“Where did comics come from?” is what my son asks repeatedly. Of course, there is the purely technical answer: The comic book is a group of pages containing pictures and words in a sequential pattern in order to portray a story. Originally, they were intended to make people laugh by providing humorous content and funny looking caricatures. Today, comics cover all genres of entertainment in America and have become very popular around the world.
Comics were first made in the late 1800s in the U.S. and later on moved to other parts of the globe. They were not meant to be educational and therefore used a mixture of slang, bright colors and drawing to entertain readers. The importance of comic books steps from the views that people have about cultures and political issues. They were made to impress the kids and are now considered an art form that will be adored for years to come.
The two major publishers of comic books in the mid-century were Marvel and Detective Comics. Comic books were separated by a term known as ages which started with Golden which are the years 1938 to 1956, Silver which were the years 1956 to 1971, Bronze were the years 1971 to 1980, Iron ranged from 1980 to 1987 and the Modern which started in 1987 to present day.
The elements of comic books are believed to have first originated from ancient Greek mythology with the intention of mimicking the Greek god Hermes, heroes such as Zeus and Beowulf. To this day, these ideals are still portrayed in modern day comics.
Initially , comic books were standard attachments to newspapers but , as the interest in them expanded, and more people become acquainted with Popeye, Krazy Kat and even Mutt and Jeff, the industry continued to grow. They were first printed on very cheap paper which resulted in the name pulp magazines.
The Golden age was a period of time that saw the creation of Superman, one of the biggest superhero’s of the industry that was developed by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster in 1938. Batman was introduced a year later which then replaced older comic stories from Detective Comics publishers.
The Silver age lost readers as the government looked into the effects of comic books to the mass population especially the horror books. These books were now seen as tools to confuse the youth and incite them to commit acts of violence. Marvel sought to create more vulnerable heroes who showed some type of weakness like Spiderman and Hulk.
The Bronze Age showed a market decline as more and more people questioned the originality of comic books as an art form. Marvel sought to give life to its characters on paper by creating cartoons such as Superman.
The Iron Age was similar to the bronze period where heroes sought to leave their mark. Heroes were the main part of the story regardless of whether they were in the wrong or right such as the case for Daredevil. At this time, many superheroes like Batman and Superman. Publishers made a lot of money as people went on to collect these classics for keeps.
Modern age comics want to reestablish the powerful era of the Golden and Silver periods. New story lines involving Spiderman and X men were sold. Prices for these grew as more people sought to collect them.
Whew! It’s a lot to take in, but so much fun trying.