BRONZE AGE BONANZA: Adams! Romita! Aparo! Wrightson! 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.

Holy wow, it’s the last monthly BRONZE AGE BONANZA of 2023 and we’ve got some groovy covers here. But do keep in mind that in a few short weeks, we’ll be doing our annual wrap-up, featuring the very best of 1973. And this year, we’ve pulled together a panel of judges to decide the best of the best!

Until then, however, dig THE TOP 13 COVERS OF DECEMBER 1973 — RANKED:

13. Marvel Two-in-One #2, Marvel. A fairly standard cover, but I really dig the pointy chrome hands in the foreground framing the Thing and giving us a different point of view, from the eyes of the presumed villain.

John Romita

12. Man-Thing #3, Marvel. Man, there is a LOT going on here. I’m not sure really where to look first and while that’s a drawback, it does add to the sense of utter chaos in the swamp.


11. Captain Marvel #31, Marvel. A few months ago, I said that Captain Marvel #29 was the first time I encountered the hero. But when I saw this cover while researching this column — it’s an excellent call-to-action image — I now think this is what I was remembering. Memory’s hazy, so I can’t be sure. Anyway, this is what I wrote about Issue #29, so I guess it applies here too: “I got this issue when it came out. I seem to remember asking for it because it was Captain Marvel and my Dad was like, ‘I don’t think that’s the real Captain Marvel,’ but I still wanted it. Naturally, I was let down when the Big Red Cheese was nowhere to be found. Young Dan found this confusing and unsettling.'”

Jim Starlin pencils and Al Milgrom inks

10. Famous Monsters of Filmland #105, Warren. Christopher Lee as Dracula makes this list every time.

Basil Gogos

9. Marvel Premiere #14, Marvel. A groovy, cosmic Dr. Strange cover by Frank Brunner. Just cool to look at.

Frank Brunner

8. Plop! #4, DC. See now, Basil, you’re just trying to be disgusting. But then again, you always are. Hilariously, sophomorically so.

Basil Wolverton

7. Shazam!, DC. OK, help me out here, folks: I would swear this fun cover by Bob Oksner is an homage to a Golden Age Captain Marvel cover. (Not sure which title or even whether it’s Cap or maybe Junior.) But I cannot place it and so I’m not sure if I’m making that up. If you have the knowledge, put it in the comments!

Bob Oksner

6. Ghostly Tales #110, Charlton. When my wife Wendy and I were dating, we walked through Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan’s East Village one night and passed a guy sitting on a park bench. His arms were stretched out on the back of the bench, head tilted back, staring straight up at the sky. Wendy turns to me and says, “Oh my God, I think that was Iggy Pop.” I looked back and said, “Shit, you’re right. That is Iggy Pop.” She says, “Should we go back and tell him about my cat Iggy?” And I said, “Yeah!” So we turned back and cautiously approached him, and as we did, we caught the unmistakable scent of weed. He was baked. Wendy says, “Excuse me, we don’t want to bother you, but I just wanted to let you know I have a cat named after you.” And Iggy slowly tilted his head up to meet our gaze and exclaimed, “Alright! I LOVE cats!” We bid him good night, he bid us the same. True story.

Tom Sutton

5. Adventure Comics #432, DC. Pretty much your standard, excellent Jim Aparo Spectre cover. Man, Aparo was great.

Jim Aparo

4. Betty and Me #55, Archie. One of the classic Archie Comics sexual innuendo covers. I mean, it’s not the “Beat off” cover — that was Betty and Me #16 — but it’s up there. Seriously, look at where Archie is staring. Can’t find who the artist was, but it has to be Dan DeCarlo, right? Has to be. (“Approved by the Comics Code Authority.” Those people were so clueless.)

Maybe Dan DeCarlo?

3. Batman #255, DC. Courting Controversy Time! Should this be higher or lower? For starters, that’s one of Neal Adams’ greatest Batman images but it’s so tiny because of the format. The Nick Cardy vignettes are also terrific (it’s a fantastic issue). I loved the 100-pager covers on the whole, but the impact of this one is a bit… off because your eye really wants to see that Adams illustration all big-like. Anyway, this is Adams’ last Batman story from his classic era and we’ll have more on that soon.

2. Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #5, Red Circle/Archie. Gray Morrow brings it, man. If this were a DC horror book, it would be an utter classic. That spider-woman looks tremendously frightening and I dig the vikingish dude on the gryphon. Plus all the weird architecture and the outstanding color palette. This is just plain great to look at. Man.

Gray Morrow

1. Swamp Thing #9, DC. Probably the most iconic Swamp Thing cover ever. Every single thing about it works. From Bernie Wrightson’s masterful imagery to the way it’s set off against the logo. And the color palette is perfect, from top to bottom. Unclear who the colorist was but the indispensable Grand Comics Database suggests it might have been Wrightson himself. A masterpiece.

Bernie Wrightson


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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. The Shazam cover swipes from Captain Marvel Jr number 26.

    Post a Reply
  2. What a great selection! Never seen any of these before! And the Iggy story is a great one!

    Post a Reply
  3. Love the Iggy Pop story !

    Post a Reply
  4. Iggy story was great! I don’t think Tom Sutton gets enough credit as a horror master. His work is geunuinely unsettling to look at, at times. He’s right up there with Wrightson and Ploog for me.

    And I agree on the Batman #255 cover. The 100 page format boxing that awesome Adams image in is why it didn’t make it on my horror comic article a few months back.

    Post a Reply
  5. Good list, Dan! Nice to see you acknowledge Aparo’s classic work on the Spectre! I wish that DC had given more space to Adams’ cover work on Batman 255. Detective Comics at the time was under a different Editor and used a different layout (see Det. #439 for an example). I would have preferred that the Batman books used a similar layout to ‘Tec, giving us more room to appreciate the great Adams artwork! Swamp Thing #9 is a classic!

    Post a Reply
  6. As always, wonderful!!! I probably have the Adventure, Shazam and Batman issues in a crate someplace! For a fifty-year old comic, the Betty and Me looks very contemporary! (So do they all!)

    Post a Reply
  7. Nice selection of covers. Yes, you are correct about the artist on the Betty and Me cover. It is Dan DeCarlo.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: