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]

Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site

Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site

Doug Gilford's great Mad Magazine reference site features cover scans and reference information on every issue of t… [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    

New Mutants # 98 - 1st Deadpool & Domino Cgc 9.8 White PgsNew Mutants 98 Cgc 9.8 White PagesFantastic Four #48 Marvel 1966 - 1st Apps & Origins Of Silver Surfer & Galactus!Tmnt #1 First Printing Signed Eastman And Laird 1984 Cgc Graded 8.0 From EastmanHero For Hire # 1 - 1st Luke Cage Power Man Cgc 9.8 White PgsAmazing Fantasy #15 Marvel Silver Age Comic Amazing Spider-manOriginal Incredible Hulk #1 (may 1962) Marvel Avengers Rare Key Comic "as Is"Strange Tales # 110 - 1st Doctor Strange Cgc 4.0 Ow/white PgsAmazing Fantasy #15 Vol 1 1962 Original Unrestored 1st Spider-man Aunt May BenBatman #1 Cgc 9.8 Nm/mint 1:200 B&w Sketch Variant Cover 1st Print Dc New 52Cgc 9.0 White Pages Fantastic Four 52 First Black Panther Movie Key MarvelJourney Into Mystery #83 1962 Original Beautiful Nm- 9.2 1st App Of Thor Rare!Brave & The Bold # 28 - 1st Justice League Cgc 1.0 Off-white PgsAmazing Spider-man #129 Marvel 1974 -high Grade- 1st Apps The Punisher & Jackal!Marvel Silver Age (key Issue) Lot Of 40 - No Reserve!!!J. Scott Campbell Original Sketch - Abbey Chase - Danger Girl - Toronto 2008Fantastic Four #48 Unrestored Vf+ 8.5 High Grade 1st App Of Silver Surfer Vol 1Incredible Hulk #181 Cgc 8.5 One Of A Kind!! Signed By Wein, Trimpe, Lee, RomitaDaredevil # 1 Cgc 3.5 Cream/ow PgsMs. Marvel # 1 - 1st Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel Cgc 9.8 White PgsNew Mutants #98 Cgc 9.8 [1st Printing] 1st Deadpool & Domino White PagesNew Mutants 98 Cgc 9.8 Nm/mt First Deadpool! White Pages!X-men #94 Marvel 1975 -near Mint- 9.0 Nm - Start Of New Xmen & Wolverine!!!Incredible Hulk #181 Cgc 5.5 1st Appearance Of Wolverine - Free ShippingIron Man # 55 - 1st Thanos & Drax The Destroyer Cgc 7.5 Ow/white PgsCurt Swan Superman 387 Page 1 Of 2 Consecutive! Classic Costume Change!Tales To Astonish # 27 - 1st Henry Pym Ant Man Cgc 3.0 Cream/ow PgsIncredible Hulk # 181 - 1st Full Wolverine Cgc 5.5 Ow/white PgsAmazing Spider-man # 14 - 1st Green Goblin Cgc 4.5 Ow/white PgsGreen Lantern #76 -higher Grade- 1st Neal Adams Art & Green Arrow Team-up Issue!New Mutants 98 First Deadpool Cgc 9.2Batman The Dark Knight~original Full Body Pencil/ink Art~ivan Reis~2014~Amazing Fantasy #15 And Amazing Spider-man #1-25 Original Bound Set Great ComicsWerewolf By Night # 32 - 1st Moon Knight Cgc 9.0 Ow/white PgsAmazing Spider-man #121 Marvel 1973 -higher Grade- The Death Of Gwen Stacy!!!New Mutants 98 (pretty-sharp!) 1st Appearance Of Deadpool, Domino (id# 13215)Incredible Hulk #181 Cgc 9.0 (ow) 1st Appearance Of Wolverine Of The X-men Fantastic Four # 45 - 1st Lockjaw & Inhumans Cgc 7.5 Ow/white PgsDeath Of Wolverine #1 Quesada Sketch VariantFantastic Four #48 Unrestored Vf- 7.5 Very Nice 1st App Of Silver Surfer Vol 1Amazing Fantasy 15 Cgc 6.5The Brave And The Bold #28 Beautiful 1st Appearance Of Justice League Of AmericaThe Walking Dead #1 First Printing Very Fine - Near MintThe Incredible Hulk #181 (nov 1974, Marvel)Amazing Spider-man 576 Page 13 Original Comic Art Page By Chris Bachalo RareAvengers #57 Unrestored Vf/nm 9.0 High Grade 1st App Of The Vision Vol 1The Amazing Spider-man #129 Cgc Graded 8.5 White Pages 1st Punisher AppearanceNew Mutants #98 High Grade 1st DeadpoolX-men #1 Very High Grade Vf/nm 9.0 Vol 1 1963 1st App Of X-men/magneto Very RareAmazing Spider-man 700 Ditko Variant Cgc 9.8 Signed Stan Lee Peter Parker MovieHuman Torch #12 Burning Arm Timely Golden Age Comic Sub-mariner SchomburgNew Mutants 98. 1st App Deadpool. Nm+. Lots Of PicturesThe New Mutants #98 (feb 1991, Marvel) First Appearance Of Deadpool - Very FineThe New Mutants #98 (feb 1991, Marvel) 1st Appearance Deadpool! Nm(9+)Avengers #1 1963 Original Very High Grade Nm- 9.2 1st App Avengers Very RareAmazing Spider-man # 300 - 1st Full Venom By Mcfarlane Cgc 9.2 White PgsX-men #1 Cgc 4.0 (ow) 1st Appearance Of Magneto Cyclops Beast Jean Grey Iceman Amazing Spider-man #129 (introducing The Punisher) Vf-marvel-comicsBatman #1-34 +#0 Dc New 52 Snyder CapulloThe Invincible Iron Man #55 February 1973 In Fair Condition

Recent News: Comic Books

Source: Google News

IDW Reveals New Details For The Junior and Sunny Comic Collection
BioGamer Girl Magazine, September 15th

IDW Publishing has announced the release of The Complete Junior and Sunny comic with the complete collection coming this December. Read on. From the Press Release IDW Publishing is proud to announce the release of The Complete Junior and Sunny, ...Read more

The Guinness-Certified World's Largest Comic Collection Is 94268 Issues Deep
ComicsAlliance, September 11th

After nearly two years of convincing Guinness' record judges that his comic book collection is, in fact, the world's largest, Mission Viejo, California man Bob Bretall was able to announce on his Facebook page that it's finally official: His comic book...Read more

Holy Flashback! More Vintage Comic Reviews
Caped Crusades, September 4th

I recommend extreme caution when picking up random vintage comics to read. We want to hear from you! Leave us your thoughts and opinions in the comments! Want more Batman? Download the Fansided.com app for more Batman news! Don't forget to like ...Read more

Holy Flashback Batman! Vintage Comic Reviews
Caped Crusades, September 2nd

few old On my last trip to the comic shop I picked up a few vintage comics for a buck a piece I thought I'd review for Caped Crusades. This one is Robin #18 from 1995, with story by Chuck Dixon and art by Mike Parobeck and Stan Woch. More From Comics...Read more

Marvel Comics Announces New Star Wars Comic Collection
411mania.com, August 27th

Marvel has officially announced the upcoming release of a new trade paperback of Star Wars comics, Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1. The new volume is a collection of older Star Wars comics previously published by Dark Horse...Read more

Comic collectors gather at Vancouver show
The Asian Pacific Post, August 26th

In April 2013, the Christensen brothers came to media attention when they auctioned their 60,000 comic book collection, the largest private comic collection auctioned in Canadian history through Able Auctions. Their passion from comics led to the...Read more

Valley native's massive comic collection is a lifetime of offbeat acquisitions
Los Angeles Register, August 24th

San Fernando Valley resident Glenn Bray has been amassing comics and other offbeat items since 1965 and now houses the thousands of strips, drawings and other pieces of art in his home. ISAAC ARJONILLA , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER. BY JORDAN ...Read more

Trial set for December in death of elderly comic collector
Comic Book Resources, August 21st

According to the Batavia, New York, Daily News, the trial of Rico J. Vendetti is scheduled for Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. Dates still haven't been set for his four co-defendants. Vendetti is accused of hiring seven people to steal the...Read more