The current comic age we are in is known as the “Modern Age”. We will dive into the specifics of the Modern Age and pose this one question- Isn’t it time for us to be entering a new comic age?
Know Your Age!
The revolution and history of comics are broken into time periods. Comic periods tend to based on different factors. Currently, comic ages are broken off into four primary time periods.
The first period is known as the “Golden Age,” as it is identified as when comic books were first being published and it introduces your classic iconic superheroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America.
This time period is estimated between the years 1938 to 1956.
The “Silver Age” of comics came during the years 1956 to 1970.
It was considered a period where comics became a mainstream source of entertainment in America and introduced classic heroes such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.
The “Bronze Age” of comics followed during the years 1970 to 1985.
This age introduced darker plots concerning real-life issues such as pollution, drugs, and poverty. In addition, it included the end of certain writers and artists who introduced the art of comics and ushered new writers with more unique storylines.
The Modern Age:
Counting from 1985, this age is 36 years old. No age that I have stated previously even went past 20 years. The “Golden Age” has the longest prior to the “Modern Age” at 18 years.
The “Modern Age” of comics is defined by many different elements. Elements such as the profit-oriented nature of comic book publishers, more unique and complete characters, and storylines.
Publishers and the writers associated would use their brand and popularity for more financial gains. The popularity of social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few, are tools for artists and writers to gain exposure and use their work further for more proper gains.
Some historians of comics think that some elements of the Bronze Age of comics influenced the elements of darker plots and characters into the Modern Age. Individuals such as John Byrne, Chris Claremont, and Frank Miller’s contributions during this time period are notable for this nuance.
Claremont’s run on the Uncanny X-Men series and his take on the characters of Wolverine and Sabertooth and his dark view of them would influence the brand for years to come. If anything, an anti-hero such as Wolverine would rise in popularity in comics and fans. That is another element that became popularized during the Modern Age.
Rise of the Independents
Technology and openness during this current time period have led to the rise of independent publishers. Publishers such as Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Aftershock Comics, are a few to name as prime examples of this comic age. Certain popular comic figures are leaving mainstay comic publishers, such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and this has allowed individuals to express their creative control and ideas under independent publishers.
Currently, one way to make money for television networks and streaming platforms is to develop shows from comics. Specifically, shows are popping up left and right with plot material coming straight from independent comic books. For example, the AMC television network acquired the rights to develop a tv show off The Walking Dead comics. For many years, The Walking Dead was the highest viewed cable tv show and it really inspired the spread of shows from independent comics.
Are We Still in the Modern Comics Age?
All in all, there are so many other factors that described the Modern Age of comics. I described a few nuances, but do we believe that the last current couple of years is still the Modern Age? 30+ years in a comic age is a bit too long and I would think at some point we need to draw a line. I personally feel that somewhere in the early 2000s is a good stopping point for the “Modern Age”.
The comic speculation market has been booming for a long period of time now. As such, it has greatly influenced this current age. The effect of social media cannot be understated. It has really provided for financial gains for publishers as well as artists and writers. Well, time will tell what happens in the future. It appears we would need some type of “game-changing” event or book for us to move past the “Modern Age”. Tell me what you think!