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.
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20 Star Wars Variant Covers to Get the Force FlowingThe Escapist, December 22nd
Marvel has produced a metric ton of alternate covers for the comic, covers that Star Wars fans and comic collectors alike have apparently been purchasing en mass. With 2014 coming to an end and the comic's January 2015 release drawing closer, we ...Read more
Texas company sues DA's office over stolen comicsComic Book Resources, December 22nd
As you may recall, attorney Anthony Chiofalo was charged in January 2013 with siphoning from employer Tadano America upwards of $9.3 million, much of which he spent on sports memorabilia and vintage comics, including a Detective Comics #27 worth ...Read more
Final Fantasy XV's Cid being a Cidney could be a good thingTechnologyTell, December 22nd
I've been into comics off and on since I was a kid, and I went through a period where I was a heavy comic collector a few years back. Peter David had an amazing and underrated run on Captain Marvel. His series ended rather poorly and Captain Marvel was ...Read more
Big Money 2014: 16 Stunning Winners and LosersThe Fiscal Times, December 22nd
With a strong year on Wall Street, wealthy Americans had plenty of money to spend on political campaigns, fast cars, fine art and even vintage comic books. Taylor Swift made waves and set records in the music industry. Baseball's Giancarlo Stanton ...Read more
Kinokuniya's Kenny Chan is a comic book fanThe Straits Times, December 21st
When asked how much his comic collection is worth, he is not quite sure. "I've never paid a lot of money for them because the way I collect is that I collect for pleasure, so it's never about making money." Neither does he worry about the rise of...Read more
Does anyone use their dining room anymore?Boston Globe, December 20th
A few miles away in Somerville, Jevon Rice uses her dining room — shared with roommates — to showcase an impressive collection of vintage comic books and movie memorabilia, including a Catwoman poster and Spider-Man figurines. A themed room ...Read more
Ringleader pleads guilty in robbery that led to comic collector's deathComic Book Resources, December 8th
Vendetti allegedly had a similar scheme in mind when he learned about the classic comic collection of Marciniak, a well-liked man who lived alone in the village of Medina, New York. Authorities say the hired criminals cut the phone line to Marciniak's...Read more
Former investigator indicted in theft of vintage comicsComic Book Resources, November 26th
A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, has indicted a former investigator for the district attorney's office accused of stealing thousands of dollars in rare comics. The Houston Chronicle reports Dustin Deutsch was indicted Tuesday on charges of felony...Read more