In October 1956, issue number four of “Showcase” comics included a story called “Whirlwind Adventures of the Fastest Man Alive – the Flash!” With this reinvention of a Golden Age comic-book character called the Flash, the Silver Age of comics had begun.

At the time, the comic-book industry was suffering from two major setbacks. First, World War II was over, leaving writers and illustrators with a much smaller pool of stock villains to choose from. Second, Frederick Wertham’s book, “Seduction of the Innocent,” echoed accusations aired at a Senate subcommittee hearing on juvenile delinquency in 1954—in that famous hearing, comic books had been blamed for the rise in deviancy among adolescents and teens.

With the success of the Flash, however, superheroes experienced a rush of new life. Another Golden Age hero, Green Lantern, was resurrected, and Marvel—propelled by the creative output of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and others—produced enduring characters like the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Dr. Doom, and the Amazing Spider-Man.

Unlike the hardy, forever-optimistic heroes of the Golden Age, these characters battled enemies both inside their heads and out on the streets—their human frailties helped readers identify with them. The Silver Age was also contemporaneous with the space race against Russia, and the genre’s fascination with plots and characters that revolved around science—or some imitation of it—spawned characters like the X-Men and settings like Earth-2.

Many comic book collectors peg the end of the Silver Age at 1970, when Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC Comics.


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Recent News: Silver Age Comic Books

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29 reasons to celebrate Black History Month: No. 15 Matt Baker
Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 12th

Matt Baker: We know about The Black Panther, Storm and Luke Cage, black superheroes who have splashed across the pages of comic books. But what about Matt Baker? Baker was a hero in his own right as one of the earliest black comic book artists. Baker ...Read more

'Legends of Tomorrow' Season 1, Episode 4: 'White Knights'
ComicsAlliance, February 12th

Dylan: Oh man, the translator pill was the most Silver Age thing this side of talking detective chimpanzee. Like, it's the kind of thing Reed RIchards would pull out in those first issues of Fantastic Four, like the oxygen pills he gave them when they...Read more

Comic With Spider-Man's First Appearance Could Be the Hero's Most Expensive Ever
Observer, February 12th

The comic is being sold by collector Walter Yakaboski, who purchased the issue in 1980 for approximately $1,200 during an extensive search for the most valuable Silver Age comics on the market. Two other comics from Mr. Yakaboski's collection are up...Read more

The First Great Adaptation: Celebrating The 'Adventures of Superman' Radio Show
ComicsAlliance, February 12th

The Adventures of Superman helped cement Superman as not just the character who kicked off the Golden Age of Comics and the superhero genre, but as a pop cultural force that transcended his native medium to become something bigger, something more. In...Read more

The Flash Recap: Through the Looking Glass
Vulture, February 10th

Ever since Earth-2 was first teased, I've been curious to see how The Flash would delve into it. Would the show go for heartbreak? Would we see a bevy of references to other parts of the DC Universe? Would it wonderfully embrace the Silver Age zaniness...Read more

'The Flash' Shows Supergirl, Jonah Hex, Confirms 1990 Series as Continuity
Inverse, February 10th

Pérez did just that, and drew dozens of obscure Golden and Silver Age characters long forgotten by modern DC Comics. The same thing applies to The Flash. Whether or not these images allude to the future or simply pay homage is up to the producers...Read more

One Comic That Explains Why Superheroes Didn't Just Immediately Win World War II
Kotaku, February 9th

He was amongst the second wave of creators at Marvel during the publisher's rebirth as a superhero powerhouse, helping codify the melodramatic Silver Age plots and dialogue that would define decades of comics scripting. You can see some of his fannish ...Read more

The Trouble With Superman
The Atlantic, February 7th

Who, then, is the modern Superman? Per Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's critically acclaimed All-Star Superman (2005), a love-letter to the Silver Age of Superman comics, Clark Kent is a man whose god-like power is his incredible empathy, juxtaposed ...Read more