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CSBG Archive

The Top 50 Most Memorable Covers of the Marvel Age: #25-1

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!

Enjoy!

25. The Incredible Hulk Special #1

(Art by Jim Steranko (with a little help from Marie Severin))

24. The Incredible Hulk #1

(Art by Jack Kirby and George Roussos)

23. Iron Man #128

(Art by Bob Layton)

22. Amazing Spider-Man #1

(Art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko)

21. X-Men (Volume 2) #1

(Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams)

20 Incredible Hulk #340

(Art by Todd McFarlane)

19. Daredevil #181

(Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson)

18. X-Men #136

(Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin)

17. Amazing Spider-Man #33

(Art by Steve Ditko)

16. Amazing Spider-Man #129

(Art by Gil Kane and John Romita)

15. Uncanny X-Men #142

(Art by Terry Austin)

14. X-Men #101

(Art by Dave Cockrum)

13. Avengers #57

(Art by John Buscema and possibly George Klein)

12. X-Men #137

(Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin)

11. X-Men (Volume 1) #1

(Art by Jack Kirby and perhaps Paul Reinman?)

10. Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

(Art by Jim Steranko)

9. Amazing Spider-Man #39

(Art by John Romita)

8. Thor #337

(Art by Walter Simonson)

7. Avengers #4.

(Art by Jack Kirby and George Roussos)

6. Wolverine (mini-series) #1

(Art by Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein)

5. Amazing Spider-Man #50

(Art by John Romita and possibly Mike Esposito)

4. X-Men #141

(Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin)

3. Giant-Size X-Men #1

(Art by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum)

2. Fantastic Four #1

(Art by Jack Kirby and a mystery inker)

1. Amazing Fantasy #15

(Art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko)

45 Comments

So, no Emma Frost. On the other hand, for me it’s a surprise there’s no Cap shouting Avengers Assemble! Or Iron Man’s first. Hard to argue with the top picks though, #7 was the first one I didn’t vote…

#7 was the first one I didn’t vote for, either. Along with #10 and #21.

Kind of hard to argue with the first four, at least. Then you can start arguing. For instance, I would’ve bet that Avengers #57 would be in the top five.

16 of the top 25 are Spider-Man and X-men cover, huh? Well, I guess you can only remember what you’ve seen.

Isn’t #18 an homage cover?

#18 is a “Pieta Pose” cover, which has been appearing in comics for awhile now. I suppose it’s a homage to the extent that it’s based on a 500-year-old Michaelangelo work.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/06/22/cool-comic-cover-gallery-the-best-pieta-covers/

Ed (A Different One)

December 23, 2011 at 7:46 am

It’s an homage to the Pieta (the Virgin Mary holding Christ’s lifeless body after the crucifiction) first and formost. However, George Perez then homaged this cover in Crisis on Infinite Earths (Superman holding the lifeless Supergirl’s body).

And on this half of the list, I voted for every single one, except that silly Jim Lee double cover. There’s a lot missing to be sure, but a solid list in terms of what’s there.

The intro of Beta Ray Bill more memorable than both Thor and the XMen?

kind of figured spider mans very first appearance would make the top five but kind of also though demon in a bottle and some of the dark phoenix saga or days of future past would make the top five other wise a cool list.

GREAT list! But I never understood why 17. Amazing Spider-Man #33 gets so much love. Boring, forgettable cover. I’d probably dump that and (while great) Thor #337 and replace them with Secret Wars #1 and Avengers #16.

And 18. X-Men #136 was an homage to a Michalangelo sculpture. This pose cover is probably the most famous of the Michalangelo homages with the exception of Crisis #7, There were various issues of Superman, Valor, Tom Strong, Cable and Deadpool, Supergirl, Marvel Zombies,Firestorm….even Mighty Mouse!

*sigh*. So the same “memorable” covers get regurgitated and recycled for yet another List.

Marvel has done Tens of thousands of wonderful covers over the last 50 years. But we keep getting beat over the head with nostalgia with same two dozen covers. Many of which aren’t really that great, but only evoke a response because on the storyline or milestone they’re associated with. Which then just adds to the nostalgia for the next list.

You should do a new poll where readers have to find new “Classic and Memorable” covers. All of the covers on this list are ineligible. Find the unsung heroes. Spread the praise around instead of hoarding it for these same two dozen covers over and over. Shouldnt be too hard. You’ve got 10,000+ covers to pick from.

Emma Frost’s crotch should have been number 1! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the troll although I do really like that cover)

I can’t really argue with too many of these, I voted for a lot of them and the ones I didn’t were close calls. I’m really happy to Jim Lee’s X-Men cover make it despite the derision it drew when it showed up, it’s probably the most memorable cover for me personally.

I like Rollo’s idea for a follow up list (even if his tone seems kinda whiny). That would be a fun vote.

@chad

days of future past arc made it to #5, xmen 141 cover. if i misunderstood you then please disregard my post.

cheers

Wow, there are some horse-like trolls on this website; who the hell voted for Beta Ray Bill?

Daredevil #182. I never see it on any of these lists but it is one of my all-time favorite Marvel covers.

“The intro of Beta Ray Bill more memorable than both Thor and the XMen?”

Yes.

Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 is just way too 1990s-busy for me, I don’t care for it at all. Not too fond of the original X-Men #1, or Fantastic Four #1, or even Amazing Spider-Man #1 for that matter, but they rest of them are all great to look at.

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Ok, looking back I see that Daredevil #182 was a little higher. I take it back. Now I can say I used to never see it on these lists.

Wow! Thank God there’s no New Avengers #1 on this list. (I think I would have thrown up in disgust if it had made it’s way in there..LOL!)

A little surprised that Amazing Spiderman #39 didn’t crack the top 5…Oh well. The top ten is pretty solid though. Certainly the top 3 are hard to argue with..

My question is – are people really voting for the cover itself, or moreso for the story in that particular issue or the significance of the issue in question?. I say that because frankly, there have been many more impactful and memorable covers than this assortment.
What is especially good about Wolverine #1 or Hulk #340?

I personally voted based on the design and execution of the covers, and how well they would draw in a reader (with a passing knowledge of the characters, if not a first appearance), ignoring the stories. Which is probably why only 3 of the 25 I voted for made the top 10, and of the remaining 7 in the top 10, I wouldn’t have voted for 4 of them for the top 1000, let alone top 100 based on cover alone.

Too many of the top 50 are STILL memorable stories with marginal (if not bad) covers.

If the point of the list was to vote for memorable covers, then the people didnandamn fine job. I have a terrible memory and I know all of them. This information has probably replaced some relatives’ names. Great, now I’m screwed for Christmas.

I’m quick to roll my eyes at the overwhelming dominance of Wolverine on covers myself, Hutch–there are at least two Zeck Cap covers that I would have ranked higher than this Wolverine one, f’rinstance–but the inclusion of Hulk #340 and Wolverine #1 has nothing to do with the stories inside, just the covers themselves. Like them or don’t like them, the images have had a very active life as cultural artifacts. Hulk #181 lower down the list, on the other hand, is only included because it’s the first cover appearance of Wolverine, not because of any merits it may have as a cover.

(Whoops, by “this” Cap cover I meant Captain America Annual #8, which amazingly was the only Cap cover on the list.)

It’s more nostalgia for books that people have read and loved than the covers. I thought it was based more on what great covers had pulled you in to read the book that otherwise you may have passed on. the hulk 340 cover was a perfect example , at the time I could have cared less about the hulk but when I seen the cover of the book I had to have it. If the story was half as bad ass as the cover I knew it was going to be great. For me that’s what great covers are.

I’ve always liked the cover to Uncanny X-Men #251 with art by Marc Silvestri showing Wolverine on an x shaped cross. Another great cover not included is Namor The Sub-Mariner #29 with art by Jae Lee.

Awesome list and a nice variety of artists.

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that the Quitely Emma Frost cover didn’t make an appearance here, and for that I am happy. Still think Silver Surfer #4 shoulda been up here near the Top Ten, but why flog a dead horse. Other than that, no complaints with the picks here.

@Hutch

I’m sure in many cases the book in question made a difference – anyone who didn’t vote for the Jim Lee X-Men #1 cover because they’ve always hated it was technically violating the intent of the rules as stated because they did, in fact, remember the cover – but to answer your question about “What is especially good about Wolverine #1 or Hulk #340,” the answer is nothing except that people remember them.

If someone says “did you know that Wolverine’s first appearance was actually in a Hulk issue?” does that image of Wolverine jumping on the hulk against a sky with the Wendigo in the background pop into your head? That’s a memorable cover. Personally, I saw that Wolverine #1 cover in so many Marvel house ads that when someone says “remember that cover where Wolverine’s popping his claws?” my first impulse is to think of that cover instead of the correct response: “Which one?”

Of the comics I got this week, the best cover was probably X-Factor 229, but I’m under no impression that if I say “remember the cover where there’s all the Madroxes and a crosshairs?” anyone will have a clear mental image of what I’m talking about, but if I say “you know the one were Quentin Quire has spray painted the bathroom wall?” anyone who reads Marvel comics knows the issue I’m talking about and can probably tell me what his graffiti says, so Wolverine and the X-Men 3 is a more memorable cover than X-Factor 229.

I never liked that Wolverine cover. 4&9 are favs of mine.

It irks me a little bit to have to have to keep repeating this ad nauseam, but apparently people still don’t get it… the vote was for MEMORABLE covers. Not ones that are your “favorite”, not ones that “draw you in”, not even ones you think are well-done. Memorable. Even if you remember a cover because you hate it, it’s still memorable (though I am happy Emma didn’t show up, even if it’s hypocritical).I think this list is just that. The covers people remember.

Brian, maybe after this we could do a “best” or “favorite” covers list. People seem to want it pretty bad.

I still think that That Stupid Ad really mars the cover of X-Men #137.

Agree with Jack Norris. Totally distracts from it
s greatn….er, MEMORABLENESS.

It certainly does mar the art but I’ve got a fond recollection of the stupid ad on the cover of X-Men #137, just because I remember picking up so many great comics with that very same ad. Avengers vs. Red Ronin, DD vs. the Gladiator (by Miller),the reprint of FF #112 (which also made this top 50 list). Even my first Marvel Fun N’ Games comic had the ad on the cover.

I guess in a weird way the $2500-ad made the covers memorable. Heck, we should have more of ‘em on this list!

“It’s an homage to the Pieta (the Virgin Mary holding Christ’s lifeless body after the crucifiction) first and formost. However, George Perez then homaged this cover in Crisis on Infinite Earths (Superman holding the lifeless Supergirl’s body).”

I believe George Perez has said it was this cover he was referencing with the CoIE homage.

http://www.comicvine.com/thor-the-hammer-and-the-holocaust/37-8497/

Amazing Spider-Man #1 is the only one that looks a bit high to my eye. And I love Spider-Man. But that image is less significant than its company. I think it could have been booted off the list in favor of … something. Say, Captain America #111 or Silver Surfer #4.

Beyond that, it’s a hard list to argue with. Lots of notable due to the high volume of great covers. But none that seem out of place.

Amazing 33 and 39 really brought back boyhood memories for me. I remember my older brother bringing home these ishes and of how we couldn’t wait for part 2 (ish.#34) to come out. It was the longest month for this 9 yr. old boy. It was a real human struggle for Spidey, an issue of brilliance from Stan Lee that cannot be rivalled by the cookie-cutter writers of today. It was the best; that is, until the next 2 parter of ish.#39 & 40.
I wish I had those issues now but I was only able to manage holding on to 69 and up.
I had most of those 25 but still have 10 of them.

I still can’t believe the cover to UNCANNY X-MEN #137 placed as highly as it did because I’ve always felt it was a rather weak cover for such a memorable issue and should have been switched with that from #136; still, I can understand they may not have wanted to give away the ending. Also, NO DC’s made the list? You can’t say that the cover to ACTION COMICS #1 wasn’t memorable–it ONLY saved the comic book medium when it was in it’s infancy and has been “homaged” to death–celebrated not only by Todd McFarlane (AMZSM #306) but even on THE SIMPSONS! Was it the best drawn? Far from it. But it DEFINITELY was memorable.

@LEADER DESSLOK

No DC’s made the list? ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

Read the title of this article and slap yourself.

i really think new mutants 87 as well as thor #127 (hammer and the holocaust, which x-men 136 seems to pay homage to) should be in the top 50…but oh well…

Consider myself pimp-slapped!

About FANTASTIC FOUR #1, I suspect that the inker was the same one who inked the cover of FF #18 (The Super Skrull) or has DICK AYERS already been eliminated from the list of possible inkers?

Curious that many of these memorable covers showcase the first appearance of a character, leading me to believe they are not so memorable in and of themselves, but rather for the contents inside. That Hulk #1 cover, for example, while nice, isn’t really anything to get excited over, other than it introduces a now-iconic character.

A fun feature! I love looking at covers.

Wish I was in on the voting, would definitely have to put forth a few different covers, and hope my vote would put some up higher that I saw… like Cap Annual 8 at #50??? If that isn’t a top 25 cover nothing is. And even though MSH:SW #1 is cool you don’t put it ahead of #10, the one of Doctor Doom, which is an epic shot of the indominatable human spirit unwilling to surrender (I want a poster made of that cover). Another Zeck favorite is Cap #321, Cap shooting an Uzi. C’MON, HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE CAP SHOOTING AN UZI?!? But what’s really offensive is seeing that X-Men issue with art by Frank Quitely, who makes me want to vomit, higher up than Zeck.

This is memorable covers, right? Not series #1 covers? Or 1st appearance covers?

How about a little love for Art Adams and voting for New Mutants Special #1? I don’t recall anyone coming close to the artistic flair and style Art had, and to get a wraparound cover like that was awesome to behold. I almost want to put UXM #275 up also but it’s kinda the same thing, and even though Lee is my favorite artist I still have to put Art’s up because it came first and overall looks better.

Or what about UXM #210, the team shot of our favorite band of merry mutants… not looking very merry? An excellent picture from JR JR. And then you have the cover by BWS, #212, or Alan Davis doing #213. (*On a side note, who did UXM #214? I see BWS credited, and no doubt has his signature style [like the crosshatching], but I see certain elements of Art Adams, like the way Dazzler’s legs are shaped or the way her face/mouth are shaped… I’m positive it had to be someone else besides BWS.) Anyway, these are all worthy covers from UXM, I think moreso than UXM #100.

Going back a little bit there’s classics like Doctor Strange vol.2 #4… Doctor Strange meets Death! Fantastic cover by Brunner, wish the dude had stuck around longer on that title, did a lot of great covers for that series.

Going back further again you have covers like The Defenders #10… Thor vs The Hulk!

All I’m sayin’ is I see more than a couple covers that are (imo) bland or ok, not ones that really bring out the “DAMN, now THIS looks GOOD!”. On this page alone (25-1) I see… OK, a lot of the good stuff. But New X-Men #114? Hell no. MSH:SW #8? C’mon, I’m a Zeck fan but no way I vote for it. Face it, it made it because of Spidey’s (in continuity) first black costume app. ASM #252? Same thing! Hulk #181? You can almost make a case for it, but I think it’s more for Wolverine’s first full-app. Marvels #1? Let’s hear it for Alex Ross… and his totally bland cover, doesn’t make my top 100,000. Definitely beats out Punisher #1 (mini -series), everyone must’ve forgotten about it over the last few years. ASM #300??? Seriously!? And Spider-Man #1!? Damn, I should be an artist… if minimalism is in, I can make a fortune! Joking aside those covers do absolutely nothing. How about about Alpha Flight #33, really nice Mignola cover, sure made me wanna pick it up. Those ASM covers are just awesome! :P

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