Key Comic Books From 2004

March 1, 2021

2004

Key comics from 2004

[ Note: for the year just prior, a newsstand rarity estimate of 4.25% exists 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 2004 list you’re about to see is neither of those other types.

Instead, to briefly repeat the introduction I gave on the main 2000’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 2004, 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 2004, 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 2004.

Key Comic Books From 2004:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 5,143 NYX #3 Marvel
2/04
  1st appearance of X-23 (Laura Kinney).
2. 1,816 Superman #204 D.C.
6/04
  Brian Azzarello story. Jim Lee & Scott Williams cover & art.
3. 1,256 NYX #4 Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Tatiana. X-23 appearance.
4. 1,042 Walking Dead #4 Image
1/04
  Robert Kirkman story. Tony Moore cover & art.
5. 1,031 Walking Dead #6 Image
3/04
  “Death” of Jim & Shane.
6. 1,010 Ultimate Fantastic Four #1 Marvel
2/04
  Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar story. Adam Kubert & Danny Miki art. Bryan Hitch cover.
7. 986 Walking Dead #9 Image
6/04
  “Death” of Donna. 1st appearance of Otis.
8. 960 Walking Dead #5 Image
2/04
  “Death” of Amy.
9. 953 Walking Dead #10 Image
7/04
  1st appearance of Hershel, Lacey, Arnold, Maggie, Billy, Rachel & Susie Greene & Patricia.
10. 940 Superman/Batman #8 D.C.
5/04
  Kara Zor-El appearance.
11. 914 Walking Dead #7 Image
4/04
  1st appearance Tyreese, Julie & Chris. Lori reveals that she is pregnant. Charlie Adlard art begins.
12. 914 Wolverine v3 #20 Wizard World Texas Edition Marvel
12/04
  Wizard World Texas 2004 exclusive. Sketch cover.
13. 851 Wolverine: The End 1 Wizard World Texas Edition Marvel
1/04
  Paul Jenkins story. Claudio Castellini art. David Finch & Art Thibert cover.
14. 837 Walking Dead #8 Image
5/04
  Robert Kirkman story. Charlie Adlard art. Tony Moore cover.
15. 825 Secret War #1 Marvel
4/04
  Pin-up gallery by Gabriele Dell’Otto with forward by Brian Michael Bendis. Silver foil logo.
16. 679 Astonishing X-Men #1 Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Ord of the Breakworld & Doctor Kavita Rao.
17. 677 Astonishing X-Men 1 Cassaday Variant Cover Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Ord of the Breakworld & Doctor Kavita Rao.
18. 646 Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1 Marvel
6/04
  Green Goblin appearance. Wraparound cover.
19. 631 Identity Crisis #1 D.C.
8/04
  “Death” of Sue Dibny.
20. 624 Astonishing X-Men 1 Variant Cover Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Ord of the Breakworld & Doctor Kavita Rao.
21. 590 Walking Dead #11 Image
8/04
  “Death” of Arnold & Lacey Greene.
22. 578 Venom vs. Carnage #1 Marvel
9/04
  Spider-Man & Black Cat appearance. 1st appearance of Patrick Mulligan, who later becomes Toxin.
23. 567 Astonishing X-Men 1 Director’s Cut Edition Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Ord of the Breakworld & Doctor Kavita Rao. 16 page bonus material included.
24. 555 Superman 204 Retailer Incentive Edition D.C.
6/04
  Diamond Retailer Summit promotional. Sketch cover.
25. 552 Walking Dead #12 Image
9/04
  Robert Kirkman story. Charlie Adlard art. Tony Moore cover.
26. 541 Superman/Batman 8 Second Printing D.C.
5/04
  Kara Zor-El appearance. Sketch cover.
27. 530 Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 D.C.
12/04
  JLA appearance.
28. 516 Superman/Batman #10 D.C.
7/04
  Wonder Woman & Kara Zor-El appearance.
29. 510 Secret War #2 Marvel
7/04
  1st appearance of Quake (Daisy Johnson). Gold foil logo.
30. 510 Cable/Deadpool #1 Marvel
5/04
  Fabian Nicieza story. Mark Brooks & Shane Law art. Rob Liefeld cover.
31. 467 Amazing Fantasy #1 Marvel
8/04
  1st appearance of Anya Corazon.
32. 440 Avengers/JLA #4 D.C.-Marvel
2004
  Wraparound cover.
33. 439 Superman #205 D.C.
7/04
  2 different covers exist, 1 by Jim Lee & 1 by Michael Turner.
34. 437 Wolverine: The End #1 Marvel
1/04
  Paul Jenkins story. Claudio Castellini cover & art.
35. 413 Wolverine v3 #20 Retailer Incentive Edition Marvel
12/04
  Nick Fury, Kitty Pryde & Elektra appearance.
36. 410 Superman/Batman #9 D.C.
6/04
  Kara Zor-El, Krypto, Artemis & Wonder Woman appearance.
37. 363 Secret War 1 Commemorative Edition Marvel
4/04
  Pin-up gallery by Gabriele Dell’Otto with forward by Brian Michael Bendis. Gold foil logo.
38. 361 Walking Dead #14 Image
11/04
  “Death” of Julie.
39. 358 Walking Dead #13 Image
10/04
  Robert Kirkman story. Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn art. Tony Moore cover.
40. 350 Ultimate Spider-Man #50 Marvel
2/04
  Black Cat appearance.
41. 348 Amazing Spider-Man #129 Marvel
2/04
  Reprints Amazing Spider-Man #129 (2/74) Included with Marvel Legends Series VI “Punisher” action figure.
42. 348 Uncanny X-Men #450 Marvel
12/04
  X-23 appearance.
43. 348 Venom vs. Carnage #2 Marvel
10/04
  Patrick Mulligan becomes Toxin. Black Cat appearance.
44. 337 Astonishing X-Men 4 Variant Cover Marvel
10/04
  Return of Colossus. 1st appearance of Hisako Ichiki. Ord & Wing appearance.
45. 330 Daredevil: Father 1 Wizard World Philadelphia Edit Marvel
6/04
  1st full story & art by Joe Quesada. Wizard World Philadelphia 2004 exclusive Sketch cover.
46. 330 Superman #203 D.C.
5/04
  6 page Superman sketchbook by Jim Lee.
47. 328 Uncanny X-Men #451 Marvel
12/04
  X-23 appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $2.99 cover price newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
48. 315 Ultimate Spider-Man #60 Marvel
8/04
  Dr. Connors appearance.
49. 312 Superman/Batman #13 D.C.
10/04
  Darkseid & Supergirl appearance. Two different covers exist, both by Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald.
50. 299 Action Comics #812 D.C.
4/04
  Backup story written by Chuck Austen with art by Ivan Reis & Marc Campos.
51. 297 NYX #5 Marvel
9/04
  X-23 appearance.
52. 292 Astonishing X-Men #6 Marvel
12/04
  1st full appearance of Special Agent Abigail Brand. Ord, Nick Fury & Doctor Kavita Rao appearance.
53. 291 Action Comics 812 Second Printing D.C.
4/04
  Backup story written by Chuck Austen with art by Ivan Reis & Marc Campos. Sketch cover.
54. 284 Flash #207 D.C.
4/04
  Tar Pit, Trickster, Doctor Alchemy, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard & Spectre appearance.
55. 260 Adventures of Superman #625 D.C.
4/04
  Joe Kelly & Greg Rucka stories. Talent Caldwell & Matthew Clark art. Michael Turner story & cover.
56. 259 Identity Crisis 1 Retailer Incentive Edition D.C.
8/04
  “Death” of Sue Dibny. Diamond Retailer Summit promotional. Sketch cover.
57. 248 Ultimate X-Men 50 Wizard World Chicago Edition Marvel
10/04
  Gambit appearance. Sketch cover.
58. 246 NYX #2 Marvel
1/04
  Joe Quesada story. Joshua Middleton cover & art.
59. 245 Punisher #1 Marvel
3/04
  Micro appearance.
60. 244 Conan #1 Dark Horse
2/04
  Based on the character created by Robert E. Howard.
61. 241 Ultimate Spider-Man 6 Niagara Falls Edition Marvel
5/04
  Marvel SuperHeroes Adventure City, Niagara Falls, Canada, promotional. Reprints Ultimate Spider-Man #6
62. 240 Ultimate Spider-Man #62 Marvel
9/04
  “Death” of Gwen Stacy. Direct Editions have “Nickelodeon Magazine” subscription insert included.
63. 237 Superman #202 D.C.
4/04
  6 page preview of Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #1 by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo.
64. 236 Action Comics #813 D.C.
5/04
  Backup story written by Chuck Austen with art by Ivan Reis & Marc Campos.
65. 216 Ex Machina #1 D.C./Wildstorm
8/04
  1st appearance of The Great Machine.
66. 214 Adventures of Superman 625 Second Printing D.C.
4/04
  Sketch cover.
67. 213 Michael Turner’s Soulfire 1 Diamond Previews Edition Aspen
9/04
  Jeph Loeb story. Michael Turner cover & art.
68. 209 Ultimate Fantastic Four #2 Marvel
3/04
  Moleman & Victor Van Damme appearance.
69. 207 Superman/Batman 8 Third Printing D.C.
5/04
  Kara Zor-El appearance.
70. 201 Astonishing X-Men #3 Marvel
9/04
  1st appearance of Wing (Eddie). 1st appearance of Agent Abigail Brand in cameo. Ord, Nick Fury & Kavita Rao app.
71. 199 Hack/Slash #1 Devil’s Due
4/04
  1st appearance of Cassandra Hack & Vlad.
72. 197 Superman/Batman #11 D.C.
8/04
  Wonder Woman, Big Barda, Darkseid & Kara Zor-El appearance.
73. 197 Superman/Batman #12 D.C.
9/04
  Darkseid, Supergirl & Wonder Woman appearance.
74. 193 Wolverine v3 #20 Marvel
12/04
  Nick Fury, Kitty Pryde & Elektra appearance. Wraparound cover.
75. 188 Adventures of Superman #626 D.C.
5/04
  Backup story by Greg Rucka & Matthew Clark.
76. 186 Hellboy Premiere Edition #nn Dark Horse-Wizard Pub.
2004
  Wizard mail-away exclusive.
77. 184 Secret War #3 Marvel
10/04
  Gold foil logo.
78. 181 Michael Turner’s Soulfire #1 Aspen
9/04
  Jeph Loeb story. Michael Turner cover & art.
79. 178 New X-Men #151 Marvel
3/04
  “Here Comes Tomorrow” storyline begins. 1st appearance of Tom Skylark & Rover. Cassandra Nova, EVA & Beak appearance.
80. 177 Batman Adventures #16 D.C.
9/04
  Batgirl, Joker, Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy appearance. Poison Ivy backup story.
81. 177 Punisher: The End #1 Marvel
6/04
  Garth Ennis story. Richard Corben cover & art.
82. 176 Ultimate Spider-Man 54 Variant Cover Marvel
5/04
  Doctor Octopus appearance. “Arachno-Man” variant.
83. 176 Identity Crisis #4 D.C.
11/04
  Brad Meltzer story. Rags Morales & Michael Bair art. Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald cover.
84. 176 Ultimate Spider-Man #61 Marvel
8/04
  Ben Reilly, Doctor Curt Connors & Punisher appearance.
85. 175 Avengers #500 Marvel
9/04
  “Death” of Scott Lang (Ant-Man). Avengers v3 #85. Direct Editions have “Nickelodeon Magazine” insert included.
86. 174 Astonishing X-Men #2 Marvel
8/04
  Ord & Doctor Kavita Rao appearance.
87. 173 Ultimate Fantastic Four #3 Marvel
4/04
  Mole Man appearance. Direct Editions have “Discovery Kids” trading cards insert included.
88. 172 Knights 4 #1 Marvel
4/04
  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa story. Steve McNiven & Mark Morales cover & art.
89. 170 Superman/Batman 1 Third Printing D.C.
1/04
  Cover date reads 10/03
90. 159 Ultimate Spider-Man #52 Marvel
3/04
  Black Cat, Elektra & Kingpin appearance.
91. 159 Superman #209 D.C.
11/04
  Wonder Woman appearance.
92. 159 Walking Dead 2 Second Printing Image
2/04
  1st appearance of Lori & Carl Grimes & Glenn. “Heaven’s War” preview.
93. 158 Superman #206 D.C.
8/04
  Brian Azzarello story. Jim Lee & Scott Williams cover & art.
94. 155 Identity Crisis #2 D.C.
9/04
  Brad Meltzer story. Rags Morales & Michael Bair art. Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald cover.
95. 149 Ultimate Spider-Man 8 Payless ShoeSource Reprint Marvel
1/04
  Reprint.
96. 147 Ultimate Nightmare #1 Marvel
10/04
  Warren Ellis story. Trevor Hairsine & Simon Coleby art. Trevor Hairsine cover.
97. 147 Walking Dead 8 Second Printing Image
5/04
  Indicia reads 7/04
98. 146 Superman/Batman #7 D.C.
4/04
  Robin, Superboy & Toyman appearance.
99. 141 Identity Crisis #3 D.C.
10/04
  Brad Meltzer story. Rags Morales & Michael Bair art. Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald cover.
100. 139 Ultimate Spider-Man #63 Marvel
10/04
  Carnage appearance.
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