Comic books have been published for over a century, and collectors categorize them into five ‘Ages’: Platinum (1897-1937), Golden (1938-55), Silver (1956-69), Bronze (1970-79) and Modern (1980-present). Rarity, title/issue, and condition determine value. Some popular titles include Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men, Batman, Green Lantern, and Incredible Hulk.

One of the first comic strips was Hogan's Alley, published in 1895 by Richard Felton Outcalt. This strip had the first 'speech bubbles,' and its lead character, The Yellow Kid, had his own book, The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats, printed in 1897. This book actually coined the term 'comic book,' and it marks the beginning of the Platinum Age, which ran until 1937.

Subsequent newspaper comic strips such as Mutt and Jeff were reprinted in the form of books, and publishers began experimenting with periodical (weekly) comic books, selling them for 10 cents at newsstands. These pre-superhero comics were mostly pulp stories - tales of detectives, criminals, exotic travel, and adventure. The first costumed hero was The Phantom, who debuted in 1936, and wore a purple costume and black mask.

The Golden Age began in 1937, and comic books, previously meant for adults, now focused more on youth. In 1938 a revolutionary new series, Action Comics #1, introduced Superman, the first comic book character with superhuman abilities. Batman followed a year later, in Detective Comics #27, grittier than Superman, and initially more of a mystery than a superhero comic.

Superman got his own book in 1939 (not shared with other comics), and this new format became the standard for American comic books. The Golden Age lasted until 1955, and introduced characters such as Captain Marvel, The Green Lantern, The Flash, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and The Spectre.

Next came The Silver Age, with the revamping of The Flash, who brought superhero comics back from their post-WW2 slump. During this era Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and other artists at Marvel created some of the best-known comics ever, including superhero teams like Fantastic Four, The Avengers and the X-Men. These comics are known for their characters having more depth, unlike the eternally optimistic heroes of the Golden Age.

Spider-Man first appeared in 1962 to great success, as he was a real, average person with a fantastic alter-ego that readers could relate to. Other characters introduced in this ...

The Bronze Age (1970-1979) broke a lot of rules. Black superheroes, such as the Falcon, appeared, as did foreign heroes like Banshee, Sunfire, and Nightcrawler. Comics as a whole got more 'real,' with The Green Lantern and the Green Arrow teaming up to take on real issues like urban crime and drug abuse. Innocent characters could get killed off, Superheroes could fight spirits, black magic, and more gritty, conflicted, and violent characters such as the Punisher and Wolverine.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Cover Browser

Cover Browser

Philipp Lenssen's incredible archive of over 94,000 comic book covers - Wow! Wham! Yikes! Browse by title from the … [read review or visit site]

TheComicBooks.com

TheComicBooks.com

Jamie Coville's in-progress ode to the history of 20th century comic books. Start with his Newsstand Period Part 1 … [read review or visit site]

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Bruce Shults takes us on a comprehensive Popeye fan tour, from the early comic strips to cartoons and collectible m… [read review or visit site]

Barnacle Press

Barnacle Press

This collection of obscure newspaper comic strips provides scans browsable by title, year and date. Showcases comic… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Fantastic Four #1 Cgc 6.0 Ow/white Mega Key Origin & 1st App Marvel SilverTales Of Suspense #39 Cgc 4.0 Ow Mega Key 1st App Iron Man Kirby Ditko MarvelDaredevil #1 Cgc 7.0 Ow/w Origin & 1st App (matt Murdock) Everett Kirby MarvelGene Colan Daredevil #67 Original Comic Book Bronze Art Marvel 1970Fantastic Four #48 Cgc 8.0 Ow/white Key 1st Silver Surfer Galactus Marvel SilverX-men #1 Cgc 5.5 Ow Mega Key Origin & 1st App Angel Cyclops Iceman Kirby MarvelAvengers #1 Cgc 7.5 Ow Mega Key Origin & 1st Appearance Kirby Ayers Lee MarvelFantastic Four #45 Cgc 9.2 White Key 1st App Inhumans Hot Movie Marvel SilverAmazing Spider-man #129 Cgc 9.2 White Key 1st App Punisher Romita Marvel BronzeBatman #121 Vol 1 Pgx 2.0 Unrestored Very Rare 1st Appearance Of Mr. FreezeEd Benes Original Art Emma Frost/white Queen Wolverine Cyclops Jean Grey X-menIncredible Hulk #181 Amazing Spiderman #121+ Bonus Comic Book Collection MarvelIncredible Hulk #181 Bronze Age 1st Wolverine Enormous Key Wow W/stampAmazing Spider-man #14 Cgc 8.5 Ow/white Key 1st App Green Goblin Ditko MarvelIron Man #55 Cgc 9.0 White Pages Mega Key 1st Thanos Movie Drax Starlin MarvelFantastic Four #45 Vol 1 Pgx 7.5 Unrestored High Grade 1st App Of The InhumansFantastic Four #12 Cgc 7.0 1st Meeting Hulk/fantastic Four Kirby Marvel ComicOriginal Art Captain Action 3 Gil Kane Wally Wood 1968 Dc Comics Doctor Dr. EvilOriginal Art Nestor Redondo Swamp Thing #14 1975 Signed Dc ComicsWalking Dead # 1 Cgc 9.8 White Pgs. Incredible Hulk 181 Cgc 9.4! 1st Wolverine Comic White Pages! Stan Lee Marvel 1Star Wars #4 2015 Marvel Boba Fett Action Figure Variant Signed Stan Lee Cgc 9.8Marvel New Mutants #98 1991 Vf/nm 1st Appearance Deadpool - Fresh - Cgc It!Werewolf By Night # 32 - 1st Moon Knight Cgc 9.2 Cream/ow Pgs. Ross Andru Sub-mariner #39 Original Comic Book Bronze Art Marvel 1971Original Art To Fantastic Four 270 Page 5 By John Byrne!Avengers #4 Cgc 6.0 1st S.a. App Captain America Key Issue Kirby Lee MarvelVintage Comic Book 1964 Daredevil Number 1 #1 One 12 Cent Super Hero Marvel OldDaredevil #7 Cgc 8.0 Ow/white 1st Red Costume Battles Sub-mariner Marvel SilverFantastic Four #2 Cgc 7.5 Ow/white 1st App Skrulls Stan Lee Jack Kirby MarvelFrank Brunner Warp #3 Original Comic Book Bronze Art First 1983Amazing Spider-man #3 Cgc 6.5 Ow/white Key 1st App Doctor Octopus Marvel SilverFantastic Four #46 Cgc 7.5 Ow 1st Full Black Bolt Inhumans Movie Marvel SilverAction Comics #252 Vol 1 Pgx 3.0 Unrestored 1st App Of Supergirl Very Rare 1959New Mutants # 98 - 1st Deadpool & Domino Cgc 9.8 White Pgs. New Mutants #98 (1991) Cgc 9.6 Nm+ **1st Deadpool, Gideon & Copycat (domino)**The Batman Batgirl Adventures #12 Sept 1993 1st Appearance Of Harley QuinnEarly Punisher Lot With First Appearance In Amazing Spider-man 129Wolverine 66 1st Old Man Logan Michael Turner Sketch Variant 1:100 Nm/mt RareFantastic Four #13 Cgc 8.0 Ow/white 1st App Red Ghost & Watcher Kirby MarvelThe New Mutants #98 1991 First Deadpool - Nm/m - Starts @ PennyDr. Doom Premium Format Sideshow Exclusive Strange Tales #110 Cgc 6.5! 1st Appearance Dr. Strange Movie Marvel Silver AgeBrave & The Bold # 28 - 1st Justice League Cgc 3.0 Cream/ow Pgs. Aquaman # 1 - 1st Quisp Cgc 9.2 Ow/white Pgs. The Incredible Hulk #181!!! Fisrt Full Wolverine!!! Amazing Copy (nov 1974)Amazing Spider-man #129 February 1974 Unread 1st Appearance PunisherIncredible Hulk # 181- 1st Full Wolverine - Cgc (8.0) - Looks (9.2)Incredible Hulk 181 1st WolverineSilver Surfer #4 Cgc 8.5 Ow Classic Thor/surfer Battle Cover Hulk Marvel ComicNew Mutants #98 Cgc 9.0 1st Deadpool Movie In Post ProductionDc Lot Brave And The Bold 54 Green Lantern 59 Hawkman 4Hero For Hire #1 -higher Grade- Marvel 1972 - 1st App & Origin Of Luke Cage!!!Fantastic Four #1 1961 Cgc 1.0 & Fantastic Four #2 1962 Cgc 2.0 Marvel Classic Jack Kirby Eternals #16 Original Marvel Comic Book Bronze Art 1977Marvel The Incredible Hulk 181 Nov 1974 First Appearance Of WolverineFantastic Four #36 Cgc 8.5 Ow/w 1st Medusa Avengers X-men Cameos Marvel SilverDaredevil Frank Miller Companion Omnibus Marvel Hardcover New SealedIncredible Hulk # 181 - 1st Full Wolverine Cgc 4.0 Off-white Pgs. Fantastic Four #45 Vol 1 Pgx 5.0 Unrestored Very Nice 1st App Of The Inhumans

Recent News: Comic Books

Source: Google News

Marvel's Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes comic collection expected to ...
Blastr, July 28th

Marvel's relaunch of its top-shelf Star Wars comic-book line has been a phenomenal success, with sales of the mainline title and intertwining sister books, Darth Vader and Princess Leia also enjoying a renaissance of enthused interest. Now the first...Read more

These 3 Actors Need to Be at the Gambit Casting Call
moviepilot.com, July 27th

Tavington in The Patriot and as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. He definitely has the basics covered for portraying a villain along the lines of Mr. Sinister. The selling point I believe is that he is an avid comic collector, as he has an enormous...Read more

Comic Collection Monday #11: Avengers 271
NewsOK.com, July 27th

In Comic Collection Monday, I'll post the cover of a comic book from my collection, along with a brief note about the issue - what I thought about it, where I got it, whatever comes to mind. Guest spots are also available. If you want to talk about an...Read more

Comics AM | Despite ban, 'Death Note' is still big in China
Comic Book Resources, July 27th

[The Worcester Telegram]. Collectors | Craig T. Neises profiles art teacher Tony Onesto, whose comic collection numbers 70,000 items—some valuable, some meaningful only to him, such as the comics his father carried with him in Vietnam. [Miami Herald]...Read more

Comic collection Monday #10: Wolverine #41 (1988 series)
NewsOK.com, July 13th

In today's Comic Collection Monday, I'm taking a look at "Wolverine" #41, with a cover date of July 1991. In Comic Collection Monday, each Monday, I post the cover of a comic book from my collection, along with a brief note about the issue - what I...Read more

Hill Memorial Library to feature comic collection
LSU The Reveille, July 6th

Comic books are shown during the Graphic Sensibility exhibition on Monday, July 6, 2015 in the LSU Hill Memorial Library. 07/06/2015 Graphic Sensibility. Photo by Javier Fernández. 07/06/2015 Graphic Sensibility. Comic books are shown during the ...Read more

Comic Collection Monday #9: Magnus, Robot Fighter #12
NewsOK.com, July 6th

In Comic Collection Monday, each Monday, we'll share at Nerdage a comic from my collection, or the collection of a reader, along with notes about the issue -- thoughts about the issue, where it was purchased, whatever comes to mind. This week, we have ...Read more

2015 IDW Star Wars Micro Comic Collector Packs
The Cardboard Connection, July 6th

2015 IDW Star Wars Micro Comic Collector Packs brings together the worlds of the original 1977 movie, the Marvel comics that were inspired by them, trading cards and more. Each pack is anchored by one of six comic reprints. These are mini versions of...Read more