New Blogs and The History of DC Comics

As part of a school project we were asked to write a series of blogs on any topic we liked, naturally I chose comics. Even though this was the last blog I wrote (over the 6 month period of writing these blogs) I found it fitting to start at the beginning. So for your enjoyment and my teachers heartache I present to you my History of DC comics. Keep in mind when I wrote this it was aimed towards an audience that didn't know the difference between a Green Lantern comic and an excerpt from the "funny pages."

Part One- “Wholesome, All American, Kind Hearted” and “The Birth of Comics.”

The dc comic’s story begins Allied Publications. Before DC comics was created the allied publications realised the “New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1” in February 1935. This was the first of all soon to be DC comics. Later the New Fun series changed the title to Adventure comics, the series in which Aquaman, Green Arrow and many other beloved DC comic characters made their comic début. This Ne fun comic was large in size being able to hold many different stories into the one book it was about half the size of a 1930s newspaper. As the company grew in popularity they launched their second title “New Comics #1”, much like the original the name of the company this title didn’t last for long. The “new comics” series adopted the title Action Comics and thus DC comic was born. Action comics would go on to be DCs longest non-stop running series of all time reaching over 500 issues every month from issue one to issue 503. Soon after the immense popularity of the superman character another series was created, Detective Comics, this was created three years after superman and in 1939 batman was introduced. Batman and superman were the embodiment of what all comics stood for “heroes saving people and the world.” This soon to be ongoing theme of superheroisim would be carried on for generations to come. After the popularity of superman and batman soared the need for more superhero comics was way pass due, characters like wonder woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, the flash, green lantern and Superboy were created, these comics were usually shared in the same book with one part on character and the other part the other.

Many a year passed and comic series were well into the hundreds, but it seemed that comic enthusiasts would need more than the two-superhero comics. As dc gradually gained a position in the major leagues of the comic industry a demand for something different was put onto DCs shoulders. New comic series in the 50s were being developed, these comics explored different themes rather than just heroism. New themes such as: Romance, Horror and Science Fiction spawned from the company name and gained immense popularity around the United States of America. At this time the American economy was in a boom and what other thing would teenagers spend their allowance on than a saucy love story or a horrific tale of suspense. These new themed comics appealed to teens on all ends of the spectrum. DC was living the life on the top of the preverbal ladder…nothing could stop them not even an aspiring comic writer by the name of Stan “the man” Lee.

Part Two-Enter “The Silver Age” and “wait, what just happened?”

It seems that now only a few years after the mega interest in non-superhero comic, that superheros have been revived. The fifties was the year for innovations within DC comics. DC decided to change their superheros and give them a new fell; this would be known forever in history as the very first reboot. However, previous comic characters still existed but in another universe or another world. The new characters existed in “Earth 1” and the previous characters in “Earth 2.” This was the system until the eighties; we will get into that much later. The original Flash-Jay Garrick was moved to the other world, which lead to the introduction of my fav’ superhero of all time into regular cannon “The Fastest Man alive” Barry Allen.. Green Lantern, Hawkman, Wonder Woman and many others were changed to create a new DC universe.

In the beginning of comics there were two main comic companies: DC and Marvel. For many years marvel was in the seemingly everlasting shadow of the high acclaimed DC. This was the case since the idea for comics was created. It seemed that marvel didn’t have the originality or creativity as DC did and this caused people to choses dc over marvel. The year is 1960 now the American economy is settling after the boom in the fifties and people are becoming regular buyers of Batman and Superman. Up until this time rival comic company had no real big hitters on their team so an executive decision was made to bring in new comic writer and former assistant to timely comics (later to be known as Marvel) Stan Lee in the fifties Stan worked on a few romance an horror stories but not many of them were really noted in. With nothing to lose marvel put all their faith into this new comic writer that no one had ever heard of besides from a few comics and the boy who refilled the ink jars. Marvel needed something new that could put them on top of the comic ladder, what marvel needed was a revolution; this created the evolution of marvel. In this boom marvel such beloved characters were created Daredevil, Fantastic four, Spiderman, the avengers, hulk, and X-Men. This brought Marvel back into the comic monopoly and made Stan Lee the most famous comic writer to this day.

DC was apprehensive that this new advancement in marvel publishing would destroy their slowly dying industry. DC employed new means of creating comic awareness, DC moved to a new form of media television. The year was 1966 and the Batman TV show on the ABC network sparked a temporary spike in comic book sales. This show gathered a major cult following and became an instant classic from the first day it was aired. The demand for more batman introduced the following characters that gained a successful part in regular batman canon Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite in an attempt to modernize the batman comic series. In 1967 DC was purchased Warner Bros. Dc regain popularity by producing excellent comics and introducing new exciting female characters like Supergirl and others. DC ended the silver age with a struggling climb back to fame.

Part Three-“Bronzien Years and “Good night sweet prince”

With Dc realising over 20 titles each fortnight there was a slight problem with supply and demand. So many comics titles were being created but not nearly enough were being produced this caused mass hysteria within the industry, luckily DC took the ensitive to produce more copies and solve the problem. The seventies brought new themes into the classic comics that people of all ages bought religiously. The subject of drugs was stumbled upon with Green Arrows long time sidekick “speedy” caught taking drugs, the story arc followed the young teenager abusing the substance and walking the streets. This theme of drugs was taken very seriously within DC comics and spawned many specials to educate the children on the dangers of drugs. The main comic Green Lantern #85 was very well received in taking the issue seriously and went down in history as the first comic to tackle the issue that plagued the seventies.

A decade passed and barely anything had happened, basically comics continued to be realised weekly and the industry ran as estimated. A few years after the controversy the editor in chief of DC was replaced by former children’s magazine writer Jenette Kahn, with the editor change came two new series’ and new characters Firestorm and Shade, the Changing Man. This characters remained in the spotlight for many years especially firestorm one of the most prominent African American characters in DC comics in the late seventies/early eighties. In 1978 the first full feature Superman film was presented on the silver screen, Christopher Reeves shined as the man of steel and fooled audiences around the world into thinking that a man could fly. The film itself faired at an average rate at the box-office and affected the sales of Superman comics reasonably.

Only months after the realise of the superman film a shocking event that would go down in history as one of the most damaging events in the industry. In 1978 DC was realising just under 60 comics each month this was an average number for monthly comics within the industry. As a marketing ploy DC stupidly decided to cancel twenty of their comic books including Mister Miracle, Aquaman and Showcase. This action was dubbed “DC Implosion” by comic loyalists. Lastly comics were decreased to a 17 page story with a forty cent price increase.

Intermission-It’s a big blog so I think that it’s time for a small interval… thank-you.

Ok, were back. The end of the decade is drawing to a close as the groovy seventies ends and the eighties begins a brand new series is started, Marv Wolfman expands his run on fan faveriot series “Teen Titans” and creates a new series, originally entitled “The New Teen Titans.” This hugely successful Teen Titans comic spawned a new series, a series that would forever change DC universe… forever (until the latest reboot comes along). The result of the success of the comic by creators hatched a Wolfman and Pérez 12-issue maxi series, the highly commended “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, this gave the company an opportunity to change some of the backstories on their slightly out dated characters origins. The history of Superman and Wonder Woman was slightly changed to fit the once modern generation. This would be the first prominent reboot for a while at least. The end of the eighties brought Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Watchmen by Alan Moore, which is a story for another time.

Conclusion-It seems that nowadays there is no comparison to the comics of old, febal attempt's to revive DC to their former glory haven't been very successful.

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