List Of Important Comics From The 1980s

January 13, 2017

A List Of Important Comics From the 1980s

A great decade in comics, and featuring one of my favorite categories of price variant comics: 75 cent variants! For Marvel and D.C. these variants were newsstand exclusives, with estimated rarity of ~2-7% depending on the publication year. That range is driven by 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” comics 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 list of important comics is to consider how many copies have been sent in to CGC to be graded — the more important the comic, 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 comics! 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 (year-end 2016) 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 these lists 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 50 important comics from the 1980s. [ I’ve also posted more lists of key comic books by year including other decades; special thanks goes to Greg Holland whose research website was the tool that made these pages possible to assemble ].

A List Of Important Comics From The 1980s:

(Census data as of year-end 2016)

Rank CGC Count Issue Date Publisher
1. 12,690 Amazing Spider-Man #300 5/88 Marvel Comics
2. 11,050 Wolverine Limited Series #1 9/82 Marvel Comics
3. 8,834 Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
12/84 Marvel Comics
4. 7,346 Amazing Spider-Man #252
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
5/84 Marvel Comics
5. 7,108 Wolverine #1 11/88 Marvel Comics
6. 4,142 Batman: The Killing Joke #nn 1988 D.C. Comics
7. 3,997 Amazing Spider-Man #298 3/88 Marvel Comics
8. 3,944 Amazing Spider-Man #238
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
3/83 Marvel Comics
9. 3,811 X-Factor #6
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
7/86 Marvel Comics
10. 3,794 Incredible Hulk #340 2/88 Marvel Comics
11. 3,787 Web of Spider-Man #1
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
4/85 Marvel Comics
12. 3,645 Wolverine Limited Series #2
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
10/82 Marvel Comics
13. 3,595 X-Men #141 1/81 Marvel Comics
14. 3,455 Daredevil #181 4/82 Marvel Comics
15. 3,317 Wolverine Limited Series #3
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
11/82 Marvel Comics
16. 3,288 Uncanny X-Men #142 2/81 Marvel Comics
17. 3,234 Daredevil #168 1/81 Marvel Comics
18. 3,014 Wolverine Limited Series #4
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
12/82 Marvel Comics
19. 3,011 Amazing Spider-Man #299 4/88 Marvel Comics
20. 2,879 Savage She-Hulk #1 2/80 Marvel Comics
21. 2,866 Avengers Annual #10 1981 Marvel Comics
22. 2,720 X-Men #137 9/80 Marvel Comics
23. 2,553 New Teen Titans #2 12/80 D.C. Comics
24. 2,375 Tales of the Teen Titans #44
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
7/84 D.C. Comics
25. 2,363 Wolverine #10 8/89 Marvel Comics
26. 2,349 Omega Men #3 6/83 D.C. Comics
27. 2,296 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 3/86 D.C. Comics
28. 2,060 X-Factor #24 1/88 Marvel Comics
29. 2,034 Watchmen #1 9/86 D.C. Comics
30. 2,034 G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #1 6/82 Marvel Comics
31. 1,973 Amazing Spider-Man #200 1/80 Marvel Comics
32. 1,950 X-Men #129 1/80 Marvel Comics
33. 1,780 X-Men #140 12/80 Marvel Comics
34. 1,745 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4 1986 D.C. Comics
35. 1,727 Uncanny X-Men #244 5/89 Marvel Comics
36. 1,720 Thor #337
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
11/83 Marvel Comics
37. 1,698 DC Comics Presents #26 10/80 D.C. Comics
38. 1,683 Incredible Hulk #271 5/82 Marvel Comics
39. 1,655 Sandman #1 1/89 D.C./Vertigo Comics
40. 1,642 Uncanny X-Men #221 9/87 Marvel Comics
41. 1,582 Amazing Spider-Man #239
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
4/83 Marvel Comics
42. 1,576 X-Factor #5
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
6/86 Marvel Comics
43. 1,559 Amazing Spider-Man #316 6/89 Marvel Comics
44. 1,547 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3 1986 D.C. Comics
45. 1,543 Batman #404
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
2/87 D.C. Comics
46. 1,527 New Mutants #1
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
3/83 Marvel Comics
47. 1,499 Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
5/84 Marvel Comics
48. 1,483 X-Men #130 2/80 Marvel Comics
49. 1,466 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 1986 D.C. Comics
50. 1,434 X-Men #139 11/80 Marvel Comics
  51-100.   Another 50 key comics from the 1980’s »
 « the 1970’s  the 1990’s » 

More Important Comics Of The 1980s:

Key Comics From 1980 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1981 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1982 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1983 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1984 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1985 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1986 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1987 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1988 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1989 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]

See other lists of key comic books by year, including the 1970’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s.

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