Updated on 16 October, 2021
The Bronze Age of Comic Books was an informal designation for a historical period within the history of American comic books, typically said to occur between 1970 and 1984. It overlaps the Silver Age of Comic Books as well as the Modern Age of Comic Books. Thus, comics produced in this era tend to be significantly more sparse in comparison to most modern comics. Although this was not intentional on the part of the publishers, it has led to a number of unique comic book issues, particularly because there were not as many ongoing titles at the time.
For example, while the majority of comic books published during this time tended to be stand alone titles, there was a tendency toward a greater use of ongoing series. There was also a shift towards working within the comic book as a magazine format, rather than a traditional graphic novel format. While the Golden Age had given way to the Silver Age of Comic Books, the Bronze Age represented a new start. The type of comics being published during this era included both long and short comic strips as well as single issue publications.
Though this was a relatively late period within American comic book history, it is considered to be one of the most influential. The covers of some of these comic books bear resemblance to classic works of art such as the Mona Lisa painting. Additionally, there was a realignment of publishing methods at this time. For example, while many publishers would produce monthly magazines, others moved towards a magazine format where comics appeared throughout the year.
Early in this era, a number of iconic characters emerged. These would become some of the most beloved comic book titles of all time. They included Iron Man, Batman, Superman, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men, The Hulk, and the Justice League. Additionally, there was a popular television series starring many of these same characters as well as a popular movie franchise known as The Dark Knight.
One of the earliest Bronze Age comic characters was the Amazing Spider-Man. Peter Parker/Spider-Man first made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #1. He was a teenager who happened to be bitten by a spider. Although he was bitten, he managed to keep his identity a secret for quite some time before revealing himself to the public.
In addition to Amazing Spider-Man, there was another comic book sensation during this time period that introduced the concept of dual feature characters. Two characters could be featured in one comic book, but in different issues. This has come to be a popular format with modern comic books. It was also common to see two or more different personalities featured in a single comic book. For instance, in Wonder Woman's first appearances she was shown as a pregnant woman and also as the Amazonian Amazon.
In terms of villains, the villain known as the "shocker" made his comic book debut in the third issue of the Amazing Spider-Man. The character of the "shocker" was a deformity that had developed in Peter Parker's brain after he had been bitten by a radioactive spider. The character of the "shocker" was a criminal known as the "shaker" who worked underneath the city of New York City. The "shaker" used his control over electricity to cause accidents and mass panic. Several incidents of crime occurred during the height of the "shocker" menace when the comic books code was broken allowing the criminal to escape.
In the beginning of the next issue of the Amazing Spider-Man, the masked crusader faced a foe that was a member of the Symbiotes. The villain was defeated only after the life of Spider-Man was changed. The death of the previous masked crusader prompted a new Teen Titan named Peter Parker to become the new Spider-Man while the masked crusader was given a new identity as the recently deceased Peter Parker.