List Of Important Comic Books From The 1970s

March 1, 2021

A List Of Important Comic Books From the 1970s

The 1970s was a great decade in the world of comic books, with important implications for cover price variants of later decades — Marvel’s experimentation with 30 cent cover price variants and 35 cent cover price variants would take place in this decade, and then as we reach the end of the 1970’s we see perhaps one of the most important business decisions of all time take place in comics: the evolution of distinctly-printed direct edition comics. The invention of this pivotal new distribution channel then sets up the 1980’s for more interesting cover price variants.

There are many “top lists” out there covering important or “key” comics from the 1970s, but the ones I’ve seen are all either based upon individual judgment calls or 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 10 Gem Mint Signature Series copy signed by Stan Lee, versus reflective of the underlying comic being of any great importance.

One surefire way to “tease out” a top 100 list of important comic books is to consider how many copies have been sent in to CGC to be graded — the more important the comic book, the more likely its owner will want to have it graded and slabbed, right? So by ranking comic books 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 good list of important key comic books from the 70’s!

Of course, there are flaws to this exercise which should be kept in mind: for one thing, this submission data is from one snapshot in time (I’ve used the January 19, 2021 census snapshot) and there could be plenty of important comic books that aren’t recognized as such until some future development gives them renewed attention.  Only a judgment call type of list could reveal such overlooked candidates.  And another flaw is that any low print run comic books might sort themselves off of the bottom of the list, not because they’re unimportant but because not enough copies were printed to generate a high count of CGC submissions.

So, because of these limitations, please don’t anybody think of these lists as a “rank” of importance or as being an all-encompassing list… all we’re ranking here is the sheer number of copies that have passed through CGC’s doors as of January 2021 and presenting the top 100. That’s it! This data should give us a very interesting top 100 list, but this list is no replacement for judgement and no 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 caveat stated, without further ado, here is a list of 100 important comic books from the 1970s. [ I’ve also posted more lists of key comics by year including other decades; special thanks goes to Greg Holland whose research website was the tool that made these pages possible to assemble ].

Top 100 List: Important Comics From The 1970s:

(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. 10,083 Star Wars #1 Marvel
7/77
  Part 1 of “Star Wars: A New Hope” movie adaptation.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
4. 9,867 Giant-Size X-Men #1 Marvel
Summer 1975
  1st appearance of the new X-Men, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus & Thunderbird. 2nd full appearance of Wolverine.
5. 7,306 X-Men #94 Marvel
8/75
  New X-Men begin. Sunfire leaves. 2nd appearance of Nightcrawler, Storm, Thunderbird & Colossus.
6. 6,714 Amazing Spider-Man #194 Marvel
7/79
  1st appearance of the Black Cat (Felicia Hardy). Text illo of Black Cat by Dave Cockrum.
7. 6,449 Ms. Marvel #1 Marvel
1/77
  1st Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel. Scorpion, J. Jonah Jameson & Mary Jane Watson appearance. Peter Parker cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
8. 6,318 Eternals #1 Marvel
7/76
  Origin & 1st appearance of the Eternals.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
9. 5,833 Amazing Spider-Man #121 Marvel
6/73
  “Death” of Gwen Stacy. Green Goblin appearance.
10. 5,602 Spectacular Spider-Man #1 Marvel
12/76
  Tarantula appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
11. 5,554 Nova #1 Marvel
9/76
  Origin & 1st appearance of Nova (Richard Rider). 1st appearance of Ginger Jaye.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
12. 5,445 Spider-Woman #1 Marvel
4/78
  New origin of Spider-Woman.
13. 5,267 Incredible Hulk #180 Marvel
10/74
  1st appearance of Wolverine in cameo on last page. Wendigo appearance.
14. 5,160 X-Men #101 Marvel
10/76
  Origin & 1st appearance of Phoenix. Black Tom Cassidy & Juggernaut appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
15. 5,001 Iron Fist #14 Marvel
8/77
  1st appearance of Sabretooth (Victor Creed).
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
16. 4,917 Amazing Spider-Man #122 Marvel
7/73
  “Death” of the Green Goblin.
17. 4,500 Iron Man #55 Marvel
2/73
  1st appearance of Thanos, Mentor, Drax the Destroyer (Arthur Douglas), Starfox, Kronos and the Blood Brothers.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
18. 4,237 Conan the Barbarian #1 Marvel
10/70
  Origin and 1st appearance of Conan. 1st appearance of King Kull in cameo.
19. 3,988 Black Panther #1 Marvel
1/77
  Jack Kirby story. Jack Kirby & Mike Royer cover & art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
20. 3,930 Amazing Spider-Man #101 Marvel
10/71
  1st appearance of Morbius, the Living Vampire (Doctor Michael Morbius). Lizard appearance. Last 15¢ issue.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
21. 3,802 Shazam #1 D.C.
2/73
  1st appearance of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel since the Golden Age. Origin retold.
22. 3,739 Marvel Spotlight #5 Marvel
8/72
  Origin and 1st appearance of Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze). 1st appearance of Roxanne Simpson.
23. 3,649 Werewolf By Night #32 Marvel
8/75
  Origin & 1st appearance of Moon Knight (Marc Spector).
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
24. 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.
25. 3,505 Amazing Spider-Man #100 Marvel
9/71
  100th anniversary issue.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
26. 3,114 Marvel Spotlight #32 Marvel
2/77
  Origin & 1st appearance of Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew). Nick Fury appearance.
27. 3,018 Tomb of Dracula #10 Marvel
7/73
  1st appearance of Blade the Vampire Slayer.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
28. 2,992 Special Marvel Edition #15 Marvel
12/73
  1st appearance of Shang-Chi, Fu Manchu & Sir Denis Nayland Smith. 1st app. & “death” of Dr. James Petrie.
29. 2,978 Hero For Hire #1 Marvel
6/72
  Origin and 1st appearance of Luke Cage. 1st appearance of Diamondback (Willis Stryker).
30. 2,922 X-Men #100 Marvel
8/76
  Old X-Men vs. new X-Men.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
31. 2,816 Ghost Rider #1 Marvel
9/73
  1st appearance of the Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom) in cameo. Story continued from Marvel Spotlight #11
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
32. 2,799 X-Men #121 Marvel
5/79
  1st full appearance of Alpha Flight. Misty Knight & Colleen Wing appearance. John Byrne cameo.
33. 2,756 Batman #232 D.C.
6/71
  1st appearance of Ra’s al Ghul. Origin of Batman and Robin retold. Talia cameo.
34. 2,754 Daredevil #131 Marvel
3/76
  Origin & 1st appearance of the new Bullseye. 1st appearance of Jacob Conover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
35. 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.
36. 2,653 Batman #251 D.C.
9/73
  Joker appearance. Classic cover.
37. 2,573 House of Secrets #92 D.C.
6-7/71
  1st appearance of the Swamp Thing. Grey tone cover.
38. 2,516 Daredevil #158 Marvel
5/79
  Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil begins. Origin & “death” of Death-Stalker. Black Widow appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
39. 2,425 Marvel Premiere #47 Marvel
4/79
  Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
40. 2,390 X-Men #95 Marvel
10/75
  “Death” of Thunderbird. 3rd appearance of the new X-Men. Count Nefaria & Ani-Men appearance.
41. 2,277 Green Lantern #76 D.C.
4/70
  Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories begin.
42. 2,223 Swamp Thing #1 D.C.
10-11/72
  Origin of Swamp Thing. 1st appearance of Lt. Matt Cable, Alec and Linda Holland.
43. 2,170 Doctor Strange #1 Marvel
6/74
  1st appearance of the Silver Dagger (Isaiah Curwen). Story continued from Marvel Premiere #14
44. 2,167 X-Men #96 Marvel
12/75
  1st appearance of Moira MacTaggert.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
45. 2,116 Iron Fist #1 Marvel
11/75
  Story continued from Marvel Premiere #25 Iron Fist battles Iron Man.
46. 2,100 X-Men #120 Marvel
4/79
  1st appearance of Alpha Flight in cameo. Sunfire, Mariko Yashida, Misty Knight & Colleen Wing appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
47. 2,079 Micronauts #1 Marvel
1/79
  1st appearance of Baron Karza & Bug.
48. 1,916 New Gods #1 D.C.
2-3/71
  1st appearance of Orion, Lightray, Metron, High-Father and Kalibak.
49. 1,883 Marvel Premiere #1 Marvel
4/72
  1st appearance of Him as Adam Warlock. 1st app. of the Soul Gem. Hulk, Thor and Fantastic Four appearance in flashback.
50. 1,876 Amazing Spider-Man #135 Marvel
8/74
  2nd appearance of the Punisher. Origin of the Tarantula.
51. 1,853 Rom #1 Marvel
12/79
  Origin & 1st appearance of Rom. 1st appearance of Brandy Clark & the Dire Wraiths.
52. 1,834 X-Men #109 Marvel
2/78
  1st appearance of Weapon Alpha (James Hudson, later becomes Guardian).
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
53. 1,828 Inhumans #1 Marvel
10/75
  Blastaar appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
54. 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
55. 1,805 Forever People #1 D.C.
2-3/71
  1st full appearance of Darkseid. 1st appearance of Forever People. Superman and Jimmy Olsen appearance.
56. 1,765 X-Men #125 Marvel
9/79
  1st appearance of Mutant X (Proteus). Mastermind appearance. Magneto cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
57. 1,756 Ms. Marvel #18 Marvel
6/78
  1st full appearance of Mystique. Avengers (Wasp, Yellowjacket, Vision, Scarlet Witch & Wonder Man) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
58. 1,744 Eternals #2 Marvel
8/76
  1st appearance of Ajak & the Celestials.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
59. 1,734 Iron Man #128 Marvel
11/79
  Alcoholism storyline ends.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
60. 1,721 Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 D.C.
12/70
  1st appearance of Darkseid in cameo on last page.
61. 1,693 Godzilla #1 Marvel
8/77
  Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan & Jimmy Woo appearance. Godzilla pin-ups by Dave Cockrum.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
62. 1,687 All-Star Comics #58 D.C.
1-2/76
  1st appearance of Power Girl (Kara Zor-L). 1st issue of title since 2-3/51
63. 1,678 Eternals #3 Marvel
9/76
  1st appearance of Sersi.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
64. 1,639 X-Men #108 Marvel
12/77
  John Byrne issues begin. Starjammers appearance. Corsair revealed as the father of Cyclops & Havok.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
65. 1,575 X-Men #99 Marvel
6/76
  1st appearance of Black Tom Cassidy. Sentinels appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
66. 1,571 Marvel Spotlight #28 Marvel
6/76
  1st solo Moon Knight story.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
67. 1,569 Amazing Spider-Man #97 Marvel
6/71
  Drug story not approved by the Comics Code Authority. Green Goblin appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
68. 1,559 X-Men #119 Marvel
3/79
  Moses Magnum, Sunfire, Misty Knight & Colleen Wing appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
69. 1,554 The Joker #1 D.C.
5/75
  Two-Face appearance. Catwoman, Riddler & Penguin cover.
70. 1,518 Amazing Spider-Man #136 Marvel
9/74
  1st Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin.
71. 1,499 Batman #227 D.C.
12/70
  Robin backup story. Hanging panels. Classic cover. Detective Comics #31 cover homage.
72. 1,495 X-Men #97 Marvel
2/76
  Return of Havok & Polaris. 1st appearance of Lilandra (face is not shown). Eric the Red appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
73. 1,491 Defenders #1 Marvel
8/72
  Sub-Mariner, Hulk and Doctor Strange begin. 1st appearance of Necrodamus.
74. 1,484 Amazing Spider-Man #98 Marvel
7/71
  Drug story not approved by the Comics Code Authority. Green Goblin appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
75. 1,476 Fantastic Four #112 Marvel
7/71
  Classic Hulk vs. Thing battle issue. J. Jonah Jameson cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
76. 1,420 X-Men #118 Marvel
2/79
  1st appearance of Mariko Yashida. Misty Knight, Colleen Wing & Sunfire appearance. Moses Magnum cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
77. 1,410 Strange Tales #180 Marvel
6/75
  1st appearance of Gamora.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
78. 1,409 X-Men #127 Marvel
11/79
  Proteus appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
79. 1,406 Star Wars #2 Marvel
8/77
  Part 2 of “Star Wars: A New Hope” movie adaptation.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
80. 1,392 Machine Man #1 Marvel
4/78
  Jack Kirby story. Jack Kirby & Mike Royer art. Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia cover.
81. 1,388 X-Men #104 Marvel
4/77
  Magneto appearance. 1st appearance of Starjammers in cameo. X-Men #1 (9/63) cover homage.
82. 1,379 X-Men #105 Marvel
6/77
  Firelord, Lilandra, Misty Knight & Eric the Red appearance. Chris Claremont & Dave Cockrum cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
83. 1,365 X-Men #126 Marvel
10/79
  Proteus & Mastermind appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
84. 1,355 Green Lantern #87 D.C.
12/71-1/72
  1st appearance of John Stewart. 2nd appearance of Guy Gardner (cameo). 1st Elliot S. Maggin story.
85. 1,354 X-Men #98 Marvel
4/76
  Jack Kirby & Stan Lee cameo in 2 panels. Sentinels appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 30¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
86. 1,338 X-Men #117 Marvel
1/79
  1st appearance of the Shadow King (Amahl Farouk). Origin of Professor Xavier. Lilandra & Misty Knight appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
87. 1,336 Amazing Spider-Man #119 Marvel
4/73
  Hulk appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
88. 1,297 X-Men #102 Marvel
12/76
  Juggernaut, Black Tom Cassidy & Misty Knight appearance. Origin of Storm.
89. 1,266 X-Men #128 Marvel
12/79
  Proteus appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
90. 1,250 Devil Dinosaur #1 Marvel
4/78
  1st appearance of Devil Dinosaur & Moon-Boy.
91. 1,237 Invaders #1 Marvel
8/75
  Story continued from Giant-Size Invaders #1
92. 1,234 Conan the Barbarian #24 Marvel
3/73
  1st full appearance of Red Sonja. Last Barry Windsor-Smith issue.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
93. 1,226 Red Sonja #1 Marvel
1/77
  Based on Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonja.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
94. 1,225 X-Men #107 Marvel
10/77
  1st full appearance of the Starjammers (Corsair, Raza, Ch’od & Hepzibah). Mister Fantastic & Thing cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 35¢ cover price variant is confirmed to exist
95. 1,222 Marvel Spotlight #2 Marvel
2/72
  Origin and 1st appearance of Werewolf by Night (Jack Russell).
96. 1,217 X-Men #124 Marvel
8/79
  Colossus becomes Proletarian. Arcade, Miss Locke & Colleen Wing appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
97. 1,215 Battlestar Galactica #1 Marvel
3/79
  Adaptation of the first episode of the television series, part 1 of 3
98. 1,211 What If? #1 Marvel
2/77
  Brief origin of Spider-Man & the Fantastic Four.
99. 1,210 Howard the Duck #1 Marvel
1/76
  1st appearance of Beverly Switzler. Spider-Man appearance. J. Jonah Jameson cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
100. 1,207 Mister Miracle #1 D.C.
3-4/71
  1st appearance Mr. Miracle and Oberon. “Death” of Thaddeus Brown.
 « The 1960’s  The 1980’s » 

More Important Comic Books Of The 1970s:

Separate top 100 lists for each individual year in the decade:

Key Comic Books From 1970
Key Comic Books From 1971
Key Comic Books From 1972
Key Comic Books From 1973
Key Comic Books From 1974
Key Comic Books From 1975
Key Comic Books From 1976
Key Comic Books From 1977
Key Comic Books From 1978
Key Comic Books From 1979