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]

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    

The Incredible Hulk #181 (nov 1974, Marvel) 1st Wolverine, Cgc 9.0 UnrestoredThe Incredible Hulk #181 (marvel - Nov/1974)1st App Wolverine Huge Key!!!Amazing Spider-man 129 Cgc 8.5 Vf+ | Marvel 1974 | 1st PunisherStar Wars #1 Marvel Comics 1977 Comic Book Cgc 9.8 Signed By Stan Lee AutoIncredible Hulk 181 Cgc 7.5 Vf | Marvel 1974 | 1st WolverineAmazing Spider-man #129 February 1974 Unread 1st Appearance PunisherIron Man 55 Cgc 8.5 Vf+ | Marvel 1973 | 1st Thanos, Drax, Starfox, KronosStar Wars #3 Marvel Comics 1977 Comic Book 35 Cent Price Variant Cgc 9.2 Incredible Hulk 181 Cgc 4.5 Vg+ | Marvel 1974 | 1st WolverineIncredible Hulk #181 Cgc 8.5 Restored Grade First Appearance Wolverine Amazing!!Star Wars #2 Marvel Comics 1977 Comic Book 35 Cent Price Variant Cgc 9.2 Amazing Spider-man 129 Punisher First Appearance 5.0 GradeGiant Size X-men #1 Near Perfect High Grade 1st App Storm Colossus NightcrawlerNew Mutants # 98 - (nm+) - 1st Appearance Of Deadpool -white Pages -high Grade X-men #101 Cgc 9.8 Ss Stan Lee Signed Origin And 1st App Of Phoenix, Jean Grey.Iron Man 55 Cgc 9.4 Nm | Marvel 1973 | 1st Thanos, Drax, Starfox, KronosWerewolf By Night Comic #32 Cgc 2.5 1st Appearance & Origin Of Moon Knight Key!Giant-size X-men #1 1975 Marvel 1st App Nightcrawler Storm Colossus ThunderbirdAmazing Spider-man #129 February 1974 Unread 1st Appearance Punisher GlossyIron Man #55 1st Thanos, Drax Cgc 7.5 (vf-) Avengers: Infinity War Coming!Amazing Spider-man #129 Feb 1974 1st Appearance The PunisherHero For Hire #1 Cgc 9.0 W. Origin & 1st App Luke Cage. 1st App DiamondbackWolverine Frank Miller Limited Series #1 - 4 Cgc 9.8 (1982) Newly Graded(#2 9.4)Amazing Spider-man 129 1st Punisher Cbcs Graded 8.5 Or Very Fine+- - No RestornAmazing Spider-man #121 Cgc 8.5 Beauty Bronze Key Green Goblin Death Gwen Stacy!Invincible Iron Man Comic 55 Marvel 1st App Thanos Drax Movie Key Avengers CgcThe Amazing Spider-man #129 (feb 1974, Marvel)Marvel Spotlight #5 (aug. 1972, Marvel) 1st Appearance Ghost Rider, CbcsThe X-men #100 Cgc 9.8 Ss Stan Lee Signed 1st Print Old Vs New, Key Like 94The Joker (1975) #1 Cgc 9.8 Nm! First Bronze Age Issue! Beautiful Color! BatmanMarvel Spotlight #5 (1972) Cgc 8.5 Vf+ 1st First App. Of Ghost Rider - White PgsThe Incredible Hulk #181 (nov 1974, Marvel)Amazing Spider-man #101 Cgc 9.4 White Pages 1st Morbius Very Rare In GradeAmazing Spider-man #121 -higher Grade- Marvel 1973 - Death Of Gwen Stacy!Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 Vol 1 Near Perfect High Grade 1st App DarkseidBatman #232 (1971) 1st Ra's Al Ghul Cgc 5.5 Dc ComicsMarvel Comics X-men #101Iron Fist #14 - 1977 Bronze Age First Appearance Of Sabretooth - X-men WolverineThe Amazing Spider-man #129 (february 1974) Cgc Graded 7.0 - Punisher & JackalAmazing Spider-man 121 Cgc 9.0 Vf/nm | Marvel 1973 | Death Of Gwen StacyIncredible Hulk #181 Vol 1 Very Nice Mid Grade 1st App Of Wolverine Missing MvsAmazing Spider-man ( 1963 1st Series)#129 Cgc 9.0 0286188002 1st App PunisherNew Teen Titans #2 Cgc 9.8 1st Appearance Of Deathstroke The TerminatorMarvel Spotlight #32 Cgc 9.6 Nm+ 1st Spider-woman! Hot Book! No Reserve!Giant Size X-men 1 (1975) 1st Appearance Modern X-men Grade 7.0 F/vfX-men #94 Vol 1 Near Perfect High Grade 2nd Appearance Of The New Team 1975Marvel Spotlight #5 Vol 1 Super High Grade 1st Appearance Of The Ghost RiderMarvel Spotlight #5 1st Ghost Rider Fine (6.0) Or Better Agents Of ShieldMarvel Spotlight #5 Nm 9.4 High Grade Marvel Comic Key 1st Ghost Rider Hot 20cLot Of 10 Copies Of Shazam #1 First Issue Dc 1973 High Grade Hot Book Movie SoonThe Incredible Hulk #181 (nov 1974, Marvel) First Wolverine ComicX-men 94 New X-men Begin. 2nd Appearance Of Nightcrawler, StormX-men 94 Vg 4.0 * 1 Book Lot * 2nd New X-men!!!X-men #94 Marvel 1975 - 2nd App(s) Of Colossus & Storm - 3rd App Of Wolverine!!!X Men #134 Cgc 9.8 Nm/mt 1st Dark PhoenixIncredible Hulk # 181 W/ Marvel Stamp - 1st Full Appearance Of The Wolverine Giant-size X-men #1 ([july] 1975, Marvel) No ReserveIron Man #55 Cgc 2.5 First Appearance Of Thanos And DraxThe Amazing Spider Man # 129 1st Punisher Appearance Feb 1974 Marvel Comics The Amazing Spider-man #100 "1971". Pgx Graded Near Mint 9.4 With White Pages!