March 5, 2021
On our Dungeons and Dragons episode, we discussed how Role Playing Games never really disappeared from our Pop Culture, and in fact are thriving. The same can be said for Comic Books. While early comics can be traced back to 18th century Japan, comic books as we now know them first truly became popular in the 1930s. The term comic book comes from the fact that newspaper comic strips (also known as funnies) were compiled into books early on. This later changed as the format was used to display all kinds of stories that were created originally for them and covered various genres, not just comedy.
The 1930s and 40s are considered the Golden Age of comics, while the 1950s and 60s are called the Silver Age of comics. The origin point of the Silver age is generally credited with the introduction of the character, The Flash, in Showcase #4 in October of 1956. At that time, superhero comics were in a decline, and the emergence of the Flash began a renaissance of superhero books that continues to thrive today!
As is evident, specifically with the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) today, comic books and their stories continue to be hugely popular in several different mediums. In America, the two largest and most successful comic book publishers are Marvel Comics and DC comics. The average person may not realize the difference between the two, but some of Marvel's most popular characters are The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Captain America, and the Avengers. DC's most popular characters are usually part of a superhero team called the Justice League which is comprised of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and the Flash, just to name a few.
In 1985, DC Comics reached its fiftieth anniversary of publishing comic books. To celebrate this landmark event in comics publishing history, the company put out a twelve-issue miniseries, titled Crisis on Infinite Earths, that promised to cause, "major and permanent changes to occur throughout the entire DC line". This promise proved to be true as Crisis on Infinite Earths brought lasting change to DC Comics from a narrative point of view, and heralded even further-reaching changes for the comic book industry and fan community.
So sit back and enjoy this episode as I and a new guest co-host will delve deep into the Crisis and discuss its impact on the comic book industry!
Then Is Now Podcast is a proud member of the Dorkening Podcast Network, so be sure to check out the other great shows there, at http://www.thedorkening.com.
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