Suggestions for/Where to start with Silver/Bronze Age

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Hey all. Okay, so I know this is one of those potentially annoying questions, so please ignore if you find it raises hackles with it's lack of focus, but I am sincerely looking for good places to start with the classics and/or personal short/long run faves. Dunno why, but I find it pretty daunting and some ways in would be appreciated. Open to anything except Army or Western Themes.

2012 The Year We Made Content (MaresNest), Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:10 (six years ago) Permalink

the silver surfer phonebook-y collection was good bathroom reading.

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:13 (six years ago) Permalink

Ditko/Lee's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - the first thirty-something issues, before Ditko leaves. The first few issues are a little wonky but soon enough it hits this nice nervy neurotic groove - Christ, give Peter a break. The Lee/Romita work afterward is probably fine, but I haven't really cottoned to it yet.

"Twinkies" en espanol is still "Twinkies"! No reason to panic. (R Baez), Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:23 (six years ago) Permalink

As far as Marvel, the classic Fantastic Four is as good as people say. Pick up around Joe Sinnott joining as inker (around #40 or something) and enjoy the next five years. The Silver Surfer Philip mentions is also great. I also recommend the Ditko-era Doctor Strange stories, and I like the Roy Thomas-penned Avengers, though they haven't aged particularly well. IF you want to read Silver Age Marvel almost all of it is available through the Marvel Digital Comics Online subscription.

I don't know DC Silver Age very well but I love the Ramona Fradon illustrated Metamorpho stories, though I freely admit they're not for everybody.

EZ Snappin, Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:27 (six years ago) Permalink

MIGHTY THOR #133 by Kirby/Lee (natch) - I really need to get on the ball with early THOR, but god, this may be one of the more perfect superhero comics ever; a dose of the pure stuff. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

"Twinkies" en espanol is still "Twinkies"! No reason to panic. (R Baez), Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:32 (six years ago) Permalink

When did Kirby start doing the TALES OF ASGARD backup stories? Those are great, too.

EZ Snappin, Sunday, 18 November 2012 20:33 (six years ago) Permalink

Starting in JiM #97

WilliamC, Sunday, 18 November 2012 21:18 (six years ago) Permalink

For truly demented silver age fun, the Arnold Drake DOOM PATROL (available complete in two big Showcase phonebooks)

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Monday, 19 November 2012 01:01 (six years ago) Permalink

I'll happily Mr. Morrison there.

What percentage of my speech is meaningful? (R Baez), Monday, 19 November 2012 01:03 (six years ago) Permalink

"I'll happily *second* Mr. Morrison there." Typed too fast or something.

What percentage of my speech is meaningful? (R Baez), Monday, 19 November 2012 01:20 (six years ago) Permalink


- Fantastic Four #1-101 by Lee and Kirby. The foundational text of 'the Marvel Universe'.
- Amazing Spiderman #1-90 by Lee, Ditko, Romita and others. The ultimate expression of Stan's 'superheroes with problems' schtick.
- Journey Into Mystery/Thor #83-125, #126-179 by Lee and Kirby. Cosmic mythology that points the way to Kirby's 70s work.
- Nick Fury, Agent of Shield (Strange Tales #151-168, #1-3, #5) by Steranko. The closest thing to a pop-art/op-art Marvel Comic.
- The Avengers #1-97 by Lee, Kirby, Thomas, Buscema, Heck, Adams and others.
- The 'Superman Family' of titles edited by Mort Weisinger from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s. As far as DC goes, these comics (including Action, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and the Legion of Superheroes) have, imho, held up better than the rather dull Julius Schwartz-edited titles like the Atom, Green Lantern, Justice League etc - but ymmv.
- The Charlton Comics Heroes (The Blue Beetle, The Question etc) by Steve Ditko and others. The brief period when Dick Giordano was editing a superhero line for the second-string Charlton was one of the high points of the late silver age, with great work from writers like Steve Skeates and Denny O'Neil (aka Sergius O'Shaunnessy) and artists like Pat Boyette, Jim Aparo, Giordano himself and of course Ditko, clearly enjoying himself away from Stan Lee's heavy editorial hand. The Thunder Agents comics, published at around the same, feature similarly great artwork by people like Wally Wood and Gil Kane, although on the whole the scripts are pretty blah.

Bronze Age requires a bit more 'thought', will get back to you

Ward Fowler, Monday, 19 November 2012 10:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Thanks so much, y'all are very kind.

2012 The Year We Made Content (MaresNest), Monday, 19 November 2012 10:33 (six years ago) Permalink

Bronze Age? HOWARD THE DUCK, DEFENDERS and MAN-THING omnibii/Essentials, natch.

Matt M., Friday, 23 November 2012 20:50 (six years ago) Permalink

Ditko Doctor Strange forever and ever and ever. That's an epiphany I have every few months.

What percentage of my speech is meaningful? (R Baez), Sunday, 2 December 2012 17:18 (six years ago) Permalink

re: Bronze Age: Tomb of Dracula is worth tracking down, there are 3 "essentials" volumes that comprise the series (in black-and-white but it works great in B&W unlike some of the other comics catalogued in those sets)

it just might not jive with you (fadanuf4erybody), Monday, 3 December 2012 08:53 (six years ago) Permalink

Seconded. To be honest, most bronze age works suffers without even flat coloring. Colan's work on DRACULA is a big exception.

Matt M., Wednesday, 5 December 2012 17:44 (six years ago) Permalink

I've been reading through a few series from the start via Marvel Essentials over the past few years and I got a few titles up into the bronze age.

Gerry Conway/Ross Andru run on Amazing Spider-man was really pretty good, definitely better than Stan's last couple years on the title. This would be near the end of ASM Essential #4 and all of #5 & 6. The stories are fun and pretty key to the whole Spider-man mythos, but I really came away that Ross Andru was quite a good artist and a bit slept on compared to some of this contempories. Andru used some really interesting perspective and was really good at creating panels playing off that this was a super hero swinging on a line. Andru also has a really thick and dark line with very good detail that looks really good in black and white.

Steve Englehart's runs on The Avengers and Captain America are also fun reads. I also like his Dr. Strange which had some really good artists in the run. He also was the writer on The Defenders before Steve Gerber.

The Conan comics are also really good for the time. Dark Horse has compiled the Savage Sword of Conan into phonebooks, some issues of which have some flat out awesome artwork. The regular Conan title is reprinted with modern coloring, which at times is a bit much, but I think most of the original Roy Thomas wrote run is quite fun reading and usually has great artwork. Over the run of the two 70s Conan titles, I think pretty much all of the good inkers at Marvel got a shot at working on John Buscema pencils (including not your usual Marvel mainstays like Dick Giordano) and it is interesting to see how each was different and unique.

The first Essential Marvel Two-In-One is a whole lot of fun reading too, especially some of the issues Steve Gerber wrote. The Thing is such a cool and fun character in those comics, it's easy to see why he was one of the more popular characters of the 70s.

earlnash, Wednesday, 5 December 2012 23:54 (six years ago) Permalink

My cousin bequeathed me what I think was the entire run of Marvel Two-In-One, I remember loving them as a kid. I'll always have a massive soft spot for Ben Grimm. No idea where the comics are now, possible my folks gave them to charity while I was at uni.

I wish to incorporate disco into my small business (chap), Thursday, 6 December 2012 01:39 (six years ago) Permalink

Englehart's run on DR. STRANGE is underrated (though it got oddly truncated with Marv Wolfman stepping in and deflating it a bit, but then Jim Starlin comes in and goes SUPERCOSMIC with it.) That's in I think V.3 of the collected DR. STRANGE ESSENTIALS and is well worth your time. Ben Franklin macks on Clea! The universe comes to an end! Dr. Strange becomes a warthog! EVERYONE WAS ON A LOT OF GOOD DRUGS.

Matt M., Tuesday, 11 December 2012 16:27 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, those issues are great - sort've like a cosmic tour of America - lovely Colan/Palmer art, too

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 16:39 (six years ago) Permalink

I sort of want to read all the 70s Englehart. Incentive to get an iPad and one of those marvel digital subscription thingies.

the clown's reflection is incorrect (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:16 (six years ago) Permalink

Sadly, much of 70s Englehart is not on MDCU. :(

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:20 (six years ago) Permalink

Englehart in the 70s is one of the reasons I'm such a marvel zombie. Great runs on Avengers, Cap and Dr. Strange.

WilliamC, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:22 (six years ago) Permalink

have they done his Cap run in the Essentials yet?

the clown's reflection is incorrect (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:30 (six years ago) Permalink

oh yeah, they're past the kirby issues by now (i think they've even caught up with the few bizarre issues written by steve gerber)

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:34 (six years ago) Permalink

Starting in with FF and Dr Strange...!

MaresNest, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:36 (six years ago) Permalink

ward, do you happen to know which Essential Cap volume starts the Englehart run?

the clown's reflection is incorrect (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:42 (six years ago) Permalink

Jon, I'm pretty sure it's volume 3 but will check when I'm at home

Have always found this a useful site for this kind of stuff:

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 17:00 (six years ago) Permalink

He started with #153, so you'll get about 4 issues of it in Essential v.3 and the rest of it in v.4, which goes through #186, which is right where his run ended. After that there were a few extremely weird issues written by a guy named John Warner (not much of a career in comics afaict) and drawn by Frank Robbins, before Kirby came back to Marvel. I hated Robbins' art at the time, but have come around on his dynamism since then.

WilliamC, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 17:08 (six years ago) Permalink

Warner wrote a lot of stuff for Gold Key, and a few bits and pieces for Marvel. Quite an interesting writer at times.

LOVE Frank Robbins, tho' like many other Marvel artists of the period he often suffered wretched Colletta inking, which dampened down his twisted energy considerably. Frank Springer was a much better match.

Just after the Englehart run there's a great one-off issue of Cap written by Marv Wolfman, drawn by Robbins and inked by Kirby associate D. Bruce Berry, that's set aboard a plane.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 17:34 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, gd blog

Here's a bronze age list, fwiw. I've tended to favour comics that are easily available in collections. Periodisation is of course difficult, but for my purposes i've defined the bronze age as beginning w/ Kirby's departure for DC, and ending with Kirby rejoining Marvel, plus the rise of The New X-Men, which under Claremont and Byrne in particular ushered in a new form of mainstream comics that decisively broke with the hippy hangover/psychedelic/counter-cultural classic 70s Marvels that i especially adore.

*New Gods, Forever People, Mr Miracle, Jimmy Olsen, The Losers in Our Fighting Forces, Omac, The Demon, Captain America, The Eternals all by Jack Kirby (p much all Kirby is ESSENTIAL)

*Howard the Duck, the Defenders, Man-Thing all written by Steve Gerber (one of the greatest comic writers of all time, at the very top of his game)

*Killraven by Don McGregor and P Craig Russell, Jungle Action featuring Black Panther by Don McGregor and Billy Graham, Power Man by Don McGregor (it is a fact of life that comics were generally more wordy in the 1970s, and McGregor was the wordiest of them all - so much so that Steve Englehart actually took the piss out of the way McGregor wrote the Black Panther in an issue of The Avengers. But McGregor was extremely sincere, and extremely dedicated, and his best comics have a kind of intensity to them that is quite unique. Sample before buying, maybe, but def check em out)

*The Avengers, Captain America and Doctor Strange by Steve Englehart (Whatever titles he worked on, Steve Englehart never seemed to hack things out, and given enough time he could build really involving long storylines. He was not always well served by his artists at Marvel, particularly on The Avengers - but his very best comics, a definitive version of Batman in a short run on Detective Comics closer to the end of the 1970s, had truly fantastic artwork by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin.)

*Warlock by Jim Starlin (the ultimate 'cosmic' comic book - i especially love the issues featuring the Magus, a purple-afroed 'negative' version of Warlock.)

*Tomb of Dracula by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

*The Hulk by Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe and John Severin

The Amazing Spider-Man by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru (in particular the long Jackal storyline that introduced The Punisher...and the Spidey-Mobile...)

*Conan by Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema and others, plus at least the first twenty issues or so of The Savage Sword of Conan black and white magazine, if only to appreciate Alfredo Alcala's insanely overworked rendering onto top of Buscema's typically refined pencilling eg

*Swamp Thing by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson

*The Shadow by Denny O'Neil and Mike Kaluta

*Superman by Denny O'Neil, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson (the first conscious Superman 'reboot', collected in the graphic novel Kryptonite Nevermore)

*Shade the Changing Man by Steve Ditko and
*Stalker by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood - an underrated, and self-contained, short sword and sorcery series with some very lovely artwork)

that shld be enough to be getting on w/!

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 22:24 (six years ago) Permalink

had no idea Alcala was on Conan... I should really get one of those compendiums

If I was a carpenter, and you were a douchebag (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 12 December 2012 22:33 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I was subscribing to Savage Sword back in those days -- Buscema/Alcala was an amazing pairing. I used to practice his hatching and crosshatching techniques with a ballpoint pen, page after page.

There was some really cool stuff in the Marvel B&W mags...Moench's Rampaging Hulk was very good, in a "Hulk: Year One" setting when he still had some of his brain cells and language skills.

WilliamC, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 23:15 (six years ago) Permalink

You want to compare inkers of that time, those 70s Conan comics are the way to do it, as you have many of the better guys working with John Buscema. Since they are with the same penciler, you can really see the differences in their style. I know at least all these off the top of my head worked on issues. Oddly, I don't think Tom Palmer who did a ton of inking on Buscema on the Avengers did any Conan that I can recall (as he was in the middle of the big run with Gene Colan on Tomb of Dracula).

Ernie Chan (aka Chua)
Sal Buscema
John Buscema on his own pencils
Joe Sinnott (which didn't happen very much)
Dick Giordano
Neal Adams (& many hands)
Tony DeZuniga
Alfredo Alcala

I think that particular Buscema/Alcala story might be in Savage Sword vol.1 along with all of the early Barry Windsor-Smith stuff he did in SSofC. I'd say "Red Nails" and "The Frost Giant's Daughter" are some of my favorite comic artwork and I think would be in a list with some of the best Marvel ever put out.

earlnash, Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00 (six years ago) Permalink

I had no idea Englehart wrote the first post-Kirby reboot of Mister Miracle. how weird.

If I was a carpenter, and you were a douchebag (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 14 December 2012 23:36 (six years ago) Permalink

is Night Force worth reading?

I am oddly fascinated by the Baron Winters concept for some reason

If I was a carpenter, and you were a douchebag (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 18 December 2012 20:50 (six years ago) Permalink

haven't read Night Force since it first came out, but yeah, my memory is that it's pretty good - though i don't think it comes to any satisfying resolution

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 18 December 2012 21:38 (six years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

Five years on and I'm still working the angles on what I like and don't like from these eras, I still refer back to this thread every now and again but I'm very much in DC mode right now.

Made the error of visiting Forbidden Planet as I've been freelancing down the road from there and lit upon the shelves full of DC Gold/Silver/Bronze Age Omnibus volumes, boy are they handsome. so I caved and picked up the Doom Patrol and Adam Strange ones. I already have my eye on some more, yay financial ruin!

MaresNest, Monday, 5 February 2018 14:45 (one year ago) Permalink

The only old school DC omnibus I've bought is the recent Swamp Thing volume, which in typical DC fashion collects almost but not quite everything pre-Moore (the early ST appearances outside of the main title would've been nice to have, but I'm mostly just irritated that they omitted the first Moore issue, which the Moore trades also did). I want to start picking up the new series of silver age LoSH hardcovers they're issuing...except that there's a gap between the last LoSH Showcase volume and the first of the new HCs which is only filled by a long out-of-print and stupid expensive Archive edition. Oh, DC.

How does boy sound like? (Old Lunch), Monday, 5 February 2018 14:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Is there any reason why some of those DC Archive hardbacks are really expensive and some aren't?

I picked up 4 for £35 on eBay recently (Superman, Dark Knight, Batman) and I really want Challengers of the Unknown Vol.2 but it's like £80.

MaresNest, Monday, 5 February 2018 15:19 (one year ago) Permalink

No idea. There's inevitably like one or two volumes of any Marvel/DC reprint series (among others...looking at you, that one ridiculously overpriced Krazy Kat collection) which go OOP and make completing the collection a pain in the ass. I'm at the point where I try to pick up new reprints (at least with, say, Masterworks and Omnibi) within six months or so of when they're published to avoid getting burned by that nonsense.

How does boy sound like? (Old Lunch), Monday, 5 February 2018 15:27 (one year ago) Permalink

DC and Marvel are both bad where some big collection in a series will go out of print, yet this volume is not available and used market are crazy expensive. There are plenty of Omnibuses or series books like this in both their catalog and in some ways Marvel is worse about it as they don't have the back list warehousing like DC, which has kept many, many collections always in print.

Marvel has had much better luck getting the greater proportion of the old 60s-70s super hero stuff in reprint at least once, but they never stay in print. DC's reprint on books is madly inconsistent, but on some later modern series like Vertigo and others, they have been a big part of the the whole trade reprint business existing. Those series trades are why there is that kind of business now, as they kept popular series in print comic back lists going.

earlnash, Monday, 5 February 2018 22:26 (one year ago) Permalink

As a reader, the one that is out of print and insanely priced used is Essential Thor Vol. 4. That thing must have had a short first print run and it never has been reprinted, yet volumes before it and after it got a second print. The goofy thing has been going for like $80+ used for probably 5 or 6 years. Don't know if many are being sold at it, but it's one of the few Essentials that I don't have.

And worse on it is the Thor that it's kind of been reprinted around in color too. I think with the last Thor Omnibus that came out finally got it out as the Masterworks was two copies, one of which was also out of print and crazy expensive.

earlnash, Monday, 5 February 2018 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Keep an eye out for the Epic collections. The lack of rationale behind the order of their release is a little maddening, but they do seem committed to getting most of their main titles reprinted in full. Although that might mean waiting five years for them to get around to the volume(s) you're looking for. But I know the Black Panther Essential volume was another that became prohibitively expensive and they've already Epic-ized that material.

How does boy sound like? (Old Lunch), Monday, 5 February 2018 22:56 (one year ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.