THE SILVER AGE OF COMICS – part two
The End of the Silver Age of Comics
If there is no universal agreement on the beginning of the Silver Age there are at least three contenders:
Detective # 225 (1955)
Showcase # 4 (1956)
Fantastic Four # 1 (1961)
When we refer to the end of the Silver Age, however, things are nowhere near as clear cut. Not only are there no single, specific books as contenders to mark the end of the era, we can point to no particular month or even year! It seems that everyone you talk to that holds an opinion on the subject tends to hold an opinion different from everybody else!
Well, it’s not really that diverse – there are at least some perimeters. While I have never heard anyone point to a specific book as marking the end, I’ve heard some opinions which I list for your consideration.
I’ve heard people name specific years between 1968 – 1975. That’s a pretty wide divide no matter how you slice it!
I’ve also heard that it ended when books went from 12 to 15 cents or 15 to 20 or 20 to 25. This is a little problematic also, as these were things that happened over a several month period.
Some folks hold it ended when Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC, but again, Marvel had Kirby books in their inventory after he left and they continued publishing new Kirby stuff even after his first DC books were coming out – and reprints of Kirby throughout his entire tenure at DC! Jack once famously remarked that comics were the only occupation where you could be a scab to yourself.
It’s been put forth that the end came when they shrunk the size of comics again (not the page count but the actual size, which has been being trimmed every 10 years or so since the 1940’s).
Yet another theory is that it was over when they quit making 25 cent squarebounds. There are likely other theories I haven’t heard.
I don’t know if the issue will ever be settled with any finality – but at least it’s got some fairly clearly defined perimeters. If its real confusion you’re looking for you can find it in my next installment, “The Bronze Age and Beyond”
My own view is that the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age overlap. I don’t think you can point to a single book, event or factor and say “this is it” but that it is rather a combination of all the things listed above.
What do you think?