The 1970s was an amazing time for countless comic book creators and characters. Instant-classic characters created in the ‘60s were hitting their heyday and the ideas of comic book art were slowly expanding to encompass new styles. In addition, some of the all-time greats of the medium were getting their chance to shine.
It was during this time when Marvel Comics produced many of its most classic stories and DC Comics took major steps away from their extremely campy style that took up much of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The best comic books of the 1970s are just as well known for their plots as they are for their art. It was here that stories such as “The Death of Gwen Stacy,” “The Phoenix Saga,” and “The Fourth World” began. Not only that, but characters like The Punisher, Ghost Rider, and even Howard the Duck made their debut. Fresh ideas, new creators, and colorful new characters always inject more exciting opportunities in comic books, and this era was chock full of them.
There’s a certain blend between the more realistic and detailed style brought by many artists and the colorful and bombastic cartoonish ideas in the 1970s that results in countless images that are quintessential comic books. The art produced here would go on to influence countless artists and styles in the years to follow. As artists grew and expanded the style, the medium would only go on to be more diverse and artistically explosive. But the comics off the ‘70s are still incredibly fun.
For a rundown of the best comic book covers from the ‘60s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s, check out The Best Comic Book Covers by Decade.
25. The Defenders #10 by John Romita, Sr.
The Avengers/Defenders war crossover from 1973 was the first ever event comic, pitting two teams of heroes against one another in a giant battle. Here, Hulk and Thor are locked in a titanic clash with one another. Like the series itself, this cover is all about gigantic action. These two superheroes are some of the strongest in all of comics and seeing them locked in battle with one another is guaranteed to draw in fans. Romita makes the kinetic energy palpable, with both straining and fighting for control in the midst of rubble.
24. Marvel Spotlight #5 by Mike Ploog & Morrie Kuramoto
Ghost Rider is one of the more visually stunning heroes in comics, with the character’s flaming skull head and motorcycle capturing the imagination in a raw and thrilling manner. Here in his debut, the Spirit of Vengeance rides through criminals and low lifes in the night. Ploog and Kuramoto really know how to sell and entrance, casting shadows and fiery light as this fierce character leaps out of the page. The title styling and art may be clearly from a bygone era, but having Ghost Rider leap off the page makes this a classic that still resonates.