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    

Bill Sienkiewicz - Original Art Painting - Mike Mignola 's Hellboy Marvel Silver Age Comic Collection Run Lot Amazing Spider-man Avengers #1 X-menIncredible Hulk #181 -high Grade- 1974 - 1st App Of Wolverine - X-men!!!Batman Adventures 12 Cbcs 9.8 1st Harley Quinn Lot W/ Extras (not Cgc)Super Spider-man 278 Original Cover Art 1978 Larry Lieber And Frank Giacoia RareJohn Romita Jr Amazing Spider-man Spiderman Sketch CommissionAmazing Fantasy #15 Amazing Spiderman #1 Lot Estate Sale!!!Original Art To Fantastic Four #270 Page 16 By John Byrne – No Reserve!Fantastic Four #52 (jul 1966, Marvel) Cgc 9.2 / First Black PantherExclusive Sideshow X-men Vs Sentinel Cyclops & Colossus Statue Light Up LimitedKelley Jones Cover "karney "Bowen Designs Retro Cable Sentinel Statue X Men Marvel Statue AvengersMarvel/dc/original Comic Book Art/john Buscema/what If/vol I/issue 13Jim Lee Wonder Woman Sketch Cgc 9.8 # 1 Justice League Blank Variant Wcbh1963 The Avengers # 1 Hulk Thor Iron Man Ant Man Wasp Lee & Kirby Marvel ComicsApocalypse Statue By Bowen DesignsDaredevil #168 -1st Appearance Of Elektra- -frank Miller- Near MintFantastic Four 1 Marvel 1961 1st Appearance Cgc 2.5 Gd+Marvel/dc/original Comic Book Art/george Perez/what If/vol I/issue 15Deadpool Sideshow Statue - Numbered 622/2500The X-men #1 (sep 1963, Marvel)Original Cover Art, Gft #114 Franchesco Artist Comic Art IllustrationIron Man # 55 : Cgc 6.5 (fine+) : Feb 1973 : 1st Thanos, Drax... (marvel) ***** Marvel Comic Books 'werewolf By Night'#32 Aug 1975first Moon Knight AppearanceSideshow Marvel X-men Exclusive Gambit Pf Figure Statue Bust Mint In Box RareMarvel Graphic Novel # 4 / The New Mutants/ Cgc 9.8 White Pgs/ Origin & 1st AppBatman Adventures #12 - 1st Harley Quinn - Vault (9.0) Not Cgc, Pgx, Or Cbcs Batman Action Page By Sean Phillips From Batgirl 55The New Mutants #98 - First Appearance Of Deadpool - Cgc Graded 9.8Harley Quinn Original Art - Dc Comics - Detective Comics #23.2 Splash DeadshotJohn Buscema Conan #48 Original Comic Book Art Marvel 1974 1/2 SplashX-men #101 -1st Appearance Of Phoenix- Nm+ 9.6Sideshow Collectibles Superman Christopher Reeve Exclusive Premium Format FigureAmazing Spider Man 129 (1974) 1st Punisher Hot! 1 2 See$ Investment$Giant Size X-men #1 - 1st New Team - Fine/very Fine - Dave Cockrum - MarvelMarvel Comics Secret Wars Omnibus Hard Cover Volume #1 New! Out Of Print!Batman #25 Cgc 3.0 Only Golden Age Joker/penguin Team-upThe New Mutants #98 1991 Marvel 1st Appearance Of Deadpool Signed By Rob LiefeldAmazing Spider-man #13 June 1964 1st Mysterio Vg/f RangeWerewolf By Night #32 Pgx 7.5 Ow/w 1st Appearance Of Moon Knight!!!A-force #1 Adam Hughes Variant Cover Cgc 9.8 Inhumans 50th Anniversary CoverX-men 1 Marvel 1963 1st Appearance Cgc 1.8 Gd-Iron Man #55 Key Issue 1st Thanos Drax DestroyerThe Incredible Hulk #1 (05/1962), Cgc 1.5(very Hot Comic With Avengers Movie) Amazing Spiderman #129 Vf First Appearance Of The Punisher Hot Key Book.Werewolf By Night 32 Marks Jeweler Variant Nice Condition 1st Moon Knight CgcSaga #1 Cgc 9.8 Nm-mt (1st Print) Image Brian K Vaughan & Staples Highest GradedFantastic Four #52 Cgc 6.5 - 1st App Black Panther - Ow-w Pages - No ReserveNew Mutants #98 (cgc 9.8 Nm/m -- White Pages) -- First Deadpool!Captain America Comics #60 - Higher Grade Unrestored - The Human Fly! - 1946The Amazing Spiderman #129 Cgc 7.0 First Appearance Of The PunisherOriginal Art To Alpha Flight #4 Page 3 By John Byrne – No Reserve!Incredible Hulk #271 -near Mint- 9.4 Nm - Marvel 1982 - 1st App Rocket Raccoon!Mega Marvel Keys! Marvel Spotlight #32 Cbcs 9.2 (not Cgc) 1st Spider-woman!New Mutants 98 Cgc Ss 9.8 1st Deadpool Domino Movie Soon Liefeld Stan Lee Incredible Hulk #181, Nov. 1974 Appearance Of Wolverine W/ Marvel Value Stamp1948 Batman #47, 1st Batman OriginBatman Detective Comics #871-880, 881 Complete 11 Comic Lot Snyder Jock JokerDc Comics The Batman Adventure #12 1st Harley Quinn Poison Ivy Comic (4043)Avengers #6 Marvel 1964 - High Grade - 1st App Original Zemo - Thor Iron Man

Recent News: Comic Books

Source: Google News

The Horror! The Horror!
The Outhouse, May 27th

Diving into the mind of the madman behind the indie horror comic collection of, "Obscura": David Brown. Source: David Brown. Welcome back, my faithful companions! Your Indie Huntress is back to save you from the pain-staking tedium that is mainstream ...Read more

My history with OneDrive and how Windows 10 changed it
WinBeta, May 25th

I had to let go of some things, one of which was my comic collection. Truth be told, it sat there as constant reminder of the comics I would never again touch because it was becoming too much work to organize. I made the switch to digital comics but...Read more

Cutting the Cord: A library of content in the cards on Hoopla
USA TODAY, May 25th

The robust comic collection doesn't include DC or Marvel comics but there's Clockwork Angels, which is based on the album by Canadian rockers Rush. The service, which grew out of Midwest Tape's 25-year history of supporting libraries, has been in ...Read more

Comic collection Monday #3: Flash #1 (1987)
NewsOK.com, May 25th

Comic Collection Monday returns for its latest installment. Today I'll take a look at “Flash” #1, with a publication date of June 1987. In Comic Collection Monday, each Monday, I post the cover of a comic book from my collection, along with a brief...Read more

Comic Collection Monday #2: Astro City #1 (1995)
NewsOK.com, May 18th

Comic Collection Monday returns for a second installment. Today I'll take a look at "Astro City" #1, with a publication date of Aug. 1995. In Comic Collection Monday, each Monday, I post the cover of a comic book from my collection, along with a brief...Read more

Iowa comic collector teaches classes at community college
Chron.com, May 17th

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Jerry Harrington remembers skipping lunch in junior high and making the rounds at the two drug stores in his town to snatch up comic books fresh off the delivery truck. Growing up on a dairy farm outside of the small northeast...Read more

Comic Collection Monday #1: Captain America #121
NewsOK.com, May 11th

Comic Collection Monday! Today I'll take a look at “Captain America” #121, with a publication date of Jan. 1970. The issue: This issue is written by Stan Lee with great, moody art by Gene Colan. In the issue, scientist Simon X. Cragg is obsessed with...Read more

IC comic collector, historian teaches Kirkwood class
Iowa City Press Citizen, May 6th

Jerry Harrington remembers skipping lunch in junior high and making the rounds at the two drug stores in his town to snatch up comic books fresh off the delivery truck. Growing up on a dairy farm outside of the small northeast Iowa town of Waverly, the ...Read more