That One Comic We All Remember

I think in the life of every early comic reader there is a moment, a moment when you pick up a book and something clicks. This funky medium finally makes sense, and you have a book that becomes your first love of comics. I know I have one, a few really if I’m being honest, and I bet you do too. I also would be willing to wager that many of our “first love” comics are not particularly special issues. They probably take place in the middle of a story arc, are not necessarily a one-and-done, and by all measures might not actually be very good as comics. But to each of us they hold a special place, that first diamond in the rough that sent us down the road to full-fledged comic fan. I think I’ve shared a few of my own influences as vignettes within various columns before, but I don’t think I’ve ever walked through my own chronology, so here goes nothing.

Found this image, still don't know the issue #. Thanks for nothing, internet.

The first two comics I really remember pouring over were an issue of Spider-Man and an issue of Superman. I think they both came as books within a variety pack bought at the bookstore by my mom. The only other exposure to superheroes I’d had at that age (we’re talking some of my earliest memories here) was watching the bootleg VHS of the 1966 Batman movie and forcing my grandma to tell me Superman stories, even though neither of us could remember his secret identity and usually wound up calling him something like “Craig Kent.” But these were my first two comics.

The Spider-Man issue dealt with Peter Parker facing Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin. Harry was essentially holding his wife, Liz Allan, and their son, Normie, hostage in a big mansion. Molten Man was also there for some reason. Parker sneaks in all ninja-like only to sit down for a meal with his former friend. I think there may be a page or so of fisticuffs, but the issue ends with Harry being hauled away and Normie glaring at Spider-Man like he’s gearing up to be the next in the Osborn line to hop on a glider. I knew I liked Spider-Man, probably due to exposure to the 1990’s animated series, so I dug this issue even though I didn’t really know what was going on.

It's half as long as his cape!

The same could be said for my Superman issue. The issue was the finale of the Trial of Superman storyline, which ran throughout the Superman titles in late 1995 and early 1996 (meaning I was 9 years old). I remember big blue judge aliens who had Supes on trial for… something. And they decide that it was really Cyborg Superman so they send him to a black hole (guess Kal-El forgot to bring his negative zone projector?). For some reason, all the alternative Supermen from the death and return storyline were there too. I could make sense of them all except Eradicator, who seemed like a mash-up between Cyclops and Superman with half the personality of either. The book ends with Superman returning during a football game, or something like that, and he flies off to greet Lois after their time apart. I can’t remember if she comments on the mullet, though she really should have; that thing was inexcusable I don’t care how popular MacGyver may have been.

After that I didn’t really read comics for a while. I watched the cartoons, and that was enough for my superhero fix. I really was only drawn back in during junior high when Marvel launched the Ultimate line. Yep, that crazy scheme actually worked. They put a few of those early issues online for free and I read them voraciously. I then started to peruse the graphic novel section of the local book store and picked up whatever looked good based on the art alone (I used to draw a lot). This left me with two tomes that really stood out. One was the first arc of the JMS Amazing Spider-Man run. The one where he gets told his powers are mystical and becomes a school teacher after stopping a school shooting. I followed that run until John Romita Jr. left and I realized it wasn’t actually any good. The less said about that the better.

There will be no criticism.

The other book was the first volume of Peter David’s Captain Marvel run. This was when Captain Marvel was Genis-Vell, cloned son of Mar-Vell, and Rick Jones. Having no context going into this book, I didn’t even know who Rick Jones was, what hooked me with this book was the idea of “cosmic awareness” or, an innate sense of everything that’s happening in the universe all at once. Needless to say, this drives Genis insane, leaving Rick trapped in a sub-atomic Microvese while Genis searches for the discipline to properly utilize his “gift.” This one arc runs the gamut from Captain Marvel teaming up with The Punisher, joining the Kree army (and getting an amazing new costume), and, SPOILERS, killing Eternity thus having to restart the universe. It’s fantastic stuff, and even though the series itself eventually went a bit off the rails, this first arc showed how comics could tackle ideas beyond “Stop the bad guy, get the girl.”

And after much casual reading, it was Red Son that brought be fully into the fold. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before so I won’t go into detail. Hell, I mentioned it to Mark Millar himself and Ron said I was weird about it, so I won’t do that to you here. Suffice it to say, these books are my touchstones to the different eras of my comic-reading life. They may not have been great, but they were mine, and I’ll never forget the impact they had.

What about you?


Ryan Haupt hopes there’s still a comic out there than can someday be added to this list. Discover something new along with him by listening to the podcast Science… sort of.


  1. Spectacular Spider-Man #189. The one with the hologram cover, right?

  2. Does it have to be a single issue? That would be tough. Maybe Wolverine #1 when Wolverine kills the bear and then goes after the hunter that shot the bear. That made it all click and had me for life.

    If I had to say collection/trade – that’s easily Dark Knight Returns. I’ve read that comic at least once a year for the past 24+ years. Even when I stopped reading comics – I would read that one.

  3. Well, I’m French and Irish, and in Europe comics aren’t really popular, and can even be despised. So it was only out of sheer curiosity that, at then age of 21 (I’m 23 now) I discovered comics through TPB.
    My very first comics was Watchmen. Of course it changed my life. This “Alan Moore” stranger sounded so interesting, so then I read “V for Vendetta” and the lesser-known “From Hell” (which haunted me for weeks and is a mad, wonderful comic experience; it’s a life-changer).

    After those 3 books I remembered I was in love with Batman since TAS: Batman so I picked up “Return of Bruce Wayne” by Morrison. This is my very personal, very emotional gem in the sand. I became hooked on comics ever since and will never look back my choice to love this medium.

    Mioore, Morrison and soon after Snyder (whom I met twice, he is an amazing human being) quickly became my Trinity of Writers.

    • “in Europe comics aren’t really popular, and can even be despised”

      Uh? Are we living in the same Europe? 🙂

    • Europe is a big place. I’m in complete agreement with Simon. Comics are a hugely niche market in Ireland. There’s literally a handful of stores in the country.

    • @davidtobin100: yeah, it’s hard in Ireland! Fortunately in Dublin the situation is better than in the rest of the country, but still… I’ll be back in Dublin soon and will make a “tour of the comics shops” to see what is the state of the situation right now.

      @Filippod: yeah, the situation is dire for some countries in Europe. ALSO, to me, there’s a HUGE difference between American comics and what French people call “bandes dessinées”, both in body and spirit. Different economic system, different business model. Compare Batman or Spiderman to Astérix or Tintin (both huge icons) and you will pratically end up with two different mediums. Sometimes, when you read a recent “bande dessinée”, it hurts. Europe lacks the revolution Watchmen and TDKR brought in the US. IMO

    • @huysmans – that’s a really valid point you bring up about the difference between european comics and american comics. from my standpoint (american), i think i find the european ones more interesting than american, though i’ve read way more of the latter. case in point, i was in brussels a few years back during my honeymoon and my wife (who is awesome) suggested we visit the belgium comic museum (because, again, awesome). i was absolutely blown away by the variety that was on display. there are still a ton of books published by poisson pilote that i’ve been meaning to read to this day.

      so, not disagreeing with you, just pointing out that the perspective is somewhat dependent on where your story preference happens to go.

    • Avatar photo filippod (@filippodee) says:

      My remark was tongue-in-cheek because your generalization from your experience in Ireland and France to the whole Europe seemed a bit far-fetched.

      I’m familiar with several flavor of comics (mainly Italian, French, Belgian, Japanese, English and American).

      In Italy we are lucky because we have a wealth of offer of Japanese and US (and, naturally, Italian) comics.

      Not so much French though. Some, yes, but not enough.

      When they stopped translating Trondheim and Sfar I took French lessons just to read the originals 🙂

    • In America we’ve gotten Heavy Metal magazine for years which reprints comics/graphic novels published in Europe. I’ve always thought that graphic storytelling was very strong in Europe.

  4. For me it was a stack of X-Men that some kid had at summer camp.

    Specifically it was the X-Men’s first fight with Dracula, In limbo with Belasco, and Wolverine alone on Broodworld.

  5. For me the issue i remember reading first was an issue of Spider-Man Classic that reprinted the first appearance of the Sandman and Mysterio. Two stories for the price of one with two insanely different villains. It was an amazing find on the spinner rack at Walgreen’s when I was around 6 or 7 and within weeks my local shop was setting aside new issues of Amazing Spider-man for me. Mark Bagley was the artist on Amazing when i jumped on and he’s still my favorite artist in comics.

  6. Justice League of America #200, but I’m an old fart.

  7. Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 … I was barely 10 years old then, living in the middle of nowhere in the midwest. My dad took me to the little gas station/convenience store in the town of 600 people where we lived, and they always had a small stack of comic books for sale. As the rule was that I could get up to 3 comics, I immediately gravitated to this thing called “Crisis on Infinite Earths” that I’d never heard of before, and on the cover was Superman wailing, holding a lifeless Supergirl’s body.

    While I already enjoyed comics before, it was then that it really clicked for me that it was all part of a larger, interconnected universe. I found issues #11 & 12 about a year later on a grocery shopping trip with my mom, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I was finally able to get the whole story from start to finish.

    Man of Steel #1 was also a big shock to me, because it significantly rewrote the rules of Superman that I’d just started to comprehend and understand, and while some of the changes were alarming, I loved it, and I wanted to learn more.about this brave new universe that had spun out of the original Crisis.


    And then even before I realized how interconnected it all was, I LOVED Captain Carrot & the Amazing Zoo Crew #1, which guest starred Superman. It was a brilliantly absurd introduction to the characters on Earth-C, and I was so sad when the series didn’t last beyond the 12th issue or so…

    • Another Captain Carrot fan!!! They do exist!! I was told I was alone. The original series ran 20 issues then there was the Oz mini series. There was another mini where the crew was broken up and Little Cheese had been murdered.

    • Heh…. Yeah, I remember that from a few years ago, and Alley-Kat-Abra was the one who murdered him (except then it was apparently her evil doppleganger or something).

      I hated when they all had to escape Earth-C (or Earth-26) and came to the main DCU, where they were transformed into regular animals, but the memories and intelligence of their former selves. That was kind of heartbreaking.

  8. Civil War Trade. First comic book I’ve ever read. Looking at some of the coolest superheroes I know duking it out was great. Looking back on it now, it wasn’t the best event, but grateful that it kicked off my interest in comic books.

  9. I registered to leave a comment, I was so moved. I had been reading comic books in one for or another since about age 5 (Archie, Superman, Uncle Scrooge) and then after age 7 with Marvel’s Star Wars series. Perhaps in part b/c I didn’t have a disposable income at age 7, I didn’t read Star Wars consistently until I was 9, when I was allowed to get a mail in subscriptions. Although I remember several books prior to issues #51 and #52, it was those two issues that drew me to collecting. In these issues, the Empire has a new super laser called the Tarkin. Issue #51 our heroes must infiltrate the station, the next issue the battle inside the station, have a space battle, and eventually destroy. All wonderfully rendered by Walt Simsonson. But, I continued with just Star Wars, and many many animated heroes on TV, until age 13 when I discovered Secret Wars #3. All the cool Marvel heroes and villians in one place. And the HULK holds up a mountain!. I’ve been hooked on comic books ever since.

  10. For me it was the Spider-Man reprint title, Marvel Tales. I’d enjoyed comics for years. Pored over plenty of Superman, Superboy, Star Wars, and even a G.I. Joe here and there, but it wasn’t until Marvel Tales #170 (reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #30) that I got it. I had no idea of the release schedule of comics at the time, but I tirelessly haunted the grocery store for the next issue. By the time issue #173 rolled around, with that iconic sequence of Spidey trapped under the tons of debris, I was hooked.

  11. For me it was Transformers #7, #8, and #9 in the ’80s. My Mom bought them for me at K-Mart, they were in a 3 pack. I read up until about #25 or so. Then took a few years off. Then I started up again in 8th grade with Ghost Rider #2 of the 1990s series. I have been going pretty steady ever since then. I now own every issue of Ghost Rider of every volume ever made. But I’m mostly into Batman now.

  12. 9 years old in 1995? Frak dude, I was graduating high school! I have several milestones related to when I was a little kid:

    GI Joe #47 – the first issue of GI Joe where I started collecting this month to month. I still have my stack of GI Joe books, from Issue 47 to 101 (albeit they are in HORRIBLE conditions). GI Joe, obviously, because all us little kids back then LOVED GI Joe… but unlike most things of this nature, the Joe books were very well done… they really are miles above the cartoon in regards to overall quality and complexity. I didn’t collect JUST GI Joe, but anything else I bought was probably kid’s stuff as well.

    Punisher 1986, 5 issue Mini-series. I did not actually read or own this… my cousin did and, for some reason, he kept the issues stored between his mattress and boxspring. I was too young to really understand what it was, but those covers… those covers just looked SO BAD ASS. It actually occurred to me to ask my cousin a couple of years ago if he still had them, unfortunately he didn’t (he even marveled at how I even remembered he had them).

    The point of that last bit being… I started outgrowing GI Joe… perusing the revolving comic book rack where I usually got my GI Joe from, 2 books caught my eye:
    Daredevil #257 & Punisher #10.
    First, the Punisher clicked from when my cousin showed me the mini-series. 2nd, this was a crossover story that occurred in both books. I had no idea what a true crossover was, all I ever read was GI Joe up to now. So I picked them up and what blew my mind further was that it wasn’t just your usual crossover, it was nearly the same story told from two different perspectives. Still, at this point, I only just read the books then did whatever I wanted with them…so eventually these 2 issues were lost and/or destroyed by some childish means. (Recently I went to my local shop and found the 2 back issues and bought them…)

    In a few short years after that, I’d finally graduate to Batman and Uncanny X-men and all that would eventually blow the doors off and lead to the 20 short boxes of comics I own now.

  13. Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1. I discovered superhero comics the summer that Darkness Within came out, and those comics were my introduction to the idea of a shared comic-book universe spanning multiple titles with different creators and different tones. But #1 stood out because of the black plastic diamond on the cover, which, to a child in the early ’90s, seemed really badass.

  14. While I don’t remember my first comic, it was the Busiek/Perez run on Avengers that brought me into comics fully, with the Kang Dynasty storyline cementing my love for the Avengers. I didn’t know who this Kang guy was, but if this many heroes were all teaming up to fight him, and he had the whole world scared he was obviously some seriously bad news.

  15. Amazing Spider-man #375, I was drawn to the awesome gold cover with Venom and Spider-man fighting on it…..been hooked on comics, and Spider-man in particular, ever since then.

  16. for me there is a few – The oversized Batman specials from the 70’s I found in my parents basement (along with a superman one and “the bible” comic), those were the first comics i ever read and sparked my love. from there it was the Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told trade, I read it over and over and over again on family trips. and then after that I finally discovered The Killing Joke around the time i was 10 years old and it totally changed everything for me from then on.

  17. When I was 8 or 9 my mom bought me a 3 pack of comics to add to the Death of Superman comic my uncle had bought me.

    One was an X-men book but it didn’t have Cyclops, Wolverine or Gambit so I thought it was lame. Another was a history of the Avengers one-shot and I thought Cap looked awesome.

    The one that took the cake was “The Amazing Spiderman vs The Powdered Toastman in the Ren and Stimpy Show.” I read it about 100 times. Here’s the link for the cover image

    After that I didnt get another comic until college. I went for the Ender’s Game comics and asked him what trade I should get if I like Captain America. He gave me the Civil War and Cap: Winter Solider Trades and the rest is history.

  18. I had a little different path into comics than most. I didn’t start reading them until I was 22 (I’m almost 25 now). I was intrigued by the origin of Captain America given in an article which was about John Krasinski possibly being cast as Cap (I’m a big Office fan). I started getting the Brubaker trades, and while most people were floored with those, I still wasn’t hooked on the medium. It wasn’t until I repeatedly saw some indie book about a plague wiping out all men except one and his monkey being held up so highly in several forums that I saw things differently. I decided to give it a try. It was my first indie book. I had never even considered anything other that super-heroes. I always thought, “If it doesn’t have super-heroes, why not watch a tv show or a movie or read a prose book? I thought super-heroes were the point of comics.” Boy, was I ill-informed. I’ve since found other books (even some with super-heroes) that have left me in the same state of euphoria: Sin City, Scott Pilgrim, Criminal, Snyder’s Batman, Ultimate Spider-Man, etc., but Y: the Last Man is definitely the book that changed comics from slight interest to border-line obsession.

  19. Its the original Sin City for me. This is the book that showed me what comics are truly capable of.

  20. X-Men #1, the Jim Lee drawn one from the 90’s. That issue started my obsession with comics, and especially the “Wish you were here” pullout pool pic in the back, which I looked at 323234 times a day because I was 11 at the time, and psylocke, jean, and rogue were so smokin hawt 😉

  21. GI Joe #46 I read and reread until the cover fell off (still have it, and it’s cover). It was right in the middle of some major ninja action, with Ripcord for some reason being dressed as Zartan and unconscious. Ripcord’s girlfriend is some major figure in Cobra and manages to save his life from a vengeful Storm Shadow (who thinks he’s going after Zartan). I can’t believe I remember all that. It really got me into reading GI Joe, especially since I also had a copy of #23 floating around that had been given to me as a child. Now I could connect the dots slowly to see how #23 had led into #46.

    Groo #52 was another one, which led me to collecting every issue of Groo I could find. Think I read the cover off of that one too.

  22. I read comics when I was really young whenever I got them but without much continuity or caring about the overall plot.
    For me, Star Wars #61 “Screams In The Void” was the first issue that knocked me on my proverbial 8 year old ass and turned me into a monthly reader. It was the first time I remember going back to the drug store every week after to see if the next issue was out yet so I could find out what happened next in the story.

    GI Joe issues #6-7, and # 11 also stick out in my memory as huge favorites from the period just after. I wanted to grow up to be Snow Job so badly, god knows why.

  23. wow. this is an awesome topic.

    for me it was an issue of batman, shortly before the death in the family storyline. so that would’ve made me, what? eight, maybe? anyway, it’s a standalone issue where jim gordan is held ransom by a gangster whose son jason todd allegedly killed. it takes place entirely in a junkyard and ends with the gangster being crushed by a tower of cars.

    i just remember it being a very morally ambiguous story, and to an eight-year-old the idea that robin *might* be a killer was pretty scary. i have no idea if the story is any good. i may have to see if i can find it in back issue. if anyone knows the issue number, let me know.

  24. I always come back to Uncanny X-Men 243, the second to last issue in the Inferno storyline. I could not believe the cover, it just drew me right in. I saw it at Ocean Pharmacy when I was 10 years old and just HAD to buy it. I was so excited to see the ending and didn’t realize that Inferno’s last chapter was in an issue of X-Factor. I didn’t actually read the ending until months later but picked up every issue of Uncanny after that (which is why I think the whole premise of a “jumping on point” is over-rated).

    If I ever meet Mark Silvestri at a con I’ll have to tell him that he is 100% responsible for my getting into comics.

    • You should really try and meet Silvestri. I met him at Image Con and found him to be very humble and genuine. A friend of mine is a huge Silvestri fan and Marc was hanging out with us for quite a while just talking about the Darkness and other things. Cool dude.

  25. Great topic! Yeah i had a stack of random comics that really got me into the characters. Don’t remember the issue #s but i can tell you what happened panel to panel. I’m sure most of them were part of story arcs, but i didn’t care…they all felt complete to me.

    My all time favorites:

    That issue of Detective where Batman teams up with Etrigan and they walk off as buddies
    An issue of Superman where he takes on a mega arsenal gun guy and has an epic showdown with him to save the hostages.
    That one issue of Gi Joe (Unmaskings!)
    that other issue of Gi Joe Special Missions where they go to someplace in the eastern bloc to free some prisoners and have an epic shootout in an alley and foil that doofus Russian officer guy with the glasses.

  26. My first comic was the first issue of an Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Series.

    A few years later I bought a Green Lantern: Emerald Knights trade.

    I didn’t start reading again until High School, and then I think it was either Batman: The Long Halloween or Dark Knight Returns that got me really into reading comics regularly.

  27. Jonah Hex 30 ” Luck Runs Out “.
    The Jordi Bernet art is fucking awesome in this. The story is about Lucky Dave and his gang stopping in a middle of nowhere town during their train robbery. Little do they know that the mean drunk sleeping off a bender in the hotel is non other than Jonah Hex. Awesome issue in the middle of my favorite series of all time.

  28. Marvel Comics Presents for me. It was an issue in the middle of Weapon X by BWS. I remember as a kid this dude wearing a weird helmet of some kind, running around in the woods with knives jutting from his hands. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

  29. FF 347 to 349? The ones where wolverine, sder man Hulk and ghost rider became the new FF for a few issues.

  30. Iron Man Iron Wars I for me

  31. Fantastic Four # 249, an assortment of Mike Grell Warlords, GI Joe Silent Interlude, and I think even an issue or two of Arion Lord of Atlantis…These were some that I read over and over again for years. I think my “collection” started with Secret Wars # 1 though.

    • Hey, thinking of Warlord, have we seen “Skartaris” anywhere in the New 52? Always wondered why that cool place didn’t show up more in the DCU like the Savage Land does in Marvel.

  32. My first comic was an old garage sale copy of Spiderman 2099 #4. It blew me away and I wanted to read more, unfortunately the 2099 line was defunct for a few years by then …

  33. Justice League of America #81.
    From the cover of the heroes in straitjackets, (mouse-sized for Atom), to the hallucinogenic tripped-out artwork of a stretched-out and malformed Justice League, I’d read that thing over and over until I felt like I was on acid…at 5 years old.

  34. Man, hard to know where I first made that “click”…when my parents first separated, back in 82-83, I remember my dad would have issues of Superboy with the Dial H for Hero backup, when I’d visit. I think I also remember one issue of a Spiderman and Daredevil facing off against the Circus of Crime.

    When my mom would make a yearly drive somewhere, I also remember she’d pick up a couple comics for me to read in the car, and it was usually just in time for the JLA/JSA teamup, so Justice League of America 220 is probably that first real click as I would be a lifelong DC fan. #220 was the “Doppelganger Gambit” that had Black Canary finding out she’d switched worlds and traded lives with her mother, the original Black Canary.

    When I first started picking up comics on a monthly basis from my own money however would have been Who’s Who and Crisis on Infinite Earths, when my family moved to another state and I found I didnt know anyone and had to start all over again. From there I jumped into Green Lantern #201 (7 Green Lanterns living on Earth), Flash #1 (Wally West), Superman and Action at their relaunch (well, actually “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”)

  35. Long hair is metal, Supes should be metal again.

  36. Great topic! Like many other 1980s kids I got into comics because of my love for GI Joe and Transformers. I would bug my mom to let me get them at the grocery store (if you are a 1980s kid you know what Im talking about). I also remember ordering subscriptions of these through Marvel. The first comic I remember reading that started this LONG time hobby for me, however, was Classic X-Men #1. I was like 8 years old and my brother let me read his copy. The awesome cover by Art Adams with Wolverine and other X-Men amazed me and I loved the story. I then picked up Uncanny X-Men #210 “Mutant Massacre” and was confused because the story has nothing to do with Classic X-Men. Give me a break, I was too young to realize that Classic X-Men #1 was a reprint until I read the issue a few times. After my brother and I bothered my dad a few hundred times he took us to a local comic shop and I picked up Wolverine Limited Series #1-4, and I have been hooked on comics ever since (not counting a few years break in college when I was partying too much)

  37. Probably either Uncanny X-Men #300 (holo-foil cover) or Adventures of Superman #500 (white polybagged edition). These were my first purchases when I discovered my small town had a comic shop. (I was 12, the fancy cover gimmicks did their job.)

    Anyway, I had received the Death of Superman trade recently as a gift, and of course the Fox X-Men series was in full swing. So I dove into the X-verse, and the Reign of the Supermen head-first.

    I don’t actually re-read these very often, but I remember the contents of both books far more than most others, simply because of the new world of comics I was entering at the time.

  38. I was born in 1959 so I basically arrived with the Silver Age (yeah, I know…). From this distance I don’t remember what my first comic was (something Marvel) but I knew as soon as I read it that I was “home”. That feeling has never left me (although my tastes have broadened!). The first comic I remember giving me an emotional gut-punch was Jim Starlin’s “Death of Captain Marvel” – I can see the glossy new hardcover edition on my bookshelf from where I’m sitting & it still (STILL!) moves me like few others have. I’m proud to be a part of this family.

  39. I’m 44 years old so I probably go back further than most of you. I’m going to pick some highlights of my comic book reading “career”.

    Fantastic Four #200 was given to me by an older cousin, who was big into Scrooge McDuck and like titles, gave this one (and all the super hero comics his mom and dad bought him) to me and I still love it. Just an awesome battle between Doom and Reed. I was 10 years old and loved the Fantastic Four more than any other comic. They were the perfect blend of sci-fi, comedy and drama.

    Amazing Spider Man #200 blew my mind. I read comics before this one but I understood that comics could be something more after this one. 12 years old and bought it at the Rexall Drug Store off their comic spinner. I still have that comics.

    Daredevil 181 was another turning point for me as I started to search out comics by the writer and artist, not just by the title. Frank Miller was so outside the box. The comic landscape had to catch up to his genius.

    Marvel Secret War was a HUGE comic. The first event I collected. I was swapping comics with my wrestling coach/Geometry teacher at this time. Pretty much the only way I passed Geometry. So many changes happened in this series. Ben staying behind, the black costume for Spidey, the Molecule Man becoming a game changer, HULK HOLDING UP A FREAKING MOUNTAIN!!! It was so awesome.

    Green Arrow the Longbow Hunters, Watchmen and Batman the Dark Knight Returns were with me my freshman year of College and introduced me to a group of friends I still have in my life to this day. We would swap comics, drink cheap beer, eat cheap pizza…and discuss comics.

    Sandman showed me comics could be grown up. Sandman #9 was the first comic I shared with a girlfriend.

    Preacher brought me back into comics as a married man and kicked my ass. Comics had changed so much since I started reading in 1975 or 76 that I barely recognized them beyond the vibrant colors and panel storytelling style.

    Strangers in Paradise #90 and Y: the Last Man # 60 made me cry. Scott Pilgrim made me laugh out loud. Fables #1 captured me and it has not let go….

    36 years of comic books and I haven’t stopped reading. I now share them with my 5 year old son, starting him even earlier than I started.

    The journey continues.


  40. It’s kind of a toss up for me, between Spectacular Spider-Man #200, and Uncanny X-Men #297. I had just started reading comics at around that time, and even in my youth, the emotional punch of both of those issues got me right in the gut. I still to this day vividly remember Professor Xavier falling over and Jubilee helping him back to the mansion, and that panel where it clicked with Harry Osborne that what he was doing was wrong, and then him flying back to save Spider-Man.

    Jesus, that panel where Harry got it. I just got chills. Sal Buscema was KILLING IT with that book.

    Neither of these are in my collection anymore. Think I might pick them up this weekend.

    • dude, that x-men is from the x-caliber’s song epilogue, yeah? that issue owned. i remember reading it over and over, and it occurred to at that point me that i would be just fine with issue after issue of character moments.

    • Yep! I read it a ton of times myself. It’s full of so many great moments. If you had told me that in the middle of the grim and gritty era, with Image on the horizon, I’d love an issue with Professor X rollerblading, 12 year old me would have called you crazy.

  41. Two comics I remember reading after borrowing from a friend. They were both X-men (or one was possibly just Wolverine). In England they sort of reprint a bunch of issues into a sort of giant sized format and they don’t necessarily match up. What I do remember was one featured Warren when he could switch between blue skin and metal wings and a human with concealed wings. I think him and Wolverine and possibly Kurt were undercover in a bar or club or something and then it all went ape and fighting ensued. I like this as it featured the X-men and the show had taught me that I liked them.

    The other one I read I always wish I could find more about. Please, please help me if you know what I’m talking about here.
    It was Wolverine. He was heading back into the Canadian wilderness to find himself. This involved a night of meditation in which a wolf walked by but knew better than to mess with him which I recall as being bad ass. It also involved construction workers possibly building an oil rig or a factory in a former place of solitude for him. He hangs the guy upside down and blows smoke in his face with a fat cigar before cover the guys face with his own hard hat.

    Later on he meets up with some Native Americans (I’m pretty sure he was doing a girl from the tribe…it is Logan) and they showed him the maggot infested carcass of a demon possessed horse. This looked awesome. What was more awesome was the next issue promised a maggoty demonic bear. BUT and I know this for sure, it was not the Demon Bear of New Mutant fame….I think :-s.

    Anyone tell me which issues there are please.

    There will be cookies*

  42. Hawkman and Green lantern were my very first comics and my uncle had a stack of horror comics at the top of his closet that he would let me look at when my mom wasn’t around.

    BUT, in 1987 i was in a grocery store with my mom when i found a copy of(this is when grocery and convenient stores carried comics) “Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man” #131 by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck. it was part 3 of the Kraven’s last Hunt storyline. on the cover was Vermin in a sewer tunnel and at the end of the tunnel you could see the white portion of Spider-Man’s black costume in the shadows. i had never seen the black costume and i thought it was just the coolest thing(still my favorite spidey costume). this comic made me want to seek out part 4 and so on. which i did. it was years after that i was able to hunt down the first 2 in a comic shop.

    Same year i found a copy of Justice league International # 18 by Giffen, Dematteis and Maguire when a much different looking Lobo was beating up on a much different looking Justice League(my only reference was Super Friends). that series, TO THIS DAY, still has some of the best and funniest character interactions i’ve seen.

    AND, what sealed the deal and made me a full fledged comic collector, Batman #427: a Death in the Family by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo in which the Joker viciously beats Robin with a crowbar and leaves a bomb to finish him AND his mother. then DC put his fate into our hands via a phone call. i was horrified. shocked. enthralled. hooked.

    best topic in a while. kudos.

  43. That’s an awesome story, and an awesome entry to comics! Hope your onboard the Hawkeye train, because Aja is delighting the hell out of everyone in that.

  44. Spectacular Spider-Man #120,

    It was the first comic I ever bought, and it is being carefully stored in its Mylar sleeve so it shall last forever!

    Loved the Keith Giffen art in this book. Very moody!

  45. First comic I remember reading – Batman #457. I was seven years old. It was a Grant/Breyfogle issue with Scarecrow hanging Batman upside down covered in spiders, with Robin in the window backlit by moonlight. Great imagery.

    First comic I remember buying – X-Men #18 (vol. 2). It was an Omega Red issue and I bought it off the spinner rack at the 7-11 behind my house with two weeks worth of allowance. Shortly after that I scored the ultra rare X-Men vol. 2 #1 at a dingy comic shop on a trip to Baltimore. My dad bought it for me. Must’ve pored through that thing a thousand times.

    First trade I ever owned – The Dark Knight Returns. I was “helping” (he made me) my older cousin clean his room and thought the cover was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. He noticed my captivation and said I could have it (he was too cool for comics at that age). I read it cover to cover when I got home and although I was only twelve and barely understood what I was reading, I fell in love. I remember how guilty and rebellious I felt about reading something so adult. I debated for days about giving it back to him. Surely he had made a mistake giving away something so magical. I still have it and read it at least once a year.

    The next milestone for me wasn’t until 2001. I didn’t buy a comic throughout my four years of high school. I was too cool. Then I wandered in to a local shop and laid my eyes on the third issue of Hush. Jim Lee on Batman? This was some kind of delicious amalgam of my childhood memories. I asked the shop owner if he had the previous two issues. He did. I started a pull bin the next week.

    In 2003 I started working at Midtown Comics in NYC. I stayed there until 2006. Greatest working experience of my life. It was there that I made some lifelong friends and engorged myself on everything considered “required reading” and then some. I haven’t looked back since.

  46. Well, there are many comics that made me love comics the way I love them now, but the ones that I remember were also the first: Sword of Azrael, Doctor Strangefate (Amalgam), Kingdom Come, and Crisis of Infinite Earth.

  47. Iron Man #77 from the early 70’s. I was a big A’s fan and they were in the middle of winning three straight world championships and Iron Man referenced their shortstop Campy Campaneris and I was just floored by that!

  48. This is a hard one for me because even though I liked comics as a kid, I didn’t really have the “click” that hooked me on comics until I was an older teen and it was mostly through trades, so I tend to think of series instead of single issues. But I realized there was one comic that had a big impact on me: “I Saw It” by Keiji Nakazawa. It’s an auto-biographical account of the Hiroshima bombing that was expanded into the manga series Barefoot Gen. Something about the combination of the the visual medium with the story made this incredibly powerful. It’s still hard for me to imagine drawing the worst traumas of your life this way. Definitely the first comic to make me cry, and certainyl expanded my idea of what this medium was capable of.

    Butit wasn’t until almost decader later that I became a weekly comic consumer when I got caught up with Scalped and DMZ in trades and HAD to know what was happening in these stories ASAP.

  49. The earliest comics I had (born in 1971) that I can remember were:
    • Daredevil – cover image features the Jester. I think it’s called in the clutches of the Jester or something. Since then I”ve bought almost an entire run. Still digging up the Miller era. A blind guy! Fascinated by that concept.
    • Power Man and Iron Fist — Bruce Lee was at the height of popularity. Those two kicked ass.
    • Tomb of Dracula — AWESOME — Dr. Sun and crew are after Drac! Tomb of Dracula is such a good series. Wolfman and Colan are just great.
    • Star Wars–don’t know the specific issue – I think I pimped out the cover with blue pin stripe tape (from Dad’s auto body shop), and then later puked all over it.
    • 2 specific Marvel Treasure editions: the Star Wars adaptations, Spider Man (#14) with Mysterio, Vulture etc.

    I never read any DC with the exception of Blue Devil in the early 80’s. I’ve caught up a bunch in the last year.

  50. Mine is the old Legion of Superheroes, in the middle of the great darkness saga. The one with the big Legion of Superheros name (whole cover of it) and the legion fighting dark creatures between the letters.

  51. Uncanny X-men #9. I feel kinda spoiled because this came out during my first month collecting comics. Part 2 of Art Adams beautiful New Mutants/X-men adventure in Asgard. So much in one issue. It would take 12 issues to tell this one story in todays market

  52. I saw IGN’s list of Top 25 Batman Stories and it made me want to buy the TDKR trade. It very much got me hooked on comics. I loved it the whole way through, but specifically the part where Bats is blacking out in the Tunnel of Love… I could feel my heart beating faster, I was genuinely nervous. That never happens to me when I’m watching movies, or TV shows, or whatever, and it really sticks out in my memory. I had to take a break from reading for a couple of seconds.

    Not the craziest answer, and probably a little cliched, but still.

  53. Jim Lee’s X-men #1. it wasn’t the first comic i had ever read but its the one that made me get on a bus and go all the way across town to the only comic shop in town and buy more. While i’ve gone from taking a bus to driving my new muscle car I still get giddy when i walk in the door and pick up my weeks pull list. 🙂

  54. Silver Surfer #50. The Surfer races home to warn Earth that Thanos has the Infinity Gems only to be caught on Earth’s moon where the Mad Titan psychologically deconstructs him in brutal fashion. Really well done introspective on the Surfer, excellent set-up for Infinity Gauntlet, and launched my unwavering interest in most things Thanos.

  55. Am I the only one that was sucked in by Maximum Carnage!? After that Jim Lee’s X-men #1 had me making mine Marvel for a long time. Then I discovered Starman, Swampthing, and Hellblazer. To this day DC has been my top pulled company. Also that big red dude with the goggles that kept catching my eye, haven’t missed a mignolaverse book since the Corpse and the iron shoes. that is the comic that left the biggest impression on me, it was unlike anything I had seen before in story and art.

    • Also Ashen Victor. I wouldn’t say it was the first manga I read but one of the best. It kinda transcends its culture and really breaks stereotypes. I reread this book more than any other book I have ever owned. I would probably say twice a year.

  56. Well I guess for myself it was Marshal Law #1 from epic comics, just loved that design & the whole sado-nazi uniform obviously appealed to my 9 year old warped fucked up mind & it was by two fellow Brits Pat Mills & Kev O’Neill.
    Otherwise Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell’s Zenith phase one trade from Titan Books was round the same also (think there was a nazi in that also, weird……….hmmmmm), I hadn’t really gotten into American comics properly yet!

  57. Spawn #8- Alan Moore

  58. The first comic book anyone ever gave me was The Transformers #1 from Marvel. (the last panel where bumblebee goes “Help me! I’m dying!” scared the poop outta my 5 year old self)

    The first comic book I read and hunted down issues for were Spider-Man: Hobgoblin.

  59. X-Men #1 (Lee/Claremont) Bought it in a 3-pack my first day of high school. I used some money that was supposed to be for school supplies. The panel of wolverine popping his claws through the front of Professor X’s yellow hover-chair made me realize that comics were not as 1 dimensional as the superhero cartoons that I grew up on. From that point on I was hooked.

  60. The comic that struck that chord with me, was a slightly creased All-Star Comics #68 that I picked up from a market stall in the east end of london, in the late 70’s. The Justice Society were utterly unknown to me, but I loved the cover & had a sense of discovery.

    No gentle jumping-on point here :-
    A parallel universe, strange costumes & aged mystery men.
    Batman had a daughter, Power Girl was something new & they were embarking on civil war. Fantastic!
    I was nine years old.

    In the car on the way home, I pored over each frame. I was immersed in this story. In this world.

    This was a new way of reading.

  61. Detective Comics #521, it had Green Arrow on the cover. I am a lifelong Superman fan largely from the Byrne reboot.


  62. I had a few comics during my childhood (Hulk, if I remember right) but they didn’t spark anything huge in me. They were neat, but I liked the show a lot better and would wonder why the comic wasn’t as awesome as the TV series. Then in early 1988, when I was 10 years old, my mom bought me a copy of Fantastic Four #311. She picked it out and brought it home to me. If you’ve never read it, this was the story where Ms. Marvel turned into the “She-Thing”, and was so distraught that she was trying to kill herself. To me, the subject of suicide seemed so adult that I became instantly hooked, thinking I was reading something very mature. I stuck with Fantastic Four on and off for about a year. Being only 10 or 11 years old, I couldn’t reliably pick up issues unless I saw them at the grocery store AND Mom thought I was behaving well enough to get one. During one of these trips, I found Amazing Spider-Man #312 and the dam truly broke with that issue; I became a die-hard collector. The rest, as they say, is history.

  63. Captain America and Falcon#204. It was in a middle of a story arc where Cap and Falcon were fighting some demons from another dimension or something. Didn’t matter though because I was hooked.

    What’s amazing is as I read some of the first comics that got everyone hooked, you don’t see alot of number ones, do you? An occasionally X-Men #1 here and there but mostly everyone picked up a random number issue and liked it enough to continue.

    Makes me wonder if the mentality of starting Avengers, Superman, etc, back to number one is neccessary. If someone is inclined to read a comic or become a fan they are going to do regardless of what issue number it is.

  64. Mine was Astonishing X-men #15. Picked it up at a newsagent here is Australia (not many comics stores in oz) only because is saw joss whedons name on the front and was a huge joss fan. Absolutely loved it and stuck with it till the end and went back and got the trades. That was the only comic i read until civil war, and have been hooked on about 15 – 20 books a month since then 🙂

  65. I loved comics as a kid, I bought anything that looked like a comic, then I took a break and returned and (here is where the article made me say hmm….) bought comics based on the quality of the art, then I realized writers really have the first say…Right? So I was back and reading until a few months later, these were the ones that stood out – there was this Dominus story line in the Superman books (before that I caught the last few issues of Electric Superman), and Joseph a younger version of Magneto had returned in the X books (before that – The Search for Xavier) and Spiderman was fighting Green Goblin in his books (Gathering of Five lead to this)*I wouldn’t consider those in brackets my gems though I liked them* and JLA was just sweet and there were a few others I would follow on a monthly basis.
    Narrowing it down: JLA #20…umm #21…#23..hmm…#24….#25….forget JLA…….
    X-Men #86, Superman Man of Steel #88, Spectacular Spider Man #263 and Peter Parker Spiderman #98 (tried to keep it at one)….Batman: No Mans Land, X-Force etc…..oh my, it’s 2012….
    And there was the 1987-1991 era….to be continued 🙂

  66. There are 6 comics I remember loving loads as a kid in the 90s.

    1. The Mighty Thor #385, Erik Larsens first marvel work filling in for Jack Kirby that I found in the back issues as a kid. Basically a cover to cover fight between Thor and Hulk I literally read it to pieces but bought a fresh copy years later.

    2. Legends Of The Dark Knight: Blades by James Robinson & Tim Sale. The first time I was really aware of the darker Batman stories after seeing the Tim Burton movies.

    3. A Flash #0 issue by Mark Waid. Don’t remember the story much but loved the art.

    4. X-Men Omega, the foil wraparound issue with Magneto facing off against Apocalypse.

    5. The official comic adaptation of the original ninja turtles movie.

    6. Wolverine #90 with an epic Andy Kubert drawn fight against Sabretooth that had fold out pages and huge spreads.

  67. Not sure of the issue, but my first and still favourite comic, thanks mainly to the art, was The Uncanny X-Men – during the Onslaught saga. Not a classic period in comics, I know, but Joe mad’s art made the 12 year old me, obsess over that book. My tastes have moved a long way on from there, but I still look on his art with a happy 12 year old at heart (whenever he does any of course!)

  68. I had been reading prior to this but the series that really turned me into a lifelong comics fan was X-Factor, specifically “Fall of the Mutants”. Thank you, Simonson.

  69. Pacific Comics’ Twisted Tales did it for me. Hands down the best set of comics i have ever read and most likely, ever will. Of the 10 issue series, #3 was my favorite and my favorite story was “Me and Ol’ Rex” by Rich Corben. You had an ensemble of: Rich Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Bruce Jones, John Bolton, to name a few. It’s sister series, Alien Worlds was a good second.