Earlier this afternoon I finished reading the “Clone Saga” that dominated the entire Spider-Man line from 1994-1996. We’re talking 11 collected volumes totaling up to 4,851 pages, thats a lot of clones. I’m not going to waste your time talking about the contents of the story, lord knows enough has been said about this much maligned arc, but I point out this dubious achievement due to the fact it has been on my “someday” list as something I eventually wanted to read. Problems aside, it was something I had followed here and there (and enjoyed many aspects of) but I had never actually navigated it’s labyrinthine twists and turns. I’m glad I read it. Shortly after I mentioned this, Chris brought up Sandman, something else I have on the aforementioned list. I had been planning on diving in to Walt Simonson’s legendary run on Thor when it hit me. It’s time to throw some serious effort into my bucket list. This would be where the problem enters the picture. After all of these years of rabid fandom, I have absolutely no idea what all has been placed in the bucket, so I turned to the internet.
There are lists all over the internet but my first choices neglected to place the corresponding issue numbers by their entries, and this is going to be enough of a project as it is. I settled on The Hollywood Reporter’s list from 2016:
It’s their top 100 stories of all time and scrolling through the list shows that it meets most of my requirements. Between Marvel and Comixology Unlimited, my own personal collection, and with a bit of help from some friends I think I have access to almost all of it. So that’s my plan, to do the entire list and take you along for the journey as I discuss my thoughts on each story one by one as I finish them.
I wish I could say that they will release on a predictable basis but as they range from single issues up to hundreds that will be impossible to do. I also want to say that in the case of a “run” like Spawn that is closing in on 300 issues, I’ll probably institute a cut-off point, but I have quite the road to travel before that will become a concern. I have to admit, I’m feeling some excitement as I contemplate where this journey will take me alongside a bit of trepidation at this monumental task I’m setting myself. However, as someone who has an extensive knowledge base of even some of the most useless of trivia, a large part of it is made up from context from other sources rather than first-hand reading of some pivotal issues. It’s time to earn the knowledge.
Our first stop is Fantastic Four 356-400 by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan. Controversial at the time due to its soap opera take on Marvel’s first family, it nonetheless enjoyed a growth in readership that clearly shows that something was resonating. I dabbled in the book occasionally at the time and enjoyed what I read but there were simply too many books vying for my attention in the 90’s so it fell by the wayside. I’m thinking this will cover the “deaths” of Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom along with Sue going with a very 90’s makeover. Possibly some of the Human Torch/Alicia Masters/Lyja the skrull drama as well. It’s been a while so I’m not real sure, guess I should check it out.
This run is available in its entirety via Marvel Unlimited if you’re interested in taking this journey with me.
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