I was thinking about comics this afternoon and got to wondering: what long running comics had gotten better in later incarnations than their earlier run?
I think for some of us, the thought of early runs on certain books tend to be their best. Absolute, classic stuff that never reached the same heights in later years. For me, I go to the Ditko/Lee Dr. Strange stories. Same goes for Silver Surfer. While later stuff can be very good, the early stuff is simply greatness. Others had stayed rather consistent throughout time, with certain peaks and valleys but overall the same quality. I tend to think DC had a pretty good understanding of what their characters were and held those standards for decades, with Flash, Aquaman, Superman, Wonder Woman etc. having overall consistent pedigree.
When I think of comic series that started good, or even mediocre, and became great I think of two in particular: Batman and X-Men. Batman's beginnings and his stagnant status through to the mid 70's and skyrocketing in the 80's are pretty well documented. Once writers like Frank Miller and Denny O'Neil put their mark on the character, it had eclipsed almost everything that came before. With X-Men, I think it's quite similar. Its one of the few Stan Lee creations that I think was really improved upon under another creator, that creator being Chris Claremont. While Stan's early stories were great and laid the groundwork for what came next, it was Claremont that put The X-Men into legendary status with a run that is often emulated and never duplicated.
Anyway. That's my two cents. What do you folks think? What series do you think had its definitive, classic period later on in its run?