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The perfect end point of the Bronze Age is embodied in 1985's massive DC Comics crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths" that wrapped up and simplified 50 years of DC Comics continuity by doing away with the concept of DC's multiverse, a somewhat convoluted concept (for people who were not hard-core comics fans) involving multiple parallel earths where all the DC Comics stories ever published could exist all on their own different versions of earth; Earth One for Silver Age stories, Earth Two for Golden Age stories, Earth-S for Captain Marvel family, etc.
Although there really isn't a single agreed upon comic that marks the beginning of the Bronze Age like there is with the Silver Age, many consider the Bronze Age to begin around 1970 and run through 1985. As comic books started to tackle current topics like drug use and war that the Comics Code Authority previously tried to keep out of comics, comics began to be a little more serious, this shift of focus in mainstream super-hero comics is a key feature of the Bronze Age. For example, in 1971 Marvel Comics published a Spider-Man story that dealt with drug use. Although the Comics Code did not allow the use of the CCA stamp on the book, Marvel put it out anyway. In the same timeframe, Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams were dealing with similar topics in Green Lantern. 3 months after the CCA-less issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy was actually revealed to be a drug addict in a similarly CCA-seal-free issue. The publishers were no longer letting the CCA totally dictate their content, when the situation warranted it, they would forgo CCA approval. Around that same time, minority characters like Luke Cage and John Stewart were introduced bringing much needed diversity to the pages of comics.
Collecting and purchasing back issues from this time period brings you a truly diverse amount of material. We started to see a wide variety of genres creeping onto the stands from Marvel & DC to augment the staple of the industry, super-heroes. With titles like Conan the Barbarian, House of Mystery, and Master of Kung-Fu, to name but a few. The Bronze Age widened the variety of genres in comics to include something for everyone, in surprisingly sophisticated stories, for the first time in over 15 years.
Up Next:The Underground Era (1967-1982) - Overlapping the end of the Silver Age and most of the Bronze Age.