What book started the Bronze Age of Comics????
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>>Another way of looking at that question might be: How many superhero comics were launched in the five years between CONAN # 1 and GS X-MEN # 1, how long did they last, and what similar titles were spun off from them? Now, ask the same question: How many superhero comics were launched in the years following GS X-MEN, how long did they last, and how many spin-offs resulted?

 

I'll easily take that bet if you're interested in reality, and using the same timeframe. 1970-75 for COnan #1, and 1975-80 for GS X-Men. Using 5 years for Conan and 28 years (to present) for X-Men is unrealistic and illogical.

 

Personally, I can't think of too many new Bronze Age characters that were a direct result of GS X-Men, and it reaks of historical perspective and not what was happening in the comic's industry in the 1970's.

 

The X-Men were not Marve';s best-selling comic until into the 1980's. To use today's sales figures to project into 1975-speak creates a world that quite simply never existed.

 

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Zonker wrote:

 

>> Dave, you state your case very well. While I still think the requirement that a "metal age" must necessarily be super-hero-centric is arbitrary, and I think you're climbing up-hill to reverse the common bronze-age terminology in use the last 20 years, I do want to salute your efforts.<<

 

Thanks!

 

I'm not sure that "Bronze Age" dates back quite that far in terms of common usage. I dug up an Overstreet from 1992 and the term isn't even mentioned, although at some point during the speculator hype phase of the early 90s, the term started popping up as a way for dealers to unload a bunch of once-stale 1970s comics that started to have some nostalgic buzz to them (it still boggles my mind that drek that used to sit unwanted and unloved in the quarter bargain boxes all through the 1980s, like NIGHT NURSE and WEIRD WAR TALES, all of a sudden became "scarce" and "hot." However, that craze seems to have cooled, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to rely on my copy of NIGHT NURSE # 1 to put my kids through college wink.gif

 

>> Weird War Tales (CBM once published an article claiming WWT #1 started the Bronze Age) <<

 

I know that article well, because mine immediately follows it where I, natch, argue in favor of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN # 1.

 

Those who aren't already sick of this topic can check out the current issue of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, # 1533, wherein Mr. Silver Age and I debate this topic even further, and I suggest that, while I figure GS X-MEN was the most influential comic of the 1970s -- indeed of the past 25 years -- an argument could certainly be made that SUPERBOY # 197 sort of blazed that trail first. Maybe those Legion stories are kind of the analogue to the false start Marvel Age revival attempted by YOUNG MEN # 24. Maybe.

 

Dave Blanchard

 

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>>I'm not sure that "Bronze Age" dates back quite that far in terms of common usage. I dug up an Overstreet from 1992 and the term isn't even mentioned

 

Actually, I have earlier OS's where the term is mentioned, but as you know, most Dealers were quite averse to change and refused to grant it universal stature until later. Most of the old-guard were of the "Silver and Gold are quite enough, thank you" camp, and just called them "70's Comics".

 

You also state later that GS X-Men is the most important Bronze Age comic and I couldn't agree more. In fact, the X-Men followed the EXACT same trend as Spider-man.

 

AF 15 was not the start of the Silver Age, nor was it the best-selling title of the early-60's (that went to Fantastic Four), but as time went by, it's importance was recognized and Spidey took over as top-seller and launched a ton of new comics in his name.

 

Then again, all that success and high sales totals couldn't turn back the clock, and his book has never been referred to as the start of the Silver Age. Most important Silver Age comic, perhaps, but too late to be the trend-setter in any way.

 

The same story goes for GS X-Men. Super important book, but in no way new (it was a revamp of an existing title) and it came in much too late (and took 8+ years to become the sales leader) to be on the forefront of the Bronze Age.

 

Then again, the above is simply logic, so feel free to disregard it. grin.gif

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Joe Collector wrote:

 

>> I'll easily take that bet if you're interested in reality, and using the same timeframe. 1970-75 for COnan #1, and 1975-80 for GS X-Men. Using 5 years for Conan and 28 years (to present) for X-Men is unrealistic and illogical. <<

 

I can taste that doughnut already smile.gif

 

I had data from DC readily available, so here's the breakdowns (I ran it 1970-summer 75, and summer 75-1980):

 

Basically in order of appearance, here are the superhero books launched 1970-75 (reprints are designated *):

NEW GODS, FOREVER PEOPLE, MR MIRACLE, THE DEMON, SUPERGIRL, WANTED*, DOOM PATROL*, INFERIOR FIVE*, LEGION*, SECRET ORIGINS*, THE SHADOW, SHAZAM!, OMAC, SANDMAN, SUPERMAN FAMILY, THE JOKER -- 16 titles

 

 

From 1975-1980:

ALL-STAR COMICS, DC SUPER-STARS*, FOUR-STAR SPECTACULAR*, FREEDOM FIGHTERS, GREEN LANTERN, ISIS, KARATE KID, KOBRA, METAL MEN, PLASTIC MAN, RAGMAN, SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS, SUPER FRIENDS, SUPER HEROES BATTLE SUPER GORILLAS*, TEEN TITANS, AQUAMAN, BLACK LIGHTNING, NEW GODS, MR MIRACLE, SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, SHOWCASE, DC COMICS PRESENTS, DYNAMIC CLASSICS*, FIRESTORM, STEEL THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN, WORLD OF KRYPTON, UNTOLD LEGEND OF BATMAN, SUPERBOY SPECTACULAR*, NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, NEW TEEN TITANS -- 30 titles

 

I'm probably omitting a few revivals or one-shots, but you get the gist. The most successful superhero titles launched by DC prior to GS X-MEN # 1 were SUPERMAN FAMILY (which wasn't really a launch so much as a consolidation), and SHAZAM!, with MR MIRACLE a distant third (this title, like NEW GODS, was revived post GS X-MEN).

 

Post-GS X-MEN, GREEN LANTERN was successfully revived and continues to this day, as does NEW TEEN TITANS (in one form or another). DC COMICS PRESENTS ran for nearly 100 issues. FIRESTORM was imploded but revived within a couple years and ran for 100 issues. Just as significant were the creation of direct market comics (SUPERBOY SPECTACULAR) and limited-run series (WORLD OF KRYPTON).

 

Dave Blanchard

 

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Comparing books introduced between 70-75 to 75-80 makes no sense because the general thought behind the bronze age starting at 70 (or at Conan 1) does not say it ended at 1975. We can argue this point all week, but that is not a good way to argue it because I can say that those 75-80 books are as much (or more) a result of Conan 1 as they are of GSX 1. Other than Teen Titans, most of the books you mentioned are more like Conan 1 than GSX 1. The bronze age was about trying new, different things (most of which didn't work very well, or did for just a while). And to use only superhero books as a basis ignores the fact that much of what the bronze age is about is non-traditional books like Werewolf by night or Ghost Rider, or the Nurse books. Also there were the experimental books with tryouts like Spotlight and Premiere. GSX 1 is the best book in the bronze age, the most important, probably the most sought after, but it is closer to being the first modern book than the first bronze book. It's effect is still felt to this day, but it's effect was not felt until years after its release. You yourself said that it didn't really pick up steam until the end of the Byrne run...which basically means that those books had more of an impact than GSX1. At that time is when people started emulating the formula. That is when X-factor, and later Excalibur and Xforce et al took over.

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Vic6string wrote:

 

>> The bronze age was about trying new, different things (most of which didn't work very well, or did for just a while). And to use only superhero books as a basis ignores the fact that much of what the bronze age is about is non-traditional books like Werewolf by night or Ghost Rider, or the Nurse books. Also there were the experimental books with tryouts like Spotlight and Premiere. <<

 

My point all along has been that the years 1970-75 should be called The Weird Age, as the comics of that brief era are exactly as you described, i.e, just about everything interesting was anything *but* superheroes.

 

The next great era of superheroes commenced with the publication of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN # 1 in 1975, hence the Bronze Age can be said to begin then.

 

You seem to be operating from a different premise than me. Your premise seems to be: Whatever immediately follows the Silver Age should be called the Bronze Age, just cuz. My premise is: The Golden and Silver Ages are so defined because those were eras defined by the superhero genre. Remaining consistent with the Greek mythology ages of metal, the Bronze Age (as well as a subsequent Iron Age) ought to start with superheroes, not Conan and Swamp Thing.

 

You don't have to *agree* with my premise, but that's why I'm advocating the designation of "Weird Age" or something else, similar to "Atomic Age" in the 1950s, to refer to that interregnum between superhero ages of comics.

 

Dave Blanchard

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I still find that most of these arguments are somewhat irrelevant in that at no point during the 1970's were superheroes EVER out of the sales spotlight. Sure there were a proliferation of NON or QUASI-super-hero titles that were popular during the 1970's but the same could be said of any time in the history of comic book publishing. Yes, the popularity of horror and barbarian comics could warrant a separate distinction as they rose and fell fairly quickly.

 

But I still feel quite strongly that there is a very different feel to superhero comics published after 1968-70 by Marvel and DC. Superheroes stopped interacting in worlds that "sort of" resembled our own. They began to address societal issues and began to behave a little less heroically than they did in the silver age and this carried right thru the decade and in the new heroes that came in during that time period INCLUDING the X-Men. Although Conan was not a super-hero he was definitely marketted as one and the new heroes introduced after Conan incorporated much of his attitude, especially the Wolverine - unquestionably the most popular X-Men character.

 

Marvel super-heroes dominated the decade. New Marvel heroes introduced in the early 1970's would continue to be active throughout the decade on their own and in the team books that began to appear like the Champions and the Defenders. Luke Cage, Ghost Rider, The Cat/Hellcat, the Son of Satan, Werewolf by Night, Iron Fist, Man-Thing, etc. None of them had the appeal that X-Men had years after their revival but many of them are still around today in one form or the other. In a lot of ways, the Defenders could be seen as the Marvel team book that launched the 1970's as it had an outsider dynamic which somewhat resembles the formula that was applied to the new X-Men. I could argue that Luke Cage was the first true and unique Bronze age super-hero as he was super-powered, an anti-hero, an outsider, a man of color (preceding the inter-racial, multi-ethnic flavor of the New X-Men), dealt with social issues, and he did headline a long-running popular series and was joined by a similar hero with a strong Asian feel (although he wasn't asian) that was a big fan-favorite: Iron Fist. Perhaps "Hero for Hire 1" is the Bronze era's "Showcase 4" equivalent. I'm not convinced that it is, but it's the same argument as using the X-Men as the starting point.

 

Nor does the arrival of X-Men herald an opening up of new ideas and concepts. Someone (Dave Cockrum maybe) wanted to have a team of international Marvel super-heroes and someone else wanted to have a new team of outsider characters similar to the Defenders but with the "family" feel of the fan-favorite Legion of Super-heroes. I think it was Roy Thomas who suggested grafting those ideas onto the dormant X-Men. This essentially ad hoc revival of a failed concept with some new international characters didn't really catch on until the arrival of John Byrne as series artist, who had already proven himself on Marvel Team-Up and on Iron Fist which was the hot Marvel book in the comic shops after Howard the Duck but before X-Men's immense success.

 

Can you name one X-Men spin-off title published between 1975 and 1982? I can't. Not until the Wolverine mini-series was published in 1982. Sure, fans were hot for the X-Men appearances in Power Man and Iron Fist, Marvel Team-Up, Rom and other titles but the real X-boom started around 1980-81.

 

There was indeed a higher number of new DC titles launched after 1975 because many long-running DC titles were cancelled or retooled during the time period to make room for these new titles. I can't think of a single new DC title that was launched during the 1970's with any long-term success. Characters like Flash, Aquaman, Hawkman and Green Lantern had their ups and downs but at no point did they ever disappear completely so I find it hard to embrace your point about a successful Green Lantern revival that carries on to this day when he's had a couple of series cancelled and relaunched during the last 25+ years. This is true of nearly EVERY DC character and team. As always, the only titles consistantly published at DC have been Action/Detective/Superman(now Adventures of)/Batman. And only one DC series could be argued to have been specifically designed to mimic the X-Men was New Teen Titans - and I'm sure that Marv Wolfman and George Perez would argue that they were reviving the Teen Titans not trying to create another X-Men team.

 

And drawing a line between X-Men and the rise of the direct market is silly. The rise of the direct market began in the early 1970's as the early distributors began carrying and promoting the hot books of that time period (like Conan). The X-Men did benefit from the comic shops that were spring up at the time, but they didn't directly contribute to the successful transfer from newsstand to direct distribution.

 

The first unique independants from the mid-1970's were mostly fantasy-related - Elfquest, the First Kingdom, Cerebus, Star Reach and the like were completely unlike X-Men in every respect. I have a hard time finding any alternative books that even slightly resemble the X-Men until Eclipse's DNAgents and Comico's The Elementals were published around 1984. Before that, the most successful alternative books were fantasy or sci-fi related.

 

Kev

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Well put Kev.... one thing I will add, the whole superhero vs "just weird stuff" theme does not fit.

 

To say :"Remaining consistent with the Greek mythology ages of metal, the Bronze Age (as well as a subsequent Iron Age) ought to start with superheroes, not Conan and Swamp Thing." " is off the mark.

 

 

The books were experimental, and yes, even weird, but the whole point was they WERE superheroes. Conan, Swamp Thing, Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider...in a way, these were indeed heroes. That is what makes Conan #1 the starting point of the age. He showed that heroes don't have to be super-powered do-gooders in colored tights. They could be flawed (even very flawed, nearly criminal,or cursed) people who just kind of fall into a hero-ish role, whether they like it or not. That "flawed, reluctant hero"concept fell into the regular hero books in the form of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and anti-heroes.

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Dave wrote:

I'm not sure that "Bronze Age" dates back quite that far in terms of common usage. I dug up an Overstreet from 1992 and the term isn't even mentioned

 

Y'know, I could have sworn that Bronze Age updates were a feature of the Overstreet market reports going back to the first Overstreet Updates of the early 80's. But I just pulled #4 (1985) and #6 (1987, Green Arrow cover) and there is no mention of a Bronze Age, and Silver Age is defined as 1956 to current.

 

Then the next issue readily at hand is the Overstreet's Comic Book Marketplace (the Overstreet/Gary Carter CBM hybrid) #1 from 1993 where they helpfully bold font the various time periods in the market reports. In addition to Golden Age, Silver Age, we get 70s DCs, 70s Marvels, and "recent." So you're absolutely correct, the Bronze Age term has nowhere near the 'pedigree' I thought it did.

 

In a sign of things to come, the final page of the 1993 issue has a feature called "Lost Comics of the 70's" in which the author argued that since 70's books were then reaching the magic age of 20 years old, they were due to increase in value. His picks?

House of Secrets 92

Swamp Thing 1-24

Marvel Team-Up 1

Marvel Premiere 1

Warlock 1.

 

Cheers,

Z.

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Dave wrote...

My point all along has been that the years 1970-75 should be called The Weird Age, as the comics of that brief era are exactly as you described, i.e, just about everything interesting was anything *but* superheroes.

 

But here I would disagree. While much of the groundbreaking work of the period (including Conan, Kull, Swamp Thing, Tomb of Dracula) lay outside the super-hero genre, there were some truly revolutionary takes on the super-hero in this period: I'm thinking of Green Lantern / Green Arrow, the O'Neil/Adams Batman, Steve Englehart's Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man around the time of Gwen Stacey's death & the intro of the Punisher. Not sure in which category to place the Kirby Fourth World books. But definitely the weird/bronze age had a lot of cross-fertilization between the hero books and other genres.

 

Cheers,

Z.

 

 

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Vic6string wrote:

 

>> Comparing books introduced between 70-75 to 75-80 makes no sense because the general thought behind the bronze age starting at 70 (or at Conan 1) does not say it ended at 1975. <<

 

It only makes sense if the contention is that the Bronze Age starts in 1975, which is what I'm saying.

 

If the general theory is that "Bronze Age" is synonymous for "1970s comics" then you're absolutely right.

 

But I don't think there's a consensus about *any* of this stuff right now, which is why you're seeing so many articles in COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE, COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, etc., trying to pin this stuff down by using the same kind of reasoning and yardsticks that were used to pin down the Golden and Silver Ages.

 

Dave Blanchard

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Joe Collector wrote:

 

>> LMOA! That's it for me, as dragging old DC books out in a Marvel conversation shows me that debate is useless. You'll believe what you want to believe, however illogical and inane it is. <<

 

I guess my mistake was taking you seriously when you asked me to check how many superhero comics were published in the timeframes specified -- you didn't specify a company, and I hope you don't seriously think only Marvel comics are part of the Bronze Age discussion. As I said, I had data on DC readily handy, so that's what I looked up.

 

If you have similar data on Marvel available, by all means, I'd be interested in looking at it.

 

I've always found that debate works best if both parties are interested -- I'd be happy to continue, since I don't think it's any secret this stuff fascinates me and I think it's a fun diversion from other things we could occupy our Internet time focusing on. But if you see no value in looking at what types of comics DC was publishing before and after 1975, then you're absolutely right, further debate on this topic between us will be useless.

 

I'm glad I gave you a good laugh, at an event. And you still owe me a doughnut. smile.gif

 

Dave Blanchard

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Zonker wrote:

 

>> While much of the groundbreaking work of the period (including Conan, Kull, Swamp Thing, Tomb of Dracula) lay outside the super-hero genre, there were some truly revolutionary takes on the super-hero in this period: I'm thinking of Green Lantern / Green Arrow, the O'Neil/Adams Batman, Steve Englehart's Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man around the time of Gwen Stacey's death & the intro of the Punisher. Not sure in which category to place the Kirby Fourth World books. But definitely the weird/bronze age had a lot of cross-fertilization between the hero books and other genres. <<

 

You're absolutely right, and I erred if I left the impression I felt otherwise.

 

I'm thinking, though, that that period of "relevance" was very, very shortlived, almost like an age-within-an-age. GL/GA lasted, what, about two years? That outstanding "sandman Superman" sequence by Denny O'Neil didn't even last a year. The O'Neil/Adams Batman stories were great, no doubt about it, but they were more like the exception than the rule (there are a whole lot of Irv Novick and Bob Brown stories sandwiched around the occasional Adams gem). FANTASTIC FOUR after Lee & Kirby settled into a solid but unspectacular comic, and in fact you could say that for any number of mainstream Marvel titles -- DAREDEVIL, THOR, IRON MAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, and of course the X-MEN was merely a reprint title.

 

I wish there had been *more* cross-fertilization between the "weird" stuff and the other genres. Imagine Wrightson or Ploog or Brunner or Kaluta on a mainstream superhero title, for instance. Now that would've been something to see -- but then again, maybe they'd never have made a name for themselves during an era when Marvel wanted all superheroes to look Kirbyesque and DC wanted Superman to look like Swan and Anderson drew every panel.

 

Frankly, I wish the "weird age" had lasted longer than it did, but when you look at the last couple issues of SWAMP THING, for instance, and see how DC was trying to turn it into a superhero book, it's probably just as well that the worm turned back in favor of the long underwear crowd.

 

Dave Blanchard

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Kev wrote:

 

>> I still find that most of these arguments are somewhat irrelevant in that at no point during the 1970's were superheroes EVER out of the sales spotlight. Sure there were a proliferation of NON or QUASI-super-hero titles that were popular during the 1970's but the same could be said of any time in the history of comic book publishing. Yes, the popularity of horror and barbarian comics could warrant a separate distinction as they rose and fell fairly quickly. <<

 

Great point, and I don't disagree with you a bit.

 

But it's also true that superheroes weren't out of the sales spotlight in 1956, either. DC still had a bunch -- ACTION, ADVENTURE, BATMAN, DETECTIVE, SUPERBOY, SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN and WONDER WOMAN. Marvel had tried reviving its big three. Jack Kirby was still out there pitching. Charlton took a couple shots at superheroes.

 

It's the eventual onslaught of superheroes in the 1960s that led folks to back-date the start of what came to be called the Silver Age to the publication of SHOWCASE # 4. Not everybody agrees that the Barry-Flash's debut was the *real* beginning of the Silver Age, though -- some identify other titles, like the first J'onn J'onzz DETECTIVE; some identify other trends, like the adoption of the CCA seal or the collapse of EC.

 

Since DC and Marvel both cancelled a number of their seminal Silver Age superhero titles in the late 60s/early 70s, and replaced them not with other superheroes but weird/supernatural/horror type comics, I've taken to using "weird age" as a shorthand way of referring to the period roughly lasting from 1970-75. There were certainly monster comics and sword-and-sorcery comics before then, and plenty after then, but as an industry-wide *trend* they appear to be congested in that 5-6 year period.

 

>> I still feel quite strongly that there is a very different feel to superhero comics published after 1968-70 by Marvel and DC. Superheroes stopped interacting in worlds that "sort of" resembled our own. They began to address societal issues and began to behave a little less heroically than they did in the silver age and this carried right thru the decade and in the new heroes that came in during that time period INCLUDING the X-Men. Although Conan was not a super-hero he was definitely marketted as one and the new heroes introduced after Conan incorporated much of his attitude, especially the Wolverine - unquestionably the most popular X-Men character. <<

 

Again, no argument from me. But I think that "relevance" stuff, as I noted in an earlier post to Zonker, was very short-lived. Check out any Superman family title dated 1973 or later -- the post-Kirby era when DC tried to turn WGBS into a "Mary Tyler Moore Show" type sitcom, with Steve Lombard always playing practical jokes on Clark Kent, etc. Check out Batman during the David V. Reed/Ernie Chua years -- a far cry from O'Neil & Adams. You can't check out GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW or AQUAMAN because they'd been cancelled. The Justice League stopped battling pollution and hunger and instead focused on finding as many Golden Age heroes as they could to exhume/rescue. Etc.

 

>> I could argue that Luke Cage was the first true and unique Bronze age super-hero as he was super-powered, an anti-hero, an outsider, a man of color (preceding the inter-racial, multi-ethnic flavor of the New X-Men), dealt with social issues, and he did headline a long-running popular series and was joined by a similar hero with a strong Asian feel (although he wasn't asian) that was a big fan-favorite: Iron Fist. Perhaps "Hero for Hire 1" is the Bronze era's "Showcase 4" equivalent. I'm not convinced that it is, but it's the same argument as using the X-Men as the starting point. <<

 

I don't necessarily agree with you, but I like how you make a case for ol' Power Man. Your arguments are compelling, I'll give you that. I guess my kneejerk reaction would be, "Yeah, but was LUKE CAGE ever very popular as a title? Didn't the teaming up with IRON FIST result because neither title was selling all that well?"

 

But then again, THE FLASH was never DC's best-selling title, either.

 

>> Can you name one X-Men spin-off title published between 1975 and 1982? I can't. Not until the Wolverine mini-series was published in 1982. Sure, fans were hot for the X-Men appearances in Power Man and Iron Fist, Marvel Team-Up, Rom and other titles but the real X-boom started around 1980-81. <<

 

Going back to THE FLASH, though, I don't think there have *ever* been any FLASH spin-offs. And it took a number of years for THE FLASH to be spun out of SHOWCASE, and GREEN LANTERN didn't get his own title till 1960, if you want to consider GL a "spin-off."

 

SHOWCASE # 4 is cited as the first Silver Age comic book because it eventually led to something much greater than the sum of its 32-page parts. Same deal with GIANT-SIZE X-MEN # 1.

 

I'll have to think about that Luke Cage idea a bit more. Very interesting...

 

Dave Blanchard

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>>I've always found that debate works best if both parties are interested

 

I was interested, up until the point where you dragged out the old lame duck about the Bronze Age starting in 1975, and was somehow dependant on a poor-selling, revamped Silver Age comic (you do realize that the X-Men started in the 1960's, don't you, and this was simply a revamp of the membership?) that didn't even go monthly for years after, and didn't become a best-seller until the 1980's.

 

At that point, I gave up, since that makes no sense and is based on looking at history through the rose-colored glasses of 2003.

 

Plus, it turns Wolverine and Punisher, two of the most popular characters ever, into (your words) "Weird Era" creations, not to mention a few zillion more 1970-75 characters (Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, etc., etc.) and comics (Defenders, Death of Gwen/GG, etc.) that the vast majority of collectors refer to as Bronze Age.

 

If you slice out that huge chunk of 1970-75 Marvel characters, books and events as "Weird Era", what do you have left at The House of Ideas that would even resemble an Age?

 

Oh yeah, I forgot, the top-selling comic of the mid-80's and the X-Mania of the 1990's. grin.gif

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But it's also true that superheroes weren't out of the sales spotlight in 1956, either. DC still had a bunch -- ACTION, ADVENTURE, BATMAN, DETECTIVE, SUPERBOY, SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN and WONDER WOMAN. Marvel had tried reviving its big three. Jack Kirby was still out there pitching. Charlton took a couple shots at superheroes.

 

I agree that there might be some comparison there, but we are essentially comparing a handful of characters (Batman family/Superman family/Wonder Woman +Aquaman/Green Arrow/Martian Manhunter) against nearly the entire publishing lines of Marvel and DC in 1975 - each boasting dozens of super-hero comics which were still outselling the fantasy/horror/romance/etc. genres.

 

Marvel's revival was in 1953 and was three years dead when DC reinvented the Flash and it would be another 5 years before they got back into it again.

 

It's the eventual onslaught of superheroes in the 1960s that led folks to back-date the start of what came to be called the Silver Age to the publication of SHOWCASE # 4. Not everybody agrees that the Barry-Flash's debut was the *real* beginning of the Silver Age, though -- some identify other titles, like the first J'onn J'onzz DETECTIVE; some identify other trends, like the adoption of the CCA seal or the collapse of EC.

 

Yes. There are some prototype characters, but I think it's been pretty much accepted fact that Showcase 4 is the first silver age comic and that there is a lot of overlapping.

 

Since DC and Marvel both cancelled a number of their seminal Silver Age superhero titles in the late 60s/early 70s, and replaced them not with other superheroes but weird/supernatural/horror type comics, I've taken to using "weird age" as a shorthand way of referring to the period roughly lasting from 1970-75. There were certainly monster comics and sword-and-sorcery comics before then, and plenty after then, but as an industry-wide *trend* they appear to be congested in that 5-6 year period.

 

What seminal Silver Age titles did Marvel cancel? If anything Marvel exploded in the early 1970's because they were no longer bound by the number of titles they were restricted to because the books were being distributed by National/DC. Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense were actually divided into four successful series (Hulk, Cap, Iron Man, Sub-Mariner). Strange Tales became Dr. Strange. Silver Surfer rose and fell. The restrictions against supernatural comics were lifted by the code and Marvel leapt at the chance to do monster books. X-Men was the great silver age failure and thus became a mostly reprint book until the revival in 1975.

 

I agree that the axe rose and fell pretty quickly at DC in the 1970's, especially when DC imploded in the mid-70's. They devoted a lot of time and effort on the weird books mainly because the code lifted the restrictions and Joe Orlando was the editor on DC's horror/mystery line. But sales on those books were not as strong as those on the super-hero titles.

 

Again, no argument from me. But I think that "relevance" stuff, as I noted in an earlier post to Zonker, was very short-lived. Check out any Superman family title dated 1973 or later -- the post-Kirby era when DC tried to turn WGBS into a "Mary Tyler Moore Show" type sitcom, with Steve Lombard always playing practical jokes on Clark Kent, etc. Check out Batman during the David V. Reed/Ernie Chua years -- a far cry from O'Neil & Adams. You can't check out GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW or AQUAMAN because they'd been cancelled. The Justice League stopped battling pollution and hunger and instead focused on finding as many Golden Age heroes as they could to exhume/rescue. Etc.

 

Maybe I'm confusing relevance with a lack of innocence. 1970's super-hero books don't read as naively as their silver age counterparts. And actually, you could read GL/GA because they moved over to the Flash. Then GL was revived again, then Aquaman was revived again. Then Aquaman moved over to Adventure, and so on. DC comics (other than the Titans) published between the mid-1970's and the Crisis restructuring were bland and completely uninteresting. DC heroes got "involved" but being the relatively stodgy, conservative bunch that they were the creators and heroes had no idea what to do. They became the party of the comic publishing world. Which is why I feel that the Bronze age for DC began with relevance and coasted thru to the eventual demise of the silver age DCU with the Crisis event which ushered in the next age which I feel began around 1985-86.

 

I don't necessarily agree with you, but I like how you make a case for ol' Power Man. Your arguments are compelling, I'll give you that. I guess my kneejerk reaction would be, "Yeah, but was LUKE CAGE ever very popular as a title? Didn't the teaming up with IRON FIST result because neither title was selling all that well?But then again, THE FLASH was never DC's best-selling title, either."

 

I don't necessarily agree with me either, but I'm merely suggesting that for the same reasons you seem to be suggesting GSXM1 there are many other examples available of similar concepts which were similar to the New X-Men. And yes, Cage was never a really popular character until he was combined with Iron Fist (who was a very popular character when the titles were merged together).

 

Going back to THE FLASH, though, I don't think there have *ever* been any FLASH spin-offs. And it took a number of years for THE FLASH to be spun out of SHOWCASE, and GREEN LANTERN didn't get his own title till 1960, if you want to consider GL a "spin-off."

 

Actually, I DO. The success of the Flash led the DC editorial staff to say what other golden age characters can we revive but also tie in with our successful sci-fi line of comics? Let's try Green Lantern. Let's try the Atom. Let's try Hawkman. Let's bring back the Justice Society but gave them an updated name, and so on.

 

SHOWCASE # 4 is cited as the first Silver Age comic book because it eventually led to something much greater than the sum of its 32-page parts. Same deal with GIANT-SIZE X-MEN # 1

 

Showcase 4 is cited as the first Silver Age comic book because it eventually led to a super-hero revival at National/DC and eventually at Marvel and Archie and Tower and Charlton and so on. Because of the success of the Flash (and GL and the JLA, etc.) nearly every major comic book publisher began to put out their own super-hero comics. (Mimicking the growth pattern of super-hero comics between 1939-1947).

 

I don't see how GSXM1 grew beyond the sum of it's parts until the NEXT age of comics that followed the bronze age (which I believe to have begun around 1984-85) as it was then that the X-Men truly became the defining force in the industry and the formula was copied by a number of different publishers (particularly Image which was essentially spun from the exiting X-Men line creators).

 

Between 1975 and 1985 X-Men was popular but by no means was it the defining book of the decade. It has become the biggest book of the 1970's due to the success of the X-Men in the 1980's (ditto for Hulk 181).

 

Since the super-heroes never really faded as they did during the 1950's, I don't know if there really is a need for "in-between" ages such as the Atom age for 1970's books. I see it more of an evolution of the existing lines with "relevance" and "anti-heroism" being the defining traits of Bronze age super-hero comics. While "company-wide crossovers", "grim-and-gritty", exploitation of readers and "revamping" were the defining characteristics of the next age (1984/5 -?1999?).

 

But I can accept that within the Bronze age there could be a subdivision of books called "Weird".

 

 

 

Kev

 

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What he said.

 

Seriously, that was a great post kevthemev, and right on the bull's eye.

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Joe Collector wrote:

 

>> I was interested, up until the point where you dragged out the old lame duck about the Bronze Age starting in 1975, and was somehow dependant on a poor-selling, revamped Silver Age comic (you do realize that the X-Men started in the 1960's, don't you, and this was simply a revamp of the membership?) that didn't even go monthly for years after, and didn't become a best-seller until the 1980's. <<

 

You do realize that the Flash started in the 1950s, was simply a revamp of an earlier Golden Age hero with the same name, didn't go monthly for years after, and never ever became the best-selling title, don't you?

 

You see, there is a method to my madness, cuz now I've got you making my case for me smile.gif

 

Dave Blanchard

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You do realize that the Flash started in the 1950s, was simply a revamp of an earlier Golden Age hero with the same name, didn't go monthly for years after, and never ever became the best-selling title, don't you?

 

Although the roots of the revival was to revamp an earlier golden age hero with the same name, Barry Allen's Flash is a new character with similar powers as the GA Flash who takes inspiration from the GA Flash comic book. He is pretty much a new hero in a new world.

 

While in the New X-Men the old team is in trouble, Cyclops gets away and he and Prof. X need more mutants so they go out and recruit new talent who stick around when they other guys get released because they old team needs a break.

 

Kev

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It's pretty obvious you're just trolling for responses, since you evade the question of what post-1975, pre-Modern Age Marvel comics and new characters did GS X-Men #1 force into being?

 

I have the list, and it's none too impressive, including gems such as Ms. Marvel, Nova, Devil Dinosaur, and Rom, among others.

 

If that's your Bronze Age, then go back in your corner and collect them, while the rest of us concentrate on our Bronze Age (your Weird Age) and collect the 1970-80 Marvel characters and comics that Conan #1 and GL/GA #76 brought into being.

 

Characters like (to steal a post):

 

Wolverine, Punisher, Deathlok, Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, Bullseye, Thanos, Blade, Dracula, Werewolf, Kull, Son of Satan, Man-Wolf, Morbius, Killraven, Man-Thing, Brother Voodoo, Living Mummy, Mantis, John Carter, The Cat, New Age Warlock, Starlin's Captain Marvel, Eternals, Howard the Duck, Doc Savage, Red Sonja, Skull, Golem.

 

If those characters are not Bronze Age, then you don't have a lot left, nor a lot of collectors looking for "first appearances" in *your* Bronze Age.

 

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