Prior to 2014, I didn’t complete many comic-book runs, especially longer ones. Even on series I loved, I tended to read a chunk of the run and then (squirrel!) get interested in something else before finishing them. That changed when I decided to commit to reading a decade of Green Lantern comics — Geoff Johns’ entire run, plus all Lantern titles published during that period.
This has now became the main way I read Marvel and DC books: in runs, generally defined by the creative team on any given set of issues. I love this approach.
So what have I read?
This list is current as of April 7, 2022 (1,384 Marvel and 1,419 DC issues), and covers runs and limited series of 10+ issues. Comics are a collaborative artform, but I usually associate runs most closely with their writers and have generally listed them that way here. I also include imprints, such as Epic, Vertigo, and WildStorm (from the DC-owned years), and “runs” that are character-related rather than creator-specific (e.g., the origins of Tim Drake as Robin, which spans enough issues to make my 10-issue cut even though no individual segment of it does).
- Alien Legion #1-18, Chuck Dixon, 1987-1990
- Captain America #1-50 plus supplemental issues (the entire Brubaker run), Ed Brubaker, 2005-2009
- The Champions #1-17, Tony Isabella, 1975-1978
- Deadpool (lots of short series and weirdness that doesn’t fit this format, but I’ve read 100% of Deadpool from 1993 to the start of Jerry Duggan’s run in 2012):
- Deadpool #1-33, Joe Kelly, 1997-1999
- Deadpool #34-45, Christopher Priest, 1999-2000
- Deadpool #46-69, various writers, 2000-2002
- Agent X #1-15, Gail Simone, 2002-2004
- Cable & Deadpool #1-50, Fabian Nicieza, 2004-2008
- Deadpool #1-63, Daniel Way, 2008-2012
- Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #1-13, Victor Gischler, 2009-2010
- Deadpool Team-Up #900-883, various writers, 2009-2011
- Deadpool Corps #1-12, mainly Victor Gischler and Rob Liefeld, 2010-2011
- Elfquest #1-32, Wendy and Richard Pini, 1985-1988
- The Fantastic Four:
- #1-102, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, 1961-1970
- #232-295, John Byrne, 1981-1986
- #60-70 and #500-524, Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo, 2002-2005
- #570-588 and #600-611, Jonathan Hickman, 2009-2012
- Hawkeye #1-22, Matt Fraction and David Aja, 2012-2015
- Howard the Duck #1-27, Steve Gerber, 1976-1978
- Hulk: Planet Hulk #88-105 (including the prelude), mainly Greg Pak, 2005-2007
- Iceman #1-11, Sina Grace, 2017-2018
- JLA #1-41, Grant Morrison, 1997-2000
- Marauders #1-27, Jerry Duggan, 2019-2022
- Marvel Comics Presents #72-84 (the Weapon X run), Barry Windsor-Smith, 1991
- Moon Knight #1-17, various writers, 2015-2016
- The Punisher #1-60, Garth Ennis, 2004-2008
- Runaways #1-24, Brian K. Vaughan, 2003-2007
- Silver Surfer #1-15, #1-14, Dan Slott and Mike Allred, 2014-2017
- Squadron Supreme #1-12, Mark Gruenwald, 1985-1986
- Star Wars: Darth Vader #1-25, Kieron Gillen, 2015-2016
- The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1-17, Nick Spencer, 2013-2014
- The Superior Spider-Man #1-31, Dan Slott, 2013-2014
- Thor #1-25, Jason Aaron, 2012-2014
- Uncanny X-Force #1-35, Rick Remender, 2010-2012
- The Vision #1-12, Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, 2015-2016
- X-Factor #1-10, Leah Williams, 2020-2021
- Uncanny X-Men #94-279, Chris Claremont, 1975-1991
- New X-Men #115-154, Grant Morrison, 2001-2004
- All-New X-Men #1-41, Brian Michael Bendis, 2012-2015
- Uncanny X-Men #1-35, #600, Brian Michael Bendis, 2013-2015
- X-Men #1-21, Jonathan Hickman, 2019-2021 (plus Powers of X and House of X, of course)
- West Coast Avengers #1-10, Kelly Thompson, 2018-2019
- Young Avengers #1-15, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, 2013-2014
- American Vampire #1-34, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, 2010-2013
- Animal Man #1-26, Grant Morrison, 1988-1990
- Batman: The Long Halloween #1-12, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, 1996-1997
- Batman: No Man’s Land, the original 40 issues collected as TPBs, various authors, 1999
- Batman: Dark Victory #1-14, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, 1999-2000
- Batman #1-51, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, 2011-2016
- Detective Comics #934-981, James Tynion IV, 2016-2018
- Clean Room #1-17, Gail Simone, 2015-2017
- DC: One Million, 42 issues, Grant Morrison and others, 1998
- Doom Patrol #19-63, Grant Morrison, 1989-1993
- Ex Machina #1-50, Brian K. Vaughan, 2004-2010
- The Filth #1-13, Grant Morrison, 2002-2003
- The Flash:
- #62-129, #142-162, Mark Waid (with Brian Augustyn for later issues), 1992-2000
- #130-141, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, 1997-1998
- Green Lantern #1-67, Geoff Johns, 2005-2011 (plus all the smaller related stuff along the way, like Ion and the Lantern-specific issues of Blackest Night)
- Green Lantern Corps #1-63, Dave Gibbons and Peter J. Tomasi, 2006-2011
- House of Secrets #1-25, Steven T. Seagle, 1996-1999
- The Invisibles #1-24, #1-18, #12-1, Grant Morrison, 1994-2000
- Midnighter #1-12, Steve Orlando, 2015-2016
- Mister Miracle #1-12, Tom King and Mitch Gerads, 2017-2018
- Planetary #1-27, Warren Ellis, 1999-2009
- Preacher #1-66, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, 1995-2000
- Red Lanterns #1-20, Peter Milligan, 2011-2013
- Robin (plus Super Sons 1-16, which co-stars Damian Wayne):
- Tim Drake’s origin and early days; Batman #436, #455-457, #465-469; Detective #618-621; Robin #1-5, Robin II #1-4, Robin III #1-6; Alan Grant/Chuck Dixon, 1990-1993
- Robin #1-100 (Tim Drake); Chuck Dixon , 1993-2002
- Red Robin #1-26 (Tim Drake), Christopher Yost (#1-12) and Fabian Nicieza (#13-26), 2009-2011
- The Saga of the Swamp Thing #20-64, Alan Moore, 1984-1987
- The Sandman #1-75, Neil Gaiman, 1989-1996
- Superboy (Superman 2016-2020 is also full of Jon, especially 2016-2018):
- Jonathan Kent’s origin and early years; Convergence: Superman #1-2, Superman: Lois and Clark #1-8, Dan Jurgens, 2015-2016
- Super Sons #1-16, Peter J. Tomasi, 2017-2018
- Legion of Superheroes #1-12, Brian Michael Bendis, 2020
- All-Star Superman #1-12, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, 2005-2008
- Superman #1-45, mainly Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, 2016-2018
- Superman #1-28, Brian Michael Bendis, 2018-2020 (plus Man of Steel #1-6 for the lead-in)
- Sweet Tooth #1-40, Jeff Lemire, 2009-2013
- Transmetropolitan #1-60, Warren Ellis and Darrick Robertson, 1997-2002
- V for Vendetta #1-10, Alan Moore, 1988
- Watchmen #1-12, Alan Moore, 1986-1987
- Y: The Last Man #1-60, Brian K. Vaughan, 2002-2008
Runs in progress
- Immortal X-Men #1-???, Kieron Gillen, 2022-???
- Marauders #1-??? Steve Orlando, 2022-???
- Wolverine #1-???, Benjamin Percy, 2020-???
- X-Men #1-???, Gerry Duggan, 2021-???
- The Flash #164-225, +62 issues, Geoff Johns, 2000-2005
- Batman and Robin (Damian Wayne) #1-49, Peter J. Tomasi, 2011-2015
- Nightwing #1-157, +157 issues, Chuck Dixon and others, 1996-2005
- Nightwing #78-???, Tom Taylor, 2021-???
- Superman: Son of Kal-El #1-???, Tom Taylor, 2021-???
What about indies and manga?
I love Marvel and DC books, but I read tons of indies and manga, too! I’ve read more chapters (issues, basically) of manga than I have Marvel + DC runs combined. But manga is readily trackable on a couple different sites, thankfully, and indies don’t generally have long runs and complicated publishing histories.
This low-tech list is the simplest way I’ve come up with to track something I can’t easily track anywhere else. (Although Goodreads comes close, it’s become less useful as I’ve moved away from TPBs and into following ongoing series.)
What do I recommend?
Here are recommendations for three of my favorite comics:
- X-Men: Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was the first full X-run I read, and it’s great. When I heard about Iceman coming out, I dove back in to read both of Brian Michael Bendis’ runs, All-New and a long stint on Uncanny — and I was hooked. I followed those runs with Hickman’s titles, which cemented the X-Men as my overall favorite comic, and then with Claremont’s run, which showed me all the building blocks of what makes this series so amazing (and only made me love it more).
- Fantastic Four: I was worried Kirby/Lee FF would feel dated but decided to try it anyway — and that was one of the best comic-related decisions I’ve ever made. Historic in so many ways, that run is also just a jaw-droppingly brilliant work of art. After that, I followed online recommendations to hoover up Byrne’s incredible run, which is a great starting point if you want to skip the early stuff; the Waid/Wieringo run, where the other thing at which Doctor Doom excels — magic! — is finally explored; and Hickman’s masterpiece, conceived and executed to be appreciated as a mind-blowing omnibus.
- Deadpool: I love Deadpool, but a good chunk of what I’ve read — everything from 1993-2012 — is average at best. Joe Kelly’s run is my favorite, and his darker take makes this “my” Deadpool; he also introduces the fourth-wall breaks for which the character is known. As annoying as some elements of Daniel Way’s run can be, it includes some of the greatest Deadpool moments ever — and for better and worse, this run best defines the character as most folks see him. Cable & Deadpool is solid, and I also quite enjoyed the goofiness of Team-Up and Corps.
Broadly speaking, though, if I cared enough about a title to read 10+ issues, I recommend it — so that’s this entire list. Though also it’s worth noting that I love plenty of long runs that I’ve never finished for one reason or another, and there are a couple titles on this list I disliked but read for completeness’ sake (like Agent X and Red Lanterns). Additionally, there are some creators on my list I wouldn’t support financially anymore (like Ethan Van Sciver and Chuck Dixon).