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  1. #1
    Mew Nember Atomcrush's Avatar
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    Default The Comic Book Ages?

    Different "ages" have popped up throughout several threads. We always hear about the Golden Age, the Silver Age, etc. I recently saw someone refer to the Bronze Age. My question is.... and forgive me if this comes across as dumb, but what time periods do the different Ages encompass? And is everything current considered "Modern" Age? Or are we in a different "Age"? And what's next after Bronze?
    "We are not what we did, but what we will do" --- Jann Arden

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    Embittered Yet Whimsical Flying Saucers Over Oz's Avatar
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    Oh, you have no idea of the can of worms you've opened...

    Fans are constantly arguing over when the Ages began, what periods they encompass, etc.

    It's pretty much agreed The Golden Age began with ACTION COMICS #1 and ended sometime around the time the superheroes comics died out the first time, though people quibble sometimes about the finer points. Similarly, it's agreed the Silver Age started with either SHOWCASE #4 (Reviving The Flash) or FANTASTIC FOUR #1. But after that, it's pretty much a free-for-all...
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    Mew Nember Atomcrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Saucers Over Oz View Post
    Oh, you have no idea of the can of worms you've opened...

    Fans are constantly arguing over when the Ages began, what periods they encompass, etc.

    It's pretty much agreed The Golden Age began with ACTION COMICS #1 and ended sometime around the time the superheroes comics died out the first time, though people quibble sometimes about the finer points. Similarly, it's agreed the Silver Age started with either SHOWCASE #4 (Reviving The Flash) or FANTASTIC FOUR #1. But after that, it's pretty much a free-for-all...
    Oops. I haven't seen them discussed at length before so you're right... I had no idea about this particular can of worms. Still interested to see the responses. Thanks for yours.
    Last edited by Atomcrush; 11-05-2009 at 06:12 PM.
    "We are not what we did, but what we will do" --- Jann Arden

  4. #4
    Flying Dog Owner DHacker615's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomcrush View Post
    Different "ages" have popped up throughout several threads. We always hear about the Golden Age, the Silver Age, etc. I recently saw someone refer to the Bronze Age. My question is.... and forgive me if this comes across as dumb, but what time periods do the different Ages encompass? And is everything current considered "Modern" Age? Or are we in a different "Age"? And what's next after Bronze?
    I am not sure that there is an absolutely clear consensus on this, but I always figured that it was generational.

    The Golden Age would be the comics familiar to children born between 1925 and 1942. That would be roughly from the debut of Superman in 1938 to 1955 when the last members of that age cohort became teenagers.

    The Silver Age were the comics that Baby Boomers grew up reading. So, it ran from 1956 to 1973.

    The Bronze Age would be the comics that Gen Xers (like myself) read as kids. That would be roughly 1974 until the mid '90s.

    However, during that time period the audience changed. Gradually, the target age range crept up from pre-teens to teens and adults. Now, superhero comics are read pretty well exclusively by men aged 18-40.

    I have heard the period starting in the mid-'90s to the present described as "The Dark Age", which is as apt as anything. The readers are assumed to be the same folks who read those Bronze Age comics for the most part.

  5. #5
    Experienced Member Leto's Avatar
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    The Golden Age started with Superman's first appearance, along with Batman Wonder Woman, and Captain America, Namor the Submariner, and the Human Torch. There were others of course, but the origin of the superhero as a concept is key.

    Some recognize there's a brief "Atomic Age" where superheroes dipped in popularity. War comics I think got big? I'm not sure.

    The Silver Age is when the Flash and Green Lantern were reinvented from their golden age interpretation. Also, lots of Marvel comics debuted, the Fantastic Four, Spider- Man, Hulk, Iron Man (really Marvel as we know it began in the 60's)

    A big point here is that superheroes were positive figures on wacky adventures.

    The Silver Age ends...when the optimism of that era died. Gwen Stacey's death, O'neil and Adams taking over Green Lantern, etc by the 70's. Jack Kirby left Marvel and went to DC.

    The Bronze Age was an attempt to be socially conscious and more relevant. Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy was a heroin addict. Spider-Man had some anti-drug issues. Also, horror comics made their return.

    The X-Men and Wolverine had been around for a while but they really came to prominence here with the x-men as a metaphor for racism/intolerance etc and Wolverine was an anti-hero.

    After the publishing of Watchmen and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns in the lat 80s comics went dark in the 90's. I consider this the dark ages of comics.

    Marvel goes bankrupt, DC kills Superman, Image comics is founded, lots of mature stories in DC's vertigo imprint are created, like Sandman. It's a weird time. Most people don't distinguish between the 90's till now in comics, I do.

    I consider the modern age to start in the early 00's with Marvel creating the Ultimate line. Both DC and Marvel discover "events" etc. Big push for the presentation of comics in other media like films.

    It's not a fine science.

  6. #6
    Flying Dog Owner DHacker615's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leto View Post
    The Golden Age started with Superman's first appearance, along with Batman Wonder Woman, and Captain America, Namor the Submariner, and the Human Torch. There were others of course, but the origin of the superhero as a concept is key.

    Some recognize there's a brief "Atomic Age" where superheroes dipped in popularity. War comics I think got big? I'm not sure.

    The Silver Age is when the Flash and Green Lantern were reinvented from their golden age interpretation. Also, lots of Marvel comics debuted, the Fantastic Four, Spider- Man, Hulk, Iron Man (really Marvel as we know it began in the 60's)

    A big point here is that superheroes were positive figures on wacky adventures.

    The Silver Age ends...when the optimism of that era died. Gwen Stacey's death, O'neil and Adams taking over Green Lantern, etc by the 70's. Jack Kirby left Marvel and went to DC.

    The Bronze Age was an attempt to be socially conscious and more relevant. Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy was a heroin addict. Spider-Man had some anti-drug issues. Also, horror comics made their return.

    The X-Men and Wolverine had been around for a while but they really came to prominence here with the x-men as a metaphor for racism/intolerance etc and Wolverine was an anti-hero.

    After the publishing of Watchmen and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns in the lat 80s comics went dark in the 90's. I consider this the dark ages of comics.

    Marvel goes bankrupt, DC kills Superman, Image comics is founded, lots of mature stories in DC's vertigo imprint are created, like Sandman. It's a weird time. Most people don't distinguish between the 90's till now in comics, I do.

    I consider the modern age to start in the early 00's with Marvel creating the Ultimate line. Both DC and Marvel discover "events" etc. Big push for the presentation of comics in other media like films.

    It's not a fine science.
    Well, your milestones line up pretty well with my demographics for the most part. Superman debuted in 1938, when a whole generation was 13 and under. The Flash debuted in 1956, which was the first Boomers hit 13. Gwen Stacey died in 1973 right before the first Gen Xers were becoming teens.

    Where we disagree is what the Bronze Age ended and what it was "about". It was not like WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS came out of nowhere. They were part of a conscious effort by creators to grow the audience by reaching out to older readers. TOMB OF DRACULA ran from 1972 to '79 and featured nudity and graphic violence. Publishers like Eclipse, Comico and First were releasing increasingly mature and complex titles. Image really followed that wave of publishers. There was an optimism about comics as a medium.

    However, the collapse of the comic book market kind of killed than mind-set. The last Gen Xers turned 13 in '94, but by that point comics had left the kids behind. That makes the end of the Bronze Age harder to peg than the others.

  7. #7
    Phil Jimenez
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHacker615 View Post
    It was not like WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS came out of nowhere. They were part of a conscious effort by creators to grow the audience by reaching out to older readers.
    I always argue that they were also absolute products of their socio-political time, answers to the Regan/Thatcher regimes that dominated western politics at the time.

  8. #8
    Flying Dog Owner DHacker615's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Jimenez View Post
    I always argue that they were also absolute products of their socio-political time, answers to the Regan/Thatcher regimes that dominated western politics at the time.
    True, but that also connects to the Bronze Age trend toward relevance that started with Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. That would be how I defined the Bronze Age of comics. It was about reaching and looking outward.

    The current era seems to be about looking inward at the stuff that bonds us together as a sub-culture. Not just by referencing old comics, but old movies and aspects of geek culture. It would actually be a lot of fun if it was not so often filled with a kind of self-loathing.

    I mean, that is why some fans enjoy seeing characters maimed and tortured, right? Don't they hate themselves for loving this stuff?
    Last edited by DHacker615; 11-05-2009 at 09:39 PM. Reason: grammar

  9. #9
    Somewhat Wondie-obsessed CarolStrick's Avatar
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    From a WW point of view, the Golden Age began with All-Star #8.

    The WW Silver Age began right around issue #105-ish. Maybe a little before. 105 gave us a new post-Code origin for Wondie and the Marston approach was definitely ignored (despite a few disastrous "return to the Golden Age" runs).

    The Bronze Age, if there really was one, began with #178, the changeover to the Mod Era. Issue #177 was also a transition issue, but a fairly goofball one.

    I refer to the full reboot (volume 2) as the Modern Era just because it was so different from what came before and because it's convenient to call it that. Guess it's not so modern any more, eh? Maybe it's the Iron Age now.

    Though Volume 3 technically began with vol. 3, issue #1, I really think it began more with vol. 2 issue #195, the beginning of the Rucka era. Since then the WW mythos has been much darker than ever, tying into the new atmosphere of the rest of the DCU. To me this would be Wondie's "Dark Ages" era.

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    Mew Nember Atomcrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squitrugi View Post
    This IS an amazing event. I've gone for the last couple years as a guest and the year before that just as a customer, and I've bid on some auction items and won a couple, too.

    I am going to TRY to make it there but I can't yet commit for various reasons. :(

    But it's a great event, a worthy cause, a lot of fun, and it's in one of the best comic stores anywhere.
    Is this spam?
    "We are not what we did, but what we will do" --- Jann Arden

  11. #11
    Mew Nember Atomcrush's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Very helpful and informative.
    "We are not what we did, but what we will do" --- Jann Arden

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomcrush View Post
    Is this spam?
    Someone just responded to the wrong thread, I think (optimistically - and also because there's no link to an "amazing event").

    I've also read reference to "The Platinum Age," which pre-dates "The Golden Age." Of course, WW isn't part of that, except, maybe, in the Elseworlds "Justice Riders" Retroactively, of course.

  13. #13
    Stiff upper lip, chaps. Mars Getsoian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franklin View Post
    Someone just responded to the wrong thread, I think (optimistically - and also because there's no link to an "amazing event").
    I assume it's harvesting a comment made by an authentic poster in another thread; that's the new trick these days with forum spam, to try to disguise that it's spam, and make you think it's real and be willing to click the sig.

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