Saturday, May 17, 2014

My List of the Top 75 Marvel Comics

In a recent post I mentioned that Marvel is going to put out an 75th anniversary omnibus with their top 75 comics stories. I also mentioned I would try to guess/propose what I think might be in such an tome.

First, let's get the easy first appearances out of the way:
  1. Amazing Fantasy 15 (first Spider-man)
  2. Fantastic Four 1
  3. Tales of Suspense 39 (first Iron Man)
  4. Avengers 1
  5. Journey into Mystery 83 (first Thor)
  6. X-men 1
  7. Captain America 1 (Golden Age)
  8. Hulk 1
  9. Strange Tales 110 (first Dr. Strange)
  10. Marvel Comics 1 (Golden Age)

Second Tier first appearances (I'm less sure about these)
  1. Daredevil 1
  2. Origin of Dr. Doom (from Fantastic Four Annual 2)
  3. Silver Surfer 1
  4. Fantastic Four 48 (first Galactus)
  5. Sub-Mariner 1 (Golden Age)
  6. Fantastic Four 52 (first Black Panther)
  7. Hulk 181 (first Wolverine)
  8. Fantastic Four 46 (first Black Bolt)
  9. Amazing Spider-Man 14 (first Green Goblin)
  10. Tales of Suspense 57 (first Hawkeye)
  11. Iron Man 55 (first Thanos)
  12. Avengers 4 (return of Captain America)
  13. Spider-man 129 (first Punisher)
  14. Giant-size X-men 1 (first new X-men)
  15. Avengers 55 (first appearance of Ultron)
  16. Spider-man 50 (first appearance of Kingpin)
  17. Spider-man 194 (first appearance of Black Cat)
  18. Amazing Adventures 11 (first Beast)
  19. Captain America 117 (first Falcon)
  20. Tales of Suspense 52 (first Black Widow)
  21. Avengers 16 (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver join Avengers)
  22. Nova 1
  23. Marvel Spotlight 5 (first Ghost Rider)

Issues with a Death in them:
  1. Amazing Spider-man 121 (death of Gwen Stacy)
  2. X-men 137 (death of Jean Grey)
  3. Daredevil 181 (death of Elektra)
  4. Avengers Annual 7 (death of Adam Warlock. I know he dies in another issue of Warlock, but the annual is a better self contained story.)
  5. Marvel Two-In-One Annual 2 (continuation of the storyline above. With the emphasis on Thanos coming in the movies, this might get in.)

Epic Battles
  1. Fantastic Four 25 (Hulk vs The Thing)
  2. Fantastic Four 26 (Hulk vs The Thing part 2)
  3. Silver Surfer 4 (Silver Surfer vs Thor)
  4. Thor Annual 1 (Thor vs Hercules)
  5. X-men 112 (X-men vs Magneto)
  6. Strange Tales 127 (Dr. Strange vs Dormammu)
  7. Daredevil 7 (Daredevil vs The Sub Mariner)
  8. Spider-man Annual 1 (Sinister Six)
  9. Hulk 171 (Hulk vs Rhino and The Abomination)
  10. Iron Man 150 (Iron Man vs Dr. Doom)

Okay, from hereon out, the list is going to be a bit more idiosyncratic

Classic Bronze Age Comics
  1. Astonishing Tales 25 (first Deathlok)
  2. Werewolf By Night 1
  3. Tomb of Dracula 1
  4. Man-Thing 1
  5. Howard the Duck 1
  6. Eternals 1
  7. Invaders 1
  8. Amazing Spider-Man 86 (revamped Black Widow costume)
  9. Marvel Feature 1 (first Defenders)
  10. Marvel Team Up 74 (Spider-man and SNL)

Socially Relevant Issues
  1. Spider-man 97 (the no comics code drug issue)
  2. Amazing Adventures 31 with Killraven (first interracial kiss)
  3. Alpha Flight 106 (Northstar is Marvel's first openly gay character)
  4. Luke Cage Hero for Hire 1 (first African American superhero)
  5. Ms. Marvel (first Marvel female superheroine to carry her own title)
  6. Iron Man 128 (last in in the Demon In A Bottle saga)

 Notable Creator Highmarks 

(Note, some of these stand on their own better than others which is the nature of Marvel comics sometimes.)
  1. Spider-Man 248 The Kid The Collected Spider-Man (Roger Stern)
  2. Thor 353 The Finale of the Surtur Saga (Walt Simonson)
  3. Fantastic Four 236 Terror in a Tiny Town (John Byrne)
  4. Fantastic Four 285 Hero (John Byrne)
  5. Marvel Team In One 50 - Thing Vs Thing ( John Byrne )
  6. Avengers 177 Those Who Lay Dying (Jim Shooter)
  7. Fantastic Four 51 This Man This Monster (Lee/Kirby)
  8. Spider-man 33 The Final Chapter (Steve Ditko)
  9. Ultimate Spider-Man 111 The Talk (Brian Bendis)
  10. Captain America 175 Before The Dawn (Steve Englehart)
  11. Avengers 58 Even An Android Can Cry (Roy Thomas)

That's my list. What would you add or take off? Is there a favorite of yours that's missing here?
- Jim


Trey said...

That's a good list. I think the inevitable problem with things like these is: are you looking for the 75 best stories or 75 important stories? There not complete overlap between the two, obviously.

Also, what do you do about seminal storylines. Do you pick the first issue, a representative issue or just leave them out because as good as the whole arc might be, no single issue stands alone?

I would say your list is missing anything from "Kraven's Last Hunt," which I think is one of the best arcs of the 80s. Also, the first issue of the Punisher limited series (now collected as Punisher: Circle of Blood) is a much better read than his first appearance. I think Death of Captain Marvel is good, but it is a whole graphic novel.

Jim Shelley said...

@Trey - Yeah, you bring up a point I wrestled with a good bit. Do you really want to include FF 1 or Thor 1 when there were better stories over time?

I did consider Kraven's Last Hunt, but I'm not really familiar enough with the storyline to pick a specific issue out of it (nor was I sure that that was even possible.) Like Simonson's Thor Run and the Demon in a Bottle run, one issue doesn't work very well.

I also agree about the Punisher limited series. I remember reading that and thinking, "this is how this character should have always been written/drawn."

JP Cote said...

Pretty good list, Jim. I'd throw in Squadron Supreme somewhere in there.


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