The best 100th issue comic book covers, part 3

The 100th article celebrations conclude here at ‘Taint The Meat with my final selection of the best 100th issue comic book covers.

As with the previous two articles (part 1 and part 2) I’ve chosen covers that both celebrate and exemplify the comic in question. 100th issue covers have always held special significance for me and I’ve had great fun revisiting these landmark issues. It’s been particularly interesting to see how inventive the covers can be while adhering to the five different styles I discussed in part 2.

Here are the last ten covers, with annotations…

The Warlord, issue 100

The Warlord, issue 100
“Skartaris Unchained”, published by DC, December 1985
Cover artwork by Mike Grell
Created by writer and artist Mike Grell The Warlord originally formed part of the DC Explosion range of titles. However, unlike many of the other titles in that series that saw quick cancellation this sword and sorcery title would endure for over a decade. Although Grell stepped away from the title after issue 71 he returned to paint this striking anniversary cover. Although painted comic book covers are now commonplace in the Eighties they were rare enough to attract attention, which this one still does.

Savage Dragon, issue 100

Savage Dragon, issue 100
“The Choice”, “The End”, “The Power of Mighty Man”,
“Breaking Point”, “A Turn For The Worse”, “Losing Control”, “Possessed”, “Invasion”, “Love Story”, “Martians Attack”,
“Life’s End”
, published by Image, June 2002
Cover artwork by Erik Larson
Series creator Erik Larson pulled out all the stops for this 100-page anniversary issue, which featured 11 stories, as well as a host of pin-ups, by some of the industry’s biggest names – Jerry Ordway,  Bill Sienkiewicz, Walter Simonson and Frank Miller to name a few. The cover featured an eye-catching faces-montage and is clearly a jubilant homage to Marvel Comics. Great stuff.

TV Century 21, issue 100

TV Century 21, issue 100
Published by City Magazines, 17th December 1966
This weekly British ‘comic from the future’ featured stories and strips based on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s hugely popular stable of TV shows, including Thunderbirds, Stingray and Fireball XL5. Created as a pastiche of a daily newspaper, the title featured the cream of British artistic talent, such as Frank Bellamy, Ron and Gerry Embleton and Ron Turner. Although largely unknown in the US this comic had a loyal following here in the UK, and looking at this wonderfully evocative cover it’s easy to see why.

The Brave and The Bold, issue 100

The Brave and The Bold, issue 100
“The Warrior in the Wheelchair”, published by DC, March 1972
Cover artwork by Nick Cardy
DC’s long-running team-up title (it saw publication for almost 30 years) hit its 100th issue with this dramatic and tense cover by Nick Cardy. Instead of being paired with just one other DC star Batman shares this anniversary issue with Green Lantern, Black Canary, Robin and Green Arrow. Why none of them can see he’s in trouble despite standing only 10 feet away is beyond me.

Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos, issue 100

Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos, issue 100
“100th Anniversary”, published by Marvel Comics, July 1972
Cover artwork by Gil Kane and John Romita
The World War II action comic jumps forward to 1972 for an odd issue that features Stan Lee hosting a roast for Fury and the Commandos to help celebrate the comic’s 100th issue. Despite the strange premise the cover is a great one with artist Kane dramatically depicting the heroes in their past and future incarnations.

100 Bullets, issue 100

100 Bullets, issue 100
“Finale: A House of Graves”, published by Vertigo, June 2009
Cover artwork by Dave Johnson
Brain Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s noir revenge comic reaches its 100th and final issue with the curtain literally falling on series protagonist Agent Graves. A simple,  elegant image that perfectly suits the tone of the title.

Fables, issue 100

Fables, issue 100
“Single Combat”, “Pinocchio’s Army”, “The Fables Paper Puppet Theatre”, “After the Duel, Part One: The Perils of Thumbelina”, “Celebrity Burning Questions”, “After the Duel, Part Two: A Thing With Those Mice”, and “Escape to Wolf Manor”, published by Vertigo, January 2011
Cover artwork by Joao Ruas
Bill Willingham’s popular series chronicles the lives of fairy story characters forced to live in the ‘real’ world. This 100-page 100th anniversary edition features contributions from some of the industry’s biggest talents, such as J H Williams III, Chrissie Zullo and series regular Mark Buckingham. Ruas’s wraparound cover is
simply sumptuous, both elegant and haunting, the
perfect image for this landmark issue.

Mad, issue 100

Mad, issue 100
Published by EC Comics, January 1966
Cover artwork by Norman Mingo
The long-running satire title (still in print today) hit it’s 100th issue with this typically self-depreciating, yet nonetheless iconic, cover. Notorious, hugely influential and bloody funny, Mad almost defies definition. It’s the King of parody and long may it reign.

Marvel Two-in-One, issue 100

Marvel Two-in -One, issue 100
“So This is… The End!”, published by Marvel Comics, June 1983
Cover artwork by Ron Wilson and Joe Sinnott
To be honest this isn’t really that great a cover and I’ve included it solely for sentimental reasons. I was a huge fan of this comic when I was a kid so this 100th issue always feels quite bitter-sweet to me as it was the last issue in the series, hence the somber cover.
I’d read and collected Marvel Two-in-One for years and was
genuinely saddened by it’s cancellation.

Detective Comics, issue 100

Detective Comics, issue 100
“The Crow’s Nest Mystery”, “The Living Statues”, “Deep Water Delores”, “Fools about Jewels” and “The Mischievous Mr McGonigle”
published by DC, June 1945
Cover artwork by Dick Sprang
This is the last cover in this selection, and to be honest I’ve only included it as an example of how not to do a 100th anniversary cover. Despite being a milestone for the comic book industry Detective Comics‘ 100th issue sports a sadly lacklustre cover.  No attempt has been made to draw the reader’s attention to the issue’s landmark number, there’s no text selling the story and Batman is hidden away in the  bottom corner. What should have been a celebratory edition, similar to Superman and Batman’s 100th issues, is instead a disappointing damp squib.

And those are my choices for my favourite 100th issue covers. There were a few that almost made the grade – Alan Davis’ foldout cover for Legion of Super–Heroes, for example  – that had to be dropped for want of high quality artwork.

I’m tempted to take a closer look at some higher number landmarks, 250th or 500th issues for examples (although I suspect they’ll be very little to choose from) – we’ll see. In the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection.

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