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The Top 50 Most Memorable Covers of the Marvel Age, Day 1

Every day from now until December 20th, I will be posting seven memorable Marvel covers from the past 50 years (since Fantastic Four #1 came out, the beginning of the “Marvel Age”). I will be posting them in somewhat random fashion. It does not matter if a cover shows up today or Day 15, they all have the same chance for your final vote. Once all 105 covers are posted, you all will pick the top 50 most memorable covers in the history of the “Marvel Age” and I’ll reveal your choices to you on December 22nd and 23rd.

E-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com for suggestions for covers that you think should be among the choices for the final vote. Remember, we’re talking “memorable” not necessarily “the best looking” covers. Think covers that get homaged a lot, covers that routinely pop up as part of histories of certain characters, etc.

Read on for the first seven covers!








Come back tomorrow for the next seven!


Kinda jarring to see those more modern covers amongst the oldies. By far the least cool is the New Avengers cover. By far my favorite is the Silver Surfer cover. It’s just rippling with energy about to be unleashed.

My first thought was that Silver Surfer cover, so cool

Out of those covers I’d have to vote for The Incredible Hulk King Size Special # 1. It’s amazing.

My favourite Hulk cover of all time would have to be Incredible Hulk # 105.

The Silver Surfer cover is also great – used to have a poster of that one on my wall.

The Spidey cover I have always found oddly calm considering what is happening (and I’m not entirely sure the position of Peter is right considering the way he’s carried).

And should I mention that the colours in the rainbow bridge are in strange order?

I like the Avengers and Hulk covers, both are in their way very restrained but the menacing colour scheme in Avengers and the tension in Hulk works. Though of course others are good too.

The Crazed Spruce

December 6, 2011 at 1:40 am

I get the feeling that the Silver Age is gonna dominate the voting pool.

“By far the least cool is the New Avengers cover.”
I wonder how much of that is just cynicism and nostalgia. It’s a really cool cover. Very bad-ass. And much less ridiculous than the FF one, where Reed has apparently entangled himself in a rope just to prove he can escape it, and Sue complains that it’s taking her too long to no longer be visible to the monster who’s already holding her. (Which is something I always found hilarious about the old FF comics. She would turn someone’s hands invisible, and they would freak out, as if they can no longer feel that their hand is still there. The absolute dumbest example was when she did it to the Thing. He’s holding onto their ship. He sees his hands turning invisible. He knows that someone on the team can make things invisible. And he still freaks out until it’s actually explained to him that it was Sue doing it. Being startled into letting go of the ship, I can understand. But not catching on to what was happening? How utterly clueless would Ben have to be? Anyway, rant over.)

I don’t like the New X-Men one. The shadows just look really weird, and make their faces look distorted or something. I can see what the artist was going for, it just didn’t work right. At all.

The Spider-man cover has real wow factor – Stan’s way of making you forget this was the first post-Ditko cover.
I think Romita Snr on Spider-man, Kirby on FF and John Buscema on The Avengers produced some of my all time favourite covers. That Vison one is a thing of beauty plus The wedding of the Wasp.
& not to mention Spider-man #50 – consistently voted best comic cover ever!

I fail to see whats so special about the New X-Men and New Avengers covers. There will probably be numorous more deserving covers that will be absent from this list, time will tell.
I wonder if any covers from Fables will make it? A very high percentage are pretty awesome.

Fables? not likely as its DC and not Marvel.

New avengers cover by far the coolest flowed by the avengers vision cover then new x-men is my number three

I have emailed a few suggestions to add, however, having re-read the post, I am not sure if they fit with the overall idea. Either way, I am looking forward to these posts and the voting!!

I like the New Avengers cover. Moody. The Silver Surfer cover is actually my least fave here. The two of them are about to crash into each other. It looks comical, not epic. Same with that Spidey cover, it’s kinda dopey.

Massive fan of the Vision image. It is so strong. Vision looks ethereal but powerful, a bit scary and yet majestic. The red totally works. Love it.

50 memorable Marvel covers is a pretty heavy undertaking…which means that you only have 43 covers to go out of thousands! Although The Silver Surfer is a great Buscema action cover, IMO, first issue of that series is much more iconic.

Why is HATE SOOOO STRONG ! I respect all these picks. Looking forward to the other 50

Hm — I’d take the Cassaday Astonishing X-Men cover over the Quitely New X-Men one. Granted, the latter owes a whole lot to the former.

I’m inclined to agree that the new covers aren’t in the same league as Kirby, Romita, Steranko — but that’s no disrespect to guys like Quitely (who I’m a big fan of), it’s just that those are three of the best covers from three of the best artists at the top of their game.

Best cover ever is Amazing Spider-Man #33. #50’s pretty damn classic too.

As far as modern stuff in the same league as Silver Age, I expect we’ll be seeing some Adi Granov Iron Man soon.

Man, that Silver Surfer cover is awesome. And yeah, I agree that isn’t Quitely’s best cover, although it’s very good. I much prefer the cover to the silent issue, and that one Riot at Xavier’s cover.

The New Avengers cover is pretty good. Really!

“I get the feeling that the Silver Age is gonna dominate the voting pool.”

I agree.
But that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Comics editors during the Silver Age knew that exciting, powerful covers were needed to attract the eye of a potential cover. The cover was like a mini billboard or movie trailer that enticed a potential customer/reader to pick it up and leaf through it.

The problem with many of the modern day covers (at least the ones I’ve seen) is that they do the opposite. Many feature generic poses or depictions that have no relation to what’s inside. There doesn’t seem to be many editors working at the major comic companies these days that have any idea how to design covers to do that.

I was kind of hoping this would be the Top 50 covers of “Marvel Age” magazine. Did that run 50 issues?

I’d choose Amazing Spiderman 50 over 39 but they are both great covers

I’m gonna go ahead and throw full support behind the New X-men and Avengers covers. This isn’t the best, greatest, blackest, whitest, most controversial, or even the most covers filled with pounches countdown; this is the most memorable Marvel covers, and these two definitely fit the bill. They are the faces of two of the most popular, well-known and long-lasting effect having runs of the last decade of Marvel Comics. They have been seen everywhere from single issue covers to variant editions of Omnibus, posters and wallpapers, header images for bitchy blogs about Marvel’s fall from grace AND the de facto pictures that signify their creative powers. They have been homaged many times over in a relatively small amount of time, and have their memorablity and importance etched in the annals of Marvel Comic history.

It would have been easy to make this a big Silver Age/Bronze Age circlejerk, and I’m sure we’ll get Miller’s DD and Claremont’s X-men before this is done, but I applaud Brian for remembering, “Hey, wait a minute, there’s some pretty damn memorable covers made this last decade! I should pick those!” That’s why they pay Cronin the big bucks, boys and girls.

I was kind of hoping this would be the Top 50 covers of “Marvel Age” magazine. Did that run 50 issues?

That ran 140 issues + 4 annuals! I think they used the cover for #63 for the “Pryde of the X-Men” video cassette cover art too.

This is tough. I’d have to go with either Spidey, Silver Surfer, or the Steranko Hulk one.

Don’t call my dislike for the New Avengers cover nostalgia. I actually like the New X-Men cover. It’s dripping with attitude and it’s pretty obvious just looking at it that something different’s happening. Just ’cause I don’t think the New Avengers cover is all that interesting, it doesn’t mean I’m living in the past.

I like the New Avengers cover a lot, however that New X-men one is pretty bad. Look at the shading on their faces – where is cyclops nose on there????

While I think all the covers are fantastic and iconic (well other than that x-men one), my fave of these is the Avengers one. It’s also only one of the two I don’t own out of the above (other is FF#1).

I am so looking forward to seeing the rest of the picks though – I just love this shit :-)

I’ve always thought that Spider-Man cover looked too posed. And the positioning of Pete is all wrong; it would have been better if that figure was rotated about 90degrees, even if that meant that his feet would be cropped in the corner. As it is, it looks like the Goblin’s using our hero as a yo-yo.

And, yeah, I think I see what the artist intended on that X-Men cover, but instead it looks like they’re all Rorschach.

I like the New Avengers cover, but that X-Men is awful. I wouldn’t consider it all that memorable, either.

I always loved New Worriors #39, Amazing Spider-Man #251, Doctor Strange #5 from 1989.

“Don’t call my dislike for the New Avengers cover nostalgia. I actually like the New X-Men cover. It’s dripping with attitude and it’s pretty obvious just looking at it that something different’s happening. Just ’cause I don’t think the New Avengers cover is all that interesting, it doesn’t mean I’m living in the past.”

Fair enough. But I was making a bit of a general observation. I think the Silver Age covers will get a lot of love here, while the modern ones won’t, and I’m not convinced nostalgia won’t be a major factor for that.

Hey Mary Warner, ASM #251 is pretty bad ass. But as for memorable, I think ASM #252 may stick in the mind a bit more (first appearance of the black costume). And I always loved the corner box for ASM #250 “It’s Great! Steal It!”

I’m not a big fan of that New X-Men cover either, or of the X-Men’s puffy Gortex jackets, but I did think Quitely’s design for Emma’s uniform was subtly brilliant and it always bugged me how no other artist who drew the character in that outfit understood what it was supposed to represent. Other artists just drew her with a bra that didn’t close in frong and a triangle over her stomach as if the point was just to show as much skin as possible, but when Quitely drew her the material and empty space lined up to form an “X.” So every member of the team had an “X” on their chest, but instead of being added to a piece of clothing, hers was cut out of one. It was a great idea for Emma at a time when she was still something of an outsider and her former-villain-ness was more recently former. But no other artist seemed to realize that there was a pattern (or bother to draw it) so it just came off as weird lingerie.

I love the New X-Men cover. For the first time in a while, these mutants who were going to replace humanity looked otherworldly and slightly scary. They’re not running toward the reader, but advancing slowly, exuding both coolness and menace.

I don’t think Amazing #252 should qualify, because it’s just a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15.

Mary Warner,

Good point

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