Friday, February 22, 2013

Praising the Best #1 Issue

Doug:  Today we're looking for nominations and discussion on the very best #1 issues of all time.  Any company, any era -- if the cover has a big ol' 1 in the corner, it's fair game for discussion.  But I hear some among you saying "what about Journey Into Mystery #83, or X-Men #94?"  Nope -- today we're going to stick with bona fide first issues.  To your advantage in regard to DCs, this does allow you to discuss Justice League of America #1 instead of The Brave and the Bold #28.

Doug:  For example, some have said that Avengers #1 was a weak story, largely not caring for elements like the Hulk in the clown suit and/or the two weakest Avengers (Ant-Man and the Wasp) saving the day.  But I'll give you this -- if you want to declare that Avengers King-Size Special #1 is the best of the lot, go right ahead.

Doug:  So I hope your thinking is complicated just a bit with these parameters.  The goal is not to... well, yes it is -- I'm just trying to be a pain-in-the-butt.  Stick with #1 issues, and tell us what your favorite all-timer is in that narrow category.  And have fun out there!




24 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Micronauts #1. Not only is it the first issue of a great series, it is actually a great story by itself. In about 18 pages of pretty much non-stop, fast-paced action, Mantlo and Golden introduce the main characters and set the groundwork for the larger story. When you get to the end, you're thinking: "that was awesome!" Followed by: "can't wait for the next issue!" Exactly what a good first issue should do.

david_b said...

Another layer of consideration is obviously most 'premiere' issues are not numbered 'ish 1', I know a lot will be mentioned here from the Silver Age, but allow me to chime with important Bronze issues (and again, keeping in mind the waivering idea of EXACTLY an Age starts/ends will always rear it's head, but doesn't sound like a concern today)..:

Marvel Team-Up #1, a GREAT monthly staple has begun where Marvel climbs on the DC 'Brave and Bold' wagon with Spidey and the Torch, a bromance like you've never seen before. Team-ups since gained prominence in the 70s with the Treasury Crossovers, MTIO, IF&PM, etc, but this had SUCH a great run.

New Teen Titans #1, not sure how they pulled it off, but the Wolfman/Perez team reimaged this team with such intensity and style like never before ('cept perhaps for Xmen GS #1). They managed to make the weak return of the Titans just a few years prior seem like eons ago.

Howard the Duck #1.., only in the Bronze Age (as a breakout star of Man-Thing), only Gerber, you can fill in the rest.

Spiderman Treasury Edition #1, NEVER, EVER was there a more startling beautiful cover for a brand new comic format. I can recall experiencing a core meltdown of extreme orgasmic proportions (pre- puberty) on only a couple of occasions. First seeing this on the magazine rack was indeed ONE of 'em.

Doug said...

It's just outside of the Bronze Age, but I really liked DKR #1. Miller's art was much better in that issue than in the subsequent three installments. I felt that he did a fantastic job of building the suspense. I've said it before, this is one of only (literally) 2 or 3 comic books I've ever finished and immediately re-read. Just incredible.

I also thought Marvels #1 made me look at the Golden Age in a different light and was also an incredible experience. Alex Ross's art simply blew me away.

I recall enjoying Nova #1 as well as Peter Parker #1. I wonder now if the thrill wasn't in getting in on the ground floor of a new series, as both issues viewed with today's lens are rather pedestrian. But hey -- a #1 illustrated by one of the Buscemas (as each one was) -- can you really go wrong?

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug - nope, you indeed can't go wrong with either of the Bros Buscema. Even the first issue of the first She Hulk series, drawn by Big John, is pretty solid. Unfortunately, the overall quality dropped pretty quickly thereafter.

Otherwise, I'd like to interject here (as you did yesterday) to point out that Spidey and Mary Jane have ran past your magic 8 vote barrier in the poll, with a runaway score of 10. Personally, I'm glad to see quite a few people share my appreciation for the Cap/Bernie Rosenthal relationship, and a bit saddened that so few seem to like T'Challa and Monica Lynne. Oh, well.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Let me throw in a vote for Ambush Bug #1. The first issue of the first mini-series was a giddy delight, hilariously parodying superhero comic cliches with eye-catching art by Keith Giffen. It's a pity that the concept went off the rails so soon after and got so self-indulgent.

Blue Devil #1 was a pretty cool start-off to that series, nicely setting up the characters and the tone and mixing action with a nifty origin story.

All-Star Squadron #1 was also a keeper. Roy Thomas indulging his love of Golden age characters amid solid Rich Buckler/Jerry Ordway art.

Hmm, all three of mine are DC...

Doug said...

Edo, yes the poll is funny. Maybe voters didn't see that they could select more than one romance as a favorite.

Instained, the mini-series certainly opens up the possibility for a lot of #1's.

Since this has been going relatively slowly (4 hours in as I write this), if we want to open it up and "un-praise" some #1's that would work, too. Any issues out there that you loathe?

I'd offer up the first issue of the Wolverine mini by Claremont and Miller. Some of the annoying "Claremont tics" that we discussed a couple of weeks ago were on full display. Miller's art was outstanding, however.

In general, movie adaptations (which are usually only one-shots anyways) are universally not-so-good.

And, speaking of one-shots, I did enjoy Iron Man 2020. I need to re-read it, though, to see if I still like it.

Doug

Bruce said...

Great question! I know it isn't a Bronze Age book, but I'll have to go with Thunderbolts #1. It's a really good straight-up comic book story...and then you get to the end. Holy cow, what an amazing twist!

From the Bronze Age, I understand I'm in the minority, but I really liked Nova. Yeah, it was a blatant attempt to recapture the magic of the early Spider-Man stories. While it failed to reach those lofty levels, I thought it worked well. I enjoyed Nova at the time, and I still like it today.

david_b said...

Thought for sure someone would have chimed in with the 'Tomb of Dracula' or 'Luke Cage' ish 1's by now..

Not into monsters mags, but whaaaat a splendid Adams cover for 'Tomb'.

How about FOOM ish 1, anyone..?

Great memories getting the entire FOOM kit delivered to your door in the Hulk envelope.

dbutler16 said...

Thank you Edo! I applaud you for nominating Micronauts #1.
I was going to nominate New Teen Titans #1 but david_b beat me to it.
So I'll go with...
Alpha Flight #1
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (the 1984 Baxter Series)
Rom #1
Justice League #1 (the Giffen DeMatties series)
Black Panther #1 (the Kirby series)

Also, I assume david_b was referring to the oritinal Teen Titans series and not the Baxter series? Both pretty good #1's, though.

Mike said...

Ok, since there's no-holds-barred I'm going into the Golden Age for my obvious pick of Batman #1. First appearance of Joker and Catwoman, along with that great iconic cover. As a batfan, this issue is my unattainable Holy Grail, my precious, my white whale. Why, oh why, can't I be one of those people who finds one in their grandmothers attic???

Garett said...

I'll go with The Demon #1 and Kamandi #1. I just finished reading the first omnibuses of those series...what fun! The first issues both start of course with a Kirby bang-- Merlin and a medieval battle for Demon; and Kamandi paddling past the sunken Statue of Liberty, showing us this'll be like and unlike Planet of the Apes. Demon establishes the supporting cast-- the friends of Jason Blood-- and even a dance party with turntable music: "Let's get off the weirdie jive, gang! Let's rock it! Sock it! --and send it first class mail!!" : D

Kirby establishes Kamandi's world and plight, supporting cast of Ben Boxer and Dr. Canus, and even a rough map of Kamandi's world, suggesting where the further adventures will go.

Action, main characters--and getting immediately into it, hooking us in, and primed for more.

david_b said...

dbutler,

Yes, I was referring to NTT #1 (November '80) and emphasing the new fresh spirit over the gawd-awful 70s disco/skateboarding villains and Titans West drek.

Edo Bosnar said...

If we're also looking at mini-series, I have to disagree with Doug about the first issue of the Wolverine mini; over and above the Claremont tics Doug mentioned, there's also the question of the art, which I found a bit sub-par for Miller - maybe that has to do with Joe Rubenstein doing the inking, but whatever the case, it didn't look nearly as good as his work on Daredevil. Also, there was that weird anatomy on the bear that Wolverine has to kill in the first few pages.
So I'd offer by way of contrast the first issue of the Phantom Zone mini by Gerber and Colan. A rather dark and haunting Superman story, to which Colan's art was perfectly suited. And that first issue just sucks you right in.

Doug said...

Edo, I will certainly trust your judgement on the Wolverine mini. I need to not make comments like that when I'm at work, unable to actually reference the material!

Doug

Rip Jagger said...

Some great number ones have been listed. Here are the ones that rate for me.

Conan the Barbarian #1

This comic kicked off a whole new genre in the field that still resonates, though not like it did during the Bronze Age.

THUNDER Agents #1

Not just a new comic, a new team, but a new publisher hit the ground running around the ideas of Wally Wood. Awesome!

Cerebrus the Aardvark #1

A brand new character, making fun of Conan, himself a trendsetter. Then Cerebus became something else more complex and more potent. Comics became more convincingly about pure expression of a single mind, agree or disagree.

New Gods #1
Mister Miracle #1
Forever People #1

This trio of debuts didn't launch the Fourth World, that happened in Jimmy Olsen, but these three comics burst onto the scene and announced loudly that Jack "King" Kirby was delivering on the promise. They are the beginning of what remains the field's greatest unfinished epic!

Rip Off

Matt Celis said...

Mysterious Suspense #1 (and only) and Blue Beetle #1 (1966) are favorites of mine. All-Ditko, all-awesome.

Ray Tomczak said...

While I agree with Inkstained Wretch that Ambush Bug #1 and Blue Devil #1 (both of which I own and have read multiple times) are great debut issues, I have to cast my vote for Untold Legend of the Batman #1.
This was one of the earliest mini-series, and the first one I ever bought. In it, Len Wein retells Batman's life story as it had been revealed piecemeal over the years since the character's debut. The debut issue recounts his origin and his pursuit of his parents' killers. It begins with Batman recieving a package containing the shredded remains of his father's old bat costume, which had inspired Bruce's own, and ends with the grim vigilante shedding a single tear in his parents' memory. The first issue, and the first issue only, was penciled by John Byrne and inked by Jim Aparo.
This is not only one of my favorite Batman comics, but my favorite comic by Len Wein.
Someday, I'm going to have to write about it on my own blog.

William said...

I'm going to have to go back to the Silver Age and cast a vote for Daredevil #1. I always loved that book. The Kirby cover was fantastic and the interior art by the great Bill Everett was simply bee-yoo-tiful. I thought the DD's origin story had more depth and complexity than any of the other early Marvel heroes. (Even Spider-Man). I think Stan Lee really liked the character and did some his best writing on the title. In fact, if I recall correctly, he lists Daredevil #7 as his favorite story he ever wrote.

Fred W. Hill said...

Admittedly during my collecting days it was extremely rare that I ever purchased the first issue of any regular series right off the spinner rack or wherever else I got my new comics. Marvel Two-In-One may actually have been the first, although I'd also gotten the first issue of Ka-Zar when he was spun off from Astonishing Tales. I also got the premier issues of The Champions, The Invaders, Super-Villain Team-Up, Nova and Peter Parker. Maybe Nova felt the most special to me when I got it because although derivative of Spider-Man, he was an entirely new character and it was fun. Alas, I missed the first issues of Omega the Unknown and Howard the Duck, as well as Man-Thing, volume 1. In any case, I never really cared about the potential value of any mag I collected. I was all about the story and the art. If I hit the jackpot and got both a great story and great art, it didn't matter whether it was #1 or #286, I was happy enough!
Another poser for Doug & Karen's future consideration: how about anniversay issues, that is those that end in a 50 or 00. FF #50, for example, was a great one -- the conclusion of one of Lee & Kirby's best collaborations. FF #100, however, was quite a letdown.

humanbelly said...

Tower of Shadows #1-- creepiest cover ever, and some outstanding new horror work in the interior.

The Tick #1-- Ha! New England Comics' oversized, B&W inaugural issue of that beloved arachnid! It almost comes across as an underground comic-- but that spark of brilliance is there from the get-go.

Y'know, Ultimate Spiderman #1 completely fills the bill as a first issue that immediately made me want to read more.

HB

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with New Teen Titans and All Star Squadron...and what about Infinity Inc. #1? That was pretty good too, if I remember right.

It's been a long time since I read it, but I seem to remember Jon Sable #1 being pretty good; a really interesting story on its own, but with enough questions to make you want to read issue #2.

Mike W.

Matt Celis said...

Amazing Spider-Man #1, Mr. A #1, Beware the Creeper #1...more Ditko greatness.

Captain America #1 has Cap punching Hitler on the cover. Pretty awesome...

Marvel Comics #1 introduced Human Torch and Sub-Mariner...unfortunately a lot of the other features were no great shakes.

vancouver mark said...

The first Swamp Thing # 1 was awesome, I was an instant fan and had a hard time waiting for the following issue. The whole first ten issue run by Wein and Wrightson was wonderful.

Another book around the same time that grabbed me immediately with it's first issue was Plop! Anybody else buy it at the time? There was nothing else on the spinner racks remotely like those Basil Wolverton covers.

And Gerber's Man-Thing #1 finished the intro of Howard the Duck by promptly killing him off,had one of the weirdest surreal fights I'd seen in any comic, and a magnificent Manny cover by, I believe without actually checking in the back trunks, Frank Brunner.

Fred W. Hill said...

Yep, that was Brunner, Mark. He also did the magnificent cover for the 1st ever 1st issue of Dr. Strange, not to mention Howard the Duck #1.

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