Introducing… BRONZE AGE BONANZA!

A new monthly look at some of the best art from comics’ greatest age…

To me, the Bronze Age is comics’ real Golden Age — the perfect bridge between the more upbeat, often silly, Silver Age and the grim-and-gritty Modern Age.

There were stories of weight, whimsy, great pathos, historical import and epic scope. Some times all at the same time.

Bottom line, I love the Golden Age, Silver Age and much of what the Modern Age has offered, but push to shove, I’m a Bronze Age guy at heart. Which makes sense, I suppose, since I grew up in the ’70s.

Now, as it happens, the Bronze Age is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

For all intents and purposes, it began in 1970 as major changes really started to take hold in the industry: Some say the era began in February with Green Lantern #76 by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, which added Green Arrow as a co-star and brought social relevance into mainstream comics. Others say it’s when Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC. His New Gods #1 came out at the end of the year.

Either way, a whole new wave of creators cemented their roles and blazed new paths of storytelling as the era progressed.

Personally, I peg the start of the Bronze Age a few months earlier, when Dick Grayson — in Batman #217, which came out in October 1969 — left for Hudson University and the Caped Crusader returned to his darker roots. (Historians sometimes consider the start even earlier, when basic comics went from 12 to 15 cents. I suppose that’s as good an argument as any, but I stick with Batman #217 because it’s a seismic, in-story paradigm shift.)

I’ve spent a metric ton of digital ink writing about the Bronze Age since 13th Dimension launched in 2013. But with this landmark upon us, I wanted to do something different — and it dovetails with 13 COVERS, probably our signature feature, which has long been popular with readers.

So starting this month we begin a new, recurring feature: BRONZE AGE BONANZA — a monthly look at some of the coolest and most significant comics covers of the entire era.

Here’s how it works: Once a month, I will rank and comment on the TOP 13 COVERS that came out that month — 50 years earlier. We’re talking DC, Marvel, Archie, Gold Key, Charlton, Warren, Atlas, you name it. Everything’s in play — even mags like Famous Monsters of Filmland. (And perhaps we’ll have guest columnists from time to time.)

Then, at the end of the year, I’ll take all the top choices, throw in the best #2 choice as a wild card, and rank the TOP 13 COVERS that came out that year.

And this isn’t just for 2020, either. I plan to do this through 2036, assuming 13th Dimension lasts that long. Call me ambitious.

Anyway, since I personally pin the start of the Bronze Age in October 1969, the first entry will be the BRONZE AGE BONANZA PRELUDE — which will cover the TOP 13 COVERS of the final three months of that year combined. You can click here to find that.

Then, by the end of the month, you’ll get the first real entry, covering January 1970. I’m choosing to use on-sale dates because they’re the best way to truly capture a month’s cultural zeitgeist. (My sources will be Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, backed by the Grand Comics Database.)

I’ll also be posting indexes so you’ll have a clearinghouse of links for each year.

All right then. Grab yourself a Mego and a Slurpee cup and get ready for BRONZE AGE BONANZA!

MORE

— BRONZE AGE BONANZA PRELUDE: The TOP 13 COVERS to End the ’60s — RANKED. Click here.

— BRONZE AGE BONANZA: The 1970 INDEX. Click here.

Sources: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics and the Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing some Bronze Age love! Lots and lots of great stuff came out of that period.

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  2. Although I started reading comics in the middle of the Silver Age and it holds most of my fond memories of comics, the Bronze Age was incredibly influential for me – particularly the coming of Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil’s work. I still have my original copy of Batman 217 among others from that era as I was just becoming a teenager and coming of age in my own way. The Bronze Age and my teenage years coincided perfectly.

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  3. The Bronze Age is the real Golden Age for me, too. I was born a couple of years after it was underway and actively collected comics for a few years in the mid-1980s, right at the end of the Bronze Age. Most of the comics I occasionally read before then came out of the late 1970s and early ’80s. Add to that my love of Mego superheroes and there you are…

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  4. What an excellent idea!

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  5. I cannot wait for this. I was born in and started collecting in the Bronze Age!

    Just a question, when get Bronze Age get its name? Was this finally in the last 10 years or so?

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  6. YES! And in what is either an amazing coincidence or sheer serendipity, the very first comic books I got hit the stands the exact month as GL #76, meaning I started reading comics at the dawn of the Bronze Age, making me a pure Bronze Baby! (Sadly, it would be a handful of years before I finally got a copy of this particular book, but I still have it).

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  7. I think that you could argue that the DC Bronze Age began in September 1969 with The Brave & Bold # 85 – “The Senator’s Been Shot.” It’s the first appearance of the revamped Green Arrow (courtesy of Neal Adams) and the storyline is definitely edgier. It predates both Batman #217 & Green Lantern #76

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