Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about DC’s variant theme covers.  However, theme covers aren’t unique to DC, in fact, Marvel did it first.  In a different sort of way but they were the first to think of it.  Back in November 1986, Marvel released 29 covers with the same superhero border on them.  They created this to celebrate their 25th Anniversary, not including Timely.  The Marvel anniversary border was really the 25th anniversary of Fantastic Four #1 in November 1961.  

These 25th-anniversary covers are often collected as a set even though they range from kid-centric titles like Care Bears and Muppet Babies to more mature titles like Conan or G.I. Joe.  There were newsstand and direct versions of each book except Marvel Age 44.  The Direct version had either Spider-man’s face, Captain America’s face, Thor’s Hammer, or the Star logo depending on the issue.  Surprisingly, the most expensive issues in the set are the more kid-friendly titles, like Ewoks, Care Bears, and Heathcliff.  In 1986, most collectors weren’t dying to buy Care Bears when Spiderman had a great looking black costume and Batman was being reborn by Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.  Captain America #323 is a notable exception because it features the first appearance of the Super Patriot.

Here is an alphabetical list of titles with links to Comics Price Guide so that you can see the creative team, pricing, and if any members are selling the book.  All are linked to the “A” cover which was the newsstand version in 1986.

Alpha Flight #40 – Cover Artist Dave RossWolverine in X-men
Amazing Spider-man #282 – Cover Artist Rick Leonardi
Avengers #273 – Cover Artist John Buscema
Captain America #323 – Cover Artist Mike Zeck
(1st Appearance of the Super-Patriot)
Care Bears #7 – Cover Artist Howie Post
Classic X-men #3 – Cover Artist Art Adams
Cloak and Dagger #9 – Cover Artist Terry Austin
Conan #188 – Cover Artist John Buscema
Conan the King #37 – Cover Artist Judith Hunt
Daredevil #236 – Cover Artist Walter Simonson
Ewoks #10 – Cover Artist Warren Kremer
Fantastic Four #296 – Cover Artist Barry Windsor-Smith
G. I. Joe #53 – Cover Artist Mike Zeck
(1st Appearance of General Ryan)
Heathcliff #12 – Cover Artist Unknown 
Incredible Hulk #325 – Cover Artist Al Milgrom
Iron Man #212 – Cover Artist Mark Bright
Marvel Age #44 – Cover Artist Alan Kupperberg
Marvel Tales featuring Sensational Spider-man #193 – Cover Artist Steve Lightle
Masters of the Universe #4 – Cover Artist Unknown
Muppet Babies #10 – Cover Artist Marie Severin
New Mutants #45 – Cover Artist Barry Windsor-Smith
Peter Porker #12 – Cover Artist Joe Albelo
Spectacular Spiderman #120 – Cover Artist Mark Beachum
Thor #373 – Cover Artist Walt Simonson 
Transformers #22 – Cover Artist Herb Trimpe
Web of Spiderman #20 – Cover Artist John Romita 
West Coast Avengers #14 – Cover Artist Al Milgrom
X-Factor #10 – Cover Artist Walt Simonson
X-men #211 – Cover Artist John Romita Jr.

I hope you enjoyed the nostalgia of these covers.

by Ron Cloer


2 Replies to “Marvel Anniversary Border Checklist”

  1. I have many of these covers, and I can absolutely see why the kid centered ones are now going for a premium. First off, kids tear up comic books. There has to be less surviving copies! Second, I have none of the kid centered ones myself for the exact reasons you listed and I was buying 50 books a month at the time these books hit the newsstand. I did not even know those kid centered ones existed! Very cool flashback, thanks so much!

    1. thanks for your comment!
      When something isn’t considered collectible, like kid-centric comics, it becomes more collectible. Strange how life works.

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