The Silver Age


1956: Beginning of the “Silver Age”
» DC Comics publishes Showcase #24 and introduces the new Flash, Barry Allen (complete with a new costume designed by Carmine Infantino). This brings on a wave of revivals of old superheroes and creation of new ones. Unlike the “Golden Age,” superheroes in this age were more likely to act human and have visible flaws (e.g., The Avengers argued amongst themselves; Matt Murdock (Daredevil) was blind; Peter Parker (Spider-Man) constantly dealt with teenage problems and inner conflict; Tony Stark (Iron Man) wore a pacemaker and eventually struggled with alcohol addiction; Donald Blake (Thor) was crippled).

1959
» DC replaces Alan Scott with Hal Jordan as the new Green Lantern in Showcase #22.
» Supergirl makes her debut in Action Comics #252.

1960
» The Justice League of America is introduced in DC Comics’ The Brave and the Bold #28.

1961
» Marvel Comics introduces The Fantastic Four.
» Al Pratt replaces Ray Palmer as the new Atom in DC Comics’ Showcase #34

1962
» Marvel Comics introduces The Incredible Hulk. Spider-Man is introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15.

1964
» Captain America is reintroduced to comic book storylines. He is revived by The Avengers (having been in suspended animation) in The Avengers #4. The character maintains his presence after this reintroduction, appearing frequently as the leader of The Avengers and being featured in his own series.
» Daredevil is introduced in Daredevil #1. The character was created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett (with input from Jack Kirby).

1966
» The Batman live action television show airs on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). Sales of Batman comics soar to an all-time high. (Watch the full first episode of the show here.)

1968: The Rise of Underground Comics
» R. Crumb publishes Zap Comics #1, beginning a surge in independently published comics (sometimes referred to as “comix”) that reflect current youth culture subjects such as drugs, sex, and the “counter revolution.”

1970
» Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith (Marvel Comics) adapt Robert E. Howard’s Conan character and publish Conan the Barbarian #1. (Marvel deals with more graphic storylines by using black-and-white artwork and uses this approach for the first time in Strange Tales #1. The issue is given the rating “M For The Mature Reader!”) The character’s popularity prompts a new interest in sword and sorcery themes in comics. Magic and the killing of a hero’s enemies becomes the newest trend. Additionally, the adapted Conan character spawns a new type of hero - one with few morals who slays his enemies in a brutal fashion.

1971: Changing Times
» Both Spider-Man and The Green Lantern feature several anti-drug stories. However, due to the strict rules relating to the portrayal of drug use outlines in the Comics Code, the Spider-Man comic is published without the approval or the Comics Code Authority.
» As a result of a strong desire by comic book publishers to present anti-drug messages, the Comics Code is reviewed and relaxed in order to make these messages possible. At the same time, they relax the prohibition against horror themes in comics. This opens the door to a flood of werewolf, vampire, zombie, and other monster comics.

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Sources:

Benton, Mike. (1989). The comic book in America: An illustrated history. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co.

Oropeza, B.J. (Ed.) (2005). The gospel according to superheroes: Religion and popular
culture
. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Tychinski, S. (2004). A brief history of the graphic novel. Graphic Novels. Retrieved from
http://web.archive.org/web/20080603041720/http://www.graphicnovels.brodart.com/history.htm

Zanettin, F. (Ed.). (2008). Comics in translation. Manchester, UK: St. Jerome Publishing.