The Comics That Every ’80s Kid Had to Have

by Todd Neikirk

011923D-1024x536 The Comics That Every '80s Kid Had to HaveComic collecting really began to boom in the 1980s. Rather than reading their book and throwing them in the trash, people began to put them in bags and boards and held onto them. Here are the 80’s books that every kid wanted to get their hands on.

Uncanny X-Men #101

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The X-Men was the most popular Marvel book of the 1980s. Chris Claremont and John Byrne had created a world that readers just couldn’t get enough of. Their most famous storyline was the Dark Phoenix Saga, which began in 1980, right as the decade turned.

Issue 101 features the first appearance of the Phoenix Force, an entity that would eventually merge with Jean Grey. The saga ran from issues 129-135. Collectors ran out to get their hands on issue 101, which started the whole thing. A copy in CGC 8.0 will run around $600.

The New Teen Titans #1 

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Above, I mentioned that X-Men 1 was the best-selling Marvel book of the 1980s but not the best-selling comic overall. That distinction went to Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Teen Titans. Teen Titans saw Robin, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl join up with Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire, and fans went nuts for it.

Today, Teen Titans 1 would not be the most collectible issue of the series. That would probably go to Deathstroke’s first appearance in issue 2 or seeing Dick Grayson become Nightwing in issue 44. But back in the 80s, everyone wanted issue no. 1. Today, copies of the first book in the series in a CGC 9.8 sell for around $280.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1

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There was no more popular writer in the 1980s than Frank Miller. Miller had achieved stardom by making also-ran Daredevil one of the most celebrated characters in the Marvel Universe. In 1986, the writer and artist tried his hand at Batman, and his take on the iconic character changed the direction of the dark knight forever. The fingerprints from Miller’s work are all over the multiple Batman movies made over the years.

While the story was quickly republished in graphic novel form, the original issues are quite collectible. A 9.0 copy of the first issue goes for around $100, and a 9.6 copy will set you back $300.

Wolverine #1 (Mini-Series)

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Introduced in an issue of the Incredible Hulk in the 1970’s, Wolverine was soon after placed in the new class of the X-Men. It didn’t take long for the hairy Canadian to become one of the most popular characters in the industry. The brooding anti-hero also had a mysterious backstory that captivated readers.

In 1982, Wolverine was given a 4 issue mini-series, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by superstar artist Frank Miller. The 80’s would see several solo comics featuring the X-man, but this was the first and, as a result, was very popular with collectors. Today, you can pick up a CGC 9.8 copy for around $675.

Saga of the Swamp Thing #37

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During the 1980’s, Alan Moore impressed fans with his takes on Superman, Batman, Swamp Thing, and Green Lantern. Moore also created his own characters. In addition to the Watchmen Universe, Moore also created John Constantine. The character, made to look like the pop-star Sting, soon starred in his own comic series, Hellblazer.

Hellblazer soon became one of the most prominent books in DC’s Vertigo line. The initial series lasted for 300 issues and spawned a movie and a television series, and Constantine has become a cultural icon. A 9.0 copy of the book can be had for $300, and a 9.8 copy costs around $1,500.

000080221A_Posters_2-Footer The Comics That Every '80s Kid Had to Have*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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Sean January 25, 2023 - 4:44 pm

I remember Thor #337 and Daredevil #168 were both hard to find “hot” items when they were first on sale in the 80’s.

J. leche January 25, 2023 - 7:08 pm

Hello, according to your article, a CGC 9.8 can be had for around $575. I’ve searched e-bay listings, and i just have not seen the price point which you’ve written in the article.

Todd Neikirk January 27, 2023 - 11:35 am

Hi, thanks for reading. I had put $675 in the piece. The 90 day average for an auction for a 9.8 copy is $652. That info can be accessed here –

BJ Braschme0 January 25, 2023 - 7:34 pm

Love this feature! But… It’s been a while since anybody got a Dark Knight Returns #1 at 9.8 for $300, and that X-Men issue came out in ’76…

Todd Neikirk January 27, 2023 - 11:30 am

Hi RJ, thanks for the kind words. The Dark Knight returns pricing was referring to a 9.6 copy.
As the X-Men 101, I was referencing it as becoming a hot back issue in the early 80’s after the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix saga, but I may not have been clear enough in the article.

Jeff Simoneau January 26, 2023 - 5:38 pm

Yep. I, too, have TDKR, Swamp Thing, and Wolverine (Limited Series). 👊


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