X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?

by Don

011722E-1-1024x536 X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?Which X-Men cover is the greatest of all time? It’s a debate with really no answer, but let’s talk it over anyway! Established in 1963, there are hundreds of amazing X-Men covers to choose from. First, here are some ground rules. I ruled out two obvious choices that would be on anyone’s lists: X-Men #1 (1963) and Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1974). We’ll have a more interesting discussion if we look at other covers besides these two. Second, to make this more manageable, I limited myself to the first two volumes of X-Men titles. Third, here are two questions that I considered when making my decision:

  • Is the cover iconic? Is it widely recognized? How often has it been homaged?
  • Is the cover well-illustrated? I’m no art teacher, but originality, realism, and composition are criteria I thought about.

Without further ado, in my humble opinion, below are the four contenders along with my pick for the GOAT. Please do feel free to disagree with me in the comments below!

Dave Cockrum’s X-Men #101

Screen-Shot-2022-01-10-at-7.37.55-PM-197x300 X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?While I’m generally not the biggest fan of Dave Cockrum’s artwork, his work with Chris Claremont to reboot the X-Men in 1975 launched mutants to stardom. The X-Men never looked back.

This issue launched the greatest X-Men storyline ever, in my opinion — the Dark Phoenix saga. Claremont and Cockrum transformed Jean Grey into the most powerful mutant ever and provided her with one of the most tragic storylines of all time. Cockrum’s cover meets the moment. Jean Grey rising from the water in a cross-like shape inspires both a sense of awe and fear — emotions that are captured on Nightcrawler’s, Storm’s, and Cyclop’s faces.

In addition, many artists have homaged Cockrum’s cover, including homages that have appeared on the covers of Avengers West Coast, New Avengers, and even Darkwing Duck.

Art Adams’ Classic X-Men #1 clean-15-195x300 X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?

I’ve written about this cover before. Although there’s no inherent value to the issue itself (it’s merely a reprint of Giant-Size X-Men #1), this Art Adam’s cover is just stunning.

It has a beautiful all-white cover with the first two X-Men teams appearing as one, all drawn in Art’s distinctive style.

The detail in Colossus’s metallic skin, Angel’s wings, and Wolverine’s dynamic pose are exquisite.

Still, even though this blog is about covers only, I have a hard time selecting a GOAT that is a mere reprint.

Jim Lee’s X-Men #1

Marvels-X-Men-1-Foil-Variant-Fine-Art-Giclee-Prints-by-Jim-Lee-Scott-Williams-x-Grey-Matter-Art-2-300x133 X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?

No list of the greatest X-Men covers of all-time would be complete without discussing at least one Jim Lee cover.

He has many great X-Men covers, but X-Men #1 (vol. 2) is likely the most famous. It is, after all, the greatest selling comic of all time. Also, like most Jim Lee artwork, the attention to detail is superb.

Lastly, you have to admire the ambition of this wraparound cover. Still, at the end of the day, this cover is an homage itself to X-Men #1 (vol. 1) and X-Men #104.

John Byrne’s X-Men #141Screen-Shot-2022-01-10-at-7.41.58-PM-207x300 X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?

In my opinion, Days of Future Past is the second greatest X-Men storyline of all time. John Byrne’s cover captures the fear, paranoia, and confusion perfectly.

The cover (and story itself) score high in terms of originality as well. The shock of seeing our heroes being reported as slain or apprehended on an FBI-like “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list immediately captures the viewer’s interest.

Finally, the spotlight on an aged Wolverine and Kitty Pryde completes this perfectly composed portrait.

For me, at the end of the day, the top two are X-Men #101 and #141. It’s a tough call, but I’m going with #141 as the GOAT.

Which is the greatest X-Men cover of all time in your opinion? Remember, X-Men #1 (vol. 1) and Giant-Size X-Men #1 don’t count! Please list your GOAT in the comments section below!

Upgrade2_Footer X-Men Covers: Which is the GOAT?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect advice from GoCollect


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jack alberti January 22, 2022 - 8:26 am

Gotta go with X-Men #100!

Scott January 22, 2022 - 2:29 pm

Uncanny X-Men 141 has been my favorite cover ever since I discovered it back in the mid 80’s. I can’t think of another cover that made me want to read a book more. From the ominous wanted style poster in the background to the aged versions of Logan & Kitty this cover piqued my interest like no other before or after. Still the GOAT.

Kai’ckul January 22, 2022 - 6:05 pm

Art Adams

Po January 22, 2022 - 6:35 pm

Great choices!

Mark Krueger January 22, 2022 - 6:40 pm

Uncanny Xmen 213 will always be a classic for me, although it doesn’t picture the whole team. But how can you pass up a classic Wolverine / Sabertooth close up in your face battle!

PeterSkan January 22, 2022 - 7:11 pm

Always partial to Steranko covers, and X-Men #50 takes the cake. Crackling with energy, fortified by the colour scheme, and typically magnificent execution, this was always my favourite X-Men cover of all time.

blkmktcomics on IG January 23, 2022 - 9:03 am


Jeff January 22, 2022 - 8:44 pm

ASM # 129. Looking at the Punisher for the first time. Classic..

Matthew January 22, 2022 - 11:39 pm

I agree with Jeff. Amazing Spider Man #129 is *definitely* the greatest X-Men cover of all time. And is my web browser not working correctly, or can Don Y not count? Cockrum’s #101, Adams’ Classics #1, Lee’s #1, Byrne’s #141 and…?

Out of the four that I can see on my screen, I gotta give it to #101 — but any cover without Banshee on it can’t be my choice… and Peterskan is right that Steranko’s #50 is magnificent.

Terry Macnee January 23, 2022 - 10:37 pm

Totally agree, Uncanny X-men #141 hands down… the pick of the bunch!

Fabtekk January 30, 2022 - 12:23 am

The cover of Xmen #141 is not appealing and should be replaced with a better option. After Xmen #1 (1963) the GOAT goes to the living legend known as Jim Lee, thanks to Lee’s 1991 Xmen style/team this produced not just the best selling comic but also one of the top cartoon shows of all time, which is now getting a sequel 30 years later, game over.


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