It’s Marvel’s 75th anniversary this year, and to celebrate, the superhero comics publisher is releasing a 1200-page omnibus that collects issues chosen by the readers who got Marvel to the milestone. Fans can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with their picks, but the stories with the most votes aren’t necessarily going to make it into the final printed product. From the nominated issues, Marvel will choose the best ones to print in the omnibus (so Mature Readers titles like Alias and Punisher MAX probably won’t make the cut), but the publisher will also be releasing the top 75 nominees in a digital exclusive collection. So if you want to see the first appearance of Squirrel Girl (Marvel Super-Heroes Vol. 2 #8) get the representation it deserves, start sending in those e-mails. Here are five of The A.V. Club’s picks:
Fantastic Four #1, “The Fantastic Four!”
The book that started the Marvel Age, this origin story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched the first family of superhero comics into space and changed the genre forever.
Tower Of Shadows #1, “At The Stroke of Midnight”
Jim Steranko made a name for himself on Nick Fury: Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but his short story in this 1969 horror anthology is a sterling example of the artistic sophistication that influenced generations of comic-book creators.
Thor #337, “Doom”
A glorious mash-up of science fiction and fantasy, Walt Simonson’s run on Thor in the 1980s made the Norse thunder god one of the coolest characters in comics, starting with a story that gave Thor’s mystical hammer to an equine alien named Beta Ray Bill.
Uncanny X-Men #168, “Professor Xavier Is A Jerk!”
Chris Claremont and Paul Smith make Kitty Pryde everyone’s favorite X-Man by pitting her against the alien Brood while the rest of the team engages in the romantic high jinks that characterized Claremont’s classic run.
X-Force #116, “Exit Wounds”
The story that led to Marvel abandoning the antiquated Comics Code Authority, the first chapter of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s satirical X-comic comments on modern celebrity and superheroes by killing off its entire cast in horrifically gory fashion.