1971-1972. I was just starting to collect comics, and it really was a blast! Really exciting stuff to my pre-teen self. Perhaps my nostalgia is getting the better of me, though; I need to take time to re-read it, and see how it holds up.
I missed that when it came out, but just picked up the collected series recently, and so finally had a chance to read it after all these years of just hearing about it.

I was a bit disappointed -- there was not enough actual "war" in it.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:18 PM
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No, nothing from the cover was in the comic. it was much more... generic than that. All I remember Lois doing was plotting to find out Superman's identity and get him to propose. But then Perry White yelled at everyone, which made Jimmy drop the secret potion, and the fumes turned him into an Elastic-Jimmy and Clark had to pretend to be helpless and chaos ensued until the last page where everything got resolved and lessons were learned and Supes winked at the reader.
You know, I can't tell if you're joking or this was a real story.

Don't know whether that says more about me or DC.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:48 PM
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There was that one where Luthor was doing a crime
You mean the one where he was stealing forty cakes?
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:00 PM
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You mean the one where he was stealing forty cakes?
That's terrible!
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:06 PM
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You mean the one where he was stealing forty cakes?
Official canon!
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:11 PM
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Mmmmmmmm....forty cakes.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:33 PM
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No, nothing from the cover was in the comic. it was much more... generic than that. All I remember Lois doing was plotting to find out Superman's identity and get him to propose. But then Perry White yelled at everyone, which made Jimmy drop the secret potion, and the fumes turned him into an Elastic-Jimmy and Clark had to pretend to be helpless and chaos ensued until the last page where everything got resolved and lessons were learned and Supes winked at the reader.

So, the opposite of a story arc...
I just wrote an article on the history of the various Metallo robots in Superman. I didn't put in a bit from a letter column response. Action Comics #252, May 1959, has Superman trapped by kryptonite. He's too weak to move, but he tried one last gamble: focusing his X-ray vision on it until it melts. A reader wrote in, pointing out that melted elements have the same properties, so that shouldn't have saved him. Nope, the editor responds. Look at ice and water. Ice doesn't flow. So it's different. Really. That's what they said. Ah, the glorious Silver Age. At least Marvel mostly owned up to their goofs.



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I disagree about the post-Galactus issues being "unmemorable"
If we all agreed on everything, there wouldn't be any threads here at all!
  #33  
Old 06-11-2019, 05:15 PM
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God Loves and Man Kills continues the humanization of Magneto
Oh, my goodness. I'd love to see a good, serious take on this storyline, but I can only imagine the furor by both the hard right and hard left on this.
This, and the Killing Joke, are my two most influential stories from my teenage years. Both made me think things I wasn't ready for yet
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:22 PM
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DC:
The Watchmen
The Great Darkness Saga (Legion of Super-Heroes)
The Universo Project (Legion of Super-Heroes)
Adventure 365-366, second appearance of The Fatal Five (Legion of Super-Heroes)
The Earth War (Khunds and Mordru) (Legion of Super-Heroes)
the original run of The Secret Six
Superman vs. Zha-Vam
The Superman Sandman Saga
The Brimstone Ballet (Swamp Thing, but then I'd say the whole Moore/Vietch/Totleben/Bisette/Tatjana Wood Swamp Thing is awesome cubed)
Diana Prince & the Amazons & the Valkyries vs. Mars (Wonder Woman 183-184)
Camelot 3000
All of Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels with the exception of "Preludes and Nocturnes" and "A Game of You."

Marvel
Days of Future Passed (X-Men)
The second battle with the Sentinels (X-Men)
Korvac (the Avengers)
The Masters of Evil capture the Avengers mansion (Avengers)
Warlock 9-15/AVengers Annual 8/Marvel Two-in-One Annual
The Cosmic Madonna (Avengers)
Avengers vs. Defenders
the Galactus Trilogy (Fantastic Four)
Spider-Man vs. the Master Planner (Spider-Man)
The Petrified Tablet (Spider-Man)
Carlton Velcro (Shang-Chi)
Pirates of China/Cat/Skullcrusher/Juliette (Shang-Chi)
Fu Manchu wants to destroy the Moon (Shang-Chi)
Fu Manchu wants to set off a nuke in NYC (Shang-Chi)
Walt Simonson's entire run on Thor; that's one story as far as I'm concerned
Tomb of Dracula; once again that's pretty much one story as far as I'm concerned
Dormammu furnishes Baron Mordo with power (Dr. Strange)
Mangog's first appearance (Thor)

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Old 06-11-2019, 11:54 PM
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Okay, Hollywood. Let's get working on all of those.

(I'll be right here waiting, trying to make enough money for movie tickets.)
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:49 AM
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Kitty Pryde and Wolverine -- Both characters get some decent development here. Wolverine was the hottest character in Marvel at the time and was expanded beyond "gruff, animalistic loner" into something a little more nuanced, with a nod to Samurai and Japanese culture. Pryde gets to move past "annoying kid sister with a bad codename" and come into her own as a hero.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:44 PM
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I'm rather surprised that I'm the first one to mention Flashpoint, possibly the greatest DC arc after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:51 PM
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Killing Joke? I guess one shots are now arcs...
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:52 PM
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For something a little more recent... Dan Slott's run on Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man.

Fight me.
  #40  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:34 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator's Avatar
Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
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I really enjoyed Superior Spider-Man but I never did read the annual that provided the conclusion.
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