The Silver Age of Comics Part 1

Welcome to the first installment of JOLLY JIM’S JIBBER JABBER!

THE SILVER AGE

Showcase #4, silver age comics, silver age

Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), the launch of comics' Silver Age. Cover art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I first heard the term Silver Age of Comics in late 1965. I was living in southern California and there had been of late a barrage of publicity on the soon to debut Batman TV show. One of the local stations was doing a program about comics and the host was talking about the early years of comics and also about the resurgence of present day comics. In comparing the current 1960’s comics to their predecessors he remarked “If those early years of comics were the Golden Age we are surely in the Silver Age of comics now.” How right he was!

Anyone who has ever read Silver Age comics knows how cool they were and still are. One of the things I’ve always thought was cool about the Silver Age was that I knew it was the Silver Age while I was in the midst of it.

Fantastic Four #1, Silver age comics, Marvel Comics

The Fantastic Four No.1 (November 1961). Cover art by Jack Kirby (penciller) and an unconfirmed inker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, what is the Silver Age? There is some general agreement but it really isn’t set in stone. Many say it began with the publication of Showcase #4, published by DC Comics, featuring the Carmine Infantino-designed Flash in September 1956. However, I remember a time when the consensus was November 1961 – the month when Fantastic Four #1, published by Marvel Comics, premiered. I’ve also heard convincing arguments for November 1955 which gave us Detective Comics #225, also from DC Comics, featuring the first appearance of Martian Manhunter.

silver age comics, cosmic comics!, detective comics #225

Detective Comics #225 (November 1955), 1st appearance Martian Manhunter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for when the Silver Age ended and the Bronze Age began things get even murkier. Ask 20 people and you’ll likely get 20 different answers. It’s a question whose answer is all over the map. Personally, I go along with the beginning of the Silver Age as September, 1956 because as it happens that’s when I myself came into this world! As for its ending I think that the Silver Age overlaps with the coming of the Bronze Age. I’ll get into that at a future date, but for now, what do YOU think?

 

 

When it comes to Silver Age Comics, you can always #getyourfix at Cosmic Comics!

 


Comments

  1. Larry Ish says:

    When I think of an “Age” or the beginning of a new era, I think of a major event or occurrence that was a marked shift from the previous status quo that led out of the previous era and into the next. It usually involved some sort of a risk merely because it had never been done before This would be something that was so remarkable, it not only changed the way things had been done before but also the way people looked and regarded them from that point forward. That’s why I would say Fantastic Four #1 marks the beginning of the Silver Age. Sure, there was a new Flash but there had already been a Flash, maybe different but the idea was relatively the same. All D.C. did was modernize and revamp older stale characters whose success had already been established. D.C. had not learned now to make their characters relatable to the reader, they still didn’t seem to have the problems and worries that we all have.

    The Fantastic Four came along and changed all of that. There had never been ANYTHING like them before, characters who not only had relatable problems but whose very powers were a direct result of their personality flaws!

    And everything that came since then, Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, etc., owed their creation to the success of this new idea. Because this radically new idea had succeeded and was immensely popular, people were willing to take a chance with even more radical ideas and characters. More importantly, the people who had developed that initial idea were now emboldened to go further AND they were in a position to influence others to take that chance because the risk factor dropped considerably due to the previous success.

    Imaginations were allowed to run even wilder than before.

    The event that was Fantastic Four #1 led to a complete shift in the way stories were told, characters were portrayed and even how artist addressed their work. Even the competition was forced to evolve or die.

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