Silver Age of Comic Books

The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and widespread commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly those in the superhero genre. Following the Golden Age of Comic Books and an interregnum in the early to mid-1950s, the Silver Age is considered to cover the period from 1956 to circa 1970, and was succeeded by the Bronze and Modern Ages.[1]

The popularity and circulation of comic books about superheroes had declined following World War II, and comic books about horror, crime and romance took larger shares of the market. However, controversy arose over alleged links between comic books and juvenile delinquency, focusing in particular on crime and horror titles. In 1954, publishers implemented the Comics Code Authority to regulate comic content.

In the wake of these changes, publishers began introducing superhero stories again, a change that began with the introduction of a new version of DC Comics' The Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956). In response to strong demand, DC began publishing more superhero titles including Justice League of America, which prompted Marvel Comics to follow suit beginning with Fantastic Four #1.

A number of important comics writers and artists contributed to the early part of the era, including writers Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, John Broome, and Robert Kanigher, and artists Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Mike Sekowsky, Gene Colan, Carmine Infantino, John Buscema, and John Romita, Sr. By the end of the Silver Age, a new generation of talent had entered the field, including writers Denny O'Neil, Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and Archie Goodwin, and artists such as Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Jim Steranko, and Barry Windsor-Smith.

Silver Age comics have become collectible, with a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), the debut of Spider-Man, selling for $1.1 million in 2011.

Silver Age of Comic Books
Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), generally considered the start of the Silver Age. Cover art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert.
Time span1956 – c. 1970
Related periods
Preceded byGolden Age of Comic Books (c. 1938 – c. 1950)
Followed byBronze Age of Comic Books (c. 1970 – c. 1985)

Origin of the term

Comics historian and movie producer Michael Uslan traces the origin of the "Silver Age" term to the letters column of Justice League of America #42 (Feb. 1966), which went on sale December 9, 1965.[2] Letter-writer Scott Taylor of Westport, Connecticut wrote, "If you guys keep bringing back the heroes from the [1930s-1940s] Golden Age, people 20 years from now will be calling this decade the Silver Sixties!"[2] According to Uslan, the natural hierarchy of gold-silver-bronze, as in Olympic medals, took hold. "Fans immediately glommed onto this, refining it more directly into a Silver Age version of the Golden Age. Very soon, it was in our vernacular, replacing such expressions as ... 'Second Heroic Age of Comics' or 'The Modern Age' of comics. It wasn't long before dealers were ... specifying it was a Golden Age comic for sale or a Silver Age comic for sale."[2]



Spanning World War II, when American comics provided cheap and disposable escapist entertainment that could be read and then discarded by the troops,[3] the Golden Age of comic books covered the late 1930s to the late 1940s. A number of major superheroes were created during this period, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and Captain America.[4] In subsequent years comics were blamed for a rise in juvenile crime statistics, although this rise was shown to be in direct proportion to population growth. When juvenile offenders admitted to reading comics, it was seized on as a common denominator;[3] one notable critic was Fredric Wertham, author of the book Seduction of the Innocent (1954),[3] who attempted to shift the blame for juvenile delinquency from the parents of the children to the comic books they read. The result was a decline in the comics industry.[3] To address public concerns, in 1954 the Comics Code Authority was created to regulate and curb violence in comics, marking the start of a new era.

DC Comics

The Silver Age began with the publication of DC Comics' Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), which introduced the modern version of the Flash.[5][6][7] At the time, only three superheroes—Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman—were still published under their own titles.[8] According to DC comics writer Will Jacobs, Superman was available in "great quantity, but little quality." Batman was doing better, but his comics were "lackluster" in comparison to his earlier "atmospheric adventures" of the 1940s, and Wonder Woman, having lost her original writer and artist, was no longer "idiosyncratic" or "interesting."[8] Jacobs describes the arrival of Showcase #4 on the newsstands as "begging to be bought," the cover featured an undulating film strip depicting the Flash running so fast that he had escaped from the frame.[8] Editor Julius Schwartz, writer Gardner Fox, and artist Carmine Infantino were some of the people behind the Flash's revitalization.[9] Robert Kanigher wrote the first stories of the revived Flash, and John Broome was the writer of many of the earliest stories.[10][11]

Julius Schwartz in 2002
Julius Schwartz, an instrumental figure at DC during the Silver Age.

With the success of Showcase #4, several other 1940s superheroes were reworked during Schwartz' tenure, including Green Lantern, Aquaman, the Atom, and Hawkman,[12] as well as the Justice League of America.[9] The DC artists responsible included Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane and Joe Kubert.[9] Only the characters' names remained the same; their costumes, locales, and identities were altered, and imaginative scientific explanations for their superpowers generally took the place of magic as a modus operandi in their stories.[12] Schwartz, a lifelong science fiction fan, was the inspiration for the re-imagined Green Lantern[13]—the Golden Age character, railroad engineer Alan Scott, possessed a ring powered by a magical lantern,[13] but his Silver Age replacement, test pilot Hal Jordan, had a ring powered by an alien battery and created by an intergalactic police force.[13]

In the mid-1960s, DC established that characters appearing in comics published prior to the Silver Age lived on a parallel Earth the company dubbed Earth-Two. Characters introduced in the Silver Age and onward lived on Earth-One.[14] It was established that the two realities were separated by a vibrational field that could be crossed, should a storyline involve superheroes from different worlds teaming up.[14]

Although the Flash is generally regarded as the first superhero of the Silver Age, the introduction of the Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics #225 predates Showcase #4 by almost a year, and at least one historian considers this character the first Silver Age superhero.[15] However, comics historian Craig Shutt, author of the Comics Buyer's Guide column "Ask Mister Silver Age", disagrees, noting that the Martian Manhunter debuted as a detective who used his alien abilities to solve crimes, in the "quirky detective" vein of contemporaneous DC characters who were "TV detectives, Indian detectives, supernatural detectives, [and] animal detectives."[16] Schutt feels the Martian Manhunter only became a superhero in Detective Comics #273 (Nov. 1959) when he received a secret identity and other superhero accoutrements, saying, "Had Flash not come along, I doubt that the Martian Manhunter would've led the charge from his backup position in Detective to a new super-hero age."[16] Unsuccessful attempts to revive the superhero archetype's popularity include Captain Comet, who debuted in Strange Adventures #9 (June 1951);[17] St. John Publishing Company's 1953 revival of Rocket Man under the title Zip-Jet; Fighting American, created in 1954 by the Captain America team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; Sterling Comics' Captain Flash and its backup feature Tomboy that same year;[18] Ajax/Farrell Publishing's 1954-55 revival of the Phantom Lady; Strong Man, published by Magazine Enterprises in 1955; Charlton Comics' Nature Boy, introduced in March 1956, and its revival of the Blue Beetle the previous year; and Atlas Comics' short-lived revivals of Captain America, the Human Torch, and the Sub-Mariner, beginning in Young Men Comics #24 (Dec. 1953).

Cartoon animal super-heroes were longer-lived. Supermouse and Mighty Mouse were published continuously in their own titles from the end of the Golden Age through the beginning of the Silver Age. Atomic Mouse was given his own title in 1953, lasting ten years. Atomic Rabbit, later named Atomic Bunny, was published from 1955 to 1959. In the United Kingdom, the Marvelman series was published during the interregnum between the Golden and Silver Ages, substituting for the British reprints of the Captain Marvel stories after Fawcett stopped publishing the character's adventures.

Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four vol.1-1 (Nov. 1961)
The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961), the cornerstone of Marvel Comics. Cover art by Jack Kirby (penciller) and unconfirmed inker.

DC Comics sparked the superhero revival with its publications from 1955 to 1960. Marvel Comics then capitalized on the revived interest in superhero storytelling with sophisticated stories and characterization.[19] In contrast to previous eras, Silver Age characters were "flawed and self-doubting".[20]

DC added to its momentum with its 1960 introduction of Justice League of America, a team consisting of the company's most popular superhero characters. Martin Goodman, a publishing trend-follower with his 1950s Atlas Comics line,note 1 by this time called Marvel Comics, "mentioned that he had noticed one of the titles published by National Comics seemed to be selling better than most. It was a book called The [sic] Justice League of America and it was composed of a team of superheroes," Marvel editor Stan Lee recalled in 1974. Goodman directed Lee to likewise produce a superhero team book, resulting in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961).[21]

Under the guidance of writer-editor Stan Lee and artists/co-plotters such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel began its own rise to prominence.[8] With an innovation that changed the comic-book industry, The Fantastic Four #1 initiated a naturalistic style of superheroes with human failings, fears, and inner demons, who squabbled and worried about the likes of rent-money. In contrast to the straitlaced archetypes of superheroes at the time, this ushered in a revolution. With dynamic artwork by Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and others complementing Lee's colorful, catchy prose, the new style became popular among college students who could identify with the angst and the irreverent nature of the characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk during a time period of social upheaval and the rise of a youth counterculture.

Also, comic book readers of the Silver Age were more scientifically-inclined than previous generations. Thus, comic books of the Silver Age explained superhero phenomena and origins through science, inspired by contemporary science fiction, as opposed to the Golden Age, which commonly relied on magic or mysticism.

Comics historian Peter Sanderson compares the 1960s DC to a large Hollywood studio, and argues that after having reinvented the superhero archetype, DC by the latter part of the decade was suffering from a creative drought. The audience for comics was no longer just children, and Sanderson sees the 1960s Marvel as the comic equivalent of the French New Wave, developing new methods of storytelling that drew in and retained readers who were in their teens and older and thus influencing the comics writers and artists of the future.[22]

Other publishers

One of the top American comics publishers in 1956, Harvey Comics, discontinued its horror comics when the Comics Code was implemented and sought a new target audience.[23] Harvey's focus shifted to children from 6 to 12 years of age, especially girls, with characters such as Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Little Dot.[23] Many of the company's comics featured young girls who "defied stereotypes and sent a message of acceptance of those who are different."[23] Although its characters have inspired a number of nostalgic movies and ranges of merchandise, Harvey comics of the period are not as sought after in the collectors' market as DC and Marvel titles.[23]

The publishers Gilberton, Dell Comics, and Gold Key Comics used their reputations as publishers of wholesome comic books to avoid becoming signatories to the Comics Code and found various ways to continue publishing horror-themed comics[24] in addition to other types. Gilberton's extensive Classics Illustrated line adapted literary classics, with the likes of Frankenstein alongside Don Quixote and Oliver Twist; Classics Illustrated Junior reprinted comic book versions of children's classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Rapunzel, and Pinocchio. During the late 1950s and the 1960s, Dell, which had published comics in 1936, offered licensed TV series comic books from Twilight Zone to Top Cat, as well as numerous Walt Disney titles.[25] Its successor, Gold Key — founded in 1962 Western Publishing started its own label rather than packaging content for business partner Dell — continued with such licensed TV series and movie adaptations, as well as comics starring such Warner Bros. Cartoons characters as Bugs Bunny and such comic strip properties as Beetle Bailey.[26]

With the popularity of the Batman television show in 1966, publishers that had specialized in other forms began adding campy superhero titles to their lines. As well, new publishers sprang up, often using creative talent from the Golden Age. Harvey Comics' Harvey Thriller imprint released Double-Dare Adventures, starring new characters such as Bee-man and Magic Master. Dell published superhero versions of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf.[25] Gold Key did licensed versions of live-action and animated superhero television shows such as Captain Nice, Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles, and continued the adventures of Walt Disney Pictures' Goofy character in Supergoof.[26] American Comics Group gave its established character Herbie a secret superhero identity as the Fat Fury, and introduced the characters of Nemesis and Magic-Man. Even the iconic Archie Comics teens acquired super powers and superhero identities in comedic titles such as Archie as Capt. Pureheart and Jughead as Captain Hero.[27] Archie Comics also launched its Archie Adventure line (subsequently titled Mighty Comics), which included the Fly, the Jaguar, and a revamp of the Golden Age hero the Shield. In addition to their individual titles, they teamed in their group series The Mighty Crusaders, joined by the Comet and Flygirl join with three characters with their own titles. Their stories blended typical superhero fare with the 1960s' camp.[28]

Among straightforward Silver Age superheroes from publishers other than Marvel or DC, Charlton Comics offered a short-lived superhero line with characters that included Captain Atom, Judomaster, the Question, and Thunderbolt; Tower Comics had Dynamo, Mercury Man, NoMan and other members of the superhero espionage group T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents; and even Gold Key had Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom.

Underground comix

According to John Strausbaugh of The New York Times, "traditional" comic book historians feel that although the Golden Age deserves study, the only noteworthy aspect of the Silver Age was the advent of underground comics.[4] One commentator has suggested that, "Perhaps one of the reasons underground comics have come to be considered legitimate art is due to the fact that the work of these artists more truly embodies what much of the public believes is true of newspaper strips — that they are written and drawn (i.e., authentically signed by) a single person."[29] While a large number of mainstream-comics professionals both wrote and drew their own material during the Silver Age, as many had since the start of American comic books, their work is distinct from what another historian describes as the "raw id on paper" of Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton.[30] Most often published in black-and-white with glossy color cover and distributed through counterculture bookstores and head shops, underground comics targeted adults and reflected the counterculture movement of the time.[30][31]

End and aftermath

Artist Neal Adams, whose work with writer Denny O'Neil on Green Lantern/Green Arrow marks one possibility for the end of the Silver Age.

The Silver Age of comic books was followed by the Bronze Age.[32] The demarcation is not clearly defined, but there are a number of possibilities.

Historian Will Jacobs suggests the Silver Age ended in April 1970 when the man who had started it, Julius Schwartz, handed over Green Lantern — starring one of the first revived heroes of the era — to the new-guard team of Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams in response to reduced sales.[33] John Strausbaugh also connects the end of the Silver Age to Green Lantern. He observes that in 1960, the character embodied the can-do optimism of the era.[4] However, by 1972 Green Lantern had become world weary; "Those days are gone – gone forever – the days I was confident, certain ... I was so young ... so sure I couldn't make a mistake! Young and cocky, that was Green Lantern. Well, I've changed. I'm older now ... maybe wiser, too ... and a lot less happy."[4] Strausbaugh writes that the Silver Age "went out with that whimper."[4]

Comics scholar Arnold T. Blumberg places the end of the Silver Age in June 1973, when Gwen Stacy, girlfriend of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) was killed in a story arc later dubbed "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", saying the era of "innocence" was ended by "the 'snap' heard round the comic book world — the startling, sickening snap of bone that heralded the death of Gwen Stacy."[32] Silver Age historian Craig Shutt disputes this, saying, "Gwen Stacy's death shocked Spider-Man readers. Such a tragedy makes a strong symbolic ending. This theory gained adherents when Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' Marvels miniseries in 1994 ended with Gwen's death, but I'm not buying it. It's too late. Too many new directions — especially [the sword-and-sorcery trend begun by the character] Conan and monsters [in the wake of the Comics Code allowing vampires, werewolves and the like] — were on firm ground by this time."[34] He also dismisses the end of the 12-cent comic book, which went to 15 cents as the industry standard in early 1969, noting that the 1962 hike from 10 cents to 12 cents had no bearing in this regard.[34] Shutt's line comes with Fantastic Four #102 (Sept. 1970), Jack Kirby's last regular-run issue before the artist left to join DC Comics; this combines with DC's Superman #229 (Aug. 1970), editor Mort Weisinger's last before retiring.[35]

Alan Moore (2)
Alan Moore, who began the "neo-silver movement" with a 1986 Superman story

According to historian Peter Sanderson, the "neo-silver movement" that began in 1986 with Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore and Curt Swan, was a backlash against the Bronze Age with a return to Silver Age principles.[36] In Sanderson's opinion, each comics generation rebels against the previous, and the movement was a response to Crisis on Infinite Earths, which itself was an attack on the Silver Age.[36] Neo-silver comics creators made comics that recognized and assimilated the more sophisticated aspects of the Silver Age.[36]


The Silver Age marked a decline in the prominence of American comics in genres such as horror, romance, teen and furry animal humor, or westerns, which were more popular than superhero adventures in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s, and fans of these genres see the Silver Age as a decline from that earlier era.[37]

An important feature of the period was the development of the character makeup of superheroes. Young children and girls were targeted during the Silver Age by certain publishers; in particular, Harvey Comics attracted this group with titles such as Little Dot. Adult-oriented underground comics also began during the Silver Age.

Some critics and historians argue that one characteristic of the Silver Age was that science fiction and aliens replaced magic and gods.[38] Others argue that magic was an important element of both Golden Age and Silver Age characters.[39] Many Golden Age writers and artists were science-fiction fans or professional science-fiction writers who incorporated SF elements into their comic-book stories.[40] Science was a common explanation for the origin of heroes in the Silver Age.[41]

The Silver Age coincided with the rise of pop art, an artistic movement that used popular cultural artifacts, such as advertising and packaging, as source material for fine, or gallery-exhibited, art. Roy Lichtenstein, one of the best-known pop art painters, specifically chose individual panels from comic books and repainted the images, modifying them to some extent in the process but including in the painting word and thought balloons and captions as well as enlarged-to-scale color dots imitating the coloring process then used in newsprint comic books. An exhibition of comic strip art was held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs of the Palais de Louvre in 1967, and books were soon published that contained serious discussions of the art of comics and the nature of the medium.[42]

In January 1966, a live-action Batman television show debuted to high ratings. Like pop art, the show took comic-book tropes and re-envisioned them in the context of a different medium. Voiceover narration in each episode articulated the words of comic-book captions while fight scenes had sound effects like "Biff", "Bam" and "Pow" appear as visual effects on the screen, spelled out in large cartoon letters. Circulation for comic books in general and Batman merchandise in particular soared.[43] Other masked or superpowered adventurers appeared on the television screen, so that "American TV in the winter of 1967 appeared to consist of little else but live-action and animated cartoon comic-book heroes, all in living colour."[44] Existing comic-book publishers began creating superhero titles, as did new publishers. By the end of the 1960s, however, the fad had faded; in 1969, the best-selling comic book in the United States was not a superhero series, but the teen-humor book Archie.[45]


Nick Fury7
Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #7 (Dec. 1968). Cover art by Jim Steranko, whose work here owes a debt to Salvador Dalí.[4]

Arlen Schumer, author of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, singles out Carmine Infantino's Flash as the embodiment of the design of the era: "as sleek and streamlined as the fins Detroit was sporting on all its models."[4] Other notable artists of the era include Curt Swan, Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby and Joe Kubert.

Two artists that changed the comics industry dramatically in the late 1960s were Neal Adams, considered one of his country's greatest draftsmen,[46] and Jim Steranko. Both artists expressed a cinematic approach at times that occasionally altered the more conventional panel-based format that had been commonplace for decades. Adams' breakthrough was based on layout and rendering.[47] Best known for returning Batman to his somber roots after the campy success of the Batman television show,[46] his naturalistic depictions of anatomy, faces, and gestures changed comics' style in a way that Strausbaugh sees reflected in modern graphic novels.[4]

One of the few writer-artists at the time, Steranko made use of a cinematic style of storytelling.[47] Strausbaugh credits him as one of Marvel's strongest creative forces during the late 1960s, his art owing a large debt to Salvador Dalí.[4] Steranko started by inking and penciling the details of Kirby's artwork on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. beginning in Strange Tales #151, but by Strange Tales #155 Stan Lee had put him in charge of both writing and drawing Fury's adventures.[48] He exaggerated the James Bond-style spy stories, introducing the vortex beam (which lifts objects), the aphonic bomb (which explodes silently), a miniature electronic absorber (which protected Fury from electricity), and the Q-ray machine (a molecular disintegrator)—all in his first 11-page story.[48]


The following comics are sought after by collectors due to their historical provenance. A near-mint copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold for $1.1 million to an unnamed collector on March 7, 2011.[49]

Title & Issue Cover date Publisher Relevance
Detective Comics #225 Nov. 1955[50] DC First appearance of Martian Manhunter.[51]
Showcase #4 Oct. 1956 DC First appearance of the Silver Age Flash (Barry Allen).[52] First Silver Age comic.[5][6]
Showcase #9 Aug. 1957 DC First of two pilot issues for the feature "Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane".[53]
Adventure Comics #247 April 1958 DC First appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes.[54]
Adventure Comics #260 May 1959 DC First appearance of the Silver Age Aquaman.
Action Comics #252 May 1959 DC First appearance of Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), cousin to Superman.
Showcase #22 Oct. 1959 DC First appearance of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).
The Brave and the Bold #28 March 1960 DC First gathering of DC's superheroes as the Justice League of America.[55]
Richie Rich #1 Nov. 1960 Harvey Richie Rich gets his own title.[56]
Showcase #30 Feb. 1961 DC First of four pilot issues for Aquaman.[57]
The Brave and the Bold #34 March 1961 DC First appearance of Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl.[58]
The Flash #123 Sept. 1961 DC Reappearance of the Golden Age Flash. Introduction of Earth-Two.
The Fantastic Four #1 Nov. 1961 Marvel First appearance of the Fantastic Four.[59]
Tales to Astonish #27 Jan. 1962 Marvel First appearance of Henry Pym, the future Ant-Man.
The Incredible Hulk #1 May 1962 Marvel First appearance of the Hulk.[60][61]
The Fantastic Four #5 July 1962 Marvel First appearance of Dr. Doom.
Amazing Fantasy #15 Aug. 1962 Marvel First appearance of Spider-Man (Peter Parker).[62]
Journey into Mystery #83 Aug. 1962 Marvel First appearance of Marvel's Thor (Thor Odinson / Donald Blake).[63]
Tales to Astonish #35 Sept. 1962 Marvel First appearance of Ant-Man (Henry Pym).
Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 Oct. 1962 Gold Key First appearance of Doctor Solar.[64]
Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 Feb. 1963 Gold Key First appearance of Magnus, Robot Fighter.[65]
Tales of Suspense #39 March 1963 Marvel First appearance of Iron Man (Tony Stark).[66]
Strange Tales #110 Jul. 1963 Marvel First appearance of Doctor Strange.
Justice League of America #21 Aug. 1963 DC Reappearance of the Golden Age Justice Society of America.[67]
The X-Men #1 Sept. 1963 Marvel First appearance of the X-Men and Magneto (comics).
The Avengers #1 Sept. 1963 Marvel First gathering of Marvel's superheroes as the Avengers.[68]
The Avengers #4 March 1964 Marvel Reappearance of Captain America (Steve Rogers) from the Golden Age of Comic Books.
Daredevil #1 April 1964 Marvel First appearance of Daredevil.
Detective Comics #327 May 1964 DC "New Look" Batman and Robin.[69]
The Brave and the Bold #54 June 1965 DC First appearance of the Teen Titans.
Detective Comics #359 Jan. 1967 DC First appearance of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon).[70]
Green Lantern #76 April 1970 DC "The New Green Lantern / Green Arrow" tackles social issues.


^ Apocryphal legend has it that in 1961, Timely and Atlas publisher Martin Goodman was playing golf with either Jack Liebowitz or Irwin Donenfeld of rival DC Comics (then known as National Periodical Publications), who bragged about DC's success with the Justice League of America, which had debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960) before going on to its own title.[71]

Film producer and comics historian Michael Uslan later contradicted some specifics, while supporting the story's framework:

Irwin said he never played golf with Goodman, so the story is untrue. I heard this story more than a couple of times while sitting in the lunchroom at DC's 909 Third Avenue and 75 Rockefeller Plaza office as Sol Harrison and [production chief] Jack Adler were schmoozing with some of us ... who worked for DC during our college summers.... [T]he way I heard the story from Sol was that Goodman was playing with one of the heads of Independent News, not DC Comics (though DC owned Independent News). ... As the distributor of DC Comics, this man certainly knew all the sales figures and was in the best position to tell this tidbit to Goodman. ... Of course, Goodman would want to be playing golf with this fellow and be in his good graces. ... Sol worked closely with Independent News' top management over the decades and would have gotten this story straight from the horse's mouth.[72]


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  35. ^ Shutt, p. 200
  36. ^ a b c Sanderson, Peter (2004). "Comics in Context #33: A Boatload of Monsters and Miracles". IGN. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  37. ^ See, e.g. Robbins, Trina (1999). From Girls to Grrrlz. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books. pp. 45, 52–54, 67, 69–70, 76–7 and throughout.
  38. ^ Callahan, Timothy (2008-08-06). "In Defense of Superhero Comics". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  39. ^ O'Donnell, Dick; Don Thompson and Dick Lupoff, eds. "It's Magic". The Comic-Book Book. Arlington House (1973) revised edition Krause Publications (1998). ISBN 978-1422390184.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  40. ^ On Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster and Jack Kirby as science-fiction fans, see Benton, Mike, Masters of Imagination, Taylor Publishing, 1994, pp. 17–18, 28; on Otto Binder as SF fan and writer, see Steranko, Jim, The Steranko History of Comics 2, Supergraphics, 1972.
  41. ^ Feiffer, Jules (1965). The Great Comic Book Heroes. Dial Press. pp. 22–23. Reissued, Fantagraphics Books (2003). ISBN 978-1-56097-501-4
  42. ^ Couperie, Pierre; Horn, Maurice; et al. (1968). A History of the Comic Strip (translated from the French by Eileen Hennessy). New York City: Crown Publishing. Perry, George; Aldridge, Alan (1967). The Penguin Book of Comics. Penguin Books. See especially the forward, introduction, and chapters 10-12 of Couperie et al., and chapter 6 of Perry and Aldridge.
  43. ^ Ro, Ronin (2004). Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution. Bloomsbury USA. pp. 110–111. ISBN 1-58234-345-4.
  44. ^ Perry and Aldridge, p. 224.
  45. ^ Robbins, p. 69.
  46. ^ a b Baker, R.C. (November 18, 2003). "American Gods". Village Voice. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013.
  47. ^ a b Grant, Steven (April 5, 2000). "Master of the Obvious: Issue #36". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  48. ^ a b Jacobs, p. 144
  49. ^ Moore, Matt (March 8, 2011). "Spider-Man Debut Sells for $1.1 million". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011.
  50. ^ While the issue date precedes the Silver Age, at least one source includes it: Eury, Michel (2005). The Justice League Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 55. While the Flash is popularly regarded as DC’s first Silver Age super-hero, that honor actually goes to the Martian Manhunter, whose debut predated Flash’s by nearly a year.
  51. ^ Detective Comics #225 at the Grand Comics Database.
  52. ^ Showcase #4 at the Grand Comics Database
  53. ^ Showcase #9 at the Grand Comics Database.
  54. ^ Adventure Comics #247 at the Grand Comics Database.
  55. ^ The Brave and the Bold #28 at the Grand Comics Database.
  56. ^ [ Richie Rich #1 at the Grand Comics Database.
  57. ^ Showcase #30 at the Grand Comics Database.
  58. ^ The Brave and the Bold #34 at the Grand Comics Database.
  59. ^ The Fantastic Four #1 at the Grand Comics Database.
  60. ^ The Incredible Hulk #1 at the Grand Comics Database
  61. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 85. ISBN 978-0756641238. Based on their collaboration on The Fantastic Four, [Stan] Lee worked with Jack Kirby. Instead of a team that fought traditional Marvel monsters however, Lee decided that this time he wanted to feature a monster as the hero.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  62. ^ Amazing Fantasy #15 at the Grand Comics Database.
  63. ^ Journey into Mystery #83 at the Grand Comics Database.
  64. ^ Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 at the Grand Comics Database.
  65. ^ Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 at the Grand Comics Database.
  66. ^ Tales of Suspense #39 at the Grand Comics Database.
  67. ^ Justice League of America #21 at the Grand Comics Database.
  68. ^ The Avengers #1 at the Grand Comics Database.
  69. ^ Detective Comics #327 at the Grand Comics Database.]
  70. ^ Detective Comics #359 at the Grand Comics Database.
  71. ^ Sinclair, Tom (June 20, 2003). "Meet Stan Lee: The mind behind Spider-Man and Hulk". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  72. ^ Michael Uslan letter published in Alter Ego #43 (December 2004), pp. 43–44

External links

Alexander Bont

Alexander Bont is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe, appearing in the series Daredevil. He was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev, first appearing in Daredevil vol. 2, #66 (Dec. 2004). He was retconned into being the Kingpin of Crime before Wilson Fisk. His story was told via flashbacks, which were drawn to resemble artwork from the Silver Age of comic books. The climax of Daredevil Vol. 2, #65 (Nov. 2004) alluded to Murdock having been Bont's attorney at one time. This plot thread was dropped however as it was revealed in later issues that Matt refused to be his lawyer.

Alter Ego (magazine)

Alter Ego is an American magazine devoted to comic books and comic-book creators of the 1930s to late-1960s periods comprising what fans and historians call the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comic Books.

It was founded as a fanzine by Jerry Bails in 1961, and later taken over by Roy Thomas. Ten issues were released through 1969, with issue #11 following nine years later. In 1999, following a five-issue run the previous years as a flip-book with Comic Book Artist, Alter Ego began regular bimonthly publication as a formal magazine with glossy covers. TwoMorrows Publishing is the owner of the magazine and it is headquartered in Raleigh, NC.

Amazing Adventures

Amazing Adventures is the name of several anthology comic book series, all but one published by Marvel Comics.

The earliest Marvel series of that name introduced the company's first superhero of the late-1950s to early-1960s period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books. That same series also included the first comic book to be labeled "Marvel Comics".


Bee-Man is a fictional superhero in comic books published by Harvey Comics, who briefly appeared during the period historians and fans call the Silver Age of Comic Books. He was created by writer Otto Binder and artist Bill Draut.

Chemo (DC Comics)

Chemo is a fictional supervillain that appears in DC Comics.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in both comic books and other DC Comics-related products such as animated television series and trading cards.

Comic Cavalcade

Comic Cavalcade was an anthology comic book published by DC Comics from 1942 to 1954.

Most American comic book publishers in the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age of comic books published anthology titles that showcased a variety of characters, usually with one star—such as Green Lantern in All-American Comics or Wonder Woman in Sensation Comics. Comic Cavalcade, however, featured both those star characters as well as the Flash, a star in his own namesake title as well as the spin-off All-Flash.

At 96 pages initially, Comic Cavalcade was about one-and-one-half-times the length of the average comic book of the time. It was priced at 15 cents, when the average comic cost a dime.

Many stories in Comic Cavalcade were scripted by other than the characters' regular writers, for deadline reasons. Batman writer Bill Finger, for example, would occasionally write Flash stories for Comic Cavalcade when regular Flash writer Gardner Fox was preoccupied with other projects.

One non-superhero ongoing character introduced in Comic Cavalcade was newspaperman Johnny Peril. His roots, prior to his first appearance, came in the one-off story "Just a Story" in issue #15 (July 1946), by writer-artist Howard Purcell. With issue #22 (Sept. 1947), the anthological "Just a Story" series gained Peril as, generally, a witness or narrator rather than as an integral part of the narrative. With this issue, the series title became "Johnny Peril Tells Just a Story", eventually changed to "Johnny Peril's Surprise Story" as Johnny became the series' two-fisted hero until the series ended with issue #29 (Nov. 1948). The character went on to appear in his own feature in All-Star Comics, Danger Trail and Sensation Comics through 1953. He returned in the Silver Age of Comic Books in 1958, in The Unexpected.Initially published quarterly, the title went bi-monthly beginning with #14 (April–May 1946). It was revamped completely with #30 (December–January 1948), becoming a funny-animal humor book when superheroes faded from popularity in the post-war era. Featured were animator Frank Tashlin's movie-cartoon duo The Fox and the Crow, along with cartoonist Woody Gelman's creations, The Dodo and the Frog and Nutsy Squirrel. The book's length by this time had been reduced to 76 pages.

The title would later be referenced with DC's 1970s Cancelled Comic Cavalcade series.

Dan Adkins

Danny L. Adkins (March 15, 1937 – May 3, 2013) was an American illustrator who worked mainly for comic books and science-fiction magazines.

Destroyer (Thor)

The Destroyer is a fictional magical character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Usually depicted as an opponent of the Thunder God and hero Thor, it is in fact a suit of Asgardian armor animated by magic. The character first appears in Journey into Mystery #118 (Jul. 1965) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the Destroyer is featured in over four decades of Marvel continuity and other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series, live-action films, video games, and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards. Due to trademark issues, at least one toy version of this character is marketed as Marvel's Destroyer.The Destroyer appears in the 2011 live-action film Thor.

Eternity (comics)

Eternity is a fictional cosmic entity appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the de facto leader of the abstract entities collectively known as the Cosmic Powers of the Marvel Universe.

Created by scripter-editor Stan Lee and artist-plotter Steve Ditko, the character is first mentioned in Strange Tales #134 (July 1965) and first appears in Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965).

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in five decades of Marvel continuity and appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, trading cards, and video games.

Heinrich Zemo

Heinrich Zemo is a fictional supervillain that appeared in various American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He was first seen in The Avengers #4 (March 1964) in the Silver Age of Comic Books as the first depicted Baron Zemo. The character remains dead, but his legacy lives on in his son.

Joe Giella

Joe Giella (born June 27, 1928) is an American comic book artist best known as a DC Comics inker during the late 1950s and 1960s period which historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books.

John Tartaglione

John Tartaglione (January 14, 1921 – November 12, 2003), a.k.a. John Tartag and other pseudonyms, was an American comic book artist best known as a 1950s romance-comics artist; a Marvel Comics inker during the Silver Age of comic books; and the illustrator of the Marvel biographies The Life of Pope John Paul II, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the first of which at least sold millions of copies worldwide in several languages.

John Verpoorten

John Verpoorten (May 15, 1940 – December 1977) was a comic book artist and editorial worker best known as Marvel Comics' production manager during the latter part of the Silver Age of Comic Books and afterward, during a seminal period of Marvel's expansion from a small publishing concern to a multinational popular culture corporation.

List of Silver Age comics creators

The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly in the superhero genre, that lasted roughly from 1956 to the late 1960s/early 1970s. Many editors, writers, pencillers and inkers participated in this revival.

Midgard Serpent (Marvel Comics)

Jormungand, also known as The Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, based on the serpent Jörmungandr from Norse mythology, first appears in Marvel Tales #105 (Feb. 1952), in the period between the Golden Age of Comic Books and the Silver Age of Comic Books.

Mike Roy

Joseph Michel Roy (1921–1996) was a Canadian comic book and comic strip artist, working during the Golden Age of Comic Books and the Silver Age of Comic Books. He is best known for his stories about Native Americans.

Sun Boy

Sun Boy is a fictional character, a superhero in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Comics universe. Sun Boy (real name Dirk Morgna of the planet Earth) is a Legion of Super-Heroes member with the ability to unleash internal solar energy to whatever degree he wishes, from enough to light a single candle to enough to melt nearly any obstacle.

Sun Boy first appeared in 1961 during the Silver Age of Comic Books.

The Galactus Trilogy

"The Galactus Trilogy" is a 1966 three-issue comic book story arc that appeared in Fantastic Four #48 - #50. Written, plotted and drawn by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for Marvel Comics, it introduced the characters Galactus and the Silver Surfer. In 2018, The Atlantic called it "the indisputable pinnacle of the so-called Silver Age of comic books".


Ulik is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He usually appears as an adversary of Thor. Ulik was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appears in Thor #137 (February 1967).

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, Ulik has appeared in over four decades of Marvel continuity, principally as a member of the character Thor's Rogues' Gallery. The character has also appeared in other Marvel-related products including animated television series, toys, and trading cards.

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