Modern Age of Comic Books

The Modern Age of Comic Books is a period in the history of American superhero comic books which is generally considered to have begun in the mid-1980s and continues through the present day.[1][2] During approximately the first 15 years of this period, many comic book characters were redesigned, creators gained prominence in the industry, independent comics flourished, and larger publishing houses became more commercialized.[3]

An alternative name for this period is the Dark Age of Comic Books, due to the popularity and artistic influence of titles with serious content, such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.[4]

Modern Age of Comic Books
Watchmencovers
Watchmen (1986), one of the comics considered to signify the beginning of the Modern Age. Cover art by Dave Gibbons.
Time span1986 – present
Related periods
Preceded byBronze Age of Comic Books

Developments

Because the time period encompassing the Modern Age is not well defined, and in some cases disputed by both fans and most professionals, a comprehensive history is open to debate. Many influences from the Bronze Age of Comic Books would overlap with the infancy of the Modern Age. The work of creators such as John Byrne (Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four), Chris Claremont (Iron Fist, Uncanny X-Men), and Frank Miller (Daredevil) would reach fruition in the Bronze Age but their impact was still felt in the Modern Age. The Uncanny X-Men is the most definitive example of this impact as Bronze Age characters such as Wolverine and Sabretooth would have a huge influence on the Marvel Universe in the 1980s and beyond.

For DC, Crisis on Infinite Earths is the bridge that joins the two ages. The result was the cancellation of The Flash (with issue 350), Superman (with issue 423), and Wonder Woman (with issue 329). The post-Crisis world would have Wally West as the new Flash, John Byrne writing a brand-new Superman series, and George Pérez working on a new Wonder Woman series. Batman would also get a makeover as the Batman: Year One storyline would be one of the most popular Batman stories ever published, with an animated adaptation of Year One released in 2011.

In rough chronological order by the beginning of the trend, here are some important developments that occurred during the Modern Age, many of which are interrelated:

Rise of independent publishers

The late 1970s saw famed creators going to work for new independent publishers. The arrival of Jim Shooter as Editor in Chief at Marvel Comics saw the departure of key creators at Marvel such as Steve Gerber, Marv Wolfman, and others. In these new companies (Pacific, Eclipse, First) creators were free to create very personal stories. Mike Grell's Jon Sable Freelance, Howard Chaykin's American Flagg!, Mike Baron and Steve Rude's Nexus, Dave Steven's Rocketeer and John Ostrander's GrimJack attracted some attention and garnered a number of awards. These creators were brought in by DC editor Mike Gold to create defining works such as Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Grell, Blackhawk by Chaykin, and Hawkworld by Truman. With Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Art Spiegelman's Maus (which would later receive the Pulitzer Prize), this period marks the summit of the artform per comics expert Scott McCloud.

Fantasy and horror

The Comics Code Authority was established in 1954, and specified that no comic should contain the words "horror" or "terror" in its title. This led EC Comics to abandon its horror comics line. Publishers such as Dell and Gold Key comics did run an expanding line of silver-age horror and "mystery" titles during the early 1960s, and Charlton maintained a continuous publishing history of them, during the later 1960s, a gradual loosening of enforcement standards eventually led to the re-establishment of horror titles within the DC and Marvel lineups by the end of the decade. Since this genre's evolution does not neatly match the hero-dominated transitional phases that are usually used to demarcate different eras of comic books, it is necessary to understand this "silver age" and "bronze age" background. 1970s horror anthology series merely continued what had already been established during the late 1960s, and endured into the 1980s until they were markedly transformed into new formats, many of which were greatly influenced by, or directly reprinted, "pre-code" content and styles of the early 1950s.

Starting with Alan Moore’s groundbreaking work on DC's Swamp Thing in the early 1980s, horror comic books incorporated elements of science fiction/fantasy and strove to a new artistic standard. Other examples include Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (followed a few years later by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher). DC’s Vertigo line, under the editorship of Karen Berger, was launched in 1993, with the goal of specializing in this genre. Existing titles such as Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Hellblazer, and Shade, the Changing Man were absorbed into this new line. Other titles later were created for the line, which continued successfully into the 2010s.

Starting in the 1990s and throughout the 2000s, a number of successful movie adaptations of comic books, partly due to improvements in special effect technology, helped to extend their market audience, attracting the attention of many new readers who previously had not been interested in comic books. This also led to an avalanche of other comic book adaptations which included previously lesser known Vertigo titles, notably Constantine (based on the comic book Hellblazer) and V for Vendetta.

The rise of antiheroes

In the mid-1970s, Marvel antiheroes such as the X-Men’s Wolverine, the Punisher, and writer/artist Frank Miller’s darker version of Daredevil challenged the previous model of the superhero as a cheerful humanitarian. Miller also created Elektra, who straddled the conventional boundary between love interest and villain.

Two artistically influential DC Comics limited series contributed to the trend: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, also by Frank Miller and Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, both of which were series of psychological depth that starred troubled heroes.

By the late 1980s DC had published many mature titles such as John Constantine, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, and Lobo. They featured morally ambiguous characters such as the cynical John Constantine and the violence-loving Lobo with graphic violence and adult content that differentiated them from other mainstream titles. DC later separated these titles to their launched Vertigo imprint that publishes titles outside of the DC Universe.

By the early 1990s, antiheroes had become the rule rather than the exception, and among the most popular were Marvel Comics' Cable and Venom and Image Comics' Spawn.

The trend of creating characters with more psychological depth that were less black-and-white, also affected supervillains. For example, the Joker, Batman's nemesis, was portrayed less as an evil criminal and more as a mentally ill psychopath who cannot control his actions, Marvel Comics' galactic planet-eater Galactus became a force of nature who means no personal malice in his feedings, and the X-Men's nemesis Magneto became more benign and sympathetic as a man who fights for an oppressed people, albeit through means that others deem unacceptable.

Development of the X-Men franchise

By the mid-1980s, X-Men had become one of the most popular titles in comics. Marvel decided to build on this success by creating a number of spin-off titles, sometimes collectively referred to as "X-Books". These early X-Books included New Mutants (which would later become X-Force), X-Factor, Excalibur, and a Wolverine solo series. There were many new popular additions to the X-Men in the 1990s, including Cable and Bishop.

By the early 1990s, X-Men had become the biggest franchise in comics, and by the middle of the decade over a dozen X-Men-related comic books, both continuing and limited series, were published each month. On an almost annual basis from 1986 until 1999, one storyline crossed-over into almost every X-Book for two to three months. These "X-Overs" usually led to a spike in sales.

This sales boom resulted in a great deal of merchandising, such as action figures, video games and trading cards. This success was thanks in no small part to the Fox Network's animated X-Men series, which debuted in 1992 and drew in a large number of younger fans.

The sales boom began to wane in the mid to late 1990s, due to the crash of the speculators' market and the effect it had on the industry. Marvel declared bankruptcy in 1996,[5] and as a result, scaled back all of their franchises, including X-Men. A number of "X-books" were canceled, and the amount of limited series published, as well as general merchandise, was reduced.

In the early 2000s, a series of blockbuster X-Men movies have kept the X-Men franchise healthy, and have resulted in a larger market presence outside of comics. In 1999-2000, a new animated series, X-Men: Evolution debuted, while new toys have been developed and sold since the success of the first X-Men feature film. The comic books themselves have been reinvented in series such as Grant Morrison's New X-Men and the Ultimate X-Men, which, like Marvel's other "Ultimate" series, is an alternative universe story, starting the X-Men tale anew. This was done for X-Men, and other books, because Marvel feared that the long and complex histories of the established storylines of certain titles were scaring off new readers.

Effect on other comics

Many series tried to imitate the model the X-Men carved as a franchise. Marvel and DC expanded popular properties, such as Punisher, Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman into networks of spin-off books in the mid-to-late 1980s. Like the X-Books, some of these spin-offs highlighted a concept or supporting character(s) from a parent series, while others were simply additional monthly series featuring a popular character. In another similarity to the X-Books, these franchises regularly featured crossovers, in which one storyline overlapped into every title in the “family” for a few months.

With regards to storylines overlapping, the Superman stories from 1991–2000 were written on a weekly basis. One needed to buy Superman, Adventures of Superman, Action Comics, and Superman: The Man of Steel (and eventually, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow) to keep up with any existing storylines. If a collector only bought Action Comics, they would only get twenty-five percent of the story. A triangle was featured on the cover of every Superman title with a number on it. This number indicated which week of the year the Superman title was released.

Makeovers and universe reboots

Complementing the creation of these franchises was the concept of redesigning the characters. The Modern Age of comics would usher in this era of change. The impact of Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first example as Supergirl died in issue 7, and long-time Flash (Barry Allen) died in issue 8. Specifically, Barry Allen signified the beginning of the Silver Age of Comics and his death was highly shocking at the time. Marvel Comics' Secret Wars would usher in a new change as well as Spider-Man would wear a black costume. This costume change led to the development of the character Venom.

The interest in the speculator market of a new Spider-Man costume led to other changes for Marvel characters in the 1980s. Iron Man would have a silver and red armor in issue 200. Captain America would be fired and would be reborn as the Captain, wearing a black outfit in issue 337 of the series. The Incredible Hulk would revert to his original grey skin color in issue 325. Issue 300 of the first Avengers series resulted in a new lineup including Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, of the Fantastic Four. Within the decade, Wolverine would switch to a brown and yellow costume, Thor would be replaced by Thunderstrike, Archangel would emerge as the X-Men's Angel's dark counterpart after serving as one of Apocalypse's Horsemen, and many other Marvel characters would have complete image overhauls. The changes to Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine and most other Marvel characters would be undone in the early 1990s.

The 1990s would bring similar changes to the DC Universe, including the death of Superman[6] and the crippling of Bruce Wayne[7] in 1993. The only lasting change was Kyle Rayner replacing Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

In addition to individual character or franchise/family wide makeovers, Crisis on Infinite Earths ushered in a popular trend of "rebooting", "remaking" or greatly reimagining the publisher-wide universes every 5–10 years on varying scales. This often resulted in origins being retold, histories being rewritten, and so forth. These reinventions could be on as large a scale as suddenly retconning seminal story points and rewriting character histories, or simply introducing and/or killing off/writing out various important and minor elements of a universe. Crisis on Infinite Earths resulted in several miniseries which explicitly retconned character histories, such as Batman: Year One, Superman: Man of Steel and Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals. An example of a less ambitious scale of changes is Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, which did not explicitly retcon or retell Green Arrow's history, but simply changed his setting and other elements of the present, leaving the past largely intact. This trend of publisher wide reinventions, which often consists of a new miniseries and various spinoff storylines in established books, continued for decades, with DC's New 52 in 2011 and Marvel's Secret Wars in 2015.

Image Comics and creator rights disputes

Spawn (no. 1 - cover art)
Spawn #1. Art by Todd McFarlane.

In the mid-1980s, artist Jack Kirby, co-creator of many of Marvel's most popular characters, came into dispute with Marvel over the disappearance of original pages of artwork from some of his most famous titles. Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and many other contemporary stars became vocal advocates for Kirby.

By the early 1990s, these events, as well as the influence of vocal proponents of independent publishing, helped to inspire a number of Marvel artists to form their own company, Image Comics, which would serve as a prominent example of creator-owned comics publishing. Marvel artists such as X-Men’s Jim Lee, The New Mutants/X-Force’s Rob Liefeld and Spider-Man’s Todd McFarlane were extremely popular and were idolized by younger readers in ways more common to professional athletes and rock musicians than comic book artists. Propelled by star power and upset that they did not own the popular characters they created for Marvel, several illustrators, including the above three formed Image Comics in 1992, an umbrella label under which several autonomous, creator-owned companies existed.[8] Image properties, such as WildC.A.T.s, Gen¹³, Witchblade and especially McFarlane’s Spawn provided brisk competition for long-standing superheroes. Image in particular is singled out by some critics for contributing to the conditions which led to the speculator market crashing, as Image titles favored alternative covers, foil covers, and other "collectible" comics.[9]

Many popular creators followed Image's lead and attempted to use their star power to launch their own series; ones for which they would have licensing rights and editorial control. Chris Claremont, famous for his long run as the writer of Uncanny X-Men, created Sovereign Seven for DC; Joe Madureira, also made popular by Uncanny X-Men, launched Battle Chasers for WildStorm Productions; and Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, and Brent Anderson created Astro City for Image.

Milestone Comics and racial diversity

In 1993, a coalition of African-American writers and artists started Milestone Comics, believing that minority characters were underrepresented in American superhero comics. Some of the company's better-known series include Static, about an African-American teen who became Milestone's key character, Hardware, an example of Afrofuturism, Icon, about an alien mimicking the appearance of an African-American, and Blood Syndicate, a series about a multicultural gang of superheroes. All of these flagship titles were co-created by Dwayne McDuffie. In 1997, the Milestone Universe merged with the DC Universe.

The rise and fall of the speculator market

By the late 1980s, important comic books, such as the first appearance of a classic character or first issue of a long-running series, were sold for thousands of dollars. Mainstream newspapers ran reports that comic books were good financial investments and soon collectors were buying massive amounts of comics they thought would be valuable in the future.

Publishers responded by manufacturing collectors’ items, such as trading cards, and “limited editions” of certain issues featuring a special or variant cover. The first issues of Marvel Comics' X-Force, X-Men vol. 2, and Spider-Man became some of the first and most notorious examples of this trend. Another trend which emerged was foil-stamped covers. The first Marvel comic book with a foil-stamped cover was the third volume of the Silver Surfer, issue 50 (June 1991). A glow-in-the-dark cover for Ghost Rider, volume 3, issue 15 appeared as well. This led a market boom, where retail shops and publishers made huge profits and many companies, large and small, expanded their lines. Image Comics in particular became notorious for this, with many of its series debuting with alternative covers, wide use of embossed and foil covers and other "collectible" traits.

This trend was not confined to the books themselves, and many other pieces of merchandise, such as toys, particularly "chase" action figures (figures made in smaller runs than others in a particular line), trading cards, and other items, were also expected to appreciate in value. McFarlane Toys was notable for this, as it created many variations in its high-quality toys, most of which were main characters or occasional guest stars in the Spawn series.

But few, in the glut of new series, possessed lasting artistic quality and the items that were predicted to be valuable did not become so, often because of huge print runs that made them commonplace. The speculator market began to collapse in summer 1993 after Turok #1 (sold without cover enhancements) badly underperformed and Superman's return in Adventures of Superman #500 sold less than his death in Superman #75, something speculators and retailers had not expected. Companies began expecting a contraction and Marvel UK's sales director, Lou Marks, stated in September 29 that retailers were saying there was "simply no room to display all the comics being produced".[10] The resulting crash devastated the industry: sales plummeted, hundreds of retail stores closed and many publishers downsized. Marvel made an ill-judged decision during the crash to buy Heroes World Distribution to use as its own exclusive distributor,[11] which resulted in both distribution problems for Marvel and the industry's other major publishers making exclusive distribution deals with other companies, which would lead to Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. becoming the only distributor of note in North America.[12][13] In 1996, Marvel Comics, the largest company in the industry and hugely profitable just three years before, declared bankruptcy[14] (it has since rebounded).

The crash also marked the relative downfall of the large franchises, inter-connected "families" of titles that lead to a glut of merchandising. While the big franchise titles still have a large amount of regular titles and merchandising attached to them, all of these things were notably scaled back after the crash. Several franchises have once again gained prominence, such as the X-Men, due in large part to the feature films X-Men and X2, and many DC heroes thanks to the success of various animated series' based on their characters, such as Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Teen Titans.

The rise of the trade paperback format

Although sales of comic books dropped in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, sales rose for trade paperbacks, collected editions in which several issues are bound together with a spine and often sold in bookstores as well as comic shops. In addition, the publishing format has gained such respectability as literature that it became an increasingly prominent part of both book stores and public library collections.

Some series were saved from cancellation solely because of sales of trade paperbacks, and storylines for many of the most popular series of today (DC’s JLA and various Batman series and Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and New X-Men) are put into trade paperback instantly after the storyline ends.

Trade paperbacks are often even given volume numbers, making them a serializations of sorts. Due to this, many writers now consider their plots with the trade paperback edition in mind, scripting stories that last four to twelve issues, which could easily be read as a "graphic novel."

The popularity of trade paperbacks, has resulted in older material being reprinted as well. The Essential Marvel line of trade paperbacks has reprinted heroes such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four and has been able to introduce these Silver Age stories to a new generation of fans. These editions tend to resemble a phone book in that these are very thick books and are black-and-white (to help keep the cost down).

DC Comics has followed suit by introducing a line called Showcase Presents. The first four have included Superman, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex, and Metamorpho the Elemental Man. Other characters have included Green Arrow, the Superman Family, the Teen Titans and the Elongated Man.

Comics creators' mainstream success

While many comic book artists and writers had become well known by their readership as early as the 1940s, some comics creators in the late 1980s and the 1990s became known to the general population. These included Todd McFarlane, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Frank Miller. Some, such as Gaiman, went on to write critically and commercially successful novels. Others, like Miller, became Hollywood screenwriters and directors.


Conversely, film and TV directors and producers became involved with comics. J. Michael Straczynski, creator of TV's Babylon 5, was recruited to write Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man and, later Fantastic Four filmmaker Reginald Hudlin became the writer of Marvel's Black Panther. Joss Whedon, creator of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wrote Marvel's Astonishing X-Men and Runaways, among other series. Richard Donner, who directed the Superman films of the 1970s and 1980s, became a writer on the Superman feature in Action Comics in 2006, co-writing with comics writer (and Donner's former production assistant) Geoff Johns. Paul Dini, producer and writer of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, started writing for DC in 1994 on special projects and took the helm as writer of Detective Comics in 2006.

Comics writer Peter David's career as a novelist developed concurrently with his comic-book career.[15][16] Sandman writer Neil Gaiman has also enjoyed success as a fantasy writer and number one New York Times Bestseller. Michael Chabon who won the Pulitzer Prize with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, a novel about the start of the Golden Age of Comic Books, then went on to write comics for DC and Dark Horse. Novelist Brad Meltzer saw success in the comics field with the controversial miniseries Identity Crisis, as well as runs on Green Arrow and Justice League of America.

In the late 2000s, Corey Blake's Round Table Press have converted novels, such as The Long Tail and The Art of War, among others, into comic book format.[17][18]

The influence of Japanese comics and animation

The mid to late 1980s would see the quiet introduction of various translated Japanese manga into North America. While not the first company to release translated manga, the first company to do so to a large degree was Eclipse which introduced Area 88, Legend of Kamui, and Mai the Psychic Girl, the three titles that are generally associated with the first wave of manga translated into English. Along with Comico and Eternity Comics's adaptation of the Robotech animated series, various other companies would release manga style comics such as Ben Dunn's Ninja High School and Barry Blair's Samurai. Dark Horse Comics would release many translated manga during the 1990s. Marvel's Epic Comics line would also license an English translation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. As of the 2010s, most translated manga are distributed by subsidiaries of the original Japanese property owners, such as Kodansha, Shogakukan or Bandai. While manga translations were previously presented in the traditional American comic magazine format, the digest size publications traditional to manga has become common. In some cases, the books are presented in the original form intended to be read from right to left. Tokyopop was the first company to contract non-Japanese artists to produce and market (Original English-language manga). OELs are original material written by non-Japanese authors who directly emulate manga style in both storytelling and art and openly identify their works as manga. Previous manga-style comics consisted mostly of selective borrowing of manga or anime elements for a work that nevertheless is not intended to be regarded as manga.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Glossary". Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. 38. 2008. p. 1028.
  2. ^ Kılınç, Ugur (2017). "Create It! Extend It! Evolution of Comics Through Narrative Advertising". Narrative Advertising Models and Conceptualization in the Digital Age. United States of America: IGI Global. p. 118. ISBN 9781522503323.
  3. ^ "When Were Superheroes Grim and Gritty?". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  4. ^ Voger, Mark (2006), p. 6.
  5. ^ Randy Duncan & Matthew J. Smith, The Power Of Comic History Form & Culture (London, England: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.)
  6. ^ Superman vol 2 #75
  7. ^ Batman #497
  8. ^ "Bye Bye Marvel; Here Comes Image: Portacio, Claremont, Liefeld, Jim Lee Join McFarlane's New Imprint at Malibu," The Comics Journal #148 (February 1992), pp. 11–12.
  9. ^ "Newswatch: Industry Sales Records in 1993 Shadowed by Collapse of Speculator Boom: Image Receives Brunt of Criticism for Their Role in Market Crash," The Comics Journal #166 (February 1994), pp. 27–33.
  10. ^ STARLOGGED reprinting Comic World #22, December 1993
  11. ^ Duin, Steve; Richardson, Mike (1998). Comics: Between the Panels (1. ed.). Milwaukie, Or.: Dark Horse Comics. p. 69. ISBN 1-56971-344-8.
  12. ^ Rozanski, Chuck (n.d.). "Diamond Ended Up With 50% of the Comics Market". MileHighComics.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  13. ^ "Diamond Comic Distributors acquires Capital City Distribution; Comic distribution industry stabilized by purchase". bNet: Business Wire via Findarticles.com. July 26, 1996. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  14. ^ https://www.eonline.com/news/33907/marvel-files-for-bankruptcy
  15. ^ "Peter David. "WHAT'CHA WANNA KNOW?" peterdavid.net; October 21, 2003". Peterdavid.net. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  16. ^ "R.J. Carter. "Interview: Peter David: An Apropos Conversation" The Trades; August 14, 2002". The-trades.com. 2002-08-14. Archived from the original on 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
  17. ^ Wehrum, Kasey (May 2011). "Comic Books for Entrepreneurs". Inc. Retrieved 27 September 2014. The books are the brainchild of Corey Michael Blake, president of Round Table Companies, a Mundelein, Illinois–based media company. Blake partnered with another business, SmarterComics, to produce a line of comic books based on six popular business titles, including The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson; How to Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins; and the longtime favorite The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.
  18. ^ Geddes, John (20 April 2011). "Motivational all-stars use graphic novels to inspire". USA Today. Retrieved 27 September 2014. Writers of the Round Table Press, the publisher responsible for the recently released graphic novel translations of such books as The Art of War and The Long Tail, sees the crossover to the comics medium as a natural fit between these authors and today's generation of business readers. CEO Corey Michael Blake says, "The short format is perfect for professionals in the Twitter generation."

Sources

  • Voger, Mark (2006). The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics. TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 1-893905-53-5.
Bad girl art

Bad girl art is the name for the superheroine art trend that emerged during the 1990s.

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.

Bernie Mireault

Bernard Edward "Bernie" Mireault (born 1961) is a Canadian comic book artist and writer.

Comics critic Timothy Callahan has argued that Mireault is one of the unheralded creators who helped bring in the Modern Age of Comic Books:

Yet there's one creator who doesn't get mentioned nearly as often. A writer/artist who was combining the high Romanticism of the fantastic with the mundane life on the street as well as any of the others. A comic book creator whose visual style has rarely been duplicated, but whose sensibilities seem to predict the coming of cartoonists as diverse as Mike Mignola and Dash Shaw.

I'm talking, of course, about Bernie Mireault.

Bronze Age of Comic Books

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 1986. 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.

Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, and his earliest appearance was a cameo in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986), before making his first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988) as the original and most well-known host of the Venom Symbiote. The character has since appeared in many Marvel Comics publications, including his own series Venom. Introduced as a villain of Spider-Man, the character becomes an anti-hero, working with and against superheroes.

In the original version of the story, Eddie Brock is a journalist who publicly exposes the identity of a man he believes is a serial killer, only to find his reputation ruined when Spider-Man captures the real killer. Disgraced and suicidal, he comes into contact with an alien symbiote, rejected by Peter Parker. The Symbiote bonds with him and they become Venom, together seeking out revenge against their mutual enemy. Though he repeatedly comes into conflict with Spider-Man, he also attempts to operate as a hero, albeit a violent one, seeking to save those he deems "innocent". In 2008, after being separated from the Venom Symbiote, he serves as an anti-hero as host of the Anti-Venom symbiote which is sacrificed to help cure the "Spider-Island" epidemic during the 2011 storyline. In 2012, he was bonded to the Toxin symbiote. Though he is a human with no powers, the Venom Symbiote suit bestows upon him a range of abilities including many of Spider-Man's powers.

Debuting in the Modern Age of Comic Books, the character has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series; video games; merchandise such as action figures, and trading cards; and feature films in which he is played by Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3 and by Tom Hardy in the 2018 film Venom. This incarnation of Venom was rated 33rd on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters, and was the 22nd Greatest Villain on IGN's 100 Greatest Comic Villains of All Time. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares."

El Cazador (comics)

El Cazador was a CrossGen comic book title set in the Sigilverse, CrossGen's shared universe. However, whereas most Sigilverse titles were set in the far future, El Cazador took place on Earth during the Golden Age of Piracy of the 17th century. It contains none of the magical, science-fiction, or fantastical elements of the other Sigilverse titles.

El Cazador began in 2003 and ran for six issues before CrossGen's bankruptcy brought the series to a halt. The company also published a prequel one-shot, El Cazador: The Bloody Ballad of Blackjack Tom, which revealed the history of the title's main villain. El Cazador was one of the few pirate-themed comic book series in the Modern Age of comic books, and perhaps the only recent ongoing series of the genre to feature a female lead. El Cazador was written by Chuck Dixon and pencilled by Steve Epting.

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 1938 to 1956. 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, Captain America, and Wonder Woman.

Grace Choi

Grace Choi is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Tom Raney, first appearing in Outsiders (vol. 3) #1 (August 2003) in the Modern Age of Comic Books. Choi is introduced as a young Asian American woman using her powers of superhuman strength, healing, and enhanced durability to make a living as a nightclub bouncer, who is reluctantly recruited by her superhero acquaintance Roy Harper to join his new crew of heroes, the Outsiders.

In the course of their adventures, Grace comes to take pride in her work as a superhero, and discovers that she is descended from a tribe of Amazons, explaining her better-than-human abilities, and giving her a new role model in Wonder Woman. While working with the team, she enters into a relationship with her teammate Thunder, the daughter of superhero and Outsider-founding member Black Lightning.

Outside of comics, Choi has made appearances in television shows and video games. The character is portrayed by Chantal Thuy in the live-action television series Black Lightning. However, this version of her is a Metahuman and not an Amazon.

History of American comics

The history of American comics began in the 19th century in mass print media, in the era of yellow journalism, where newspaper comics served as a boon to mass readership. In the 20th century, comics became an autonomous art medium and an integral part of American culture.

Krypton (comics)

Krypton is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The planet is the native world of Superman and is named after the element Krypton. The planet was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and was first referred to in Action Comics #1 (June 1938). The planet made its first full appearance in Superman #1 (summer 1939).

Krypton is also the native world of Supergirl, Krypto the Superdog, and Power Girl (in her case, an alternate-universe version designated "Krypton-Two"). It has been consistently described as having been destroyed shortly after Superman's flight from the planet, although the exact details of its destruction vary by time period and writers. Kryptonians were the dominant species on Krypton.

Lightning (DC Comics)

Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Not pinpointed with direct reference, Lightning first appears in the miniseries Kingdom Come in 1996, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross. The character is given official introduction in Justice Society of America vol. 3 #12 (March 2008), written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham in the Modern Age of Comic Books.

Born Jennifer Pierce, she was born a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is the second child of superhero Black Lightning and the younger sibling of Anissa Pierce, the heroine known as Thunder. Forbidden to use their abilities until completing their educations, Pierce was put in contact and later becomes a member of the superhero team the Justice Society of America. Her father orchestrates this so Jennifer would not endure the hardships her sister did while transitioning into crimefighting. She possesses abilities similar to her father's of electrical generation and manipulation as well as flight. Thus far in her narrative, Pierce has not gained full control of her abilities.

Along with comic books, Lightning has made appearances in various television shows and the character is portrayed by China Anne McClain in the live action series Black Lightning.

Modern Comics

Modern Comics may refer to:

"Modern Comics", an imprint of Charlton Comics

Modern Comics, a comic book published by Quality Comics

The Modern Age of Comic Books refers to comics published since the mid-1980s

Modern age (disambiguation)

Modern age may refer to:

Modern Age (periodical), an American conservative academic quarterly journal

The Modern Age of Comic Books, beginning in the mid-1980s.

The Modern Age, 2001 EP by The Strokes

The Modern Age, 2019 album by Sleeper

"The Modern Age", song by The Strokes from the album Is This It

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.

Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist

Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist is a fictional character that has starred in his own comics book series. The series was introduced in anthology comic book series until his own series was launched. He is an semi-autobiographical character of his creator Sheldon Mayer and is one of his earliest characters debuting way back in the 1930's. He was originally a character in Dell Comics but later moved over to DC Comics. The character would briefly would be revived in DC Comics continuity by Paul Levitz.

Static (DC Comics)

Static is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character, a creation of Milestone Comics founders Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek Dingle was initially written by McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III and illustrated by John Paul Leon. Static's first appearance was made in Static #1 (June 1993) in the Modern Age of Comic Books. Born Virgil Ovid Hawkins, he is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans with superhuman abilities known as metahumans. Not born with his powers, Hawkins's abilities develop after an incident exposes him to a radioactive chemical. This event renders him capable of electromagnetic control and generation.

The character drew much inspiration and was in fact designed to represent a modern-era Spider-Man archetype. After the closing of Milestone Comics, Static was incorporated into the DC Universe and became a member of the Teen Titans team. A common misconception is that Hawkins is the son of fellow DC Comics superhero Black Lightning, who debuted much earlier and possesses electrical abilities. Black Lightning addresses the coincidence once in a Justice League narrative.

Static has made numerous appearances in other forms of media. The character has been featured in various animated series including its own, Static Shock, a version of the storyline made slightly more suitable for a younger audience. Static has been featured in animated films and video games as well.

Thunder (comics)

Thunder is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Tom Raney in the Modern Age of Comic Books. She is first mentioned in Green Arrow vol. 2 #26 (July 2003) and first appears a month later in Outsiders vol. 3 #1. Born Anissa Pierce the eldest daughter of superhero Black Lightning, she is a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is capable of increasing her physical density, rendering herself bulletproof, and creating massive shockwaves when stomping upon the ground.

Pierce is also the older sister of Jennifer, herself a superhero operating under the alias Lightning. Against her parents' wishes, Anissa chooses to utilize her abilities to fight crime. She is invited and accepts a position with the superhero team the Outsiders. Pierce is involved in a relationship with her teammate Grace Choi.

Along with her presence in various comic books Thunder has made appearances on a number of television shows and appears in the live action series Black Lightning where she is portrayed by Nafessa Williams.

Torment (comics)

"Torment" is a story arc written by Todd McFarlane, which encompassed the first five issues of the new ongoing Spider-Man comic book. It was published in 1990 by Marvel Comics. The comic was a record-breaking sales success and helped start the next stage of development in the Modern Age of Comic Books, which would lead to the formation of Image Comics and the rise of the speculator market.

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