Key Comic Books From 1989

March 1, 2021

1989

Key comics from 1989

[ Note: the newsstand rarity estimates dwindle to a very small newsstand percentage towards the end of the 1980’s for Marvel.  If you are not already in-the-know about the difference between newsstand and direct edition comics see the following: Comic Book Newsstand Editions: Understanding The Difference ]

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 1989 list you’re about to see is neither of those other types.

Instead, to briefly repeat the introduction I gave on the main 1980’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 1989, 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 1989, 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 1989.

Key Comic Books From 1989:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 4,638 Amazing Spider-Man #316 Marvel
6/89
  Venom & Black Cat appearance.
2. 3,219 Wolverine #10 Marvel
8/89
  Sabretooth appearance. Back cover pin-up by Kent Williams.
3. 3,076 Uncanny X-Men #244 Marvel
5/89
  1st appearance of Jubilee (Jubilation Lee).
4. 3,054 Sandman #1 D.C./Vertigo
1/89
  1st appearance of Morpheus. Wesley Dodds cameo.
5. 1,853 Uncanny X-Men #248 Marvel
9/89
  1st Jim Lee art on Uncanny X-Men. Longshot leaves the X-Men.
6. 1,719 Amazing Spider-Man #312 Marvel
2/89
  Green Goblin battles Hobgoblin.
7. 1,552 Amazing Spider-Man #315 Marvel
5/89
  Venom & Hydro-Man appearance.
8. 1,521 Sandman #8 D.C./Vertigo
8/89
  1st appearance of Death.
9. 1,354 Amazing Spider-Man #317 Marvel
7/89
  Venom & Thing appearance.
10. 1,296 Wolverine #8 Marvel
6/89
  Hulk appearance. Back cover pin-up by Rob Liefeld.
11. 1,206 Uncanny X-Men #256 Marvel
12/89
  1st new Psylocke. Mandarin appearance.
12. 1,171 Batman #429 D.C.
1/89
  “A Death in the Family” Part 4 of storyline. Superman appearance.
13. 1,095 Amazing Spider-Man #313 Marvel
3/89
  Lizard appearance.
14. 1,023 Predator #1 Dark Horse
6/89
  1st appearance of Predator in comics.
15. 992 Batman #442 D.C.
12/89
  1st appearance of Timothy Drake in Robin costume. Two-Face & Nightwing appearance.
16. 898 Amazing Spider-Man #311 Marvel
1/89
  Mysterio appearance. Hobgoblin cameo on last page.
17. 806 Amazing Spider-Man #323 Marvel
11/89
  Captain America, Silver Sable & Solo appearance.
18. 800 Amazing Spider-Man #314 Marvel
4/89
  Christmas cover.
19. 715 Wolverine #3 Marvel
1/89
  Pin-up by Kevin Nowlan on back cover. Silver Samurai & Jessica Drew appearance.
20. 715 Amazing Spider-Man #322 Marvel
10/89
  Silver Sable appearance.
21. 709 Amazing Spider-Man #318 Marvel
8/89
  Scorpion appearance.
22. 702 Caliber Presents #1 Caliber Press
1/89
  1st appearance of the Crow.
23. 681 Amazing Spider-Man #319 Marvel
9/89
  Rhino, Blacklash & Scorpion appearance.
24. 673 Punisher War Journal #6 Marvel
6/89
  Wolverine appearance.
25. 665 Sensational She-Hulk #1 Marvel
5/89
  Origin of She-Hulk retold. Ringmaster, Circus of Crime & Headmen appearance.
26. 622 Amazing Spider-Man #324 Marvel
11/89
  Silver Sable, Captain America, Solo & Sabretooth appearance.
27. 622 Captain America #360 Marvel
10/89
  1st appearance of Crossbones (Brock Rumlow). “Bloodstone Hunt” part 4
28. 615 Batman #436 D.C.
8/89
  Origin of Robin (Dick Grayson) retold. 1st appearance of Tim Drake.
29. 590 Sandman #4 D.C./Vertigo
4/89
  1st appearance of Lucifer Morningstar. Demon appearance.
30. 580 Thor #412 Marvel
12/89
  1st full appearance of the New Warriors. Juggernaut appearance. Beta Ray Bill backup story.
31. 570 The Crow #1 Caliber Press
2/89
  Jim O’Barr story, cover & art.
32. 554 Amazing Spider-Man #321 Marvel
10/89
  Paladin & Silver Sable appearance.
33. 522 Amazing Spider-Man #325 Marvel
11/89
  Captain America, Silver Sable & Red Skull appearance.
34. 495 Amazing Spider-Man #320 Marvel
9/89
  Paladin & Silver Sable appearance.
35. 490 Punisher War Journal #7 Marvel
7/89
  Wolverine appearance.
36. 483 Wolverine #4 Marvel
2/89
  1st app. of Bloodsport & Roughouse. Karma & Jessica Drew appearance. Back cover pin-up by Barry Windsor-Smith
37. 435 Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1 D.C.
11/89
  One of four different outer cover color variations. Poster included.
38. 427 Wolverine #17 Marvel
11/89
  Storm, Gateway, Roughouse & Bloodscream appearance. Daredevil appearance in flashback.
39. 420 Thor #411 Marvel
12/89
  1st app. of New Warriors on last page. Juggernaut appearance.
40. 417 Wolverine #5 Marvel
3/89
  Karma, Bloodsport & Jessica Drew appearance. Pin-up by John Bolton on back cover.
41. 375 Uncanny X-Men #251 Marvel
11/89
  Reavers appearance. Siege Perilous is destroyed.
42. 354 Wolverine #6 Marvel
4/89
  Karma, Jessica Drew, Roughouse & Bloodsport appearance. Back cover pin-up by Todd McFarlane.
43. 350 Detective Comics #608 D.C.
11/89
  1st appearance of Anarky.
44. 348 Huntress #1 D.C.
4/89
  Origin & 1st appearance of the new Huntress (Helena Bertinelli).
45. 341 Wolverine #7 Marvel
5/89
  Hulk, Karma, Jessica Drew & Roughouse appearance.
46. 337 Batman: Official Motion Picture Adaptation nn Prestige Format D.C.
1989
  Denny O’Neil story. Jerry Ordway cover & art.
47. 334 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #1 Archie Publications
3/89
  5 different versions exist: regular cover price direct, canadian price variant direct, regular cover price newsstand, canadian price variant newsstand, & “Salute to Victor Gorelick” cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.25 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
48. 325 Cry for Dawn #1 CFD Publications
4/89
  1st appearance of Dawn. Introduction by Stephen Bissette.
49. 310 Suicide Squad #23 D.C.
1/89
  1st appearance of Oracle in cameo.
50. 301 Sandman #2 D.C./Vertigo
2/89
  Cain, Abel, Cynthia, Mildred & Mordred appearance.
51. 291 Wolverine #9 Marvel
7/89
  Back cover pin-up by Kieron Dwyer.
52. 258 The Crow #2 Caliber Press
3/89
  Jim O’Barr story, cover & art.
53. 248 Sandman #3 D.C./Vertigo
3/89
  John Constantine appearance.
54. 248 Uncanny X-Men #247 Marvel
8/89
  Master Mold, Nimrod, Sebastian Shaw & Senator Robert Kelly appearance. Reavers, Nanny & Orphan-Maker cameo.
55. 234 The Crow #4 Caliber Press
1989
  Last issue.
56. 229 Amazing Spider-Man #327 Marvel
12/89
  Doctor Doom, Kingpin, Wizard & Magneto appearance.
57. 228 Spectacular Spider-Man #158 Marvel
12/89
  Spider-Man gains cosmic powers. Trapster appearance.
58. 218 Uncanny X-Men #245 Marvel
6/89
  Chris Claremont story. Rob Liefeld & Dan Green art. Rob Liefeld cover.
59. 205 Amazing Spider-Man #326 Marvel
12/89
  Graviton appearance.
60. 194 Uncanny X-Men #249 Marvel
10/89
  Zaladane, Polaris/Malice, Gateway, Lady Deathstrike & Reavers appearance.
61. 187 Daredevil #270 Marvel
9/89
  1st appearance of Blackheart. Spider-Man & Mephisto appearance.
62. 183 Uncanny X-Men #242 Marvel
3/89
  X-Factor, Goblin Queen & N’astirh appearance. Story continued in X-Factor #38
63. 180 Captain America #359 Marvel
10/89
  “Bloodstone Hunt” part 3 U.S. Agent backup story by Mark Gruenwald & Mark Bright.
64. 179 The Crow #3 Caliber Press
8/89
  Jim O’Barr story, cover & art.
65. 177 Sandman #5 D.C./Vertigo
5/89
  Scarecrow & Martian Manhunter appearance.
66. 177 Uncanny X-Men #241 Marvel
2/89
  Dark & light versions of cover exist. Madelyne Pryor & Mister Sinister appearance.
67. 176 Uncanny X-Men #246 Marvel
7/89
  Master Mold, Nimrod, Sebastian Shaw & Senator Robert Kelly appearance.
68. 173 Aliens v2 #1 Dark Horse
8/89
  Back cover forms a single image with v2 #2-4
69. 170 Uncanny X-Men #243 Marvel
4/89
  X-Factor, Mister Sinister & the Marauders (Sabretooth, Blockbuster & Polaris/Malice) appearance.
70. 169 Detective Comics #600 D.C.
5/89
  “Blind Justice” storyline ends. Pin-ups by Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Zeck, Will Eisner & Dick Sprang.
71. 162 Batman #439 D.C.
9/89
  Nightwing appearance.
72. 161 Uncanny X-Men #240 Marvel
1/89
  Mister Sinister, N’astirh & Marauders appearance.
73. 152 Miracleman #16 Eclipse
12/89
  Alan Moore story. John Totleben cover & art.
74. 150 Spectacular Spider-Man #147 Marvel
2/89
  1st appearance of the Demonic Hobgoblin. Green Goblin & N’astirh appearance.
75. 150 Uncanny X-Men #250 Marvel
10/89
  Ka-Zar, Zaladane & Polaris appearance.
76. 148 Wolverine #12 Marvel
9/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
77. 144 Batman: Gotham by Gaslight #nn D.C.
1989
  Introduction by Robert Bloch.
78. 144 Batman #441 D.C.
11/89
  Continued from The New Titans #60
79. 142 Silver Surfer Limited Series #2 Marvel/Epic
1/89
  Galactus appearance.
80. 142 Wolverine #13 Marvel
10/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
81. 140 Predator 1 Second Printing Dark Horse
9/89
  1st appearance of Predator in comics.
82. 136 Batman #438 D.C.
9/89
  Nightwing appearance.
83. 136 Predator #2 Dark Horse
10/89
  Mark Verheiden story. Chris Warner & Sam de la Rosa art. Chris Warner cover.
84. 133 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 7 Second Printing Mirage Studios
1/89
  Wraparound cover.
85. 133 Wolverine #11 Marvel
9/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
86. 133 Marc Spector: Moon Knight #1 Marvel
6/89
  Bushman appearance.
87. 132 West Coast Avengers #45 Marvel
6/89
  Avengers #57 cover homage.
88. 131 Captain America #354 Marvel
6/89
  John Walker becomes U.S. Agent. Battlestar & Fabian Stankowitz appearance.
89. 131 Batman #440 D.C.
10/89
  Two-Face & Starfire appearance.
90. 129 Catwoman #1 D.C.
2/89
  Origin of Catwoman.
91. 128 Uncanny X-Men #252 Marvel
11/89
  Reavers (Donald Pierce, Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, Pretty Boy, Reese, Macon, Cole & Lady Deathstrike) appearance.
92. 126 Doom Patrol #19 D.C.
2/89
  Grant Morrison storyline begins. 1st appearance of Crazy Jane.
93. 125 Sandman #6 D.C./Vertigo
6/89
  Neil Gaiman story. Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III art. Dave McKean cover.
94. 122 Batman #437 D.C.
8/89
  Origin of Robin (Dick Grayson) retold. Nightwing appearance.
95. 119 Wolverine #15 Marvel
11/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
96. 119 Uncanny X-Men #253 Marvel
11/89
  Chris Claremont story. Marc Silvestri & Steve Leialoha art. Marc Silvestri & Dan Green cover.
97. 118 Wolverine #14 Marvel
10/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
98. 115 Uncanny X-Men #254 Marvel
12/89
  Giant-Size X-Men #1 cover homage.
99. 112 Wolverine #16 Marvel
11/89
  Jessica Drew appearance.
100. 109 Sandman #7 D.C./Vertigo
7/89
  Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane) appearance.
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