The Golden Age of Comics

About the Golden Age of Comics

Golden Age of Comics
Action Comics #1 launched, according to many, the Golden Age of Comics.

The Golden Age of Comics is where our adventure begins. This is when the current notion of Superhero was born, with the likes of today’s most iconic Golden Age superhero, Superman. Many of DC’s stalwart characters were launch in this era, including Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Marvel’s Captain America was also created at this time, although under the banner of Timely Comics, its predecessor.


The Golden Age of Comics Years

Golden Age of Comics Reference
Strange Tales #1, featuring a reference to the "Golden Age of Comics"

As it is often found when discussing the different eras of comics books, the defining years vary according to the source. If use eBay’s category listings as a functional example, the Golden of Age of Comics ranges from 1938 to 1955. This is clearly the case of using a significant issues as the keystone launch for the era, in this case with Action Comics #1 featuring the debut of Superman. It is to date, according to most sources, the most highly valued comic book, at one time selling for USD 1.5 Million.

The format is another defining characteristic of the Golden Age of Comics, one which would put the beginning of this era quite earlier, in 1933. That year saw the introduction of the comic format we know today which fill the comic racks in newsstands. It is also around that time that saw the beginning of original stories published in that format, rather than just reprinted comic news strips.

As there is no consensus regarding when the Golden Age began and ended, with is just about true for every age, I personally see the Golden Age to vary along the lines of publishers and titles, happening at different moments in time for many. For example, DC Comics and Marvel (or Timely) Comics have slightly different “Golden Age of Comics”.

The Influence of World War II on the Golden Age of Comics

Golden Age of Comics
Captain America Comics #1 featuring Captain America taking on Hilter himself

Interestingly, the Golden Age was referred to as such as far back as the 1960’s. Strange Tales #114 is a Silver Age featuring the return of Captain America

Regardless of the preferred start date for the Golden Age of Comics, all candidates encompass the duration of World War II, and its influence had been clear. Like many figures in the entertainment industry at the time, today’s iconic Golden Age heroes were seen fighting the Axis powers. One of the more notable of these stories is from Captain America Comics #1, from Marvel’s predecessor Timely. It’s interesting to see the Captain active in World War II in these comics, as we can occasionally pass over the fact that his “Frozen over” period isn’t part of his origin, but really just a ploy to bring back this character in the Silver Age.

Other Essential Issues in the Golden Age of Comics

Golden Age of Comics Batman
Detective Comics #27, a reprint of wich is pictured above, featuring the 1st appearance of Batman

While there are many important issues in the Golden Age of Comics featuring the introduction of many characters that still some of the most popular superheroes today, the following issue is definitely worth noting. It is next most valuable back issue, Detective Comics #27, featuring the first appearance of Batman.


Read about the following Silver Age of Comics, or read more of our reviews of Golden Age of Comics Back Issues on our blog!

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