June 1991: A comic that was briefly the best-selling comic of all time hit this month. With an estimated 5 million sold, it’s still considered the second best-selling comic of all time. “X-Force” #1, by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld.
This is the latest in my continuing series looking back at the comic books of 1991. In this post, I’ll look at the comics I bought in June 1991, and at some of the other comic books that were available. I’m using the newsstand option at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics as my reference guide for this. When I remember, I’ll share details about how and where I bought comics at the time.
As far as “X-Force” No. 1 goes, I remember at some point hearing some older fans bashing the layouts being very similar to Perez’s “New Teen Titans” #39, but I didn’t have that comic and I thought this one was awesome. I bought two copies. (I could have gone crazier — there were five different trading cards included with copies of the comic.) I was all-in on the Liefeld thing at this point, for some of the same reasons I mentioned about “New Mutants” #100. New characters showing up all the time with crazy, different designs. The feeling of foreboding over our heroes. The all-out excitement and action. Liefeld has taken his share of criticism. But back then I couldn’t have been more excited about being in on the ground floor of something cool. This was probably a harbinger of how the Image revolution would grab fans in a way no indie launch has before or since. My brother and I remember picking up this issue while stopped for gas on a road trip to my grandparents’ house.
Also in June, “Amazing Spider-Man” #350 featured Spider-Man vs. Doctor Doom by David Michelinie with art by Erik Larsen. Since the Spider-Man-Doctor Doom fight from “Amazing Spider-Man” #5 was one of my all-time favorites, this was a natural for me. (I unfortunately never had an original ASM #5; I first read the story in Marvel Tales #142.) This may have been bought on the same trip as the “X-Force.”
“Batman” #465 featured Tim Drake Robin on the cover, so I picked that one up. Also from DC was “Adventures of Superman” #463, featuring a race between Superman and the Flash. “Deathstroke the Terminator” #1 was a first issue with a Mike Zeck cover, so I picked it up. It’s one of the most prominent comics to be drawn by the Tulsa-born Steve Erwin, who’s now in the Oklahoma Cartoonist Hall of Fame.
I always liked the black Spider-Man costume, so I was excited to see its return in “Spider-Man” #13 by Todd McFarlane, in a cover homage to his own “Spider-Man” #1. I also picked up “New Warriors” #14, “Silver Surfer” #52 and #53,”Uncanny X-Men” #279, “X-Factor” #79, and two of “Wolverine,” #43 and #44. I believe I also picked up “X-Factor” Annual #6, part of the “Kings of Pain” crossover with New Mutants and New Warriors. “What If” #28 featured Captain America, so that was one I had to pick up as part of my Captain America solo collection going on at the time. I also got two Captain America issues, #389 and #390.
Also out this month was “NFL Superpro,” as Marvel tried to tie in with the NFL with a comic about a former football player turned superhero. I know I read this at some point, but I can’t remember if I bought it or my brother did. While there probably is some way to cross over sports and comics, I think it’s rarely worked out terribly well in American comics. Spider-Man guest stars in this issue, written by Fabian Nicieza. Despite their series debuting in the same month, and being written by the same person, I don’t think NFL Superpro ever crossed paths with X-Force.
- Matt Price
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