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    

Amazing Fantasy #15 Poor (pr) Marvel Silver Age ComicIncredible Hulk #1 Cgc 1.8 Origin & 1st Kirby Marvel Silver Age Comic AvengersMarvel Incredible Hulk 181 1974 First Wolverine AppearanceDeath Of Wolverine #1 Cgc 9.8 Remarked Edition Gamestop Variant By Greg HornSuperman Action Dc Golden Age All 10cent Cover Price Comic Collection Run LotTales To Astonish #27 Marvel 1962 - 1st App Of Ant-man - Avengers Key Superhero!Werewolf By Night #32 Cgc 7.5 1st Appearance Moonknight Moon KnightIncredible Hulk # 1 Cgc 2.0 Off-white PgsSaga - Issues 1 - 18 All First Prints Image Comics Vaughan Staples 1 2 3 4 5Death Of Wolverine #1 Nm 1:500 Joe Quesada Sketch Variant Cover MarvelFantastic Four #52 High Grade Copy Ss Cgc 9.8 Tmnt 1 Kevin Eastman Signed Sketch Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesGiant-size X-men #1 (1st Storm Nightcrawler Colossus App, Wolverine 2nd 1975)Fantastic Four # 45 - 1st Inhumans & Lockjaw Cgc 9.0 Ow/white PgsJourney Into Mystery #83 Comic (marvel 1962) 1st Appearance And Origin Of ThorIncredible Hulk # 181 - 1st Full Wolverine Cgc 9.0 Ow/white PgsAmazing Spider-man #4 Key (1st Sandman) Nice Book!! Must See!! L@@kSuperman 5 Golden Age Dc Comic Book! Action Comics No Reserve!!Sideshow Exclusive Marvel She Hulk Premium Format 104/550 Rare Incredible Hulk #181 Marvel 1974 - 1st App Of Wolverine - X-men - Bronze Key!!!The Incredible Hulk #181 1st Wolverine App. (1974) Value Stamp Cut-out Neatly!Marvel Amazing Spider-man #300 (1988) Cgc Ss 9.2 First Venom - 3 Signatures!Marvel Silver Age + Bronze Age Comic Collection Run Lot Amazing Spider-man #1Amazing Fantasy # 15 - 1st Spider-man Cgc 3.5 Cream/ow PgsStrange Tales 110 Rare 1st Dr. Strange Iron Man #55 Cgc 5.0 Ow Pages 1st Thanos & Drax Mega Key Guardians MovieAvengers #47 Page 19 - Magneto, Quicksilver, & Scarlet Witch - Buscema ArtAmazing Spider-man #121 (1973 Marvel Comics) Death Of Gwen Stacy No ReserveSideshow Venom Comiquette Spider-man Villain Low Number Rare! Must See!Batman Adventures #12 Dc 1st Appearance Harley Quinn Unlmd Ship $3.89Daredevil #1 1964 1st Appearance Cgc 9.4 Near Mint Off-white/white Pages!!!Strange Tales # 110 - 1st Doctor Strange Cgc 4.5 White PgsAmazing Spider-man #300 1st Appearance Of Venom! Cgc 9.6 (1988) Ow/wDetective Comics #359 Dc 1967 -batman- 1st App Batgirl - 1st Sa App Killer Moth!Gene Colan Black Widow Daredevil #85 Marvel Original Comic Art Bronze Age 1971Marvel's Incredible Hulk 181 Feat. 1st Full Wolverine 1974 Great ConditionAmazing Spider-man #3 1st Dr Octopus Human Torch Marvel Silver Age ComicIron Man #55 Cgc 8.5 Vf+ Starlin Sinnott 1st Thanos Drax Starfox Kronos Etc BhBatman Adventures #12 Cgc 9.2 Harley Quinn 1st Appearance (dc, 1993) Key IssueAmazing Spider-man #129 February 1974 Unread 1st Appearance PunisherJourney Into Mystery #85 Cbcs 5.0 Ow/wh Pages 1st Loki1978 What If #13 Original Art For Conan The Barbarian BuscemaFantastic Four # 1 Cgc 3.0 Ow/white PgsAmazing Spider-man 700 Ditko Variant Cgc 9.8 Signed Stan Lee Peter Parker MovieFantastic Four #52 - Beautiful High Grade Unrestored - 1st Black Panther! 1966Death Of Wolverine #1 Variant Covers 10 Different 1:500 1:300 1:100 Dc Silver Age + Bronze Age Comic Collection Lot Batman Detective Jla SupermanTales Of Suspense # 52 - 1st Black Widow Cgc 7.0 Ow/white PgsDaredevil #1 Cgc 3.0 W/ White Pages!! **50 Years Old**Amazing Spider-man #3 Key (1st Doctor Octopus) Nice Affordable Book L@@k!Walking Dead #129 & Manifest Destiny #8 Sdcc Rrp Sketch VariantsSpider-girl #15 Cover - Signed By Stan Lee! Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-manX-men #4 Key (1st Scarlet Witch,1st Quicksilver) Glossy Higher Mid-grade Hott!!Mary Jane Comiquette J Scott Campbell Collection Sideshow Collectibles MibFantastic Four #52 1st Black Panther Marvel Silver Age ComicDaredevil #1 Origin & 1st Everett Cover Marvel Silver Age ComicBb Vintage Avengers Marvel Comic Books No 46-72 W/ 55 1st Ultron & 71 InvadersAmazing Spider-man #14 Key (1st Green Goblin) Nice VgSideshow Hawkeye Premium Format Exclusive Statue Figure 1:4 Scale Marvel AvengerTales To Astonish 27 (cgc 1.8) Ow/white P; 1st App. Ant-man! Kirby (id# 13182)

Recent News: Comic Books

Source: Google News

Graham Humphreys' Cover Art Revealed for Hardcover Video Nasty Comic ...
Dread Central, September 2nd

Graham Humphreys' Cover Art Revealed for Hardcover Video Nasty Comic Collection Reaper Comics will release a hardcover collected edition of its universally praised horror comic series Video Nasty on October 15th, and the collection's artwork, ...Read more

New Comic Store Draws Thrilled Customers at Grand Opening
TheAlternativePress.com, September 1st

Burke is selling his own comic collection of about 3,000 in the venture. The store features new issues, back issues, collectable cards, board games and some oddities such as a collection of old ray guns hanging on the wall in the back. Burke says they...Read more

Trust Us, You Need This Super Famicom Box Art Collection Book In Your Life
Nintendo Life, September 1st

My attempt with the book was to try and at least archive them, just like comic collectors, baseball card fans or collectors of guitars do, before they do vanish into thumbnails on a Google image search. One book that was influential on this project...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

Collector Makes History
The New Indian Express, August 26th

Bangalore-based Arun Prasad with his extensive vintage comic collection is among the chosen few. "Collecting vintage comics has not been an easy task. I used to read comics as a child but I only got quite serious about it in the year 2000," says Arun...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