In 1938, “Action Comics” #1 changed the course of print entertainment when Superman was introduced, ushering in what collectors today term the Golden Age of comic books. Coinciding with the start of World War II, Golden Age comics provided an outlet for social desires and fantasies, as heroes with superhuman strength were often put to work fighting the Nazis and other enemies abroad.
Comic books generally sold for about 10 cents each—thanks to their low production cost many titles became quite lucrative for publishing companies. Popular heroes from the Golden Age included Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (from National Periodical Publications, which became DC); Captain Marvel (from Fawcett); and Captain America and the Human Torch (from Timely Comics, the precursor to Marvel).
The Golden Age came to an end around 1954, when a televised Senate subcommittee hearing on juvenile delinquency drew negative attention to the comic book industry for its depictions of violence. Soon after, comic-book publishers established the Comics Code Authority as a way of preventing censorship from the outside by policing itself from within.