BRONZE AGE BONANZA: Wrightson, Kaluta, Romita and MORE — including Jack Adler!

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.

This month’s stars include Bernie Wrightson, Joe Kubert, John Romita — and Jack Adler!


13. Jackie Jokers #2, Harvey. Who is that with Jackie Jokers? Why it’s a corrupt politician who would resign in disgrace in a year and a half!

Ernie Colon

12. Amazing Adventures #18, Marvel. Killraven’s first appearance! The layout’s pretty standard but John Romita brings the heat nonetheless. Someday, I hope there’s a Killraven, Vartox and Zardoz team-up.

John Romita pencils, Romita and Tony Mortellaro inks

11. Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #209, Archie. Yes, it’s Dan DeCarlo cheesecake. But who knew Veronica liked to cosplay as Bronze Age Ms. Marvel more than three years before the latter even appeared? Also, “maxicoat.”

Dan DeCarlo

10. The Incredible Hulk #163, Marvel. So speaks THE GREMLIN!

Herb Trimpe

9. Secrets of Sinister House #11, DC. If you’re a kid living in the DC Universe, here’s a tip: Never go out at night to make mischief with your friends. Ever. It will not end well for you. Anyway, Jack Sparling’s wasted crone is effective enough, but look at the boys’ faces! The one on the right is terrified, as he should be. The guy on the left, meanwhile, looks a little too into it.

Jack Sparling

8. Marvel Team-Up #9, Marvel. Not terribly special. Just a straight-up, cool-looking team-up cover by John Romita and Joe Sinnott. And that’s plenty good.

Romita pencils, Joe Sinnott

7. Weird War Tales #13, DC. Luis Dominguez should get more credit: He was a terrific horror artist but he was often overshadowed in the ’70s by younger guns like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta. This is a cover worth looking at not just because it’s a sharp layout with strong execution, but because who doesn’t want to see Nazis shredded by rampaging, purple bat-monsters?

Luis Dominguez

6. House of Secrets #107, DC. Speaking of Wrightson, here we are. Abel is being swarmed by what look like the undead and he’s rightfully terrified. What’s terrifying to me, however, are the hands in the foreground. THOSE HANDS! Damn, Bernie.

Bernie Wrightson

5. From Beyond the Unknown #22, DC. Hey, folks, it’s the Jack Adler Show! Three times this month, the DC production man lent his photographic skills to a cover. This one is silly as hell because those old-school Murphy Anderson creatures look really out of place in the grimy New York of 1973. I dig it though. It’s fun.

Murphy Anderson art, Jack Adler photo

4. Superman #263, DC. More Adler, with Superman by Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson lurching right at you. Adler’s photo covers weren’t always effective; the contrast between the hand-drawn illustration and the photograph reproduction could be jarring. But sometimes they just looked cool.

Neal Adams pencils, Anderson inks, Adler photo

3. Weird Worlds #5, DC. Contrast, angles, colors, perspective, dynamism. Michael Wm. Kaluta and the DC crew give you an outstanding cover for a short-lived series. I get the sense that a lot of the artists in the ’70s put that much more oomph into their pulpy covers than they did their superhero covers. This is John Carter meets Ray Harryhausen and we’re all the richer for it.

Mike Kaluta

2. 100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-16, DC. Joe Kubert was great at a lot of things and one of them was illustrating covers for reprint anthologies. The explosive power of this one makes you want to grab it, run and read it in a corner somewhere, regardless of what’s inside. Art and commerce meet.

Joe Kubert

1. Shazam! #2, DC. Now we’re talking, Jack Adler. A well-conceived, well-executed cover that’s remembered fondly by Captain Marvel fans to this day. The combination of photo and illustration perfectly capture the whimsy DC was going for in bringing back the Big Red Cheese from the exile that the company had forced him into. Also it’s a kinda-sorta infinity cover and that’s always a groove. Great color by Adler, too. Two issues in and Shazam! takes the top slot in BRONZE AGE BONANZA both times!

C.C. Beck art, Adler photo


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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Great covers especially the ones with the Jack Adler photos. I Always loved the collage covers from DC and Marvel.

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  2. Regarding the Betty and Veronica cover-“Vend-a-Comic”???

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  3. That’s a nice group. Supes would be my #1.

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  4. I always enjoy this feature. You cover a lot of genres this month! Marvel Team-Up #90 is my favorite from your list. I’m surprised by the lack of Nick Cardy love. Action #423 was a great Cardy cover! Spolier – it was from a time when DC tended to use Lex Luthor as a surprise villain rather than feature him on the cover.

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    • Thank you! I really appreciate that. I love doing the column. Y’know, with some artists I admit it can become a sliding scale. Nick Cardy is one of my favorites, so I have a tendency to compare him to his own work, in addition to the other covers that month. That’s especially the case with Neal Adams.

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  5. Nixon also made an appearance in a one page gag in Richie Rich Success 39. Richie loaned money to the government to build a museum.

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