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The Debate Over Uncanny X-Men #266 as the First Appearance Of Gambit

Time to open a can of Caijan worms. Up there with the first appearance of Wolverine, the debate over the first appearance of Gambit is a hotly contested one.  There are two contenders, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 and Uncanny X-Men #266. Now, be in no doubt, chronologically, it's Uncanny X-Men #266. That was definitely meant to be his first appearance, written by Chris Claremont, drawn by Mike Collins with an Andy Kubert cover. However, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 by Chris Claremont and Art Adams was published first by mistake, three weeks before Uncanny X-Men #266. Featuring his second appearance – and a mystery to readers who hadn't yet been able to read Uncanny X-Men #266.

X-Men #266

And then Gambit became very popular, turned up in a movie and there was even talk of a spinoff X-Men film from Fox. Which didn't happen. But it did put a focus back on Gambit as a collectible commodity and the wars began to rage over which was his first appearance. Heritage Auctions, in this listing for X-Men #266, slabbed at 9.8 by CGC described as his "first full appearance" and CGC, the grading certification company for comic books, also recognizes Uncanny X-Men #266 as "the first full appearance of Gambit." With all of us waiting for the X-Men to be introduced to the MCU, Gambit has to be a favourite for a movie or a TV show at some point, it may be why this comic currently has bids totalling $552. Not bad for a comic I bought for 55 pence from the Corn Exchange in Leeds over thirty years ago. I still have my copy somewhere, I really should dig it out… and if you do have as well, you should do the same. This copy goes under the hammer today.

X-Men #266

X-Men #266 (Marvel, 1990) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White pages. The first full appearance of Gambit. Storm and Mystique appearances. Andy Kubert cover. Currently #25 on Overstreet's list of Top 25 Copper Age Comics. Overstreet 2022 NM- 9.2 value = $215. CGC census 12/22: 3345 in 9.8, 15 higher.


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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