Silver, Bronze, Iron, Modern Ages: Start & End Dates

OK, there's been a lot of debate over these start and stop points for years, but I'm wondering if there's any real consensus on these point nowadays.

Silver Age-  Most DC fans will point to the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash in (what, Showcase #4?)  Most Marvel fans point to the first issue of Fantastic Four in Fall, 1961.

For an end date, I hear most fans talk about Marvel issues, of either the death of Gwen Stacy in ASM #121 or the departure of Kirby from Marvel with FF #102 or Thor #180.  I don't know if there's a similar DC point or not.

Or maybe it's the first issue of Marvel Two-On-One (sorry, I couldn't resist!)

As for the Modern Age, does it begin with the adjectiveless X-men multiple covers and five trip-tick scenes?  Or is there another point?

What do you say?


(OK, I am SO SORRY that I brought this up again... at 15 pages and growing, this was obviously a touchy subject that should have been left alone.  "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie...")

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Just to jump in here , Chris,

I would argue that monster or horror comics didn't rise to fill they void left by a waining of Superheroes at the end of the Silver Age.  I would have said that Marvel and other publishers desperately cast about for something that would/might appeal to buyers again.  I don't recall anyone clamoring for horror or mystery comics, especially monsters, but they did increase in number of titles...see Amazing Adventures with The Beast, Wearwolf by Night, TOD, It the Colussus, etc.

...MSA , EC Comics did start a new sub-Age , approach , of sorts...which was essentially strangled in its bed , practically by the government !!!!!!! Come on !!!!!!!!! EC did get lots om emulators , and then , the threat of possible government-backed , even ( Possibly on a chaos-creating local state level , too . ) , comics censorship led to the Code being enforced , as a remedy/hex sign for that possibility !!!!!!! ( Even then , BTW , DC/Atlas and others STILL put out far-" fixed " , nicenfied , " mystery " comics after the Code's imposition !!!!!!!!! ) ( There's a large parallel between the Code's imposition on comics and the imposition of the Production Code/Breen Office-Legion Of Decency on American movies in the 30s , BTW . ) The anthology mystery titles that massively bloomed during the , yes , Weird Age could certainly be seen as " EC's return/revenge " ( Even given that the standard ones were - somewhat loosened up by then  - Code . ) ( I'd see the large number of " post-apocolyptic (Sp??) runnings-around " _ Kamandi , Doomsday +1 , etc. - of the Weird/early Bronze as a relative of S&S , BTW , even if Planet Of The Apes' great success during the period was another inspiration , even Vietnam " Sixties "/" Movement " era angst to an extent . )

  I don't think people say " Atomic Age " JUST becase , anyway , there were mushroom cloud/" ATOMIC WAR !!!!!!!!!  " covers during the period - It's a convenient term for that era , post-WWII and a widely used phrase that serves to pin a tag on then - When , as IIRC you acknowledge yourself , comic books sold more than they ever , newsstand-era anyhow , did before or since - BTW , people of that era used " Atomic/Nuclear " , I think , a litle more optimistically then they did in later years , when the relative impracticability of nuclear power on an daily basis , the seemingly endless MAD standoff between the USA and USSR and consciousness of how those injured at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had suffered all became stronger -

...I'd kind of go for 1949 , with all of Marvel's stars and all of DC's solos who were not the Trinity or back-ups to them losing their titles as , especially in retrospect to our last-fifty-years DC & Marvel-dominated comics world , as the " end " of the GA , perhaps...The end of the Society in ALL-STAR being , say , a last-ditch " Will someone please turn out the light " moment...Throughout the Atomic Age , major super-heroes and comparable kept going - But they faded away/fell one by one .

  The Marvels , Quality's " real " super-heroes , Lev Gleason's Daredevil...

Different comics entered the silver age at different times - The Flash in 1956, Superman in 1958 ("The Super-Key to Fort Superman"), the Fantastic Four with it's debut in 1961 and the New Look Batman/Detective in 1964.

The problem with defining any Age by a theme or change in direction as a requirement for admission rather than as a time period is that those discrepancies meet up.

For instance, in JLA #1, you have the Silver Age Superman and Flash meeting a Batman who is not yet in the Silver Age. We'd also have to know if Aquaman, WW and GA were in the SA yet.

So if the Batman who takes part in that adventure isn't yet in the SA, but Flash and Superman are, is JLA #1 a Silver Age comic? Can the comic be a SA comic if some of the characters aren't in the SA yet?

That's why I consider it a time period, and why I prefer to talk about the Earth-1 Superman. The Super-Key to Fort Superman was the first Earth-1 Superman story, but he and Batman and Flash all "entered" the SA at the same time.

It's easy with many comics, since they were inspired by The Flash and thus entered after the SA began, as happened with all the Marvel comics. But pinpointing specific changes in direction as the qualification gets pretty complicated.

The same happens at the end. In addition, it's often connected to an artistic change, giving a few artists the dubious distinction of being the harbinger of the end of the SA.

The other question this leads to is: Was Archie Comics part of the SA? I'd say sure, since every comic that came out in that period was part of it (and is part of why it was so cool). But distinguishing it by specific issue means checking each Archie Comic to find when it "entered" the SA, and that might be tough. Unless the thinking is that only Marvel and DC were in the SA, since only super-hero comics had a SA.

-- MSA

...Actually , MSA , I have always heard of there being a " DeCarloization " to the look of the Archie characters at some late-50s/early into the 60s point , mightn't  that be a good point ?????????

  Now , it was no doubt gradual !!!!! But still...

  Now , for DC in Marvel in the late SA , in 1968 , Marvel famously bumped up their production greatly , giving a lot of characters their own title...including Doctor Strange , the Surfer , and Nick S.H.E.I.L.D. , who all proved commercially unable to carry thir own title , fan favorites or no...

  Now , over at DC , 1968 saw the beginning of a sharp CUTTING-DOWN , culling , of super-hero and semi-superhero titles . I've tended to think that new owner Warner Brothers/Seven Arts ( Was that their official name at the time ??? ) might've had a lot to do with that , presunably being unsentimental about old titles and in a " new broom " mood...

...The Archies were a three-man group in what we now call " frat band "/" ggarage band " little suits until the TV series led to Sears Roebuck Carnaby Street/psych looks for the five-person Archies...

...Maybe not " garage band " - Ttrashmen/Kingmen/Cliff Richard & Shadows/Ventures/early Beach Boys & Beatles-style ?????????

Oh wow... one of my favorite topics, but I just don't have the time to say much about it right now. Like Mr. Age, I have written extensively on this topic, and a while back I wrote a series of articles where I identified the specific issues where all of DC's titles entered and then exited the Silver Age. No less an authority than the great Paul Levitz endorsed my theory, and even participated by adding some input of his own, as he disagreed with me on exactly which issues made for the most appropriate beginning and/or end points. In most but not every instance where we disagreed, I think Paul made the stronger case.

From my vantage point, the Silver Age ended in December 1970, the cover date of the last comic book edited by Mort Weisinger (SUPERMAN # 232). SUPERMAN # 233 is so obviously not a Silver Age comic book -- it practically screams that fact to the reader -- that it's the perfect end point for the era.

I agree with Mr. Age that GIANT-SIZE X-MEN # 1 is the first Bronze Age comic book, although I think it was nudged along by SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION a year or two earlier.

I'm so non-DC that I had to go look up what Superman #233 "Kryptonite No More!"was.  I immedately recognised the distinction.


(By the way, as I flipped forward and back through the GCD, I stopped on Superman #227 All Kryptonite Issue.

 I'm curious in a Spoiler kind of way, what each of the types of Kyptonite effects are. I vaguely have a memory of flipping through this book, or seeing it on the spinner rack, but I'm interested in having someone spoil it for me.  Or, is there a cheaper way to find a reading copy than $4.00 plus shipping on ebay?)

 I'm curious in a Spoiler kind of way, what each of the types of Kyptonite effects are.

Wow, you truly are a Marvel fan! That info isn't even a spoiler, even if it says it's the "secret" of gold K.

In order, white kryptonite affects plant life, green kryptonite kills super-powered Kryptonians, red kryptonite has various effects on Kryptonians that typicaly last 24 hours, gold kryptonite permanently removes super-powers, and jewel kryptonite causes things to blow up (it's complicated).

That red K story is such a classic that it won a Mopee Award a few years back and has it's own action figure!

-- MSA

You didn't mention blue kryptonite, which kills Bizarros.

Yep, it's that red-K ant-head figure that is jingling memory cells for me.

You need to understand that while a kid, I would haunt the drug stores and spinner racks in my town, looking for new Marvel issues, terrified that I might almost miss a copy of the FF or something related to them.  As a result, I learned that Suits News company would drive a van around town on Tuesdays and Thursdays and drop off carry bins (these days only the US Post Office has anything similar) and stacked inthese boxes were the UNCIRCULED, UNTOUCHED mint comics, plus magazines, etc.  There was a manifest or invoice on the top that would list the count that was inside, but I always ignored it, instead, reaching down in the box and pulling the stack up so that I could see the cover (the ALL IMPORTANT COVERS) and recognise which issue was arriving.


In this way, I would often see a cover for a Marvel comic, but never "read it" or, see the stack of DC that I would sale right by, until I could get to the Marvel's above or below them.  Now, down the street at the family owned Italian grocery store, they always had the books onto the spinner rack faster than i could get there after school, and so, if a DC cover caught my attention, I could take it off the rack and flip through the stor----"HEY KID, YOU GONNA BUY THAT?  THIS AIN'T NO LIBRARY, YA'KNOW!"

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