Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Superman, the X-Men, the Justice League, and the Avengers. For me these are not just characters on a page, they are all an important part of my life since I was young. In fact, comic books have been in my life for nearly 30 or my 39 years.
I was reading comic books before people thought the characters were cool, and my hobby got me bullied for a few years at school. But no matter what people said, it never stopped me from enjoying the latest issue of X-Men or Amazing Spider-Man. Nor did Mrs. Smith, my 7th grade English teacher who didn’t mince words when she told me comic books were a waste of my time and not suitable reading material for school.
I didn’t like Mrs. Smith very much, so I continued to buy comic books, and over the following years my comic collection grew to over 26,000 issues. Sadly, I had to sell most of my comics during the last decade to pay the bills. But I’m slowly building it back up one comic at a time. Now, as I’m days away from turning 40, I’ve decided to look back at the Top 10 Favorite Comics I’ve ever owned, and here they are:
10. Superstar as Seen on TV #1
Written by: Kurt Busiek/Art by: Stuart Immonen
SUPERSTAR is the celebrity’s celebrity. A hero so beloved by his fans that they are willing to empower him with their very life-force! In other words: the more popular Superstar is, the more powerful he is.
With the public behind him, he can work miracles — but without them, he’s nothing. Superstar’s made a deal with his father, an international media tycoon, to promote him and keep him powerful enough to save the world. But now he walks a fine line — between staying famous enough to do the most good, and becoming just another “property” in his father’s portfolio.
I have always loved the concept of Superstar, and this one-shot was amazing in every way possible. But sadly, this was it. Image never published any more Superstar comics, which baffles me. But at least I got to meet Stuart Immonen at a con many years ago, and he kindly signed my copy of this book.
9. Hawkman #1
Written by: John Ostrander/Art by: Jan Duursema
In 1993’s Hawkman #1, Hawkman returned with a new costume, new weapons, new powers. With this series Hawkman become a true bird of prey…a hard-edged urban hero whose extreme measures won’t long escape the notice of the Justice League. Hawkman #1 was packed with shocking revelations and new twists. And it was all wrapped in a beautiful Gold foil-embossed cover by Jan Duursema.
I still remember buying Hawkman #1 at New England Comics in Quincy Ma. During the same visit I had picked up issue #2, but couldn’t find #1. But as I browsed through Marvel bins, something shiny caught my eye. Somebody had shoves a copy of Hawman #1 between some Darevil back issues. I don’t know if someone left it there for later or what, but it didn’t matter. This bad boy was mine!
I ended up collecting this entire series, and although the quality went downhill after the first 12 or so issues, I’ve remained a Hawkman fan to this day. And for my money, I think Jan Duursema is the most underrated Hawkman artist ever.
8. X-Men #8
Written by: Jim Lee (Plot) and Scott Lobdell/Art by: Jim Lee
In X-Men #8, Bishop is introduced to the rest of the X-Men. But it isn’t long before he has it out with Gambit over something that hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, the X-Men enjoy a nice afternoon picnic when Gambit’s wife shows up to crash the party.
This is another comic that I remember the day I bought it and where I got it. It was on Patriot’s Day 1992,at a Tedeschi’s convenience store in Weymouth Ma. I was with my bets buddy Laneit, and we each grabbed a copy of X-Men #8. My favorite moment is the pie scene between Rogue, Gambit, and Bishop. Laneit’s favorite moment was of course when Psylocke emerges from the lake.
And can I just say Jim Lees draws the best Psylocke?
7. Incredible Hulk #417
Written by: Peter David/Art by: Gary Frank
In “Party Animals!” All of Rick Jones’ super-hero friends show up to celebrate Rick’s last night as a single man. But when they sit down to watch the traditional stag film, everyone thinks the female lead in the movie looks awfully familiar, especially to Rick.
I still can’t believe they got so many characters in this comic. Incredible Hulk #417 guest-starred Captain America, Iron Man, Hercules, Crystal, She-Hulk, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing, Silver Surfer, Doc Samson, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Quicksilver, Impossible Man, and the Teen Brigade.
It was the first time I’d seen these characters get together for something other than a crisis. And while it’s cool to see them all interact and have fun, my favorite moment is when Captain America thinks he’s hired a magician to entertain them, but when in fact Nick Fury tricked him into hiring a stripper.
6. The New Adventures of Superboy #21
Written by Cary Bates and Bob Rozakis/Art by: Kurt Schaffenberger and Dave Hunt
In The New Adventures of Superboy #21, a promoter named Huey McKay tries to gain the rights to market Superboy in “Day Superboy Sold Out.” Then, in a second story, visits an alien world with strange creatures and a red sun.
The first story in Superboy #21 is what caught my attention when I bought this comics at a flea market in the 1990’s. The simple life in Smallville looked so welcoming and peaceful, that it made me wish it was a real place. Plus I got to see Clark Kent being just good old Clark while working at the Kent general store.
5. Justice League Quarterly #3
Written by: Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones/Art by: Mike McKone
In Justice League Quarterly #3, Kilowog and Mitch Wacky travel back through time and other dimensions to prevent the Extremists from ever coming into existence and destroying Wacky’s world.
When other JLI members try to follow them, they find themselves only 6″ high…and then, in trying to return home, they travel back to the wrong time where they run into the original Justice League of America.
This 84 page comic was my introduction to the BWAHAHAHA Justice League era. At the time, Justice League Quarterly #3 was the most expensive comic I’d ever bought of the spinner rack, but I definitely got my money’s worth! That summer I read this comic over and over, to the point where one of the staples got loose, but I still enjoyed the heck out this comic book.
4. Superman Annual #3
Written by: Dan Jurgens/Art by: Dusty Abell
The tale of ARMAGEDDON 2001 continues in this annual, as Waverider searches for the hero who will become the evil Monarch of 2001. This issue looks into one of Superman’s possible futures, where we see Superman married Lana Lang after Metropolis is nuked. But the loss of so many loved ones sets the Man of Steel spinning out of control and it ends with him being pursued by Batman.
Superman Annual #3 was my first annual of any kind, and it was the first time I saw Batman battle it our with Superman. But one of the coolest things about this issue was seeing what the heroes were up to in 2001. Like Tim Drake being a senator, and commissioner Gordon as Mayor of Gotham. There are a lot of great little moments in this comic that I still enjoy almost 30 years later.
3. Moon Shot The Flight of Apollo 12 #1
Written by: D.C. Agle/Art by: Alfredo Alcala
Published by Pepper Pike Graphix, Inc. in 1994, Moon Shot The Flight of Apollo 12 #1 was written by D.C. Agle with art by Alfredo Alcala. It tells the true story of the 1969 Apollo 12 lunar landing mission.
What made this comic even more appealing to me was the fact that the Apollo 12 crew of Charles “Pete” Conrad, Richard Gordon, and Alan Bean all contributed to the creation of this very fine space history comic book.
I learned about this comic thanks to an 1994 article in Wizard Magazine, and being a space buff tried hard to find a copy at the time. I never did find a copy of Moon Shot The Flight of Apollo 12 #1, in fact it took me almost 12 years to track down a copy. Maybe that’s why I treasure it so much now.
2. Deadpool #11
Written by: Joe Kelly, Al Milgrom, and Joe Sinnot/Art by: Pete Woods and John Romita
Deadpool #11 never gets the credit it deserves. This is one of the funniest comics I’ve ever read. In the issue, Weasel and the Great Lakes Avengers try to figure out how to bring Deadpool and Al back through time.
While In the past, Deadpool uses his image inducer to impersonate Peter Parker (Al gets to play a very grumpy Aunt May) and try to convince a young and nerdy Weasel to fix his teleporter so they can get back to the future. But things get more complicated when Kraven the Hunter and a swinging party with Peter’s pals get in the way.
The best part of Deadpool #11 is seeing Deadpool’s reactions to the people in Peter Parker’s life. He can’t keep his eyes off Harry Osbourne’s hair, or from Mary Jane. All the while, Blind Al has to deal with MJ’s obnoxious aunt. This comic is loaded with laughs, and will cheer you up no matter what kind of day you’re having.
1. Avengers #1
Written by: Kurt Busiek/Art by: George Perez
After the events of Onslaught, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have returned from the pocket universe of the Heroes Reborn just in time for an adventure that it will take the greatest assemblage of Avengers ever put together. Every hero who has ever been a member of the team must unite to face a force so dangerous that it threatens the very fabric of reality.
Now this was an awesome #1 issue.
This comic features a ton of characters and they all get a moment in the spotlight. There are some great scenes too, like the Avengers meeting in the living room while Jarvis serves tea. Another good scene happens when Spider-Man excuses himself, and the swordman goes off on him. It was just so cool to see the Avengers in their classic HQ and in their old costumes again.
Avengers #1 remains one the gems in my collection. This is the comic that made me a fan of George Perez, and the book that kept me reading the Avengers books until 2005. No other Avenger title has been able to match what Busiek and Perez accomplished with this run. This is what an Avengers book desperately needs to be again.