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CSBG Archive

The Top 50 Most Memorable Covers of the Marvel Age: #50-26

You all voted for the most memorable Marvel covers from the past 50 years (since Fantastic Four #1 came out, the beginning of the “Marvel Age”) and here are your results for the Top 50 covers that you deemed to be the most memorable of the Marvel Age!


50. Captain America Annual #8

(Art by Mike Zeck and John Beatty)

49. New X-Men #114

(Art by Frank Quitely and Tim Townsend)

48. Silver Surfer #1

(Art by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott)

47. Journey into Mystery #83

(Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott)

46. Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars #8

(Art by Mike Zeck and John Beatty)

45. Marvel Graphic Novel: The Death of Captain Marvel

(Art by Jim Starlin)

44. Amazing Spider-Man #252

(Art by Ron Frenz and Klaus Janson)

43. Daredevil #182

(Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson)

42. Amazing Spider-Man #121

(Art by John Romita)

41. The Incredible Hulk #181

(Art by Herb Trimpe)

40. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21

(Art by John Romita)

39. Fantastic Four #49

(Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott)

38. Amazing Spider-Man #122

(Art by John Romita)

37. Infinity Gauntlet #1

(Art by George Perez)

36. Marvels #1

(Art by Alex Ross)

35. Amazing Spider-Man #300

(Art by Todd McFarlane)

34. Fantastic Four #48

(Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott)

33. X-Men #138

(Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin)

32. Fantastic Four #51

(Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott)

31. X-Men #100

(Art by Dave Cockrum)

30. Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars #1

(Art by Mike Zeck and John Beatty)

29. X-Men #135

(Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin)

28. Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

(Art by Jim Steranko)

27. Silver Surfer #4

(Art by John Buscema and perhaps Sal Buscema)

26. Spider-Man #1

(Art by Todd McFarlane)

Check back tomorrow for #25-1!


I hoped ASM 121 would be much higher. It certainly deserves to be higher than Spider-Man #1.

Well, I didn’t vote for 10 of ‘em–almost all of those either X-Men or Spidey related, and there are a fair amount of both here that I did vote for. But that’s democracy for ya. Still a good list.

Quite a few in there that I find just boring and forgettable. The Thor ones don’t do anything for me. That New X-Men one looks awful.

Also, every time I see the FF one with the Watcher on the cover, I laugh. The Watcher looks so weird there. One eye is much smaller than the other.

Aww, Scott’s sad in #33 because he didn’t win the shopping spree :(

Keep in mind, Tiamatty, this has nothing to do with being cool-looking. I hate that “New X-Men” cover, too, but I’ve seen it so many places since it came out that it makes perfect sense to be on this list. Unfortunately, since it’s not here, I would wager the “New X-Men” cover with Emma Frost will probably be in the top 25. Ugh. But like I said, I’ve seen it a million times in the last few years, so it technically belongs on the list.

Three black-suit Spider-Man covers! I can’t say I disagree with any of them but it’s still a little surprising to me.

I read a lot of complaints every time a Quitely cover is posted but I have to say I am a fan and I really like the cover above. I don’t think we’ll see the Emma Frost one though.

Surfer #4 is the 27th best cover? You have got to be kidding me! So we can safely assume that the top 10 covers will be made up of only Wolverine and/or Spiderman?

Sorry, let me explain that comment. The cover to Silver Surfer #4 is probably one of the best covers in comic history. The fact that it only placed 27th does not leave me with much hope for the remainder of the list. There are 3 covers with Spidey and the black suit, really? The covers are nice, but legendary they are most certainly not. It may seem like I’m trying out for a spot on the “Grumpy Old Comic Fan” list, but I am constantly amazed at how much the history of comics is ignored.


No, Scott’s crying on the cover of X-Men 138 because he’s wearing grannie panties. You would be too.

On another note, I wish we knew who the colorists on some of these covers were, because they’re occasionally a large part of the reason the cover is so great. FF 49, for example. Obviously the composition by Kirby is fantastic, but the decision to color Galactus green instead of his normal purple is also a huge artistic contribution to the image. It wouldn’t quite have that “spectre of death” feel if Galactus were purple.

Totally agree with T Favret. Silver Surfer #4 would get my vote for greatest Comic Book cover of All-Time. It being 27th is a joke. Sadly, I fear the Quitely Emma Frost camel toe cover is going to end up Number 1. ( Hope I’m wrong)

This is not a “greatest covers of all-time” poll. It is a “most memorable covers” poll. And there are undeniably more memorable covers out there than Silver Surfer #4.

I agree that new X-Men one is awful. To me it looks like the movie standard of slowly walking away from an explosion.

I may be wrong, but didn’t Avengers 141 come out before X-Men 100?

The Silver Surfer #4 cover is indeed good-looking (though also on that count I’d place a number of other covers ahead of it, already that Nick Fury cover right behind it is more to my taste) but does it get homaged a lot? Has it been used in posters, ads, merchandise? Does it show up regularly as an illustration when Silver Surfer, Thor, Marvel comics or John Buscema is discussed? If so, I have been missing it, while that Emma Frost cover which might or might not be on the list does get circulated. (And it’s just not age thing, I am a bit surprised on the low positions of the first appearance of Thor or The Coming of Galactus, wonky eyes of Uatu adding to the memorability. And those Todd McFarlane covers were everywhere).

I may be wrong, but didn’t Avengers 141 come out before X-Men 100?

Probably. Lots of covers had the theme basic design of Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 before it came out, but it is still one of the most memorable covers of all-time. Same basic concept here.

@Black Manta

Yes, Avengers 141 was Nov ’75 while X-Men 100 was Aug ’76. Anytime you want to know a date of a comic, you can just look it up on mycomicshop.com, which is a good resource for dates, covers, creative teams, and even what stuff exists.


I think you’re confusing what Manta’s question was. It seems you’re talking about X-Men 136 and Crisis 7.

I think you’re confusing what Manta’s question was. It seems you’re talking about X-Men 136 and Crisis 7.

No, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter if a similar cover pre-dated another cover, so long as the later cover is more famous, in case that was the reason for bringing up Avengers #141 pre-dating X-Men #100. Like X-Men #56 and X-Men #135 – #135 is the memorable one even though #135 is likely an homage to #56.

My favoritest cover of the forever time is Amazing Spider-Man 39. Hoping it’s on the continuation.

And that would be the volume 1, Romita 39 (just to state the obvious). The volume 2 cover doesn’t do much for me.

Man, Mike Zeck just absolutely RULED the 1980s. In fact, I’m currently rocking a t-shirt with the cover to Secret Wars # 1 on the front! His cover for The Punisher # 3 from 1986 should most definitely be on this list *somewhere*.

Not to split hairs, but isn’t a “memorable” cover by definition a “great” cover? If you remember a certain cover, I would expect that there was something special about the cover itself, with nothing to do with the story inside. The cover itself would have to be unique. The Steranko Fury cover fits that description. I own that issue, but couldn’t tell you the specifics of the story. I remember that cover, same as Surfer #4, FF #49, Giant-Sized Spider-Man #21…etc. Someone needs to explain to me what is so memorable about the cover to Spider-Man #300 or Secret Wars #8. I am assuming that the Emma Frost “cleavage cover” will make it into the top 25. I can see why that would be “memorable”. Just because McFarland pimps everthing he does to make a buck and merchandises the hell out of stuff, that doesn’t make his cover memorable, IMHO.

Not to split hairs, but isn’t a “memorable” cover by definition a “great” cover?

Nope. A memorable cover can be memorable just because people, you know, remember it. To wit, when we did the most memorable DC moments, the #1 moment was Joker shooting Barbara Gordon – not necessarily a “great” moment, but surely one that everyone remembers.

Spidey #300 cover is memorable for its use in merchandise and also because it shows in one picture what kind of changes Todd McFarlane brought into the physical look of Spidey, the contorted shapes, ropes of webbing etc and thus it also shows up pretty often as a visual aid when history of Spidey, or McFarlane, or comics in 90s, are discussed.
Ditto for the Emma Frost cover, it’s a single image impression of Quitely’s work on X-Men and the character of Emma Frost and thus gets circulated for that (I’d also point out that it is not a genuine cheesecake cover, the element of creepiness is part of the character and shows up on the picture too).

I couldn’t agree more about Silver Surfer #4. This, to me, is a top 10 greatest AND Memorable cover. Same with Infinity Gauntlet #1. Just pure awesome. Shocked Zeck’s Cap annual was only 50 too!

Gotta agree with everyone above about Silver Surfer #4. It IS a memorable cover and it has been homaged. (I certainly remember one with Beta Ray Bill and a more recent herald of Galactus.) Not to mention popping up on just about every battle board I’m ever seen with astonishing regularity. Also seen it on posters, ads, t-shirts and even in colouring in books. So yeah Brian, I’d say it fit alls your criteria, and much more so than a lot of the covers above. Definitely should have been higher.
I’m guessing we’re going to be seeing things like the New Avengers cover #1 in the top positions..(Sigh!)

And yeah Chris M, Mike Zeck was definitely the go-to guy for Marvel in the 80es for creating cool looking covers!

What I’m really surprised at though is Amazing Spiderman #122 being so far behind on the list. Given that that story has been for a very long time regarded by many as the end to the so called ‘silver age’ of Comic Books, and as a result has been reprinted countless times in so many articles over the years.

I wonder if confusion over the voting misprint hurt that one..

I’m so glad that Silver Surfer #4 is getting so much love in the comments. I would also put it among my top one or two favorite covers. However, I am not too devastated that it came in as low as it did at number 27. I expect most of the top 25 to be, as AS alluded to, truly iconic covers.

I can’t wait to see the rest of this list – thanks Brian!

[…] struggled with even though a large number of the original covers were also recently featured in CBR’s most memorable covers of the Marvel Age. I had particular difficulty with Amazing Spider-Man #674. I knew it was a cover featuring the […]

I’m surprised amazing sm #238 was not up there. :(

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