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    

Giant Size X-men # 1 Cgc 9.8 Ow/white Pgs, 1st New X-men, Highest Graded! 1974 "the Incredible Hulk" 181 Comic Book - 1st Appearance Of WolverineIron Man #55 Bronze Age 1st Thanos Drax Mentor Starfox Huge Key Wow Werewolf By Night 32,f Marvel Spotlight 32,f Moon Knight 1-38, Vf Bill S. ArtIron Man #55 Cgc 9.8 Highest Graded Top Copy Key 1st App Thanos-guardians GalaxyThe Incredible Hulk # 181 Pgx 8.0 White Pages Comic Book Graded SweetMarvel Comics Hulk #181 1st Appearance Wolverine!!! Marvel Stamp In Tact! Wolverine Limited Series #1 Cgc 9.8 White Pages // 1st Solo Wolverine ComicThe Amazing Spider Man 129 First Apperance Of The Punisher OriginalWerewolf By Night #32 G/vg 1st Appearance Of Moon Knight Classic Bronze Age KeyMs. Marvel #1 ('77) Cgc 9.6 Nm+ White Pgs - 1st App Ms. Marvel High GradeIncredible Hulk #181 Cgc Qualified 5.0 Off-white Pages Bronze Age 1st WolverineHigh Grade Marvel Bronze Age Comic Collection Lot X-men 94 Amazing Spiderman 121Marvel Silver Bronze Age Comic Collection Lot Avengers X-men Amazing Spider-manThe Amazing Spider-man # 121 Graded 5.5 And Signed / Autographed By Stan Lee Marvel Preview 4 Cgc 9.8 Nm/mint 1st Starlord Guardians Galaxy Noreserve 6 7 271Incredible Hulk 181 Cgc Fine - 5.5 Blue Label First Appearance Of WolverineGiant Size X-men # 1 1st Appearance Of The New X-menThe Incredible Hulk #271 (may 1982, Marvel) Cgc 9.8 1st Rocket Raccoon In ComicsIron Fist #14 Cgc 7.0. Ow To WGiant-size X-men #1 Marvel 1975 -higher Grade- 1st App New Xmen - 2nd Wolverine!Marvel Super-heroes #18 "1969". 1st App. Guardians Of The Galaxy! Pgx 9.0Amazing Spiderman 121 Vf Death Of Gwen Stacy Vibrant Comic Key Asm Green GoblinThe Amazing Spider-man #129 (feb 1974, Marvel. Good To Fine First PunisherThe Incredible Hulk #180, 181, 182Incredible Hulk 180 Cgc 9.4 Nm Near Mint White Pages 1st App Wolverine CameoBatman With Robin #232 Comic Book 1st Ra's Al Ghul Neal Adams 1971 VgMarvel Preview #7 1st App Rocket Raccoon! Guardians Of Galaxy Movie! Vf 8.5 RareBatman #232 Dc 1971 -near Mint- 9.0 Nm - 1st App Ra's Al Ghul - Origin Of BatmanGiant-size X-men 1 Good First Apperance New X-menConan The Barbarian #1, Marvel, 1970, Cgc 9.8 Nm/m, White Pages, Highest Graded!Incredible Hulk 271 1st Rocket Raccoon Marvel Guardians Of The Galaxy Hot Item!Amazing Spider-man # 129 (1974) Cgc 9.2 White Pages 1st Punisher AppearanceCerebus #1 1977 Cgc 8.0 Ow/w 1st Cerebus Appearance By Dave Sim No Reserve!!!Nova #1 Near Mint + 9.6 Cgc 1st Appear. Of Nova (1976) Guardians Of Galaxy Film?Invincible Iron Man #55 1st App Thanos! Fine ConditionMarvel Spotlight #5 (aug 1972) First App Ghost Rider Fn/fn+Incredible Hulk 180 First Cameo Appearance Wolverine 1974 X-men Mvs IntactIncredible Hulk 181 - First Full Wolverine StoryX-men #94 Marvel 1975 - Start Of All The New Xmen - Wolverine, Colossus & More!Amazing Spider-man 122 Cgc 9.4 Nm Near Mint "death" Of Green Goblin Marvel 1973Amazing Spider-man #129 - The Punisher - 1974 (grade 5.5) WhMarvel Premiere 3 Cgc 9.0 White Pages 1st Doctor Strange Bronze Age! X-men MovieStar Wars #1 Cgc Graded 9.2 Beautiful! White Pages New Movie Release Hot!Marvel Spotlight 5 - Cgc 8.5 1st Appearance Ghost RiderAmazing Spider-man #121 Death Of Gwen Stacy! Great Condition! See Pictures!Amazing Spider-man #121 - Death Of Gwen Stacy - 1973 (grade 3.0) WhAmazing Spider-man # 129 - 1st Punisher Fine Cond.Iron Fist 14 Cgc 9.6 Nm+ White Pages Marvel 1977 1st Appearance Of Sabre ToothMarvel Preview #4 Cgc 7.5 Origin & 1st Appearance Of Star LordGiant-size X-men 1 - First Appearance New X-menX-men 94 Signed Stan Lee (w/coa)Fantastic Four #112 Cgc 9.0 White Pgs Signature Series Signed By Stan Lee Hulk!Star Wars #1 Pgx 9.8 Nm/mint 1st Print Super Hot New Movie Out Soon (like Cgc)Marvel Preview #4 (jan 1976, Marvel) 1st App Star-lord Guardians Of The Galaxy Amazing Spider-man #122 Cgc 9.4 Nm UniversalStar Wars #1, Cgc Graded 9.6, Nice CaseAmazing Spider-man #122 Death Of The Green Goblin! Great Condition! See Pics!Marvel Preview #4 Cgc 9.4 1st Starlord Plus Bonus Issue!Giant-size X-men #1 ([july] 1975, Marvel) Cgc 4.0 Signed By Stan Lee