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Comics Should Be Good Top 50 Countdown Master List

Here, then, is the complete master list of the Top Fifty Countdown of the most notable issue numbers in comic book history! From Amazing Spider-Man #50 to Action Comics #1, and all the issues in between! Click on the cover of the issue in question and it will take you to a piece on that specific issue (and other notable issues with that same number).

The issues are judged on the following sliding scale of “notability”…

1. Is that specific issue well-known enough that it comes to mind when people say that particular number (like Detective Comics #27 comes to mind when you hear the number #27)?

If the answer is no, then…

2. Is the issue “important”?

If the answer is yes, then I just compare the issues and choose which one I think is most notable, whether it be the first appearance of a character or the first issue of a famous creator run, etc.

Thanks to David Frankel for the idea!

Enjoy!

50.

49.

48.

47.

46.

45.

44.

43.

42.


41.

40.

39.

38.

37.

36.

35.

34.

33.

32.

31.

30.

29.

28.

27.

26.

25.

24.

23.

22.

21.

20.

19.

18.

17.

16.

15.

14.

13.

12.

11.

10.

9.

8.

7.

6.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

41 Comments

Thank you for a fun list.

Congrats to Stan Lee for the most appearances at 13, pretty appropriate for someone with so many ground-breaking characters to his credit!

Moore, Kirby, Ditko, and Wolfman popped up quite a bit too!

You know, I think the only issues that meet the first criterion are #27 and #15. Those genuinely stand out. I am a comics fan, and I could definitely tell you which comic introduced Wonder Woman or Iron Man. But if you just threw out a a number like 8 or 39, even in the context of comics? Probably not!

I didn’t include #1 because there are so many that come to mind. I mean I could make a perfectly good case for Fantastic Four #1 as that is where the whole Marvel Age begins. (And I say that as someone that is both a Golden Age fan and someone that leans to DC.)

But, on the whole, a pretty good list.

While I enjoyed reading it, I think that so many of the choices were controversial, that it took away from the credibility of the list.

I suppose that can only be written off as personal bias, but hey, it’s a blog, right? That’s what they’re for.

As much as I agree with the significance of Death (and the huge popularity to which she rose), I still picture only two #8s… Invaders #8 with the iconic Union Jack cover (probably more popular over here in the UK) and Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 – Death of the Flash… However, It would look odd having #7 and #8 from teh same series… (I am ignoring how many FF’s there are in succession…)
;-)

That could be said of any list like this, Scott. In this case it’s just one guy, but to me it doesn’t matter if it’s a library association picking the top 50 classics of literarure or the Rolling Stone staff picking the Top 50 singles of all time. I never really agree with the lists and can’t take them seriously. They’re just fun to look at and grouse about.

Scott, any list like this HAS to be controversial… No matter what your personal favourite, it may not be someone else’s…
It’s particularly hard when there are so many comic runs that never reached 50 issues – but all of them had a #1! (ok, apart from re-named titles…)

Personally I was torn three ways for #8 (as mentioned above) – but Sandman #8 only popped into my head when Brian dropped a clue… – before that I could only see Union Jack appearing and Barry dying…

Other people wil always see things differently…

That’s why all lists are controversial…

Look at the comic runs and comic character polls that Brian has run… Despite the winners being voted in by the majority, there were plenty of people who wrote in to say “How can this be #1?!?! *I* never voted for it!!”

There were two numbers that bugged me, and those were #8 and #21. I just flat out disagreed on those, and I don’t think I could be convinced otherwise.

The thing that I enjoyed was debating it in the comments.

And learning more about Quasar than I ever thought I would.

A great endeavor Brian, and one which generated much more intelligent discussion than I expected. Thank you.

(New computers are scheduled to arrive next week, and the website gets a major update.)

“that it took away from the credibility of the list.”

It’s a blog. It’s for fun and for discussion. Credibility implies an officialness to the list. Which there can’t be, because I don’t think Brian was wearing his crown OR his cape when he wrote it.

I may be wrong of course.

He does like that cape.

Great job, Brian! Now about that Snark Free Corner . . .

So….what’s the best zero issue of all time? Just askin’.

I’d say that would have to be Starman #0.

Not Extreme Justice #0?

Very, very much no.

“I’d say that would have to be Starman #0.”
Nope – the Hal vs Kyle battle in GL 0 wins this one!

I’d go for Green Lantern #0, though Starman and Flash rank up there. And what about Deadpool, with naked May and Ben Parker clones in bed?

I still say Top Ten #10 should be up there…or maybe Quantum & Woody for the beginning of the body swap arc. And I think the death of Barry Allen trumps Death herself.

Very cool list. Even more interesting is the presentation. Very nice.

Hey I totally dig the list. Nice job! But one question…

No Death of Superman? Superman #75 poly-bagged or not, has to be one of the most recognizable and noted comics of all time. So much so, you can find non-comic readers who will recognize it and know details of it.

Michael Kronenberg

August 12, 2008 at 9:55 am

Interesting list, I agree with many choices–but how could you almost totally ignore the entire decade of the 1970s? Adams/O’Neil’s revitalization of Batman and the Joker, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing, Thomas and Smith’s Conan, Englehart and Rogers’ Batman, Moench and Gulacy’s Master of Kung Fu, etc.

What about Steranko’s Nick Fury books or any of his work in the 1960s?

And why no EC’s?

Hey I totally dig the list. Nice job! But one question…

No Death of Superman? Superman #75 poly-bagged or not, has to be one of the most recognizable and noted comics of all time. So much so, you can find non-comic readers who will recognize it and know details of it.

True, Dave, but this list was just #1-#50.

The posting on CBR’s front page is really misleading, Brian. They’ve got it tagged as the “Fifty Most Notable Comics,” without really mentioning issue numbers at all. Yes, your introduction at the beginning says it all, but I imagine these new comments are from people who just skipped to see what the 50 most notable issues were. Anyway to get the CBR front page link changed?

Interesting list, I agree with many choices–but how could you almost totally ignore the entire decade of the 1970s? Adams/O’Neil’s revitalization of Batman and the Joker, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing, Thomas and Smith’s Conan, Englehart and Rogers’ Batman, Moench and Gulacy’s Master of Kung Fu, etc.

What about Steranko’s Nick Fury books or any of his work in the 1960s?

And why no EC’s?

The 70s are hurt by the fact that a lot of the big books started before the 1970s, so they don’t have a lot of low numbers for the list, and even then, two titles DID make the list!

And EC made the list at #30!

True, Dave, but this list was just #1-#50.

I hear 75 is the new 50.

Wow, nice sexist list. Not a single issue with a female lead is “notable?”

Wow, nice sexist list. Not a single issue with a female lead is “notable?”

Besides failing to note that Promethea was on the list (plus Sandman #8 surely counts, as well), that made sense.

I told you the list needed more Dazzler and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. But did you listen? Nooo.

And where are all the anthropomorphic characters???
;-)

Oh, duh. Well that was dopey of me. I see so its the most notable #1, #2, etc. I see. Sorry. Well that made a great list even greater. Nice job.

Thanks, Dave.

The posting on CBR’s front page is really misleading, Brian. They’ve got it tagged as the “Fifty Most Notable Comics,” without really mentioning issue numbers at all. Yes, your introduction at the beginning says it all, but I imagine these new comments are from people who just skipped to see what the 50 most notable issues were. Anyway to get the CBR front page link changed?

I just appreciate the linkage. :)

And really, while yes, the headline is misleading, I understand their confusion – this is not the easiest thing to describe, and whatever headline they came up with, I think readers would be confused initially – that’s why I have the big explanation on the top.

If someone fails to read the intro, it’s all good, we’ll just explain it here.

Great list. Although for me the notable #21 would be G.I. JOE. #26 also, probably.

I love that you included Deadpool.

And my choice for #0? Magnus Robot Fighter, the first time I ever saw such a number used.

Great list. Although for me the notable #21 would be G.I. JOE. #26 also, probably.

Thanks, Craig!

Also, that is one of the most awesome typos I’ve seen. :)

And how about those 1/2 issues Wizard used to sell? Maxx 1/2 by a landslide!

If Brian’s doing 0, then he should probably do 1,000,000 also. I have no idea what would be the appropriate issue for that number.

Best 1,000,000? Hitman.

What about best #1/2? Didn’t they do a bunch of those? Like Wizard whored them around or somesuch?

Good list, but yeah, #21 needs to be G.I. Joe.

I’d love to see a list where the fans vote (like the Top 100 Comic Book Runs list). I’m curious to see what differences there would be…

#8 could also have been All-Star #8, with the first appearance of Wonder Woman.
Scott McIver, what #21 would you say was more significant than Alan Moore’s first Swamp Thing? The case could be made that, without Moore on Swamp Thing in 1984, there’s no Vertigo in 2008.

If you click on any of the covers in the list, it’ll take you to the (occasionally heated) discussion of other candidates, Paul. (Like All-Star #8!)

aside from the top 50, it’d be interesting to pick a few other numbers that you could at least come up with arguments about. such as:

#0 – starman or rai? one was the first issue of one of the 2 or 3 best series of the 90’s, the other laid out the entire future of a whole comic company, and had a killer cover.

#75 – wolverine’s bone claws or the death of superman? probably superman, but wolverine’s bone claws were a huge deal at the time.

#129 – punisher or kitty pride and emma frost?

#181 – first wolverine or death of elektra? first wolverine is more significant, but many, MANY comic fans remember the death of elektra as one of the greatest issues they’ve ever read, myself included.

#300 – first venom or last cerebus?

and how about the most notable one shot/comic without an issue number? my pick would be the killing joke. anything i’m forgetting?

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