BRONZE AGE BONANZA: Late-summer classics…

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.

As I’ve been putting together this feature every month, it’s struck me just how many classic comics covers would get published in a single month in the Bronze Age. It goes to figure that with people like Neal Adams, John Romita, Gil Kane and Nick Cardy around, this would be the case.

But I really do wonder sometimes whether fans at the time really understood how good they had it. I love reading old letter columns, and most fans did seem to recognize terrific work, though there were always the crabs too.

Anyway, I look at this month’s crop and there are some of the most famous covers in comics history there. Not all of them are standard-bearers, of course, but there are enough to emphasize the profound greatness of the era.


(And don’t forget: These entries are based on sale dates and not official publication dates.)

13. Abbott & Costello #17, Charlton. I really admire the sheer ballsiness it took to do this cover. ALL THOSE FLOWERS. Meanwhile: “BONUS — Special Nutty Daisy Poster in Center Spread of This Issue! FREE!”

Possible pencils by Bill Fraccio. Possible inks by Tony Tallarico.

12. Famous Monsters of Filmland #80, Warren. “The only good human — is a DEAD human!” Beneath the Planet of the Apes is probably the wackiest movie of the franchise and I love every damn, dirty minute of it.

11. Archie #204, Archie Comics. Speaking of, doesn’t it look like Archie and the gang are hanging out at Point Dume in Malibu? Y’know, where they filmed the climax of Planet of the Apes? Obviously, Dr. Zaius was right: The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise! (But, geez, Reg, it’s 1970. Get with it.)

Dan DeCarlo pencils. Rudy Lapick inks.

10. Detective Comics #404, DC. I’m sure most of you think this should be higher on the list, maybe even No. 1. That’s cool. It’s one of Neal Adams’ best-known covers. But you kind of have to grade Adams on a curve. He produced so many legitimate masterpieces that you have to try to be dispassionate. Hard to do, I know.

Neal Adams

9. Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #32, Gold Key. George Wilson. One of the greats. What a truly terrifying cover.

George Wilson

8. Superman #230, DC. Check out Curt Swan’s brilliant composition here: Look at the intersecting lines — the vertical side of the wall, the slanted golden spotlight, the opposing angle from Clark’s shadow to his machine gun to Luthor’s chest. It’s an asterisk that takes you right to the focal point of the action. Silly, last-gasp Silver Age concept. Sterling execution.

Curt Swan pencils, Murphy Anderson inks.

7. Falling In Love #118, DC. I looked at the cover image and thought, “I bet that happened all over Woodstock.” And then I saw the banner above the title. And there you have it. (Also, which one is Robin?)

Possible Werner Roth pencils. Vince Colletta inks.

6. Captain America Annual #1, Marvel. Poster worthy.

Marie Severin pencils. Frank Giacoia or Joe Sinnott inks.

5. The Avengers Annual #4, Marvel. An explosive cover, with four different fights going on at once. Sal Buscema’s interlocking battle between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil is a lesson in how to cram nine combatants into one, intuitive action-packed image.

Sal Buscema

4. The Brave and the Bold #92, DC. One of Nick Cardy’s greatest Batman covers and probably his most atmospheric. The Bat-Squad only appeared this once — and that’s OK. Denny O’Neil had much better success with the concept of teaming the Masked Manhunter with a crew of civilians at the end of the original Ra’s al Ghul saga. (Still two years away at this point.)

Nick Cardy

3. Green Lantern #80, DC. One of the most memorable GL/GA covers. Stark, politically satirical imagery and one of the best examples of newspaper-page-as-comic-book cover. And while it’s mostly monochromatic, the use of off-white gives the piece just the right texture.


2. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133, DC. When you think about it, it’s insane that Jack Kirby’s much-ballyhooed arrival at DC was heralded by… Jimmy Olsen. And it’s doubly insane that DC was so married to Superman’s house style that they had Al Plastino “correct” Kirby’s art. But from a purely historical standpoint, you have to give this one props.

Jack Kirby pencils. Vince Colletta inks. (Superman alterations by Al Plastino.)

1. The Amazing Spider-Man #90, Marvel. A cover worthy of the spectacular, historic story within — featuring the death of Capt. Stacy. One of the most arresting covers in Spidey history. No disrespect to Steve Ditko, but this was Spider-Man’s Golden Age.

Gil Kane pencils, John Romita inks


— The TOP 13 COVERS of JULY 1970 — RANKED. Click here.

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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Kinda interesting that “sequel” was misspelled on the “Famous Monsters” cover.
    Maybe because the word wasn’t used as much in 1970?

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  2. I don’t have the Boris Karloff issue, but seeing this cover makes me want it…even though I know the interior can’t live up to it.

    I love Neal Adams Enemy Ace cover and Curt Swan’s Superman cover. I wasn’t born when these were released, but both now reside in my collection.

    I would have gone with Nick Cardy’s B&B cover as number 1. I adore a lot of Cardy’s covers, but I can state unequivocally that this is my #1 Cardy cover, period! I have never really seen a scan that does it justice, though. I think you really have to have the issue in hand to appreciate the wonderful coloring (yeah, I know Cardy didn’t do the coloring, but it is a beautifully colored cover) and just how awesome the cover really is. Cardy did the interior artwork on the issue as well, and it is beautiful to look at.

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  3. Looks like Herb Trimpe inks on the Marie Severin Captain America cover.

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