Why did Grant Morrison's Animal Man get the #1 spot on my top runs list?
As a teenager, I enjoyed the off-beat (if Alan Moore-derived) first issue of Morrison's Animal Man so much that I wrote a fan letter to the editor. That letter, published in the magnificent "Coyote Gospel" issue, remains one of my more embarrassing moments in print (though not my last), and it will always have a place in my heart next to other awkward teenage decisions like "stone-washed jeans" and "pastel shirts."
But in Animal Man, Grant Morrison introduced me to a new way of telling comic book stories, and I can't distinguish between my love for metafictional playfulness and my appreciation for Morrison's attempt to bring it to mainstream comics. Was I predisposed to enjoy such narrative conceits, or did Animal Man teach me to enjoy them? I read the series at such a formative age, I'll never know the answer to that question.
Ultimately, Morrison's Animal Man remains my favorite run because it still resonates when I read it today. Buddy Baker's family is one of the most clearly-defined supporting casts in contemporary comics, and when they die, I feel a sense of loss, even though I know they will be magically restored at the whim of the creator. And when the Psycho-Pirate laments the loss of Silver Age wonder, I feel that too, even though I wasn't old enough to appreciate the Silver Age when it was alive.
I think it's Morrison's most perfect combination of heart and mind, and nothing has bumped it from the top spot in all the years since the final issue hit the stands.
And, I could have added: I love it so much I wrote a book about it.