BRONZE AGE BONANZA: What a month to hit the spinner rack — classic after classic…

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.

Some BRONZE AGE BONANZA months are feasts. Others are a quick snack. Most are somewhere in between. June 1971 was most definitely a feast, featuring a collection of some of the most famous covers in comics history. Taking one step back, it’s startling that you could buy these all in the same month.

Dig this:

13. Marvel Spotlight #1, Marvel. The kind of first-rate cover that Neal Adams could do in his sleep: Exciting, dynamic and ferocious. Oh, and it just happens to be Red Wolf’s first appearance, too. By the way, get used to seeing Adams this month. The master dominated.

Neal Adams

12. Iron Man #41, Marvel. I don’t think George Tuska gets all the credit he deserves. (Just ask Paul Kupperberg.) But there is so much to like about this cover — the composition, the point of view, the alarming way that Iron Man’s armor is melting and the woman plunging from the building add up to a dramatic cover. What puts it over the top, though? Dude with the lobster claws coming out of his head!

George Tuska, with possible Tuska inks

11. World’s Finest #204, DC. When DC tried to make World’s Finest a Superman team-up title, years before DC Comics Presents. The juxtaposition of past and future wasn’t new — Carmine Infantino did it all the time in The Flash — but the premise is fascinating and Wonder Woman in particular looks fabulous.


10. Two-Gun Kid #100, Marvel. Herb Trimpe looks like he’s doing his best Alex Toth and Joe Kubert here — and it works. The real star, however, is the colorist, who was most likely Marie Severin. The Kid may not be able to enjoy the sunset, but we sure can.

Herb Trimpe

9. Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #36, Gold Key. Oh, George Wilson, how I love you. And those five colorful creatures look like they were the stars of a nixed Sid and Marty Krofft pilot, don’t they? WARNING: THEY ARE ALREADY HERE!

George Wilson

8. In the Days of the Mob, DC. A failed experiment and the cover is a really lurid mess. But it’s a really cool looking lurid mess. Because Jack Kirby could make anything look cool.

Jack Kirby, with inks by Kirby and Frank Giacoia

7. Adventure Comics #409. That costume!

Dick Giordano

6. Betty and Me #37, Archie. Never forget: So much of the Archie subtext is sex, sex, sex. Even the little vignette above the title is loaded. And yet these high schoolers still come off as pure, wholesome kids. Neat trick.

Dan DeCarlo pencils, Rudy Lapick inks

5. DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #4, DC. One of Bernie Wrightson’s most terrifying covers. And you kind of have to look twice to catch the sick gag: The beast is scary enough — but then you realize he’s totally squashed the woman who summoned him from netherworld. Be careful what you wish for, folks…

Bernie Wrightson

4. Star Spangled War Stories #158, DC. It’s almost unfair to compare a cover like this with the rest in this gallery. Everything else is monsters and superheroes and horny teens. Here, you have Joe Kubert at his best — with an incredibly intense, adult scene that captures man’s inhumanity to man. This isn’t fantasy playtime. This is an object lesson in the genocidal cruelty of a world where nobody in a cape will fly in to save you. An overwhelming image of stark, palpable horror.

Joe Kubert

3. Batman #234, DC. One of the major highlights of the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams partnership: the return of Two-Face after years on the shelf. And the story’s a real corker too. But it just goes to show what kind of month we’re having here when a famous cover like this is only third.

Neal Adams

2. The Amazing Spider-Man #100, Marvel. Not just one of the greatest Spider-Man covers of all time, one of the greatest comics covers of all time. I’ve seen it a thousand times and yet it remains as striking as it did when it was first released. You just lose yourself in the negative detail, which plays so well behind the gorgeous, bright blue-and-red image of a crawling Spider-Man in the foreground. A masterpiece and from a purely aesthetic standpoint, my favorite cover on this list. John Romita and Frank Giacoia, ladies and gentlemen…

Romita pencils, Giacoia inks

1. Green Lantern #85, DC. You just can’t argue against the sheer historical impact of this cover. The foundational Green Lantern #76 may have launched the era of relevance — and was instrumental in the rise of the Bronze Age itself — but this cover turned it up on blast. There is nothing subtle about this Adams piece and its shock value is matched by the two-part story that it advertises. Not just one of the best covers ever — it’s perhaps the most important. (Click here for Adams’ comments on it.)



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

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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. The Green Lantern/Green Arrow cover is also very simple in it’s execution. Mr. Adams was usually prone to more rendering than this.

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  2. One of my students got me a beautiful poster version already framed in glass of the ASM #100 cover and it is glorious. It occupies a place of prominence in my classroom.

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  3. I owned both the World’s Finest and Adventure comic posted here. I loved the cover with Superman and Wonder Woman. DC really tried to make the non-powered WW work. I liked that Super Girl costume although it didn’t last long as the costume changed every issue.

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