We’ll admit that trying to pick the best silver and golden age comic book covers is a bit like trying to pick your favorite ice cream flavor – there are so many great ones to choose from. That being said, there are a few classic covers that really stand out – these are the ones that you remember for their iconic imagery, that are alluded to over and over, and that you want to have in original form.
- Flash #123, the Flash of Two Worlds. We love the mirror image of the two Flashes on the cover on this one; Even non-fans may recognize this one, since it was recently featured in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Flash #123, subtitled “The Flash of Two Worlds”, features Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and Silver Age Flash Barry Allen. Barry will be featured in the upcoming Flash television series on the CW and is currently starring in the titular comic; Jay can be seen in the ongoing Earth 2 series.
- Captain America #109: Cap’s origin story has been told more than once, including in this issue. What we like about this cover is the symbolism of Cap bursting from the pages of the news into the full-color present. And Cap just looks cool, here. (Cap is always cool.) Of course the 3 Steranko issues (110, 111, and 113) that surround this one are first rate as well.
- Batman: A Death in the Family. Specifically, the collectors’ edition that collects Batman #426-429 in one volume. Yeah, that one. A shadowed Batman carrying Jason Todd’s body (spoiler alert) in his arms doesn’t need words to evoke emotion. (Don’t worry; like the man turned into a newt in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Jason eventually got better.) This art is so iconic it has been recreated and referenced over and over in subsequent covers.
- Iron Man #128. Stan Lee and Marvel changed the landscape of comics by having more realistic heroes with real problems. Iron Man 128 features Tony Stark dealing with alcoholism, a series topic that might not have appeared in earlier comics.
- Action Comics #1. Supes lifting the 1938 car over his head is another image that is alluded to a lot in comics. And we think the car Lex was driving in Smallville’s first episode looks a lot like it as well.
- Batman:The Killing Joke. This is a bit newer than the others listed here, but is nevertheless a definitive classic. The story is written by comics great Alan Moore, and the story impacts the Batman universe for years to come. Even if you’re only a casual Batman fan, you can follow the story in The Killing Joke easily, so if you haven’t read it, we strongly recommend picking it up. The cover art is as iconic as the story, with Joker’s grotesque smile and a fantastic use of light and dark.
- Silver Surfer #4, the iconic image by John Buscema features Thor and Surfer squaring off. Many collectors have told us this is their single favorite cover.
- Fantastic Four #48 ,Hoo Boy! The Watcher gesturing at something earth-shattering and the FF huddled in helpless awe. You just had to open this one if you saw it on the newsstand.
With all the great comics out there, our list is certainly not complete; contact us or leave a comment listing your own favorite covers.