Tuesday, May 17, 2011


As a child of the 70's and 80's, comic books were a huge part of my formative years, I was introduced to them with the late 70's Marvel Comics adaptation of Star Wars, and then became a junky, for various Marvel books and 80's indies (mostly), til I gave up the habbit in the mid 80's. I got back into comics in the mid 90's, but through it all, I was never too keen on the books from the era just before I started reading, books of the 70's, known as "the bronze age".

The bronze age is kind of a mostly forgotten era that saw the proliferation of horror and exploitation genre books, that saw limited staying power and few notable new properties... whereas the precursors to it, the golden and silver age, bore most every major popular character and property, and the modern era, of the 1980's and 90's that followed it, saw the indie revolution and many other movements still popular today. That, and the fact that the bronze era was filthy in kitschy, more or less simplistic, and often formulaic craft. They were simpler times, post creation of the comics code, but prior to the comic shop movement (and subsequent focus on more mature material), when by and large, comics were created for kids. However, it was an odd marriage in that the material of the age had a burgeoning matureness to it, both in the creators that had grown up with comics as fans first, and so brought new sensibilities and ideas to them, and again with the wild and crazy content that was rampant.

To an outsider coming in at the tail end of that, and following the birth of the indie and mature comics movement, it was easy to look at those books as sophomoric and pointless (not to mention I'm a big fan of art, and the 80's saw an explosion of new talent and more contemporary influences, like European and Japanese styles, along with animation... and 70's comics were sorely lacking in transcendent artists). So I never really gave them any attention. Now though, as I get older and gravitate towards things from my formative era, out of nostalgia and cool appeal, these books have become a treasure trove of undiscovered fun and charm, that modern books are hard pressed to compare to.

So, I've started to pick up stacks of these bruised and battered, torn and tattered, aged and decomposing pulp pamphlets. I'm in love.

They're colorful, full of over the top characters, with anything goes stories, and so much a part of the era... the clothes, the slang, the ideas.
Super-Villain Team-ups, kung-fu, barbarians, sci-fi, were-men, man-things, sorceresses, cyborgs, dinosaurs, and more monsters than you can shake a stick at!
They're just plain fun.

So, I thought it would be a perfect thing to blog and share, as I dig into some of these amazing books I've brought home, with this new feature, BRONZED BEAUTIES.

I'll set up some criteria that fit these books, and grade various ones on these different facets of what makes the bronze age stuff so damn cool!
(I just want to fill a room with them, soak in their essence, and then remix it for the 21st century... see Pulp Girls)

Tune in tomorrow for our first review... THE HUMAN FLY number 9 from May of 1978!!


Javier Hernandez said...

What a treasure trove of comics ya got there, man!

You're right about the 'anything goes' mentality of the era. There was a frantic mad rush to put out every type of book: Horror, war, superheroes and tie-ins for toys and movies galore! Talking ducks, human flies and things that go bump in the swamp...It's all here, heroes!

BRONZE AGE BEAUTIES is a jealousy-inducting title, Mr. Martin. I look forward to reading these posts....

Jason Martin said...

Sweet Jav, thanks for the words!

Look forward to your thoughts on the first book ;)