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CSBG Archive

31 Days of Comics – Comic You’ve Read the Most Times

Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!

We continue with Day 27, which is the Comic You’ve Read the Most Times

Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!

Another tough one. I read so many comic books that I tend not to have much time to read any book that many times, so it would have to be one from when I was younger. I’ve read Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen tons of times and the answer very well COULD be the issue I picked for my favorite comic book, but I think the actual answer is a comic that my brother had that I read so many times that I had to tape the book together eventually so that it would remain readable….

West Coast Avengers Annual #1

The concept of the comic was that the Avengers discover that the Avenger who betrayed them in part one of the story (a part I don’t think I actually read until, like, five years had passed) is also planning on some sort of diabolical plan. So they put together every readily available Avenger and they go to fight the minions of their former teammate.

For a kid, seeing pretty much EVERY Avenger was pretty darn cool. I especially recall this one bit in the issue (written by Steve Englehart, with a plot by Mark Bright and Danny Fingeroth – art by Bright and Geoff Isherwood) when they explain why certain Avengers couldn’t make it. Thinking back, it is really kind of a poorly written scene, as it is basically a page just of captions citing old issues of Marvel Comics, but obviously, I am a very certain type of person and the idea that Marvel had all of this history and it was all readily available to me was really cool and left a lasting impression.

But mostly, I just liked seeing all of the superheroes in action.


For me I think it would be Green Lantern: Rebirth. I can’t seem to get enough of that story.

Amazing Spiderman #121-122: Death of Gwen Stacy/Death of Green Goblin. I was very young at the time and totally shocked. 121’s cover was great. If I have to pick just one of them for this, I’d go with 122. The Spidey/Goblin battle was great. I’m not sure if it was 122 or 123 that had the epilogue with MJ but that was just an amazing (no pun intended) scene. I had never seen Peter so emotional before and MJ’s reaction was moving. There was so much to 122- the sadness, anger, Peter rising above it to NOT kill Osborn and the catharsis of Osborn dying at his own hands. Still one of my favorites of all time.

Dark Knight Returns

Once a week since I picked up the 20th anniversary edition in April of ’96.

Really, this could probably only be a contest between Duncan the Wonder Dog and The Nao of Brown, two of the books I’ve spent the most time trying to understand (Utsubora almost fits, but instead of reading it multiple times, I just read it twice more and took copious notes). I’m going to go with Nao of Brown here, but in truth I’m not even actually sure I’ve read Nao more than Duncan.

The reason I’ve read each so many times is that I’ve moderated discussions on both books (and several on Nao) and felt it was my due diligence to come to the most complete understanding I possibly could for each book. My reading and side research resulted in a light bookclub study guide for Duncan and a much more comprehensive guide to Nao.

Also, at the end of my life—should I live that long (to the end of my life)—I’ll likely have read Cross Game more than either of these. ‘Cuz, man, such a great book.

It’s actually been a while but I had a trade of the Wolverine miniseries back in the day. I obliterated that book. I’ve never replaced it, but now I kinda want to.

Batman: Venom. It was among the first tpb’s I ever picked up, and it holds up better than most of the other stuff I bought at the time, like X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner’s Song.

Man, those titles look dumb when you type them out.

Ditko/Lee’s The Defeat of Dr. Strange/Eternity Saga is a stone cold classic, something I’ve come back to time and time again. It holds up for the same reason the Mona Lisa holds up, for the same reason A Love Supreme holds up…it’s simply a work of artistic genius, worth going back to again and again and again. I am astounded that it never makes the CSBG list of 100 greatest runs, but I guess we had to leave room for such fare as The Long Halloween. Sigh.

The perennial ones I go back to over and over are The Dark knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Watchmen, Morrison’s Animal Man and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.

When I was in hospital with appendicitis though I had a pile of recent comics by my bed and I read Animal Man 29 over and over again. I absolutely loved to at issue. Peter Milligan was on top form and Steve Dillon was the guest artist – showing that he was and to me always will be the perfect artist for the book. It’s a shame that by the time he became the regular artist the writing wasn’t so good.

Essential X-Men Volume Four, it use to be my trade that I would go to the laundry mat with. Instantly rereadable.

In my younger days, Maximum Carnage filled that slot, as I loved seeing the entire Spider-cast, heroes and villains alike all in one place. That got me through long weeks, summers, commercial breaks, everything. But I haven’t read it once in at least seven years.

Ditko/Lee’s The Defeat of Dr. Strange/Eternity Saga is a stone cold classic, something I’ve come back to time and time again. It holds up for the same reason the Mona Lisa holds up, for the same reason A Love Supreme holds up…it’s simply a work of artistic genius, worth going back to again and again and again. I am astounded that it never makes the CSBG list of 100 greatest runs


It made both the 2008 AND the 2012 Top Runs list.



The comic I’ve re-read the most times: ADVENTURE COMICS #431-440, as collected in the TPB, WRATH OF THE SPECTRE. I just love Aparo’s 70’s artwork and the over the top violence meted out by the Spectre. I just love it. I have read it about once each year since the late 80’s.

Will Eisner’s Spirit story “10 Minutes.”

I first read it in the Harvey reprints from 1966, then in virtually every other incarnation in which it has appeared (Spirit bags, Warren magazine, the Denis Kitchen reprints, and a Best of the Spirit collection). You can’t beat it for plot, characterization, pathos, action, pacing, suspense, and just pure satisfaction.

I can’t even remember. I wanna say Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla maybe?

For me it’s something like Uncanny X-Men #275 or X-Men vol. 2 #1. Both were double-sized issues with gatefold covers and they just felt like giant events. Being a huge Jim Lee fan and wanting to rip off his style while doodling, I constantly had these books close-by.

There’s a number of them, but I’ll say the Galactus Trilogy in FF #48-50 and The Saga of the Swamp Thing Annual #2 where Swampy goes to Hell to get Abby.

I honestly couldn’t tell you. Because of my comic source as a kid (which gets brought up so often in these comments by myself and others that we should probably come up with some kind of short-hand for it, maybe “big-brother’s-comics-syndrome”?) I ended up reading the same single issues over and over and over. Off the top of my head, a few I know I read enough that they fell apart were the issue that introduced Omega Red in the Jim Lee “X-Men” relaunch, the first issue of “Contest of Champions”, and several random issues of the Claremont/Davis “Excalibur” run.


How did I miss it TWICE?! Now I kinda feel like an idiot.

I wanted to say “The Great Darkness Saga,” but when I thought about it, the Legion of Super-Heroes story I go to when I just want to pick up an LSH story — my comfort-read go-to — is the “Universo Project” in LSH v3 #32-35: Brainy and Saturn Girl and Cham and Dream Girl (!!!!) being clever and defeating Universo. Loved it when it came out, love it still.

Avengers #223. I read it so much I had to buy a second copy, (and eventually a third, just to have one in good condition.) It’s still my favorite single issue to this day, and I even am fortunate enough to have a page of original artwork from it.

Brian’s pick is probably one of my 5 or 10 most read issues. Annual #1 was my first introduction to a bunch of those Avengers (I had never even heard of Quicksilver before.) That issue and WCA Annual #2/Avengers Annual #16 were in pretty constant reading rotation growing up.

Hmm. At first I was thinking DKR, or WE3, or even V for Vendetta (which I try to read just about every Fifth of November).

But in thinking about it, I think it’s got to be some Cerebus. Specifically the 2-3 issues of the Mary and Ernest Hemingway (Ham Ernestway) sequence in Africa (um…somewhere in the 250s, I think?). Utterly amazing how much got packed into those couple issues (I looked back at it a few years after I really was reading it over and over compulsively, and was amazed that it’s only about 2 1/2 issues long), and the back matter of the issues was a lot of meat to chew over.

At the time, I didn’t have access to my full collection, so those issues were what I had to read and reread and re-re-read. It’s been ages since I’ve looked at them again.

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes 326. Actually it’s probably Crisis 12, but I used that for my favorite comic so I’ll go with this one. Why have I read this issue so much, well when I was a kid I was not able to spend a lot of money on comics so I would read the ones that I had over and over and over again. This issue was the start of the news stand reprints of the new fancy Legion of Super Heroes series that they only sold in comic stores. It was also a pretty good story if I remember correctly by Levitz & Giffen. I’d always gravitate toward the team books back then, more bang fr the buck according to my kid logic.

Amazing Spider-Man # 375 with the shiny gold cover and Spidey vs. Venom in an epic showdown. I was just about to turn 6 when it came out and I loved Venom. I grew up with the Mark Bagley versions of the characters and believe his Venom is head and shoulders above McFarlane and Larsen’s. As a nearly 6 year-old, aspiring comic book artist, I thought the fight scenes in the comic were phenomenal for me to practice my craft.

I’m not sure, but probably X-Men #112 (Magneto Triumphant) and Daredevil #154 (Arena) were up there, I read those over and over.

And Daredevil #171, where DD fights Kingpin for the first time. Especially loved that bar brawl at Josie’s, which went on for a few pages and which I thought was hilarious.

I’m constantly going through my trade of Kraven’s Last Hunt.

Back before I could afford to collect, I reread most comics many times. I recall sitting down several times just to reread the whole slowly growing “stack”.

The ones that seem to stick in my memory the most are the Famous First Edition reprints of All-Star Comics 3 and Flash 1 and the Superman / Shazam and Superman / Wonder Woman Treasury Editions. Loved those comics. Followed by any JLA/JSA team-ups and reprints (digest editions that I still reread to this day).

Oh yeah. Adventure Comics 452. Shocking comic to a 12 year old relatively new to comics. And I loved the Jim Aparo art as well.

Avengers # 177 – “These who lay dying!” I was a six year old back then and it left an indelible mark on me, and my love for Captain America. Korvac slays not only the Avengers, but the Guardians of the Galaxy too! Some brilliant dialogue as well from Iron Man and one of the best Cap moments EVER!

There are a handful that I could choose, but I’ll go with Detective #664, part 12 of “Knightfall.” This is the issue that followed Bane breaking Batman’s back. Seeing everyone’s reactions to what had happened, and everyone scrambling to deal with it, was endlessly fascinating, and I read the issue to tatters over the years. It’s one of those comics that i still like to pull out and re-read every so often. “Knightfall” was a better-than-average event, and I consider this issue its high point. So many great scenes, and such excellent characterization throughout.

LSH #300. Those Adult Legion stories explained. Happy ending. Great art.

Probably Amazing Spider-Man 163 and 164. They came out about a year before I started collecting comics, but I came into owning them somehow very early on. A fun two-parter with Kingpin capturing and draining Spider-Man of his life energy to revive the Kingpin’s dying son. I just remember reading it over and over again through the years until the issues fell apart and I bought replacements about 10 years ago and eventually gave the originals to my then 5-year-old son.

Either Sandman or V for Vendetta. I haven’t reread Watchmen as much as I should, but I guess I always think of it as something I need to make time for rather than something I can just pick up.

Hard to be sure, but almost certainly an issue of ‘The Best of 2000AD monthly’, I’d bet issue 3 that reprinted the original Judge Death story, along with a bit of Nemesis the Warlock and some Strontium Dog. No doubt I’m conflating several issues, though!
But it could equally be Red Rackham’s Treasure (the first Tintin comic I bought).

Daredevil: Born Again. It was one of the first trades I owned, thus easier to access than my “floppies.” The storyand art blew my mind.

I’ve probably read Starstruck, by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta, more times than any other comic. Not because it’s a favorite, but just trying to figure out what’s going on. The art is gorgeous, but making sense of the story is not an easy task.

I think I’ve read Crisis on Infinite Earths more than any other comic series I own. Thirty years later, I still get excited from the seeing so many characters appear in one series.

Astonishing X-Men Volume 1: Gifted felt like my first real intro to the X-Men. I had read my dad’s X-Men comics for years, and enjoyed them as a casual fan. But I remember reading the story by one of my favorite writers (whose show Angel had just got cancelled) and being completely blown away. This was also the first time I read a story with Kitty Pryde, because she hadnt been in comics for awhile. She instantly became my favorite X-Men female character, and is probably my favorite X-Men character now overall. I can recite issue 1 from memory. I downloaded the motion comic onto my iPod. And basically reread (or watch it) it whenever I’m bored and want to read a comic.

all 4 of the “Command Review/Albedo” story collections. Fell in love with the story and art even though the sociology-political storyline still confuses me……

Most of Roger Stern’s Amazing Spider-Man run. I’m missing some issues, and never did get to what I thought was the conclusion of his Hobgoblin saga, but I read those over and over and over again.

The Death of Superman issue comes close though, and is likely the single issue I read the most.

Since then, there are tons of comics I’ve re-read multiple times: Preacher, Sandman, Robinson’s Starman, Ennis’s Punisher MAX, Watchmen.

It must be Batman 247, the Christmas/New Years issue, which my mom bought for me at age four in 1972. I read it til I lost the cover, then pages started falling out. I later replaced it, read that copy til I had to tape the cover, and I still read it every so often now, most recently, last week. Also have a near-mint copy signed by Denny O’Neil, Dick Giordano and Julie Schwartz. Really fun 70s era Batman!

All-Star Superman just gets better and better each time I read it.

When it comes to old school stuff, probably Uncanny X-Men 175. I started collecting much later and picked up back issues here and there (wasn’t so easy as a kid in a small town before the internet went big) and I just loved that book. I loved seeing Cyclops prove why he’s the best leader of the X-Men by taking down the entire team on his own. Uncanny Annual 8 (or was it 9) with the X-Men in Asgard is probably a close 2nd.

When it comes to newer stuff, Matt Wagners Batman & the Monster Men/Batman & the Mad Monk are just awesome to me. I loved it when they would take the really old golden and silver age stories and plot points and rework them to make them fit the modern incarnations of the characters. This was when DC still cared something about its history instead of treating it like something they stepped in and need to scrape off their shoes.

I’d say Dark Knight Returns, or some other Miller classic run, but realistically I probably read those early Spider-Man issues over and over again. I had those pocket books as a kid, and I’m sure Amazing was read a lot more than the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Hulk, or Avengers one. So they must have been read endless times.

Honorable mention to Avengers Annual 9 which was one of those loose issues we had as kids; Arsenal was so cool.

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