BRONZE AGE BONANZA: The King ascendant…

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.

Hey folks, get ready for some serious Kirby, Adams and Buscema, not to mention CHIMPS, as we count down THE TOP 13 COVERS OF FEBRUARY 1971 — RANKED.

As usual, these are based on sale dates, not publication dates.


13. Teen Confessions #67, Charlton. Poor Lisa. If she didn’t have so much hair, she might be able to hold her head up straight. No wonder Ascot Dude went for the competition.

Luis Avila

12. Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp #1, Gold Key. I seriously, seriously, seriously considered putting this at No. 1 and calling it a day. Alas, I have no courage. But I am a sucker for simians who wear clothes and talk.

11. Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #34, Gold Key. Painter George Wilson — the most underrated cover artist of the era — managed to come up with the one stunt Evel Knievel never attempted: battling a red, fire-breathing dragon on a stormy night with a laser gun while steering his motorcycle with one hand. But I bet you if Evel had thought of it, he would have done it.

George Wilson

10. The Amazing Spider-Man #96, Marvel. This cover isn’t as notable for what’s on it as it is for what’s not: the Comics Code seal. This is the first of a three-part story about — GASP! — drugs. Either way, this is a spunky Gil Kane cover, though it is odd to see that very DC-ish sidebar on the left.

Gil Kane, from a Marie Severin layout

9. Fantastic Four #110, Marvel. Forget all the Reeds and runes, the highlight of this John Buscema/Joe Sinnott cover is the look on the Thing’s face: “HAWNH?”

John Buscema pencils, Joe Sinnott inks

8. Detective Comics #410, DC. A classic Neal Adams/Dick Giordano job but this cover (and story) always gave me the heebie-jeebies. It’s basically Batman Meets Tod Browning’s Freaks and the implied child abuse on the cover’s too much for me. Still, it does what it’s designed to — make you want to find out what the hell is going on and buy the comic.

Neal Adams pencils, Dick Giordano inks

7. Star Spangled War Stories #156, DC. Wasn’t it great when everyone hated Nazis?

Joe Kubert

6. Superman #236, DC. DC just loved pouring a layer of horror over its early-’70s superhero covers and this one hits you right in the pitchfork. I remember being creeped out by the house ad alone.

Adams and Giordano

5. New Gods #2, DC. My lord, there is a LOT going on here. It’s almost as if Jack Kirby were so keyed up to show the world what was going on in his head that he tried to jam as much as he could on this cover. It doesn’t work in many ways because it’s really a mess. But’s a great Kirby mess, which means it has its own kind of potency. And, hey, it’s the first Darkseid cover appearance!

Jack Kirby pencils, Vince Colletta inks

4. Thor #187, Marvel. A familial, cosmic showdown with street-level consequences. Bombastic Big John Buscema was firing on all Asgardian cylinders.

Buscema and Sinnott

3. The Avengers #87, Marvel. What I love about this Buscema cover is its bold simplicity. Marvel during this period tended to have pretty crowded covers but this one is relatively stark, with T’Challa’s powerful image capturing almost all the focus while the rest of the Avengers just stand back. Fantastic choice to use a bright yellow-and-orange background: This cover pops!

Buscema pencils, John Verpoorten inks

2. House of Secrets #91, DC. The scope, the angle, the colors, the movement, the terror — all of this make for an Adams masterpiece, even though it’s one of his lesser-known works. By the way, does the woman in the foreground get inspired to become Giant Angry Eagle Woman?


1. The Forever People #2, DC. Very similar concept as New Gods #2 but pulled off with greater alacrity and force. Again, the King had lots going on in that genius artistic brain of his but this time the result is far more clear and focused. And let’s not give Mantis’ groovy design short shrift either.

Kirby and Colletta


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

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

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



Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I can’t remember the last time I saw reference to Lancelot Link! He was a bit “before my time” but as a kid I was well aware of the series and must have seen clips here and there of it. Don’t think I ever saw an episode…

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  2. Great collection of covers. I really enjoy the series and thanks, as always, for the post.

    I first read the Batman story in Detective 410 in the Batman’s Strangest Cases Treasury and it is one of my favorite Batman stories. The cover isn’t one of Adams’s best, because I think Batman is in kind of an awkward pose.

    I love the horror vibe of Superman 236 to the point that I bought a back issue of it, even though I had the Kryptonite Nevermore collection which reprinted it. One of my favorite Superman covers.

    Love the Thing’s expression on FF110 as well. When the last FF movie bombed, I got scores of FF back issues for $3 and under a pop and this was one of them.

    I’m off to eBay to get a copy of Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #34.

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  3. The cover story for that Boris Karloff comic features plucky young fellow Len Wayne, and his lovely assistant Glynis Oliver….hmm, who might have written it, one wonders.

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