Key Comic Books From 1973

March 1, 2021

1973

Key comics from 1973

There are two main ways I’ve seen online lists of key comic books presented by year: (1) personalized lists based upon judgment calls of what is “key” (thereby omitting any comic books the particular writer doesn’t happen to consider key — or doesn’t know about), and (2) lists based upon high sales price data (also a flawed method because high prices can just as easily be caused by a non-key book happening to grade a 10 at CGC)

The top 100 key comic books from 1973 list you’re about to see is neither of those other types.

Instead, to briefly repeat the introduction I gave on the main 1970’s 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 1973, 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 1973, but this will not necessarily be an all-encompassing list (if very few copies were created for a given key, for example, 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 1973.

Key Comic Books From 1973:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 5,833 Amazing Spider-Man #121 Marvel
6/73
  “Death” of Gwen Stacy. Green Goblin appearance.
2. 4,917 Amazing Spider-Man #122 Marvel
7/73
  “Death” of the Green Goblin.
3. 4,500 Iron Man #55 Marvel
2/73
  1st appearance of Thanos, Mentor, Drax the Destroyer (Arthur Douglas), Starfox, Kronos and the Blood Brothers.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
4. 3,802 Shazam #1 D.C.
2/73
  1st appearance of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel since the Golden Age. Origin retold.
5. 3,018 Tomb of Dracula #10 Marvel
7/73
  1st appearance of Blade the Vampire Slayer.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
6. 2,992 Special Marvel Edition #15 Marvel
12/73
  1st appearance of Shang-Chi, Fu Manchu & Sir Denis Nayland Smith. 1st app. & “death” of Dr. James Petrie.
7. 2,816 Ghost Rider #1 Marvel
9/73
  1st appearance of the Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom) in cameo. Story continued from Marvel Spotlight #11
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
8. 2,653 Batman #251 D.C.
9/73
  Joker appearance. Classic cover.
9. 1,336 Amazing Spider-Man #119 Marvel
4/73
  Hulk appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
10. 1,234 Conan the Barbarian #24 Marvel
3/73
  1st full appearance of Red Sonja. Last Barry Windsor-Smith issue.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
11. 1,077 Shadow #1 D.C.
10-11/73
  1st DC appearance of the Shadow, Shrevvy, Margo Lane and Harry Vincent.
12. 1,046 Amazing Spider-Man #120 Marvel
5/73
  Hulk appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
13. 1,018 Conan the Barbarian #23 Marvel
2/73
  1st appearance of Red Sonja. Adapted from the Robert E. Howard story.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
14. 991 Strange Tales #169 Marvel
9/73
  Origin and 1st appearance of Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm). 1st issue of Strange Tales since 5/68
15. 913 Amazing Spider-Man #125 Marvel
10/73
  Origin of the Man-Wolf.
16. 888 Defenders #10 Marvel
11/73
  Hulk vs. Thor. Avengers crossover. Dormammu cameo on last page.
17. 818 Fear #19 Marvel
12/73
  Man-Thing. 1st appearance of Howard the Duck and Korrek. Jennifer Kale and Dakimh appearance.
18. 814 Amazing Spider-Man #127 Marvel
12/73
  Vulture (Doctor Clifton Shallot) and Human Torch appearance.
19. 796 Amazing Spider-Man #124 Marvel
9/73
  1st appearance of the Man-Wolf.
20. 759 Amazing Spider-Man #126 Marvel
11/73
  Human Torch and Kangaroo appearance. Harry Osborn becomes the Green Goblin. Plans for the Spidermobile begin.
21. 751 Amazing Spider-Man #123 Marvel
8/73
  Luke Cage appearance. Gwen Stacy’s funeral.
22. 734 Ghost Rider #2 Marvel
10/73
  1st full appearance of Daimon Hellstrom. 1st appearance of Son of Satan (cameo). Story continued in Marvel Spotlight #12
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
23. 680 Swamp Thing #7 D.C.
11-12/73
  Batman appearance. 1st meeting of Swamp Thing and Batman.
24. 615 Frankenstein #1 Marvel
1/73
  Monster of Frankenstein.
25. 612 Amazing Spider-Man #117 Marvel
2/73
  Adapts story from Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1 by Stan Lee and John Romita with slight changes.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
26. 596 Captain Marvel #26 Marvel
5/73
  Thing, Thanos, Death and Super-Skrull appearance. “Death” of Skragg. 1st Thanos cover. Thanos saga begins.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
27. 555 Incredible Hulk #162 Marvel
4/73
  1st appearance of the Wendigo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
28. 536 Amazing Spider-Man #116 Marvel
1/73
  Adapts story from Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1 by Stan Lee and John Romita with slight changes.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
29. 477 Jungle Action #5 Marvel
7/73
  1st Black Panther in title.
30. 471 Marvel Spotlight #12 Marvel
10/73
  Story continued from Ghost Rider #2 Origin of Son of Satan.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
31. 456 Captain Marvel #25 Marvel
3/73
  Super-Skrull appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
32. 448 Iron Man #54 Marvel
1/73
  1st appearance of Moondragon (Heather Douglas) as Madame MacEvil. Iron Man vs. Sub-Mariner.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
33. 446 Avengers #112 Marvel
6/73
  1st appearance of Mantis. Black Widow leaves the Avengers.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
34. 441 Jungle Action #6 Marvel
9/73
  1st Black Panther solo story. 1st app. of Erik Killmonger and Preyy. Map of Wakanda.
35. 438 Swamp Thing #2 D.C.
12/72-1/73
  1st full appearance of Dr. Anton Arcane. 1st appearance of Patchwork Man in cameo on last page.
36. 422 Amazing Spider-Man #118 Marvel
3/73
  Adapts story from Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1 by Stan Lee and John Romita with slight changes.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
37. 405 Swamp Thing #3 D.C.
2-3/73
  1st full appearance of Patchwork Man. 1st appearance of Abigail Arcane.
38. 392 Tomb of Dracula #13 Marvel
10/73
  Origin of Blade the Vampire Slayer.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
39. 328 Supernatural Thrillers #5 Marvel
8/73
  Origin and 1st appearance of N’Kantu, the Living Mummy.
40. 327 Marvel Feature #11 Marvel
9/73
  1st Thing solo book. Hulk vs. Thing. Fantastic Four origin retold. Leader appearance.
41. 316 Captain Marvel #29 Marvel
11/73
  Thanos, Drax and Controller cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
42. 315 Avengers #110 Marvel
4/73
  X-Men (Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl) and Magneto appearance. Story continued in Daredevil #99
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
43. 305 Captain Marvel #28 Marvel
9/73
  Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther & Vision), Controller, Drax, Death & Thanos app.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
44. 303 Swamp Thing #6 D.C.
9-10/73
  Full page ad for Shadow #1 Robot cover. Letter from Harlan Ellison.
45. 293 Avengers #116 Marvel
10/73
  Defenders crossover. Loki and Dormammu appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
46. 284 Captain Marvel #27 Marvel
7/73
  Thanos, Starfox, Mentor, Death, Super-Skrull and Avengers appearance. Drax cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
47. 280 Swamp Thing #5 D.C.
7-8/73
  Swamp Thing discovers ability to regenerate his body parts.
48. 269 Avengers #117 Marvel
11/73
  Defenders crossover. Loki, Dormammu and Sunfire appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
49. 266 Swamp Thing #4 D.C.
4-5/73
  Len Wein story. Bernie Wrightson cover and art.
50. 264 Incredible Hulk #161 Marvel
3/73
  “Death” of the Mimic. Beast and Vera Cantor appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
51. 261 Marvel Feature #12 Marvel
11/73
  The Thing and Iron Man. Thanos and Blood Brothers appearance. Last issue.
52. 257 Batman #253 D.C.
11/73
  Shadow appearance. Text feature on Legion of Super-Heroes by Paul Levitz.
53. 242 Marvel Spotlight #9 Marvel
4/73
  Ghost Rider.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
54. 239 Ghost Rider #3 Marvel
12/73
  Witch-Woman appearance. Son of Satan cameo. Story continued from Marvel Spotlight #12
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
55. 231 Marvel Spotlight #8 Marvel
2/73
  Ghost Rider. 1st appearance of Snake-Dance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
56. 228 X-Men #83 Marvel
8/73
  Dan Adkins cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
57. 226 Conan the Barbarian Annual #1 Marvel
1973
  Barry Windsor-Smith cover.
58. 226 Marvel Team-Up #15 Marvel
11/73
  Ghost Rider. Origin and 1st appearance of the Orb (Drake Shannon).
59. 220 Shazam #2 D.C.
4/73
  1st DC appearance of Mister Mind & 1st full DC app. of Tawny the Talking Tiger. Infinity cover. Partial photo cover.
60. 211 Daredevil #100 Marvel
6/73
  Rolling Stone magazine editor Jann Wenner appearance. Origin retold. 1st appearance of Angar the Screamer.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
61. 210 Marvel Spotlight #11 Marvel
8/73
  Ghost Rider. “Death” of Witch-Woman. Story continued in Ghost Rider #1
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
62. 210 Conan the Barbarian #22 Marvel
1/73
  Barry Windsor-Smith cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
63. 208 Iron Man #56 Marvel
3/73
  Doctor Strange cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
64. 208 Adventure Comics #428 D.C.
7-8/73
  Origin and 1st appearance of Black Orchid (Susan Linden-Thorne). Doctor 13 backup story.
65. 205 Defenders #9 Marvel
10/73
  Avengers crossover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
66. 201 Avengers #118 Marvel
12/73
  Defenders crossover. Watcher, Loki and Dormammu appearance. Cameo of most Marvel characters.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
67. 200 Amazing Adventures #18 Marvel
5/73
  War of the Worlds. 1st appearance of Killraven.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
68. 198 Fantastic Four #131 Marvel
2/73
  Quicksilver and Inhumans appearance. Letter from Chuck Dixon.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
69. 196 Sub-Mariner #59 Marvel
3/73
  Sub-Mariner vs. Thor.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
70. 194 X-Men #84 Marvel
10/73
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
71. 190 Vampire Tales #2 Marvel
10/73
  First appearance of Satana. Bela Lugosi article by Doug Moench.
72. 188 Shazam #8 D.C.
12/73
  100 Page Super Spectacular. Reprints 1st appearance of Black Adam and Mr. Tawny.
73. 187 Secret Origins #1 D.C.
2-3/73
  Nick Cardy cover.
74. 180 Defenders #4 Marvel
2/73
  Valkyrie joins the Defenders. Black Knight, Executioner and Enchantress appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
75. 179 Plop! #1 D.C.
9-10/73
  Back cover pin-up.
76. 176 Daredevil #105 Marvel
11/73
  Origin of Moondragon. Black Widow and Kraven appearance. Dark Messiah, Angar, Ramrod and Thanos cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
77. 176 Tomb of Dracula #12 Marvel
9/73
  2nd appearance of Blade.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
78. 175 Wonder Woman #204 D.C.
1-2/73
  Wonder Woman returns to old costume. 1st appearance Nubia. “Death” of I Ching. Origin of Wonder Woman and Amazon race.
79. 172 Detective Comics #431 D.C.
1/73
  Jason Bard backup story.
80. 169 X-Men #85 Marvel
12/73
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
81. 166 X-Men #80 Marvel
2/73
  Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
82. 166 Fantastic Four #140 Marvel
11/73
  Origin of Annihilus.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
83. 163 S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Marvel
2/73
  Jim Steranko cover.
84. 158 Fantastic Four #133 Marvel
4/73
  Thundra vs. Thing. Frightful Four app. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Luke Cage and Spider-Man cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
85. 157 Incredible Hulk #159 Marvel
1/73
  Abomination appearance. Leader cameo.
86. 157 Amazing Adventures #16 Marvel
1/73
  Beast. Juggernaut appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
87. 152 Avengers #111 Marvel
5/73
  Story continued from Daredevil #99 Daredevil, X-Men and Magneto appearance. Black Widow joins the Avengers.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
88. 150 Detective Comics #437 D.C.
10-11/73
  1st appearance of the new Manhunter and Christine St. Clair. New logo.
89. 150 X-Men #82 Marvel
6/73
  Dan Adkins cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
90. 150 Marvel Spotlight #10 Marvel
6/73
  Ghost Rider. Witch-Woman cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
91. 149 Tomb of Dracula #9 Marvel
6/73
  Marv Wolfman story. Gene Colan and Vince Colletta art. Gil Kane and Tom Palmer cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
92. 148 Fantastic Four #130 Marvel
1/73
  Sue Richards leaves the Fantastic Four. Inhumans & Frightful Four (Wizard, Trapster, Sandman & Thundra) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
93. 144 FOOM #2 Marvel
Summer 1973
  Photos of John Romita, Marv Wolfman & Mike Esposito. Incredible Hulk index & article.
94. 143 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #9 Marvel
1973
  Adapts story from Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #2 by Stan Lee & John Romita.
95. 143 Marvel Double Feature #1 Marvel
12/73
  Jack Kirby and John Romita cover.
96. 142 Werewolf By Night #4 Marvel
3/73
  Gerry Conway story. Mike Ploog and Frank Bolle art. Mike Ploog cover.
97. 141 X-Men #81 Marvel
4/73
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
98. 140 Dead of Night #1 Marvel
12/73
  John Romita cover.
99. 139 Avengers #107 Marvel
1/73
  Grim Reaper and Space Phantom appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
100. 138 Avengers #109 Marvel
3/73
  1st appearance of Imus Champion. Hawkeye quits the Avengers.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
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