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Top Ten One Hundreds!

Longbox Graveyard #100

This week I celebrate one-hundred consecutive Wednesday blogs here at Longbox Graveyard! To mark this anniversary, I thought I’d look at great “Issue #100” superhero comics covers of the past.

Issue #100!!!

There are two criteria for making my list:

  1. There has to be a nod to “#100” or “Anniversary” on the cover. One-Hundred is a big number — I’m making a big deal out of it here at Longbox Graveyard, and I expect my comics covers to do the same! This eliminates some older books from consideration. For example, Action Comics #100 might be worth more than my house, but the cover doesn’t note the anniversary nature of that issue.
  2. It has to be an attractive cover! Or at least a significant cover. Better if it is both!

It’s actually harder than you’d think to find decent #100 covers. There aren’t many comics that make it to #100, in this or any era, and the covers aren’t always great when they do. But for better or worse, here are Longbox Graveyard’s Top Ten One-Hundreds!

10) Superman #100

Superman #100

All right, it’s kind of your Dad’s idea of what a comic book cover should look like, but it’s Superman — he gets a pass. Plus, you get a montage of past anniversary issues, like that thrilling time Supes let a lion bite him in issue #50!

9) X-Men #100

X-Men #100

I’m not a fan of the “face-off” composition (and something similar was used to much worse effect for Defenders #100), but it’s cool to see the old and new teams on the same cover. Just looking at the match-ups, my money is on the new kids (unless Marvel Girl abruptly evolves into Dark Phoenix).

8) Master of Kung Fu #100

Master of Kung Fu #100

A pretty decent Mike Zeck cover for a series that didn’t have a lot of superior covers, and also the least likely anniversary issue in this round-up. I love Master of Kung Fu, and I’m just glad I live in a world where it lasted one hundred issues, even if that world was thirty years ago.

7) Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos #100

Sgt. Fury #100

I confess I’ve never read this issue — and I didn’t think a lot of Sgt. Fury when I reviewed the early series here at Longbox Graveyard — but this is a pretty dynamic cover. I love the juxtaposition of the old and new Fury.

6) Iron Man #100

Iron Man #100

Iron Man wasn’t always a Marvel A-Lister, and he beat the odds by making it to issue #100. I sense a bit of defiance in old Shell-Head — “It’s my 100th issue — deal with it!” This is the only issue in my list that uses the number “100” as an iconographic part of the cover design.

5) Batman #100

Batman #100

Similar to the Superman cover, above, but this cover checks in at #5 because … Batman. Also because Joker, Robin, and driving a pink motorcycle through a hoop of fire.

4) Captain America #100

Captain America #100

Captain America gets his close-up, with a whole pack of Avengers in support. Fun fact — this issue #100 is also an issue #1 (kind of), as this marked the transformation of Tales of Suspense into Captain America (which is why you won’t find a Silver Age-era Captain America #1).

3) Avengers #100

Avengers #100

It might be the “Mightiest 100th Issue of All!” but Avengers #100 rates no better than a bronze medal here at Longbox Graveyard. Still, any day is a good day to shout, “Avengers Assemble!”

2) Conan #100

Conan The Barbarian #100

This issue almost doesn’t qualify, given it’s subtle “anniversary” branding, but it’s a terrific cover and may be the last great issue of Conan the Barbarian ever published. The only real “down beat” anniversary issue on my list.

1) Amazing Spider-Man #100

Amazing Spider-Man #100

I left Spider-Man off my Top Ten List of Marvel Characters (and have been paying for it ever since), so maybe I’ll recover some karma by naming Amazing Spider-Man #100 my top #100 cover of all time. Plus this story has “the wildest shock-ending of all time!” … and that isn’t just hyperbole!

not a cop-out!

Despite the caption, the gimmick ending of Amazing Spider-Man really was kind of a cop-out, and Spidey would shortly return to his normal, two-armed self. Cop-outs are a part of comics, after all, and I’m not above using them here at Longbox Graveyard (as my many Panel Galleries will attest). Cop-outs or no, I genuinely value this blog and the many readers who have honored me with their loyal readership these past two years. Thanks so much!

Let me know what you think of my choices for the top #100 covers of all time in comments, below … and a Longbox Graveyard No-Prize goes to the first reader who can correctly identify the artists of each of these covers!

(All covers sourced through CoverBrowser.com)

NEXT WEDNESDAY: #101 Sgt. Rock

LONGBOX GRAVEYARD TOP TEN LISTS

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on May 15, 2013, in Lists! and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I had no idea Master of Kung Fu actually went the distance and made it to #100–and 25 issues after that. I honestly didn’t think the book would last two years.

    And that Kane/Romita Sgt. Fury cover is just superb.

    Like

    • Master of Kung Fu is one of my favorite underdog books. I don’t know how it lasted, either, except a naive belief that for a little while, at least, quality counted. I’ll be reviewing the “Clock of Shattered Time” story by Moench and Gulacy here in a couple weeks.

      I do like that Fury cover. Kane was very good at covers, better I think than he was as an issue artist. Kane was brilliant but he would cut corners on a 22-page assignment. He seemed to take more care with many of his covers.

      Like

  2. Congrats on #100 in a row! I guess that makes you the Cal Ripken of comics blogs.

    Nice list, though I have a feeling a list of top #200 covers might be more impressive. Alas, I guess we’ll have to wait another 100 weeks for that list…

    Like

    • Don’t say 200! It’s too far off to contemplate (plus there are even fewer worth #200 covers than #100s!)

      Dunno if I’m Cal Ripken … maybe Mario Mendoza? Either way, thanks for supporting the blog!

      Like

      • Fewer #200’s, yes, but JLA #200 and Avengers #200 (both by George Perez, natch) are better than any #100 cover I can think of, even if the contents of Avengers #200 are less than stellar.

        Like

  3. markginocchio

    First off, congrats on post #100… I hope you have the strength and inspiration to hit 1,000 because I’ll read them all.

    Second, you really had me there for a second with this list. I know you’re not a full disciple of Spidey the way I am, so I was half expecting to see ASM #100 on here in the top front half of your list as an obligatory acknowledgement, despite the fact that I think it’s one of the most iconic 100th issue covers of all-time (and the story, while gimmicky, is fun AND Stan’s last issue on the title). So when I didn’t see it initially I was thinking to myself, that really went and did it, didn’t he? He’s skipping over ASM #100 in favor of some more niche titles like Kung Fu and Sgt. Fury. Alright then…

    But man, making it your #1 is pretty awesome… I apologize for the fill in your own vulgarities box above!

    Like

    • That ASM #1 cover is legitimately terrific — dramatic, good composition, nice contrast with that bright character on the black background … plus it is an historically significant issue of an historically significant series. Easy pick.

      Thanks for sticking with me through 100 issues, Mark (and thanks for writing 3% of that total!)

      Like

  4. Good work on 100 posts!

    Like

  5. Chuck Paquet

    Thanks for posting the Avengers 100 cover. I had forgotten about Hawkeye’s short lived Chippendale Dancer costume. And I definitely agree about the Howling Commando’s. Wonder who was responsible for the composition, Romita, Kane or some combination of both?

    By the way Action 100 is going for less than $2,995 on eBay. I know the Southern California housing market was hit hard but I suspect not *that* hard. 🙂

    Like

  6. Congrats on 100 consecutive weeks of awesome! That is one hell of a great run my friend!

    Like

  7. I love the face-off! This was the first face-off cover I’d ever seen, so I always assumed it was the first, with everything since paying homage to it. (I also though this about the final scene in the opening credits of the X-Men animated series.)

    I may be projecting, but the teams’ bodies form a negative space that accentuates Professor X’s “X” pose in the center. I find it so dynamic that they could have done away with the blurb and arrow over Xavier’s head and it still would have been awesome. The composition naturally allows your eye to zoom in right on the Prof and his busted wheelchair. Who wouldn’t want to know what happens next?

    That’s probably why I don’t care much for the lazy Superman and Batman covers, recycling old images and taping them to the cover. It says, “Hey, great things happened here once upon a time!” On a related note, I enjoy how current major anniversary issues (Spider-Man 700, Daredevil 500, and whatever the last big Avengers anniversary was) have included every cover in the back of the book. That’s just an all-around win.

    Like

    • Leave it an artist to spot these things … now that you’ve mentioned the “negative space X,” I can’t un-see it!

      (And you are right in describing those Golden Age Superman and Batman covers as lazy, but I’ll give them a pass because of their historical significance … and that pink Bat-Bike).

      And for heaven’s sake don’t mention issue #500 or #700 or anything bigger than #104 (which will mark my 2-year anniversary here at Longbox Graveyard, when I publish my next “Longbox Soapbox” editorial page). Just thinking of numbers that big gives me the willies, whether or not we’re talking about my blog.

      (Thanks for reading and commenting, as always, Foogos!)

      Like

    • Chuck Paquet

      A great Dave Cockrum cover!

      Like

  8. What, you must be joking… You didn’t include Fantastic Four #100?
    OK, I’ll concede that the story plot was pretty lame but Kirby’s most influential and signature serie deserved better.
    What a revoltin’ development!

    Like

    • FF #100 just missed the cut (it was my #11). I thought the cover was a bit of a muddle, with the flat composition affording equal weight to every subject, and as a result there really isn’t any composition at all.

      A painful omission as I love Kirby and the FF, but this is not the King’s finest work.

      I think most covers (and nearly all comics of this period) are kind of accidental masterpieces. Expecting an artist to achieve something special with a #100 cover might yield poorer results than what you’d find in some random #99. Higher expectations and even more time and attention don’t always yield better results in this field. (That’s a new working theory, anyway).

      Fantastic Four #100, by Jack Kirby

      Like

      • Now, you are talking to my heart!

        It’s not an impressive composition but, hey, it’s crammed with great Kirby’s character design!

        Like

  9. Happy Hundredth, Paul! Doesn’t seem like two years at all. Also good job rounding out as full dozen podcasts. But, in the spirit of meta-blogging, isn’t there a 13th due – a podcast about podcasting? If you do that, we’ll do a podcast about it 🙂

    Like

  10. The only one I feel got left out was JLA #100 (Vol. 1). Yes, the 100th issue was not loudly proclaimed, but the cover did note that it chronicled the 10th meeting between the JLA and the JSA — plus the Seven Soldiers of Victory! Great Nick Cardy cover, great three-issue story too!

    Like

    • It’s a good one, probably as good as anything on the back end of my list, and its omission is down to nostalgia (or lack thereof) as much as anything else. I was a Marvel kid growing up, and that excessive trade dress (logo and floating heads strip) doesn’t do a lot for me. But I can see where it deserves mention, and so …

      Justice League #100

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      Like

  11. Great post. But just noticed that my 100th fantastic four cover has a difference. Does not say 15 cents. Just 1. No cents no nothing. A simple 1 followed by the 100 of the issue.
    It’s like 1/-
    Just that. Any idea why?

    Like

  12. Reblogged this on johnsonreginald3 and commented:
    Top Ten #100 Issues

    Like

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