Silver Age Comics

Authored by: Jim Casey

The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction

Print publication date:  January  2009
Online publication date:  March  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415453783
eBook ISBN: 9780203871317
Adobe ISBN: 9781135228361

10.4324/9780203871317.ch13

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Abstract

Michael Uslan traces the phrase “Silver Age of Comics” back to the letters column of Justice League of America no. 42 (February 1966), in which Scott Taylor of Westport, Connecticut wrote, “If you guys keep bringing back the heroes from the Golden Age, people 20 years from now will be calling this decade the Silver Sixties!”:

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 Jerry Bails’ ponderous “Second Heroic Age of Comics” or “The Modern Age” of comics. It wasn’t too long before dealers were differentiating their sale of, say, Green Lantern #3 by specifying it was a Golden Age comic for sale or a Silver Age comic for sale.

(Uslan 2005: 79) Although other developments in the comic world, such as the work of Moebius (Jean Giraud) in France or Britain’s 2000 AD (1977–), intersect with those of the period, the Silver Age was primarily an American phenomenon, marked by a dramatic resurgence of superhero comics. Old heroes were revamped, sf origins were added, and more “realistic” characters and storytelling became the standard. To understand the Silver Age (and the reemergence of the superhero), however, one must go back more than 10 years before the term was first used.

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