Comics Creators

Favorite Definitive Takes on the Superhero Genre

I’ve always liked when a comic writer does their magnum opus/definitive take on the superhero concept, particularly when they create their own universe doing so. Some of my favorites are;

Alan Moore: Watchmen, ABC Universe
Roy Thomas: Squadron Supreme
Grant Morrison: Seaguy, Flex Mentallo
Bill Willingham: Pantheon
Peter Milligan: Enigma
Joe Casey: Butcher Baker, Righetous Maker
Mark Waid: Irredeemable (and Kingdom Comes, even though that’s DC of course).
Paul Jenkins: Deathmatch
Warren Ellis: Avatar Superhero Trilogy
Kirkman: Invincible

And of course, Mark has his universe–and particularly “Jupiter’s Legacy” is kind of viewed as one of his “definitive takes”.

Anyone else have favorites–and likes to see a writer and/or artist really mess with the superhero concept (either deconstruction, reconstruction or just plain weird) in their own universe?


I think the Authority has to be one of the definitive superhero de/reconstructions of all time.

Millar / Quitely took what Ellis did and ran with it into a fantastic journey.


Joe Casey’s run on Wildcats was real genre-busting stuff. I’m quite surprised nobody else has done the corporation as superhero since.


Peter David did it with X-Factor a while back as well. I read the 1st arc and then stopped all my monthly pulls (AvX killed my desire to read moderns)


For my dollar–I’d say the Wildstorm universe was the best in terms of experimental takes, with Stormwatch/Authority, Joe Casey’s Automatic Kafka/Intimates/Wildcats, etc.

It with some of nuMarvel was the height of comics for me–it was like right before it seemed executives cared about them as “valuable corporate IP” and writers seemed to have the largest carte blanche.


Jeff Lemire is doing one right now with the Black Hammer universe.


I’d say David’s run on Incredible Hulk was also pretty defining.


I think that Morrison did the corporation as supervillain, way back in an issue of Marvel Boy.


Would Batman, Inc. or Planetary count?


Millar: Jupiter’s Legacy
Frank Miller: Daredevil


Haven’t read Batman Inc, but Planetary was really just the standard Superhero with a lot of financial power behind him. In Wildcats Jack Marlowe is more using the resources of a corporation to disseminate the kind of super-science developments superheroes usually keep to themselves. He saved the world by selling batteries that never die.


I’m not going to break the bank - but I liked Flex Mentallo.
While it doesn’t do anything insomuch as a whole universe or setting…it does have a lot of things to say about the superhero concept as a whole that I would consider definitive. Things that continue to be said here and there.
Before the bomb was a bomb, the bomb was an idea.
That whole thing. It nails down such a really sturdy idea about why superheroes can matter.

And I guess Moore’s Supreme. Cause it’s fuuuun.


I also think Rememder’s “The End League” could count.

I actually bought DC’s Wildstorm Retrospective book (even though it was largely an art book) because it contained Morrison’s full story arc for his Wildcats Run. It does touch on what would these Super-corporations do.

It seems like Joe Casey will never give up the goods for where he was taking it.

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Mark had a really fun notion of this with his Marvel Knights Spider-Man run, with the Corporations being the true evil. It was never touched on again.

But I do like to think that Ellis’ Thunderbolts run is a thematic sequel of sorts.


Is that to do with the villains being selected to fight against each hero? Stuff that Norman tells Peter? I faintly remember that but probably owe it another read.