Key Comic Books From 1974

March 1, 2021

1974

Key comics from 1974

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 1974 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 1974, 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 1974, 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 1974.

Key Comic Books From 1974:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 13,840 Incredible Hulk #181 Marvel
11/74
  1st full appearance of Wolverine. Wendigo appearance.
2. 12,992 Amazing Spider-Man #129 Marvel
2/74
  1st appearance of the Punisher (Frank Castle) and the Jackal.
3. 5,267 Incredible Hulk #180 Marvel
10/74
  1st appearance of Wolverine in cameo on last page. Wendigo appearance.
4. 3,627 Marvel Premiere #15 Marvel
5/74
  Origin and 1st appearance of Iron Fist., 1st appearance of Harold Meachum., “Death” of Wendell and Heather Rand.
5. 2,721 Incredible Hulk #182 Marvel
12/74
  1st appearance of Hammer and Anvil. 1st appearance and “death” of Crackajack Jackson. Wolverine cameo on 1st page.
6. 2,170 Doctor Strange #1 Marvel
6/74
  1st appearance of the Silver Dagger (Isaiah Curwen). Story continued from Marvel Premiere #14
7. 1,876 Amazing Spider-Man #135 Marvel
8/74
  2nd appearance of the Punisher. Origin of the Tarantula.
8. 1,827 Astonishing Tales #25 Marvel
8/74
  1st appearance of Deathlok (Luther Manning) and Major Ryker. 1st George Perez work (last 2 pages).
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
9. 1,518 Amazing Spider-Man #136 Marvel
9/74
  1st Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin.
10. 916 Sandman #1 D.C.
Winter 1974
  1st Bronze Age Sandman. Last Simon and Kirby collaboration.
11. 886 Man-Thing #1 Marvel
1/74
  2nd appearance of Howard the Duck and Korrek. Jennifer Kale and Dakimh app. Daredevil and Black Widow cameo.
12. 883 Captain Marvel #33 Marvel
7/74
  Origin of Thanos. Drax and Death appearance. Avengers cameo.
13. 839 Savage Sword of Conan #1 Marvel
8/74
  Blackmark series by Gil Kane begins. Red Sonja story. King Kull article by Glenn Lord.
14. 834 Amazing Spider-Man #137 Marvel
10/74
  Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) appearance.
15. 825 Amazing Spider-Man #134 Marvel
7/74
  1st appearance of the Tarantula. Punisher cameo on last page. Harry Osborn discovers Spider-Man’s identity.
16. 809 Amazing Spider-Man #128 Marvel
1/74
  Vulture appearance (Doctor Clifton Shallot).
17. 709 Omac #1 D.C.
9-10/74
  Origin and 1st appearance of OMAC. Atomic explosion panel.
18. 694 Amazing Spider-Man #130 Marvel
3/74
  1st appearance of the Spidermobile. Human Torch, Hammerhead, Jackal and Doctor Octopus appearance.
19. 634 Swamp Thing #9 D.C.
3-4/74
  Len Wein story. Bernie Wrightson cover and art.
20. 626 Marvel Two-In-One #1 Marvel
1/74
  Man-Thing. “Death” of the Molecule Man.
21. 590 Amazing Spider-Man #138 Marvel
11/74
  Origin and 1st appearance of Mindworm (William Turner).
22. 559 Thor #225 Marvel
7/74
  1st app. of Firelord (Pyreus Kril). Hercules and Destroyer appearance. Galactus cameo on last page.
23. 468 Fear #20 Marvel
2/74
  1st published Paul Gulacy work. Morbius, the Living Vampire begins.
24. 449 Amazing Spider-Man #133 Marvel
6/74
  Molten Man appearance.
25. 434 Amazing Spider-Man #131 Marvel
4/74
  Doctor Octopus and Hammerhead appearance. Full page nuclear explosion. Last 20¢ issue.
26. 417 Amazing Spider-Man #132 Marvel
5/74
  Molten Man appearance.
27. 408 Conan the Barbarian #37 Marvel
4/74
  Adapted from Robert E. Howard’s story “Curse of the Golden Skull”.
28. 407 Special Marvel Edition #16 Marvel
2/74
  1st appearance and “death” of Midnight. Last issue. Story and numbering continued in Master of Kung Fu #17
29. 376 Amazing Spider-Man #139 Marvel
12/74
  1st appearance of the Grizzly (Maxwell Markham). Jackal appearance.
30. 375 Captain Marvel #32 Marvel
5/74
  Iron Man, Starfox, Moondragon, Mentor and Thanos appearance. Origin of Drax. Story continued in Avengers #125
31. 373 Giant-Size Chillers #1 Marvel
6/74
  Origin and 1st appearance of Lilith, the daughter of Dracula. Only issue. Becomes Giant-Size Dracula.
32. 371 Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 Marvel
6/74
  Spider-Man. Morbius and Man-Wolf appearance. Only issue.
33. 365 Swamp Thing #10 D.C.
5-6/74
  Last Bernie Wrightson issue.
34. 341 Swamp Thing #8 D.C.
1-2/74
  Len Wein story. Bernie Wrightson cover and art.
35. 326 Captain Marvel #31 Marvel
3/74
  Avengers, Drax, Moondragon, Starfox, Mentor, Thanos & Death appearance.
36. 325 Avengers #125 Marvel
7/74
  Thanos appearance. Story continued from Captain Marvel #32 Story continued in Captain Marvel #33
37. 323 Giant-Size Avengers #1 Marvel
8/74
  All-Winners Squad flashback. 1st appearance of Nuklo. High Evolutionary & Whizzer appearance.
38. 311 Giant-Size Creatures #1 Marvel
7/74
  Werewolf by Night. 1st appearance and origin of Tigra (formerly Cat).
39. 311 Giant-Size Super-Stars #1 Marvel
5/74
  Fantastic Four. Only issue. Becomes Giant-Size Fantastic Four. Thing vs. Hulk.
40. 293 Daredevil #111 Marvel
7/74
  1st appearance of the Silver Samurai (Kenuichio Harada). Black Widow, Nekra, Shanna and Mandrill appearance.
41. 290 Marvel Premiere #16 Marvel
7/74
  2nd appearance of Iron Fist. Origin of Iron Fist continued. 1st appearance Lei Kung the Thunderer.
42. 283 Captain America #180 Marvel
12/74
  Steve Rogers becomes Nomad. Madame Hydra kills Viper (Jordan Stryke) and becomes the new Viper. Krang cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
43. 277 Giant-Size Defenders #1 Marvel
7/74
  2 page Defenders pin-up by Sal Buscema.
44. 276 Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 Marvel
7/74
  Dracula. Human Torch appearance. 1st appearance of Equinox in cameo.
45. 274 Spidey Super Stories #1 Marvel
10/74
  Origin of Spider-Man retold. Stories simplified. Back cover pin-up. Electro and Vulture appearance.
46. 264 X-Men #86 Marvel
2/74
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
47. 264 X-Men #89 Marvel
8/74
  Larry Lieber and Frank Giacoia cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
48. 262 Giant-Size Conan #1 Marvel
9/74
  1st appearance of Belit. Robert E. Howard adaptation.
49. 253 Doctor Strange #2 Marvel
8/74
  Defenders, Avengers, Nick Fury, Spider-Man & Silver Dagger appearance.
50. 251 Marvel Premiere #19 Marvel
11/74
  Iron Fist. 1st appearance of Colleen Wing.
51. 244 Human Torch #1 Marvel
9/74
  Sal Buscema and John Romita cover.
52. 243 Incredible Hulk #172 Marvel
2/74
  Juggernaut vs. Hulk. X-Men (Professor X, Cyclops and Marvel Girl) cameo.
53. 232 Captain Marvel #30 Marvel
1/74
  Iron Man and Controller appearance. Thanos, Drax and Death cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
54. 230 Incredible Hulk #178 Marvel
8/74
  “Death” and “Rebirth” of Warlock. Man-Beast appearance.
55. 227 Captain Marvel #34 Marvel
9/74
  1st appearance of Nitro (Robert Hunter). Mentor appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
56. 226 Iron Man #66 Marvel
2/74
  Thor and Doctor Spectrum appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
57. 218 Giant-Size Spider-Man #2 Marvel
10/74
  Master of Kung Fu. Fu Manchu and Denis Nayland Smith appearance.
58. 216 Ka-Zar #1 Marvel
1/74
  Shanna cameo on last page.
59. 210 Planet of the Apes #1 Marvel
8/74
  Rod Serling interview. Adaptation of the original movie begins.
60. 210 Adventure Comics #431 D.C.
1-2/74
  Spectre stories begin.
61. 209 Power Man #17 Marvel
2/74
  1st issue. Formerly Hero for Hire. Iron Man appearance.
62. 209 Master of Kung Fu #17 Marvel
4/74
  1st issue. Story and numbering continued from Special Marvel Edition #16
63. 208 Batman #255 D.C.
3-4/74
  100 Page Super Spectacular. “Death” of Professor Milo.
64. 208 Incredible Hulk #175 Marvel
5/74
  Inhumans appearance.
65. 207 Jungle Action #8 Marvel
1/74
  Origin of the Black Panther. Map of Wakanda.
66. 205 X-Men #91 Marvel
12/74
  John Buscema cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
67. 203 Werewolf By Night #15 Marvel
3/74
  Story continued from Tomb of Dracula #18 New origin of Werewolf.
68. 203 Tomb of Dracula #18 Marvel
3/74
  Werewolf By Night and Topaz appearance. Story continued in Werewolf By Night #15
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
69. 201 X-Men #87 Marvel
4/74
 
70. 196 Fantastic Four #150 Marvel
9/74
  Story continued from Avengers #127 Wedding of Crystal & Quicksilver. Avengers, Inhumans & Ultron appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
71. 189 Tomb of Dracula #17 Marvel
2/74
  Blade appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
72. 182 Daredevil #115 Marvel
11/74
  Black Widow appearance. “Death” of Death-Stalker. Ad for Incredible Hulk #181 page 10.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
73. 178 Savage Sword of Conan #2 Marvel
10/74
  King Kull story with art by Howard Chaykin. Mike Zeck frontispiece. Lin Carter text story.
74. 175 Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 Marvel
4/74
  Origin Sons of the Tiger. Indicia states v1 #4 Shang-Chi begins. Bruce Lee biography & pin-up.
75. 174 Marvel Premiere #18 Marvel
10/74
  Origin of Iron Fist conclusion. “Death” of Harold Meachum.
76. 172 Tomb of Dracula #19 Marvel
4/74
  Blade appearance.
77. 168 Fantastic Four #146 Marvel
5/74
  Ternak appearance.
78. 166 Rima, the Jungle Girl #1 D.C.
4-5/74
  “Space Voyagers” by Jack Oleck with art by Alex Ni?o begins.
79. 166 X-Men #88 Marvel
6/74
  X-Men #40 cover with extensive revisions by Marie Severin.
80. 163 Power Man #19 Marvel
6/74
  1st appearance of Cornell Cottonmouth.
81. 163 Avengers #122 Marvel
4/74
  Zodiac (Taurus, Aquarius, Aries, Cancer Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Virgo) appearance.
82. 159 Avengers #120 Marvel
2/74
  Zodiac (Taurus, Aquarius, Aries, Cancer Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Virgo) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
83. 159 Doctor Strange #5 Marvel
12/74
  Silver Dagger appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
84. 159 Ghost Rider #5 Marvel
4/74
  Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench story. Jim Mooney and Sal Trapani art. Gil Kane and John Romita cover.
85. 158 Adventure Comics #433 D.C.
5-6/74
  Last Captain Fear backup story.
86. 157 Avengers #123 Marvel
5/74
  1st Star-Stalker in cameo on last page. Origin of Mantis and Libra. Libra appearance. Zodiac cameo.
87. 157 Incredible Hulk #173 Marvel
3/74
  Cobalt Man appearance. Atomic explosion panel.
88. 154 Fantastic Four #149 Marvel
8/74
  Sub-Mariner, Triton and Thundra appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
89. 154 Fantastic Four #148 Marvel
7/74
  Frightful Four (Wizard, Trapster, Sandman and Thundra) appearance. Sub-Mariner cameo on last 2 pages.
90. 151 Fantastic Four #142 Marvel
1/74
  1st appearance of Darkoth the Death-Demon (Major Desmond Pitt). Doctor Doom cameo on last page.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
91. 150 Fantastic Four #143 Marvel
2/74
  Doctor Doom and Darkoth appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
92. 149 Adventure Comics #432 D.C.
3-4/74
  Captain Fear backup story.
93. 149 X-Men #90 Marvel
10/74
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
94. 148 Ghost Rider #4 Marvel
2/74
  Gary Friedrich story. Jim Mooney and Vince Colletta art. Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
95. 146 Astonishing Tales #26 Marvel
10/74
  2nd appearance of Deathlok.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
96. 145 Avengers #121 Marvel
3/74
  Zodiac (Taurus, Aquarius, Aries, Cancer Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Virgo) appearance.
97. 144 Incredible Hulk #177 Marvel
7/74
  Warlock and Man-Beast appearance.
98. 143 Captain America #171 Marvel
3/74
  Black Panther, Iron Man and Moonstone (Lloyd Bloch) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
99. 141 Shadow #2 D.C.
12/73-1/74
  Letter from Alan Kupperberg.
100. 140 Incredible Hulk #171 Marvel
1/74
  Rhino and Abomination appearance.
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