The Silver Age of Comic Books
The silver age of comic books lasted approximately from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s.
One of the most interesting developments was the incorporation of science fiction into the storylines. With science fiction at the helm, you could inject a myriad of stories.
The stretching of known boundaries put a new spin on tales. Whereas, the scenes usually took place with normal circumstances, now the writer’s and artists were given free rein.
The lack of limitations produced many out of the ordinary comic books. In the silver age of comic books, Batman and Robin could be placed anywhere where they were not confined to earth. I mention the two since they are not super powered.
The comic book companies took ordinary, though highly skilled, super heroes and could place them is rockets, visit alien worlds and fight for the good no matter what type of society there was.
This brings an interesting thought. The societies in other worlds clearly had good people versus bad people. In the silver age of comic books, they took human traits and manifested them in aliens.
There will always be good and evil, that is a given. The aliens had special abilities that transcended humans, but they were perpetually war-like. Conflict must arise in order for the super heroes to justify their existence.
Metamorphoses abounded in that era. With the fusion of science fiction into the comic book format, super heroes and villains could be transformed, or mutated, much more easily. The weapons in use were foreign and that could make even Superman pause.
The conflictive nature spread beyond the science fiction realm. During this era, the comic book publishers began to integrate more humanity into their characters.
They were not necessarily robotic in their mannerism and emotional appeal, but the humanizing of the comic book heroes suggested a transformation had taken place. It took internalized personal melancholy to rise to the surface and manifest itself to create a more human character.
A hero or arch villain could be produced dependent upon the character’s personality. As with any conflict situation, the reader had to be enthralled with the super hero.
Could a person relate to what the comic book writer’s were hoping to convey? You have to remember adding human emotion and personal tragedies was new to the genre. The reaction was positive and that tradition continues to this day.
In the comic books of that age, another character was transformed. Aquaman began in the golden age and revamped in the late 1950’s. Originally, Aquaman was deemed a negligible super hero, but as the silver age took root, his role expounded.
The personal conflict surfaced when it was revealed that his arch nemesis was his half brother called Ocean Master.
Another attribute that changed for Aquaman during the silver age was his ability to live outside water changed from being able to live inside or outside water indefinitely, to him needing to get to water every hour.
All the changes that took place in the Silver age comic books represented a modification that society dictated. The alterations are a necessary step to keep the comic book industry relevant.
The Comic Golden Age Ancient Still Works
Nowadays, most forms of superheroes are just recycled concepts trying to out-gimmick each other. Save the earth, save the damsel in distress, fend off aliens, and secret identities are just some examples of the tired and worn-out concepts plaguing modern comics.
All they serve to do is give a couple of quirks that simply add a streak of silver to the same old core-concept found in almost every story out there.
Yet how come these classic formulas from the comic golden age still appeal to today’s readers?
Comic books that were introduced in the later 1930’s was the new format that appealed to both the young and young at heart, rather than the blocks of text that came before the advent of such comic books.
Superman, Spiderman, Batman and any other superhero you could name, first appeared during the comic golden age, and they came with a fresh new concept: heroes who would battle against the various forces of evil to save the day!
Being able to see and read these wonderful, colored paragons of justice was a “wow” factor for the people of the time.
Of course, you have a spattering of politics and technology, like how World War II put Adolf Hitler and the Japanese against the superheroes while the threat of atomic war added a little ‘nuclear’ spice into the stories.
When you look back at the heroes of the comic golden age, they symbolize the hopes and dreams of the common person, as well as the innate desire for good within each person enamored by these heroes.
It’s a fantasy that a mere mortal could never reach but be enthralled to witness: being able to witness and understand the situations in such a rich format allows readers to ‘experience’ the challenges that each hero must face in their adventures.
This experience of being taken away from the mundane matters of life was a fresh breath of air for people, and this was a welcome diversion from the everyday proceedings of life.
Heroes reminiscent of the comic golden age are, surprisingly, still alive and kicking in today’s markets. More than half a decade later,
you see these comic book legends reintroduced in new comic-book formats, banded together in cartoons, reborn into block-buster movies and even fully-controllable video game characters.
It basically boils down to repackaging the concept of superheroes to fit into the current technological trends of our time.
The concept of super-powered beings that fight for the cause of good has transcended from ink on paper to the silver screen, wide screen and the PC screen.
As long as these stories continue to keep pace with the way we work and live, they’ll always find themselves a place in society.
The comic golden age still has appealing lessons and stories to offer to us, no matter how much time passes. As long as we continue to be human beings,
aspiring for something good in life, these long-time superheroes that have been with us for more than half a century will always have a place in our hearts.
Crossovers In Comic Books
One of the most popular and noteworthy of the comic book business is the crossover between DC comics and Marvel comics.
The crossovers commenced in 1975 with a tie in with the wizard of oz. In that comic book, it was Superman and Spiderman.
Whether you like the comic book crossover or not, the sensation it caused reverberated throughout the comic book world.
Many more crossovers continued with the intent on bringing up lackluster sales. Their popularity proved that the concept of incorporating both universes into one storyline was feasible and profitable.
However, issue abounded. Whereas in one crossover Superman had heard of the super hero Spiderman. In another crossover, both had never heard of each other. That should not have happened.
There is no fluidity. Each comic book heroes envelop a very different universe. There could be no way Superman ever heard of Spiderman.
In 1996, the two comic book companies tried again with the four part series. In this crossover, two cosmic beings that were identified as being some sort of brothers became aware of each other existence.
The testosterone coursed through the brother’s veins and he would not accept the other. They challenged each other through their respective universes super heroes.
The comic book readers decided five of the winners of the eleven main contests, with various clashes taken place within other super heroes.
The Marvel and DC writers determined the outcome of the other six battles. The five battles that the fans voted and decided the winners were Spiderman versus Superboy with Spiderman being victorious,
Superman beat the incredible Hulk, Wolverine defeated Lobo, Storm defeated Wonder Woman and Batman defeated Captain America.
Eventually the brothers accepted each other’s presence to thwart the destruction of each universe. The acceptance concept in the end placates the comic book writers.
The comic book readers (in my humble opinion) were left a little flat. There will never be a clear winner because it is up to the reader which comic books they like.
Opinionated people will always choose their favorite heroes. The scenario of comic books battling it out makes financial sense. There can be no clear victor since opinions are subjective.
Both Marvel and DC attempted to rectify the dilemma of characters not knowing each other by employing two things; creating a character that could breach both universes. His name was aptly called Access.
The other event was the creation of an amalgam universe where two super heroes merged into one being. An example was the merging of Spiderman and Superboy.
That created the amalgam character of Spiderboy. Access created the amalgam universe to try to stabilize the two universes.
The popularity of the comic book heroes prompted the two main companies to continue with the crossover concept. Superman met the Silver Surfer.
The Green Lantern met the Silver Surfer too. Galactus and Darkseid met. Galactus attempted to devour Darkseid’s planet (known as Apokalips).
Galactus easily defeated Darkseid’s minions and Darkseid’s Omega Beams, but he could not consume the planet because it did not have any living force to it.
Galactus was amazed by Darkseid’s attempt to thwart him knowing he would not be able to garnish power from his planet. Darkseid make clear that Galactus would have done the same thing if the position were reversed.
The financial aspect to the crossovers that had been looked at. The reader’s loyalty also helped propel the continuation.
Since you cannot please everyone in the comic book genre, the introduction of comic book heroes visiting each other in their respective universe makes sense.
The Ever-Changing Powers of Comic Book Heroes
From time to time a change, in one or more comic book hero’s powers, occurs. There can be a multitude of reasons behind this. Has the comic book hero become stagnant?
Has the readership declined over the past several months? Did a metamorphosis happen while fighting? Did a depletion of their power make room for the change? And, of course, the ever popular experimentation.
A mad scientist creates an experiment, an ordinary individual gets in the way, and his or her DNA is altered. He or she is then morphed into a super hero or a criminal based upon their disposition.
Another version to that is a comic book super hero or villain get in the way of an unsolicited experiment that went awry.
Their molecular structure is mutated, which begs some questions. Does an ordinary citizen received powers? Do the super heroes or villain’s powers stay the same?
Do they exhibit the same powers, only augmented? Do their powers change until it is unrecognizable from the original? Is the change a temporary one, or is it a long-term modification?
Will their powers ever go back to normal? These issues are explored and examined, sometimes in minute detail.
The details that go into explaining the ever-changing powers of comic book heroes are appealing. In the framework of comic books, where fantasy merges with the imagination,
the predicaments in which precipitates the change of the powers suggests that the storyline was born, bred and raised for sometime.
Superman’s powers changed him into two separated beings. One being was red and the other being blue. Each one was a separate hero who displayed different characteristics.
They eventually combined and recreated the Superman we are familiar with and love. The account took one year. The semantics behind the change suggested superman needed revamping.
The mighty Thor has seen his share of transformations. He possessed the Odin power for a while. Thor has his share of problems, and will continue to so because the readership can relate to his problems or vices.
With Superman’s changes, the reader is confronted with Superman’s problems and can debate the best way to handle them.
Many more comic book heroes have had their power altered in some way. It seems to be a staple in the comic book world. Amending a super hero is necessary in that type of environment.
Introducing nemesis’s and other comic book heroes perpetuates the genre. Moreover, if there were no further introduction of contrasting characters, the storylines would fizzle up and new ideas could not germinate. It is therefore sometimes essential to introduce old comic book characters with a twist.
They can come back from the dead, or believed to be dead, and emerge to take on a criminal. It has to make some semblance to the discerning comic book reader.
If the hero returns under circumstances that would seem suspect, the public response would be swift and ruthless. People expect some sense in the comic book world.
The ever-changing power of comic book heroes advocates a winning attitude for the comic book reader and the people who create them. When the two parties are in unison both sides win and the reader is left with a palpable appetite for more.
A Basic Guide To Comic Book Collecting
Even with the emergence of popular entertainment outlets such as the internet and satellite television, comic books have maintained an impressive market share of consumer spending.
There simply is no replacement for the unique way a comic can present a story and engage its readers. Because of this, comic book collecting has also grown in recent years with a new generation of readers enjoying this rewarding hobby.
For collectors who are just beginning, there are a couple of different approaches to take to the hobby. Some people are simply fans of a particular hero or publisher.
They purchase comics for their own entertainment and don’t concern themselves much with the after-market value of the publication.
Other collectors concentrate on acquiring limited edition or rare comics for the sake of achieving a return on their investment.
This form of collecting usually requires an advanced knowledge of the market as well as the necessary funds to make large purchases.
There are five distinct eras of comic book memorabilia. The Platinum Age represent the oldest time period, dating between the 1800’s and 1937. The Golden Age covers the years of 1938 to 1955.
Silver Age comic books are dated between 1956 and 1969, and the Bronze Age occurred between 1970 and 1979. The Modern Age includes everything that was produced from 1980 through today.
Each time period is unique and distinctive in the way the publications were written, produced, and distributed. Obviously the older periods offer the most valuable items, but there are still plenty of rare and limited comics to be found in the Modern Age.
Today’s collectors will find a multitude of outlets to help them add to their collection. The internet alone has increased the accessibility of hard-to-find comics to collectors all over the world.
eBay, Craigslist, and online comic book stores make finding exactly what you want as simple as clicking a mouse. While these outlets are probably the most popular markets for collectors, there is still plenty of demand for local comic book shows and stores.
Of course newsstands and bookstores remain the best source for the latest publications. Ideally, the savvy collector will be comfortable with using all of the outlets mentioned here. You simply never know where you might uncover the next hidden gem to add to your collection.
Beyond these basics of comic book collecting, there are other intricacies to learn for the new collector. For instance, collectable comic books are often graded to measure their condition in a uniform manner.
This is done by a professional third-party company which will seal the comic in a protective sleeve to preserve its integrity.
New collectors will need to become familiar with this process if they plan on investing in rare comics. Other essential tools include comic price guides and market sales reports which help to asses the value of a particular piece.
Collecting comic books has been an entertaining hobby for many decades, and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
With the continued influx of new characters and publishers, there will always be a solid foundation of new adventures to satisfy the fans.
Perhaps the best part about this hobby is that there is always something new to learn along the way. By joining the legion of comic collectors around the world, you are guaranteed to have a rewarding hobby for years to come.
Conflict And Its Resolution In Comic Books
The conflict and its resolution in comic books is an interesting aspect to the comic book world. The non-superhero comic book has conflict resolutions in them because that is the basis of that type of story.
In comic books, the detective gets a client who has a problem that needs to be resolved. The detective seeks out clues and it builds into a climax where an answer needs to be found soon.
The conflict captures the reader’s attention and the resolution is tied into the main character’s persona. If the detective is inept then the conflict and its resolution may disappoint the reader,
or the incompetent detective may get a flash of brilliance and captures the bad person. Whereas the main character is portrayed as competent then the chances of catching the criminal is expected.
In comic books, from time to time, the bad person is just as intelligent as the good one. A nemesis that can thwart the hero of the story has alluring appeal.
It may take several issues of the comic book for the hero to take the bad people into custody. If a hero becomes to strong then the reader loses interest. A balance should be struck where the hero screws up every occasionally to make them appear more human.
Additionally sometimes heroes can become an antihero. Their methods of incarcerating criminals might run contrary to their counterparts.
Their intentions were noble but their techniques were suspect. Usually the hero does not understand other people’s reaction since the punishment should fit the crime.
They become disenchanted with the heroes around them. If they belonged to an affiliation, they soon leave and strike out on their own.
That scenario is played out because it is central to have a comic book hero have their own magazine, or it helps build up suspense should he or she come in contact with the other heroes again.
In comic books, the antihero and the hero dilemma underscore a growing trend. To humanize a character, whether or not he or she is a hero, is important.
The antihero feels rejected by his or her peers, which is a human emotion. Many people feel rejected so they can relate to the conflict the hero is facing.
Sometimes a resolution is not around the corner and the hero actually becomes worse. The methods employed turn out to be far worse than intended.
It usually takes most of the heroes to confront the antihero and make him or her see their discrepancies. If the antihero comprehends his erroneous methodology then change is likely to happen for the better.
If a resolution is not found then the antihero usually falters and you are likely to see him or her becoming the main nemesis.
Consequently, the conflict and its resolution in comic books is a decisive way to figure out where you stand. Do you agree with the antihero and the means employed?
On the other hand, do you agree with the antihero but not with how it was handled? Are the heroes in the right? Such questions only enhance the imagination. Conflict and resolution in comic books are good recipes to sustain readership.
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