BRONZE AGE BONANZA: An all-timer tops the list — but there’s so much 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.

Some months are really strong. Some are… not. This is one of the strong ones, capped off by a legit classic.


13. Just Married #99, Charlton. Kind of a racy cover for the era, even if the two are married. It’s also made up of images from the interior but it works, so I’ll allow it. Most interesting is that this is the seventh part of a nine-part series (!) about whether those crazy kids Jewish David and Irish Eileen could make it work. Blatant ripoff of the CBS show Bridget Loves Bernie, starring Meredith Baxter and David Birney (who later married). It was a bona fide hit but was cancelled after one season, earlier in 1973, because of the then-controversial nature of the marriage. It was the highest-rated show to ever be cancelled after one season. (It was tied for fifth overall for the ’72-’73 cycle.)

A. Martinez pencils, J. Zuniga inks. The first name is a pseudonym. The second may be too.

12. Scream #3, Skywald. Put Christopher Lee on the cover and I’m there. And the rest of it is pretty darn dandy too.


11. Plop! #3, DC. Basil Wolverton grosses me out. Seriously. I find it genuinely difficult to look at his art. But that’s not to take away from its obvious craft and skill. So I recognize its value, even if I’m repulsed by it.

Basil Wolverton

10. Shazam! #9, DC. Vootie! Vootie!

C.C. Beck

9. The Flash #225, DC. Nick Cardy was great. Not great at everything but great at what he was great at. I’m gonna wager this is a Carmine Infantino layout, but it’s all about the execution. I really dig the “shocking” team-up of the Flash and Reverse-Flash, with its opposite color scheme, which works well with Green Lantern in the center and especially well under the bright red-and-yellow banner. Aces.

Nick Cardy

8. Batman #254, DC. Sentimental pick time. Like I said, Cardy was great. But I never really thought he drew a great Batman. No matter. I absolutely love this cover. The layout is fab, the color scheme is fab and it’s the first Batman regular-issue 100-pager. This comic was an essential part of my Batman upbringing, where I first really began to delve into the Caped Crusader’s past — and learn about the Outsider! And the second Batman and Robin team! Wonderful comic. I even remember asking my Mom if “Fabulous ’40s” and “Furious ’50s” were actual terms. They weren’t. Didn’t matter to me, though. I loved the whole schtick.


7. Jungle Action #8, Marvel. One of the greatest Black Panther covers ever. I love the layout and the color scheme. But points off for T’Challa being slightly off-center. It may seem like a quibble but it just throws the whole thing slightly askew. Still terrific, though.

Rick Buckler pencils, Frank Giacoia inks

6. FOOM #3, Marvel. Just an outstanding graphic design by one of the masters. LOVE the bright red and an infinity cover is always a good gag. Outstanding. (Like I said, it’s a good month, isn’t it?)

Jim Steranko

5. Man-Thing #1, Marvel. Frank Brunner brings it with Marvel’s muck monster’s solo series debut. Was this ever a poster? It should have been, if not.

Frank Brunner

4. Swamp Thing #8, DC. But. But… I have to put Bernie Wrighton’s Swamp Thing a twig higher. The Man-Thing cover is cool but the Swamp Thing cover is far more dramatic, with Swampy looking like he wandered into The Day of the Triffids. Big lug actually looks alarmed.

Bernie Wrightson

3. Famous Monsters of Filmland #103, Warren. C’mon. Basil Gogos and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. Impossible to go wrong here.

Basil Gogos

2. Adventure Comics #431, DC. Jim Aparo at his best, giving us one of the greatest Spectre covers ever, complete with a twisted, cruel fate for the gunman at the bottom. A comics masterpiece of horror and disgust.

Jim Aparo

1. The Amazing Spider-Man #129, Marvel. Easily one of the most memorable and evocative covers in comics history. The Punisher’s debut on the cover, where he pretty much gets the starring role over Spider-Man, is more than backed by a great story inside — and a decades-long career as one of Marvel’s biggest names. Gil Kane and John Romita bring the heat. By the way, I will always pick this Punisher outfit over any other and that’s no lie.

Gil Kane pencils, John Romita inks


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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I prefer that Punisher costume too. I owned that issue but had no clue it would be worth 5 figures one day. Sigh

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    • A live action DC movie featuring a vengeful Spectre based on the Fleischer/Apart seems like a no-brainer for James Gunn!

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  2. I don’t know about a poster, but I saw that Man-Thing cover as a t-shirt this weekend at NYCC…!

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  3. Great choices! Really nice Nick Cardy Flash cover. The Adventure cover shows Jim Aparo at the height of his powers! Too bad that Spectre series didn’t run longer. Yes, a classic cover fills the #1 spot. No argument here.

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  4. Batman #254 features the Getaway Genius in his last time as the main villain.

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