Jim Lee on Uncanny X-Men #275 - This was the first comic I ever picked up and it blew my mind. I had long been into superheroes, namely Superman, due to Superfriends the Christopher Reeve films and other source. I was also strongly into sci-fi novels at the time. So this issue with the X-Men in the Shi’ar territory hit a lot of sweet spots with Jim Lee’s art being a huge stand out. The first encounter with Wolverine fighting Deathbird, the huge double page spread of the X-Men, Starjammers and Shi’ar Imperial Guard and the Magneto/Rogue portions of the issue were all stand outs. It was seriously an all killer, no filler issue.
Not long after that X-Men started and I was hooked. I’ve followed most of his work ever since.
Rob Liefeld on New Mutants #100 - Shortly after reading Uncanny X-Men #275 I was looking for other books along similar lines and came across this issue. Once again, the characters and settings really caught my interest with their superhero/sci-fi themes. The real hook for this issue were the Shatterstar fight scenes (especially the Frank Miller homage) and the last page where it’s revealed that Stryfe and Cable have the same face.
Like Uncanny X-Men #275, New Mutants #100 fed even more directly into a new #1 issue with X-Force. After that I was sold on Liefeld and followed him to Youngblood and other projects. I was out of comics for a bit after the Image guys became more sporadic and don’t pick up everything he’s done but really do love seeing his work when it’s obvious it has that magic from this time period.
Mark Millar on Ultimate X-Men #1 - I had been out of comics for a while but just gotten back in through Kevin Smith’s run on Daredevil and looking for other books to read. The Ultimate line relaunches of Spider-Man and X-Men sounded interesting. So I thought I would revisit an old favorite team from previous comic reading experience. The first few issues blew me away. I loved the way he wrote the characters with subtle but significant changes in who each were like Wolverine being an assassin sent by Magneto to kill Professor X or Cyclops defecting to Magneto. Somewhere in those first few issues was an incredible image of the team at that early point standing in front of their Blackbird that was my desktop background for a good long while.
Mark did an incredible job reinventing the X-Men and eventually introducing the Ultimates which made me love the Avengers for the first time. After that, I picked up most of his work. I doubted Mark once with 1985 but later picked it up in trade and was sorry that I initially slept on it. Ever since then, Mark has been at the top of my list of creators as he continues to tell compelling stories and tempt the best creative talent (especially artists) to collaborate with him.