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What Are The Different Comic Book Ages?

What Are The Different Comic Book Ages?

Comic books are commonly categorized into four major ages based on when they were published. Each age has a different feel and tone to them. And if you’re interested in selling your comic books, knowing what age they fall in is vitally important for valuing your comic books.

Here are the four major ages for comic books in chronological order:

Golden Age (1938 – 1956)

The Golden Age of comic books is recognized as being kicked off by the publication of Action Comics #1 and the introduction of Superman and the archetype of the superhero in general. We also see the introduction of Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Captain America and many more iconic superheros, as well as the predecessors to many of our prized comic book companies such as Detective Comics (DC Comics), Timely Comics (Marvel Comics). Many of these superheros can be seen fighting America’s real-life enemies such as Hitler, providing the nation and the troops with a much needed moral boost along with cheap entertainment.

In the late 1940s, additional genres started to appear such as Westerns, Sci-Fi and Detective Stories.

Silver Age (1956 – 1970)

The Silver Age of comics is when comic books really hit their stride and became mainstream sources of entertainment in America. Comic books covering superheros lost popularity towards the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Silver Age but quickly rose back to popularity once the content of comic books began to be more closely regulated in fear of spurring more juvenile delinquents from questionable content found in horror and mystery genres. This is where Fantastic Four #1 began as well as Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962.

Bronze Age (1970 – 1985)

Bronze Age saw a continuation of the popular characters but with a return to darker plots regarding real-life issues seen in the early Golden Ages such as drug use, poverty and pollution. Unlike the previous ages, there was no one clear event that kicked off the Bronze Age, but rather an undeniable trend in the industry overall. It also marks the end of many great writers’ careers and ushered in new, younger writers that put their own spin on storylines.

Modern Age (1985 – Present Day)

The Modern Age, which began in the mid-1980s and continued to present day, is identified by a number of trends: the commercialization of comic book publishers, more psychologically-complex characters and twisting plots. Some argue that the later years of the Bronze Age overlap with the very early years of the Modern Age. One argument for that is the rise in the so-called “anti-hero” as seen in Elektra and Wolverine, and the rise in the X-Men overall.

As you can see, comic books have gone through a clear evolutionary path to get us to where we are today. Sparkle City Comics is most interested in purchasing comic books pre-1985, so if you’re interested in selling your Golden Age, Silver Age or Bronze Age Comics, give us a call at 800-743-9205!

9 thoughts on “What Are The Different Comic Book Ages?

  1. Hi, I have a complete set of Thundercat comics (1985 – 1987). They’re all in Near Mint condition. I’d like to have them graded by CGC. Are there any downsides to having a comic book graded? Does it increase the value of the comic?

  2. I know this is an old post, but I would argue that the Modern Age began with the publications of Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars And Crisis on Infinite Earths. Both started the enormous crossover/tie in genre which we see in the current Marvel Universe Movies and the almost yearly summer event comics. These books also lead to the publication of Watchmen and Dark Knight, which in itself could be considered a “sub-age” of the antihero genre.

    1. Contrary to what the Overstreet price guide was pushing several years ago, i think the start of Secret Wars in 1984 is a bit premature. I believe the perfect break-off point would be the final issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which is cover-dated the same date as Dark Knight Returns #1 (April 1986). So we have the ending of DC’s multiverse on the same month that the DKR mini-series was getting started. So, in my opinion, DKR #1 is the comic that officially started the next age. Watchmen #1 soon followed within a year and the eventual trend towards darker “grim ‘n gritty” storylines was started. I don’t think those two very influential “mega events” of comic book storytelling should be overlooked in favor of the first popular Maxi-series’ from Marvel and DC. Personally, i wish comics had stayed all-ages entertainment, but the envelope was pushed and we basically have “R-rated” comics today, all as a result of DKR and Watchmen being so popular and influential. Were those two mini-series’ too influential? I think so. Most definitely.

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