Golden Age Comic Books And Characters.
Birth Of The Superhero.
The Golden Age Of Comic Books lasted from 1938 - 1950 or even later according to some sources, it was an era that saw not only the birth of Batman and Superman but other household names such as Wonder Woman and Captain America. It was an era that lasted throughout the Second World War and many of the Golden Age comics reflected that fact. It was not just about superhero comics in the Golden Age though, horror comics were king for a while and humor comics were big sellers too. In this article we will take a look at many of the characters and books that made up the Golden Age of comics.
So many of the superheroes and characters we know and love today made their first appearances in the Golden Age. Here is a list of some of the better known ones.
- The Flash
- Green Lantern
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel / Shazam
- Wonder Woman
- The Spectre
- Sub Mariner
- Human Torch
- Justice Society Of America.
- Green Arrow.
- Archie and Betty and Veronica of course.
The Top Ten Golden Age Books And Their Importance
Here is a list of the top ten most valuable books from the Golden Age and the reason they are so important and valuable.
- Action Comics # 1 - The first appearance of Superman.
- Detective Comics # 27 - The first appearance of Batman.
- Superman # 1 - The first comic book devoted entirely to the adventures of Superman.
- All American Comics # 16 - The first appearance of Green Lantern.
- Marvel Comics # 1 - The first appearance of the Human Torch ( an android,not the human torch we are familiar with today. )
- Batman #1 - The first comic book devoted entirely to the adventures of Batman, this book also featured the debuts of the Joker and Catwoman.
- Captain America Comics #1 - The first appearance of Captain America.
- Action Comics # 7 - Superman makes his second cover appearance.
- Flash Comics # 1 - The first appearance of the Flash.
- More Fun Comics # 52 - The first appearance of the Spectre.
Golden Age comics covered a wide variety of different genres, Superhero, War, Love Stories, Funny Animal and Horror as well as Science Fiction, Detective and Crime, Humor and Teen comics. Jungle stories featuring Jungle girls such as Sheena or Rulah were also popular.
Villains Of The Golden Age
Here is a list of some of the bad guys and girls who made their debuts in the Golden Age Of Comics.
- The Joker
- Mr Mxyzptlk
- Two Face
- The Red Skull
- The Penguin
- The Riddler
- Baroness Paula Von Gunther
- Rose and Thorn.
- Vandal Savage
- Solomon Grundy
- Hugo Strange
- The Mad Hatter
Rarity Of Golden Age Comics
In the UK American comic books were not officially distributed until 1959, a few got over to the UK before then as comic books were often used as ballast on ships and some were given away to local kids by airmen or G.I.s that were based in the UK during the Second World War. In the US they are obviously more often found however they are not as common as they could be due to paper drives initiated by the US Government due to scarcity of paper during the war, many of these rare comics ended up pulped not long after they were printed.
Female Golden Age Characters
There were lots of female characters in comic books in the Golden Age here's some of the better known ones.
- Millie The Model
- Black Canary
- Miss America
- Sheena Queen Of The Jungle
- Nyoka The Jungle Girl
- Rulah Jungle Goddess
- Nellie The Nurse
- Blonde Phantom
- Lois Lane
- Wonder Woman
Comic Books And The War
During the Second World War the war became an increasingly common backdrop to the comic book stories when the USA entered the war. Batman and Superman would battle Nazi infiltrators and even the kids got involved with the Boy Commandos and The Newsboy Legion. Paper shortages meant comics had to be reduced in length and frequency of publication for a while and many comic book creators spent time serving their country in the armed forces.
Superman looks on approvingly as a young lady recognizes the men of the US Armed Forces as real heroes, in Superman issue 29.
Batman and Robin alongside Superman encourage readers to grow their own vegetables to help fend off food shortages during the war, Worlds Finest # 11.
Captain America battles with Hitler himself in Captain America Comics #1.
The patriotic superhero The Shield fights off the Jackboot of Fascism and Japanese Imperialism in Pep Comics # 22, this issue also introduced Archie Andrews, Betty and Jughead.
Many of the best known comic book artists and writers started their careers in the Golden Age. As well as the aforementioned Siegel and Shuster creators of Superman, there was Bob Kane and Bill Finger, artist and writer of Batman. At Timely Comics ( the forerunner of Marvel ) a young Jack Kirby worked in tandem with Joe Simon to create Captain America. Stan Lee perhaps the best known comic book creator also started his career at Timely, at first performing such mundane tasks as filling the artists ink wells and fetching lunch.
Here is a list of some of the well known comic book creators who's careers began in the Golden Age.
- Johnny Craig - Best known for his work EC comics horror line but also drew Iron Man in the 60s.
- Carl Barks - Dell Four Color Comics.
- Will Eisner - The Spirit
- Don Heck - All rounder who go on to draw Iron Man
- Wallace Wood - legend for his Daredevil and Avengers work
- Matt Baker - Saucy female covers and first black comic book artist
- Lee Elias - horror comics
- Curt Swan - beloved Superman artist
- John Buscema - Marvel stalwart
- Dan De Carlo - Best known for work on Archie Comics
- Carl Burgos - Created first Human Torch
- Alex Shomburg- Amazing early covers
- Frank Frazetta - One Of The Greatest Fantasy Artists Ever
- Joe Kubert - Brilliant war comic artist
- Steve Ditko - Co created Spider-man
- Jerry Robinson - created The Joker
- L.B.Cole - Brilliant cover artist
- Gil Kane - Beloved Silver Age Artist
- Bill Everett - Creator of Sub Mariner
- Sheldon Moldoff - Creator of Bat Girl and Poison Ivy
- Gardener Fox - Batman writer
- William Marston - Created Wonder Woman
- Lou Fine - The Spirit
- Murphy Anderson - Batman and Hawkman
- Mort Meskin - Sheena Queen Of The Jungle
The Golden Age
The period 1938 - 1950 is aptly named The Golden Age of comic books. During this period of pre and inter war, comic books served as a cheap and entertaining medium for kids growing up in these years and contrary to the trials of the mid fifties where comic books were put on trial for their content, the comic book probably did more to help combat illiteracy in these years then any other medium. It is astounding that so many of the characters created in the Golden Age remain as popular today as ever over 75 years after they were created, it is a credit to the artists and writers of the age that their legacy not only sustains but continues to grow.
More Comic Book Stuff
- The Most Important Comic Books Of All Time ( Part One )
The great comic books featuring Superman, Spider-man, Batman and the greatest artists and writers, Alan Moore, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
- Horror Comics - Four Color Fear!
Tales From The Crypt, Haunt Of Fear, Vault Of Horror famous horror comics and artists as well known as Steve Ditko, LB.Cole and Don Heck.