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Comic Books - Understanding The Golden Age

The early days of comics books, generally accepted as being from the 1930s until the mid 1950s, became known as the Golden Age. The American book market prospered during that time and there was a wide array of super stars born in that era. Some of our comic book superstars such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, Hawkman and Robin belonged to the company called Detective Comics, a company even better known as DC. Prior to Marvel comics making their debut there was a company called Timely comics. Timely launched their version of the super heroes with such characters as the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner and Captain America. It may be a surprise to some to hear that Fawcett Comics super hero Captain Marvel outdid Superman and his contemporaries back in those days.


World War II brought about a big change in the comic book world. It was known story lines such as Superman and the allies joining forces to over power Hitler and the Axis powers, mirroring the forces that were presently warring in real life. This helped the young fighters fight stress since they too were there to fight and defeat Hitler.

The Government utilized the selling ability of the comic book world as well, and war bonds were advertised by Batman and Robin and Superman, so along with Uncle Sam, the super heroes of the comic world too did their bit for the war. The influencing image of a sad looking Uncle Sam versus Supermen, both who wanted you to fight, showed that the heroes had a better pull on the young impressionable mind of that era.

While the war affected the development of the heroes, on the other side you had other comic book characters who were beginning to make their presence felt. After WWII this change became evident when Westerns began to steal the attention of the public, and super heroes started taking a backseat. The readership now turned towards other genres like romance, science fiction, satire and horror. There was an opinion that the superheroes were losing out to McCarthyism and the thought that superhero comic books were sending out wrong signals to the younger generation was making itself felt.

Funny comics also started making their mark during the Golden Age. Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny put in an appearance, and the importance of laughter was felt in the war-scarred atmosphere of the day. These funnies brought a little laughter where there was some needed most and everyone's daily routine became easier as these lighter-sided comics came into their lives. The Golden Age of comic books played a big part in shaping the current comic book market, and continues to influence the direction of the future.



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