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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brannon's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    Default Best Pre-Crisis DC runs

    Surprisingly, it's hard to find lists of the "best" runs for DC characters that don't take place after Crisis. It seems that beyond Kirby's Fourth World, Wolfman/Perez Titans, and Moore's Swamp Thing, there is little love for the DC universe before Crisis. Granted, Marvel vastly outperformed them in the 60's-mid 80's, but I know that there had to be a lot of good stuff from DC as well.

    Now I know that a lot of this has to do with Marvel bias (I've been guilty of it) but what I'd like to know is what are the "essential" runs for DC's major characters during this period? I'm already familiar with the best of Batman and Aquaman as far as Pre-Crisis goes, but what about Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash? Also, what would be the best periods for Batman and GL BEFORE O'Neil and Adams?
    "I was handed a chocolate bar and an M-1 rifle and told to go kill Hitler."--Jack "King" Kirby

  2. #2
    Taco Salad Lad NathanIrwin's Avatar
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    Nov 2009


    Levitz/Giffen "Legion of Super Heroes"
    Roy Thomas "All-Star Squadron" (though both of these continued past COIE)

    Satellite-era "Justice League"
    Haney/Aparo "Brave and the Bold"

    I'm sure others will have their own suggestions.

    EDITED TO ADD: Gerry Conway's "Firestorm"
    Last edited by NathanIrwin; 11-19-2012 at 10:06 PM.

  3. #3


    It stands to reason that a board like CBR and even its Classics forum is only going to attract a select group of fans, so we find over-represented here Marvel fans and post-Crisis fans.

  4. #4


    For my money, DC's best stuff was done in its genre titles. Jonah Hex, Unknown Soldier and Warlord were pretty much across the board better than any of the superhero runs I have read from pre-Crisis DC.

    As far as the major superhero titles, other, more knowledgeable people can speak about most of them, but having read almost the whole Wonder Woman run from 178-329, I'd say the I-Ching era is the best period. In terms of the classic take, I personally found the Mishkin/Heck run at the end of the title to be the strongest. But the I-Ching era is still the best pre-Crisis Wonder Woman run for me, at least post-Golden Age.
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  5. #5


    It's a numbers game. Before 1970, Marvel/Timely/Atlas was a small operation putting out about a third of the titles that DC/National put out. DC dominated newsstands sales. As time went on Marvel increased its output, eventually surpassing DC and sales shifted to the direct market where Marvel was king. Most of the people who are likely to post on this board are of an age and demographic that was more likely to buy Marvel in the direct sales shops.

    Even I wasn't around in the period when DC was truly dominant--back in the 40s and 50s. And the declared bias of most of us for super-heroes skews the knowledge base away from all the other kind of comics that DC was good at--a wide range of humour, suspense, war, western, romance, adventure.

  6. #6
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Jan 2012


    Some of my favorite Pre-Crisis runs (as opposed to best which can be subjective so I go with the ones I enjoyed the most) aside from the ones you mentioned (and I don't know if I can give you essential runs on the big brand characters as I have always preferred the fringe/second tier characters in the DCU...

    -The Fleisher/Aparo issues of Adventure Comics featuring the Spectre

    -the JSA stories from the revival of All Star Comics

    - the Neal Adams Deadman issues

    -Mike Grell's Warlord

    -the initial 12 issue maxi-series of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld

    -the Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter issues

    -for some of the major heroes-I really enjoyed the early issues of Flash from Showcase and the initial issues of Barry's own series that were collected in the first two volumes of the Flash Archives (that's all the far I got reading those before budgets caught up and I stopped buying archives). I also enjoyed the stuff in the early 300's but moreso for the Dr. Fate backs ups that were appearing in the mag at the time

    -you mentioned being familair with Batman, but the two runs I would point to are the Englehart/Rogers run in Detective, and the O'Neil Adams stuff in Batman. I would also second the mention above of the Haney/Aparo era on Brave & the Bold as a third Batman era to look at

    -for The JLA, the Perez era was a favorite, but I liked the whole Satellite era (as a previous poster mentioned)

    -for Green Lantern I quite enjoyed the Englehart run that occurred just before and during the Crisis and the Len Wein Dave Gibbons issues just prior to that run, The early stories by John Broome with Gil Kane art are also a treat if you track down the Archives/Showcase/Chronicles

    -any and all Hawkman with Joe Kubert doing the art is worth checking out as well

    I am just starting to explore pre-Crisis Superman in depth now having only read sporadic issues off the stands as a kid and never really tracked down older stories before ( I always got my Superman fix from the George Reeves tv series and the Fleishler cartoons instead) so I can't point to anything there yet. Same with Wonder Woman, as I never really read WW until the Perez series but I have started tracking some down via back issues and Showcase volumes in the past year.

    Those are the pre-Crisis runs that I have really enjoyed. YMMV of course, and I look to see other recommendations as I was mostly a Marvel kid growing up and not exploring a lot of DC until later in my comic reading experience


    -edited to add the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing which I meant to mention when I saw you post the Moore run, but forgot until I saw it mentioned again in another thread
    Last edited by MRP; 11-19-2012 at 10:47 PM.
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  7. #7


    Just picking random runs, these are some that I would probably enjoy, but I haven't read enough back issues/reprints to speak with authority about:

    Golden Age Robotman
    Fox and the Crow
    Peter Porkchops (with Otto Feuer art)
    Johnny Thunder in All-Star Western (Alex Toth)
    Johnny Peril
    Space Museum
    Captain Comet
    Boy Commandos
    the Romance work by Gene Colan and John Romita
    USS Stevens

  8. #8


    These are some random runs that I've enjoyed (a comprehensive list would be too long):

    Elongated Man in Detective Comics, in the 60s.
    Adam Strange by Fox & Infantino in Mystery in Space.
    Marty Pasko's Superman run.
    Jimmy Olsen from the mid-50s to the mid-60s.
    Plastic Man in the 70s (not the 60s run).
    Phantom Stranger.
    Plop! (especially from 1 to 20).
    Rima the Jungle Girl.
    The Brave and the Bold from 100 to 200.
    The New Look Batman--especially anything by Fox & Infantino.
    Every Lois Lane story by Kurt Schaffenberger.
    Mike Sekowsky's Wonder Woman.
    Sugar & Spike.
    Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld (original run).
    Broome and Infantino's The Flash.
    All-Star Comics JSA.
    Swamp Thing (original run).
    Justice League of America 1 to 150.
    Star Hunters.
    Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth.
    Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics.
    Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes by Cary Bates.
    Any issue of Superboy by George Papp.
    Early 70s Batman and Detective Comics.
    Green Lantern 1 to 200.
    Tarzan by Joe Kubert.
    Star Rovers in Mystery in Space.
    Star Hawkins in Strange Adventures.
    Deadman in Strange Adventures.
    The Warlord by Mike Grell.
    Angel and the Ape.
    Detective Chimp in Rex the Wonder Dog.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ish Kabbible's Avatar
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    Apr 2011


    I always enjoyed the late 60s DC fringe titles

    Hawk and Dove
    Angel and the Ape
    Secret Six
    Beware the Creeper
    Aquaman by Skeets/Aparo
    Inferior Five
    Enemy Ace
    Bat Lash
    Wonder Woman I Ching era
    Brave and Bold Neal Adams issues

  10. #10
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    Doug Moench's early 80s Batman run.
    All-Star Squadron.
    The 70s All-Star Comics revival.
    Kirby's Kamandi (though the non Kirby issues weren't bad either).
    The aforementioned Moore Swamp Thing.
    Infinity Inc.
    Simonson's Manhunter.
    The original Deadman series.
    Secret Society of Super Villains.
    The original Freedom Fighters.

    I think those would be my personal top ten.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    May 2004
    College Park, MD


    Shade, the Changing Man
    Superman--silver age Swan
    Action--silver age Swan
    Deadman, esp. by Adams
    Batman by O'Neil and by Conway
    Rima, the Jungle Girl
    Detective by Englehart and by Conway
    Legion of Super-Heroes, very close to all of it

    Loads more
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  12. #12
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Twin Cities


    Great picks in this thread. I would also add:

    Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga was especially good.

    Justice League of America: the annual team-ups with the Justice Society were generally good.

    Sgt. Rock was my favorite DC war series.

    The original Teen Titans series was fun.
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  13. #13
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Lakewood, OH


    New Teen Titans (Wolfman/Perez) is a HUGE one.

    I'll reiterate the nominations for Kamandi. It's seriously my favorite Kirby work of all time.

    Speaking of Kirby, obviously the Fourth World stuff.

    Doug Moench's initial run on Batman and Detective was generally solid and a personal favorite of mine, though it started poorly and featured some obnoxious supporting cast.

    Fleisher and Aparo on The Spectre.

    The O'Neil/Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow adventures

  14. #14
    Senior Member MDG's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Fairport, NY


    People have been mentioning the fourth world, but I don't think anyone's mentioned the englehart/Rogers and gerber/golden run on mr. Miracle. Though it was truncated, it had some great moments and great art.
    "It's just lines on paper, folks!"


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