Is this the "Diamond Age" of Comics?

Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
 In a lot of ways, this was the battle of comics in the 90s.

You know, fandom and the comics industry as a whole places an awful lot of emphasis on the various “ages” of comics, doesn’t it? Sure, every kind of entertainment has its golden age - - there’s the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Golden Age of Rock ‘N Roll, and so on - - but how many actually identify a Silver Age? Or a Bronze Age? I can’t help thinking how new readers must look at this since the actual stories get  “meta” about it, so often.  DC’s putting out that LEGACIES title that’s specifically about the “five ages of superheroes.” The conceit of most Sentry stories is how the character would be so different in the Golden, Silver, Bronze or “Dark” Ages. It’s really a central idea of the superhero story, isn’t it? As much as families with legacy mantles are, right?

It seemed like the overwhelming "meta-narrative" when I was a kid was basically that the Silver Age had returned to take things back from the “grim and gritty” Dark Age. Some have called it the “Neo Silver Age.” KINGDOM COME was about the truer, bluer old breed coming out of retirement to put the crasser, corrupt upstarts back in line. The HEROES RETURN revamp of Marvel’s main heroes titles was basically about going old school after years of trying to be edgy.  SUPREME and TOM STRONG were hailed for their straightforward whimsy.
 == TEASER ==

 This title embodied both ages, basically.

However, I recall something Mark Millar said when he was first promoting ULTIMATES. Something along the lines of superheroes needed to get back-to-basics but, after that was over, they needed to move forward. Seeing as how the Ultimate line seems to be the major revamp that finally stuck - - it’s informed the main books, the movies, the shows and so on  - - I can’t help thinking of it as a starting point. I don’t claim to be a comics historian, though. I’m sure some of you have better ideas as what the exact cut-off points are. The “narrative” of these ages needs an update, because I think we’re in the middle of a new one, now.  Something removed from what’s been referred to as the "Modern Age," and even farther removed from the “Dark Age.” Call it the Platinum Age. Call it the Diamond Age. Some have. It’s definitely something different and I’ll leave it up to you to debate how modern comics have changed from those in previous eras. Go on. I’m eager to hear you maniacs' take on it.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on Amazon.com.

#1 Posted by Caligula (12417 posts) - - Show Bio

i'd say it's the Electric age, or the Cellular age.

#2 Posted by Marius138 (90 posts) - - Show Bio

If anything I think now is the true Golden Age for comics.  I mean the whole "Golden Age" thing is typically meant to be when somethings at its greatest, like the golden age of Rome and what not. When comic books first came out during their "Golden Age" people didn't take them seriously and they were primarily for kids.
 
Now however, were finely at a point where comics are more widely accepted as being a real medium for serious stories. Comic book fans can come out and say "I read and enjoy comic books" as an adult and most people don't no longer assume your immature or somethings wrong with you.  And of course there's the whole comic book movies dominating the big screen thing that's going on.

#3 Posted by ninjadude853 (270 posts) - - Show Bio

heres how i see it (and it is a strong possibility that i completly missed the point of this article)

 the Golden Age lasted from the first apperance of Superman, and lasted until the first appeance of the Flash (although it lulled after WWII) and it had a fairly realistic take on superheroes, meaning that the first enemies that superman fought tended to be corrupt and powerful citizens and the occasional mad scientist, Captain America usually fought nazis and japanese enemies who were for the most part ordinary, (and pure evil)
 
the Silver Age began with the first appearance of Barry Allen (or so i'm told) and this is the classic superhero story's age, righteous and virtuous heroes battleing evil and nefarious villains with no middle ground, it was good vs evil, all the way
 
i'd say the Silver Age ended and the Bronze Age began with the death of Gwen Stacy, stories became more complicated and dark, but deep down, heroes were still heroes, and at first it was difficult to distinguish between the Bronze and Silver Ages, but i'd personally say that the Bronze age came into its own with the arrival of characters like Wolverine and the Punisher, who blurred the lines between good and evil
 
then came what i consider to be the Dark Age, both within the comics industry and the comics themselves, my personal belief is that this "Age" was brought on by Watchmen, where the Superheroes could also be called Super villains, and this is when it gets complicated, stuff like the Death of Superman and the Legacy virus come out in the 90s, and don't even get me started on the s#^% Image came out with (i'm not saying that Image is bad, i love Image, i'm saying that they come out with dark comics), then you got recent stuff like Identity crisis or Dark Reign, you get rape and murder, you get the Thunderbolts, and Suicide Squad, Hellboy and the Darkness, and you can't tell who's good and who's bad sometimes
 
and now Marvel and DC are coming out with Heroic Age and Brightest Day, so who knows if we'll still be in the Dark Age for awhile, or if were gonna be seeing something new in the next few years

#4 Posted by crazed_h3ro (1000 posts) - - Show Bio

I can really dig the "Diamond Age" Title it sounds like it fits well,with Marvels "Heroic Age"

#5 Posted by jordama (4225 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Diamond age 
 
either that or the Awesome age
#6 Posted by nutzac4888 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

Diamond Age is a pretty sick name and fits in with the rest of the "nicknames" that have been given to the other years of comics.  We as the next generation of comic book readers and writers/artists, or whatever your ties to comic books are, have the obligation to make this age as wonderful as those that have came before us and set the bar so high that the following years will only be better than what we are experiencing now.  

#7 Posted by geraldthesloth (33313 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd prefer Platinum since it goes in with the bronze gold silver trend.

#8 Posted by darkrider (421 posts) - - Show Bio

i'd say it's the   death and   comeback  age
#9 Posted by Dartheldar (5 posts) - - Show Bio

The Atomic age?

#10 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

 I might go wrong on this, but what about a RUST Age?

#11 Posted by spiderguylll (620 posts) - - Show Bio

how about "The Cyclops Age" Admit it, He's been awesome since dating Emma

#12 Posted by MadripoorEconomy (51 posts) - - Show Bio

Rust Age has my vote!  These names for the different ages followed sales - not really quality or consideration as a viable art form.  I'd probably go for Silicon Age too (not only fits the computer chip thing but also the oversized heroine portions).

#13 Posted by bingbangboom (746 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Platinum Age and part of it is how comics are now being designed and groomed for the big screen more than ever. Another thing is the kids that read comics in the 70s-90s are now the ones making the movies and they really want to make these movies. Super Heroes are the new genre films to make. It is why a small independent book like Kick-Ass, relatively small, can have a 30+ Million movie. The Ultimates was pretty much it's own "hollywood" version of the Avengers and now is sort of the guide on how to make that movie. The real source of money is not coming from paper but rather now the big and small screen, videogames and digital. It is all about pushing the medium out there in different places. The Marvel App is still one of the most recommended iPad apps. Dark Knight was a critical darling and favored to win an Oscar by many.

#14 Posted by ragdollpurps (15570 posts) - - Show Bio

succession wise, platinum. comic wise, i'd say digital age, its the form in which we read the comics and the methods in which they are created.

#15 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2157 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd say this is the "Age of Taking All My Money."

#16 Posted by The Devil Tiger (1263 posts) - - Show Bio
@ArtisticNeedham said:
"I'd say this is the "Age of Taking All My Money." "

Lol !
 
I love this one !  
#17 Posted by Jediknightjace (47 posts) - - Show Bio

I was just  thinking that starting about 1999, I'd call this the "platinum age".

#18 Posted by Decept-O (7270 posts) - - Show Bio

I've read in Overstreet's Comics Buyer's Guide that there already existed a "Platinum Age" and that entailed the very beginnings of comics, when there were some comic strips and political cartoons that had been compiled together into small magazine form.  There were examples from the late 1700's(!!), but primarily it is considered the very early  20th Century, before the 1930's.  The emphasis was on political cartoons.   So I don't think Platinum Age would be applicable.  Diamond Age, I don't know about that one.   
 
I nominate "Cyber Age".  Hate to admit but with the current advances of technology in computer aided imagery, coloring, digital comics, comics online in various electronic media, websites like Comic Vine,  and the advent of comic book based movies and animated movies on DVD,  I'd say this is where the nomenclature rests.  
 
Naturally there will be objections because I said it but there it is.  Digital Age is good, too, but I say Cyber Age.
#19 Posted by growup (525 posts) - - Show Bio

when exactly was the dark age?

#20 Edited by lostlantern13 (859 posts) - - Show Bio
@Red_Justice: 

If you're looking for a rough timeline...

Golden: late 1930s to 50s
Silver: 1950s to early 70s
Bronze: early 1970s to mid 80s
Modern (also known as the Dark age): mid 1980s to, as what the article says, about the early 2000s.....when things began to shift.

#21 Posted by Joey Ravn (384 posts) - - Show Bio

Funny. I'm studying the deconstruction of the superhero archetype during the Modern Age of Comic Book right now. I'm writing a paper on it and I'm dealing with all this terminology of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Heroic and everything derived from the Ages of Man myth by Hesiod.  There is a tangible shift happening right now and for the last couple years, and Marvel's Heroic Age and DC's Brightest Day are but the most obvious examples of this. Diamond Age? I'm fine with it, but I rather wait and see how it ends. I'm not to fond of naming periods on the fly. I rather do it once they are over, to see them "in perspective" :)
 
Real interesting article, Tom. Thanks a bunch!

#23 Posted by ghostfly70 (20 posts) - - Show Bio

With the audience withering on the vine despite huge pushes and promotion from Hollywood 
and any new fans quickly frustrated at the overall unavailibility of comics in some towns and the industry determined to price itself into oblivion I would call this the Final Age.
#24 Posted by NodNolan (109 posts) - - Show Bio

 
Are we calling it the Diamond age due to the horrendous Monopoly that Diamond Distribution hold over the industry?

#25 Posted by ComicMan24 (147021 posts) - - Show Bio

In this era of comics we see that that they are trying to give a silver-age feeling, a return to the happier days of the past,something that we can see with the return of Barry Allen the Silver-Age Flash,Aquaman and Marvel's Heroic Age. Also we have a lot of events, with one event leading almost directly to the next,with examples like Civil War to Secet Invasion to Dark Reign to Heroic Age and DC's Final Crisis to Blackest Night to Brightest Day. Most of the time they don't even leave any time between the events.As for the name of the era  I agree with a lot of the names I have seen here but I prefer Diamond. 

#26 Posted by Green ankh (997 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope this isn't the final age. Which will be followed by the ice age of comics. When you spend 20.00 and get five books it show how crazt it all has gotten. Sure the the art in the books of the past 5 years have been amazing. I wonder if the price paid for it isn't whats killing the books. 
 
I don't care for the on line books. I like hold the books in my hand. Can't we go back to a lower quality paper stock? We all love the looks of the stock used now but i'd like to see lower prices.
#27 Posted by dondasch (925 posts) - - Show Bio

I would qualify this as the Lost Age, as the lack of quality stories is becoming evident.

#28 Posted by Phantim555 (228 posts) - - Show Bio
@ninjadude853 said:
"heres how i see it (and it is a strong possibility that i completly missed the point of this article)  the Golden Age lasted from the first apperance of Superman, and lasted until the first appeance of the Flash (although it lulled after WWII) and it had a fairly realistic take on superheroes, meaning that the first enemies that superman fought tended to be corrupt and powerful citizens and the occasional mad scientist, Captain America usually fought nazis and japanese enemies who were for the most part ordinary, (and pure evil)  the Silver Age began with the first appearance of Barry Allen (or so i'm told) and this is the classic superhero story's age, righteous and virtuous heroes battleing evil and nefarious villains with no middle ground, it was good vs evil, all the way  i'd say the Silver Age ended and the Bronze Age began with the death of Gwen Stacy, stories became more complicated and dark, but deep down, heroes were still heroes, and at first it was difficult to distinguish between the Bronze and Silver Ages, but i'd personally say that the Bronze age came into its own with the arrival of characters like Wolverine and the Punisher, who blurred the lines between good and evil  then came what i consider to be the Dark Age, both within the comics industry and the comics themselves, my personal belief is that this "Age" was brought on by Watchmen, where the Superheroes could also be called Super villains, and this is when it gets complicated, stuff like the Death of Superman and the Legacy virus come out in the 90s, and don't even get me started on the s#^% Image came out with (i'm not saying that Image is bad, i love Image, i'm saying that they come out with dark comics), then you got recent stuff like Identity crisis or Dark Reign, you get rape and murder, you get the Thunderbolts, and Suicide Squad, Hellboy and the Darkness, and you can't tell who's good and who's bad sometimes  and now Marvel and DC are coming out with Heroic Age and Brightest Day, so who knows if we'll still be in the Dark Age for awhile, or if were gonna be seeing something new in the next few years "

I think you described it best lol
#29 Posted by AirDave817 (786 posts) - - Show Bio

I would kind of believe that the "Dark Age" began somewhere around the mid- to late- '80's. Along with Watchman - maybe moreso, the Dark Age started with The Dark Knight Returns. To me the three signs of the Dark Age would have been The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen and Spawn. I'd tend to believe that those three had a pretty heavy influence on other comics and creators. Then of course there was Spider-Man's Black Costume and Venom spinning out of Secret Wars sometime around '84 - '85...and Jason Todd, the punk Robin...    
 
@ninjadude853
said:

then came what i consider to be the Dark Age, both within the comics industry and the comics themselves, my personal belief is that this "Age" was brought on by Watchmen, where the Superheroes could also be called Super villains, and this is when it gets complicated, stuff like the Death of Superman and the Legacy virus come out in the 90s, and don't even get me started on the s#^% Image came out with (i'm not saying that Image is bad, i love Image, i'm saying that they come out with dark comics), then you got recent stuff like Identity crisis or Dark Reign, you get rape and murder, you get the Thunderbolts, and Suicide Squad, Hellboy and the Darkness, and you can't tell who's good and who's bad sometimes  and now Marvel and DC are coming out with Heroic Age and Brightest Day, so who knows if we'll still be in the Dark Age for awhile, or if were gonna be seeing something new in the next few years " 
 
#30 Posted by Vance Astro (90727 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope that comics don't turn out like Music.Completely digital and so many people are pirating that companies are forced to put their comics online.I want books.

Moderator
#31 Posted by pixelized (62881 posts) - - Show Bio

This is the, "Dark Age," as nearly everything is crap with a glossy cover.

Moderator
#32 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio

this is the fun age.

#33 Posted by Red_Lightning_Alpha (65 posts) - - Show Bio

Its got to be the Dark age, because the stories have been quite dark for the past few years

#34 Posted by xerox_kitty (15760 posts) - - Show Bio
Moderator
#35 Posted by AnubhavDasgupta (2 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd call this the Renaissance Age of Comics... coz of the new art styles and well a shift from dark themed comics...

#36 Posted by lostlantern13 (859 posts) - - Show Bio

The reimagining of origins with stuff like the Ultimate Universe, Earth One, and All-Star DC....the rebirth of a lot of Silver Age heroes...the expansion of comic books into movies, games, and digital forms of media....the constant stream of events and crossovers to unite the universe... 
 
I do agree with Joey that it may be too soon to name the period, but the shift is definitely there and has been there with all of this rebirth stuff.
#37 Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
@ninjadude853:  See, even though there have been some heavier storylines, I don't think this is continuing a movement that started in the mid 80s. You look at the Silver Age and Bronze Age and they all lasted only about 15 years. I really like the "Dark Age" ended in 2000 and we're in something different now.
#38 Posted by ghostfly70 (20 posts) - - Show Bio

Affordable digital comics would help me quite a bit but I agree that we will lose one of comics best qualities if we lose paper. Some people think DC is making a mistake not being as aggressive as Marvel with digital apps. I tend to think Marvel is jumping the gun however and DC is more mindful of existing customer bases and outlets. What I mean is, theres no evidence whatsoever that digital customers will be reliable monthly customers except,possibly, those of us already reading and buying comics. Whats the point in damaging your primary LCS BASE to reach a few occassional readers? Enough people...people like me...would stop supporting our LCS' and switch to digital resulting in more LCS' going under and thereby cutting others off from accessing comics. Comic FANS are far more loyal and reliable than Ipad fans i would think. i think ppl would check out the marvel ipad app, order a few titles, then move on to whatever the next cool app is and the comic book industry would suffer as the result. 
 If i turn out right and we dont call it the final age, then lets agree on the foolish age...led once again by a foolish and greedy company...marvel...they single handedly crushed the market in the 90s through messed up distribution deals and flooding the market with,essentially, comic book versions of junk bonds.
#39 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

Well in Marvel, it's definitely the HEROIC AGE! lol

#40 Posted by SwordFanatic (6 posts) - - Show Bio

Titanium age

#41 Posted by Anderson: Agent of SMITH (234 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this is more like the "Meta Age", because comics companies are recognizing more that these are comics, and are figuring out how to sell them best. For example, when Marvel started printing collections in the Trade Paperback format, stories were crafted into specific five or six-issue arcs. The Heroic Age isn't completely organic, but the result of the writers and editors stepping back, and deciding that things were too dark. The same thing happened with Infinite Crisis, where it was a legitimate story, but also a way to adjust the continuity. Even Invincible Iron Man, one of my favorite ongoings, has been introducing characters from the movies. In addition, we now have websites and messageboards like Comicvine, where nothing comes as a surprise anymore; we already know what stories are coming out months in advance, and spoilers abound.   
Perhaps this will segue into the "Digital Age", where everything goes online, and nothing is surprising anymore.

#42 Posted by DarkSyde79 (214 posts) - - Show Bio

 A lot of things are changing and for the better in a lot of cases. Calling it the Silver Age wouldn’t be an overstatement to me… 

#43 Posted by Primmaster64 (21137 posts) - - Show Bio

aha here it is. So is it really Diamond Age Superman?

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