I've been reading TwoMorrows' American Comic Book Chronicles - The 1980s, and seeing a time line all laid out like that put this particular reflection in this 80s comics reader's head...
It's the year Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons produced Watchmen. The year Frank Miller came out with Daredevil: Born Again, Elektra: Assassin AND The Dark Knight Returns. When Art Spiegelman completed the first volume of Maus, becoming the second comic to win a prestigious award usually only given to books. When Marvel beat Oliver Stone to the punch with The 'Nam. And when Harvey Pekar made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Comics as ART were well on their way.
In the mainstream, it's the first year after Crisis on Infinite Earths has wrapped, and the DCU is rich with new story telling opportunities. John Byrne leaves Marvel for the Distinguished Competition and completely reboots Superman in the Man of Steel mini-series. On the other side of the street, Jim Shooter finally allowed the X-Men to become a brand, with the addition of Classic X-Men, X-Factor, and mutant-driven crossover events like Mutant Massacre. That, and the success of the Punisher mini-series, set the tone for a lot of comics to come.
At DC, we had Batman Year One (a much better Frank Miller story than DKR, in my opinion), Superman's actual titles starting, George Perez rebooting Wonder Woman, Wally West becoming the Flash, Keith Giffen's comedy Justice League, Denny O'Neil on the Question, and most importantly, John Ostrander on Suicide Squad. That still stands as one of my favorite comic book series OF ALL TIME.
Marvel published a lot of fondly remembered stories as well: Spider-Man's wedding, Kraven's Last Hunt, Armor Wars, Avengers' Under Siege, Captain America becomes the Captain, and Peter David's gray Hulk returns. I'd started reading Marvel books with Uncanny X-Men and took a while to migrate to other books, especially those of solo heroes, but I started sampling more and more that year, at exactly the right time. A time of exciting change, before such things became the formula.
On the independent front, 1987 is when Marshall Law came to Epic, Dark Horse Comics was born (a company that would give me a lot of joy in the early 90s), and Paul Chadwick's Concrete premiered.
So what do you think? '86 or '87? Or perhaps there's a year in comics that's particularly dear to YOU. You're invited to share.