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Encyclopedia > Golden Age of Comic Books
Superman, catalyst of the Golden Age: Superman #14 (Feb. 1942), art by Fred Ray.
Superman, catalyst of the Golden Age: Superman #14 (Feb. 1942), art by Fred Ray.

The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought as lasting from 1938 until the late 1940s or early 1950s, during which comic books enjoyed a surge of popularity, the archetype of the superhero was created and defined, and many of the most famous superheroes debuted. Cover of Superman #14 This image is a book cover. ... Cover of Superman #14 This image is a book cover. ... An American comic book is a small magazine containing a narrative in the comics form. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Superman and Batman, two of the most recognizable and iconic superheroes. ...


Comic-book fans and historians widely agree that the Golden Age began in 1938 with the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, published by DC Comics. Superman, the first comic book superhero, was so popular that superheroes soon dominated the pages of comic books. Between early 1939 and late 1941, DC and her sister company All-American Comics introduced such popular superheroes as Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom, Hawkman, and Aquaman, while Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics, had million-selling titles that featured the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and Captain America. See also: 1937 in comics, other events of 1938, 1939 in comics, 1930s in comics and the list of years in comics Publications: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December Publications This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ... Superman is a fictional character and superhero of DC Comics who first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938 and is considered the first character to embody the particular combination of traits that characterize the modern superhero. ... Cover of Action Comics #1, which featured the debut of Superman. ... DC Comics (originally called National Periodical Publications or National Periodicals) is one of the largest American companies in comic book and related media publishing. ... All-American Comics was the flagship title for its publisher, also called All-American Comics. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-man, and still sometimes as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional character and superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... A classic image of Batman and Robin reinterpreted by painter Alex Ross. ... Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine. ... Barry Allen as the Flash. ... Cover to Green Lantern: Rebirth #6, art by Ethan Van Sciver. ... The Atom is a DC Comics superhero. ... Cover to Hawkman v4 # 1. ... Aquaman is a DC Comics superhero. ... Timely Comics is the 1940s comic book publishing company that would evolve into Marvel Comics. ... It has been suggested that Felicia (pseudonym) be merged into this article or section. ... The Human Torch is a comic book character. ... Namor the Sub-Mariner is a fictional character, featured in Marvel Comics. ... Captain America, the alter ego of Steve Rogers (in some accounts Steven Grant Rogers), is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. ...

Whiz Comics #2, the debut of Captain Marvel.
Whiz Comics #2, the debut of Captain Marvel.

Although DC and Timely characters are more famous today, circulation figures suggest that in the 1940s the best selling superhero may have been Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel. Quality ComicsPlastic Man and cartoonist Will Eisner's non-superpowered masked detective The Spirit, originally published in a newspaper insert but reprinted in comic-book form, were also extremely popular. Many historians consider the Spirit to be the most artistically significant character of the Golden Age, during which hundreds of superheroes were created for companies large and small. Whiz Comics #2 This image is a book cover. ... Whiz Comics #2 This image is a book cover. ... Whiz Comics #2, the first appearance of Captain Marvel, the companys most popular character. ... Captain Marvel is a comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics. ... Crack Comics #1 (May, 1940), featuring the Clock, previously introduced as the first masked comic book superhero. ... Plastic Man (Patrick OBrian) is a comic book superhero. ... William Erwin Eisner (born March 6, 1917, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States; died January 3, 2005, Lauderdale Lakes, Florida) was an acclaimed American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. ... The Spirit (real name Denny Colt) is a fictional masked crime-fighter, created by Will Eisner in 1940, who starred in a Sunday-newspaper comic-book insert. ...


World War II had a significant impact. Comic books, particularly superhero comics, gained immense popularity during the war as cheap, portable, easily read tales of good triumphing over evil. Comic book companies showcased their heroes battling the Axis Powers; covers featuring a superhero punching Adolf Hitler or fighting buck-toothed Japanese soldiers have become icons of the age. This is often cited as racist [1] [2] and religiously insensitive [3] propaganda. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. ... (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945) was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 and Führer (Leader) of Germany from 1934 until his death. ... 1. ... It has been suggested that Propaganda in the United States be merged into this article or section. ...


Although the creation of the superhero was the Golden Age's most significant contribution to pop culture, many other genres of comic book appeared on the newsstands side-by-side with Superman and Captain America. The Golden Age included many funny animal, western, and jungle comics. The Steranko History of Comics 2 notes that it was the non-superhero characters of Dell Comics — most notably the licensed Walt Disney animated character comics — that outsold all the supermen of the day. Dell comics, featuring such licensed movie and literary properties Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roy Rogers, and Tarzan, boasted circulations of over a million copies a month, and Donald Duck writer/artist Carl Barks is considered one of the era's major talents. Another notable and enduring non-superhero property created during the Golden Age was the Archie Comics cast of teen-humor characters. Popular culture, or pop culture, is the vernacular (peoples) culture that prevails in a modern society. ... Funny animal is a cartooning term for the genre of comics and animated cartoons in which the main characters are humanoid or talking animals. ... Western fiction is a genre of literature that is typically set in any of the American states west of the Mississippi River and between the years of approximately 1860 and 1900. ... Box Log Falls, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia Jungle refers usually to a dense forest in a hot climate. ... Dell Comics was the comic book publishing arm of Dell Publications, which got its start in pulp magazines. ... For the company founded by Disney, see The Walt Disney Company. ... 12 frames per second is the typical rate for an animated cartoon. ... Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse is a comic animal cartoon character who has become a symbol for The Walt Disney Company. ... Donald Duck Donald Duck is an animated cartoon and comic-book character from Walt Disney Productions. ... Dale Evans & Roy Rogers Leonard Franklin Slye (November 5, 1911 – July 6, 1998), became famous as Roy Rogers, a singer and cowboy actor. ... James H. Pierce and Joan Burroughs Pierce starred in the 1932-34 Tarzan radio series Tarzan, a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1914 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in twenty-three sequels. ... Carl Barks in 1942 Carl Barks (March 27, 1901 – August 25, 2000) was a famous Disney Studio illustrator and comic book creator, who invented Duckburg and many of its inhabitants, such as Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gladstone Gander (1948), the Beagle Boys (1951) and Gyro Gearloose (1952). ... Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher known for its many series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle, and Forsythe Jughead Jones. ... A separate article is about the punk band called The Adolescents. ... Humour (Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the ability or quality of people, objects or situations to evoke feelings of amusement in other people. ...

It was an ersatz Cap, but 1940s comics really were called Golden Age by 1963, as this Strange Tales #114 cover shows.
It was an ersatz Cap, but 1940s comics really were called Golden Age by 1963, as this Strange Tales #114 cover shows.

Fans differ in marking the end of the Golden Age. Some events considered demarcation points include: Image File history File links StrangeTales114_detail. ... Image File history File links StrangeTales114_detail. ... Strange Tales was the name of several comic book anthology series that have been published by Marvel Comics. ...

  • The rise of gritty crime and horror related comics, such as those of EC Comics, in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
  • The end of stories featuring the all-star superhero team the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics in 1951. (The series changed its name with #58 to All-Star Western.) This event climaxed a long decline in the popularity of superheroes.
  • For Timely Comics, the Golden Age ended with the cancelation of Captain America Comics at issue #75 (Feb. 1950) — by which time the series had already been Captain America's Weird Tales for two issues, with no superhero stories. The company's flagship title, Marvel Mystery Comics, starring the Human Torch, had already ended its run (with #92, June 1949), as had Sub-Mariner Comics (with #32, the same month). Goodman began using the Atlas Comics logo on comics cover-dated Nov. 1951.

The Golden Age was definitely over by 1954, when the book Seduction of the Innocent, by Dr. Fredric Wertham, appeared. This book argued that superhero, crime, and horror comic books were a factor in corrupting young people and a cause of juvenile delinquency. The book contributed to a public outcry against the medium and the implementation of the industry's Comics Code. Entertaining Comics was headed by William Gaines but is better known by its publishing name of EC Comics. ... The Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a DC Comics superhero group, the first team of superheroes in comic book history. ... This article needs cleanup. ... All-Star Western is a comic published by DC Comics. ... The first cover appearance of Namor the Sub-Mariner on Marvel Mystery Comics #4, February, 1940. ... 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... First U.S. printing, 1954 First U.K. printing, 1954 Seduction of the Innocent was a book by Dr. Fredric Wertham published in 1954, that warned that comic books were a bad form of popular literature and a serious cause of juvenile delinquency. ... Fredric Wertham Dr. Fredric Wertham (March 20, 1895–November 29, 1981) was a German-American psychiatrist and crusading author who protested the purportedly harmful effects of mass media—comic books in particular—on the development of children. ... Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or criminal acts performed by juveniles. ... The Comics Code Authority (CCA) is an organization founded in 1954 to act as a de facto censor for American comic books. ...


Although Golden Age comic books may seem kitschy and simplistic by modern standards, the label is used because it was a time of the new artform's mainstream arrival; the creation of the "superhero" archetype; an explosion of new ideas and new characters, many still popular today; and the defining of the medium's artistic vocabulary and creative conventions by its first generation of writers, artists, and editors.


See also

Showcase #4 (Oct. ... Wolverine, a member of the X-Men, a popular franchise in the Modern Age, and an anti-hero, a popular character type The Modern Age of Comic Books is an informal name for the period of American comic books generally considered to last from the mid-1970s until present day. ... The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 2000 novel by Michael Chabon. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Golden Age of Comic Books - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (749 words)
The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought as lasting from 1938 until the late 1940s or early 1950s, during which comic books enjoyed a surge of popularity, the archetype of the superhero was created and defined, and many of the most famous superheroes debuted.
Comic book companies showcased their heroes battling the Axis Powers; covers featuring a superhero punching Adolf Hitler or fighting buck-toothed Japanese soldiers have become icons of the age.
This book argued that superhero, crime, and horror comic books were a factor in corrupting young people and a cause of juvenile delinquency.
Golden Age of Comic Books - definition of Golden Age of Comic Books in Encyclopedia (592 words)
Superman, the catalyst of the Golden Age, from Superman #14, January-February 1942.
The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought as lasting from 1938 until the early 1950s, during which comic books enjoyed a surge of popularity, the genre of the superhero was invented and defined, and many of comic books’ most perennially popular superheroes debuted.
Comic book companies responded with a stories in which superheroes battle the Axis Powers and comic book covers featuring a superhero punching Adolf Hitler or Japanese soldiers (the latter typically portrayed as racist caricatures) have become iconic of the Golden Age.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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