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 Jeph Loeb Stories Ever Told!
10. Hulk: Gray #1-6
In this stark, psychologically-driven work, Loeb and artist Tim Sale examine the first 48 hours of Hulk’s creation through an examination of the people around Hulk at the time, from the General, to the General’s Daughter to the Reckless Teenager who got the whole Gamma Bomb ball rolling. It offers impressive insight into the minds of the people around the Hulk that, in turn, give us a new outlook on the Hulk himself. Sale’s art is, as always, excellent.
9. “Sam’s Story” Superman/Batman #26
Superman/Batman #26 was a star-studded affair where Loeb’s son, Sam, plotted the issue (a team-up of Robin and Superboy) and a host of famous writers and artists brought Sam Loeb’s vision to life. The back-up story in the issue was by Loeb and Tim Sale and it was set in their Superman for All Seasons universe and dealt with Clark Kent dealing with the loss of his friend Sam to cancer. Obviously, very few of us can ever really know what it is like to lose a teenage son to cancer, but in this work, Loeb and Sale (through Clark Kent) at least can do a beautiful job of conveying the universal feeling that everyone goes through when it comes to losing a loved one (or even someone you only knew a little bit). By the end of this story, whether you knew Sam Loeb or not, you did know him and you mourned his loss and you admired his words and worldview. It’s a testament to Loeb’s abilities as a comic book storyteller that he had the wherewithal to convey to us all such a powerful, personal tale.
8. “Haunted Knight” Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special, Batman: Madness A Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special and Batman: Ghosts Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special
It’s funny, Long Halloween obviously ended up overshadowing these specials, but for awhile there, Loeb and Tim Sale’s yearly Batman Halloween specials were one of the things comic book fans could always look forward to as a great story with amazing artwork every Halloween. Eventually, they became SO popular that Loeb and Sale decided to do them as a year-long maxi-series (Long Halloween). The first one was called “Fears” and dealt with the Scarecrow, the second one was “Madness” and had Batman and Gordon trying to rescue Barbara Gordon from the Mad Hatter. The final one was called “Ghosts” and it was a It’s a Wonderful Life riff. Great series of specials. They’re all collected now under the banner of Haunted Knight.
7. “Public Enemies” Superman/Batman #1-6
After becoming President of the United States, Lex Luthor uses his power to brand Superman and Batman as, well, public enemies of the state. This leads to the eventual downfall of Luthor from the Presidency as Superman and Batman must clear their good name, stop Luthor AND stop a Kryptonite meteor headed for Earth all at the same time! This story by Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines launched the Superman/Batman ongoing series!
6. Dark Victory #1-13
In their follow-up to their smash hit, Long Halloween, Loeb and Tim Sale gave us a new year-long mystery, but this time the backdrop is the introduction of Dick Grayson into Batman’s life and the eventual addition of Robin to the Batman mythos. The whole series follows the idea that its various protagonists are cut off from the rest of the world and as the series goes on, we see how important it is to have someone along with you on the ride. Robin saves Batman from going about life by himself.
The top five is on the next page!
5. Spider-Man: Blue #1-6
Spider-Man: Blue is a love letter from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale to the period where Stan Lee and John Romita changed the dynamic of Amazing Spider-Man into an almost teen romance comic with superhero trappings. The story has Peter dictating an audio letter to Gwen, thinking back to the time that they fell in love for the first time (roughly Amazing #41-47). It is compelling work from Loeb and Sale obviously is having a blast, especially when he draws Gwen and Mary Jane. This is a heartfelt, touching work.
4. “Hush” Batman #608-619
Loeb wrote this for artist Jim Lee (and inker Scott Williams). In this storyline, Loeb completely embraced the fact that he had one of the comic book industry’s most acclaimed action artists drawing twelve consecutive issue of one of the most popular comic book titles by coming up with a story that made sure that every issue was basically a mini-epic. The storyline introduces a mysterious villain named Hush who is hunting Batman and also knows Batman’s secret identity! Every issue featured at least one classic member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, and nearly every issue had a major event occur in them, from Batman fighting a possessed Superman, to Riddler revealing he solved the riddle of Batman’s identity, to the return of Jason Todd (but not really…but maybe!) to Batman and Catwoman finally getting together. It was a roller coaster ride of all of the best aspects of Batman rolled into one epic tale and Hush imitators sprang up by the dozens in the years since. It revitalized sales on Batman and showed the power that a top creators like Loeb and Lee can bring to a comic book series.
3. Daredevil: Yellow #1-6
This story launched Loeb and Tim Sale’s series of “color-coded” mini-series for Marvel. It has an ironic title (as Daredevil is the Man Without Fear, but his comic is dubbed “Yellow”) and it is about Matt Murdock’s journey into becoming Daredevil but more specifically how his relationship with his secretary Karen Page developed (and how their relationship led to him changing his costume from yellow and red to the iconic red). It is a charming mixture of action and romance with beautiful watercolor art from Sale.
2. Superman for All Seasons #1-4
In this breathtakingly beautifully drawn series by Tim Sale, Loeb uses the seasons to depict different points in Supermans’ life. Along those lines, each issue is narrated by a different person who has a different take of who Superman is. Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Lana Lang all have wildly different views of Superman (especially at the various points in time that they tell their respective stories) but when you put them together you have a fascinating picture of Superman as a whole.
1. Batman: The Long Halloween #1-13
As noted before, Loeb and Tim Sale had already produced three great annual specials spotlighting Batman during Halloween. In this year-long mini-series, they had us follow Batman from one Halloween to the next by following Batman trying to hunt down the mysterious villain Holiday, who murders people on holidays, one a month. The comic is set in Frank Miller’s Year One timeline, with the backdrop of the murders being the crime war between the Maroni and Falcone crime families. In addition, the comic deals with District Attorney Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face for the first time. This comic was a major influence on Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy of films.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
NOTE: Just like I mentioned in the voting, as a general rule for all of these polls, don’t be a jerk about the creator in question in the comments. No snarky comments about the creator. I’ll be deleting comments like that.