Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Elseworlds Stories Ever Told!
NOTE: In an effort to avoid debates over what is/what isn’t an Elseworlds title, the initial voting was done using whatever Wikipedia listed as Elseworlds title at the time of the voting. Neither Dark Knight Returns nor New Frontier were on the list of eligible titles.
10. Batman: Holy Terror
In a world where the United States never separated from England and the country is run by the Church, Bruce Wayne learns from James Gordon that his parents were likely murdered by Joe Chill under orders by the government. Wayne takes on the guise of the Batman to avenge his parents and to stand up for the lower classes in general.
9. Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest
Evan Dorkin and over a dozen of the greatest artists working in the comics industry combine to tell the tale of Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite fighting each other throughout various alternate realities (and various timelines), including some particularly familiar ones like the world of Kingdom Come (Alex Ross draws those pages, of course).
8. Batman and Dracula: Red Rain
In this one-shot (the first of a trilogy of tales by Doug Moench, Kelley Jones and Malcolm Jones), Batman literally becomes a bat, man. Well, he at least becomes a vampire.
7. JSA: The Liberty File
In this series set during World War II written by Dan Jolley and Tony Harris and drawn by Harris and Ray Snyder, the Bat (Batman), the Clock (Hourman) and the Owl (Dr. Mid-Nite) have to stop a new Nazi “Superman.” A number of other DC characters are re-imagined for this series (which had a sequel four years later and a third sequel happening right now).
6. Superman/Batman: Generations
John Byrne did an excellent prestige format mini-series detailing the concept of “What if Batman and Superman and their casts aged in real time from when they first appeared?” and Generations shows exactly how this would come about. Along the way, Byrne naturally alters his style to reflect the era that each story is being told in. Great stuff. It was followed by two sequels. By the time it ended, Byrne had practically created a whole other universe filled with stories starring these characters (the final sequel was twelve issues long).
The top five is on the next page!
5. Gotham by Gaslight: An Alternative History of the Batman
Written by Brian Augustyn with stunning artwork by Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell, this is the story that launched the whole line of Elseworlds comics! It features Bruce Wayne in the time of Jack the Ripper deciding to become the Batman to stop the nefarious serial killer.
4. Superman: Red Son
Simply put, what if Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States? That’s the question that Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson and Walden Wong try to answer in this Elseworlds mini-series that also sees a Soviet version of Batman and also a taste of what Lex Luthor would be like if the rest of the United States was actually on his side!
3. JLA: The Nail
Simply put, what if the Kents had a nail in their tire and never discovered baby Kal-El? The title, of course, is a reference to the famous proverbial rhyme “For Want of a Nail…” about how the smallest changes can have major consequences (chaos theory, essentially). Alan Davis follows this idea to its logical conclusion in this fascinating adventure with amazing artwork from Davis and Mark Farmer.
2. The Golden Age
James Robinson burst on to the mainstream comics scene with this lush, evocative tale of what happened to the Justice Society after World War II ended. As one voter put it (I’m paraphrasing here), one of the most intelligent comics ever written where they plot could be boiled down to “They saved Hitler’s brain!” Paul Smith was already quite well known before this series, but he was even more appreciated after it finished as he did a marvelous job handling the character-driven work that Robinson was going for with this volume.
1. Kingdom Come
Alex Ross and Mark Waid deliver this story of a future where superheroes are barely differentiated in their behavior from supervillains. Superman is called out of retirement to put an end to this behavior, but is it too late for him to change things? And is he even the right (Super)man for the job anymore? The handling of the trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman highlights this story, along with, of course, Alex Ross’ brilliant painted artwork.