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Comics Should Be Good Top 50 Countdown! – #8

Here’s #8! Click here for the master list!

Enjoy!

As you might imagine, this one was a spectacular battle, with a great deal of very notable issues mixed with one not-so-notable issue that had GIGANTIC historical importance (plus a few other choices that would be fine picks in a weaker crop of issues).

To start, we’ll look at the losers in the category, starting with two very notable issues from DC and Marvel maxi-series.

First off, Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 featured the death of Barry Allen.

That’s just yooge.

No doubt about it – one of the most famous comic book deaths ever.

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 featured the story introduction of Spider-Man’s black costume (it had appeared in Amazing Spider-Man for months before this issue, but it was still a notable issue for the time – it goes for a lot more money than the other issues of Secret Wars).

Marvel has a trio of notable first appearances in #8s (really a quartet)…

Avengers #8 gave us our first look at Kang the Conquerer

Fantastic Four #8 was the first appearance of Alicia Masters AND her psycho step-father, the Puppetmaster.

The great Stilt-Man appeared first in Daredevil #8!

Unus, the Untouchable first showed up in X-Men #8.

Buttler wishes to point out that Manhunter first showed up in Police Comics #8, Warlord in DC 1st Issue Special #8 and Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch had one of the first superhero crossovers EVER in Marvel Mystery Comics #8! Certainly all worth an honorable mention!

Okay, so now on to the real two contenders…

All Star Comics #8 is the first appearance of Wonder Woman (in a back-up story) and The Sandman #8 is “The Sound of Her Wings,” the first appearance of Death (a more famous comic book death than Flash’s ;) ).

So what we have here is the historic (first Wonder Woman) versus a famous issue, The Sandman #8.

And, well, the whole countdown long, this is the way I’ve been leaning, so I’m not going to stop now, so I’m going with the more notable issue, despite Wonder Woman’s vast lead in comic book historical importance.

The Sandman #8

Deciding factors:

1. All Star Comics #8 isn’t even all that well known for Wonder Woman’s first appearance, as she is not on the cover and it was just a test back-up in support of her “real” first appearance in Sensation Comics #1.

2. Sensation Comics #1 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more famous than All Star Comics #8

3. The Sandman #8 is actually a REALLY GOOD issue – All Star Comics #8 is meh.

4. I’ll admit, The Sandman #1-50 is one of the best first 50 issues in comic book history and they’ve yet to have a single issue representative.

In any event, The Sandman #8 is the pick.

Feel free to name some other excellent eights!

54 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 10, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’d go with Sandman # 8.
It’s the first appearance of Death (of the Endless family) in Gaiman’s universe.

Yeah, so would I. And Brian.

I’d like to grumble about this. I really would, because Wonder Woman is wayyyy more important. But the fact is, I grew up thinking that her first appearance was Sensation Comics #1 (dunno why — did Who’s Who lie to me?) and it’s certainly better known. So I won’t complain about that.

And I won’t raise a ruckus about the first appearance of Manhunter (collect ‘em all!) in Police Comics #8, nor even of the freakin’ Warlord in 1st Issue Special #8.

The cover of The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior #8 was ripped off by both Samhain and Danzig, but do you hear me grumbling about that? You do not.

The first major comics crossover in Marvel Mystery Comics #8, the fight between Human Torch and Sub-Mariner, though? That one’s pretty freaking huge, and pretty freaking famous. I’m just saying. It wasn’t quite the first super-hero crossover in comics (the Shield and the Wizard got there first, by a month), but it’s certainly remembered that way.

Sandman #8 is also the first issue of Sandman where Gaiman notably started hitting his stride.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is a really good issue, and I like it a lot. But Subby-Torch totally merits an honorable mention. I mean, Stilt-Man?

Yeah, why IS Sensation Comics #1 so much more well-known?

Here’s the tipper: disaffected teenagers don’t go to raves by the dozens dressed like Wonder Woman.

Well, Defenders #8 was the first chapter of the Avengers-Defenders War (following a brief prologue in Avengers #115).

I would respectfully disagree with the choice of Sandman #8 over All-Star Comics #8.

The latter was not a “test” as much as it was a launch-pad. It *could* not have been a test, since Sensation Comics #1 came out the very month after All-Star Comics #8, much too soon to get any kind of market data, especially given that it would have taken at least two or three months to commission a whole issue.

Second, Sensation Comics #1 is not in any sense an independent tale; it is a continuation of the story begun in All-Star Comics, with the first part recapped in a single panel on the splash page.

Third, even beyond the obvious feminist importance, in a purely comic-book sense Wonder Woman was the first true mingling of ancient myth with the modern mythology of comics. Yes, I know the ancient gods were implicitly mentioned as part of SHAZAM, but neither there nor in strips such as Doctor Fate, did the gods play so prominent a role. (The theme of gods and men would be used much better in the pages of Thor, and arguably Sandman itself, but Wonder Woman was there first.)

Yes, both the script and the art in All-Star Comics #8 seem crude when compared to Sandman #8, but both are better than much of the dross in the comics of that period. (Especially the plot, Harry G. Peter was certainly no Fine or Crandall!)

My own bias in favour of the Golden-Silver-Bronze periods of comics plays a part in putting All-Star Comics #8 above Sandman #8. Were it not for the Wonder Woman tale, I would have definitely have placed Sandman #8 as THE best eighth issue. But the fact is that Wonder Woman *did* appear in All-Star Comics #8, and so, by the tiniest of margins, I would have given the nod to the Golden Age.

That said, I do respect your choice. And might even agree with it come Monday morning… :-)

“Yeah, why IS Sensation Comics #1 so much more well-known?”

Because it is a case of judging a book by its cover? Wonder Woman may be unique among major comic characters in *not* appearing on the cover of the issue in which she was introduced.

Superman? Batman? Spider-Man? The Fantastic Four? The X-Men? Green Lantern and the Flash (both Golden and Silver Age versions)? Even the Legion of Super-Heroes made it to the cover of Adventure Comics #247!

Nope, bad call. The first appearance of Wonder Woman, particularly with 2 new members in the JSA, is way more important than Sandman, Death or whatever. When Death has carried a comic book series for 6 decades or so, we can talk further. I’d even put Flash’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths ahead of the Sandman issue.

I suspect the Sensation is better known because of the Famous First Editions DC did in the 70′s. They published the first issue of Sensation rather than the All-Star 8. And since the oversized books were in ads for quite a long time, I suspect a lot of people picked up Sensation 1= 1st Wonder Woman without ever thinking about it. I can disagree with a lot of the choices here, but at least on this one I agree: the first #8 that comes to mind is the Sandman. Which is NOT the same as the most important, just the best known. Crisis #8 is also high on the list; but it doesn’t pop to the top like the Crisis #7 does.

This one is a VERY hard call, though. And not, unlike some, through the lack of choices.

I’d have put Sandman last out of the 4 major contenders for this spot, and really expected Secret Wars or COIE to take it.
Secret Wars is the first #8 that I’d think of, but the fact that I know that COIE 8 is significant despite having never read it (and having little to no interest in the DC universe generally) suggests to me that it should have been given more weight.
Wonder Woman is a more important character than anything from Sandman, but as you point out, how many people would know the first appearance?

I’ve got to admit the first one I thought of was Amazing Spider-Man #8, and I’m pretty surprised it didn’t even get an honorable mention. It featured a notable Spider-Man/Human Torch team up, and, less memorably, the Living Brain, but is perhaps most notable for being the first time Peter really stood up to Flash, fighting him in the boxing ring. His glasses are broken and he stops wearing them from then on. It was also, in my opinion, the point where the quality of ASM started to go up — from #8 on out the issues were infinitely more readable than the previous ones.

Sandman #8? Minority opinion here: Sappy, treacly, new age-y Hallmark crapola. Especially the last few pages, which make my eyeballs bleed. It’s the “Hang in there” poster of goth horror comics.

Sorry. I know nobody likes a hater.

“I’ll admit, The Sandman #1-50 is one of the best first 51 issues in comic book history and they’ve yet to have a single issue representative.”

51 issues? Okay, I’ll bite, where’d the extra issue come from? Did they do a Sandman “Zero Hour” issue in there?

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 10, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I think he meant the Sandman Special.
The one about Orpheus.

Tough, tough call. But in the end, the best ish won.

“Here’s the tipper: disaffected teenagers don’t go to raves by the dozens dressed like Wonder Woman.”

No, but drag queens do.

Speaking as one who has never read one issue of ‘Sandman’ (even though I did buy the collected edition of ‘Death: The High Cost of Living’), I vote Barry-Flash.

Random Stranger

August 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Excuse me guys complaining about Sandman, but some of us are trying to drive up the prices on our Absolute editions here. Those obscene profits on reselling the Dark Knight and Watchmen books won’t last forever.

And since there’s only one issue left to go… I’m putting my money on Showcase #4.

I throw my vote behind Secret Wars #8. I can close my eyes and picture that cover. It’s way more famous a #8 than Sandman.

Yeah, Random Stranger — it’s a tough call, because of course Avengers #4 is freaking huge (and I suppose you could pick FF#4 for the same reason), but Showcase #4? That’s the dawn of the Silver Age right there.

Too bad we couldn’t go back to back with the death of Barry Allen (Crisis #8) and his first appearance (Showcase #4).

The cover of Sensation #1 is totally boss. Such an emblematic image of WW. I think that’s the reason it gets the love.

Actually, the central figure on the cover of Sensation Comics #1 — the charging Wonder Woman — is the same as the one on the splash page of the story in All-Star Comics #8. (The colours are slightly different though.)

I could go either way on this one. DC bend over backwards to convince us that Wonder Woman is up there with Superman and Batman, but in reality she’s probably behind Flash, Green Lantern, Robin and probably a few others.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 11, 2008 at 1:40 am

Wonder Woman is a more important character than anything from Sandman, but as you point out, how many people would know the first appearance?

Really?

Wonder woman is more important than anything from Sandman?
More important than the comic book that won a world fantasy award?
More important than the only comic to be on the New York Times best sellers list?
More important than a series that has had all it’s trades in continuous publication since they were released?
More important than the series which started the move towards creator owned books at DC?

I just don’t see it myself.

You could argue that she is, FunkyGreenJerusalem. Ask the average person, almost anywhere in the world, who they actually know, Wonder Woman or anything about or from Sandman, and more often than not, they would pick WW. Not to diminish the accolades you mentioned regarding Sandman, but as whole, WW is def a more well known character. In terms of awards or prestige, then yes, Sandman is more important. In terms of worldwide recognition, WW wins, hands down.

Here is a (minor) notable # 8: X-men Vol 2 # 8. This was the issue where Gambit’s real name was revealed for the first time, and also introduced the Thieves Guild, Assassins Guild, and Bella Donna into his backstory. Heck, it was the first time we had received any sort of backstory about Gambit up till that point. Of course, much of that backstory arguably ruined that character in the long run…

The eighth Tintin book, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, is a great comic and has a first appearance FAR more important than either of the above. It’s Bianca Castafiore’s first appearance! The main female character on the series! What’s it with issues #8 and first appearances of female characters?

Besides that, it’s a great book, possibly the best of the earlier Tintins. On the story, Tintin is drawn to the fictitious balkanic country of Syldavia, whose history, language, clothing and society is shown in impressive detail by Hergé on the book, where he finds a conspiracy to steal the aforementioned sceptre, symbol of Syldavia’s monarchy, as a prelude to a coup d’etat and annexation by a foreign country (Borduria), executed by an individual named Müsstler (yup, Mussolini + Hitler = Müsstler).

The most impressive? The story was first serialized on 1938-39 (the album version was released later in 1939), while the nazi Germany was doing similar conspiracies on its neighbour countries! Hergé was directly inspired by the Anschluss (the anexation of Austria by Hitler) to do his story. That was a dangerous thing to do, specially because the Nazis conquered Belgium soon later and Hergé could have been arrested for having written that story! But apparently no one noticed and the german censors only complained that the Bordurian plane Tintin pilots during one of his escapades was a german-built model…

The book continued to be sold during the nazi occupation of Belgium, its clear anti-fascist message being transmitted to kids in the whole country (and in a smaller scale to France). No matter how much they accuse Hergé of being a colaborationist, for having done that book he can’t ever be considered one! And for that, it is the best 8th issue of any comic ever, bar none.

And it was also probably the first comic I’ve ever read, and certainly the one that made me a fan for life.

Must also add that the color version of the album was published in 1947. It was heavily redrawn by then Hergé assistant Edgar P. Jacobs (creator of famous belgian characters Blake and Mortimer), who gave it its distinctive “balkanic” appearance (before it had more of a british feel). Also, Hergé made sure that Tintin was still piloting a (different) nazi german plane on the new version…

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Hunter: King Ottokar’s Sceptre may also be notable for giving Thomson and Thompson their names!

Secret Wars 2 #8 may have given us Spidey’s black costume, but Quasar #8 gave us…”Absolutely the Last Secret Wras tie-in.” Seriosuly, that’s the title of the issue. Five years later, and Quaze ties up several loose threads, not only defeating something the Beyonder send to Earth called the Omnivore, but also freeing Dazzler co-conspirator the Blue Shield! Don’t all pat him ont he back at once for that one, you legions of Blue Shield fans.

Good point, Ajit! I’m familiar with the “remastered” versions, so I sometimes forget that they were not called Dupondt/Thompsons on their first appearances!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I always thought Thompson and Thomson appeared first in “Cigars of the Pharoah”, and were named there first…then again, with all the times the stories have been re-drawn, I could be confused…

Invaders #8 gave us Union Jack.. One of the best and underused British Marvel heroes ever….

wwk5d: According to the facsimile edition, Thomson and Thompson were identified only as ‘X33′ and ‘X33A’ in their first appearance in ‘Cigars of the Pharoah’ but their real names were given in ‘King Ottokar’s Sceptre’. (‘Cigars’ also introduced Senhor Oliveira Da Figueira of Lisbon, another of Hergé’s great supporting cast.)

Wwk5d, they DID first appear in “Cigars of the Pharoah” (and if anyone thinks that Flash is a more famous character than THEY are worldwide, he is deluding himself – this will be my pick for #4 book), but there they were called something like X-33 and X-33 bis. They were “officially” named only on KOS.

Of course, they were later renamed on the redrawn books and even made an one-panel appearance on the redrawn Congo book, which was originally done well before their first appearance!

That’s why you have to read all versions. ;-)

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I think you got this one wrong. Ask anyone to name a female superhero. Even as a huge comic book geek you are gonna say Wonder Woman first. Ask any non comic fan about Sandman and get the “WTF” look.

Right, bad_trosky, but the argument is not that Death is more well known, but that no one knows that her debut was in All Star Comics #8, which is why it is not the pick.

That’s the argument, at least. ;)

“Here is a (minor) notable # 8: X-men Vol 2 # 8.”

Also, this was the comic book that shifted me from “kid who randomly reads comics” to “lifelong comic book fan.” Sad, I know, but that’s what early 90s X-Men comics did to eleven year olds :)

And maybe it’s just because I’m anal-retentive about things like this, but if someone asked me “what’s the first appearance of Wonder Woman” I’d say “All Star Comics #8″ without hesitation, because at one time I made a point of knowing exactly in which book all the key comic book characters first appeared, and I wasn’t going to fall for the Sensation Comics ruse.

Before reading this post, if you had asked me when Gaiman’s Death first appeared I’d say “I dunno, exactly…in one of the earlier trades, I guess. Not issue 1, but somewhere around there.”

But then again, I’m in the minority that appreciates Sandman without ever having gone ga-ga over it.

“When Death has carried a comic book series for 6 decades or so, we can talk further.”

When Wonder Woman’s series starts being good, and can actually build up hype beyond DC’s creative team shakeups every six issues (sometimes less!), then I’ll consider All-Whatever Comics 8 to be an important issue.

As it is, Wonder Woman is known as a more iconic character, but only through the Super-Friends cartoon, the Lynda Carter TV series, and various pop culture appearances and references (The O.C. comes to mind, and is but a paltry example).

Sandman 8 is more well-known. Heck, I’d put Crisis 8 and Secret Wars 8 both above WW’s first appearance.

OK. I’ve been reading comics since 1974. Tell me what’s so famous about Sandman #8. I have no idea. Means nothing to me.

But Wonder Woman I’ve heard of. So has a lot of people. How can you have the first appearance of Wonder MAN and not Wonder Woman. She’s only well known for the TV show and Super Friends? Say “Batman” to someone and they say “Holy “something” Batman!” and then launch into the old TV theme. Most people never read the comic.

Right, bad_trosky Rich, but the argument is not that Death is more well known, but that no one knows that her debut was in All Star Comics #8, which is why it is not the pick.

That’s the argument, at least. ;)

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Ask the average person, almost anywhere in the world, who they actually know, Wonder Woman or anything about or from Sandman, and more often than not, they would pick WW.

That’s because of her TV show in the 70′s, or other tv (cartoon) appearances more than her comics.

I agree with Brian in that she may be a more notable character, but that Sandman #8 is a more famous number, than WW’s first appearance.
Also, I only made the points about Sandman because you said WW as a character is more important than ANYTHING in Sandman, and I think that’s quite untrue.
In fact, I’d say comics as a whole would be almost exactly the same with or without Wonder Woman, but I don’t know if they would be without The Sandman.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I think you got this one wrong. Ask anyone to name a female superhero. Even as a huge comic book geek you are gonna say Wonder Woman first. Ask any non comic fan about Sandman and get the “WTF” look.

Well firstly, Death isn’t a superhero, so that’s a bit flawed.

Also, more non-comic readers have read Sandman than most other American comic series, with the possible exceptions of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Maus, Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.

“When Wonder Woman’s series starts being good, and can actually build up hype beyond DC’s creative team shakeups every six issues (sometimes less!), then I’ll consider All-Whatever Comics 8 to be an important issue.”

But she has had good, quality runs for longer than that. The Perez and Rucka runs, for exanmple, were generally we received, and the Perez run carried a lot of good will beyond the initial reboot hype. They may not have been to your liking, but they were well received.

“As it is, Wonder Woman is known as a Also, more non-comic readers have read Sandman than most other American comic series, with the possible exceptions of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Maus, Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.more iconic character, but only through the Super-Friends cartoon, the Lynda Carter TV series, and various pop culture appearances and references (The O.C. comes to mind, and is but a paltry example).”

We could argue the same for many characters as well. More people probably know about Batman from the 60s TV show and the movies from the comics themselves. Plus, the story where she gave up her powers from the 60s or 70s became a big deal in the US, with many major feminists weighing in on the storyline itself.

Micronauts #8, as I blurted in the entry for best #7, has the first appearance of occasional Marvel fourth-stringer Captain Universe (“the hero who could be You!”, later a Ditko project), in an awesome Michael Golden pyrotechnic battle with the human-sized Baron Karza (the black-armored toy of which appeared several months before a certain Mr. Vader, thank you)…

Anyway. As you can see by my name plastered all over these boards I have enjoyed this list. The fact that I disagree with just this one is pretty amazing.

This one still sits wrong with me, even after reading all the comments. I think it got the pick because Sandman as a series was considered a great series, and not on the strength of this issue’s notability.

Did Sandman #8 also create the idea of the perky goth girl? That could give it massive, massive cultural importance.

i suppose it could if that were the case, Dalarsco, but no, there were plenty of perky goth girls running round in the decade previous to that issue. Not that plenty of ‘em didn’t imitate Gaiman’s Death afterward, mind you.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Plus, the story where she gave up her powers from the 60s or 70s became a big deal in the US, with many major feminists weighing in on the storyline itself.

Did it really become a big deal in the US?
Also, scholarly types still write papers nobody reads about Sandman.

The Perez and Rucka runs, for exanmple, were generally we received, and the Perez run carried a lot of good will beyond the initial reboot hype.

Two generally well-received runs isn’t that much, and I think Perez is the only time in the books history that it had any sort of ‘Must read’ buzz about it.

I think it got the pick because Sandman as a series was considered a great series, and not on the strength of this issue’s notability.

It’s the first appearance of the character Death, who is a big deal to anyone who has read or heard about the series, and also the first issue in the series that really felt like The Sandman – many consider it the issue where Gaiman found his voice.

I’m a caught a bit off guard by the comments here – I had no idea Sandman and Death had slipped so far off of peoples radars.

I’Did it really become a big deal in the US?

Big enough that Gloria Steinem led a campaign to restore Wonder Woman’s powers. (She also placed the super-powered Diana on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine.)

Also, scholarly types still write papers nobody reads about Sandman.

The New York Times is hardly an academic journal. Yet it interviewed Gail Simone in November 2007 when she took over as the regular writer on Wonder Woman. You can understand Picoult being a feature because she is a best-selling author with few links, if any, to comics, but Simone?

And earlier this year when the fashion pages had an article on how “cartoons” were inspiring designers the headline read ‘In Wonder Woman’s Phone Booth’. The fact is that she has become a cultural icon, someone easily recognised by non-comic readers.

I’m a caught a bit off guard by the comments here – I had no idea Sandman and Death had slipped so far off of peoples radars.

It’s been a dozen years since Sandman ended, and DC has respected Gaiman’s wishes that his characters be left well alone. That may have saved Sandman from lesser writers but it also denied him exposure.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 12, 2008 at 11:59 pm

The fact is that she has become a cultural icon, someone easily recognised by non-comic readers.

I bet none of them know what issue she first appeared in though.

Sandman fans know issue eight.
And a decade ago, everyone was a Sandman fan.

I bet none of them know what issue she first appeared in though

Well, of course they won’t! I was talking about non-comics readers. But they would recognise Wonder Woman. Death, or even Sandman himself? Doubtful.

Non-comics readers probably won’t know anything about Paradise Island, or Steve Trevor, or even of the secret identity of ‘Diana Prince’, but put up an image of the character herself, and it’s instant recognition.

Sandman fans know issue eight.

And Wonder Woman fans know All-Star Comics #8. :-) Knowing all kinds of weird trivia is what makes you a fan. There are Superman fans out there who can tell you all the metals used to make Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch.

Or baseball fans who can recite all of Ted Williams’ statistics — and then compare them, year by year, with DiMaggio’s. Williams’ career began just as the Golden Age of comics too was taking off, and I would guess there are comics fans with memories as retentive as sports fans.

And a decade ago, everyone was a Sandman fan.

“Everyone”?

Now, if you were arguing that everyone should have been a Sandman fan, I might have agreed… :-)

Exactly, Ajit. A non-comic isn’t going to know Sandman # 8 any more than they would know WW’s first appearence. The cancels that argument…

Not everyone was a Sandman fan. That doesn’t make it any less of a quality series.

Very late to this discussion, so I don’t even know who’s going to see this –

–but I’ve never seen girls who dress up as Wonder Woman for their yearbook photos. I’ve seen batches of them do it as Death.

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