The TOP 13 COVERS of APRIL 1972 — RANKED

BRONZE AGE BONANZA: An especially groovy collection this month…

Welcome to BRONZE AGE BONANZA — our monthly series that looks at the greatest covers of the Bronze Age — exactly 50 years later. For more info on this feature, click here.

Very strong month, folks, with no one artist dominating. But most of the usual suspects are here — Adams, Kirby, Kane, Windsor-Smith and more.

So dig THE TOP 13 COVERS OF APRIL 1972 — RANKED:

13. Little Audrey #102, Harvey. This is as close to a horror cover as Harvey would ever get.

Artist unidentified

12. From Beyond the Unknown #17, DC. Astounding! Startling! Amazing! Fantastic! Futuristic! NEE-XON!

Murphy Anderson

11. Creatures on the Loose!, Marvel. Just your standard, groovy Gil Kane monster cover with great anatomy and dynamism. I have no idea how long it took Kane to do this piece, but he probably could have done it in his sleep. I groove to it.

Gil Kane pencils, Joe Sinnott inks

10. Ghostly Haunts #25, Charlton. Ditko, man.

Steve Ditko

9. The Flash #216, DC. Great Nick Cardy cover, all around. B-Lister Mr. Element has the Flash on the run and Cardy kills it with the special effect of the Scarlet Speedster transforming into a 5-foot-11 olive loaf.

8. Iron Man #48, Marvel. Firebrand may not be Iron Man’s opposite number per se, but their outfits are practically inverted, making for a really slick showdown. Take THAT, Flash and Reverse-Flash!

Kane pencils, Vince Colletta inks

7. Marvel Premiere #3, Marvel. By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Some characters lend themselves more to the poster technique than others. Doctor Strange is one of those characters. Barry Windsor-Smith certainly looks like he’s paying homage to Steve Ditko — and I’m sure Frank Giacoia really enjoyed inking all those tiny lines in the background.

Barry Windsor-Smith pencils, Frank Giacoia inks

6. The New Gods #9, DC. Of all of Kirby’s Fourth World characters, the Bug is easily one of the best looking. No wonder Mike Allred is so taken with him.

Jack Kirby pencils, Mike Royer inks

5. Marvel’s Greatest Comics, Marvel. Sal Buscema supplied the cover for this reprint of the classic Fantastic Four #49. And his effort is certainly worthy of that famed issue: He does Kirby proud, for sure.

Sal Buscema

4. Conan the Barbarian #16, Marvel. A prime pulp-style cover by Barry Windsor-Smith, boasting precise linework, muscular action, a keen perspective and lush colors (by the artist himself). Gorgeous.

Windsor-Smith

3. Batman #242, DC. This is one of the most important Batman comics of the Bronze Age and yet it doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. See, this is the first part of the trilogy that wrapped up the original Ra’s al Ghul saga. Thing is, it was illustrated by Irv Novick and not Neal Adams, so it’s not included in any of the Adams collections that are out there, leaving readers with an incomplete story. Adams also didn’t do the cover — but Mike Kaluta steps in with one of the moodiest Bat-covers of the era.

Mike Kaluta

2. House of Mystery #203, DC. I don’t think DC has ever done a collection of its best horror covers and I’m guessing it’s because it wouldn’t sell. But they are consistently among the very best in BRONZE AGE BONANZA and this fab cover by Russ Heath is a bona fide, beautifully illustrated thriller. Magnificent composition and execution. Too bad the colorist is unidentified.

Russ Heath

1. Superman #252, DC. I’ve been pointing out in this column that DC’s wraparound covers were something of a mixed bag. This one, though, may top them all — an outright Neal Adams classic featuring DC’s flying heroes in all their soaring glory. And despite the word’s overuse, the image of Superman alone is iconic. Brilliant.

MORE

— The TOP 13 COVERS of MARCH 1972 — RANKED. Click here.

— BRONZE AGE BONZANA: The 1972 INDEX. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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5 Comments

  1. I seem to remember that the cover of From Beyond the Unknown was a “reprint” of sorts; didn’t the original cover that it was based on reference Eisenhower?

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    • Yep. The cover and story inside are redrawn from original story featuring Eisenhower! The story has panels redrawn to fit the different president!

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  2. So the From Beyond the Unknown story was making no political statement, since the original version just used the current president of that time. How interesting! Anyone else dying to know how Iron Man “puts it all together”? These covers are a lot of fun, though.

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  3. Although I had picked up random comics (mostly Batman and Detective Comics) during the previous few years, Batman #242 kicked off my obsession with comics. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a classic trilogy; I just knew that I really loved it and had to follow the whole story. I also was exposed to Golden Age stories thanks to the “52 pages for 25 cents” format. I picked up a few other DCs that same day and had my first glimpse at stories and characters I had never seen before. Batman #242 was really ground zero for my becoming a comic book fan.

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  4. When I was a teenager, I found a reading copy of Superman #252 at a used bookstore. I paid $5 for what would be my introduction to the rich world of Golden Age comics (other than Superman/Batman from the 30s to the 70s and The Great Comic Book Heroes). Best 5 bucks I ever spent.

    I was long familiar with the classic image of Superman on the cover. DC used it extensively in the 70s not just on covers but on merchandising. My first bedsheets had 2 images of Supes-the above and the Swanderson image from the logo character era. That got a lot of use in merchandising as well. I still have the pillowcase.

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