Friday, November 5, 2010

My "Golden Age"



Warning: If you don't give a rat's patoot about comic books, you may want to skip today's little semi-autobiographical post, and its follow-up. I'll forgive you.

Among comic book aficionados, the term "the Golden Age of Comic Books" refers to -- dates vary according to the collector's personal preferences -- the period from 1938 (the debut of Superman) to 1954 (the year before the start of the so-called "Second Heroic Age").

On the other hand, there's an oft-quoted line saying that "the Golden Age of comics is eight," or "twelve," or whenever the comic book fan in question first started "overloading" on that particular hobby.

Keeping that second thought in mind, I'd have to say that my personal "Golden Age of Comic Books" was during the so-called Silver Age (roughly 1955-1968, to comic book collectors). My earliest attempts at reading were when I devoured comics from the DC Comics line, mostly Batman and Detective Comics (which featured Batman), and occasionally Superman and all of his off-shoot titles.

In 1964, however, I discovered the relatively-new Marvel Comics characters, as described in a long-ago Foxyblog post. I'll save you some time, and instead of linking to it and expecting you to read the whole damned thing, I'll reprint the following relevant passage, with a few edits.

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I was too young to know one comic publisher from another. I'd only read one comic later identified as a Marvel Comic... Fantastic Four Annual #1. And I'd read about a new character named Spider-Man in that same issue, but didn't get to see a copy of Spidey's own title until #10.)

It's interesting -- to me, anyway -- but I might have started reading Marvel Comics somewhat later if it hadn't been for DC!


In 1963, DC published an issue of Batman which featured a villain called Ant Man. Ant Man was a one-shot character. I wasn't aware of Marvel's Ant-Man, Henry Pym, in their Tales to Astonish title. A few months later, however, Tales to Astonish #49 cover-featured a story in which "Ant-Man Becomes GIANT MAN!"


Of course I bought it.

Then, when I got it home and started reading it, I found that there was no mention of Batman, and that this "Ant-Man" was not a dark-haired villain, but was, instead, a blonde-haired hero!

And the art was like nothing I'd ever seen before, either.

But I loved it! And if I recall correctly, house ads inside the book mentioned that Spider-Man guy I'd only heard about up until now (except for having read his brief appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #1). That meant that these "Marvel" guys did those Fantastic Four comics, too!

So this was an entirely different publishing company. Cool.

It wasn't until about four months later that I finally got hold of an issue of Amazing Spider-Man (#10), and started buying Marvel Comics in earnest. "End of story. Beginning of story."

"Beginning" of story? Well, yeah... This actually started out to be an image-heavy post about Marvel's Iron Man character, but it characteristically got out of hand. (Okay, okay, I characteristically got out of hand! Whatever!)

Next time around, no off-topic digressions, fellow babies. The whole durned article will feature the so-called "Golden Avenger," Tony Stark! And here's a friendly warning: The post won't discuss the Iron Man movie at all. It'll focus on the Iron Man comic books which I read as a child... and after. (And it's already done and scheduled to post on Sunday evening!)

Thanks for your time.

15 comments:

  1. all about it...love me some comics...i started with Xmen...batman quickly followed...

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  2. Ha! Brian, I was just telling one of the other Blogger-bloggers about this post (and the Iron Man one I have planned for probably Monday) via email, and said "Brian Miller should like [it], even if no one else does."

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  3. The Living Eraser? Now THAT would come in handy! :)

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  4. Everyone has his own definition of Golden Age ;)

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  5. Yeah, I'm a huge comics fan. Oddly enough, I was mostly into Marvel in the 80s and early 90s (despite DC's "darker, grittier" renaissance). In the late 90s, though, with Marvel floundering beneath loads of ridiculous ideas (Spider-Man's a clone??? C'mon!!!), I switched to DC.

    Then DC tanked earlier this decade. Now I don't know what to read.

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  6. @Betsy: I'll bet it would. The Living Eraser had devices attached to his hands which whisked his victims away to his home dimension. I can imagine how something like that would come in handy for you!

    @Candie: Exactly! And many "Golden Ages" have nothing to do with comics.

    @Jeffscape: Wow. Just responding to your remarks by writing my own history with comics would be a full-fledged post, or a series of posts! Then again, that's kinda what I'm doing, innit?

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  7. That's the first time you're not "teaching" me something ;(

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  8. @Candie: Maybe I've lost my touch, eh?

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  9. maybe..why did you stop practicing?You didn't find any students anymore?

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  10. I always thought of us as equals, learning from each other. :)

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  11. In Golden Age,none of this will ever matter :)

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  12. Only to Silver Foxes living in a Silver Age, perhaps...

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  13. I hadn't really thought about it till now. All those comic book heroes had an amazing rebirth in movie form. Although tastefully done I still prefer the comic as it stimulates the imagination rather than giving it all to you on the screen.

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  14. You know, SF, I was fortunate to have an older sister (10 years my senior) who got all the iron man and Fantastic four and Avenger comics so I had a decades worth to read and never bought one BUT, of course, i was years behind the contemporary stories. She loved the human Torch too. I was surprised when Iron Man the movie came out, no one had heard of him before, my younger colleagues, and yet he was always my fave@

    ncie post, fun memories too.

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