The Bronze Age of Comic Books is an informal name for a period in the history of American superhero comic books usually said to run from 1970 to 1985. It follows the Silver Age of Comic Books, and is followed by the Modern Age of Comic Books.
The Bronze Age retained many of the conventions of the Silver Age, with traditional superhero titles remaining the mainstay of the industry. However, a return of darker plot elements and storylines more related to relevant social issues, such as racism, began to flourish during the period, prefiguring the later Modern Age of Comic Books.
|Bronze Age of Comic Books|
|Time span||c. 1970 – c. 1985|
|Preceded by||Silver Age of Comic Books (1956 – c. 1970)|
|Followed by||Modern Age of Comic Books (c. 1985 – present)|
There is no one single event that can be said to herald the beginning of the Bronze Age. Instead, a number of events at the beginning of the 1970s, taken together, can be seen as a shift away from the tone of comics in the previous decade.
One such event was the April 1970 issue of Green Lantern, which added Green Arrow as a title character. The series, written by Denny O'Neil and penciled by Neal Adams (inking was by Adams or Dick Giordano), focused on "relevance" as Green Lantern was exposed to poverty and experienced self-doubt.
Later in 1970, Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics, ending arguably the most important creative partnership of the Silver Age (with Stan Lee). Kirby then turned to DC, where he created The Fourth World series of titles starting with Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 in December 1970. Also in 1970 Mort Weisinger, the long term editor of the various Superman titles, retired to be replaced by Julius Schwartz. Schwartz set about toning down some of the more fanciful aspects of the Weisinger era, removing most Kryptonite from continuity and scaling back Superman's nigh-infinite—by then—powers, which was done by veteran Superman artist Curt Swan together with groundbreaking author Denny O'Neil.
The beginning of the Bronze Age coincided with the end of the careers of many of the veteran writers and artists of the time, or their promotion to management positions and retirement from regular writing or drawing, and their replacement with a younger generation of editors and creators, many of whom knew each other from their experiences in comic book fan conventions and publications. At the same time, publishers began the era by scaling back on their super-hero publications, canceling many of the weaker-selling titles, and experimenting with other genres such as horror and sword-and-sorcery.
The era also encompassed major changes in the distribution of and audience for comic books. Over time, the medium shifted from cheap mass market products sold at newsstands to a more expensive product sold at specialty comic book shops and aimed at a smaller, core audience of fans. The shift in distribution allowed many small-print publishers to enter the market, changing the medium from one dominated by a few large publishers to a more diverse and eclectic range of books.
In 1970, Marvel published the first comic book issue of Robert E. Howard's pulp character Conan the Barbarian. Conan's success as a comic hero resulted in adaptations of other Howard characters: King Kull, Red Sonja, and Solomon Kane. DC Comics responded with comics featuring Warlord, Beowulf, and Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. They also took over the licensing of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan from long-time publisher Gold Key and began adapting other Burroughs creations, such as John Carter, the Pellucidar series, and the Amtor series. Marvel also adapted to comic book form, with less success, Edwin Lester Arnold's character Gullivar Jones and, later, Lin Carter's Thongor.
The murder of Spider-Man's longtime girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, at the hands of the Green Goblin in 1973's Amazing Spider-Man #121-122 is considered by comics scholar Arnold T. Blumberg to be the definitive Bronze Age event, as it exemplifies the period's trend towards darker territory and willingness to subvert conventions such as the assumed survival of long-established, "untouchable" characters. However, there had been a gradual darkening of the tone of superhero comics for several years prior to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", including the death of her father in 1970s Amazing Spider-Man #90 and the beginning of the Dennis O'Neil/Neal Adams tenure on Batman.
In 1971, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee was approached by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to do a comic book story about drug abuse. Lee agreed and wrote a three-part Spider-Man story, "Green Goblin Reborn!," which portrayed drug use as dangerous and unglamorous. At that time, any portrayal of drug use in comic books was banned outright by the Comics Code Authority, regardless of the context. The CCA refused to approve the story, but Lee published it regardless.
The positive reception that the story received led to the CCA revising the Comics Code later that year to allow the portrayal of drug addiction as long as it was depicted in a negative light. Soon after, DC Comics had their own drug abuse storyline in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85-86. Written by Denny O'Neil with art by Neal Adams, the storyline was entitled "Snowbirds Don't Fly," and it revealed that the Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy had become addicted to heroin.
The 1971 revision to the Comics Code has also been seen as relaxing the rules on the use of vampires, ghouls and werewolves in comic books, allowing the growth of a number of supernatural and horror-oriented titles, such as Swamp Thing, Ghost Rider and The Tomb of Dracula, among numerous others. However, the tone of horror comic stories had already seen substantial changes between the relatively tame offerings of the early 1960s (e.g. Unusual Tales) and the more violent products available in the late 1960s (e.g. The Witching Hour, revised formats in House of Secrets, House of Mystery, The Unexpected).
At the beginning of the 1970s, publishers moved away from the super-hero stories that enjoyed mass-market popularity in the mid-1960s; DC cancelled most of its super-hero titles other than those starring Superman and Batman, while Marvel cancelled weaker-selling titles such as Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner and The X-Men. In their place, they experimented with a wide variety of other genres, including Westerns, horror and monster stories, and the above-mentioned adaptations of pulp adventures. These trends peaked in the early 1970s, and the medium reverted by the mid-1970s to selling predominantly super-hero titles.
A concern with social issues had been a part of comic book stories since their beginnings: early Superman stories, for example, dealt with issues such as child mistreatment and working conditions for minors. However, in the 1970s relevance became not only a feature of the stories, but also something that the books loudly proclaimed on their covers to promote sales. The Spider-Man drug issues were at the forefront of the trend of "social relevance" with comic books noticeably handling real-life issues. The above-mentioned Green Lantern/Green Arrow series dealt not only with drugs, but other topics like racism and environmental degradation. The X-Men titles, which were partly based on the premise that mutants were a metaphor for real-world minorities, became wildly popular. Other well-known "relevant" comics include the "Demon in a Bottle", where Iron Man confronts his alcoholism, and the socially conscious stories written by Steve Gerber in such titles as Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown. Issues regarding female empowerment became trends with female versions of popular male characters (Spider-Woman, Red Sonja, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk).
Writers and artists began getting a lot more credit for their creations even though they were still ceding copyrights to the companies for whom they worked. Pencil Artists were allowed to keep their original artwork and sell it on the open market. When word got out that Superman's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were living in poverty, artists such as Neal Adams, Jerry Robinson, and Bernie Wrightson helped organize fellow artists to pressure DC in rectifying them and other pioneers from the 1930s and 1940s. Newer publishers, such as Pacific Comics and Eclipse Comics, negotiated contracts in which creators retained copyright to their creations.
One of the most significant developments during the period was a substantial rise in the number of black and other minority superheroes. Before the 1970s, there had been very few non-white superheroes (the Black Panther and the Falcon being notable exceptions) but starting in the early 1970s this began to change with the introduction of characters such as Marvel's Luke Cage (who was the first black superhero to star in his own comic book in 1972), Storm, Blade, and Monica Rambeau, and DC's Green Lantern John Stewart, Bronze Tiger, Black Lightning, Vixen, and Cyborg.
Characters such as Luke Cage, Mantis, Misty Knight, Shang-Chi, and Iron Fist have been seen by some as an attempt by Marvel Comics to cash in on the 1970s crazes for Kung Fu movies. However, these and other minority characters came into their own after these film trends faded, and became increasingly popular and important as time progressed. By the mid-1980s, Storm and Cyborg had become leaders of the X-Men and Teen Titans respectively, and John Stewart briefly replaced Hal Jordan as the lead character of the Green Lantern title.
Starting with Neal Adams' work in Green Lantern/Green Arrow a newly sophisticated realism became the norm in the industry. Buyers would no longer be interested in the heavily stylized work of artists of the Silver Age or simpler cartooning of the Golden Age. The so-called "House Styles" of DC and Marvel became imitations of Adams' work and more realistic versions of Kirby's respectively. This change is sometimes credited to a new generation of artists influenced by the popularity of EC Comics in the 1950s. In spite of the House Styles, those artists who could draw apart from these would gain some notoriety. Such names include Berni Wrightson, Jim Starlin, John Byrne, Frank Miller, George Pérez, and Howard Chaykin. A secondary line of comics at DC, headed by former EC Comics artist Joe Orlando and devoted to horror titles, established a differing set of styles and aggressively sought talent from Asia and Latin America.
The X-Men were originally created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However, the title never achieved the popularity of other Lee/Kirby creations, and by 1970 Marvel ceased publishing new material and the title was turned over to reprints. But in 1975 an "all-new all-different" version of the X-Men was introduced by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum in Giant-Size X-Men #1, with Chris Claremont as uncredited assistant co-plotter. Claremont stayed as writer on just about all X-Men related titles, including spinoffs, for the next sixteen years, after which other regular writers such as Louise Simonson, Fabian Nicieza, and Scott Lobdell joined and Claremont eventually left.
One of the most apparent influences from this series was the creation of what became DC Comics' answer to X-Men's character-based storytelling style, The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, which became a highly successful and influential property in its own right. Wolfman would associate himself with the title for sixteen years, while Perez established a large fan base and sought-after pencilling style. A successful cartoon based on the Titans of the Bronze Age of Comics was launched in 2003, and lasted for four years.
During the Silver Age, comic books frequently had several features, a form harkening back to the Golden Age when the first comics were anthologies. In 1968, Marvel graduated its double feature characters appearing in their anthologies to full-length stories in their own comic. But several of these characters could not sustain their own title and were cancelled. Marvel tried to create new double feature anthologies such as Amazing Adventures and Astonishing Tales which did not last as double feature comic books. A more enduring concept was that of the team-up book, either combining two characters, at least one of which was not popular enough to sustain its own title (Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Super-Villain Team-Up, Power Man and Iron Fist, Daredevil and the Black Widow, Captain America and the Falcon) or a very popular character with a guest star of the month (Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-in-One). Even DC combined two features in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and had team-up books (The Brave and the Bold, DC Comics Presents and World's Finest Comics). Virtually all such books disappeared by the end of the period.
Marvel and DC worked out several crossover titles the first of which was Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. This was followed by a second Superman and Spider-Man, Batman vs. the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men vs The New Teen Titans. Another title, The Avengers vs. the Justice League of America was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by George Pérez with plotting by Roy Thomas, but was never published, reflecting the later animosity between the two companies. Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter was not pleased that DC wanted the fourth company crossover to include the New Teen Titans, DC's best-selling title at the time, as he wanted the crossover to be the X-Men and the Legion of Super-Heroes. This led to Shooter's decision to stall and cancel the JLA/Avengers project.
Beginning circa 1970, Marvel introduced vast numbers of reprints into the market, which played a key role in their becoming the overall market leader among comic publishers. Suddenly many titles featured reprints: X-Men, Sgt. Fury, Kid Colt Outlaw, Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Outlaw Kid, Jungle Action, Special Marvel Edition (the early issues), War is Hell (the early issues), Creatures on the Loose, Monsters on the Prowl, and FEAR, to name just a few.
In the mid-'70s, DC launched numerous new titles such as Jack Kirby's New Gods and Steve Ditko's Shade the Changing Man. Jenette Kahn would eventually take the helm of the company in 1976. The company followed this up in 1978 with the "DC Explosion" where the standard line of books increased in page count and 50 cent price. Many of these titles added backup features with various characters. However, DC greatly overestimated the appeal of so many new titles at once, sales dropped severely during the harsh 1978 winter and it nearly broke the company and the industry, including Charlton Comics; this event has been called the "DC Implosion".
Marvel eventually gained 50% of the market and Stan Lee handed control of the comic division to Jim Shooter while he worked with their growing animation spin-offs.
As the Bronze Age began in the early 1970s, popularity shifted away from the established superhero genre towards comic book titles from which superheroes were absent altogether. These non-superhero comics were typically inspired by genres like Westerns or fantasy & pulp fiction. As previously noted, 1971's revised Comics Code left the horror genre ripe for development and several supernaturally-themed series resulted, such as the popular The Tomb of Dracula, Ghost Rider and Swamp Thing. In the science fiction genre, post-apocalyptic survival stories were an early trend, as evidenced by characters like Deathlok, Killraven, and Kamandi. The long-running sci-fi/fantasy anthology comic magazine Metal Hurlant and its American counterpart Heavy Metal began publishing in the late '70s. Marvel's Star Wars series was very popular with a nine-year run.
Other titles began from characters originally found in 20th century pulp magazines or novels. Noteworthy examples are the long running titles Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan (the latter was published as a magazine, bypassing the Comics Code), as well as Master of Kung-Fu. The early success of these titles soon led to more pulp character adaptations (Doc Savage, Kull, The Shadow, Justice, Inc., Tarzan). During this period, both Marvel and DC also regularly published official comic book adaptations for various projects, including popular movies (Planet of the Apes, Godzilla, Logan's Run, Indiana Jones, Jaws 2, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars), TV shows (The Man from Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, The A-Team, Welcome Back Kotter), toys (G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Transformers, Rom, Atari Force, Thundercats), and even public figures (Kiss, Pope John Paul II).
Though not necessarily "non-superhero", a few unconventional comic book series from the period featured one or more villains as their central character (Super-Villain Team-Up, Secret Society of Super-Villains, The Joker).
Archie Comics dominated the female market during this time with their characters, Betty and Veronica having some of the largest circulation of titular female characters. Several clones were attempted by Marvel and DC unsuccessfully. Several Archie titles examined socially relevant issues and introduced a few African-American characters. Archie largely switched to paperback digest format in the late 1980s.
Children's comics were still popular with Disney reprints under the Gold Key label along with Harvey's stable of characters which grew in popularity. The latter included Richie Rich, Casper, and Wendy, which eventually switched to digest format as well. Again Marvel and DC were unable to emulate their success with competing titles.
An 'explicit content' market akin to the niche Underground Comix of the late '60s was ostensibly opened with the Franco-Belgian import Heavy Metal Magazine. Marvel launched competing magazine titles of their own with Conan the Barbarian and Epic Magazine which would eventually become its division of Direct Sales comics.
The paper drives of World War II and a growing nostalgia among Baby-Boomers in the 1970s made comic books of the 1930s and 1940s extremely valuable. DC experimented with some large size paperback books to reprint their Golden Age comics, create one-shot stories such as Superman vs. Shazam and Superman vs. Muhammad Ali as well as the early Marvel crossovers.
The popularity of those early books also opened up a market for specialty shops. The existence of these shops made it possible for small-press publishers to reach an audience, and some comic book artists began self-publishing their own work. Notable titles of this type included Dave Sim's Cerebus and Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest series. Other small-press publishers came in to take advantage of this growing market: Pacific Comics introduced in 1981 a line of books by comic-book veterans such as Jack Kirby, Mike Grell and Sergio Aragonés, for which the artists retained copyright and shared in royalties.
In 1978, Will Eisner published his "graphic novel" A Contract With God, an attempt to produce a long-format story outside the traditional comic book genres. In the early 1980s Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly began publishing Raw Magazine, which included the early serialization of Spiegelman's award-winning graphic novel Maus.
Comics sold on newsstands were distributed on the basis that unsold copies were returned to the publisher. Comics sold to comic shops were sold on a no-return basis. This allowed small-press titles sold through the direct market to keep publishing costs down and increase profits, making viable titles that otherwise would have been unprofitable. Marvel and DC began taking advantage of this direct market themselves, publishing books and titles distributed only through comic book shops.
This period is also marked by the cancellation of most titles in the genres of romance, western and war stories that had been a mainstay of comics production since the forties. Most anthologies, whether they presented feature characters or not, also disappeared. They had been used since the Golden Age to create new characters, to host characters that lost their own title or to feature several characters. This had the effect of standardizing the length of comics stories within a narrow range so that multiple stand-alone stories would appear within a single issue. The underground comix of the 1960s counterculture continued, but contracted significantly and were ultimately subsumed into the emerging direct market.
One commonly used ending point for the Bronze Age is the 1985–1986 time frame. As with the Silver Age, the end of the Bronze Age relates to a number of trends and events that happened at around the same time. At this point, DC Comics completed its special event, Crisis on Infinite Earths which marked the revitalization of the company's product line to become a serious market contender against Marvel, as happened before. This time frame also includes the company's release of the highly acclaimed works, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, which redefined the superhero genre and inspired years of "grim and gritty" comic books.
At Marvel Comics, the commonly used milestone marking the end of the Bronze Age is Secret Wars, although this could be extended to 1986 which saw the cancellation of Defenders and Power Man and Iron Fist, as well as the launch of the New Universe and X-Factor (extension of the X-Men franchise).
After the Bronze Age came the Modern Age of Comic Books, alternatively referred to as the Dark Age of Comic Books. According to Shawn O'Rourke of PopMatters, the shift from the previous ages involved a "deconstructive and dystopian re-envisioning of iconic characters and the worlds that they live in", as typified by Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen (1986–1987). Other features that define the era are an increase in adult oriented content, the rise of the X-Men as Marvel Comics' "dominant intellectual property", and a reorganization of the industry's distribution system. These changes would also lead to the appearance of new independent comic book publishers in the early 1990s - such as Image Comics, with titles like Spawn and Savage Dragon which also boasted a darker, sarcastic and more mature approach to superhero storylines.
An American comic book is a thin periodical, typically 32 pages, containing comics content. While the form originated in 1933, American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, while superheroes were marginalized, the comic book industry rapidly expanded, and genres such as horror, crime, science fiction, and romance became popular. The 1950s saw a gradual decline, due to a shift away from print media in the wake of television and the impact of the Comics Code Authority. The late 1950s and the 1960s saw a superhero revival , and superheroes remain the dominant character archetype in the 21st century.
Some fans collect comic books, helping drive up their value. Some have sold for more than US $1 million. Comic shops cater to fans, selling comic books, plastic sleeves ("bags") and cardboard backing ("boards") to protect the comic books.
An American comic book is also known as a floppy comic. It is typically thin and stapled, unlike traditional books. American comic books are one of the three major comic book schools globally, along with Japanese manga and the Franco-Belgian comic books.Batmobile
The Batmobile is the fictional car driven by the superhero Batman. Housed in the Batcave, which it accesses through a hidden entrance, the Batmobile is a heavily armored, weaponized vehicle that is used by Batman in his fight against crime.The Batmobile first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939), where it was depicted as an ordinary-looking, red car. Its appearance has varied, but since its earliest appearances, the Batmobile has had a prominent bat motif, typically including wing-shaped tailfins. Armored in the early stages of Batman's career, it has been customized over time and is the most technologically advanced crime-fighting asset in Batman's arsenal. Depictions of the vehicle have evolved along with the character, with each incarnation reflecting evolving car technologies. It has been portrayed as having many uses, such as vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation, anti-tank warfare, riot control, and as a mobile crime lab. In some depictions, the Batmobile has individually articulated wheel mounts and is able to be driven unmanned or can be remotely operated. It has appeared in every Batman iteration—from comic books and television to films and video games—and has since become part of popular culture.Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Debuting in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, the character was initially intended to be a surprise; an apparent monster who unexpectedly turns out to be a great hero. As such, Bill becomes the first being outside the Marvel Universe's Norse pantheon to be deemed worthy to wield Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. After an initial rivalry for possession of the weapon, the alien warrior was granted a war hammer of his own, called Stormbreaker, and the two reconciled as staunch allies, going on to fight side by side.
Beta Ray Bill has been featured in other Marvel-endorsed products, such as animated television series, video games, and merchandise.Black Lightning
Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character, created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appeared in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977), during the Bronze Age of Comic Books. While his origin story has been retconned several times, his current origin story states that he was born in the DC Universe a metahuman with superhuman abilities. Black Lightning is DC Comics' third African American superhero, after John Stewart and Tyroc.Born Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning is originally depicted as a schoolteacher from the crime-ridden Suicide Slum area of Metropolis who acquires electrical superpowers from a technologically advanced power belt that he puts to use to clean up crime in his neighborhood. Over time, Pierce establishes himself as a successful superhero in the DC Universe, and later stories depict him as having "internalized" the belt's powers as a result of his latent metagene. Later retellings of Black Lightning's origins simplify his story by depicting him as metahuman with the inborn ability to manipulate and generate electricity.
Tony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though only 11 issues were published in the first series due to the 1978 DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. Elements of Black Lightning were controversial when the character debuted. In the character's early days, Black Lightning was depicted wearing a combined afro wig/mask and affecting an exaggerated Harlem jive vernacular as part of his efforts to conceal his identity as highly educated school professional Jefferson Pierce. Black Lightning later becomes one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.
In the 2000s, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning's daughters, who inherited metahuman abilities from their father. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can alter her density, rendering her almost indestructible, and create shockwaves by stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them.
Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character is being portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the self-titled The CW television series.
In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.Bronze Age (disambiguation)
Bronze Age is an archaeological era, the second part of the three-age system (Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age) for classifying and studying prehistoric societies.
It may also refer to:
Bronze Age, one of the Ages of Man in classical mythology
Bronze Age of Comic Books, a period in the history of American comic books
Age of Bronze (comics), a comic book published by Image Comics
The Age of Bronze, a sculpture by RodinCelestial (comics)
The Celestials are a group of fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
Immensely powerful and of huge humanoid shape, the Celestials are some of the oldest entities in the Marvel Comics universe. They debuted in the Bronze Age of Comic Books and have appeared in Marvel publications for four decades. They also try to harness the power of the infinity stones.Comic book
A comic book or comicbook, also called comic magazine or simply comic, is a publication that consists of comic art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by brief descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Although comics has some origins in 18th century Japan, comic books were first popularized in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1930s. The first modern comic book, Famous Funnies, was released in the U.S. in 1933 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips, which had established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term comic book derives from American comic books once being a compilation of comic strips of a humorous tone; however, this practice was replaced by featuring stories of all genres, usually not humorous in tone.
The largest comic book market is Japan. By 1995, the manga market in Japan was valued at ¥586.4 billion ($6–7 billion), with annual sales of 1.9 billion manga books/magazines in Japan (equivalent to 15 issues per person). The comic book market in the United States and Canada was valued at $1.09 billion in 2016. As of 2017, the largest comic book publisher in the United States is manga distributor Viz Media, followed by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Another major comic book market is France, where Franco-Belgian comics and Japanese manga each represent 40% of the market, followed by American comics at 10% market share.Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths is an American comic book published by DC Comics. The story, written by Marv Wolfman and pencilled by George Pérez, was first serialized as a twelve-issue maxiseries from April 1985 to March 1986. As the main piece of a crossover event, some plot elements were featured in tie-in issues of other DC publications. Since its initial publication, the series has been reprinted in various formats and editions.
The idea for the series stemmed from Wolfman's desire to abandon the DC Multiverse seen in the company's comics—which he thought was unfriendly to readers—and create a single, unified DC Universe (DCU). The foundation of Crisis on Infinite Earths developed through a character (the Monitor) introduced in Wolfman's The New Teen Titans in July 1982 before the series itself started. Pérez was not the intended artist for the series, but was excited when he learned of it and called illustrating it some of the most fun he ever had.
At the start of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor (the Monitor's evil counterpart) is unleashed on the DC Multiverse and begins to destroy the various Earths that it comprises. The Monitor tries to recruit heroes from around the Multiverse but is murdered, while Brainiac collaborates with the villains to conquer the remaining Earths. However, both the heroes and villains are eventually united by the Spectre; the series concludes with Kal-L, Superboy-Prime, and Alexander Luthor Jr. defeating the Anti-Monitor and the creation of a single Earth in place of the Multiverse. Crisis on Infinite Earths is infamous for its high death count; hundreds of characters died, including DC icons such as Supergirl and Barry Allen.
The series was a bestseller for DC and has been reviewed positively by comic book critics, who praised its ambition and dramatic events. The story is credited with popularizing the idea of a large-scale crossover in comics, and its events caused the entire DCU to be rebooted. Crisis on Infinite Earths is the first installment in what became known as the Crisis trilogy; it was followed by Geoff Johns's Infinite Crisis (2005–2006) and Grant Morrison's Final Crisis (2008–2009). The story will serve as inspiration for "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the 2019 Arrowverse crossover.DC Implosion
The DC Implosion is the popular label for the sudden cancellation of more than two dozen ongoing and planned series by the American comics publisher DC Comics in 1978.Events from the Modern Age of Comic Books
One of the key aspects of the Modern Age of Comic Books was that it was the beginning of big events. In 1984, Marvel Comics debuted the first large crossover, Secret Wars, a storyline featuring the company's most prolific superheroes, which overlapped into a 12-issue limited series and many monthly comic books. A year later, DC Comics introduced its first large scale crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which had long-term effects on the "DC Universe" continuity.
In the early and mid-1990s, big events were regularly published by Marvel and DC, often leading to extra publicity and sales. These events helped fend-off competition from Image Comics, and such events were more likely to become "collector's items." Some events, such as DC's "Zero Hour" and Marvel's "Onslaught saga" spanned a publisher's entire line while others only affected a "family" of interrelated titles. The X-Men and Batman franchises featured crossovers almost annually.
Some of the most significant mid-1990s events, such as Spider-Man's "Clone Saga," Batman's "Batman: Knightfall" and particularly, "The Death of Superman" caused dramatic changes to long-running characters and received coverage in the mainstream media.
These events led to significant sales boosts and publicity, but many fans began to criticize them as excessive and lacking compelling storytelling. They also complained that monthly series had become inaccessible because one had to follow a number of comics to understand the full storyline. By the end of the 1990s, the number of large crossovers decreased, but they were still launched sporadically.Golden Age of Comic Books
The Golden Age of Comic Books describes an era of American comic books from the late 1930s to circa 1950. During this time, modern comic books were first published and rapidly increased in popularity. The superhero archetype was created and many well-known characters were introduced, including Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel (later known as SHAZAM!), Captain America, and Wonder Woman.History of American comics
The history of American comics began in the 19th century in the realm of mass print media and yellow journalism, where they served as a boon to mass readership. In the 20th century, comics became an autonomous art medium and an integral part of American culture.Legion of Substitute Heroes
The Legion of Substitute Heroes is a group of fictional characters in the future of the DC Comics universe. The "Subs", as they are often called, are a group of rejected applicants to the Legion of Super-Heroes who band together, hoping to prove to the Legion that their powers are not as useless as the Legionnaires claim. They first appeared in Adventure Comics #306 (March 1963) and were created by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte. They were depicted as reasonably effective superheroes until Keith Giffen, during his tenure as Legion writer, began depicting the team as something of a joke. The Subs regain some respect when founding member Polar Boy joins the main Legion and a new Legion of Substitute Heroes is formed.Lew Moxon
Lew Moxon is a fictional character in the DC Comics Batman series. He is most famous for hiring Joe Chill to murder young Bruce Wayne's parents in early versions of Batman's origin story, thus making him indirectly responsible for Batman's existence.Marvel Masterworks
Marvel Masterworks is an American collection of hardcover and trade paperback comic book reprints published by Marvel Comics.
The collection started in 1987, with volumes reprinting the issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The Avengers. Approximately 10 issues are reprinted in each volume. In 2013 Masterworks published its 200th volume. The Masterworks line has expanded from such reprints of the 1960s period that fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books to include the 1930s–1940s Golden Age; comics of Marvel's 1950s Pre-Code forerunner, Atlas Comics; and even some reprints from the 1970s period called the Bronze Age of Comic Books.
There is also a black-and-white trade paperback line, Essential Marvel, with approximately 25 comics per volume; and the full-color, oversized, hardcover Omnibus line, each volume of which reprints the equivalent of three to four Masterworks.
Marvel rival DC Comics began publishing its similar DC Archive Editions two years later. Because DC has produced new volumes more consistently, the Archives were nearly twice the number of Masterworks, but with the apparent suspension of the DC program, the gap has begun to close quickly.Mongul
Mongul () is the name of two fictional supervillains that appear in comic books published by DC Comics. Writer Len Wein and artist Jim Starlin created the first version of the character, who debuted in DC Comics Presents #27 (Nov. 1980). Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Scot Eaton created the second version, who first appeared in Showcase '95 #8 (Sept. 1995) as an infant.
Debuting in the Bronze Age of comic books, Mongul has been featured in other DC Comics-endorsed products such as animated television series; video games; a direct-to-DVD film, and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards.Portrayal of women in American comics
The portrayal of Women in American comic books have often been the subject of controversy since the medium's beginning. Critics have noted the roles of women as both supporting characters and lead characters are substantially more subjected to gender stereotypes, with femininity and or sexual characteristics having a larger presence in their overall character.Sam Grainger
Samuel E. Grainger (June 14, 1930 – July 25, 1990) was an American comic book artist best known as a Marvel Comics inker during the 1960s and 1970s periods fans and historians call, respectively, the Silver Age and the Bronze Age of Comic Books. Series on which he worked include The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk and X-Men.Storm (Marvel Comics)
Storm is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, first appearing in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). Cockrum's original concept for a character with the power of weather control was of a male. This changed after he realized that multiple females with cat-related abilities, his first idea for a black female hero, had been created and were in development. Descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses, Storm is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans born with superhuman abilities known as mutants. She is able to control the weather and atmosphere and is considered to be one of the most powerful mutants on the planet.
Born Ororo Munroe to a tribal princess of Kenya and an American photojournalist father, Storm is raised in Harlem and Cairo. She was made an orphan after her parents were killed in the midst of an Arab–Israeli conflict. An incident at this time also traumatized Munroe, leaving her with claustrophobia that she would struggle with for life. Storm is a member of the X-Men, a group of mutant heroes fighting for peace and equal rights between mutants and humans. Under the tutelage of a master thief an adolescent Munroe became a skilled pickpocket, the means of which she meets through coincidence the powerful mutant Professor X. Professor X later convinces Munroe to join the X-Men and use her abilities for a greater cause and purpose. Possessing natural leadership skills and formidable powers of her own, Storm has led the X-Men at times and has been a member of teams such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four as well.
Created during the Bronze Age of Comic Books, Storm is the first major female character of African descent in comics. She is regarded by some as being Marvel Comics' most important female superhero, having drawn favorable comparison to DC Comics' most famous female lead Wonder Woman. When Marvel and DC Comics published a DC vs. Marvel miniseries in 1996, Storm was pitted against Wonder Woman in a one-on-one battle and emerged victorious due to winning a popular vote amongst readers. Storm is also part of one of the higher profile romantic relationships in all of comics. Having married childhood sweetheart and fellow superhero Black Panther, ruler of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Munroe was made queen consort through marriage. The title was lost however when the two later divorced.
Storm is one of the more prominent characters in the X-Men series, having appeared in various forms of media relating to the franchise, including animation, television, video games, and a series of films. The character was first portrayed in live-action by Halle Berry in 2000 film X-Men, and by Alexandra Shipp in the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse. In 2011, she was ranked 42nd overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.