Comics were never a large part of my childhood. I knew basic characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Spiderman from the animated television shows. However, I have never read a comic book from DC Comics or Marvel. I became more familiar with the superheros when they started creating the films over the past 10 years. After watching the movie in class, I realized how much I missed out by never picking up a comic book.
Malcolm Wheeler-Nelson began National Allied Publications in 1934, what would later become D.C Comics, during the Great Depression. He later hired Irwin Donenfield and Jack Liebowitz after facing financial troubles (“A Peep into DC Comics History)”. As the movie said this began the Golden Age of Comics. Donenfield and Liebowitz were both poor and drew their character inspiration from the ambitions they had for themselves. Instead of the poor,beaten up kid, they drew Superman, man of steel and power. Instead of the poor boy, they drew Batman, rich playboy by day and superhero by night. The comics became an instant hit, hence the name the Golden Age. Wonder Woman was introduced after Superman and Batman by psychologist William Moulton Marston. When the United States entered WWII, the comics became more patriotic. Superman often fought Hitler and all the characters supported the US and its soldiers. Comic book sales were up and the industry continued to grow in the Golden Age. However, with the end of WWII, DC comics began to struggle. The superheroes could no longer fight petty crimes after the US had fought a war. The lack of appropriate content led to a fall of comic book sales and to the beginning of the Silver Age (“Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics”).
The Silver Age of DC Comics, beginning in the 1950’s, saw the introduction of the Green Lantern and Batwoman (“A Peep into DC Comics History). However, although the Silver Age produced new characters, sales continued to drop. The superheroes became more domestic, as Superman became more concerned with his family and Wonder Woman with her boyfriend. The comics struggled and eventually new artists were brought in, each one with more changes to improve the flailing industry. The Silver Age also saw the introduction of Superhero television shows, keeping the characters alive (“Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics”).
The Bronze Age of DC Comics began in he 70’s. The Bronze Age saw a redesign of the characters and the introduction of social issues. Using Green Arrow and Green Lantern, DC comics began showing the effects of drug abuse. Green Lantern was used as a contrast to Green Arrow. Green Lantern seemed clueless to the world, always helping other planets, but never his own, until Green Arrow showed him the problems his world faced. The contrast was used to draw the audience back in, showing that DC Comics may have ignored social issues, but they were not going to anymore. The Bronze Age also saw redesigns of the characters. Flash became a chemically induced character with an updates costume. This was a start to the heavy emphasis on where the superheroes came from and why they became super (“Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics”).
My favorite Superhero is Batman, though as I mentioned before I have not read the comics. I have seen the recent Dark Knight movies, and while the casting plays a somewhat large role in my decision, I like the idea of a normal, rich person choosing to become a superhero. Batman created himself. He trains to learn different forms of fighting and overcomes his fears himself without a special chemical concoction. I also like the idea of using technology as his main source of weaponry. While I do not know of any weapon that can make a man fly, Batman cannot fly naturally on his own making him a man-made superhero. I think there is a stronger connection between Americans and Batman because he is man made, not the result of chemicals or an alien sent to Earth.
“A Peep into DC Comics History.” Wonder Woman. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://www.wonderwomanfordc.com/overview-of-dc-comics/a-peep-into-dc-comics-history.html>.
Guerro, Tony. The 8 Most Important Wonder Woman Costumes. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://www.comicvine.com/news/the-8-most-important-wonder-woman-costumes/138239/>
Joyce, Nick. “Wonder Woman: A Psychologist’s Creation.” Time Capsule 39.11 (2008): 20.American Psychological Association (APA). APA. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/12/wonder-woman.aspx>.
Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. Prod. Jeffrey Blitz. Dir. Mac Carter. Perf. Ryan Reynolds. DC Enterntainment, 2010. DVD.
“Silver Age Comics.” : Fifty Years Ago Today. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://sacomics.blogspot.com/2009/03/fifty-years-ago-today.html>.
“The Flash! Speedy ’76 Neal Adams Art! Super DC Comics Calendar!” Big Glee! The Albert Bryan Bigley Archives! 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://bigglee.blogspot.com/2012/02/flash-speedy-76-neal-adams-art-super-dc.html>.