BRONZE AGE BONANZA: October means Bernie Wrightson — but there’s also Adams, Kane, Garcia-Lopez and 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.

Bernie Wrightson hits the list twice; it is October, after all. But there are stunners here by Neal Adams, Enrich Torres and Barry Windsor-Smith too. And that’s just a sample.


13. Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-29, DC. It’s a reprint cover by Rube Grossman but it makes the list by virtue of being the first Bronze Age treasury edition! A new era dawns…

Rube Grossman

12. For Lovers Only, Charlton. A) I’m pretty certain that this is the first Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez cover to make BRONZE AGE BONANZA. B) Of course his name is Chad!

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

11. Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #128, DC. Waitaminnit, where have I seen this layout before?

Bob Oksner

10. Iron Man #55, Marvel. A fairly pedestrian cover but the issue itself is a landmark — not only is it the first appearance of Drax and Starfox, it’s the debut of THANOS. You mighta heard of him.

Jim Starlin pencils, Joe Sinnott inks

9. Spoof #3, Marvel. The great Marie Severin, ladies and gentlemen. Along with the Beatles, Yoko Ono, the Rolling Stones, Elvis, the Jackson 5, the Osmonds, David Cassidy, Rod Stewart and the fabulous Tom Jones. Plus two dirty politicians. What more could you want?

Marie Severin

8. Daredevil #95, Marvel. Gil Kane did the two-combatants-smashing-through-a-window bit a lot. And you know what? It worked every damn time. Look at that movement! Masterful.

Gil Kane pencils, Tom Palmer inks

7. World’s Finest #215, DC. Bob Haney was the gift who kept on giving. The beginning of perhaps the weirdest mainstream comics “saga” ever — and Nick Cardy rises to the occasion with a groovy cover. And check out Bruce Wayne Jr.’s hip 1972 fashion sense. Far out.

6. Batman #246, DC. If I ever knew that Dave Cockrum was the penciller of this cover, I completely forgot. Because in my head this has always been a standout Neal Adams cover. And a really grim one at that. (Adams did the inks.) Kinda surprised it passed muster with the Comics Code, because this is startlingly horrifying.

Dave Cockrum pencils, Neal Adams inks

5. Conan the Barbarian #22, Marvel. Barry Windsor-Smith just kept getting better as he went along, didn’t he? The line work, man. The line work.

Barry Windsor-Smith

4. Swamp Thing #2, DC. A Wrightson classic featuring the Un-Men. You’d never think Swampy could be frightened but he looks pretty darn alarmed here.

Bernie Wrightson

3. Vampirella #21, Warren. I have to admit that when I started BRONZE AGE BONANZA a few years back, I debated whether to include magazine covers along with comics because in some respects it’s an uneven comparison. I ultimately decided to include them because they were right there on the racks, competing for the comics buyer’s hard-earned quarters and dimes. But I gotta say this just feels like unfair competition because this is astonishingly brilliant. Ignore the obvious Vampi cheesecake factor for a second: The glowing skull radiating outward gives off such heat that you feel like you have to pick this up wearing oven mitts. Overall outstanding composition with spectacular colors. Magnificent.

Enrich Torres

2. House of Secrets #103, DC. One of Bernie Wrightson’s very best. Perfect for this time of year.


1. Action Comics #419, DC. Some people consider this the greatest Superman cover of all time. Though it’s not my personal fave, it’s difficult to argue the point — after all, Very Young Dan had his parents hang this on his bedroom wall. That’s about the highest compliment a kid could give. Memorable, evocative, superb.

Neal Adams pencils, Murphy Anderson inks, Jack Adler photo


— The TOP 13 COVERS of SEPTEMBER 1972 — RANKED. Click here.

— BRONZE AGE BONANZA: The 1972 INDEX. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Never a fan of the photo behind the artwork. Seems like a cheat to beat a deadline.

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  2. I noticed that Wonder Woman is missing from the Lois Lane cover which was smart since poor Lois had been fooled a few times for the fake Superman/Wonder Woman romance.

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  3. Count me as one of the people who never knew that Cockrum pencilled that cover. I assumed it was Adams all the way as well.

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  4. Oh, thanks for this! I remember these! (I have a few of them in a crate somewhere!) The Action cover is superb! I remember Spoof doing “Blecchula” and “Nut Gallery.” (Bruce Jnr’s pants would later show up on Herb in “WKRP.”) Seriously, thanks for bringing back the best thing about my growing-up years!

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  5. Good choices, Dan! I’m a little surprised that Weird Western #15 with great El Diablo work by Neal Adams couldn’t work its way into your countdown. It seems like the great covers from western books don’t show up on your lists very often.

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  6. Wow. So is that classic Crisis on Infinite Earths cover an homage or a swipe?

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