Last night yielded an unexpected journey to the cinema to see the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Going in I was a little hesitant, both as Captain America is not among my favourite characters, and yet I am also fairly familiar with the Winter Soldier storyline. Somewhat surprisingly though I loved this movie, in fact it might be the best of the entire Marvel run thus far, and it has done what few others have done by improving on the original. That being said, with a little bit of deduction combined with the previous knowledge from the comics very little was truly surprising for me (minor spoilers follow after this.) What surprised me more so though was that I was able to figure Steve's neighbour Sharon as a SHIELD agent as soon as they showed her, but that I didn't figure out that it was Sharon Carter (duh). I also somehow missed seeing her on all of the promotional posters which I have since found on the internet.
That having been said, there is something left to ponder. At the end of the movie, it seems likely that the Black Widow, will either not be back or be back in a limited role for the following Captain America movie, and it seems likely that Sharon Carter takes a larger role. I think this is the first time that I have ever seen the actress in anything (despite the fact that she is Canadian, and got her start on Canadian tv shows) but it makes me wonder if the franchise is ready for this actress taking on a bigger role in the following movies. The character of Sharon Carter is vital to that of Captain America, but in terms of the character development thus far, it seems like a secondary unimportant character. The development of Falcon, as a veteran of the Middle Eastern Wars - and dealing with PTSD - was an interesting spin on the character, but Sharon thus far is one dimensional, her most important character development being that she listened to Steve at the right time.
With her role in the tv series Revenge, it seems as though Emily Van Camp is ready for stardom, only it seems as though more work needs to be done to establish her in the MCU.
A couple of years ago when I had first started running the roundtables, the thought occurred to me of doing a roundtable based on fairy tales, especially so that I had just taken an interest in Zenescope, and that fairy tales in comics gained so much in popularity (and remain so.) One of the questions which I asked pertained to the lack of most fairy tale characters in the Big Two. In my eyes, there was not a huge amount of difference between incorporating in characters from myth for Wonder Woman or Thor, and incorporating in similar characters from fables. There are a few challenges to doing so of course, one that fairy tale characters are rarely as powerful as comic characters (another that fans resist new characters in the Big Two.) I was going back over the roundtables recently and I ran across this question and it occurred to me that there might be a path to this.
It happened a lot in the earlier days of comics, but it was fairly common at one point for comic companies to buy out one another. I am not at all aware of the financial stability of Zenescope for instance, but it could be the point that one day it is in the position of needing a financial save, and as its characters are more superhero like than most fairy tale characters, it might be an easy fit into a superhero world, especially as DC has done this many times in the past with other companies (as recently with Flash Point & the new 52.)
I am not hoping that Zenescope sees the end of its success, only that the thought occurred to me that this might make an interesting match and might be a reasonable way for the big two to incorporate in one last genre that they have mostly left untouched.
This past week signaled the first issue of the latest incarnation of a She-Hulk series. I was curious about the issue, so I had a look and I was happy to have done so, as it was a different approach to telling an interesting story. A little extra research led me across the wiki page here where I was intrigued by an alternate cover:
While this captures the subtleties of the character well, I was also impressed by the inspiration, like a Rockwell painting given a modern and superhero influence.
I don't often get too involved in the weekly feature on this site about the comic art from around the internet that is found on the site. One of the pictures from this week caught my eye though:
This is the reimagined Spoiler, a possible new 52 version of the character from Dustin Nguyen. While it actually has zero real application to the DC Universe, the artist is one employed by DC and therefore his opinion and creativity are not invalid. What is interesting about this concept is that except for the blonde hair and mask, that it bears a strong resemblance to the pre-new 52 Huntress. Fans have clamoured for a return of the Bertinelli character since the reboot, while the Wayne version is stuck in a sort of parallel universe. I wonder though if this could be a route to keep the fans happy?
I was somewhat excited and intrigued by the short story arc for Supergirl underway now called "Red Daughter of Krypton." Up until fairly recently I have been a somewhat dedicated reader of DC cosmic titles, and even mean to catch up when I do get a chance. In the meantime one of the two DC titles that I have been reading is Supergirl, and I was interested to see how the mix went with the usually disparate arms of DC Cosmic, the Lantern Corps and the Kryptonians. I guess the end result was not exactly what I was after, especially with the somewhat horrid modified costume which could have been a lot better, but there was a bit more to it.
One of the most well regarded Superman stories from recent times is Red Son, where Superman lands in Soviet Russia instead of Kansas. It examines the mythos of the character in a different way, showing against a backdrop of a diametrically opposed ideology how the character is tied to Americana. In this case, the story has taken the name of this story and borrowed it to some degree, even taking inspiration from the Soviet design inspired lettering. Seeing as the story falls a little flat in its first installment and has nothing to do at all with the previous entry, it does seem like a very forced connection which doesn't work in the end. It doesn't necessarily afect the reputation of the original, but it also doesn't help the original nor itself with the connection.
As usual with most sporting events I tend to miss most of them, but during the Olympics I have taken a bit of time here and there to check out figure skating. I suppose that figure skating has a reputation of being very "girly" but I do find this to be somewhat flawed in its thinking. After all if one takes the same people and puts a gun in hand and throws them into an action movie with CGI, then the feats which they do are considered amazing and entertaining, but in the context where they are in the Games, they are considered a frivolous sport. I am not exactly sure why this is the case. Comics as a medium tends to use and overuse certain characterizations and can sometimes tend to lack a lot o creativity in its decisions. It is therefore bizarre with a wide range of athletes to choose from that the only prominent figure skater in comics is the Golden Glider at DC.
I am not necessarily advocating that all characters get the same exposure, nor even that there has to be some sort of figure skating character, only that with the use of real life figure skaters in history (Katarina Witt) that it is strange that comics has never ripped off a better story involving the sport.
Hello again readers and welcome back to another roundtable. In theses roundtables regular user band together to discuss a variety of topics as they relate to comics. In this particular roundtable, we continued the discussion since the golden age roundtable where we discussed the earlier age of comics. Just as comics evolved, so too did our discussion and so here we move on to a later period, the silver age. The Poet also shows up here as the editor!
: Hello, oh, so dear readers. My name is, once again (because I haven`t changed it) Kfh.
: Hi, I'm Mr. E. Tragedy, etragedy for short.
: I am always turoksonofstone one word no capital T.
: Hi ComicViners, I’m That60sGuy - capital T, capital G - or 60sGuy/60sDude for short if you want.
The standard definition of the beginning of the Silver Age was with the re-imagination of many characters in the page of Showcase. Others claim it was when Stan Lee started at Marvel. What is your definition of when it started and why?
: What!? Stan Lee? Some use Stan Lee as a watershedder? Oh, that is wrong...Yeah, he does deserve credit for things he has done (which are fewer than thought), but that...no, simply no.
I believe it started...some day. When things started to get sillier. Then again, I don`t think so anymore. Comics were pretty silly, alot of time, in the golden age, also. When haven`t they been?
But, to answer the initial question...I`ll believe Comicvine in this instance. In around 1955.
As for the other initial question, let me quote myself from the Golden age-discussion. Feel free to skip over it.
"Because the general populace started to think that comics were the products of satan. It was partly caused by the god awful but interesting book, Seduction of the innocent. This of course, led to the foundation of comics code authority, and softening up of comics. No murders, no sexy elements etc.
This isn`t a bad thing, on account of the stories. I don`t care what you might think, there was alot of good stuff.
Batman, monster comics, romance comics (that shaped comics in general), Barks`s Donald duck-yarns ( That were epic in the 40`s, too. Check those out. Honestly. CHECK. THEM. OUT. ), comics of other genres (as usual) etc.
Let us also remember, that the second Flash and Hal Jordan/Green Lantern among other great heroes, (I like them. Besides, there woulda been no Wally West, Hal Jordan or whoevers without them) deputed in the 50`s.
What`s the only real downside, is that the cretors were robbed of their freedom to do this and that. Readers were robbed of their freedom to read comics like they use to be. But, they adapted. To survive, you`ve got to adapt. Luckily, the adapting had started in the 40`s already. Take the first appearance of Two-face. It`s very much like a 50`s story. Good stuff.
So, maybe the misunderstandings about comikz...the demonisation of comics makers
( There was something about there being child pornography in them, also. Or something like that. Yeah. Honestly. )
had less to do with comics changing than is thought, these days. Maybe it was simply another natural, evolutionary step."
: It's kind of ironic that I've been chosen to be part of a Silver Age Roundtable, considering it's my least favorite era of comics (well, maybe tied with the 1990s), but I really do like a lot of comics from this period, and have a lot to say about it, so let's go for it!
: That`s why I wanted you to be a part of this. Because of you differing perspective. Is that the right word to use in this instance?
: A lot of people talk about the Silver Age starting in the mid-1950s. D.C.s' Showcase has been cited. Yeah, some people give a lot of the credit to Stan Lee - I've even heard Fantastic Four #1 cited... which would put it as late as the 60s! All of which begs the question, what do you call the years in-between the Golden and Silver Ages? Some people call it the Lost Age of comics, others call it the Atomic Age (the actual era outside of comics is popularly known as the Atomic Age, the antecedent to the Space Age)... but I really don't subscribe to all that. Most of the things that are the hallmark of Silver Age comics the decline/rebirth of superheroes, the transition to 'lighter' storytelling, etc. actually started near the end of the Golden Age, with the watershed years being around the turn of the decade from the 40s to the 50s. So I basically consider the Silver Age to be the 1950s and the 1960s. Some comics scholars agree with me, though the collectors market tends to favor the mid-50s based on the auction prices.
Anyway, after the end of WWII there were tons of returning veterans who just wanted to settle down and have kids. Thus the Baby Boom. Remember that soldiers were one of the biggest markets for comics in the Golden Age. They were tired of war and they just wanted to believe in America as the utopia they'd been fighting for. Nowadays we think nothing of wars that go on for a decade or more - but back then a worldwide war that lasted four years seemed like an eternity, especially for soldiers who were teenagers going in. There was a desire to go back to the Good Ole Days that never was (before the War there had been the Great Depression, and before that another World War). They didn't want to read about war (even the Korean War wasn't even called a 'war' at the time), or crime, or any other social ills, especially not in comics. But their kids - that was a different matter - kids were fascinated with that stuff, and as a result, war comics, crime comics and stuff like that became really popular as superheroes like Captain America disappeared - almost as if they were no longer needed. All of this of course led to one of the first big pop culture wars in the U.S., the outcry against comics, the publication of , the Senate hearings on comics and juvenile delinquency, and the establishment of the Comics Code Authority (CCA).
In some ways that actually revived the superhero - unable to publish crime, horror and science fiction comics, publishers turned back to superheroes and supervillains - a fantasy version of crime that cut more muster with the CCA. DC revived a bunch of its Golden Age heroes, and Marvel now squarely under the supervision of Stan Lee, revived some of Timely's Golden Age characters, and played around more with the private lives of superheroes, making them more 'believable' or 'real' to audiences.
: It also made Donal duck comics damn popular. More popular than superhero comics, at one time. For a good reason. That was a well thought out piece. Clearly you know much more about this subject than me. Bravo!
: Things take another dramatic turn, almost right on the decade mark again around the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s - the time we now call the 'Bronze Age', but that's a topic for another time.
So, all of that was my long-winded explanation for why I consider the Silver Age to be from 1950-1969.
Silver Age started with Showcase 4 IMO.
Stan Lee? Stan worked at Timely/Atlas prior to the Silver Age and as far back as the early forties in a office gopher/writer/editor/nephewoftheboss capacity and did not make any significant contributions I have seen or heard of to the business until 1961 when he piggybacked on Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to create the Silver Age Marvel superheroes.
The Comics Code destroyed EC comics which was a total shame.
I’m of the opinion that the Silver Age started in 1955. Although I think it’s unrealistic to say an exact month and an exact year is when one age completely finished and another one replaced it.
Inevitably many publishers may have changed the kind of comics they’re making around the same time, so for example superhero comics became more popular again after Showcase #4. That doesn’t mean other (perhaps smaller) publishers weren’t still putting out Golden Age type stories months, maybe years, after this.
So from what I can tell, the success of Showcase #4 and the resurrection of The Flash led to DC putting out more superhero stuff. This in turn led to rivals such as Marvel putting out superhero stuff period.
It’s well known Marvel’s first family The Fantastic Four were created to rival DC’s JSA. Of course it can be argued that the long assembly line of successful Marvel superheroes popularised superhero comics more than ever before. Considering many of those heroes are still popular today and making mega bucks from movies, that’s probably a good point.
However to pinpoint the chain of events that can be considered (IMO) the beginning of the Silver Age:
The Comics Code Authority was launched in 1954 in response to the ludicrous book “The Seduction of the Innocent” (a book which has later gone on to be proven to contain falsified data and statistics in order to prove the author’s point).
The crackdown by the CCA led to publishers needing to change the types of books they were putting out.
One such change led to the resurrection of The Flash in Showcase #4 which went on to become hugely successful
Rivals wanted in on the success of Showcase and started publishing their own superheroes, including re-launching old characters.
One of these publishers was Marvel who took the approach to “humanise” their characters more and this, coupled with the Marvel Bullpen’s unprecedented creativity led to a number of classic characters being launched throughout the 1960s
I'm just not a horror fan. I think that's what Strange Tales started as didn't it? Then came Dr. Strange who I'm totally not a fan of. I like Thor enough in the early Avengers but don't think I could take a whole book of his speech :D
: They were horror and monster titles in the 50`s. 60`s was all about superior heroes.
:@that60sguy Very Nice analysis on the beginnings of the Silver Age.
I have read Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense. Did anyone read any Non-Marvel/DC Silver Age stuff other than the Anthropomorphic type comics? DC told some wacky stories during this era, Superman and Batman had sons sometimes lol. I think Marvel once they got on the Superhero bandwagon was crushing it story and art quality wise compared to DC books of the time though I think DC eventually reversed this during the Bronze Age. Dell published a very wide variety of great comics during the Silver Age. The Goldkey line of Superheroes being a stand out in my mind. oh and Super Green Beret needs a mention too. Horror comics lost their edge with the advent of the comics code IMO.
Did anyone read any Non-Marvel/DC Silver Age stuff other than the Anthropomorphic type comics?
Yes. I'm a big fan of the EC horror and science fiction comics up until their final days.
I think Marvel once they got on the Superhero bandwagon was crushing it story and art quality wise compared to DC books of the time though I think DC eventually reversed this during the Bronze Age.
I totally agree with this statement.
Dell published a very wide variety of great comics during the Silver Age. The Goldkey line of Superheroes being a stand out in my mind.
I own one of the Gold Key Tarzan comics of this period. It is one of my most prized comics.
: Which did you guys prefer between Suspense and Astonish? I liked Astonish more myself. Mainly because the Captain America stories in Suspense were God awful and the Sub-Mariner stories in Astonish were quite different from a lot of the stuff published at the time. I really liked the whole undersea bit to put it bluntly. Personally I think the Hulk stories in Astonish were better than the ones in Incredible Hulk which followed on after.
Did anyone read any Non-Marvel/DC Silver Age stuff other than the Anthropomorphic type comics?
I've read The Lone Ranger by Gold Key as well. Some of my first memories of comics was being handed a trunk full of old Lone Ranger, Superman, Captain Marvel and a bunch of other westerns. (Ahem! I should clarify - this happened DECADES after the 60's! :) Probably what got me into comics in the first place. The trunk also contained Korak, Son of Tarzan. Does anyone remember this series?
: I have to admit I found the Hulk stories in Tales to Astonish pretty redundant after awhile. I stopped reading somewhere around issue #90.
Honestly I think Marvel's anthology titles (after they transitioned to superhero titles) were the weakest of its superhero titles. Tales to Astonish,Tales of Suspense, and Strange Tales, generally were weaker IMO thanFantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man, The X-Menand Daredevil. (Note, I left out The Avengers, which was a good idea, but didn't really seem to gel (for me anyway) until the Bronze Age.)
: Yeah I think all the stories in the anthologies were inconsistent in quality - more bad then good. I think it was easier to bare the Hulk stories in Astonish than Incredible Hulk as they were shorter so the pain was over quicker!
Can't say I really liked F4 though. The first few issues and the ones in 1966 were okay but other than those I found them terribly boring... especially how helpless they always made Invisible Girl seem. I guess that leads us to a trend in comics of the Silver Age. Too many female characters who had powers were simply dismissed as "helpless" or "silly". Women like Sue Storm, Jean Grey and The Wasp were always told to hold back so they don't get injured. Even though Jean and Sue clearly had great power sets. I think one of the most glaring examples of this is the way The Wasp is portrayed in Tales To Astonish #58. I won't go into details now as I've already written a plot summary and review for this nonsense of an issue!
: Turok, I have read Superman-stories from the 60`s. Before I read them, I thought that DC-comics from that era were trash. I found myself being completely wrong. I was amazed at the stories that are much more serious than others led me to believe. Stories where things were in many ways, much more realistic than in the comics of today, while stil being imaginative. I also saw the downsides, but they didn`t bother me.
But...when I bought a second volume of Showcase presents: superman...things were different. The stories hadn`t changed to worse, so that wasn`t the problem. I just didn`t like them as much as I did the first time. This was due to these facts:
-They didn`t surprise me as a whole, anymore, because I already knew what they`re like.
-I started to get bored at their repetitiveness.
-Sometimes the characters annoyed me.
-There wasn`t color in them, due to it being a B&W-reprint. But that bothered me the least.
Still, I`m interested to check out more of them. I also wanna see other DC-characters comics from the decade. I`ve read a few Batman and Robi-stories. Robin dies at dawn is interesting, because Batman is so emotional in that one. It`s BIZARRE. I know that there`s more comics where he is like that. Certain JLA-stories, for example.
As for other companies characters, everybody has to check Herbie out.
60`sdude, I think you should check out those short Thor-stories. Maybe from a library. I`ve read that they`re better than full lenght stories about him, in various ways.
As for FF, I agree and disagree with ya. Sure, they`re boring, but they`re also...no, not gonna try to explain. I don`t know why to like FF. You either do or you don`t.
As for all the helpless gals of the age...I`m of two minds about that, also. Irritating, yes. But often, they defied the way the male protagonists treated them (not out of malice, but out of influence of rest of the human race). And though they were usually weaker, you can say that it was the time when there was a "weaker sex", and they thought they had to act like it. The other factor was PIS.
I really don`t see much bad in the way they use to be. It was an era that was different from the others. And also very similar, of course. It makes the stories cooler. That was the way they use to be. Different from how they`re now. In many ways worse, in many ways better.
: With FF I was talking about 1966 onward. I didn't really care for most of the early issues - for me it (and the entire Marvel Silver Age) really starts getting good with the Galactus Trilogy. From that arc onward (Spring of '66), Marvel really kicked it up a notch or two.
The helpless female thing is one of the most irksome things about Marvel's Silver Age team books. Invisible Girl, Marvel Girl and Scarlet Witch are all the most powerful members of their teams - and they do nothing! Even have to be protected. It's a problem across publishers in the Silver Age.
It doesn't bother me that male characters were condescending to the female ones - I'm pretty sure that was the case with men in general in that era. It's only when the female characters don't bother to use their own powers, even to save themselves - that's just bad writing.
: Yeah, that`s what I thought as the WIS-part. Though I had forgotten how helpless they wanted to be. Maybe they all had problems with self confidence.
: I think Black Widow was probably the exception to the helpless women rule. From when she first made an appearance as an Iron Man villain to when she was tagging along with Hawkeye and the Avengers, she was always portrayed as a confident woman who was happy to mix it up with the guys. Ironically when she started teaming up with Daredevil in the 70's, that's when she started becoming more of the damsel in distress type. Sheesh!
: They should`ve given her her own series, I`m guessing.
: Marvel did try to give Black Widow her own series... well sort of. She was one of the two feature stories in Amazing Adventures, the other being The Inhumans. The stories were okay and mainly showed her trying to settle into life in America and dealing with organised crime along the way. The art by John Buscema was tremendous though. She only appeared in the first 7 issues before the book became totally about the Inhumans (pretty dull stuff IMO). Some of these Inhumans stories were re-printed in a trade just a few months ago called Something Inhuman This Way Comes. From issue #11 the series became about Beast and showed how he became a furry creature - I highly recommend #11.
One of the forgotten defining aspects of the silver age is that it was a time when comics first became truly trendy in the sense of catching up to pop culture. Thus comics saw the introduction of the likes of Snapper Carr (the Beatnik), Mod Girl Wonder Woman (mod girl and kung fu fighter) among various other niche genres. How do you feel that this helped to shape the medium in the long run?
: It became more accepted that way, I`m guessing. At least started to get accepted. It also led to great stories. Especially in superhero comics. In other places all around the world, comics had matured more a long time before, because they were made by strange individuals with strange ideas.
: Ugh. This is one of the things I really about the Silver Age. John Goldwater was the head of both Archie Comics, and the Comics Code Authority, so after what happened to EC Comics, everyone started taking their cues from Archie comics. Suddenly comics were less about crime and supervillains, and more about stuff like Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane. Stories became about soda shop dates and 'jalopies' and stuff like that. It kind of worked for Marvel because Peter Parker and Johnny Storm were actually teenagers - but usually when DC tried to be 'hep' it could really fall flat. I remember one particularly disastrous issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen called 'The Redheaded Beatle of 1,000 BC' that still gives me nightmares to this day.
: Try Jack Kirby's issues on Jimmy Olsen for kickass-stories about him in the silver age. Oh, right...you don`t really care for Kirby...
Scratch that. I forgot that you like many Kirby-stories ( That Stan Lee assisted in. Either a little, or alot. I haven`t seen the original "scripts", but have heard that Kirby did most of the work. ).
For me the one that hews closest to pop-culture did so accidentally. Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange was full of surreal imagery that went well with the later psychedelic 60s. I never really understood what the appeal was for Ditko's art, it seemed inferior to John Romita, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, just about all the artists at Marvel back then... but that was because I was always only reading Amazing Spider-Man. Even though that title is his most famous work, it's not really his best work. He clearly seemed to put much more effort into the Dr. Strange stories, and the weird inter-dimensional stuff really fit with what was going on in the counter culture - though it probably wasn't intentional.
: Korak son of Tarzan was great I own quite a few. Dell faithfully adapted so many of the original Tarzan stories. Tales to Astonish I love for the Art and characterization plus ToA was for a time the only book for Hulk and Namor. IMO the Avengers gelled around issue fifteen or sixteen. Silver age Anthologies largely pale beside their Golden Age predecessors IMO. I believe the Early Silver Age Marvel Comics were giant evolutionary step for the superhero genre. The weird Silver Age DC comics have plenty of neat individual stories I just feel like this era was when DC character development and continuity was first derailed. Women were and still are condescended to in the comics IMO.
: I agree about Strange, E. I also agree about almost everyone talking the way they did. But not as much as it does to you. I`ve always simply accepted it. Though, I could also start to read them comics solely visually. Forget the dialogue and all.
I never really understood what the appeal was for Ditko's art, it seemed inferior to John Romita, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, just about all the artists at Marvel back then...
Agreed. Ditko's Aunt May was so wrinkled and old looking I thought she was about to turn to dust any minute. Jazzy Johnny Romita was always my favourite. I also really liked Gene Colan's moody, darker toned work along with the Buscema brothers Neal Adams and of course Jim STERANKO. Although as far as I know, Steranko, Adams and the Buscema's didn't really become well established until 1968 and after. Oh and also Marie Severin who in my opinion drew the best Hulk. I like Kirby to a moderate level and I know a lot of the work he did was quite unique but I was never a huge fan of the King.
: I think it`s interesting how May looked really old at first, and as time goes by, she has actually become younger...a hidden, extraordinary ability? Or does she simply exercise to keep fit and mobile and moisturize her skin alot?
: The way I justify it in my head is that Aunt May was 'sick' in the early issues of Spider-Man, and then she got better (before she got sick again).
One of the defining aspects of the silver age was an attempt to tie characters more closely to science and thus make the science fiction seem more real. Equally though, some characters held on to the golden age (Wonder Woman) much longer than others. Why the discrepancy?
I didn't read a lot of Silver Age Wonder Woman comics, but if I had to guess I'd say it really didn't make much sense to re-invent Wonder Woman as a science heroine. They would've had to jettison too much of the existing origin involving Amazons and Greek Mythology. But for a character like The Flash it made total sense. All they were really doing is updating the pseudo-science that was already there to something that was more believable in a 50s/60s context. While breathing heavy water vapors in the early 40s worked for Jay Garrick, the Barry Allen idea of a lightning & chemical bath was much more believable to audiences of the day - and because the chemicals were never identified, the origin really worked for decades. It's only recently that it's had to be updated to some kind of 'speed force'.
The one character that really seems to undergo a pretty radical shift is Green Lantern. And I think it was a good one. In the Golden Age, and early part of the Silver Age, Science Fiction was a close cousin to Horror in comics - it was ultimately a science fiction comic that was the last straw for EC, not a horror or crime one. So there were a lot of people like Julius Schwartz at DC who were looking at how to put science fiction back in comics in a way that wouldn't run afoul of the CCA. The inspiration came around the time the U.S.S.R. and U.S. first started looking at doing manned space missions - they decided to draw on aircraft test pilots to be the first cosmonauts/astronauts; why not make one of them a superhero? Science was seen as humanity's savior in the Atomic and Space Ages, so these reinvented superheroes were just reflecting what was going on in the culture. The Flash is the same way: forensic science was just entering police work in a big way; why not make a police scientist a superhero? The reinvented Hawkman is really just a cross between Green Lantern and The Flash - an interstellar alien police scientist.
But there really wasn't a need to tamper with the Trinity much, they were popular enough the way they were, and besides, Superman was an alien and Batman was doing detective science already, that just leaves Wonder Woman.
Actually I think the science/technology aspects of Wonder Woman are the weakest aspect of the character i.e. that damn invisible jet. Not that I'm crazy about a flying Wonder Woman either (see my comments on 'power creep' in the Joker/Harley Roundtable).
: I agree that the Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were already popular enough to be left alone and not worth upsetting existing fans with a new origin or power set to bring them into the Silver Age. Whereas characters like Flash were either not popular enough or not even being published at the time so a modernisation of their origins and powers seemed exactly the right thing to do in order to attract new readers. Specifically since pop culture was so openly accepting pseudo science at the time. Moreover the atomic age certainly brought about numerous new scientific advancements, knowledge, etc so to mix superheroes with extravagant science fiction maybe didn't seem at all far fetched at the time.
A great example would be Spider-Man’s origin. The fact that getting bitten by a radioactive spider can give someone superpowers might seem perfectly believable (in fantasy terms) at a time when radiology and it’s “wonders” where just being introduced to the world. If that happened nowadays we would wonder why Peter Parker isn’t dying of cancer! Similarly in the Spider-Man Season one OGN, Peter actually gets bitten by a genetically modified spider – again to make it more relatable to current audiences and pop culture.
Sadly not updating Wonder Woman with a more science fiction related origin may have been the reason why the character and her popularity were suffering for so long until the New 52. She’s been around about as long as Supes and Bats but enjoys nowhere near their level of popularity outside comics. This surely can’t be merely because she’s a woman. Even Catwoman is more famous outside comics (even with that atrocious film)! Conversely the New 52 re-imagining of Wonder Woman seems to expand even further on mythologies and Gods, etc and she’s now more popular than ever (or at least her book is).
: Fun fact: I`m one of the ten people on Earth who actually likes the Invisible jet.
I really can`t add anything that you guys wouldn`t have had already pointed out, about all the science-stuff.
I like to think that the ray that the spider descended trough, was of very low radioactivity. Why else would it be kept in a space that has people going trough it, without some safety suits?
There`s more reasons to WWs unpopularity. 1. Her comics were much sillier and "sillier" than Supermans or Batmans. 2. When WWII had ended, something was missing from WW, since she was so tied to it. That`s what I`ve read.
Another Fun fact: I also liked Catwomans movie, and don`thave a nasty memory of it. Partly because I haven`t watched it a second time, to destroy the illusion. If I think rationally, I know that it`s not fantastic. But I still can`t make myself feel that way.
: Steve Ditko was Awesome and prolific and contributed more to Spider-Man and Dr.Strange and Marvel in general than people recognize or give him credit for IMO. His Aunt May looked like someone 100+ years old no doubt about it. I would rate him second most important and influential artist of the Marvel Silver Age Bullpen.
DC reinventing things in the Silver Age never seemed like a move toward science for me Batman and Robin visiting other planets to fight aliens was as lame as it sounds. Golden/Silver Age Wonder Woman was Iconic and Did not need much updating since the Trinity remained in print from one age to the next evolving all the while, This more than anything else is what sets these three characters apart from the rest of the superheroes of all eras. Marvel on the other hand did seem to go for something slightly more realistic and real world science based from the get go. Dell comics did this science theme implementation best of all.
: The dynamic duo travelling the cosmos is actually pretty awesome. But since pretty much everyone does that, it feels less special.
Do you think that comics lost some of their all encompassing quality thanks to the comics code? It is only recently that mainstream stories involving such a wide ranging amount of topics are covered.
: Here are some relevant parts from the 1954 version of the CCA which to me seemed to specifically target EC comics.
The code seemed to primarily target Crime/Horror comics but limited stories across all the genres. Good riddance to the code I say.
: How do you define recently? If you mean by the start of the 21 century or before that, I agree.
They lost some of it, yes. But most of `em stayed almost the same, when if comes to all that political and social commentary. Of course, various ones were changed so much that you basically got an entirely different comic.
I think that the early CCA is bashed enough, but that it should also be remembered and noted that alot of good things occured because of it. For example, parodies of it.
As time goed by, it lost its power more and more, and in the end, didn`t really do much that was worthwhile. Hence, it was finished.
As for other comics around the world...CCA didn`t exist there. They had more creative freedom (that is, if their editors didn`t want to take some of it away).
Turok, what I find irritating, interesting and funny is that...Most comic authors followed many of those rules (most of the time) before they even became rules.
: Exactly when was the CCA disbanded?
:January of 2011.
: So many people talk about it like in 1954 Wertham writes , and then there's the Senate hearings and we get the Comics Code Authority and that's the start of the Silver Age. But it ain't that simple. The mid 50s was just when it hit critical mass.
As I mentioned earlier there was this desire to go back to the 'Good Ol' Days' that never was after the end of WWII and the crackdown on comics began almost immediately after the War. Comics were already under fire at the end of the Golden Age, and the first steps at self-regulation was the ACMP (Association of Comics Magazine Publishers). That was in 1947 - just two years after the end of the war. When they came out with their first code - the 'Publisher's Code' in 1948, that's when Bill Gaines (publisher of E.C.) essentially said, we're out of here and pulled out of the ACMP. He saw where this was going.
That's what makes Bill Gaines so great. This was by no means limited to comics - that attempt to sanitize everything pervaded the culture in the 50s and 60s, and you had people fighting it in all arenas of pop culture: Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling, Hugh Hefner, Lenny Bruce... they would all fight back, but Bill Gaines was the first one to say 'we're not going to take it anymore'. He refused to play ball. When the Congressional hearings happened he was the only publisher that showed up to counter Wertham and the string of 'experts' testifying that comics caused juvenile delinquency. Walt Kelly (creator of Pogo) was there, but he just read a brief statement in support of self censorship. All the rest of the testimony was by psychiatrists and educators who favored censorship.
As an aside, I have to say I find it pretty hilarious throughout the 1950s you had the same people who would be going to see 'The Music Man' on Broadway which made fun of flim-flam artists that told parents that 'Captain Billy's Whiz Bang' the pulp they read intheir youths would lead to juvenile delinquency, and here they are seriously listening to flim-flam men condemning Captain Bill (Fawcett)'s Whiz comics a few decades later in real life!
Anyway, the CCA was established, and Martin Goldwater (publisher of Archie) was put in charge. As I said earlier, this really led to a gutting of comics content across the board - even mainstream superhero comics became less about fighting supervillains and more about the heroes' love lives and other wacky hijinks. But Bill Gaines - a guy who didn't even want to be a comics publisher, remember, he just wanted to be a chemistry teacher, but took over the family business to support the family when his father died - ends up being the martyr here. Can you imagine putting the head of Microsoft in charge of what products Apple can and can't release? That's exactly what it was like for E.C. comics - their business rival was in a position to put them out of business. The battles between Gaines and Goldwater are legendary. Gaines kept sending stuff to the CCA and the CCA would reject it.
The whole thing came to a head when Judge Murphy, the CCA's 'Administrator' refused to allow E.C. to reprint a comic story they'd already published in the Golden Age called 'Judgment Day'. It was a science fiction story about an astronaut who goes to a planet of robots some orange and some blue. But the orange robots were like second class citizens just because of their color. The astronaut decides that the Galactic Republic should not admit the planet until they get over their racism. In the last panel, he takes off his helmet and we see he's a black man (remember, this was before the Civil Rights Movement). Judge Murphy insisted that the astronaut be white - even though as written it violated none of the CCA guidelines (see @turoksonofstone's post above). Bill Gaines was pissed! He called up Judge Murphy - a state Judge, and once he got past his secretary he said he was going to publish the comic anyway, shouted an F bomb and slammed the receiver down.
Everyone at E.C. was there and they were like, oh no, what are we going to do? They're going to shut us down for sure now. But Bill Gaines already had his contingency plan. They put out that issue of Incredible Science Fictionanyway, in defiance of the Code and Gaines said something like, 'don't worry, boys, we're no longer in the comics business - we're in the magazine business' and from then on they published Mad Magazine in full-size magazine format - beyond the reach of the CCA. And Congress and Archie Comics were some of their regular targets. They outlasted the Code, and Bill Gaines got the last laugh after all.
But all the rest of the publishers would only dig out from under the CCA little by little one incident at a time, eroding the CCA's power over time.@that60sguy, in answer to your question, two years ago, in 2011 first DC pulled out of the CCA, leaving Archie Comics the last member still using it; a couple days later, even Archie dropped it, officially dissolving the CCA.
So, yes, for decades comics lost some of their all encompassing quality thanks to the comics code. It is only recently that mainstream stories involving such a wide ranging amount of topics are covered. But we're really just entering the post CCA world - Marvel has only been out from under the Code since the early 2000s (though now they may be governed by Disney's own internal watchdogs) - it's a whole new world.
Hello all! Poet here! would you believe there is a whole off the record rant even after this long speech? ha ha sorry...I'm going back to compiling...
: I want to go on record saying I believe no good came about as a result of the comics Code. Parodies of the sanitized books (like Mad's infamous 'Starchie') existed before the code, and any parodies specifically of the Code wouldn't have been necessary if it hadn't existed in the first place. Even 60s 'underground' comics would have happened without it. IMO all it did was retard the growth of a medium; it's the reason why even to this day the majority of Americans still think comics are juvenile / just for kids / not 'real' books. It wasn't like that before they were dumbed down for the CCA.d
: kfhrfdu_89_76k, I don't think most companies did follow those rules prior to the code. Dell comics were pretty sanitary but that was it. etragedy, Well put and Amen on the CCA observations..
What you refer to is only how displaying the CCA logo affected / didn't affect various publishers from a business standpoint. It certainly affected them from a creative/content standpoint... at least for awhile. Marvel started to break code with Amazing Spider-Man 96-98, paving the way for a the more permissive Bronze Age.
etragedy, ah! Dell was not part of the code that makes sense they always seemed to have pretty strict internal editorial oversight. I think Stan Lee has been quoted as saying that Marvel felt that particular drug related Spider-Man story arc was so important they felt it was necessary to drop the code and tell it anyway. The eighties really got the ball rolling on code breaking with the all the B&W and other Independent publishers that sprung up. BTW are we going to forget the Underground Comix of the Silver Age?Robert Crumb and all that?
: We don`t have to.
Well the Comix certainly ignored the code and they were some of the earliest artist driven books ZAP! for example was a stand out.
: They were an attack against USAs stiff, intolerant, hypocrite society that existed in the 60`s. It still does, but not as strongly (IMHO).
: I really appreciate what they were doing with Zap!, but it never really appealed to me much personally... with one exception: Robert Williams. I always loved his art. It was surreal and psychedelic, but it also had the influence of the Ed "Big Daddy" Roth auto detailing days. I think I'm not really alone - he seems to be the one artist that stood apart from the "hippy" crowd and embraced lot of my generation. I remember when I was in high school (long after the Silver Age), I bought Guns N' Roses album 'Appetite for Destruction' just for the Robert Williams art. (I was always a sucker for comic cover art on records, I also bought Joe Satriani's Surfing With the Alien for the John Byrne art and 7 Year Bitch's Gato Negro for the Hernandez Bros. art).
But anyway, back to the topic of underground comics. They all seemed to come out at the end of the Silver Age, the late 1960s, and I don't think it's an accident that the Bronze Age comes about real soon after the appearance of underground comics like Zap! Once again, there was a sea change between the 60s and 70s like there was between the 40s and 50s. The whole culture was changing - I'm not saying these underground comics (AKA 'comix') influenced mainstream comics (though they probably did), but more that society as a whole underwent a pretty dramatic change at the end of the 1960s, and this is reflected in pop culture too - for comics that meant the start of a new, Bronze Age.
: etragedy, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth..Rat Fink!! Great Stuff. I have an Issue or two of Hot Rod Magazine from the time because they feature his stuff.
That "Appetite for Destruction" cover by Robert Williams is really something. I also bought the album for that reason (and ended up quite liking the songs too).
It really is fascinating how suddenly the content of mainstream comics changed as soon as 1970 hit. It's almost like all the publishers decided "the Silver Age is overrrr..... NOW!" and completely changed their approach to stories.
: For the record, that image is what they replaced the Williams cover with. I don't think we can show the original album cover in this RT.
: Ohhh! Ah well, still really like this cover tho whoever drew it! :)
: It was printed on the inside sleeve of my copy.
: What do all of you think of the effects of the era on modern age (or maybe it should be discussed on the RT about that era)?
: Well, as far as mainstream superhero comics go, the Modern Age is the direct successor to the Silver Age. It's interesting how little these characters have changed since then. Only about a decade after the Golden Age, many of the characters were radically different - Flash, Green Lantern, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Superman; but then they change very little in the nearly half century since. Look at Modern Age Flash's costume for example: it is much closer to the costume of the Silver Age Flash than the Silver Age Flash costume is to Golden Age Flash.
By the end of the Silver Age the day-to-day business of comics publishing had started to take root. Marvel had moved from the Empire State Building to Madison Ave. and DC merged with what would become Warner Communications and it moved offices too. As Marvel got closer to the ad business and DC to the publishing district, it set the state for the comics as big business we know today.
I mentioned Robert Williams as my favorite of the underground comix artists, did anyone have a different favorite? No one going to give any love to Crumb or Spain?
: I haven`t read alot of comix, but Crumb I do enjoy the works of Crumb and Pekar (will save him for the Bronce age discussion).
What I like about Crumbs works, is its balsiness. How they dare to be free spirited, and politically incorrect. It`s naturalness and stream of consciousness nature. How he embarrassed himself, and made himself do somewhat disturbing business.
He took alot of influences from 40`s-50`s comics, because Crumb grew up reading them.
"What do all of you think of the effects of the era on modern age?"
I, myself, think the same that you do E. But I also think that certain elements of the 60`s have been modernized.
Heroes were flawed, humane, those days. If pushed to their limits, they might`ve died, or done something unwise. But, they didn`t, because something always stopped them. Saved them. This trend continued mores strongly in the 70`s.
These days, there`s a higher possibility of a hero acting unheroically. Take a look at Tony Stark during Civil war (why he did it, was partially explained by Matt Fraction), Reed Richards during Civil war, Spider-man, Daredevil, Captain America, Batman, Superman (rarer in his case, but he lashes out alot, too)...
Then there`s all this crazy stuff that happened in those days. Cosmic weapons that could crumbe worlds, planet eating giants, super powerful obese kids, Jimmy Olsen turning to a different being every fifth issue, new dimensions found everyday, magical idols, debutes of new superheroes and supervillains...Just like in the preceding decades, but now more...strongly. And they exist these days, too. But more flamboyantly.
It`s very evident in Grant Morrisons writing, for example. Goofy happenings of epic proportions played straight, and with violence and serious themes in the mix. They appear in the pages only briefly, because it was so in the silver age. And especially Kirbys comics. Stories are fast paced, but they take more time to happen than they woulda, in the 40`s-60`s. But when you look at the whole...You understand how much has happened, in such little time. It`s very confusing.
Obvious, yes. But I had to write something.
: Crumb was my favorite from the silver age era comix though there were a lot of neat comix beside his I have read the Freak Bros., Fat Freddy's Cat, Dr. Atomic, American Flyer Funnies and others. The Silver Age is mainly reflected in the modern era through occasional retro-style novelty stories and Characters IMO.
: Yes. That was a good issue. Bruce Timm art on that one is great. I feel like Superman Vs.Hulk is my favorite retro style story. I love Steve Rude on any classic character Mike Allred too they capture the classic feel IMO
: Speaking of Silver Age creators, who were some of your favorite mainstream comics creators?
I really like the ones that were working on The Flash. Gardner Fox did a lot of great things in the Golden Age, but he hit a really creative period in the Silver Age. Some even attribute the start of the Silver Age to him because of 'Flash of Two Worlds'... but the concept of the multiverse, really weird and unusual Flash stories, creating the Justice League, these are some of the reasons I liked Fox.
Also Carmine Infantino and John Broome, who created Flash's 'Rogue's Gallery' - even the concept of a 'rogue's gallery' that gets used for other heroes now.
I also like Wally Wood, especially T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents... I hear they've been revived in recent years. I wonder if people reading the comic today even know about the Silver Age origins of the team? But, I've already mentioned Wood - he was all over in the Silver Age, working for nearly all the active publishers. He was one of the most talented of Marvel's freelancers, IMO.
: For example: Dick Sprang, Jack Kirby, Carl Barks, Paul Murry, Romano Scarpa, Gil Kane, John Romita (sr.), Al Plastino, Joe Steranko, Hergé, al Hubbard, René Goscinny, Morris, Albert Uderzo, Otto Binder, John Severin,Lars Jansson... Also, not a huge fan of Steve Ditko, but I like his works, too.
I wish I could name others too, but don`t remember more of `em.
Has anybody else of you read Donal duck comics of this period?
: If I read any of the Donald Duck comics, I don't really remember them - maybe some Scrooge McDuck.
Most of the 'funny animals' genre I read when I was a kid in the Bronze Age, not the Silver Age. I remember liking Harvey's Hot Stuffthe best.
: Covers look good.
: Yeah - he was this baby devil that pretty much went around causing mischief. Worse than Dennis the Menace, Caspar & Wendy, or Huey, Dewey and Louie... that's why I liked him!
: A spawn of Hell oughta be.
: @kfhrfdu_89_76k You've mentioned Silver Age Donald Duck comics a few times in this thread, but you haven't told us why you like them. I'm more familiar with Golden Aged Donald than Silver Age Donald. So what were Silver Age Donald Duck comics like?
: There was a few good creators back in the day. Then there was Carl Barks, who was more.
Barks made 20-30 page epics about Scrooge, Donald and his nephews going on journeys around the world and space to look for treasures. They also fought against monsters, giant robots, witches and ingenious one-time criminals.
He also made 10 pages (or thereabouts) long joke-comics about Donalds, Hueys, Deweys and Louies (and sometimes other characters), wacky everyday life.
That doesn`t sound original, I`ll admit that. But it`s so, because that`s what those characters are about. These stories are special, though.
The heroes have moments of remorse, cowardice, bravery, wickedness, stupidity and cleverness. They are different from story to story, which I find to be both irritating and cool & practical concept. Practical, because that way, when a character acts out of character, it really isn`t so. It IS the character of the...character. Barks didn`t invent that though...What did he invent. Oh, right.
He gave the characters richer personalities. In the 30`s, Donald was very one-dimensional. When Barks took over, it changed. He fleshed Donald and his nephews out. He also...
Expanded Duckburk. Made up alot of memorable characters who are still important today. Made Scrooge his greatest character. Creted the DEFINITIVE way to make Disney Duck-comics. Spiced his stories with honestly amusing jokes and occurences, menacing threats, wild concepts that felt very natural to the characters (if they`d be shocked to see something, the shock would stay for long), social commentary, great art...While making it TRULY for all ages. It still doesn`t sound special...but I`m pretty sure it sounds great. It should.
Basically, he did what he had done in the golden age. But in a larger scale, and even better. They beat the crap out of most comics (or at least a staggering amount of them) of...any era since.
: Someone maybe ought to talk about the cinematic style introduced by Jim Steranko in Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. - it's still used as an example in filmmaking textbooks to this day. And it might dovetail nicely with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Roundtable...
: @etragedy When I first "read" the beginning two pages of Jim Steranko's Nick Fury Agent of Shield I actually had to check to make sure it was a comic from 1968 because it was so ahead of it's time. I've put read in quotes as those first few pages have next to no dialogue but show someone sneaking into a facility using a large amount of small panels per page. It is drawn very stylishly and cinematically. Steranko mentions in many interviews that was his idea... He wanted the reader to flow through the panels like they were watching a movie. Steranko put more emphasis on the moments before the big events rather than the events themselves (such as explosions, etc) as the explosions are over soon but the moments before create tension and suspense.
He came from an advertising and graphic design background so he definitely had a good idea of how to visually capture the readers attention and keep it. Interestingly I've read Steranko and Stan Lee often disagreed on the former's style and methods as Lee wanted things done in the house style (Gene Colan was also one who wouldn't conform to this).
: Did not know the former paragraphs information.
: Kirby and Ditko and Everett for me as far as Silver Age favorites are concerned. I have read more looney tunes characters and Mickey Mouse than Donald Duck though I must have read a few Barks stories. Steranko made some great Will Eisner style covers and did plenty of sweet stuff all his own as well IMO. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were great and so was Wally Wood.
: My other favourite artists of the Silver Age are Jazzy Johnny Romita (Daredevil & Spider-Man), Gene Colan for his dark brooding work which really stood out from the rest of Marvel's stuff (Daredevil), Marie Severin (Hulk & Namor) and John Buscema (Silver Surfer). I think Sal Buscema was mainly inking then and I only read a handful of Neal Adams X-Men.
I kind of lost control of this RT, but you guys have done really well :) Feel good wrapping it up?
: Hm, I suppose that`s all, for now. If so, bye to all, this has been Kfh the (not all that) Kreat. And all the other guys, too. Fantastic thoughts, guys.
Far be it from me to only complain (or maybe just point out) unrealistic high heels, Shahrazad shows off some of the most unrealistic eyelashes in comics. The below is an entire panel from the most recent issue:
I don't really mind, I just remember talking to some male friends once as they were looking at some picture of some celebrity. My first impression was that "those are fake" to which they started debating with me whether or not said celebrity (can't remember who) had breast implants or not. It was not my point, as I was actually talking about the eyelashes, but it is interesting to remember that in comics that the exaggerated features of characters is not only in the size of their breasts or the exposure of their skin (also thanks to Chanel for giving me a mascara brand name to rip off).
Though few people are likely reading it, one of the most intriguing series that I have read in a long time is that of Shahrazad. Three issues in I am still not entirely certain of what is going on, as character jump back and forth between genres and sub-genres of fiction, with still little connection in between. This is not of place at the same time, seeing as the characters are based on the narrator of the 1001 Arabian Nights, where each night produced a new story. In this case the narrator has become the protagonist and lives the stories now instead of telling them.
Despite not really knowing what is going on yet, issue #3 introduced the character of Janus. It is not evident yet whether this character is related directly to the Roman god, but it would seem that at least the powers are in some way (the ability to see forward in time.) As such though this character, being able to look forward and back serves as a well chosen antagonist for the main character, one who is similar at least thus far to that of DC Comics' Resurrection Man. When one character can manipulate time and space in one way, this occurs in a different sense, and while maybe not giving more explanation at least gives some direction.