BRONZE AGE BONANZA: Another of comics’ all-time great covers tops the list, even amid an exceptionally strong selection…

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.

For the second consecutive month, I knew which cover would top the list before I even started putting it together. But the full selection itself is exceptionally strong, including work by Nick Cardy, Luis Dominguez, Bernie Wrightson and, naturally, John Romita. (It’s also a rare month where every slot is occupied by the Big Two. Hey, it happens.)


13. Young Romance #194, DC. Mad props to DC for putting an interracial love affair on the cover of a 1973 romance comic. It wasn’t the first time it happened but this was still a bold move at the time. Bravo!

Possible John Rosenberger pencils, Frank Giacoia inks

12. Shazam! #4, DC. Four issues in and each C.C. Beck cover has made our BRONZE AGE BONANZA list. Fun to see Beck’s concession to the times: Billy Batson is wearing bell bottoms.

C.C. Beck

11. Tomb of Dracula #10, Marvel. The cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer is a pretty standard, well-executed set-up. The extra oomph comes from Blade’s first appearance.

Gil Kane pencils, Tom Palmer inks

10. Adventure Comics #428, DC. Dig the composition, concept and color scheme. Bob Oksner steps away from the light and bright and introduces a dark hero, reflecting the turbulent times. Not for nothing, but Black Orchid creeps me out. Maybe it’s because she’s like something out of a lurid Bob Fosse fever dream.

Bob Oksner

9. Sub-Mariner #63, Marvel. A typical Marvel poster-style cover that’s just plain cool. I also like that while Aquaman is the King of the Seven Seas, Namor is the Scourge of the Seven Seas. Also, I want a red battle sub.

John Romita pencils, Joe Sinnott inks

8. Tarzan #221, DC. I know I’ve said this before but nobody — and I mean nobody — drew close combat with animals like Joe Kubert. Now, that may be a very specific genre but it stands nonetheless. See the taut musculature! See the lion twisting and straining! See Tarzan fighting to get a handle on the fanged beast! Smell the sweat!

Joe Kubert

7. The Unexpected #148, DC. Question for you: This is a wonderfully creepy cover by Nick Cardy — and a huge tip of the pen to his big “NC” block on the lower right. But is it better with or without the hand behind the door? I vote without — I think it would be even more effective if it weren’t there. Whattya think?

Nick Cardy

6. Action Comics #425, DC. I’m a fan of meta covers like this. Just a nice moment captured by Cardy’s proverbial camera. And you just know that nobody in the picture is gonna believe what that little kid saw. Except the dog. He sees it too. Good boy. (I woulda loved a Superman sweater like that too!)


5. Superman #265, DC. Cardy goes in a completely different direction. I actually did a double-take because I wasn’t sure whether that was a Jack Adler photo background. It’s not. It’s Nick Cardy producing an atmospheric, evocative tableau that plays off the youth culture’s mistrust of the military during the Vietnam era.


4. Swamp Thing #5, DC. Only one of Bernie Wrightson’s best-known illustrations of DC’s muck monster. It’s kind of a morbid twist on Steranko’s famous illo of Captain America fighting a mountain of Hydra agents.

Bernie Wrightson

3. Weird War Tales #15, DC. A friend chided me recently when I referred to Luis Dominguez as a contemporary of artists like Wrightson and Mike Kaluta. And he was right. Technically speaking, he wasn’t: In 1973, Dominguez turned 50, while Wrightson and Kaluta were half his age. (It was like being admonished by my favorite professor who expected better of me.)

But they did much of their best work at the same time and I think Dominguez doesn’t get nearly as much credit as the younger guns. This is a remarkably horrifying cover, with its stark death’s-head looming over the carnage of war. LD could bring it, man — and he did, time and again.

Luis Dominguez

2. Marvel Team-Up #11, Marvel. What a fantastic cover. The delicate linework overlain by the concentric circles, denoting Black Bolt’s devastating scream, ties the composition together and brings to life the Inhuman’s overwhelming power. Add in a perfect color scheme (Marie Severin?) and a superbly illustrated Spider-Man and you’ve got yourself a terrific piece of art. (A nod to Jack Kirby’s Black Bolt design, one of his very best; it adds an extra level of texture and visual pop, even though the King had left the House of Ideas years earlier.)


1. The Amazing Spider-Man #122, Marvel. Like I said up top, the fix was in — and how could it not be? It’s not quite as iconic as The Amazing Spider-Man #121 but it’s an extraordinary cover in its own right, with a perfectly crafted tableau of rage, hatred and grief that elevates one of comics’ greatest stories to even loftier heights. A masterpiece of comic-book action by John Romita, the greatest Spider-Man artist of all time.


— The TOP 13 COVERS of MARCH 1973 — RANKED. Click here.

— BRONZE AGE BONZANA: The 1973 INDEX. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Romita is one of the all time greats. This was one heck of a month for him! When you come up with the Mount Rushmore of comic book artists, Romita’s got to be on it.

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  2. Romita was a pretty great Spider-Man penciller/inker in the Toth romance mold. That said, Ditko infused the character and title with pretty much everything but the pithy dialogue. Compare Ditko’s creative output on the title to Romita’s, or anyone else’s, there just no contest. Pretty much everything was there and then.

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    • That’s the beautiful thing about absolute statements. I can agree with everything you just said — and still think I’m right! 😉

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      • I’m with you, Dan. Romita’s the man!

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  3. So many great covers by great artists.
    I have to agree with you, that Unexpected cover would be more creepy without the arm behind the door. Great post.

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  4. Great list, Dan! I agree that the #1 spot was a “no-doubter” this month! Sup #265 is a classic great Nick Cardy cover! It’s too bad that Black Orchid never got to co-star with Batman in B&B in the 70s. Bob Haney could have crafted a fun tale.

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  5. I was a friend of Nick Cardy. He told me the woman in the window, of Action Comics #425, is his mother. He was a great friend & a fantastic artist, may he rest in peace.

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