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Vote For Your Top Ten Most Iconic DC Covers of All-Time!

Okay, time to vote!

Here is the list of the 90 covers you can choose from for the Top 75 most iconic DC covers of all-time! You pick your ten favorites. Then, in the comments below, you post your ten favorites – just give the numbers. Do not order them. Just list the ten numbers that match the ten covers that you want.

(You must vote for ten – any less or any more and I won’t count the ballot)

Then, and this is the important bit that folks always forget…INCLUDE THE WORD ACBC IN YOUR COMMENT!!!

A ballot should look like this (if you want to talk about your choices on your ballot, then fair enough, just so long as you don’t number your choices):

5
7
24
64
75
46
23
78
39
90

ACBC (it doesn’t have to be at the end – it can be anywhere in the comment)

ACBC, people! Remember to include ACBC in your comment! And make your answers in the comment section here. Your comment will show up as “in moderation.” That means you voted correctly!

On November 30th, I’ll reveal the order of the panels – as voted on by YOU (obviously that means that the voting ends at November 29th at 11:59 pm, Pacific)!!!

The list of choices follows – HAVE FUN!


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86 Comments

So were there more Infantino or Neal Adams covers here?

More Infantino than Adams.

This was tough!

Brian, should they be in any perticular order? Does every vote count for one point? How will you compile the votes?

No particular order, Mario. Yeah, each vote counts as one point.

I agree with Patrick C. It was very difficult to narrow this list down to just 10. I left off some good, iconic covers…
Thank you for the fun exercise, Brian!

What about y the last man you included preacher when i would argue that Y was just as big of a deal??

Just wondering great list though!!!

Well, first off – was Y just as big as Preacher?

Y was big, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t know if it was as big as Preacher.

Anyhow, that’s not why I didn’t put the cover to Y there – I just don’t find it as iconic of a cover. Remember, DC put out a whole book just of Fabry’s Preacher covers!! His covers were a very big deal!

That was freakin’ brutal. My first cut was 17, and the last few were tough.

There’s also the fact that Y is fairly recent: I assume that’s why there aren’t any 52 covers, for example. (Well that, and the fact that the most iconic of the 52 covers is a homage to the Death of Superman cover on the list.)

Great list Brian, although I would have included one of the 52 covers in there (my personal favourite being week 34) any maybe one of Jean’s early Fables covers

My “problem” with Jean’s Fables, Ro, is that yeah, I’d be down with “James Jean’s early Fables covers,” as well – but not any one in particular, and if I can’t narrow it down, then that’s a problem, ya know?

But yeah, I definitely thought about his Fables covers!

My “problem” with JG Jones’ great 52 covers was much the same thing – no one cover stood out, except the one that was an homage to Superman #75!

This was fun. It gave me a chance to look over and really think about what makes something “iconic,” to me. I think a lot of times though, the cover is less iconic than what it represents on the inside. Like 4 doesn’t really do anything for me cover-wise, but as an issue it’s obviously important.

On the other side, there’s the issue of icons on a cover over an iconic cover. Man of Steel #1 comes to mind for that, as does the bloody Superman logo cover of whatever that was. Iconic images for sure, but basically just icons being repurposed for covers as opposed to being “iconic covers.”

I might just be insane though.

90 comic book covers from my grandfather’s collection.

Your grandfather must be quite a young man, Alan.

Looking over the whole list, I could do 3 top tens, one each for Superman, Batman, and the rest, but I’ll narrow it down somehow.

I chose to define “iconic” as meaning covers that define the medium and that even people who don’t read comics would recognize. That accounts for my list being heavy on Superman covers. After all, Supes did come in 2nd on VH-1’s countdown of Top 200 Pop Cultural Icons a few years ago (right behind Oprah Winfrey–Superman vs. Oprah, there’s a comic I’d love to see)

That was very tough. I can’t wait to see how thefinal list turns out.

OK, I’m down to top fifteen. Gimme a bit here.

Can we all go hang out at Grandpa Coil’s house afterwards?

that was tough. while about half the list seems less than “iconic” to me, the other half is hard to winnow down.

I really had trouble after 20. I struggled between the ones that are more visually “common” against the ones that I feel are truly significant; for example, can the most iconic Batman cover be something other than Detective 27? How does one justify choosing between that and, say, Dark Knight Returns?

I really can’t wait for the list. It will be fascinating.

49 of these are 10 cent or 12 cent comics, and another from the same time is a 25 cent 80-page giant. Those 50 are all from at least 40 years ago, making them my grandfather’s comics.

Also in the “older than you might think” category —

Rocky and Bullwinkle: 50.
Barbie: 50.
Nina Hartley: 50.

(And my attitude.)

Over almost an entire lifetime of reading comics (started when I was 8 or 9), I’ve come across most of these covers. I’ve mostly been a DC guy (plus a smattering of X-Men, Spider-Man and Iron Man), so I’m proud to own a handful of these. The others I’ve seen at dealers’ booths at conventions, in reprints, in books about comics, in blog posts, etc. Some I’ve discovered in recent years, perusing the awesome cover galleries at Grand Comic-Book Database (aka comics.org).

Of the very few I’d never seen, I am most blown away by that hilariously awesome Hawkman vs. winged gorilla cover. I’ll admit, I’m not sure why it’s on here, but it’s tremendous.

This has been sooo much fun already, Brian. Looking forward to the conclusion. (And then I have to vote on the best storylines!) Thanks.

Two questions for Brian:

1) Do you vote in these polls?
2) What were the last two covers going to be before you did the poll?

A list that is perhaps scewed a bit old. I could have done without puppet flash and turtle jimmy in favour of some more modern covers like Legion of Superheroes vol 5. issue 1. I think we are all going to be a bit favouritist towards our favourite characters here, eras of reading too. I’m just happy that legion and Supergirl made such a great showing. For me Supergirl is the greatest Superheroine and these covers make me remember a lot of the greatness we lost because they wanted superman to be a special snowflake again. *sigh*

A list that is perhaps scewed a bit old.

Any list of “iconic” anything is going to be mostly older works.

Remember, just the number of the cover choice – not the issue number.

@Alan Coil: You had better hope/pray that Nina Hartley NEVER reads your post, cuz’ I forsee ALOT of @$$-kicking in your future! ;-)

“It’s not the mileage. It’s the make.” John Lithgow in Raising Cain.

My own “We was robbed” list more to round up the 100:
Omega Men #3
At least one Transmetropolitan, probably either #1 or #12
At least one Hellblazer, probably #1, #59, #61, or #83

(I mean, it’s not like #8 was that much more iconic than any other McKean Sandman cover, really…)

Not an easy task; I actually got down to a list of 9 by going “What covers can I NOT leave off the list, no matter what.” Then choosing number 10 out of about 50 other candidates that I though worthy was tricky…

Brian, are the numbers you used as examples your personnal top ten or am i expecting more out of you than i should and that they are simply random numbers?

Brian, are the numbers you used as examples your personnal top ten or am i expecting more out of you than i should and that they are simply random numbers?

I don’t understand the question exactly – I THINK it’s saying you’d expect more out of me than posting my personal top ten. Is that right? If it were my top ten, I doubt anyone would be influenced by that, would they?

In any event, no, it is not my top ten – it’s just ten random numbers (well, not completely random, just random between 1 and 90).

Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that your top ten covers are garbage if those you used as examples were in fact yours. I meant to say it wouldn’t surprise me if you were sneaky enough to actualy post you top ten as the example for all to see. Wasn’t meant to insult, quite the opposite, i would have been complementing your craftiness/sneakiness.
Guess the language barrier got in the way (english is not my first language).

Which 52 cover is the Superman #75 homage everyone keeps mentioning? Is it the week one cover? It’s been a while since I’ve looked at any of those issues.

i skipped a lot of “first appearances” covers because I’m not sure that’s what defines iconic… in defense of Man of Steel #1 (one of top ten), i think its perhaps the greatest piece of art that John Byrne has ever produced, it captures a symbol and a moment perfectly, and in contrast to many of the other covers of its time it looks and feels fresh and alive, yet familiar and warm

Thought this would be easy because I don’t know DC that well. Figured I’d just pick the ones I recognized. Nope. Recognize over 70 of them. Means Brian did a good job.

So I tried to pick out the ones I recognize as having seen homaged/referenced/discussed the most. Came up with 24. Made some tough and sometimes almost arbitrary choices to get that down to 10. Hard. There’s a lot of iconic covers up there.

I’m torn about Crisis and I’ll share my thoughts. It’s obviously a damned famous and frequently referenced cover. And probably one of the then most so. BUT

But it’s not the most original image itself. The Dark Phoenix cover for example is similar and predates it. It’s a fairly standard Pieta-like image used on many covers prior to it.

Nowlin: If you noticed, the Batman #156 cover (Cover # 87 in the list) probably predates the Crisis cover by thirty years. So no, not exactly the most original design. (Which is why, sadly, it didn’t make my cut.)

Just voted. The ones made the shortlist, but didn’t get votes are:

2 – Death of Superman
5 – GL/GA Junkie
12 – Superman vs Flash
15 – TDKR #1
26 – Killing Joke
35 – Superman with Eagle
46 – Man of Steel 1
53 – Batman and Robin in spotlight

remember though guys it began a legacy of covers specifically after perez, with that sheer mass of people mourning rather than a few on the phoenix cover. Even the next adventure comics is ‘after perez’ specifically.

Damn, that was tough…

I tried to narrow it down to images I’ve seen repeated on lunchboxes, t-shirts, homages, pastiches, etc…

… but I still had to cut another eight out…

So much good stuff..

B-)

Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that your top ten covers are garbage if those you used as examples were in fact yours. I meant to say it wouldn’t surprise me if you were sneaky enough to actualy post you top ten as the example for all to see. Wasn’t meant to insult, quite the opposite, i would have been complementing your craftiness/sneakiness.
Guess the language barrier got in the way (english is not my first language).

It’s cool. I wasn’t offended or anything, I just honestly did not get what you were saying. But now I do! Huzzah! :)

Went through the list again to count books that I had actually owned since I realized that was a big part of the difficulty of choosing. I chose not to count the golden and silver-age books I only had through the Famous First Editions tabloid format or the anniversary reprints DC did a few years ago but still came up with 49 comics. I had a gap where I didn’t follow comics between the ages of 13 to 18 or it would have been higher.
This was a good list. How many covers were on your first list before you cut it down to 90?

Hi Brian, this is an excellent top ten list. So many great covers to choose from, but you seemed to have narrowed them down to the best. You can cross-post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list. Not sure how you are tabulating everyone’s votes, but this would be a good way to do it automatically.

That was harder than I thought. I first narrowed it down to the images I would want as a poster hanging somewhere. That brought it down to 22. Then, I took out anything that I realized I’d voted on based on the story inside rather than the cover itself. That brought me down to 14.

Getting those last 14 to 10 was difficult. I feel like I owe certain covers apologies for not making the list.

Theno

Hey I LOVE George Perez but truly COIE #7 is the most over-hyped cover in the DC canon. It is a great cover, not THE greatest. Personally I like COIE #1, #5 and #12 as much or more.

Daniel O' Dreams

November 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I don’t think overhyped and iconic are mutually exclusive. COIE #7 isn’t the best cover technically in the series but it’s the most striking image.

Tough decision, my runners up were;

Superman #75 (would it have killed them to have him die in Action Comics?)
Detective #27 (Historically important but not even as iconic as it’s homage Amazing Fantasy #15)
New Gods #1 (KIRBY WAS HERE!)
New Teen Titans #1 (probably only Giant Size X-men #1 and Action #1 have been homaged more)
Adventure #247 (established The Legion as Superhero snobs from the future)
Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #1 (Is this WW’s only iconic image? sad.)

You know I only have one Silver Age comic on my list? That just seems wrong some how…

The Crazed Spruce

November 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Okay, after carefully working through the list, and making some hard choices, leaving off some truly classic covers, I’ve manages to whittle it down to a Top 15.

Which leaves me with some truly tough choices. I mean, do I leave off the GL/GA junkie cover, or the “arrow through the lantern” one? Supergirl’s debut, or the one where she’s revealed to the world? And do I go with covers that represent the era in which they were published (like Justice Leage 1 or Superman 75), or ones that stand the test of time (like Superman 1, or the JLA one with Despero and his chessboard)?

Wow. This next cut’s gonna be brutal.

Just posted my ballot. Strange how few of the covers I deemed “most iconic” were among my “favorite” covers.

I wish I could have voted for:

24: Flash #174, the ultimate Rogue’s Gallery cover
32: Supes vs. Ali, the greatest wrap-around of all time, and its own little time-capsule of the 70s
48: Legion #293, so awesome that I traced the whole thing when I was a kid

The hardest part for me was cutting the covers I really liked in favor of ones that are unquestionably more iconic, especially cutting the Watchmen cover with the realization that it made my top 20 only because I really wanted to vote for a Watchmen cover. But while the blood-spattered smiley face is unquestionably iconic, the composition of that particular cover isn’t terribly memorable to me personally.

It didn’t even occur to me to suggest it during the run up to voting, but in retrospect, I’m surprised Justice League of America 10 – “The Fantastic Fingers of Felix Faust” (the one where Faust is holding up his hands and each of his fingers ends in a different member of the JLA) didn’t make the list. But when you’re asking someone to look at every cover in DC Comics history, SOMEthing’s gonna slip through the cracks.

I didn’t do that right, did I?

Oh well. Here are my runners up:
17
55
64
88
42

DAMN this is tough. i narrowed it down to 20. 20! i don’t know how i can cut off 10 more from my list.

It didn’t even occur to me to suggest it during the run up to voting, but in retrospect, I’m surprised Justice League of America 10 – “The Fantastic Fingers of Felix Faust” (the one where Faust is holding up his hands and each of his fingers ends in a different member of the JLA) didn’t make the list.

Well, it wasn’t an original concept (it’s an homage to a previous cover), which knocks it down a notch, but the main reason I left it off was because of all the other JLA covers that made it. It seemed weird having THAT many JLA covers, ya know? Kinda hard to call them in the Top 90 when it’s not even in the Top 5 of a particular era of a title.

Hmm. I would’ve picked different Animal Man covers. My top choice would be number #17, followed by #26.

Brian, thanks for the reply. I didn’t know JLA 10 was an homage. That’s a perfectly good reason to exclude it. And while I personally wouldn’t mind lots of Justice League covers showing up, avoiding JLA saturation makes sense, for the same reason you wouldn’t want the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominees to be all from the same country any given year.

#26 I can understand, but #17 feels like an odd choice. I’d have thought 1, 5, 19, 20 (one of the best covers of all time) and 25 would come first.

This is a fine list, Brian. The one cover that I think maybe should have also been included is the first Enemy Ace cover from Star Spangled War Stories, #137:

http://www.comics.org/issue/21776/cover/4/

I’d also possibly throw in G. I. Combat #87, the famous dive bomb cover that is one of the most famous war covers ever, though I’m not sure how well known it is among the wider fan base:

http://www.comics.org/issue/16182/cover/4/

I was surprised not to see Batman and Robin poised on a gargoyle as an option.

I’m also a little surprised at the logic of leaving out the Felix Faust cover. Surely COIE 7 is an homage. It even echoes the Robin Dies at Dawn cover included as an option. If you take out the JLA/JSA crossovers as not being fully JLA covers, I don’t think one more would have over saturated but I suppose cuts had to be made a lot of places. By the way, I would have picked the Spectre rising from the tomb JLA/JSA crossover cover over either of the two available here.

Generally, I thought the cover options were overly weighted with Batman and Superman covers. No Doom Patrol, no Blackhawk, not enough Teen Titans, no Jonah Hex, no Phantom Strangers, no Challengers of the Unknown, etc. I think a wider selection of choices would have been better. I intend this more as an observation than a complaint though.

I was surprised not to see Batman and Robin poised on a gargoyle as an option.

What cover was that?

I’m also a little surprised at the logic of leaving out the Felix Faust cover. Surely COIE 7 is an homage.

As I said, it was not the main reason, it only knocked it down a notch. You can knock the Crisis cover down several notches and it would still be extremely iconic.

No Doom Patrol, no Blackhawk, not enough Teen Titans, no Jonah Hex, no Phantom Strangers, no Challengers of the Unknown, etc.

The most iconic Blackhawk covers were pre-DC. Jonah Hex, Phantom Stranger and Challengers of the Unknown don’t really HAVE iconic covers (Jonah Hex’s first appearance comes the closest). I tried, but there really weren’t any that fit. We’re talking the most iconic covers of all-time – minor characters just aren’t going to make such a list usually. Heck, it was a stretch to get an Aquaman cover on the list!

Doom Patrol was an option for the finale, though, but very few people voted for it.

The list is weighted towards Batman and Superman because Batman and Superman are the most iconic characters in DC, by an extremely wide margin, hence the list being weighted towards them.

I’m trying to get my old man to vote, since I think his list will be very different than mine and it would be interesting to see how he views things from the perspective of someone who was first starting to read comics when a lot of these were actually being sold on the newstands.

He must have started reading in the early 60s and continued right up to the mid-90s. I mean, his actually years of reading comics must span the vast majority of these covers, whereas I started reading in the early 80s, so most of these I’ve only seen in retrospect.

Naturally, I find myself gravitating more towards the covers from the 80s, and I wonder if he would gravitate more towards the early to mid Silver Age covers.

Oops. Too late! – Action #1 should win hands down.

There are some amazing covers in here, but it’s hard not to just love the simplicity and iconic nature of Superman #1 and Action Comics #1. That said, here’s a slightly different spin on some of the entries:

Action Comics #1: http://wp.me/pBLmC-3S

Batman #9: http://wp.me/pBLmC-3O

Green Lantern Green Arrow #85: http://wp.me/pBLmC-3F

Brave and The Bold #28: http://wp.me/pBLmC-3v

The Flash #123: http://wp.me/pBLmC-3p

Strange that of all the Kingdom covers we get the blandest of the bunch. I though the ones with all the characters of various factions were the best covers of the last 20 years easy.

Tough enough to make the choices that I did — but I would like to say that Crisis #8 should have been the one included.

“The Final Fate of the Flash” was iconic for so many reasons — the end of the character regarded as the beginning of the Silver Age, the resolution of the murder of Zoom/exile arc, and a pivotal point in what was the most historic series ever at that time. I hope that it was at least considered…

I’m surprised none of the Mignola covers from “A Death in the Family” have come up…

I’m surprised at how many comic book readers can’t read.

You aren’t supposed to tell everyone else your nominees people.

Sheesh.

I always just look at the pretty pictures.

This was not very easy. There about 25 covers that are iconic to me, but I was very selective and came up with 17 and I didnt just choose my favourite covers outright, I kept the word “iconic” in mind.

My 17

1 Detective # 27
3 Superman # 1
5 Gl/GA Drug issue
8 Intro Supergirl
15 Dark Knight Returns
17 Crisis # 7
19 Flash of 2 Worlds
28 Batman # 1
34 Superman: Kryptonite No More
35 Superman with egale
43 Mr & Mrs Superman
46 Byrne’s Man of Steel # 1
58 Adventures # 300
65 Wonder Woman # 1
69 Batman: year 1
73 Adams Batman: Ras Al Ghul
85 Adventures #247

cover 78, cover90 cover69,cover88,cover2

>>I was surprised not to see Batman and Robin poised on a gargoyle as an option.
>
>What cover was that?

I’m not certain, but I imagine that might refer to the classic Infantino/Anderson image of Batman & Robin that was used as the cover for the BATMAN FROM THE THIRTIES TO THE SEVENTIES book. (There’s no gargoyle in that image, but from its other elements and feel, it seems like it might be what we’re talking about…)

http://www.comics.org/issue/24536/cover/4/

It’s definitely an iconic image of the Dynamic Duo, one that’s been homaged/referenced many times over the years. I think, though, that the image originated as a pin-up in one of the Batman comic books and not as a cover per se (until its use on the FROM THE THIRTIES… book) so that might be why it’s sometimes overlooked.

[…] Legends Revealed column is asking a question of you, what are your top 10 covers from DC?  Here, he’s provided you a choice of 90 covers from across the decades, many of which […]

Some interesting comments here. I think the problem I have about trying to name the most iconic covers is that you choose those that you think are the most iconic as opposed to those you like best. And I’m struggling a little with that. For what it’s worth, if I vote it’ll be for my ten favourites as opposed to those that are already acclaimed in some way.

I would have liked to have seen the last issue of the Doom Patrol’s first run (the one with the grave on it).

I would have liked to have seen the last issue of the Doom Patrol’s first run (the one with the grave on it).

It had a chance! But the populace did not vote for it.

most of these cover are boring, Morvel has always and always will have better covers than DC

Guess which website just told me to come over here and vote? The New Yorker’s. Unexpected.

(I’d already voted though.)

Oh? Where on their site?

The Book Bench. It’s on the third page. I had some catching up to do.

My first cut had 20 covers I thought should make the list. (And I had six others I loved that were already also-rans.) By the time I got down to my final 13, I had to make some semi-arbitrary choices!

I’m excited to check out the results. Often, polls like this tend to be heavily weighted toward the new, but there are so many amazing older covers here, I wonder if that will be the case again. For the record, I am voting for five covers published before I was born; the other five are by Perez, Mazzucchelli, Quitely, and two by Bolland.

That was tough – I had to leave off some classics, like Crisis and Preacher. And there were a couple that I really liked but just didn’t think they were more iconic than the ones i voted for. Like I love that JSA cover where the villains are carving up America with daggers, that’s fantastic. And the ancient Batman one where he’s looming over the castle while “The Monk” carries an unconscious woman, I’d love to own that, a great image.

One thing I know, that Kevin Maguire Justice League #1 cover had better make it. It might have been redone more times than any of them. One of the best covers ever.

1
8
13
19
30
33
34
76
83
88
Neal Adams’ “Kryptonite Nevermore” cover blew my MIND as a kid, that will probably always be my favorite comic book cover.

The key to my voting was the word “iconic”. I didn’t necessarily vote for favorite covers, like Kryptonite No More, but rather the covers that best expressed the core of what the character stands for. That’s why I didn’t even seriously consider the COIE cover.

One cover I would’ve loved to have seen is the Spectre on the cover of Showcase # 61. That’s as iconic a cover as I can remember for the Spectre.

Superman #75 is #2, but Action Comics #1 is at 88? That can’t be right (#75 always look amateur to me, even as a kid).

Superman #75 is #2, but Action Comics #1 is at 88? That can’t be right (#75 always look amateur to me, even as a kid).

They’re not in any particular order.

[…] Vote For Your Top Ten Most Iconic DC Covers of All-Time! (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

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