Adams! Wrightson! Kane! Kirby! MORE!

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.

We’ve been doing this feature for more than a year and a half and I’m still struck by how many classic covers you can find in a single month. Just lends more credence to the idea that the Bronze Age is the real Golden Age.


13. Archie’s Girls: Betty and Veronica #191, Archie. The middle-aged cigar-chompers at Archie always poked fun at modern fashion — but the kicker is that they were fab designers. Dan DeCarlo was a master at it.

Dan DeCarlo pencils, Rudy Lapick inks

12. Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #37, Gold Key. How much would you have wanted to hang out in George Wilson’s studio for just one day? Joe Jusko is absolutely right: There needs to be a big hardcover collection of his gorgeous, unhinged covers.

11. Fantastic Four #116, Marvel. From a strictly artistic standpoint, this is just a standard FF group shot. But Doom’s central role jumps out at you like his gigantic right hand. And that’s the point: Buscema didn’t have to overdo the imagery — Doom’s presence alone is what makes you do a double-take and want to pick up the book. A lesson in perfect restraint.

John Buscema pencils, Joe Sinnott inks

10. Superboy #178, DC. Boy, that Neal Adams is great at making people look like bats. This is also a classic Adams tableau. So while it’s not exactly original, it pops because, y’know, it’s Neal Adams (and Dick Giordano)!

Neal Adams pencils, Dick Giordano inks

9. Daredevil #81, Marvel. Gil Kane, man of action. Actually, you know what was one of Kane’s not-so-secret-talents? He was also a master of inaction — nobody drew heroes or villains flat on their backs better. And, hey, we actually get to see Hornhead’s eyes through his mask!

Gil Kane pencils, Frank Giacoia inks

8. Superman #243, DC. Neal Adams likes talking about this cover. Wanna know what he has to say? Click here.

Adams and Giordano

7. Spirit World #1, DC. This started as a Kirby collage and ended as an Adams drawing. I’m actually not a huge fan of this one; it is a tad too crowded. But I love how joyfully lurid it is and those crimson eyes draw you in. (Note: The world didn’t end in 1983. In fact, some pretty cool comics came out that year.)

Adams from a Jack Kirby layout

6. New Gods #5, DC. There really isn’t anything anyone can say about Jack Kirby that hasn’t been said. I’ll just echo the thousands of others who recognize that the King drew close-body combat better than anyone. The power and intensity are palpable while you’re waiting for Orion’s left to land.

Kirby pencils, Royer inks

5. The Amazing Spider-Man #102, Marvel. I ruffled some feathers last month when I put the classic Spidey #101 cover introducing Morbius at No. 6. That’s a great cover and all, but I gotta say I like this one even better. You get a full view of six-arm Spidey, a Morbius in violent anticipation and the Lizard readying to jump in himself. I might have liked more background detail, but then again, the big blank building on the left does make Spider-Man stand out better.

Kane and Giacoia

4. Our Army at War #237, DC. I really, really, really want a book of Joe Kubert’s war covers. He did not come to play. This is case where you don’t want any background image. Rather, the white “canvas” makes the horrifyingly inventive central image — and Sgt. Rock’s grim determination — that much more striking. Make war no more.

Joe Kubert

3. House of Mystery #195, DC. One of Bernie Wrightson’s greatest covers. You do not want to be that red-headed dude. Notice you don’t even see the guy’s face? Makes it that much more terrifying because you have imagine what he’s suffering in that moment where he’s being overwhelmed. And as much as artists love drawing gorillas, I sometimes think they like drawing bats just as much.

Bernie Wrightson

2. The Avengers #93, Marvel. Emblematic of an entire era, this is one of the greatest Avengers covers ever. ‘Nuff said.

Adams pencils, Tom Palmer inks, Marie Severin alterations.

1. Green Lantern #86, DC. The second part of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ famed drug issues. GL #85 is one of the greatest covers of all time because it’s so shocking and personal. This brutally powerful follow-up instead focuses on how widespread the problem was — and still is, 50 years later.



— BRONZE AGE BONZANA: The 1971 INDEX. Click here.

— The TOP 13 COVERS of JULY 1971 — RANKED. Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Well this shows how “with it” I was in the 70s and am in the 20s. I thought Green Lantern 86 was NOT approved by the CCA. Wonder how they got it past them?

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    • Huh… I thought the same.. then I thought maybe it was the previous issue, with Speedy shooting up… but I just looked it up and it was code approved, also!

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