X-Men #137 – September, 1980
More has probably been said and written about X-MEN #137 than virtually any other comic book of the period. And every word of it is true. More than any other single issue, this story made X-MEN the unrelenting sales juggernaut it continues to be to this day. It’s never been topped.
So what can I add to the reams of discussion? Well, I can tell you that I bought my copy in a local card store, which had become my primary source of new comics in the last year or so, since it was closer to my house than the 7-11, and got its books in better shape. I can tell you that I bought my copy along with my friend Israel Litwack, whom I’d turned onto X-Men just two months earlier. I can tell you that I read it in the far left corner of the couch in my family’s living room in the afternoon. And I can tell you that it was every bit as good is it’s reputed to be.
I don’t know if the X-Men fans of today can really appreciate this story, since so much that’s come since has in one way or another been because of it. (Not to mention the fact that this story was done back when the X-Men were still super heroes, as opposed to whatever the heck they are today.) The death of Jean Grey completely rewrote the rules about what could potentially happen in any Marvel Comic. And yes, I think it was a terrible mistake to have brought her back–but that’s water well under the bridge at this point.