10 Cringeworthy DC Bronze Age Covers

Comics in America entered the Bronze Age in 1970, sixteen years after the creation of the Comics Code Authority. By 1985, it was a time to push new boundaries. For all their groundbreaking work, DC Comics was a very different company in the 1970s. Many artists were trying to let their creativity run free, while others were more concerned with meeting deadlines and attracting attention as quickly as possible.

Related:The 10 most hideous DC covers from the 90s

Some of DC’s cover artists fell into the latter category, relying on demeaning characterizations or intense brutality to grab readers’ attention. Others, in an effort to innovate, produced questionable or distractingly silly cover art. These covers range from the deeply disturbing to the embarrassingly silly, and all have the potential to make today’s readers cringe.

Some entries in this list deal with sexism and racism

10 The lightning is bent

Jack Abel and Richard Buckler’s cover for The Flash #252 is a bit difficult to watch. The angle of Flash’s leg, stretched and bent beyond its breaking point, is reminiscent of funny paper antics in their disregard for physics. The combination of Bronze and Silver Age styling creates an eerie effect.

Adding to the cringe factor of this cover is a Superman Film Contest ad, promising readers a chance to star in the original Superman film with Christopher Reeve. These ads peppered all DC titles and distract from the full-page artwork on covers like this one. Two children out of the millions who bought and saw these ads reportedly won the contest.

9 Green Lantern and Green Arrow participate in a Crucifixion

Sometimes a cover catches a reader’s attention with subtlety, only hinting at compelling twists and riveting action to come. This isn’t one of those times. Neil Adams and Jack Adler’s cover for Green Lantern #89 The Green Arrow co-star is, in a word, harrowing.

Also See: 10 Marvel Comic Covers That Have Aged Badly

Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen fight in front of a crucified man in stylish white trousers. Featuring art by Adams and Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neil’s story sees an environmental activist suspended alongside the green heroes on a billion-dollar plane, just like on the cover. The story is dark, but the cover alone is enough to keep the reader paused.

8th Girls Love Stories Were not flattering

Jay Scott Pike’s cover for the latest issue of Girls Love Stories hits all the hallmarks of chilling Bronze Age romance comics. A blindfolded man kisses a woman while another weeps behind them. Next to the crying woman, a crowd laughs behind the kissing couple. It’s not a pleasant scene.

Released in 1973, the cover of Love Stories for Girls #180 illustrates the problems with stories intended for young women and produced exclusively by men. The series was originally published under DC’s first female employee, editor Zena Brody, who passed it on to her successors. After DC’s first ladies left the series, most of the covers before the end of the series depicted women as being totally dependent on men.

7 The shaggy man hits back

When a villain’s name appears on the cover, readers can expect a serious, high-stakes threat. The cover of the legendary George Perez for Justice League of America #186 exceeded those expectations with the unbridled silliness of The Shaggy Man. Admittedly, the human-beast spliced ​​by the salamander is an unkillable monster that poses a real threat to any living thing around it.

Even so, Shaggy Man is a notable departure from the popular villains of the era. It would be humiliating if Shaggy Man achieved what the Legion of Doom couldn’t and finally killed the Justice League after he’d already defeated them once. The Shaggy Man was far from a real threat given his silly name and former appearance.

6 Batman helped perpetuate racism

Brian Savage, the scalphunter, starred Strange western storieswhich began in 1977 and last appeared under the moniker in 2011. Discussions about racism, stereotypes and acceptance have always been an integral part of the character, as a white man raised by the Kiowa, his enemies demean him and make him feel like a stranger.

Also See: 10 DC Comics Covers That Have Aged Badly

Joe Orlando’s cover for The brave and the bold #171 reinforces these negative characterizations. The Scalphunter name is pathetic and offensive in itself, but it’s part of the story of DC Comics, a company that now strives for inclusivity. The character hasn’t been in print for a while, untold like a shameful secret.

5 Amazon helmets were stupid

The Bronze Age saw its share of suggestive material. Amid depictions of heroines bound or clinging to men in anger, Ernie Chan’s cover is for Wonder Woman #224 stands out. Wonder Woman is restrained by amazons, whose helmets leave much to the reader’s imagination.

Whether the heads of these amazons are unusually bulbous or the lobed design is purely cosmetic, it’s sure to be an original look. This design appears only in this edition. Written by Martin Pasko with illustrations by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta, the story is pretty serious, but those awkward helmets are distracting.

4 Predator does not respect personal space

The cover for Green Lantern #190, illustrated by Joe Staton, is uncomfortable even without context. John Stewart himself flinches at the touch of a man clad in metal, and the reader can’t help but empathize. The streak of blood on Stewart’s face and the masked man’s evil smile contrast with the typical space or action covers of this series.

Written by Steve Englehart, the story features pencils by Staton, inks by Bruce D. Patterson and colors by Anthony Tollin. In it, John Stewart battles Predator, the Avatar of Lust, with the help of the Star Sapphires. This cover, while deeply disturbing, is also exceptional for its accuracy in building the story within.

3 Flop Wanted readers to cringe

Flop should occupy the same space and thrive as the long-runners and successful ones MAD Magazine, while still complying with the Comics Code Authority. Due to the rules of the code against controversial art, the creative team decided to make the cover of each issue as disreputable as possible.

Also see: 10 Forgotten Superhero Satires to Remember

Issue #19 features a fellow named Smokin’ Sanford illustrated by Wally Wood. Sanford, like everyone else Flop Cover men, is completely naked, covered in bumps, and possesses a unique physiology. The banner below him praises his stale tobacco smoke and the songs he whistles through his trunk nose. Readers may feel the urge to look the other way, but rest assured, Sanford doesn’t mind.

2 Lobo had a terrible fashion sense but was still brutal

That omega men were a space team formed in the early ’80s to capitalize on the genre’s growing popularity. The cover of issue #3 by Keith Griffin and Mike DeCarlo is Lobo’s first appearance. The vicious villain taunts readers and dangles Kalista, a team member, from the front of his space bike.

This cover is suggestive and violent; fitting for Lobo’s introduction, but very uncomfortable to look at. The orange and gray sweater worn by Lobo along with his sleek hairstyle did not survive the Bronze Age, which is the best part. Between Lobo’s costume and the scene he causes, there are many chilling bits on this cover.

1 Superman is a super crawler

With over a thousand issues since the series began in 1939, action comics has many covers, and they can’t all be winners. Bob Oskner’s cover art for Action Comics #457 is particularly repulsive. Superman undresses, his hat hanging at the foot of the bed, while a child looks at him in obvious distress.

If the child’s tears aren’t enough to make readers cringe, Superman’s silence certainly is. Clark Kent has always been known for his quick changes, but this case makes that habit seem downright creepy. The child in the scene asks who the man in her room is, claiming that this is her last wish.

Next: 10 Cringeworthy Marvel Bronze Age Covers

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