List Of Important Comics From The 1990s

January 13, 2017

A List Of Important Comics From the 1990s

The 1990’s were a roller-coaster, starting out with a major “boom” period and then experiencing a “bust” — with Marvel famously declaring bankruptcy at the end of 1996 (they survived on after a restructuring of their debts).

The year 1992 saw the emergence of Image Comics onto the scene.  Some concluded Image was exclusively direct edition, but as it turns out, under the mountain of direct edition copies they sold, there was also a small sliver of copies that were distributed on newsstands — 1% by one insider’s estimate.  You’ll see a lot of CGC-recognized newsstand variants from among Image’s comics, as they quite often were manufactured differently, causing CGC to break them out as distinct from their direct edition counter-parts.

As we enter the 1990’s, direct edition comics made up the vast majority sold, with estimates out there for newsstand rarity percentages of 15% by 1990 and 10-14% by 1999.  We see Marvel experiment with Australian cover price variant newsstand copies during the 90’s.  And at the end of the decade, there is a 1999 decision by Marvel to “walk away” from the newsstand model — this would quickly put the newsstand percentages down to single digits as we enter the 2000’s, setting us up for some more highly interesting newsstand variants (including an entire CGC-recognized “window” when newsstand comics carried higher cover prices than their direct edition counter-parts).

There are many “top lists” out there covering important or “key” comics from the 1990s, 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 comics simply didn’t have many copies printed — such rarities would naturally sort themselves off of the bottom of a list like this as well (an example that comes to mind is Spawn/The Savage Dragon #1 from 1996, the existence of which is an incredible circumstance… as a distinct title created as a newsstand exclusive and therefore carrying that ultra-low Image newsstand distribution rarity touched upon earlier).

So 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 year-end 2016 and presenting the top fifty. That’s it! This data should give us a very interesting 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 50 important comics from the 1990s. [ 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 1990s:

(Census data as of year-end 2016)

Rank CGC Count Issue Date Publisher
1. 11,846 New Mutants #98
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
2/91 Marvel Comics
2. 8,475 Uncanny X-Men #266 8/90 Marvel Comics
3. 5,855 Amazing Spider-Man #361
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
4/92 Marvel Comics
4. 5,599 Spawn #1 5/92 Image Comics
5. 5,199 Spider-Man 1 Silver Edition 8/90 Marvel Comics
6. 5,043 New Mutants #87 3/90 Marvel Comics
7. 3,510 Spider-Man #1 8/90 Marvel Comics
8. 3,083 Infinity Gauntlet #1 7/91 Marvel Comics
9. 3,010 Batman Adventures #12 9/93 D.C. Comics
10. 2,640 X-Men #1 10/91 Marvel Comics
11. 2,484 Superman: The Man of Steel #18 12/92 D.C. Comics
12. 2,287 X-Force #2 9/91 Marvel Comics
13. 1,991 Amazing Spider-Man #362 5/92 Marvel Comics
14. 1,958 Preacher #1 4/95 D.C./Vertigo Comics
15. 1,925 Spider-Man 1 Gold Edition 8/90 Marvel Comics
16. 1,860 Venom: Lethal Protector #1 2/93 Marvel Comics
17. 1,836 Uncanny X-Men #282
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
11/91 Marvel Comics
18. 1,818 Batman #497 7/93 D.C. Comics
19. 1,688 Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special #1 1/93 D.C. Comics
20. 1,633 X-Men 1 Special Collectors Edition 10/91 Marvel Comics
21. 1,599 Superman #75 1/93 D.C. Comics
22. 1,554 Spawn #9
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand variant is confirmed to exist
3/93 Image Comics
23. 1,470 Amazing Spider-Man #363 6/92 Marvel Comics
24. 1,458 Rai #0 11/92 Valiant
25. 1,423 New Mutants #100 4/91 Marvel Comics
26. 1,385 John Byrne’s Next Men #21 12/93 Dark Horse Comics
27. 1,294 Spider-Man 1 Platinum Edition 8/90 Marvel Comics
28. 1,254 Harbinger #1 1/92 Valiant
29. 1,251 Amazing Spider-Man #328 1/90 Marvel Comics
30. 1,189 Witchblade #1 11/95 Image/Top Cow
31. 1,175 Batman: Harley Quinn #nn 1999 D.C. Comics
32. 1,171 Deadpool #1 1/97 Marvel Comics
33. 1,166 Uncanny X-Men #283 12/91 Marvel Comics
34. 1,136 X-Men #4 1/92 Marvel Comics
35. 1,131 Uncanny X-Men #268 9/90 Marvel Comics
36. 1,087 X-Men Annual #14 1990 Marvel Comics
37. 1,084 X-Force #11
CGC variant confirmed Rare CGC-recognized newsstand cover price variant is confirmed to exist
6/92 Marvel Comics
38. 1,037 Eternal Warrior #4 11/92 Valiant
39. 981 Amazing Spider-Man #375 3/93 Marvel Comics
40. 964 X-O Manowar #1 2/92 Valiant
41. 920 Batman Adventures: Mad Love #nn 2/94 D.C. Comics
42. 919 Superman 75 Poly-Bagged Edition 1/93 D.C. Comics
43. 915 Amazing Spider-Man #365 8/92 Marvel Comics
44. 906 Uncanny X-Men #281 10/91 Marvel Comics
45. 806 Iron Man #282 7/92 Marvel Comics
46. 740 Amazing Spider-Man #344 2/91 Marvel Comics
47. 721 Magnus Robot Fighter #1 5/91 Valiant
48. 693 Spider-Man 1 Poly-Bagged Silver Edition 8/90 Marvel Comics
49. 657 Simpsons Comics #1 1993 Bongo Comics Group
50. 622 Spawn #2 6/92 Image Comics
  51-100.   Another 50 key comics from the 1990’s »
 « the 1980’s  the 2000’s » 

More Important Comics Of The 1990s:

Key Comics From 1990 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
Key Comics From 1991 [ just Marvel; just D.C.; just other ]
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 ]

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

Advertisements