Key Comic Books From 1961

March 1, 2021

1961


Key comic books from 1961
The silver age of comics has been extensively researched by the hobby, and the key comic books of that era are no big secret; but, the only two types of lists of key silver age comic books by year that I’ve ever seen are either: (1) personalized lists based upon judgement calls of what is most important to the particular writer, and (2) lists based upon high sales price data (which can often be influenced by the grade of what was sold).

The top 100 key comic books from 1961 list you’re about to see is neither of those two type

Instead, to briefly repeat the introduction I gave on the main Silver Age page, the list I’m about to present is essentially “crowd-sourced”… by the crowd of collectors sending comics to CGC. All I’ve done here is to rank the universe of comic books published in 1961, according to how many copies of each issue have passed through CGC’s doors to date (as of 1/19/2021) to reveal the comic books with the highest census counts — that’s it!

This exercise should “tease out” a very interesting list of important and/or key comic books from 1961, but this will not necessarily be an all-encompassing list (because if very few copies were printed for a given key, that restricted supply could keep the count of CGC submissions low even though the comic is very important — this exercise will unfortunately see such comics sort themselves off of the bottom through no fault of their own). So essentially, you should think of this list as just one more tool in your tool-belt of researching key comic books from 1961.

Key Comic Books From 1961:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 2,487 Fantastic Four #1 Marvel
11/61
  Origin & 1st appearance of the Fantastic Four (Marvel’s 1st super-hero team) & the Mole Man.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
2. 1,096 Flash #123 D.C.
9/61
  1st GA Flash in SA. Origin of both. 1st mention of Earth II. 1st SA Shade, Thinker and Fiddler a
3. 767 Showcase #34 D.C.
9-10/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of the Silver Age Atom (Ray Palmer). 1st appearance of Jean Loring.
4. 713 Brave and the Bold #34 D.C.
2-3/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl. 1st appearance of Mavis Trent and
5. 659 Showcase #30 D.C.
1-2/61
  1st Aquaman tryout issue. Origin of Aquaman.
6. 644 Green Lantern #7 D.C.
7-8/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of Sinestro. 1st appearance of Terga.
7. 514 Justice League of America #2 D.C.
12/60-1/61
  Gardner Fox story. Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs art. Murphy Anderson cover.
8. 435 Batman #139 D.C.
4/61
  1st appearance of the original Bat-Girl (Betty Kane). Batwoman appearance. 1st Blue Bowman (form
9. 402 Justice League of America #3 D.C.
2-3/61
  1st appearance of Kanjar Ro, Kromm, Hyathis and Sayyar. Full page ads for Brave and the Bold #34
10. 383 Strange Tales #89 Marvel
10/61
  1st appearance of Fin Fang Foom.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
11. 356 Justice League of America #7 D.C.
10-11/61
  Kathy (Batwoman) Kane & Lois Lane cameo. Last 10¢ issue. Full page ad for Showcase #34
12. 324 Detective Comics #298 D.C.
12/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of the Silver Age Clayface (Matt Hagen). Aquaman backup story.
13. 310 Justice League of America #5 D.C.
6-7/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of Doctor Destiny (John Dee).
14. 305 Adventure Comics #283 D.C.
4/61
  1st Phantom Zone. 1st appearance General Zod and Dr. Xadu. Last Congorilla backup story.
15. 301 Showcase #35 D.C.
11-12/61
  2nd S.A. appearance of the Atom. Biographies of Gil Kane, Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. Last
16. 296 Justice League of America #4 D.C.
4-5/61
  Green Arrow joins the Justice League.
17. 264 Batman Annual #1 D.C.
1961
  1 page “Secrets of Batman’s Utility Belt and Famed Batarangs”.
18. 260 Justice League of America #6 D.C.
8-9/61
  Origin & 1st appearance of Professor Amos Fortune.
19. 246 Amazing Adventures #1 Atlas
6/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of Doctor Droom (Anthony Ludgate Druid, later becomes Doctor Druid).
20. 246 Green Lantern #5 D.C.
3-4/61
  1st appearance of Hector Hammond. Full page ad for Rip Hunter Time Master #1
21. 241 Sea Devils #1 D.C.
9-10/61
  Grey tone cover.
22. 203 Green Lantern #4 D.C.
1-2/61
  Secret of Green Lantern’s mask revealed.
23. 199 Showcase #31 D.C.
3-4/61
  Aquaman and Aqualad. Full page ad for Rip Hunter Time Master #1
24. 190 Brave and the Bold #35 D.C.
4-5/61
  2nd appearance of Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Origin and 1st appearance Matter Master.
25. 185 Green Lantern #9 D.C.
11-12/61
  2nd app of Sinestro. 1st Sinestro cover. 1st appearance of the Jordan brothers. Letter from Roy
26. 179 Superman #147 D.C.
8/61
  1st appearance Legion of Super-Villains. 1st adult Legion of Super-Heroes. Adventure Comics #247
27. 175 Green Lantern #8 D.C.
9-10/61
  1st 5700 A.D. story. Grey tone cover.
28. 173 Rip Hunter Time Master #1 D.C.
3-4/61
  Jack Miller story. Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. cover and art.
29. 169 Batman #143 D.C.
10/61
  Bat-Hound appearance. Last 10¢ issue.
30. 167 G.I. Combat #87 D.C.
4-5/61
  1st appearance of the Haunted Tank. Grey tone cover.
31. 164 Action Comics #276 D.C.
5/61
  1st appearance of Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet & Bouncin
32. 162 Flash #119 D.C.
3/61
  Elongated Man marries Sue Dearborn. Mirror Master appearance. Full page ad for Brave and the Bol
33. 162 Green Lantern #6 D.C.
5-6/61
  1st appearance of Tomar-Re.
34. 150 Superboy #89 D.C.
6/61
  Origin & 1st appearance of Mon-El. 2nd Phantom Zone appearance.
35. 149 Batman #141 D.C.
8/61
  2nd appearance of Bat-Girl. 1st appearance of Clockmaster.
36. 147 Secret Origins #1 D.C.
1961
  Reprints Showcase 4, 6, 17, Detective 225, Worlds Finest 94, Wonder Woman 105 Green Lantern 1, G
37. 145 Superman #149 D.C.
11/61
  “Death” of Superman story. 8th Legion of Super-Heroes appearance. Luthor, JLA appearance. Last 1
38. 144 Showcase #32 D.C.
5-6/61
  Aquaman and Aqualad.
39. 144 Amazing Adult Fantasy #7 Marvel
12/61
  1st issue. Formerly titled Amazing Adventures.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
40. 139 Journey Into Mystery #73 Marvel
10/61
  Medusa (gorgon) story.
41. 135 Superman #146 D.C.
7/61
  Superman’s life story. Krypto and Lori Lemaris appearance.
42. 134 Brave and the Bold #36 D.C.
6-7/61
  Hawkman. Origin and 1st appearance of the Shadow Thief.
43. 127 Flash #122 D.C.
8/61
  Origin and 1st appearance of the Top (Roscoe Dillon).
44. 123 Batman #138 D.C.
3/61
  Full page ad for Brave and the Bold #34 and one for Rip Hunter… Time Master #1
45. 120 Showcase #33 D.C.
7-8/61
  Aquaman and Aqualad. Topo appearance.
46. 118 Flash #120 D.C.
5/61
  Flash and Kid Flash team-up for 1st time Flash reveals ID to Kid Flash. 1st book-length story in
47. 117 Batman #140 D.C.
6/61
  Joker, Batwoman and Superman appearance.
48. 116 Flash #124 D.C.
11/61
  Elongated Man and Captain Boomerang appearance.
49. 113 Batman #142 D.C.
9/61
  Bill Finger story. Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris art. Sheldon Moldoff cover.
50. 109 Flash #125 D.C.
12/61
  Kid Flash appearance.
51. 108 Amazing Adventures #2 Atlas
7/61
  Stan Lee story. Dick Ayers and Steve Ditko art. Jack Kirby cover and art.
52. 106 Flash #121 D.C.
6/61
  Trickster appearance.
53. 100 Batman #144 D.C.
12/61
  Joker, Batwoman, Bat-Girl and Bat-Mite appearance.
54. 99 Journey Into Mystery #66 Atlas
3/61
  2nd appearance of Xemnu the Titan (Hulk prototype).
55. 97 Tales of Suspense #16 Atlas
4/61
  Don Heck and Paul Reinman art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
56. 97 Flash #118 D.C.
2/61
  Kid Flash backup story.
57. 95 Tales of Suspense #24 Marvel
12/61
  Jack Kirby and George Klein cover. Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Don Heck and. Steve Ditko art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
58. 95 Strange Tales #84 Atlas
5/61
  Magneto prototype story.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
59. 93 Superman #148 D.C.
10/61
  Mr. Mxyzptlk appearance. Aquaman and Bizarro cameo.
60. 93 Tales of Suspense #22 Marvel
10/61
  Stan Lee story. Kirby, Ditko, Heck and Ayers art. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
61. 92 Tales to Astonish #15 Atlas
1/61
  Steve Ditko, Don Heck. and Paul Reinman art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
62. 89 Tales of Suspense #15 Atlas
3/61
  Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
63. 89 Amazing Adventures #5 Marvel
10/61
  Stan Lee story. Kirby, Ayers, Heck and Ditko art. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
64. 89 Tales of Suspense #13 Atlas
1/61
  Elektro cover and story.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
65. 85 Tales of Suspense #18 Atlas
6/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
66. 84 Adventure Comics #290 D.C.
11/61
  Legion of Super-Heroes appearance. 1st appearance of Sun Boy. Last 10¢ issue.
67. 84 Tales to Astonish #19 Atlas
5/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
68. 83 Tales to Astonish #20 Atlas
6/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
69. 81 Tales to Astonish #21 Atlas
7/61
  Hulk prototype.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
70. 80 Adventure Comics #282 D.C.
3/61
  5th Legion of Super Heroes appearance. Origin and 1st appearance of Star Boy.
71. 80 Tales of Suspense #23 Marvel
11/61
  Stan Lee story. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
72. 80 Tales to Astonish #24 Marvel
10/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
73. 80 Superman #143 D.C.
2/61
  Bizarro appearance.
74. 78 Amazing Adventures #4 Marvel
9/61
  Doctor Droom story.
75. 77 Superman #144 D.C.
4/61
  Supergirl, Krypto and Lex Luthor appearance.
76. 77 Action Comics #280 D.C.
9/61
  Congo Bill (Congorilla), Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Lesla-Lar appearance.
77. 77 Tales to Astonish #16 Atlas
2/61
  Don Heck and Paul Reinman art. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
78. 76 Tales of Suspense #21 Marvel
9/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and John Tartaglione art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
79. 75 Detective Comics #292 D.C.
6/61
  Last Roy Raymond TV Detective. Superman cameo. Batwoman appearance.
80. 75 Tales of Suspense #14 Atlas
2/61
  1st appearance of the Colossus.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
81. 74 Amazing Adventures #3 Marvel
8/61
  Doctor Droom story.
82. 74 Amazing Adventures #6 Marvel
11/61
  Doctor Droom story. Last issue. Numbering continued with Amazing Adult Fantasy #7
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
83. 74 Tales of Suspense #17 Atlas
5/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
84. 73 Tales of Suspense #19 Marvel
7/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
85. 73 Journey Into Mystery #64 Atlas
1/61
  Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art. Steve Ditko, Paul Reinman and. Don Heck art.
86. 73 Superboy #86 D.C.
1/61
  4th appearance Legion of Super-Heroes. 1st appearance of Pete Ross. Lex Luthor appearance.
87. 73 Tales to Astonish #18 Atlas
4/61
  Steve Ditko art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
88. 72 Action Comics #282 D.C.
11/61
  Lex Luthor appearance. Mr. Mxyzptlk cameo. Last 10¢ issue.
89. 72 Batman Annual #2 D.C.
1961
  Includes 1962 pin-up calendar. Batman family pin-up back cover.
90. 71 Tales to Astonish #26 Marvel
12/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers and Bob Forgione. art, Jack Kirby cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
91. 71 Adventure Comics #286 D.C.
7/61
  1st appearance of Bizarro-Kltpzyxm.
92. 70 Batman #137 D.C.
2/61
  Bill Finger story. Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris art. Sheldon Moldoff cover.
93. 69 Strange Tales #81 Atlas
2/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko, Paul Reinman & Don Heck art. Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers cover & art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
94. 69 Our Army at War #112 D.C.
11/61
  Robert Kanigher and Bob Haney stories. Jack Abel art. Joe Kubert cover and art.
95. 68 Journey Into Mystery #68 Atlas
5/61
  Stan Lee story. Steve Ditko and Don Heck art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
96. 68 Strange Tales #86 Marvel
7/61
  Robot cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
97. 68 Tales to Astonish #23 Marvel
9/61
  Don Heck story and art. Steve Ditko art. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers cover and art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
98. 67 Strange Tales #90 Marvel
11/61
  Jack Kirby and George Klein cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
99. 67 Tales of Suspense #20 Marvel
8/61
  2nd appearance of the Colossus.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
100. 66 Tales to Astonish #25 Marvel
11/61
  Stan Lee story. Jack Kirby, Don Heck and Steve Ditko art. Jack Kirby cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
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