When is a “Key Comic” Really a Key? Plus Contest Giveaway!!!

Key (adjective) – of paramount or crucial importance.

Synonyms – crucial, central, essential, pivotal, critical, etc.

“That's a key comic!”

This is a phrase I’ve been hearing far too much as of late. Pardon my lack of typical introduction, but A.J. Diesel has a hot take in regards to the people running around calling random comic books “keys”. It appears that some new-school comic book schmucks believe it is necessary to deem every flavor of the week comic book a “key”. Sorry not sorry, but not every Adam Hughes cover or Donny Cates story is a key comic book. And I personally collect AH covers. It’s also a stretch to call a first appearance of any of Novas rogues gallery a key. It’s time to stop the madness when discussing key comic books. Labeling all of these trivial comics a key is destroying the market. There is a huge difference between a key comic book and a HOTT one. Sure it drives the secondary market fools who have a fear of missing out, but all it is really doing is tricking new readership and collectors into believing these books are “must haves”. Maybe if people stopped doing this and bought for the read, publishers would worry more about the quality of the story as opposed to the garbage we get today.


Image result for captain marvel #8

Take Captain Marvel #8, which dropped yesterday. It has about five different covers and features the first appearance of Star! Woohoo! The “carnege-ized” In Hyuk Lee variant, is selling anywhere from $9.99-$30.00 on the electronic bay currently. News flash, my comic shop alone ordered 18 copies…of just the Carnage variant! How many other stores likely did something similar? I’ve also been hearing everyone saying “the 1:25 ratio variant is the one to go after”. Uhmm, what? So we’re now seriously only buying a book for its rare cover? The story is the exact same. Long story short…this book isn’t a key. If I were to choose between two recents comics, Marvel Comics Presents #6 would be the stock I’d buy. Much smaller print run, only one cover, and greater character pedigree.


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Image result for thanos 13

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good variant as much as the next guy, but when it involves a first appearance…a first appearance is a first appearance. Those of us who have the lenticular cover of Thanos #13 should be just as happy as if we had the Albuquerque cover, because it’s the exact same story featuring the first appearance of the exact same character. Now with that said, Thanos #13 may become a key down the road, but right now it’s just a HOTT book. Books that have heat without ratio variants are much more in my personal wheel house of “key”. Ratio variants are literally made for buyers and speculators to compete for…they’re not meant to be read. The old rule of thumb is, when something is made to be collectible, it isn’t. Well I guess that is a 1990's comic book notion, because it certainly doesn’t apply to today’s market. Gimmicks ruined comics before, and may very well ruin comic books again.

Take for instance the king of keys; Action Comics #1. There were right around 200,000 copies of this book printed back in 1938. That is a print run larger than at least 95% of today's single issue market. There is also only one cover of this (and don't get me started with second printings being considered variants now). This key comic book wasn't made to be rare, and by today's standards 200,000 copies certainly wouldn't be a rare book. It became rare due to the times and lasting significance. These were ten cent comics, meant to be read and colored on. People actually cared about helping their country and donated to war efforts and paper drives. Now there are less than 300 in existence. Key comics have homage paid to them, they transcend the market. Obviously this is the extreme example, but an example nonetheless.


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Serves no particular purpose, but Mr. Majestic is the bomb.


Also, it's hard to call something a “key”, when everyone owns one, and in high grade for that matter. They aren't reading the story, they're buying it off the newsstand and shipping it to the grading service of their choice. Imagine how many people are going to do that with this most recent Captain Marvel issue. I'm not saying that something has to be rare to be deemed a key, as there are plenty of key comics that have large print runs, I just feel that the term is thrown around far too often.

It’s rare that a book becomes a key comic right out of the gate. Off-hand I can only think of NYX #3 as being a book that is deserving of that title fresh off of the newsstand. New Mutants #98 literally wasn't a key until about ten years ago, and that came out in 1991. Ultimate Spider-Man #1 was almost an instant key, but that had a handful of covers, and Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 could be argued, and may very well be, but the Land variant is far superior value wise. In today’s market, stories and characters are no longer what make a book a key, the rare cover is. What a shame. If you have some ideas of overnight keys that have maintained significance, please comment below, but leave it separate from your contest entry.


Image result for edge of the spider-verse #2Image result for edge of the spider-verse #2Image result for nyx 3


In my eyes, a key comic book is the first appearance of a significant character, a significant event in a comic book, or a classic comic book cover. All of which can only be decided by the test of time. You can have personal favorites or sentimental preference to a book, but poor speculation on your behalf, doesn’t merit labeling something a “key” on your YouTube channel.

Key First Appearances- Amazing Fantasy #15, Detective Comics #27, Action Comics #1, Hulk #181 etc. etc.

Image result for hulk 181

Key Significant Event- Amazing Spider-Man #121, Iron Man #128, Civil War #1 etc. etc.

Key Classic Covers- Hulk #340, Silver Surfer #4, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Secret Wars #8 etc. etc.

Also, food for thought. If a particular character could only have a maximum of ten “key” comics, which would they be?


  1. Amazing Fantasy #15
  2. Amazing Spider-Man #1
  3. Amazing Spider-Man #3
  4. Amazing Spider-Man #4
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #14
  6. Amazing Spider-Man #50
  7. Amazing Spider-Man #121
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #129
  9. Amazing Spider-Man #252
  10. Amazing Spider-Man #300

There are 100% more valuable Spider-Man books out there then some of these, but as far as significance to the character, this would be my top 10. Obviously it's arguable, and that's the fun of it. Take for instance my example of an undervalued key comic book.

Uncanny X-men #133

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Uncanny X-Men #133

It’s a top five Wolverine comic book cover. It’s a part of the Dark Phoenix Saga which is arguably the X-Men’s most significant story arc. It’s the first solo Wolverine cover, and I personally believe that this is when Wolverine took over as the face of the X-Men. Any of you late 80’s or early 90’s kids remember how BAD*$$ it was watching Wolverine pummel the Hellfire guards in the X-Men animated series? Just imagine when Disney (which purchased 21st Century Fox…something I predicted over two years ago on this very site), makes a Dark Phoenix phase and we get to see Wolverine kicking Hellfire Club tail for an entire film! Don’t forget that what Deadpool, Harley Quinn, and Venom are now, Wolverine was tenfold in the 1990s. When he is put back on the big screen, and done correctly in costume, all things Wolverine will be selling like hot cakes. There are not many sure things in comic books…Wolverine is one.

Here is a brief list of some other choices of undervalued keys. I truly think the market just hasn’t caught up to these, and if I were treating comics as stocks, I’d look into these.


DC Comics Presents #26

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This is the first appearance of some heavy hitters in current DC! Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven, as well as a first appearance of the New Teen Titans! This should be a book that sells in the $300-$500 range, and sure 9.8s do really well, but raws can be found relatively cheap. These characters are all still prominent in today’s comics as well as a bunch of cartoons. It’s a no lose book.


Adventure Comics #283

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First appearance of General Zod aka Superman's second biggest villain. Books near mint at right around $600, but raws can be found much cheaper. If he had appeared in a Superman book, I feel this would be much more sought after. It just seems not many people give a damn about Superboy. Zod has appeared in a few of Superman's feature films and is really one of the cooler villains you’re going to find.


Fantastic Four #33

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The first appearance of Attuma. It’s just a matter of time until a Namor film drops, and Attuma is the big bad they’ll be using. If Aquaman was successful, just about anything will be.


Marvel Spotlight #6 (Vol. 2)

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The first appearance of Star-Lord in comic books is grossly undervalued. He is an A-list Marvel character with nothing but upside. Rockets first appearance in comics is HOTT, and that’s one of the worst covers out there. This book will get smoke, it’s just a matter of time.


Daredevil #1

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Okay okay…Still a book most of us can’t afford, but let’s face it, out of all the original Marvels, Daredevil is the adopted one. Daredevil #1 can still be found under $1k, which you can’t say for any of the first appearances of Iron Man, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, etc. Daredevil has a good following, has had a movie as well as a successful Netflix series. Hell, some Spider-Man villains are harder to get then him. The market will soon realize that this is the grail new collectors should go after to get their beak wet. It’s affordable enough, and is a sure thing. And I only bet on a sure thing. I suppose that’s why I’m a Patriots fan.

As for ridiculous speculation is concerned, how about Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 seeing gains again. Now I said ridiculous, not because I think this isn’t a key comic book. I in fact do believe that the first appearance of Marvel Zombies is a key. What I believe is ridiculous is that this book has gained smoke due to a scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home depicting an undead Iron Man. Just Stop…


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Seriously though, I’ve always been high on this book. When it was released Ult. FF #21#23 were all selling really well. Ultimate Fantastic Four #22, the first full appearance of the Marvel Zombies has a great Magneto cover and use to be an easy $20 bill.

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To further my argument on this key, is the impact Marvel Zombies have had. There have been several mini-series and one shot specials, as well as another series dropping later this year. Marvel Select put out action figures years’ back, as well as minimates of the characters. The first and second series have awesome homage covers, and solely kept Arthur Suydam employed. Other stories and series were getting Marvel Zombie variants, and so on and so forth. Fact of the matter is, if you collected then, you remember the gimmick of Marvel Zombies, and 15 years later, it still hasn’t gone away. Just imagine down the road when Disney+ does a Halloween animated feature based on this story. I think that’d be killer.

With all of that said, it’s time for me to go back into my PC and have a giveaway contest. I’ll be giving away the three issue set of Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, #22, and #23 from my collection. All you need to do is argue an obscure and undervalued “key” comic book on your behalf. Make sure that the book you’re arguing is not already widely accepted as a key comic book. Invoke some thought, state some points, and make a strong argument. If you pick a first appearance, tell me what makes that significant. If you say an event, explain why it matters. A book similar to the likes of Uncanny X-Men #133 listed above. Good luck and I look forward to your entries!

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As always thanks for stopping by Diesel City…this is A.J. Diesel, with respect and class.


  • Avatar

    I propose JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #3. First appearance of Kanjar Ro. Awesome villian who should be an antagonist in any JLA film.

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    I 100 percent agree about DC comics presents 26. How is that not worth double or triple the amount. If Werewolf by night 32 gets hundreds with a C list character. How does the first new teen titans not get bigger bucks.

    But on to my keys that are ignored. Going back to Daredevil. How is Daredevil 7 not bigger. First appearance of his red costume. Being a silver age book it can easily be found for under 60 bucks for mid grades

    I also have a second that you can argue is a key already. But xmen 129 to me is still crazy undervalued with the 1st appearance of two major characters- emma frost and kitty pryde

    • A. J. Diesel

      Couldn’t agree more on Uncanny X-Men #129. I wrote an article on June 29th, 2017 stating just that! Book is absurdly overlooked, but with those two big first appearances, it has no downside.

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        AJ Diesel

        A few years ago Ben C had an article about Tier 2 and Tier 3 Key for both Marvel and DC Comics during the silver age. Maybe you could write about the Bronze age. I wonder how many would agree with a list like that. What amazes me was a few years ago Captain Marvel was what a friend called a Tier 3 book and 1st appearance of Carol Danvers was not even a blip on the market. Now I think the other is true.

    • fogsmoviereviews

      Ooh yeah, man, great choice

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    I admit sometimes I get drug into the hype train and can become one of those FOMO crazies on eBay. I try to live by the collector motto of only buying what I like, but some covers can seduce me into thinking I will like the book, but interiors art and story are criminally bad.
    I think a modern book which should be a key because he appears regularly in comics books.
    Amazing Fantasy 15 vol. 2 first Amadeus Cho.
    This book can still be had for under a hundred.

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      I agree with most said but for modern just because many high quality copies exist shouldn’t disqualify if from being a key if the first appearance/event is or becomes big down the road. Supply and demand keeps modern keys prices down so right now is the time to buy because when the “kids” growing up with the MCU and teen titans go get jobs and stuff these are the books they’ll be after. For arguement my flea market find first appearance of White Rabbit should be a key, she freaking shoots people with a carrot firing gun and has been on a cover a few months ago and has an upcoming one soon. I admit I didn’t know who the hell she was until I saw the on the spider-man Villians cover and did research and how she was chosen from his rogues gallery I have no clue but carrot gun and I’m sure she killed a few people with it or maybe they felt bad and laid down to give her a win so yeah key lol.

  • fourwayflashers

    If Daredevil #1 is the adopted child of Marvel’s first appearances, then surely Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos is the red headed bastard of the group. Nick Fury and SHIELD have been at the forefront of almost every major crossover event Marvel has had and yet his first appearance is still grossly undervalued.

    • A. J. Diesel

      😂😂😂 you couldn’t be more spot on with Sgt. Fury!

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        See for me the book I posted in my undervalued Keys somewhere on this board is Strange Tales #135. 1st SHIELD…1st HYDRA. Kirby Cover. Then you look at that price you can get a nice copy for and you are asking what is wrong with Fury out here LOL

  • curtis.w.austin@gmail.com

    Couldn’t agree more about your pointing out what makes a key and what heightens hype. It is my belief that the YouTube “content gurus” that just “list their top picks of the week is a waist of time. Most know nothing of the story and just go by cover appeal and who the cover artist is

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    I’ve always been a huge zombie fan following my introduction to the Resident Evil video game series back in the 90s. This got me into zombie movies and of course eventually comics. Surprisingly, I was only really drawn in the Marvel Zombies comics due to Arthur Suydam’s cover art, my favourite of which is the variant for Amazing Spider-Girl 13 (eventually I’ll grab a high grade copy of this). Once I got past the cover art, I found and into the comic, I found the storylines to be very original and engaging; I was hooked! That being said, I never realized the true origin of the Marvel Zombie universe was linked to the Ultimate Fantastic Four, otherwise I would have been very excited to have picked these issues up as well, and the cover art to issue 23 is outstanding!

    Now for my attempt at arguing for an obscure or undervalued key. For this, I will propose the Spectacular Spider-Man 134-136, which was the “Return of the Sin Eater” storyline and later played a huge role in the lead-up to Eddie Brock becoming Venom; yes I know it’s a run, so I will officially pick issue 136 as the key, key. I’ve always thought this story to be pivotal to the events that led Eddie Brock to falsely reporting on Sin Eater, leading Peter Parker to out Eddie Brock and causing him to be fired from the Daily Bugle, and ultimately instilling his hatred toward Peter Parker/Spider-Man (this was also what helped to form the bond between the symbiote and Eddie Brock). If this somehow gets incorporated into the MCU in a future Venom movie, I could see these issues rising in ‘key’ status. Thoughts?

    Not convinced? Ok, I got one more: Avengers: X-Sanction. This was the mini-series that led to Marvel’s the big X-Men vs. Avengers event and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next phase of Disney’s MCU plans didn’t include a similar onscreen event down the road. While Civil War was pretty fun to see enacted on the big screen, the only hero battle that would be more epic would be one featuring the Avengers versus the X-Men! More thoughts?

    • Avatar

      Also X-Factor #68, where Apocalypse infects an infant Nathan Summers with the techno-organic virus, forcing his parents (Scott Summers and Madelyn Prior) to send him to the future to be cured of this disease. Summers later returns to the present timeline as Cable…and the next thing you know, there’s a Deadpool movie with Josh Brolin as Cable!

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      Brock’s false reports were published during the original Sin Eater storyline, not the sequel. #108 or 109, IIRC.

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        I had always thought Brock was outed in ASM 300 and the false reporting occurred during the SSM run, but I’m not 100% certain. Up until last week I had over 1,600 Venom comics, but they’ve since been traded, so I can no longer fact check 🙂

  • Avatar

    OK..So I think a book that is “key” and way underrated/obscure is What the..? #10. I know as a “parody” book some people think they don’t matter. However, This book not only has a rare appearance of Calvin and Hobbs in it but it also has in my opinion a very iconic and actual first appearance of Bart Simpson in a comic book. He did appear before this in Childhood is hell (1988) but that is a TPB (does that even count..LOL) and at this time it is considered his first comic appearance. I believe what the..?10 should be his actual first appearance in a comic book. The Simpsons are hugely popular and been around for 30 yrs. There are so many character appearances in this book I can’t list them all to include the likes of the Three Stooges and Charlie Brown. This book is currently a dollar bin find. I believe if people actually realized the significance of this book it would be far more in demand and price.

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    Wasn’t Detective 880 a “key” cover right out of the gate? Maybe not $400 for a 9.8 key, but it’s an issue with no variants, and only gradually gains value with time while spawning man homages and hasn’t really had a “market correction.” Basically it’s as stable as it gets.

    Not sure how much time needs to pass before we officially give it all-time key status, but I’d like to see the arguments against it outside of the amount of time it’s been around.

    Thats not my entry. Just answering the request for examples of keys out of the gate. Will give my entry later….got to think a bit about it…

    • A. J. Diesel

      Detective #880 def crossed my mind as one of those books. I’m not familiar with the story so I didn’t want to make a proclamation that is was solely based on the cover. That being said, people sure pay cuckoo prices for it.

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    Oh, and you “stole” my first example of a modern undervalued key in the making with UFF21/22. On top of the zombies aspect, there’s no variant or reprint of 22 (that I’m aware of) and that shiny card stock is a challenge to keep from color breaking creases….especially longitudinally along the length of the spine.

    There are about 20 9.8s of the regular cover of issue 21 and about 50 of issue 22. Likely the majority of these were sent in when Marvel Zombies vol. 1 was hot. I highly doubt there are many 9.8s in the wild given how susceptible the cover is to damage. If I come across one, I snatch it up immediately.

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    One more post for now….I would agree with your top 10 Spider-Man books. But ASM 238 has to be knocking on the door…maybe #11. Wait until they bring him into the MCU….only a matter of time…

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    First off, I love this article. I vent on this topic to my wife, who smiles and nods, but it is not her thing.

    On to the “Key”…
    As characters can have first appearances so to can the artists and writers. My key is arguably StormQuest #1. This is a hard sell but it is the first published work Greg Land (which I am aware of).

    Not a fan, then…
    Wolverine (vol. 2) #90 with that beautiful cover (Hildebrandt) and fold out pages (Kubert). Epic art for an epic fight that ended in a frozen moment which has been swiped for multiple Wolverine covers.

  • Collectiblepaper

    One of my favorite (in my opinion) undervalued keys is Iron Fist #14, the first appearance of Sabretooth. He has been around for a long time and made his way into several titles and many large events. With marvel having the rights now to the X-men properties this book has plenty of potential for growth.

  • the other brother darryl

    Batman 307

    Lucious Fox is a huge part of Batman’s supporting cast, his kids have even been inducted into the bat-family, he’s appeared in the films and the cartoons…and yet you can still find his first appearance for like $10 raw. He was one of the first characters I sought out when I first started collecting and I couldn’t believe how cheap it was.

    Same goes for Harvey Bullock and Detective Comics 441. I guess you got to wear a cape to be appreciated.

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    I always like to think of key comics are books that change the story and have a lasting impact. I started reading comics in the 90s after the Xmen animated series and loved the x books. Xfactor 100 was a key book for me. The team had been established and then they kill multiple man( at the time I didn’t know marvel deaths didn’t last). From there you can see the fallout of the team. you Could see the fallout from this event in the other x books till uncanny Xmen 390 when colossus makes the ultimate sacrifice for a cure. I feel like key and grail are way overused with comic collectors. I liked this article and has to be my 2 second favorite following the wizard rewind ones.

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    Batman 686… Alfred at Batman’s eulogy tells a time of when he hired actors and himself (the Joker) to play nemesis roles to fill Bruce’s void of not having any villains in his early days … so first Alfred as the Joker… that’s a pretty huge deal y’all… I could see this becoming a key especially if DC made one of the three Jokers Alfred as canon… we all know they were brave enough to make Arkham Knight canon. by Gaiman and Andy Kubert nuff said!

  • wolfman71421man

    Despite an appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1, and a few pop-ups after, I believe that the Illyana Rasputin aka Magik that we all know and love didn’t debut until Uncanny X-Men #160. I view that as the true beginning of her journey into relevance. But, it can easily be debated, so, that’s just a humble opinion. 😉

  • Clint Joslin

    Excellent read and synopsis! The get rich quick mentality is the same in comics as not a lot of people want to invest the time in research. Sure it’s easy to go buy a CM8 yesterday and cross your fingers. The reality is one of the biggest factors people overlook in terms of solid investments can’t be bought, sold, or cheated and that’s is TIME. Time is what goes to determine a true key. These fly by night one offs are just that – here today, gone tomorrow. So is a lot the comic speculator works with their haste and blind purchases. Thanks again for putting this piece together!

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    Okay, here’s two important DC figures that are way too easy to acquire:

    Vixen: Action 521. Not a great story, but c’mon, you know she’s got great things ahead for her! Plus those Middleton covers on her mini-series! Way undervalued…

    Katana: Brave and Bold 200, also first appearance of the Geo-Force, Halo and The Outsiders as a team. There are copies of this on eBay for under 5 bucks! Unbelievable!

  • salestoastonish

    Great article. I agree with you, and hope we are both right on a few of those, especially DD1. The book I think is extremely undervalued, is Avengers Annual 10. First appearance of a major X-player(rogue) and the first Madelyn Pryor. Rogue is a very well known character from both the animated series and the first X-movies. Again, with Disney picking up the rights, I could see the book taking off.

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    Awesome article, long thought that Daredevil 1 doesn’t get nearly the respect that it deserves. My pick for obscure keys is Batman 475, first appearance of Renee Montoya. It’s just a matter of time til they do something with the question, and I have to imagine they would use her. I’ll also throw a little Spectre 54 in there, as Mr. Terrific’s first appearance is also a ticking time bomb.

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    For me I have two that I do not see getting much attention and even when they come up for auctions in public events people do not know what the significance is for these books.

    1. Strange Adventures #215. It has a nice Neal Adams cover. It has the 1st appearance of the Society of Assassins (Renamed the League of Assassins) and 1st Appearance of Sensei (2nd behind Ra’s al Ghul) that predates his appearance by almost 3 years. This books is very cheap in Mint Condition with one NM raw going for under $100. DC Keys guys are running cheap when compared to Marvel Comics.

    2. Strange Tales #135. This one is a little pricier but it still can be seen for under $1000 in NM Condition. 1st Appearances of HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. with a Jack Kirby Cover. Most do not know its significance in Marvel Universe but like XMen 129 it has two key 1st appearances and they already have appeared in the MCU.

    BONUS FOR SPECULATORS (Lesser Key Now but…)
    Iron Man 54. 1st Appearance of Moondragon and 1st Thanos War story. She somehow is tied to Thanos with her parents killed by him and also has her dad’s soul in Drax the Destroyer. With her romantic connections to other characters I always saw this book as possible MCU tie in and with her a hidden gem type of key that could explode ala other Guardian appearances.

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    Just for the sake of argument I will say that TMNT 51 and 95 are key books now. I mean first new turtle in a long time and a female at that. From what I’ve read and understand is that IDW has been planning this for a long time now.

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    I always tell my friend (who owns my LCS) that its a shame that it doesnt matter having a book that has a first appearance anymore…now you have to have the rarest variant which a majority of the time are being scalped on the internet by shop owners for ridiculous prices…

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    In my opinion, a new key book is Justice League Annual #1, first full appearance of Perpetua, (or the preceding Justice League #8 with her cameo). She is an extremely powerful villian and already has well established sons, specifically the Monitor and Anti-Monitor over the World Forger. Basically it’s the most powerful DC family I can think of! If DC wants to expand their films into the galactic scale, these are the villians to choose. I hope to see them on the screen in 10 years.

  • fogsmoviereviews

    Wow, what a great topic. Read it this morning and have been thinking about it, and now there’s a ton of responses….

    Whatever. I like him, mock me all you want people. How about Fear 19, the first Howard the Duck!!

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    there is a comic that I have always wanted, but really didn’t like like the comic that he first appeared in iron fist 14. Sabertooth, is a forgotten character that is really good in the ways he was used in the 80s and 90s. the new ST is a really bad updated villain. not sure if this is a Prime key or not.

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    X-Men #4 vol. 1 (1st Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver, 1st Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, 2nd Magneto). Yeah I know, this book isnt going to be found in the dollar bins but can still be had in a decent grade for a fairly decent price. This book is only going to increase with an easy tie in with SW and Magneto into the MCU.

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    ASM 37 – first appearance of stormin’ Norman Osborn. Some may ask “but Darkness you’re mistaken, he appears in ASM 14”. Where as green goblin appears several times from 14 onward, we don’t get the (dis)pleasure of meeting Norman until 2 years later. Maybe Stan didn’t know who he wanted Goblin to be under that mask yet between ‘64-‘66, but Norman stands the test of time on his own rights. Affair with one of Spidey’s lady loves? Check. Ended A secret invasion to become a “hero”? Check. Sweet ass iron man suit to lead a team of evil avengers. Check and check. He’s proven to be one of Marvels top notch mastermind villains for over 50 years. Top 50 ASM and I’ve snagged 2 copies in the last year for under $40. Put some respect on this man’s name!

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    I’ve got another (sorry, this has been on my mind all day) and it’s probably my favorite: Amazing Spider-Man 42. First MJ appearance and it contains the iconic line “Face it toger, you just hit the jackpot.” Mid-grade issues are at a mind boggling mid-$100 range. With CGC 8.0+ starting around US$500. I can never understand why it isn’t worth more.

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    Super man volume 2 #80 destruction of coast city. It made the least interesting lantern into a must read for decades

  • gideontged

    Coyote (1983) #11 and Alpha Flight (1983) #51. First pencils by Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee respectively. This may not be key for a character or event but these are two major and influential artists. They are easily found four $20-40.

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    How about writer or artist first work as a key? Or first work on a title they become associated with? e.g., Daredevil 158, Swamp Thing 20. Must be others…

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    The recent one I just ordered off EBAY is TMNT 95 which is definitely a key book. First female turtle! This book is going to be huge. IDW has been coming out with some great titles! They also planned this for awhile.

  • Slanthook

    What about Batman 655 – 1st Damien Wayne. Son of Batman, anti-hero type willing to kill unlike his father, leads the Teen Titans, Kubert cover. Some probably see him as an annoying brat at times, but he has so much potential. There is the variant, but I think the regular cover is better.

  • Slanthook

    Also, New X-Men 128 – 1st Fantomex. Related to other big characters through Weapons program, cool look, cool power, but no love. Probably, in part, due to the cover.

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    needing to know if this is a key any help would be nice ultimates 1 adams variant

  • stevemcqueen

    One of the most undervalued “key” comic book in my opinion is Amazing Spider-man #1 (2018). It is widely accepted as a key comic book because its the first appearance of Kindred. Marvel may be pushing this villain into greater heights but for now, the value of this comic book remains at only $6.00 (not including the high ratio variants and store exclusives). I think sooner or later, this will be a significant book because of the “mysteries” that Marvel is putting into the story line of the ASM series with this new villain, such as, possessing an intimate familiarity with Peter Parker, to the point of affectionately referring to him as “Pete”; history of torturing Mysterio (which suggests he is a very powerful demon); resurrecting Quentin Beck to serve as his agent; watching over Mary Jane while Spidey fought Kraven; etc. I think that with the awesome Kindred variant covers that continues to comes up, we will soon see this book rise in value, similar to the ranks of the first appearances of Spider-man’s other well-known enemies.

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