Comic book art is the result of a long evolution that has taken decades to get to where it is now. While today’s coloring advancements and new art styles make art from decades give artists new opportunities to tell stories in the medium, nothing beats a master crafting something truly amazing, no matter what tools are available.
The 1960s were a time when comic book artists were first truly able to spread their wings and embrace bold new ideas on how to present comic book stories. Artists like Jack Kirby were creating new ways of expressing motion and power on the page, putting heroes into iconic poses that felt both kinetic and statuesque at the same time. The ideas explored here changed the way that comics were drawn and their influence can still be seen today, decades later.
You’ll also notice the extreme differences between Marvel Comics and DC Comics during this decade. This was the time period when Marvel really exploded onto the scene, with then-new characters like Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Avengers making a huge splash in the comic world. Meanwhile, longtime heroes like Superman and Batman were devolving into serious camp with outlandish stories, even for a comic book.
These 25 comic book covers are the best of the best when it comes to the comic book renaissance of the 1960s. For more comic book covers across the century, read more entries in The Greatest Comic Book Covers by Decade.
25. The Mighty Avengers #63 by Gene Colan
This may be the dubious debut of Hawkeye’s weird new costume and identity as Goliath, by Colan helps make the reveal into a bold and powerful depiction of the character. The enormous character dwarfs the entire roster of the Avengers while still showing this to be a fun and bold type of story. Having the characters fight on top of the forced perspective subtitles rendered in stone adds to the size and weight of the action scene greatly.
24. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #53 by Curt Swan
On the other end of the spectrum concerning giant characters on the comic page, this issue of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, which stands as one of the strangest and most iconic examples of DC Comics in the ‘60s. Like many Jimmy Olsen comics of the time, Superman’s friend has been turned into a monster and The Man of Steel is forced to take drastic action. Of course, Superman’s enormous dialogue bubble explains everything about the story that you need, but it’s still a fun and well done piece of camp.