Key Comic Books From 1997

March 1, 2021

1997

Key comics from 1997
[ Note: newsstand rarity estimates show that newsstand comics are dramatically more rare than direct edition comics by this point in time. If you are not already in-the-know about the difference between newsstand and direct edition versions 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 1997 list you’re about to see is neither of those other types.

Instead, to briefly repeat the introduction I gave on the main 1990’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 1997, 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 1997, 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 1997.

Key Comic Books From 1997:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 2,023 Deadpool #1 Marvel
1/97
  1st appearance of T-Ray & Blind Al. Sasquatch, Zoe Culloden & Noah DuBois appearance. Wraparound cover.
2. 1,456 Incredible Hulk #449 Marvel
1/97
  1st appearance of the Thunderbolts (Citizen V, Meteorite, Techno, MACH-1, Songbird & Atlas).
3. 873 Spawn 1 Black & White Edition Image
9/97
  Todd McFarlane story, cover & art.
4. 560 Superman Adventures #5 D.C.
3/97
  1st appearance of Livewire in comics (out of DC continuity).
5. 377 Uncanny X-Men 350 Prism Foil Cover Marvel
12/97
  Trial of Gambit. Magneto appearance. Wraparound gatefold cover.
6. 358 JLA #1 D.C.
1/97
  Grant Morrison story. Howard Porter & John Dell cover & art.
7. 284 Transmetropolitan #1 D.C./Helix
9/97
  1st appearance of Spider Jerusalem.
8. 240 Thunderbolts #1 Marvel
4/97
  Thunderbolts revealed as the Masters of Evil. Wrecking Crew appearance. Black Widow, Spider-Man & New Warriors cameo.
9. 181 Superman 123 Glow-in-the-Dark Edition D.C.
5/97
  Superman gains new powers & dons a new costume.
10. 178 Uncanny X-Men 342 Variant Cover Marvel
3/97
  Scott Lobdell story. Joe Madureira & Tim Townsend cover & art.
11. 167 Deadpool #11 Marvel
12/97
  Great Lakes Avengers, Watcher, Kraven & Norman Osborn app. Heroes Return insert. Amazing Fantasy #15 cover homage.
12. 166 Deadpool #2 Marvel
2/97
  Taskmaster & Siryn appearance.
13. 162 Batman and Robin Adventures #21 D.C.
8/97
  Ty Templeton story & cover. Joe Staton art.
14. 138 Wolverine #1/2 Marvel-Wizard Pub.
1997
  Cable appearance. Wizard mail-away exclusive.
15. 128 Star Wars: Boba Fett #1/2 Dark Horse-Wizard Pub.
12/97
  Wizard mail-away exclusive.
16. 128 Deadpool #-1 Marvel
7/97
  1st appearance of Overboss Dixon & Montgomery. Vanessa Carlysle (Copycat) & Zoe Culloden appearance.
17. 112 Danger Girl Preview nn American Entertainment Edition Image/Cliffhanger
12/97
  1st appearance of the Danger Girl team.
18. 111 Deadpool #4 Marvel
4/97
  Hulk, Doctor Killbrew & Siryn appearance.
19. 108 Spectre #54 D.C.
6/97
  Origin & 1st appearance of the new Mister Terrific (Michael Holt).
20. 91 Wolverine/Witchblade #1 Image/Top Cow-Marvel
3/97
  “Devil’s Reign” chapter 5
21. 89 Spider-Man #76 Marvel
1/97
  Howard Mackie story. John Romita Jr. & Scott Hanna. cover & art.
22. 88 Quantum and Woody #1 Acclaim
6/97
  Origin & 1st appearance of Quantum (Eric Henderson) & Woody (Woodrow Van Chelton).
23. 87 Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #1/2 Dark Horse-Wizard Pub.
2/97
  Wizard mail-away exclusive. Luke is reunited with Biggs Darklighter. Wedge & Porkins are introduced to Luke.
24. 87 Deadpool #3 Marvel
3/97
  Doctor Killbrew, Siryn & T-Ray appearance.
25. 82 Uncanny X-Men #350 Marvel
12/97
  Trial of Gambit. Magneto appearance. Wraparound gatefold cover.
26. 82 Amazing Spider-Man #424 Marvel
6/97
  Elektra appearance.
27. 76 Silver Surfer/Superman #1 D.C.-Marvel
1/97
  Indicia reads November 1996 Wraparound cover.
28. 74 Amazing Spider-Man #425 Marvel
8/97
  Wraparound cover. X-Man, Electro, Rose & Delilah appearance. Doctor Octopus (Carolyn Trainer) cameo.
29. 73 Amazing Spider-Man #421 Marvel
3/97
  Rose, Delilah & Black Tarantula appearance.
30. 72 Uncanny X-Men #345 Marvel
6/97
  1st appearance of Maggott. Deathbird appearance.
31. 71 Amazing Spider-Man #427 Marvel
10/97
  Doctor Octopus, Stunner, Delilah & Rose appearance. Double gatefold cover. Amazing Spider-Man #55 cover homage.
32. 67 Sin City: Just Another Saturday Night #1/2 Dark Horse-Wizard Pub.
8/97
  Wizard mail-away exclusive.
33. 65 Amazing Spider-Man #426 Marvel
9/97
  Doctor Octopus (Carolyn Trainer), Rose, Delilah & Stunner appearance.
34. 65 Amazing Spider-Man #422 Marvel
4/97
  Electro appearance.
35. 63 Batman: Special Replica Edition #121 D.C.
1997
  Reprints the origin & 1st appearance of Mr. Freeze. Toys “R” Us promotional issue.
36. 59 Uncanny X-Men #346 Marvel
8/97
  Spider-Man, Marrow, Callisto, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe Robertson & Bastion appearance.
37. 59 Amazing Spider-Man #419 Marvel
1/97
  Rose, Delilah & Black Tarantula appearance.
38. 59 Wolverine 1/2 Wizard Special Edition Marvel-Wizard Pub.
1997
  Cable appearance. Blue foil logo.
39. 59 Batman: The Long Halloween #2 D.C.
1/97
  Jeph Loeb story. Tim Sale cover & art.
40. 58 Detective Comics Special Replica Edition #359 D.C.
1997
  Reprints 1st appearance of Batgirl. Toys “R” Us promotional issue.
41. 58 Deadpool #5 Marvel
5/97
  Doctor Killbrew, Siryn & T-Ray appearance.
42. 55 Spawn #62 Image
6/97
  Angela appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
43. 55 Amazing Spider-Man #423 Marvel
5/97
  Electro appearance.
44. 55 Daredevil/Deadpool ’97 #1 Marvel
9/97
  Story continued from Deadpool #7 Typhoid Mary appearance. Blind Al gets Deuce the Devil Dog.
45. 55 Batman: The Long Halloween #3 D.C.
2/97
  Joker appearance.
46. 55 Deadpool #6 Marvel
6/97
  Vamp/Animus & Typhoid Mary appearance.
47. 53 Amazing Spider-Man #420 Marvel
2/97
  X-Man, Rose, Delilah & Black Tarantula appearance. “Radio Shack” poster included.
48. 53 Wizard Ace Edition: The Darkness #21 Top Cow-Wizard Pub.
1997
  Acetate cover.
49. 53 Danger Girl Preview #nn Image/Cliffhanger
12/97
  1st appearance of the Danger Girl team.
50. 52 Tales of the Witchblade 1/2 Chromium Edition Top Cow-Wizard Pub.
6/97
  Nathan Cabrera story, cover & art.
51. 52 Amazing Spider-Man #428 Marvel
11/97
  Doctor Octopus, Rose, Delilah, Black Tarantula, Stunner & Carolyn Trainer appearance.
52. 52 Batman: The Long Halloween #7 D.C.
6/97
  Riddler appearance.
53. 51 Danger Girl Preview nn Gold Edition Image/Cliffhanger
12/97
  1st appearance of the Danger Girl team. American Entertainment exclusive. Gold foil logo.
54. 51 American Entertainment: Encore Edition Witchblade #2 Image/Top Cow
4/97
  American Entertainment exclusive.
55. 50 Tomb Raider/Witchblade #1 Image/Top Cow
12/97
  1st appearance of Lara Croft in comics.
56. 50 Uncanny X-Men #344 Marvel
5/97
  Deathbird & Phalanx appearance.
57. 49 Star Wars: Boba Fett 1/2 Wizard Special Edition Dark Horse-Wizard Pub.
12/97
  Gold foil logo.
58. 49 Preacher #21 D.C./Vertigo
1/97
  1st appearance of Allfather D’Aronique & the “Messiah”. “Crusaders” part 3
59. 49 Detective Comics Special Replica Edition #38 D.C.
1997
  Reprints the origin & 1st appearance of Robin (Dick Grayson). Toys R Us promotional issue.
60. 49 Superman #123 D.C.
5/97
  Superman gains new powers & dons a new costume.
61. 48 Static #45 D.C./Milestone
3/97
  Last issue.
62. 48 Deadpool #7 Marvel
8/97
  Typhoid Mary & T-Ray appearance. Story continued in Daredevil/Deadpool ’97 #1
63. 48 Batman: The Long Halloween #13 D.C.
12/97
  Jeph Loeb story. Tim Sale cover & art.
64. 48 Batman: The Long Halloween #10 D.C.
9/97
  Jeph Loeb story. Tim Sale cover & art.
65. 47 Amazing Spider-Man #429 Marvel
12/97
  Daredevil, Absorbing Man & Titania appearance. Wolverine, Beast & X-Man cameo.
66. 47 Batman and Robin Adventures #18 D.C.
5/97
  Ty Templeton cover & story. Brandon Kruse & Terry Beatty art.
67. 47 Darkness #2 Top Cow Publications
1/97
  Garth Ennis story. Marc Silvestri & Matt Banning. cover & art.
68. 46 Batman/Spider-Man #nn D.C.-Marvel
1997
  Ra’s al Ghul, Talia, Kingpin & Vanessa Fisk appearance.
69. 45 Dark Claw Adventures #1 Amalgam
6/97
  Ty Templeton story & cover. Ty Templeton & Rick Burchett art.
70. 44 Darkness 7 Variant Cover Image/Top Cow
8/97
 
71. 44 JLA #2 D.C.
2/97
 
72. 44 Wolverine #-1 Marvel
7/97
  Sabretooth, Nick Fury, Carol Danvers, Ben Grimm, Black Widow, Doctor Myron MacLain and James & Heather Hudson app.
73. 44 Deadpool #8 Marvel
9/97
  Typhoid Mary appearance. Zoe Culloden, Noah DuBois & Montgomery cameo.
74. 43 Batman: The Long Halloween #6 D.C.
5/97
  Poison Ivy appearance.
75. 43 Deadpool #9 Marvel
10/97
  1st appearance of Deathtrap.
76. 42 Witchblade #18 Image/Top Cow
11/97
 
77. 42 Darkness #3 Image/Top Cow
3/97
 
78. 42 Witchblade #13 Image/Top Cow
4/97
 
79. 42 Tears of Dawn 2 Numbered Edition Sirius Entertainment
5/97
 
80. 42 Uncanny X-Men #343 Marvel
4/97
  Deathbird & Phalanx appearance.
81. 41 Devil’s Reign #1/2 Marvel-Wizard Pub.
3/97
  Wizard mail-away exclusive. Silver Surfer/Witchblade crossover.
82. 41 Darkchylde: The Diary 1 Convention Edition Image
6/97
  Holochromium cover.
83. 41 X-Men 62 Variant Cover Marvel
3/97
  Shang-Chi appearance.
84. 39 Spawn #61 Image
5/97
 
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
85. 38 Death of Vampirella 1 Holochromium Edition Harris
2/97
  The “Death” of Vampirella. “Memorial Edition.” Wraparound cover.
86. 37 Spawn #67 Image
11/97
 
87. 37 Batman: The Long Halloween #5 D.C.
4/97
  Catwoman appearance.
88. 37 Batman: The Long Halloween #11 D.C.
10/97
 
89. 37 Batman: The Long Halloween #12 D.C.
11/97
 
90. 37 Squee #1 Slave Labor
4/97
 
91. 37 Uncanny X-Men #347 Marvel
9/97
  Marrow, Callisto & Maggott appearance.
92. 36 Chastity: Theatre of Pain #1 Chaos!
2/97
 
93. 36 Quantum and Woody 1 Retailer Review Copy Acclaim
2/97
  Black & white cover & interior.
94. 36 Superman Adventures #4 D.C.
2/97
 
95. 36 Witchblade #14 Image/Top Cow
5/97
 
96. 36 Amazing Spider-Man #-1 Marvel
7/97
  Wilson Fisk becomes the Kingpin. Sub-Mariner cameo.
97. 36 Sin City: Sex & Violence #nn Dark Horse
3/97
  Pin-up by Bill Sienkiewicz.
98. 35 Tales of the Witchblade 1/2 Wizard Special Edition Top Cow-Wizard Pub.
6/97
  Gold foil logo.
99. 35 Preacher #25 D.C./Vertigo
5/97
  Origin of Cassidy.
100. 35 Kiss: Psycho Circus #1 Image
8/97
  Afterwards by Gene Simmons.
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