Marvel Comics in the 1970s

The World inside Your Head

by Eliot Borenstein

Marvel Comics in the 1970s explores a forgotten chapter in the story of the rise of comics as an art form. Bridging Marvel's dizzying innovations and the birth of the underground comics scene in the 1960s and the rise of the prestige graphic novel and postmodern superheroics in the 1980s, Eliot Borenstein reveals a generation of comic book writers whose work at Marvel in the 1970s established their own authorial voice within the strictures of corporate comics.

Through a diverse cast of heroes (and the occasional antihero)—Black Panther, Shang-Chi, Deathlok, Dracula, Killraven, Man-Thing, and Howard the Duck—writers such as Steve Gerber, Doug Moench, and Don McGregor made unprecedented strides in exploring their characters' inner lives. Visually, dynamic action was still essential, but the real excitement was taking place inside their heroes' heads. Marvel Comics in the 1970s highlights the brilliant and sometimes gloriously imperfect creations that laid the groundwork for the medium's later artistic achievements and the broader acceptance of comic books in the cultural landscape today.

Eliot Borenstein is Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, where he teaches an annual course on the graphic novel. His books include Overkill, Plots against Russia, and Pussy Riot. Follow him on Twitter @eliotb2002 and visit him online at

Marvel Comics in the 1970s