List Of Important Comic Books From The 1980s

March 1, 2021

A List Of Important Comic Books From the 1980s

Important/Key Comic Books From the 1980s

Key Comic Books From 1980
Key Comic Books From 1981
Key Comic Books From 1982
Key Comic Books From 1983
Key Comic Books From 1984
Key Comic Books From 1985
Key Comic Books From 1986
Key Comic Books From 1987
Key Comic Books From 1988
Key Comic Books From 1989

[ Special Note: 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 ]. Also, for more information about the 1980’s cover price variant comics, I recommend you check out CPVPriceGuide.com!

A great decade in comics, and featuring one of my favorite categories of cover price variant comics: 75 cent variants! For Marvel and D.C. these variants were newsstand exclusives, with estimated rarity of approximately 2-7% depending on the publication year. That range is driven by the geographically restricted distribution area, and the newsstand exclusivity of the variants coupled with a decline in newsstand sales relative to direct edition sales — direct would overtake newsstand by the middle of the decade. That trend of direct edition sales taking over the market would set up the 1990’s for interesting newsstand variants as well!

There are many “top lists” out there covering important or “key” comic books from the 1980s, 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 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 good list of important key comic books! 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 (January 19, 2021) and there could be plenty of important comics that aren’t recognized as such until some future development gives them renewed attention. And another flaw is that some very-high-value key comics simply didn’t have many copies printed — a big example from 1984 being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 at 3,000 copies produced.  That one will, however, show up on the year-by-year list for 1984.  Another example that comes to mind that would elude even the year-by-year lists would be Graphic Fantasy #1, which features the lowest print run for a key first appearance of any major modern superhero — this one simply won’t show up despite its importance, because so few CGC graded copies actually exist. Any other similar examples like that, i.e. with a very restricted print run, will naturally sort themselves off of the bottom of any list like this as well.

So, please don’t anybody think of this top 100 list as a “rank” of importance or as being an all-encompassing exhaustive list… 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 fifty. That’s it! This data should give us a very interesting list inclusive of the mega-keys, 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 1980s. [ 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 Comic Books From The 1980s:

(Top 100 list based on census data as of January 19, 2021)
Rank CGC Count Issue Publisher/
Date
1. 24,031 Amazing Spider-Man #300 Marvel
5/88
  Origin & 1st full appearance of Venom (Eddie Brock). Thing appearance. Last black costume.
2. 17,050 Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 Marvel
12/84
  Origin of the alien symbiote that eventually becomes Venom.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.00 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
3. 17,009 Wolverine Limited Series #1 Marvel
9/82
  1st solo Wolverine comic. Yukio cameo on last page.
4. 13,274 Amazing Spider-Man #252 Marvel
5/84
  Ties with Marvel Team-Up #141 for 1st appearance of the black costume. Amazing Fantasy #15 cover homage.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
5. 10,913 Wolverine #1 Marvel
11/88
  1st Wolverine as Patch. Back cover pin-up by John Byrne.
6. 8,289 Savage She-Hulk #1 Marvel
2/80
  Origin & 1st appearance of She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters). Origin of the Hulk retold.
7. 7,713 Batman: The Killing Joke #nn D.C.
1988
  Joker cripples Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). Embossed cover.
8. 7,134 Amazing Spider-Man #238 Marvel
3/83
  1st appearance of the Hobgoblin. Manufactured with “Tattooz” insert & sample.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
9. 6,939 Incredible Hulk #340 Marvel
2/88
  Hulk vs. Wolverine. X-Men & Leader appearance.
10. 6,528 Amazing Spider-Man #298 Marvel
3/88
  1st Todd McFarlane Spider-Man. 1st appearance of Eddie Brock in cameo. Chance appearance.
11. 6,009 Web of Spider-Man #1 Marvel
4/85
  1st appearance of the Vulturions.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
12. 5,935 Omega Men #3 D.C.
6/83
  1st appearance of Lobo.
13. 5,825 Thor #337 Marvel
11/83
  1st appearance of Beta Ray Bill. Nick Fury appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
14. 5,690 Avengers Annual #10 Marvel
1981
  1st appearance of Rogue & Madelyn Pryor. Spider-Woman, X-Men, Carol Danvers & New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants appearance.
15. 5,654 X-Factor #6 Marvel
7/86
  1st full appearance of Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur). Alliance of Evil (Tower, Frenzy, Stinger, Timeshadow) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
16. 5,422 Wolverine Limited Series #2 Marvel
10/82
  1st full appearance of Yukio.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
17. 5,415 X-Men #141 Marvel
1/81
  1st app. Rachel (Phoenix II), Avalanche, Destiny, Pyro & alternate future X-Men. Mystique, Blob & Robert Kelly app.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
18. 5,364 Amazing Spider-Man #299 Marvel
4/88
  Venom cameo. Chance appearance.
19. 5,303 New Teen Titans #2 D.C.
12/80
  1st appearance of Deathstroke the Terminator (Slade Wilson). 1st appearance of Trigon in cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
20. 5,057 Tales of the Teen Titans #44 D.C.
7/84
  Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing. 1st appearance of Jericho. Origin of Deathstroke.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
21. 5,002 Daredevil #168 Marvel
1/81
  Origin & 1st appearance of Elektra.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
22. 4,964 Wolverine Limited Series #3 Marvel
11/82
  Chris Claremont story. Frank Miller & Joe Rubinstein. cover & art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
23. 4,870 Daredevil #181 Marvel
4/82
  “Death” of Elektra. Bullseye & Kingpin appearance. Punisher cameo.
24. 4,638 Amazing Spider-Man #316 Marvel
6/89
  Venom & Black Cat appearance.
25. 4,617 Uncanny X-Men #142 Marvel
2/81
  “Deaths” of alternate future Wolverine, Storm & Colossus. Sentinels, Robert Kelly & Brotherhood of Evil Mutants app.
26. 4,594 Wolverine Limited Series #4 Marvel
12/82
  Chris Claremont story. Frank Miller & Joe Rubinstein. cover & art.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
27. 4,255 New Mutants #1 Marvel
3/83
  Origin of Karma. 2nd appearance of the New Mutants.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
28. 4,180 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 D.C.
3/86
  1st appearance of Carrie Kelly.
29. 3,976 Moon Knight #1 Marvel
11/80
  Part 1 of the origin of Moon Knight. 1st appearance of Raoul Bushman.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
30. 3,976 X-Men #137 Marvel
9/80
  “Death” of Phoenix. Lilandra, Gladiator, Imperial Guard & Watcher appearance.
31. 3,962 Uncanny X-Men #221 Marvel
9/87
  1st appearance of Mister Sinister (Nathaniel Essex). Marauders appearance.
32. 3,922 X-Men #129 Marvel
1/80
  1st appearance of Kitty Pryde, the White Queen (Emma Frost) & Sebastian Shaw. Mastermind appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
33. 3,566 Watchmen #1 D.C.
9/86
  1st appearance of Rorschach, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre & Nite Owl. “Death” of Comedian.
34. 3,553 G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #1 Marvel
6/82
  Based on the Hasbro toy line.
35. 3,543 DC Comics Presents #26 D.C.
10/80
  1st app. of New Teen Titans in preview by Marv Wolfman & George Perez. 1st app. Raven, Cyborg & Starfire.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
36. 3,296 Amazing Spider-Man #301 Marvel
6/88
  Silver Sable appearance.
37. 3,224 Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 Marvel
5/84
  Jim Shooter story. Mike Zeck & John Beatty art. Mike Zeck cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.00 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
38. 3,219 Wolverine #10 Marvel
8/89
  Sabretooth appearance. Back cover pin-up by Kent Williams.
39. 3,213 X-Factor #24 Marvel
1/88
  Origin & 1st appearance of Archangel. Origin of Apocalypse. Horsemen app. Caliban leaves X-Factor.
40. 3,203 Incredible Hulk #271 Marvel
5/82
  1st comic book appearance of Rocket Raccoon.
41. 3,076 Uncanny X-Men #244 Marvel
5/89
  1st appearance of Jubilee (Jubilation Lee).
42. 3,054 Sandman #1 D.C./Vertigo
1/89
  1st appearance of Morpheus. Wesley Dodds cameo.
43. 2,861 Avengers #196 Marvel
6/80
  Origin & 1st full appearance Taskmaster. Letter from Kurt Busiek.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
44. 2,801 X-Men #130 Marvel
2/80
  1st appearance of Dazzler (Alison Blaire). Sebastian Shaw, Mastermind & Emma Frost appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
45. 2,797 Punisher #1 Marvel
7/87
  Mike Baron story. Klaus Janson cover & art.
46. 2,778 Punisher Limited Series #1 Marvel
1/86
  Jigsaw appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.50 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
47. 2,652 Star Wars #42 Marvel
12/80
  Part 4 of “The Empire Strikes Back” movie adaptation. Star Wars British cover gallery.
48. 2,621 Batman #404 D.C.
2/87
  “Year One” storyline begins.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.00 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
49. 2,594 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4 D.C.
1986
  Batman vs. Superman. “Death” of Alfred.
50. 2,562 X-Men #134 Marvel
6/80
  Phoenix becomes Dark Phoenix. Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Harry Leland & Mastermind) app.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
51. 2,532 Amazing Spider-Man #200 Marvel
1/80
  Origin of Spider-Man retold.
52. 2,529 Marvel Team-Up #141 Marvel
5/84
  Ties with Amazing Spider-Man #252 for first appearance of the black costume. Daredevil & Black Widow appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
53. 2,376 Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 D.C.
6/85
  1st full appearance of John Constantine.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
54. 2,336 X-Men #135 Marvel
7/80
  1st appearance of Senator Robert Kelly. Reed Richards, Thing, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange & Silver Surfer cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
55. 2,326 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 D.C.
1986
  Carrie Kelly becomes Robin.
56. 2,325 Amazing Spider-Man #265 Marvel
6/85
  1st appearance of Silver Sable. Black Fox appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
57. 2,299 X-Men #140 Marvel
12/80
  Alpha Flight disbands. Wendigo appearance. Blob cameo on last page.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
58. 2,283 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3 D.C.
1986
  “Death” of the Joker.
59. 2,226 Spectacular Spider-Man #64 Marvel
3/82
  Origin & 1st appearance of Cloak & Dagger.
60. 2,182 X-Factor #5 Marvel
6/86
  1st app. of Apocalypse in cameo on last page. 1st app. of Stinger & Timeshadow. Tower, Frenzy, Artie & Rusty appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
61. 2,170 Amazing Spider-Man #239 Marvel
4/83
  1st Spider-Man vs. Hobgoblin battle. Madame Web appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
62. 2,155 X-Men #136 Marvel
8/80
  Lilandra appearance. President Jimmy Carter cameo.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
63. 2,140 Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 D.C.
10/85
  “Death” of Supergirl.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.60 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
64. 2,035 X-Men #139 Marvel
11/80
  Kitty Pryde joins X-Men. Alpha Flight appearance. Wolverine dons new costume. 1st appearance of Heather Hudson.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
65. 2,021 Wonder Woman #1 D.C.
2/87
  1st Modern app. of Themyscira, Gaea’s Girdle, Hippolyte, Ares & The Olympian Gods. New origin. Wraparound cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.00 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
66. 1,994 Uncanny X-Men #213 Marvel
1/87
  Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. Psylocke joins the X-Men.
67. 1,976 Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 D.C.
4/85
  1st appearance of Blue Beetle & Detective Karp in D.C. Comics. Wraparound cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
68. 1,960 New Teen Titans #1 D.C.
11/80
  Marv Wolfman story. George Perez & Romeo Tanghal art. George Perez & Dick Giordano cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
69. 1,934 X-Men #138 Marvel
10/80
  Cyclops leaves the X-Men. Funeral of Jean Grey.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
70. 1,908 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 Marvel
1987
  Peter Parker weds Mary Jane Watson. Spider-Man & Peter Parker covers exist.
71. 1,866 Alpha Flight #1 Marvel
8/83
  1st appearance of Puck & Marrina. Origin of Alpha Flight.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.25 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
72. 1,853 Uncanny X-Men #248 Marvel
9/89
  1st Jim Lee art on Uncanny X-Men. Longshot leaves the X-Men.
73. 1,823 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 Mirage Studios
1985
  Pin-up by Matt Howarth. Wraparound cover.
74. 1,822 X-Men #133 Marvel
5/80
  Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce & Mastermind) appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
75. 1,795 Batman #428 D.C.
12/88
  Part 3 “A Death in the Family” story. “Death” of Robin II (Jason Todd). Superman appearance.
76. 1,773 Uncanny X-Men #211 Marvel
11/86
  1st full appearance of the Marauders.
77. 1,770 X-Factor #1 Marvel
2/86
  Origin & 1st appearance of X-Factor. 1st appearance of Cameron Hodge & Rusty.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.50 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
78. 1,719 Amazing Spider-Man #312 Marvel
2/89
  Green Goblin battles Hobgoblin.
79. 1,704 Uncanny X-Men #143 Marvel
3/81
  Kitty Pryde solo story. N’Garai appearance. Christmas cover.
80. 1,666 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 Mirage Studios
1985
  Pin-up by Jason Sklaver. Wraparound cover.
81. 1,627 Uncanny X-Men #201 Marvel
1/86
  1st appearance of Cable as baby Nathan. Starjammers & Binary appearance. Storm becomes team leader.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
82. 1,611 New Mutants Annual #2 Marvel
10/86
  1st U.S. appearance of Psylocke (Elizabeth Braddock). Captain Britain, Mojo & Spiral appearance.
83. 1,604 Captain America Annual #8 Marvel
1986
  1st appearance of Overrider (Richard Rennselaer) & T.E.S.S.-One. Wolverine appearance.
84. 1,598 Batman #357 D.C.
3/83
  1st full appearance of Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) & Jason Todd. “Atari” insert included.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
85. 1,552 Amazing Spider-Man #315 Marvel
5/89
  Venom & Hydro-Man appearance.
86. 1,528 Uncanny X-Men #212 Marvel
12/86
  Wolverine vs. Sabretooth.
87. 1,521 Sandman #8 D.C./Vertigo
8/89
  1st appearance of Death.
88. 1,505 Uncanny X-Men #150 Marvel
10/81
  Magneto appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
89. 1,503 X-Men #132 Marvel
4/80
  Jason Wynegarde revealed as Mastermind. Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Harry Leland & Mastermind) app.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
90. 1,460 G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #21 Marvel
3/84
  1st appearance of Storm Shadow. Silent issue.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
91. 1,459 Wolverine #2 Marvel
12/88
  Back cover pin-up by Bill Sienkiewicz. Silver Samurai & Jessica Drew appearance.
92. 1,452 X-Men #131 Marvel
3/80
  2nd appearance of Dazzler. Emma Frost appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized pence price variant is confirmed to exist
93. 1,446 Daredevil #183 Marvel
6/82
  Punisher appearance.
94. 1,442 Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 D.C.
11/85
  “Death” of the Flash (Barry Allen).
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 95¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
95. 1,404 Star Wars #68 Marvel
2/83
  David Michelinie story. Gene Day & Tom Palmer art. Gene Day cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
96. 1,395 DC Comics Presents #47 D.C.
7/82
  Masters of the Universe. 1st appearance of He-Man & Skeletor in comics.
97. 1,394 Batman #423 D.C.
9/88
  Jim Starlin story. Dave Cockrum & Mike DeCarlo art. Todd McFarlane cover.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized $1.00 newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
98. 1,392 Uncanny X-Men #164 Marvel
12/82
  Carol Danvers becomes Binary. Brood appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
99. 1,361 Star Wars #107 Marvel
9/86
  Last issue. Admiral Ackbar, Nien Nunb, Lumiya, Knife, Dani & Fenn Shysa appearance.
100. 1,355 New Mutants #26 Marvel
4/85
  1st full appearance of Legion. Multiple Man appearance.
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized 75¢ newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
 « The 1970’s  The 1990’s » 

More Important Comic Books Of The 1980s:

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

Key Comic Books From 1980
Key Comic Books From 1981
Key Comic Books From 1982
Key Comic Books From 1983
Key Comic Books From 1984
Key Comic Books From 1985
Key Comic Books From 1986
Key Comic Books From 1987
Key Comic Books From 1988
Key Comic Books From 1989

Also See: The CPV Price Guide Top 50 Cover Price Variants of the 1980’s