The best 100th issue comic book covers, part 1

To help celebrate the 100th article on ‘Taint The Meat, I thought it might be fun to look at some other landmark 100 anniversaries, namely those from some of my favourite comic books.

By definition comic book readers are also tend to be comic book collectors, for whom anniversary issues hold a special significance. For obvious reasons issue number one’s are the most cherished but after that high-number anniversaries are also much sought after. Issue 50s are popular but for my money a 100th issue holds special appeal, especially with most comic book companies constantly renumbering their titles resulting in most comics never actually reaching the issue 100 landmark.

Over the next few posts I’m going to take a closer look at some of my favourite 100th anniversary covers. Here are the first ten with annotations:

X-Men, issue 100

X-Men, issue 100
“Greater Love Hath no X-Man…”,
published by Marvel Comics, August 1976
Cover artwork by Dave Cockrum
An iconic superhero face-off between the original and new X-Men, although the originals are quickly revealed to be robots. The title refers to the death of Jean Grey, who sacrifices herself to save the rest of the team, before being reborn as Phoenix in issue 101.

The Amazing Spider-Man, issue 100

The Amazing Spider-Man, issue 100
“The Spider or the Man?”, published by Marvel Comics, September 1971
Cover artwork by John Romita and Frank Giacoia
This is easily one of my favourites as it’s both dramatic and eye-catching, with Spider-Man’s red and blue costume really jumping off the black background (issue 121 would feature a neat twist on this image with Spidey swinging into a background of faces). However, the story itself proved controversial with fans: Peter Parker decides to give up being Spider-Man (again) and takes a serum designed to rob him of his powers. Unsurprisingly it all goes wrong culminating in a final panel that’s unintentionally hilarious – who says six arms
aren’t better than two?

The Invincible Iron Man, issue 100

The Invincible Iron Man, issue 100
“Ten Rings to Rule the World”, published by Marvel Comics, July 1977
Cover artwork by Jim Starlin
Simple yet striking image of a resolute Iron Man snapping an iron girder. The giant granite 100 in the background surrounded by
Kirby dots is a nice touch.

Superman, issue 100

Superman, issue 100
“The Toy Superman Contest”, “Superman – Substitute Teacher” and
“The Clue from Krypton”, published by DC, September 1955
Cover artwork by by Joe Shuster, Win Mortimer, Al Plastino,
Jack Burnley and Wayne Boring
This cover is more historically significant than attractive really, depicting a rather John Wayne-looking Superman surrounded by four of his iconic covers. The first superhero hitting his 100th issue was one of the true landmarks of the comic book industry.

The Avengers, issue 100

The Avengers, issue 100
“Whatever Gods There Be!”, published by Marvel Comics, June 1972
Cover artwork by by Barry Smith
Classic superhero team ensemble cover depicting both
current and previous roster Avengers surging forward;
a simple yet archetypal image.

Showcase, issue 100

Showcase, issue 100
“There shall come a Gathering”, published by DC, May 1978
Cover artwork by Joe Staton and Dick Giordano
DC’s anthology series hits 100 issues with another energetic superhero team cover. In this issue the Justice League,
the Teen Titans, the Metal Men and almost every other DC character join forces in a face-off against an alien menace.

Master of Kung Fu, issue 100

Master of Kung Fu, issue 100
“Red of Fang and Claw, all Love lost”,
published by Marvel Comics, May 1981
Cover artwork by Mike Zeck
A classic cover with Shang-Chi jumping out at the reader
against a background of friends and foes. In this issue the
Master of Kung Fu squares off against Jack the Ripper!

justice League of America, issue 100

Justice League of America, issue 100
“The Unknown Soldier of Victory!”, published by DC, August 1972
Cover artwork by Nick Cardy
Surprisingly somber cover for such a landmark issue which
features a novel twist on the superhero face-off.
|In this commemorative issue the Justice League travel back
in time to rescue a team of Earth-2 heroes.

Tales To Astonish, issue 100

Tales To Astonish, issue 100
“Let There be Battle!”, published by Marvel Comics, February 1968
Cover artwork by Marie Severin and Dan Adkins
Ordinarily Tales to Astonish featured two independent stories starring The Hulk and The Sub-Mariner, but for this special 100th issue both characters face-off for a issue spanning punch-up. This cover is a favourite of mine: the composition leads the reader’s eye into the centre of the image, while the backdrop of Miami providing a pleasing sense of depth.
With issue 102 the title would be rebranded as The Incredible Hulk.

Daredevil, issue 100

Daredevil, issue 100
“Mind Storm!”, published by Marvel Comics, June 1973
Cover artwork by Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia
Similar treatment as the Spider-Man cover, with Daredevil swinging
in front of a tinted selection of enemies and friends. In this issue
DD is interviewed by a journalist and recounts his origin.
I particularly like the overblown blurb: “Special! Epoch-making
100th issue!”

That’s it for now – I’ll post another ten covers in the next few days (click here).

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