Talk of my first ever super-hero comic, in yesterday's post, has brought to mind other key issues of my comic book reading years of the 1970s. So, here's my list of the 19 comics that made the most impression on me when I was still knee-high to Ant Man.
In no particular order they are:
Batman #256. My first ever 100 page DC comic. The older tales in it were crude compared to the newer ones but it was great fun to learn more of the history of everyone's favourite non-troglodyte cave dweller.
Mighty World of Marvel #4. The first Marvel UK book I ever owned.
Even though I haven't read it for nearly forty years, I still recall the tingle as I thrilled to the Hulk vs the Toad Men, the Fantastic Four vs the Skrulls and Spider-Man vs the Chameleon. Those tales might seem juvenile now but, to an eight year old, they were the last word in "Gripping".
And dig that Jim Starlin cover.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #6. I've already said plenty about it both here and here, so I'll say no more than that it was almost certainly the first super-hero comic I ever read.
Vulcan, November 1975. Up until 1975, my knowledge of British super-heroes was limited to the adventures of Billy the Cat and Katie in The Beano but, unknown to me, there'd been a whole slew of British-created super-heroes in the dim and distant past and, with its reprints, Vulcan introduced a whole new generation to them.
They were a quirky bunch compared to their US equivalents but who could forget The Spider, Mytek the Mighty, Robot Archie, Kelly's Eye, and The Steel Claw?
Highlight of each issue though was Don Lawrence's beautifully illustrated Trigan Empire, as the history of Ancient Rome was re-imagined as sci-fi.
2000 AD #8. After years of British comics seeming like dull and pitiful things beside their American counterparts, we suddenly had a comic in this country that was every bit as imaginative as any American mag.
Avengers Weekly #9. The first Marvel UK comic I had that came in a glossy cover, a fact that so impressed me I couldn't bear to throw it away, inspiring me to start collecting comics instead of reading them a couple of times before discarding them.
Avengers #95. This Marvel UK mag was already a classic but, with issue #95, it suddenly got even better as it merged with the suddenly defunct Savage Sword of Conan, giving us a comic that featured not only the Avengers, Shang-Chi and Dr Strange but also the very finest of Barry Smith's Conan stories. Seriously, with this, and Don Estelle and Windsor Davies on the charts, could life get any better?
Mighty World of Marvel #199. Marvel UK's flagship title merged with The Avengers and thus introduced me to the splendours of Neal Adams' Kree/Skrull War.
Planet of the Apes #2. At the time I was disappointed that, after an apes-only debut issue, the comic suddenly had to share its pages with Ka-Zar.
What a fool I was.
Thanks to that mag, over the years not only did I get my weekly fix of ape-mania but also the adventures of Ka-Zar, Warlock, Don McGregor's Black Panther, Gullivar Jones, Man-Thing, Captain Marvel, Man-Gods from Beyond the Stars and a whole host of classic one-off sci-fi tales.
Marvel Comic #330. One that stuck in my mind for all the wrong reasons, as we hit 1979 and the glossy covers disappeared from the comic that had been Mighty World of Marvel and its tone became noticeably more juvenile.
If the then Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn hadn't been responsible for launching a host of top-notch monthly mags in that era, I'd have never forgiven him.
The Titans #1. Marvel UK's first landscape format mag gave us twice as many spills for our money.
Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #171. I missed the death of Gwen Stacy but not the death of the Green Goblin. Personally, I don't think I'll ever get over it.
X-Men #100. My first ever exposure to the New X-Men - and a revelation after years of the lame original crew.
Rampage Monthly #8. The New X-Men join the Hulk's monthly mag and it becomes compulsive reading.
Unexpected #150. I loved DC Comics' horror and mystery mags and, for some reason, this issue's always stood out for me above all others. I don't even remember any of the stories in it but there was something about that cover that caused it to lodge in my mind forever.
Mighty World of Marvel #69. At this point in history, Marvel UK seemed like an unstoppable force as I got my hands on my first ever glossy-covered issue of the title that had started it all.
Spider-Man Comics Weekly #49. My first ever glossy cover of this mag.
Savage Sword of Conan #4. The cover alone was enough to gain it immortality in my mind but then there were the contents as well. More on that issue here.
The Shadow #8. A comic that impressed me so much it caused me to create my own super-hero - the Red Shadow. Oooh I was so original.
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