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Debatable Firsts

Featured in this category are comic books that are often debated, sometimes heatedly, with additional images to let you make the decision for yourself

Low $1
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  • Debut of Tony Stark’s ‘War Machine’ armor, a heavy artillery suit
  • Tony dons the armor but continues to refer to himself as Iron Man
  • 1st team appearance of the Masters of Silence
  • James Rhodes does not appear in this armor until Iron Man #284
Low $1
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Mid $5
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High $15
  • 1st full appearance of Angel as the Horseman Death, later becomes Archangel
  • Angel's first appearance as Archangel is often cited as X-Factor #24 (view additional images)
  • The Horseman Death, formerly known as Angel, becomes Archangel in X-Factor #38
  • 1st full team appearance of the Horsemen of Apocalypse: Death, Famine, War, Pestilence
Low $15
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Mid $55
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High $190
  • 1st appearance of Black Widow, Yelena Belova
  • [Yelena Belova confirmed to appear in the Hawkeye Disney+ series]
  • There is dispute as to whether this is a full or cameo appearance
  • CGC labels this issue "1st appearance of the new Black Widow (Yelena Belova, face not shown)"
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High $100
  • 1st cameo appearance of Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian warrior
  • 1st cameo appearance of Ezra Bridger
  • 1st cameo appearance of Hera
  • 1st appearance of Kanan Jarrus
  • [May 4 - Caleb Dume, alias of Kanan, appears in Bad Batch]
  • CGC labels Kanan #1 the first appearance of the above listed characters without distinction of cameo or full
  • View additional images of the single panel appearance
  • 📖 Reading Order: next read Kanan The Last Padawan #2, then read Darth Vader #1 (2017 series)
Low $15
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Mid $50
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High $150
  • 1st appearance of Tarantula
  • 2nd appearance of the Punisher
  • Many sources often cite The Amazing Spider-Man #135 as the second appearance of the Punisher and categorize this appearance as a cameo
  • The question is: after a character's first full appearance, is the designation of cameo necessary?
  • Undervalued: not only is this a key issue for the Punisher but also introduces a recognizable Spider-Man villain of the 70s/80s. In April 2021, a 9.0 was purchased for $205 while a 9.0 of #129 sold for $5,500
Low $12
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Mid $45
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High $140
  • 2nd cameo appearance of Venom
  • Many consider this the first full appearance of Venom
  • Todd McFarlane explains in an interview that The Amazing Spider-Man #299 was considered the first full appearance of Venom for years until various comic book resources changed it to The Amazing Spider-Man #300
  • View additional images by tapping the cover image and swiping left
Low $7
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Mid $18
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High $70
  • 1st appearance of Gambit
  • This issue is often cited as a cameo of Gambit which would imply that the appearance is brief although he appears in 15 panels throughout the book with at least 10 instances of dialogue
  • This includes a full page-and-a-half interaction with Storm where she addresses him by name and refers to him as a thief (see images by tapping cover and swiping left)
  • Later Gambit appears in his classic suit and then again in an X-Men uniform
  • This issue went on sale June 19th whereas X-Men #266 went on sale July 10th
  • Uncanny X-Men #266 was written as if it were to be published prior to the annual
  • CGC recognizes this issue as a cameo appearance of Gambit and Uncanny X-Men #266 as his first full appearance
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High $1.9k
  • 1st cameo appearance of Wolverine
  • Marvel Value Stamp Series A #67 - Cyclops
  • This issue, by far, is the most debated "cameo versus full" book and likely the main reason "cameo" became such a significant yet loosely defined term in comic book collecting
  • Theoretically, The Incredible Hulk #180 being labeled "cameo" of Wolverine was due to an oversight by Overstreet (see additional images)
  • In the 1980/1981 edition of Overstreet, Hulk#181 is labeled - 1st app of Wolverine and Hulk#180 is without a descriptor, commanding the same value as issues #151 - #176
  • In the 1981/1982 Overstreet, the description had been amended to read #180 - 1st app. Wolverine but mislabeled #181 and #182 - Wolverine cameo
  • Finally, in 1982/1983, Overstreet labeled Hulk #180 - 1st app. Wolverine (cameo) and #181 - Wolverine app. #182 - Wolverine cameo
  • In recent years, Marvel has taken a stance on Hulk #180 as the first appearance of Wolverine, wanting to eliminate the term "cameo" altogether, presumably to avoid this exact debate
  • But in years past, official Marvel guidebooks and trading cards would often trade-off which issue was given the coveted 1st (full) appearance designation (see additional images)