Back Issue Recommendations

This is a list of personal favorites, choice cuts in case you’re ever at a loss when facing the bins. Although my back issue preferences are in constant flux, these selections make up a solid foundation consisting of mostly 80s & 90s mainstream-leaning fare. If some 70s gem pops up, or some modern outlier creeps in, awesome. I’m not mentioning stuff that’s either super iconic (i.e. we all know Miller/Janson’s DD and Ostrander/McDonnell’s Suicide Squad are great… or do we??) or stuff that’s been substantially collected — a few things here and there had bound editions but even those are out of print. Either way, I’ll be updating this list whenever the chance presents itself, which will include expanding the list with more underground/small press/alternative material.

Additionally, I’ve ranked comics, mentioned favorite classics, and made lists for several artists I’ve written about.

Don’t forget to peruse the Bin Diving Megalist, an index of shops across the US with affordable back issue activity, amassed with the help of the Copra Press Club.


Blackhawk 251-273 • This is the Dan Spiegle show all the way.
Cinder & Ashe 1-4 •
José Luis García-López can do no wrong.
Deathstroke the Terminator 1-11 • Wolfman at his best. Good, pulpy action.
Eclipso 11-18 • Gruesome narrative with awkward art is a fine combo.
Firestorm 65 • This Ross Andru fill-in eerie & great.
Flash (1988) 1-8, 24-28, 54 • Baron/Guice & Loebs/LaRocque sets capped off by a perfect issue.
Hardware (Milestone) 5-7 • McDuffie/Cowan at their grimiest.
Justice League of America 139-146, 149/150, 251-254 • Englehart, then a Conway/McDonnell epic.
Justice League International 1-10, 38-40 • If you limit yourself to any issues, let it be these.
Martian Manhunter (1988 mini-series) 1-4 • DeMatteis/Badger made beautiful work together.
New Titans 71-86 • “Titans Hunt” lived up to the hype.
Plastic Man (2004) 8 • Random, hilarious issue in Baker’s run.
Shade the Changing Man (1978) 1-8 • Ditko, duh. The original issues are nicer to look at, but thankfully it’s collected.
Shadow of the Batman 1-5 • Classic Marshal Rogers reprints.
Vigilante 39, 40 • DC’s grindhouse aesthetic.
Wasteland 1-18 • Get whatever you find, any issue.


Avengers 273-277 • Stern/John Buscema/Palmer, powerhouses all.
Captain America 345-350, 367, 372-378 • Dwyer & Lim flanking the greatest Magneto story.
Dakota North 1-5 • Thomases/Salmons on fire.
Daredevil 248-266 • I keep hearing that people haven’t read these. Criminal!
Defenders 31-41, Annual 1, Giant-Size 2 • All about the Steve Gerber/Sal Buscema/Klaus Janson team.
Guardians of the Galaxy 18, 23, 28, Annuals 1 & 2 • Valentino, Texeira, and Nu-Trimpe = bonkers comics.
Iron Man 256, 258-266 • JRJR drawing the best Iron Man comics you ever seen.
Marshal Law 1-6, Takes Manhattan, Kingdom of the Blind • Hits every note on every level.
Punisher War Zone 1-6 • JRJR again, this time with Klaus!
Punisher: The End • Ennis/Corben single-issue masterpiece.
Quasar 18-27 (mostly Cosmos In Collision) • Reluctantly sublime, these comics.
She-Hulk (2004) 1-4 • This Slott/Bobillo/Sosa team-up were enjoyable, brisk, and super pretty.
Squadron Supreme • Stands the test of time on the strength of Gruendwald’s passion.
What If? Volume 2 (1989) 3-7, 10, 26 • Standalone bursts of hyperviolent fantasies.


Authority 13-16, 19-22 • Millar/Quitely at their hungriest.
Badger 59 • Quintessential 80s “groundlevel” comic by Baron/Pander Bros.
Bloodstrike 4 – 6 • Do I really need to sell these at this point?
Dick Tracy 1-3 • Baker’s deadline art is better than many at their most punctual.
Ginger Fox 1-4 Top level Baron/Panders stylish nuttiness.
Grimjack 1-3, Casefiles 1 & 2 • Interesting to see Ostrander develop his noir voice.
The Mark 4 • Early Tony Salmons for Dark Horse.
Next Man 1-5, Special I rediscovered this comic and now I’m in love.
Second City 1-4 • An intense and deceptively quiet mini from Duncan/Elliot.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (’89) 19-21 • “Return to NY” might very well be the only Turtle comics.
Terminator: Secondary Objectives 1-4 • Robinson/Gulacy/Kesel killing it.
Velocity: Pilot Season 1 • Casey/Maguire on a tight & charming one-shot.
Vroom Socko: Paid In Full One-Shot • Evan Dorkin rules.


American Flagg! 1-12, 15-26 • Howard’s kicking everyone’s ass with this.
Blackhawk 1-3 • Perhaps my favorite Chaykin project.
Power & Glory 1-4, Holiday Special • Extremely underrated.
Shadow (1986 mini-series) 1-4 • Can’t pimp this enough.
Twilight 1-3 • Recently collected, but I see the issues in bins. Cheaper that way.

AXWrote, drew, colored, lettered this Marvel one-shot OGN.
Damage Control
Get them ALL. Four issues per volume, 12 excellent Dwayne McDuffie/Colón comics total.
Grim Ghost 1-3 Three pretty issues from Atlas Comics.
Magnus Robot Fighter 13-16 • These issues are too beautiful for their own good. Seriously, the cartooning, the coloring, perfect.
ManimalCollection of a bizarre serialized 70s comic.
Medusa ChainDC OGN, same as AX: full art chores.
Strip SearchBlack & white adults only OGN.

Action Comics 577, 579, 646 • Non-Ambush Bug issues.
Daredevil 247 • An odd pairing, but they made it work.
DC Challenge 11 • Dr. Fate & Batman.
DC Comics Presents 88 • Creeper story.
Dr. Fate (1987) mini-series 1-4 • The great Dave Hunt on inks.
Heckler 1-6 Be gentle with these. They’re treasures, but also the paper is super brittle.
Hell on Earth • Oversize mid 80s DC graphic novel. Rare oddity.
Hex 15-18 Pretty looking rent work.
Justice 9-11 • Weird rent work.
Legion of Superheroes (1989) 1-24 • Giffen’s finest moment.
March Hare 1 • Black & White independent.
Mr. Monster 6 • W/Ditko reprint.
Nexus 23 • Fill-in.
Nightmask 8 • More weird rent work.
Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man 120 • Spidey + Colletta = Great Giffen fill-in.
Punx 1-3 • Funny to see the enthusiasm die halfway thru.
Secret Origins 18, 44, 48 • Essential.
Starbrand 9 • Weirdest rent work. (Aren’t they all?)
Superman:Man of Steel 15 • Inspired half-issue.
Supreme Annual 1 • Post-Trencher style.
Trencher 1-4, X-Mas Bites One-Shot • Full on Trencher style.
Victory 1 • Kirby property for Topps comics.
Video Jack 1-6 • Rare “creator-owned” Giffen.
Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (1984) 1-5 • First collaboration w/Bierbaums. Will doubtlessly remain out of print.
World’s Finest 322 • Peak 80s Keith doing Superman & Batman.
Youngblood Strikefile 8 • Really good Dutch short story.

DC Comics Presents 82 •
Having Klaus draw Superman is always a treat.
Detective Comics 568 •
Another sharp jack-of-all-trades job.
Frost & Fire • Same as Giffen’s graphic novel. Wrote and painted it, too.
Punisher (1987) 1-5 • G O A T
Punisher/Captain America: Blood & Glory 1-3 • Prestige Format goodness.
St. George 1-6 • Beautiful to look at.
Star Wars Annual 3 • The only SW comic I own. Real pretty.
Wolverine 26 • Tom Palmer inks!

Orion 1-25 • Surpasses the source it’s inspired by. Career best.
Fantastic Four 337-354 • Entertaining, innovative, underrated.
CyberForce 0 • Timeless artist taps into a specific vibe.
Superman Special (1992) • Originally slated to be an Annual.

Batman Annual 8 •
TVE’s “I’ll show them” comic. It paid off.
Batman and the Outsiders 15 •
Better than a fill-in ought to be.
Green Arrow (1983 mini-series) 1-4 • Fun and inspired.
Thriller 1-6 • Stick to the first 4 if you have to.
World’s Finest 287, 305, 307 • Human eyes don’t deserve these.

Hellraiser Book 2 • Prestige Format EPIC anthology.
Savage Sword of Conan 162 • This magazine, in the bins or not, find it immediately.
Seven Block • Re-released in b&w I believe. I don’t mind the old colors actually.
Terror Inc. 1-7 • Very underrated, never to be collected I bet. Chichester’s best.
Winterworld 1-3 • Also re-released, same treatment.
Batman: Black & White 2 • Short story, last mainstream work.