The evolution of DC comics

Past

A subsidiary of Time Warner, DC comics has created superheroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Green Arrow and Aquaman to name a few. DC is an abbreviation for Detective Comics, and would end up being the official name. Comic books have been around for number of years but DC has been publishing since 1934 originally in the name of National Allied Publications producing some of the biggest names in superhero mythology.

Facts

  • Superman was originally a bald megalomaniac.
  • The Joker was meant to die in his first appearance in DC Comics.
  • Wonder Woman was created to educate readers about feminist ideals.
  • The Wayne's used Kryptonian technology in Wayne Enterprises.
  • Lex Luthor originally had thick red hair.

DC Comics

Name

The name DC originated from the popular series of Detective Comics, with company headquarters at 1700 Broadway, Manhattan, New York. Both DC and their competitors Marvel Comics, share a healthy 80% of the comic book market as of 2008.

Inception of DC Comics

The first appearance was a tabloid sized New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 February 1935 by the entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. New Comics #1 appearing in December 1935 seen as the closest to what we know today, was during the Golden Age of Comic Books, with a difference in dimensions.

Wheeler-Nicholson's last title Detective Comics came out December 1936, introducing Batman. Action comics was also launched with a character by the name of Superman, introducing the character archetype of superheroes, which proved a massive hit. A copy of Action Comics #1 went to auction and sold for a cool $1 million.

Actors who've played Superman

  • Ray Middleton - 1939
  • Kirk Alyn - 1948
  • George Reeves - 1951
  • Johnny Rockwell - 1961
  • Bob Holliday - 1966
  • David Wilson - 1975
  • Christopher Reeve - 1978-1987
  • Tayfin Demir - 1979
  • James Hayes Newton - 1988
  • Gerard Christopher - 1989
  • Dean Cain - 1993-1997
  • Tim Daly - 1996
  • Tom Welling - 2001-2011
  • Brandon Routh - 2006
  • Matthew Bomer - 2009
  • Henry Cavill - 2013


Epoch Of DC Comics

By the mid-fifties many comic book characters were given an overhaul, mainly Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. In the titles from the Superman family new characters such as Supergirl, Braniac and Bizarro were introduced. The same was also said with the Batman titles, introducing Bat girl, Bat Woman and Bat Mite to update the strip. Batman was revitalized, re-emphasizing him as a detective. The Green Lantern was revamped and a new team of superheroes was formed, the Justice League. A new family of Wonder Woman characters was also introduced successfully into DC comics. This did not go unnoticed by Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four in 1961.

In the forties superheroes such as Batman and Superman would appear in the same comic strip, this would later be dubbed the DC Universe. The concept of the DC Multiverse came about by the story of "Flash of two Worlds", introduced in September 1961 allowing characters from the 30's and 40's to appear thanks to continuity and the explanation that they lived on another dimensional Earth 2, as opposed to the modern heroes Earth 1.

The 1966 Batman tv series caused an increase in comic sales and a fad for superheroes with Saturday morning animation. The tone of the comics became more camp and lighter in ton. With the rise of Marvel comics, the company started introducing new titles, characters and also recruited Steve Ditko co-creator and artist of Spiderman.

With the introduction of new editors, the market that was originally aimed at young children went onto include college students and older teens.

By 1969 Jack Kirby another Marvel heavy weight, had moved to DC introducing his own series, such as Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, New Gods and Mister Miracle. Unfortunately these stories didn't meet managements high expectations, but they did help to broaden the DC Universe. Many of these series were short lived and lacked longevity.

In the 70's and 80's, themes darkened and became more naturalistic with the introduction of illegal drug use in a Spiderman strip in 1971, this was quickly banned by the Comics Code Authority. The Code was quickly updated and a story using the character the Green Lantern was used with a drug fueled story line.

Since the 70's the DC Universe has grown and evolved into a huge part of the Entertainment Industry, with movies such as Superman, Batman and Batman Begins and Man of Steel due for release in 2012.

DC Comic Movies

DC comic book characters used to rule the cinema with movies such as the Superman and Batman franchises. Marvel has been making numerous superhero movies successfully leaving DC comics in the dust.

Times are changing and thanks to director's such as Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder DC is making its way back to the top again.

The massive success of the new Batman trilogy and Man of Steel movie, DC is looking to the future to a connected universe, with Warner Bros.

© 2011 Helen Bolam

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