It's not exactly a state secret that I love Golden Age super-hero comics and probably comes as no surprise to many of you that a title featuring Golden Age reprints made my list. I seriously considered the two '70s DC series, Secret Origins and Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains, that met the survey's criteria but finally realized it had to be
#11. Fantasy Masterpieces #1-11
As a kid in the Sixties, I had no real sense that the Marvel characters I loved had a history stretching back to my own parents' childhoods until the day my big brother brought home copies of Fantasy Masterpieces #5 and 6, giving me my first exposure to the original Simon & Kirby Captain America. I wasn't a huge Cap fan up to that point but the energy and intensity of Joe and Jack's work completely blew me away. I became obsessive about tracking down the other issues. It was a tad disappointing to find the first two "merely" reprinted assorted pre-hero Marvel monster tales--though #2 introduced me to the awesomeness that is Fin Fang Foom--but I was more than compensated by later issues introducing me to Carl Burgos' Human Torch, Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner and Joe Maneely's Black Knight. One issue even reprinted the first appearance of the All-Winners Squad, a short-lived and awkwardly-named clone of their Distinguished Competitor's Justice Society. It was awful, a ludicrous story with crude, ugly art... and I loved it!
Later, of course, I would discover the delights of DC's Golden Age comics (not to mention Fawcett's and Quality's) and begin a journey that would eventually lead to my writing professionally about them. But it all began with Joe, Jack, Cap and Fantasy Masterpieces.
I summon the lifechanger!