BRONZE AGE BONANZA: Boy, that Neal Adams could crank ’em out…

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.

I’ve said it a bajillion times, but in my mind no comics artist did it better than Neal Adams. Fight me.

Seriously, though, he frequently dominates BRONZE AGE BONANZA because damn, were his covers great. And as many that make these lists, there are tons more that don’t make the cut but probably could.

Anyway, it’s not all Adams here of course. You’ve got your Barry Windsor-Smith, your Gil Kane, your Steve Ditko and on and on.

Dig it.

13. Bugaloos #1, Charlton. Had I seen this on the racks I would have begged my Mom for it. I LOVED the Bugaloos and was even Courage for Halloween, thanks to Ben Cooper. Like a lot of boys, I had a big crush on Joy, too.

Frank Roberge

12. Ghostly Haunts #20, Charlton. Evidently this is a paste-up job using Jean Elier art from the interior. I don’t care. It works, even if, like so many Charlton covers of the day, it’s a real mishmash. Bottom line is you want to pick it up. And I’m a real sucker for “negative” covers besides.

Jean Elier

11. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #141, DC. One of Kirby’s best known DC covers simply because Don Rickles is front and center. Still one of the strangest story devices in comics. But hey, you get Kirby inked by Adams!

Jack Kirby pencils, Neal Adams inks

10. Fantastic Four #115, Marvel. There’s debate as to whether Big John Buscema pencilled this one or Jazzy John Romita did. (Romita did the inks.) Either way, it’s a classic FF cover. Then again, aren’t so many?

John Buscema or John Romita pencils. Romita inks.

9. The Avengers #92, Marvel. Kree-Skrull War, ya’ll. A fairly static image, but an effective one nonetheless by Adams and Tom Palmer. I like the subtle way Cap looks more disappointed than angry. Because, really, that’s so much worse. Nobody wants to disappoint Captain America.

Adams pencils, Tom Palmer inks

8. Conan the Barbarian #10, Marvel. Just a great, action-packed cover with a groovy red monster and Conan doing what Conan do. The woman at the bottom with the headband must be related to the running guy from Action Comics #1.

Barry Windsor-Smith

7. Marvel Feature #1, Marvel. Defenders assemble! The first appearance of the team that’s not a team sports a dazzling comin’-atcha cover by Adams. Great Hulk. Great Dr. Strange. Pretty good Sub-Mariner. A fine cover to introduce one of Marvel’s stalwarts.


6. The Amazing Spider-Man #101, Marvel. Is this too low? It might be too low. It’s a classic to be sure and I know there are those among you who would put this at the top. I think it’s a rock-solid cover but I’ve seen it so many times it’s kind of played out for me. So maybe this is just a personal bias, even though I love both Gil Kane and John Romita.

Gil Kane pencils, Romita inks

5. Justice League of America #92, DC. A floating heads extravaganza! And the Robins meet! Really, this cover is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s all in the packaging.

Adams pencils, Dick Giordano inks

4. Daredevil #80, Marvel. This is a flat-out great cover. Dynamic action, a groovy villain vehicle, a contorted Hornhead, New York beckoning from below. Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia pulled it all together, but props to the superb Marie Severin for the exciting layout.

Kane pencils, Frank Giacoia inks, from a Marie Severin layout.

3. Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #190, Archie. I’m pretty sure this is the highest I’ve ever ranked an Archie comic. Not because I don’t love them — I do. It’s just back then there were so many issues to choose from that they blur together. But this one? This one is quintessential Betty and Veronica. It tells you everything you need to know about their natures in one vignette. And it’s by Dan DeCarlo, so of course it looks terrific.

Dan DeCarlo

2. Haunted #1, Charlton. You’ve got a new horror series and you’ve got Steve Ditko. Is there a better way to get kids’ attention than with this fantastically phantasmic cover? No, I say no. Major bonus points because it looks like a luchador mask. Such a groovy design.

Steve Ditko

1. DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #6, DC. True story: Historian Michael Kronenberg tweeted this Adams cover the other day, pointing out that it was released 50 years ago this month. “Well, hell, that’s gonna be the No. 1 pick for BRONZE AGE BONANZA, no question,” I said to myself. But then I set about looking for a cover to beat it so I wouldn’t be so predictable. No such luck. As fun as a lot of the above covers are, none of them hold a candle to this gorgeous wraparound. It doesn’t matter that it’s a riff on All-Star Comics #16. What matters is that it’s fabulous.



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

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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Yeah, Amazing Spider-Man 101 is not only too low, it’s absurdly low. That cover may be my pick for the best of the YEAR, not just the best of the month! That’s a Top 10 All Time type cover.

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  2. What I remember most about the DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #6 (which, I was broke for a long time after buying it off the stands) was that it contained a list of heroes within the pages that contained names I had not heard of, but wanted to after seeing it.

    I can even remember the store where I bought it, a cigar store half way across town–it took about a half hour to bicycle over there to get it (the only store in town where I ever saw it on the stands).

    I did pass on the Weird 100-Pager at the time, though. Got it years later for a lot more than it would have cost me on the stands.

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  3. Probably an unpopular opinion, but ASM 101 is seriously overrated as a cover. At this point it’s hard to separate from its hype as a collectible, but it just doesn’t have that quality that makes me want to read the issue to see what’s going on. ‘Oh, OK a ridiculous-looking 6 armed spidey is fighting a vampire.’ 98, 99 and 100 all have far more intriguing covers.

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    • Here’s the thing, though, ASM 101 is a perfect piece of art. The poses, the use of angles/perspective, the motion, and the detail make it a brilliant, all time great cover. Definitely NOT overrated.

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    • I completely agree…it’s overrated.

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  4. Those Neal Adams covers, especially the Jack Kirby cover Mr. Adams inked, are very breathtaking in their own right.

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  5. At the Super DC Con in New York in 1976, 14-year-old me saw the original Neal Adams art pages for the Super Spectacular. First piece of original art I ever saw – and it still resonates with me after all these years. Just a classic.

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