Most comic-book aficionados agree that the Bronze Age of comics began in 1970, shortly after artist Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC Comics, which promised him a greater degree of artistic freedom since “Superman” editor Mort Weisinger had just retired. Among other things, the Bronze Age challenged established publishing conventions and brought the subject matter of comics into the modern day.

For example, in 1972, Luke Cage, the first African-American superhero, appeared. Around the same time, the concept of the superhero expanded to include foreign heroes (Banshee) as well as women heroes (Hawkwoman), who were more assertive and powerful than their predecessors. Unfortunately, many of the foreign and black characters simply reinforced racial and ethnic stereotypes, but some were genuine attempts to create a more diverse, inclusive world.

Similarly, Bronze Age comics began dealing with more real-world issues, beginning with “The Amazing Spider-Man” #96 and #97, which featured a very strong-anti-drug message at a time when the Comics Code did not allow any references to drugs at all. Other comics followed suit: Green Lantern and Green Arrow teamed up to fight drug abuse and corruption. Captain America—now the product of a disillusioned, post-Watergate, post-Vietnam world—entered the realm of politics when he fought the Secret Empire, a conspiracy to take over America run by a villain who bore an uncanny resemblance to Richard Nixon.

Violence was portrayed more realistically—when villains killed, their innocent victims died. Illustrators also began leveraging the sex appeal of their characters as the Comics Code loosened. And the Bronze Age saw the introduction of the graphic novel, one more form of experimentation and innovation. Even titles that stuck to the traditional comics format took on longer story arcs that spanned multiple issues.

The end of the Bronze Age is widely debated. Some point to 1986, when “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Returns” were published. Also of debate is the name of the age that followed it—Dark Age, Modern Age, and Iron Age are often used interchangeably.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Cover Browser

Cover Browser

Philipp Lenssen's incredible archive of over 94,000 comic book covers - Wow! Wham! Yikes! Browse by title from the … [read review or visit site]

Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site

Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site

Doug Gilford's great Mad Magazine reference site features cover scans and reference information on every issue of t… [read review or visit site]

TheComicBooks.com

TheComicBooks.com

Jamie Coville's in-progress ode to the history of 20th century comic books. Start with his Newsstand Period Part 1 … [read review or visit site]

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Bruce Shults takes us on a comprehensive Popeye fan tour, from the early comic strips to cartoons and collectible m… [read review or visit site]

Barnacle Press

Barnacle Press

This collection of obscure newspaper comic strips provides scans browsable by title, year and date. Showcases comic… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Incredible Hulk #181 Key (1st Wolverine) Nice!! Value Stamp Intact L@@k!Giant Size X-men #1 Key (1st New X-men) Nice!! *hulk 181 & X-men 94 Also Listed*1974 Incredible Hulk 181 With Marvel Stamp, 1st Full Wolverine, High GradeIncredible Hulk #181 (cgc) 8.0 "white Pages" 1st Full Appearance Of Wolverine!Amazing Spider-man 129 Marvel 1st Appearance The Punisher Pgx Cgc 6.0 No ReserveThe Incredible Hulk #181 Vg Mvs Coupon Missing 1st Appearance Of WolverineShazam 1 Cgc 9.6 Ow/wIncredible Hulk #181 Cgc 6.5 1st Appearance Of Wolverine Of The X-men X-men #94 Key Cgc 7.5 Fresh (1st New Team Begin) *hulk 181 & Gs1 Also Listed*All Star Western #10 Cgc 9.8 1st App Jonah Hex Highest Graded Steal 1 Of 5 The Amazing Spider-man #129 (feb 1974, Marvel)Amazing Spider-man #121 Marvel 1973 -near Mint- 9.0 Nm - Death Of Gwen Stacey!!!1974 Marvel Amazing Spiderman #129 1st Punisher Good Affordable .99! Spider-manIron Man #55 First Appearance Thanos! Drax The Destroyer! Jim Starlin!Batman #232 Cgc 9.0 White Pages 1st Appearance Of Ra's Al Ghul Key Issue! Incredible Hulk 271 Cgc 9.8 White 1st Rocket Raccoon *guardians Of The Galaxy*Fine To Very Fine Hulk Wolverine Set: #180, 181, 182, Cgc ThemAmazing Spider-man #129 Marvel -higher Grade- 1st App Jackal & The Punisher!Conan #1 Cgc 9.4 Ow--white Pages--no Reserve AuctionAmazing Spider-man #121 (1973 Marvel) Death Of Gwen Stacy No Reserve Cgc Pgx ItMarvel Preview #7 Nm/mt 9.8 First Appearance Rocket Raccoon! Guardians! Satana!The Amazing Spider-man #129 (feb 1974, Marvel)House Of Secrets #92 Cgc 8.5 White Pgs Sig Series Signed 2x 1st Swamp Thing!Incredible Hulk #181 P, Coverless, 1st Full Wolverine! Marvel Comics 1974Iron Man #55 Vg+ 4.5 First Appearance Thanos! Drax The Destroyer! Jim Starlin!Green Lantern #76 ('70) Cgc 7.5 Vf- Neal Adams Classic Key Book!The Incredible Hulk #181 (nov 1974, Marvel) No Mvs - First Wolverine AppearancePgx 9.4 X-men #101 Graded Like Cgc 1st Phoenix Marvel Comic Book Claremont NmMarvel Spotlight #5 - 1972 - "first Appearance Of Ghost Rider!" - High Grade!!!Marvel Preview 7 - 1st App Of Rocket Raccoon! Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Hot!Tomb Of Dracula #1 Cgc 9.6 Ow--white Pages--no Reserve AuctionMarvel The Incredible Hulk #181 Nov Comic Book! And Now The Wolverine!The Amazing Spider-man #121 Highly Graded Death Of Gwen Stacy Beautiful BookIncredible Hulk 180 First Appearance Wolverine Marvel 1974 X-men Value StampIron Fist #14 Cgc 9.2 No ReserveThe Incredible Hulk #271 (may 1982, Marvel)The Incredible Hulk #180, #181, #182 Lot The First Appearance Of WolverineDefenders #1 Cgc 9.4 Ow--white Pages--no Reserve AuctionCaptain America #117 (sep 1969, Marvel)/ Nm 9.4 To 9.6 1st Apperance Of FalconTomb Of Dracula #10 -near Mint Nm 9.2- 1st App Of Blade The Vampire SlayerAstonishing Tales #25 Cgc Ss 9.6 1st Deathlok Appearance Signed By Rich BucklerNew Teen Titans #2 First Deathstroke The Terminator. Nm! Spider-man #122 Uncirculated High Grade 9.6/9.8 General StoreStrange Tales#180/1975/1st Gamora/super Hot!/nm 9.2/high GradeUncanny X-men #141 Cgc 9.8 (nm/m) Wolverine/days Of Future Past! Green Lantern #87 - Gorgeous - 1st App John Stewart - Dc 1972Marvel Preview #7, 1st Rocket Raccoon/gotg, Super Hot, 1976Incredible Hulk 271 1st Rocket Raccoon Guardians Of The GalaxyWolverine Limited Series #1 Cgc 9.8 White Pages // 1st Solo Wolverine ComicDc Superman Action Comics 492 Page 16 Curt Swan Original Comic Art SignedAmazing Spider-man #194 Pgx 9.8 Se Wolfman Nm/mint 1st Black Cat News Stand Ed.Giant-size X-men #1 ([july] 1975, Marvel)Forever People 1 , Jimmy Olsen 134 & 135 -darkseid 1st Full App Lot - Super Hot Savage Tales #1 Higher Grade CopyTomb Of Dracula #1 Cgc 9.2 Ow/w First Dracula Neal Adams Cover Gene Colan ArtAmazing Spider-man #101, Cgc 8.0! 1st Morbius! Signed By Stan Lee/ White Pages1981 Marvel Comics X-men #141 Cgc 9.6 White Pages High Grade Claremont PhoenixThe Complete Thanos, 1973 To 1977 Including Iron Man 55, Cgc 5.0 Ghost Rider #1 Marvel 1973 -near Mint- 9.2 Nm - 1st App Of The Son Of Satan!!!The Amazing Spider-man #100 Cgc 9.2 (ow-w) 100th Anniversary Issue