Key Modern Age Comics (1992-Onward)

February 15, 2017

Key Modern Age Comics

Key modern age comics.

[ Special Note: during the Modern Age, the distinction between direct edition comics and newsstand comics is absolutely critical for any collector of key modern age comics to understand.  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 many other “top lists” out there covering “key” modern age comics, but the ones I’ve seen are all either based upon (a) individual judgment calls, or (b) the high sale prices observed in the marketplace.

Judgment calls are great, but not necessarily comprehensive. Meanwhile, high sale prices could just as easily be reflective of, say, a CGC 9.9 Signature Series copy signed by Stan Lee, versus reflective of the underlying comic being of any great importance.

How about a different approach?

Here’s what you’re about to see: a different approach to “tease out” a list of key modern age comics to consider collecting, by asking the following question: for each comic book issue of the modern age (1992-onward) that have passed through CGC’s doors to date, how many copies have been graded?

The thinking here is that the more important the comic as a key modern age issue, the more likely its owner will want to have it graded and slabbed.  So by ranking comics simply by the number of copies submitted to CGC — removing any judgment call or sales price information — I’d argue we can get to a pretty darn good list of important key comics of the modern age!

Of course, there are some limitations and flaws to this approach to keep in mind before reviewing the list: for one thing, I wrote this in February 2017, using year-end 2016 data, but the modern age is ongoing… So naturally, any key modern age comic book that gets published in the future cannot by definition be included here. Also, because this submission data is from one snapshot in time (year-end 2016) there could be plenty of important past comics that simply aren’t recognized as such today but might be considered keys after some future development gives them renewed attention.  And a final flaw is that some very-high-value comics simply didn’t have many copies printed; comics with a very restricted print run will naturally sort themselves off of the bottom of a list like this as well [one example that comes to mind is Spawn/The Savage Dragon #1 (1996)].

So I do not want anybody to think of the list you’re about to see as a “rank” of importance, or, as being an all-encompassing list of modern age keys… all we’re ranking here is the sheer number of copies that have passed through CGC’s doors as of year-end 2016 and presenting the top 200. That’s it!  This data should give us a very interesting list, but is in no way a replacement for judgement nor a replacement for pricing data — it is simply one more tool for our tool-belt as we study interesting and rare comics like the ones I enjoy writing about on this blog!

With that explanation stated, without further ado, here is the list of 200 key comics from the modern age. [ I’ve also posted more lists of key comic books by year including other key comic books by age (bronze, copper, modern); special thanks goes to Greg Holland whose research website was the tool that made these pages possible to assemble ].

Oh!  One more note! In the list you are going to see some icons that look like this: CGC variant confirmed … These icons indicate the confirmed existence on the CGC census of a more-rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant version of the key modern age comic book in question. CGC only “breaks out” newsstand comics as variants in certain special situations like cover price difference and manufacturing differences (read about the special situations I’m aware of here), so when we encounter these special situations they are exciting stand-outs for collectors of modern age keys focused on the more-rare newsstand type versus the prevalent direct edition type.

Key Modern Age Comics:

(Census data as of year-end 2016)

Rank CGC Count Issue Date Publisher
1. 5,855 Amazing Spider-Man #361
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
4/92 Marvel Comics
2. 5,599 Spawn #1 5/92 Image Comics
3. 4,963 Amazing Spider-Man v2 #36 12/01 Marvel Comics
4. 4,080 Outcast #1 6/14 Image/Skybound
5. 3,022 Amazing Spider-Man #700 2/13 Marvel Comics
6. 3,010 Batman Adventures #12 9/93 D.C. Comics
7. 2,900 Wolverine: The Origin #1 11/01 Marvel Comics
8. 2,739 NYX #3 2/04 Marvel Comics
9. 2,617 Walking Dead #1 10/03 Image Comics
10. 2,555 Saga #1 3/12 Image Comics
11. 2,484 Superman: The Man of Steel #18 12/92 D.C. Comics
12. 2,249 Edge of Spider-Verse #2 11/14 Marvel Comics
13. 2,095 X-Men 1 Sketch Cover 9/10 Marvel Comics
14. 2,041 Batman #608 12/02 D.C. Comics
15. 2,017 Captain America 25 Variant Edition 4/07 Marvel Comics
16. 1,991 Amazing Spider-Man #362 5/92 Marvel Comics
17. 1,958 Preacher #1 4/95 D.C./Vertigo Comics
18. 1,948 All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #1 9/05 D.C. Comics
19. 1,909 The Marvels Project 1 Sketch Cover 10/09 Marvel Comics
20. 1,860 Venom: Lethal Protector #1 2/93 Marvel Comics
21. 1,818 Batman #497 7/93 D.C. Comics
22. 1,774 Thief of Thieves #1 2/12 Image Comics
23. 1,754 Walking Dead #19 6/05 Image Comics
24. 1,689 Walking Dead #108 3/13 Image/Skybound
25. 1,688 Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special #1 1/93 D.C. Comics
26. 1,619 Wolverine: The Origin #2 12/01 Marvel Comics
27. 1,599 Superman #75 1/93 D.C. Comics
28. 1,554 Spawn #9
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
3/93 Image Comics
29. 1,504 Amazing Spider-Man #529
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
4/06 Marvel Comics
30. 1,483 Captain America 25 Wizard World 2007 Con Edition 4/07 Marvel Comics
31. 1,472 Superman #204 6/04 D.C. Comics
32. 1,470 Amazing Spider-Man #363 6/92 Marvel Comics
33. 1,464 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Variant Edition
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
3/09 Marvel Comics
34. 1,458 Rai #0 11/92 Valiant
35. 1,449 Walking Dead #27 4/06 Image Comics
36. 1,393 Ultimate Spider-Man 1 Variant Cover 10/00 Marvel Comics
37. 1,385 John Byrne’s Next Men #21 12/93 Dark Horse Comics
38. 1,367 East of West #1 3/13 Image Comics
39. 1,326 Wolverine: The Origin #3 1/02 Marvel Comics
40. 1,320 Amazing Spider-Man 648 Sketch Edition 1/11 Marvel Comics
41. 1,293 Star Wars #1 3/15 Marvel Comics
42. 1,285 Ultimate Spider-Man #1/2 2002 Marvel-Wizard Pub.
43. 1,248 Ultimate Spider-Man 79 Wizard World 2005 Con Editi 9/05 Marvel Comics
44. 1,236 Walking Dead 100 Chromium Edition 7/12 Image/Skybound
45. 1,235 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America 3 Sketch 7/07 Marvel Comics
46. 1,218 Batman #612 4/03 D.C. Comics
47. 1,189 Witchblade #1 11/95 Image/Top Cow
48. 1,185 Walking Dead #2 11/03 Image Comics
49. 1,184 Civil War 3 Variant Cover 9/06 Marvel Comics
50. 1,175 Batman: Harley Quinn #nn 1999 D.C. Comics
51. 1,174 Wolverine: Origins 1 Wizard World 2006 Con Edition 6/06 Marvel Comics
52. 1,166 Walking Dead #100 7/12 Image/Skybound
53. 1,145 Walking Dead #127 5/14 Image/Skybound
54. 1,125 Batman 0 We Can Be Heroes Edition 11/12 D.C. Comics
55. 1,125 Wolverine: Origins 6 Wizard World 2006 Con Edition 11/06 Marvel Comics
56. 1,113 Superior Spider-Man #1 3/13 Marvel Comics
57. 1,091 Revival #1 7/12 Image Comics
58. 1,086 Spider-Gwen #1 4/15 Marvel Comics
59. 1,053 Ultimate Fallout #4 10/11 Marvel Comics
60. 1,037 Detective Comics #1 11/11 D.C. Comics
61. 1,037 Death of Wolverine #1 11/14 Marvel Comics
62. 1,032 Superman/Batman #1 10/03 D.C. Comics
63. 1,028 Alias #1 11/01 Marvel Comics
64. 1,020 Wolverine: The Origin #4 2/02 Marvel Comics
65. 1,011 Civil War 1 Variant Cover 7/06 Marvel Comics
66. 1,007 Walking Dead #3 12/03 Image Comics
67. 999 Civil War 1 Aspen Variant Cover 7/06 Marvel Comics
68. 987 Ultimate Fantastic Four #1 2/04 Marvel Comics
69. 981 Amazing Spider-Man #375 3/93 Marvel Comics
70. 980 Civil War: Front Line 1 Wizard World 2006 Con Edit 8/06 Marvel Comics
71. 962 Wolverine: The Origin #5 5/02 Marvel Comics
72. 958 Amazing Spider-Man #539 4/07 Marvel Comics
73. 939 Civil War 1 Sketch Cover 7/06 Marvel Comics
74. 930 New Avengers 1 Variant Cover 1/05 Marvel Comics
75. 923 Wolverine: Origins 1 Variant Edition 6/06 Marvel Comics
76. 920 Batman Adventures: Mad Love #nn 2/94 D.C. Comics
77. 919 Superman 75 Poly-Bagged Edition 1/93 D.C. Comics
78. 915 Amazing Spider-Man #365 8/92 Marvel Comics
79. 914 Fantastic Four 546 Wizard World East Con Edition 7/07 Marvel Comics
80. 909 Captain America #34 3/08 Marvel Comics
81. 908 Wolverine v3 #20 Wizard World 2004 Con Edition 12/04 Marvel Comics
82. 899 Batman 608 Second Printing 12/02 D.C. Comics
83. 892 Superman/Batman #8 5/04 D.C. Comics
84. 889 Ultimate Spider-Man #33 2/03 Marvel Comics
85. 884 Ultimate Spider-Man 1 Dynamic Forces Edition 10/00 Marvel Comics
86. 874 Hulk 1 Wizard World 2008 Con Edition 3/08 Marvel Comics
87. 873 All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder 10 Recalle 8/08 D.C. Comics
88. 871 New Avengers 1 Quesada Variant Cover 1/05 Marvel Comics
89. 860 Infinite Crisis #1 12/05 D.C. Comics
90. 858 Secret Invasion 1 Sketch Edition 6/08 Marvel Comics
91. 857 Amazing Spider-Man #500 12/03 Marvel Comics
92. 857 Transformers: Generation 1 #1 4/02 Dreamwave Productions
93. 854 Batman 612 Second Printing 4/03 D.C. Comics
94. 845 Wolverine: The End 1 Wizard World 2003 Con Edition 1/04 Marvel Comics
95. 814 Walking Dead #53 10/08 Image Comics
96. 812 Y: The Last Man #1 9/02 D.C./Vertigo Comics
97. 806 Iron Man #282 7/92 Marvel Comics
98. 805 Amazing Spider-Man v2 #30 6/01 Marvel Comics
99. 805 Chew #1 6/09 Image Comics
100. 800 Walking Dead #4 1/04 Image Comics
101. 790 Amazing Spider-Man 4 Ramos Variant Cover 9/14 Marvel Comics
102. 787 Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1 JScottCampbe 8/15 Marvel Comics
103. 784 Ultimate Extinction 1 Wizard World 2006 Con Editio 3/06 Marvel Comics
104. 784 Walking Dead #6 3/04 Image Comics
105. 782 Wytches #1 10/14 Image Comics
106. 780 Transformers: Generation 1 1 Holofoil Edition 4/02 Dreamwave Productions
107. 776 Wolverine: The Origin #6 7/02 Marvel Comics
108. 773 Wolverine: Origins 2 Canadian Variant 7/06 Marvel Comics
109. 772 World War Hulk 1 Aspen Variant Cover 8/07 Marvel Comics
110. 768 Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 2/06 Marvel Comics
111. 762 Secret War #1 4/04 Marvel Comics
112. 760 Walking Dead 100 Second Printing 8/12 Image/Skybound
113. 756 Invincible Iron Man 1 Wizard World 2008 Con Editio 7/08 Marvel Comics
114. 753 Walking Dead 100 McFarlane Variant Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
115. 748 Walking Dead 109 Sketch Edition 4/13 Image/Skybound
116. 742 Walking Dead #9 6/04 Image Comics
117. 738 Walking Dead #61 5/09 Image Comics
118. 727 Michael Turner’s Soulfire: Dying of the Light 3 Wi 11/05 Aspen
119. 724 Walking Dead #5 2/04 Image Comics
120. 716 Ultimate Spider-Man 111 Wizard World 2007 Con Edit 9/07 Marvel Comics
121. 701 Amazing Spider-Man 1 Expert Comics Edition 6/14 Marvel Comics
122. 700 Donald Duck Adventures-Free Comic Book Day nn Gems 5/03 Gemstone
123. 695 Walking Dead #92 12/11 Image/Skybound
124. 695 Walking Dead #10 7/04 Image Comics
125. 695 Walking Dead #7 4/04 Image Comics
126. 685 Walking Dead 100 Adlard Variant Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
127. 684 Amazing Spider-Man 700 Campbell Variant Cover 2/13 Marvel Comics
128. 682 Wolverine: Origins #1 6/06 Marvel Comics
129. 677 Superman Unchained #1 8/13 D.C. Comics
130. 670 Walking Dead 100 Convention Edition 7/12 Image/Skybound
131. 667 Astonishing X-Men 1 Cassaday Variant Cover 7/04 Marvel Comics
132. 665 Civil War 2 Variant Cover 8/06 Marvel Comics
133. 662 Invincible #1 1/03 Image Comics
134. 658 Amazing Spider-Man 700 Martin Variant Cover 2/13 Marvel Comics
135. 657 Simpsons Comics #1 1993 Bongo Comics Group
136. 656 All-Star Superman 1 Variant Cover 1/06 D.C. Comics
137. 656 Star Wars 4 Boba Fett Variant Cover 6/15 Marvel Comics
138. 650 Manifest Destiny #1 11/13 Image Comics
139. 646 Amazing Spider-Man 700 Ditko Variant Cover 2/13 Marvel Comics
140. 642 Astonishing X-Men #1 7/04 Marvel Comics
141. 641 Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Edition #1 10/13 Image Comics
142. 630 Wolverine v3 #1 7/03 Marvel Comics
143. 629 Peter Panzerfaust #1 2/12 Image Comics
144. 625 New X-Men #128 8/02 Marvel Comics
145. 623 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Second Printing 3/09 Marvel Comics
146. 622 Spawn #2 6/92 Image Comics
147. 621 Solar, Man of the Atom #10 6/92 Valiant
148. 619 Walking Dead #8 5/04 Image Comics
149. 614 Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1 6/04 Marvel Comics
150. 613 Identity Crisis #1 8/04 D.C. Comics
151. 604 Civil War 3 Sketch Cover 9/06 Marvel Comics
152. 604 X-Men 175 Wizard World 2005 Con Edition 2005 Marvel Comics
153. 603 Walking Dead 100 Ottley Variant Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
154. 603 Star Wars 1 Sketch Edition 3/15 Marvel Comics
155. 602 Civil War 2 Second Printing 8/06 Marvel Comics
156. 601 Harbinger 0 Pink Variant 1992 Valiant
157. 599 Astonishing X-Men 1 Variant Cover 7/04 Marvel Comics
158. 595 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 1/16 D.C. Comics
159. 595 Wolverine #50 1/92 Marvel Comics
160. 593 X-23 1 Limited Edition 4/05 Marvel Comics
161. 591 Walking Dead 100 Sketch Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
162. 583 Darth Vader #3 5/15 Marvel Comics
163. 580 Daredevil v2 #1 11/98 Marvel Comics
164. 577 Wolverine: Origins 10 Retailer Incentive Edition 3/07 Marvel Comics
165. 577 Batman #23.1 11/13 D.C. Comics
166. 575 Civil War #7 1/07 Marvel Comics
167. 575 Walking Dead 100 Silvestri Variant Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
168. 569 Wolverine: Origins 1 Director’s Cut Edition 2006 Marvel Comics
169. 569 Civil War 4 Variant Cover 10/06 Marvel Comics
170. 566 Marvel Collectible Classics: Spider-Man #1 12/98 Marvel Comics
171. 564 Amazing Spider-Man #607
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
11/09 Marvel Comics
172. 561 Dark Avengers 1 Sketch Cover 3/09 Marvel Comics
173. 556 Superior Spider-Man 29 La Mole Comic Con Edition 5/14 Marvel Comics
174. 554 Superman: The Man of Steel #17 11/92 D.C. Comics
175. 554 Astonishing X-Men 1 Director’s Cut Edition 7/04 Marvel Comics
176. 553 Civil War 2 Sketch Cover 8/06 Marvel Comics
177. 552 JLA/Avengers #1 9/03 D.C.-Marvel
178. 545 Uncanny X-Men #300 5/93 Marvel Comics
179. 543 Death of Wolverine #4 12/14 Marvel Comics
180. 534 Age of Ultron #1 5/13 Marvel Comics
181. 533 Superman/Batman 1 Retailer Incentive Edition 10/03 D.C. Comics
182. 533 Civil War 7 Variant Cover 1/07 Marvel Comics
183. 533 Batman #13 12/12 D.C. Comics
184. 533 Paper Girls #1 10/15 Image Comics
185. 532 Wolverine v3 #26 Limited Edition 5/05 Marvel Comics
186. 530 Saga #2 4/12 Image Comics
187. 530 Superior Spider-Man 1 Campbell Variant Cover 3/13 Marvel Comics
188. 522 Walking Dead 100 Quitely Variant Cover 7/12 Image/Skybound
189. 520 Superman 204 Retailer Incentive Edition 6/04 D.C. Comics
190. 520 Spawn 1 Black & White Edition 9/97 Image Comics
191. 518 Captain America v4 #1 6/02 Marvel Comics
192. 517 Harley Quinn 1 Variant Cover 2/14 D.C. Comics
193. 515 Dark Knight III: The Master Race 1 Miller Variant 1/16 D.C. Comics
194. 514 Venom: Lethal Protector 1 Gold Edition 2/93 Marvel Comics
195. 513 Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 12/04 D.C. Comics
196. 512 Amazing Spider-Man 700 Second Printing 4/13 Marvel Comics
197. 512 Avengers vs. X-Men 1 Diamond Select Toys Edition 6/12 Marvel Comics
198. 511 Amazing Spider-Man 400 Die-Cut Cover 4/95 Marvel Comics
199. 509 Wolverine v3 #66 8/08 Marvel Comics
200. 507 Detective Comics #23.2 11/13 D.C. Comics
« Key Copper Age Comics    »

Other Key Modern Age Comics By Year

I’ve also put up lists of key modern age comics by year which you can explore below:

Key Comics From 1992 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1993 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1994 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1995 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1996 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1997 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1998 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1999 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2000 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2001 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2002 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2003 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2004 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2005 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2006 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2007 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2008 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2009 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2010 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2011 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2012 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2013 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2014 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2015 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 2016 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]

See other lists of key comic books by year, including the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 2000’s.

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