Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Looney Toons: I thought Doom Patrol was DC's answer to the X-Men, regardless of the X-Men/Titans crossover done in the early 80s?

Ununnilium: Okay see.

Doom Patrol and X-Men originally came out at about the same time in the Silver Age. Although they were oddly similar in many respects, neither could've been based on the other - they came out too soon together.

Now, the X-Men weren't very successful during the Silver Age, but they became successful during the Bronze Age with Chris Claremont, Len Wein, and John Byrne. The New Teen Titans was definitely based on that - angsty teenagers, distrusted by the community at large, et cetera.

Morgan Wick: Doom Patrol was more DC's answer to the Fantastic Four and the "Marvel Way" in general, as they basically took several of the character types of the FF and mixed them up. There's a brainy leader, a stretchy guy (mixed with the previous item in the original, the next one in the DP), a hot chick, a guy who turns into/gives birth to an energy form of himself, a permanantly transformed into some inhuman type thing guy (whether a heap of rock or a cyborg), etc. Also, DC stole a number of Lee-isms that were unlike any other DC Silver Age title out at the time, but would be very much at home at Marvel, if they were done as well as Lee did them: the heroes hated having superpowers and had no secret identities. (This attempt to be more Marvel-like may be a big reason for all the X-Men comparisons.) Both teams led by a guy in a wheelchair I can't explain.

In any event, Doom Patrol not only came out at around the same time, it originally came out slightly before X-Men...

Oh, and I refuse to accept any starting point for the Bronze Age earlier than the popularity of the X-Men and the debut of the New Teen Titans. Kirby's defection, and the "age of relevance" heralded in Green Lantern/Green Arrow, signaled the impending end of the Silver Age more than anything else. (For me, the "Dark Silver Age" begins with Wonder Woman's Dork Age, and kicks into high gear with the (short-lived) removal of Kryptonite and the O'Neal/Adams anti-TV show era of [[Comic Book.Batman Batman]].)

Shortly thereafter, things were bad for comics, and not everything that was coming out was heroes, with a lot of TV and movie adaptations... not unlike the period between the Golden and Silver Ages. This culminated in the "DC Implosion" where DC launched a spate of new titles... only to cancel them and a horde of existing titles (including some long runners; only the legacy of such titles as Action Comics saved them from extinction) the very next month.

After that, comics returned to some form of prominence. This period, for me, lasts until the 90's Speculator Boom and the rise of the '90s Anti-Hero, which kicks off what I guess you could call the Dark Age. I prefer to use that on interregnum periods - that's what it evokes for me. After the bust of the Speculator Boom and the Marvel bankruptcy comes another interregnum period (or "Dark Age") that may or may not be ending or have already ended.

Right now, dividing up "ages" for comics after 1970 is incredibly subjective, and is it useful for us to be trying to do so? </Morgan Wick>

Ununnilium: Let's see. Yeah, the Doom Patrol was probably DC's first of many stabs at the Marvel style.

As for the beginning of the Bronze Age... well, personally, I can't accept any date later than the death of Gwen Stacy, which was a couple years before Giant Size X-Men #1 (specifically, they were 1973 and 1975). The hero fails to save his girlfriend from the villain. That's not Silver Age.

And yeah, the divisions are quite subjective, but I think it is, in fact, useful. If you look at the general tone and tenor of comics from, say, 1976, it's very different from the ones in, say, 1991, which in turn are very different from the ones coming out now.

Hm, I should work on that Dark Age entry...

Morgan Wick: See, I see most of the 70s as not Silver Age, but I don't think Bronze Age is appropriate for it either, because a) it doesn't fit the pattern of the Golden/Silver Age split, b) comics were down, and c) superheroes were not as prevalant as in the Silver Age or in the 80's.

It's not, "it's either Silver Age or Bronze Age"; there's an interregnum period. Or at least, there should be. The Golden Age didn't last all the way to Showcase #4, right through the Senate hearings and the formation of the CCA. If it's all a series of Golden Ages, what's the point of breaking them up? And how do you explain the marginalization of comics in the late 90's, early 00's, and possibly today?

Ununnilium: Okay. First off, these are not categories I created. (Except for The Interregnum.)

Secondly, the point in breaking them up is that they were different. Any attempt at putting cutoff points on an ongoing process is necessarily arbitrary, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. To take from history books, European civilization didn't suddenly change from successful to fallen in 500 AD, but that's when we begin the Middle Ages.

Third, I'm not sure what the marginalization of comics at any time has to do with it. (Except that it's going to be part of the entries on the Dark Age and Modern Age.)

Morgan Wick: If I had made clear in the first place that I wasn't extending the Silver Age all the way to NTT we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

Europe didn't change from successful to fallen in 500 AD... but European scholars used to think it changed from successful to fallen in 476 AD. Bad example. (I'm nitpicking, of course, and it might not be entirely valid.)

I don't know of anyone who has the Golden and Silver Ages touching chronologically. The generally accepted interpretation is that superheroes fell out of favor (ending the Golden Age), Wertham came along and the Senate cracked down and comics got saddled with the CCA, and superheroes came back into favor in the Silver Age.

The term "Golden Age" is usually used on periods of exceptionally high quality, but the perception has generally been that the Golden Age has been separated from non-Golden Age(s) by a lack of popularity for comics as well. (That's not true, but that's beside the point.)

I stand by my original classification. The "Dark Silver Age" (and I refer to it as such rather than by equating it with the period between the Golden and Silver Ages because superheroes were still the most popular things on the stands and comic popularity was fairly close to Silver Age levels, though very much on the decline), starting with the benchmarks set earlier (with a new one: the end of the 10-cent comic era), ends around the time of the death of Gwen Stacy, maybe a little later.

I dare you to find any real classic comics, other than the new X-Men, within the superhero genre between the 1973 death of Gwen Stacy and the 1980 debut of the New Teen Titans. More likely, you'll find things like the Star Wars Marvel tie-in (not to mention Conan) and books like Cerebus and Elfquest. DC is putting out ridiculous TV tie-ins. Most superhero books are in creative ruts. Many non-DC or Marvel publishers are going out of business.

It's a little too bizarre for me to equate the wave of relevance and Deconstruction in the early '70's (in no other age before or since would the GL/GA comics even been possible) with what came after X-Men and NTT (which is basically the Silver Age modified by what came in the early 70's, at least until Frank Miller started becoming influencial), if only because the two don't flow together very well. The traditional "Bronze Age", in my view, conflates two different, separate, and related only by the influence the first had in general, phenomena. </Morgan Wick>

Ununnilium: It's true that the Golden and Silver Ages don't touch chronologically; if you look at Comic Book Tropes, you see I have The Interregnum inbetween. Not arguing on that.

And basically, I disagree. It's all comics reaching for an older, high-school-college-age audience. The black-and-white magazines, the relevance, the increased level of characterization and teenage (rather than adult or kid) characters; it all springs from the same well. Even if it wasn't very well done (which I don't necessarily agree with either).

(And I have to say, this is the geekiest conversation I've been in in a while. ^-^)
Gus: Which age? The Dark Age that immediately proceeds the sentence? Or the "this age" that is the article topic, or "this age" the Silver Age? It is ambiguous.

Ununnilium: Should be the Bronze Age itself, yeah. I thought it was clear from context, but doesn't seem that way. *fix*

Darci: On the main page, reference was made to the series "The Claws of the Cat." That Marvel Comics' series was actually named "The Cat" (see the indicia in each issue). It's frequently mis-remembered as T Cot C because the issues bore that text on the cover. Hope this helps!

Ununnilium: Thanks! You can edit things like that in yourself, you know; don't be afraid to jump in!
arromdee:Re: the above discussions: Please, no. It's silly to point to some prominent Bronze Age comic and say "I won't accept any date that comes before this comic". The ages don't have to start at exactly the same moment in every book, and at any rate there's a big difference between "this is a Bronze Age comic" and "this is the first Bronze Age comic". Yes, the new X-Men started in 1975, but that doesn't mean that Conan or the Fourth World don't count, especially since the X-Men had started after a hiatus.

Ununnilium: This is true.
arromdee: This badly needs a new picture. The picture shown is not from a contemporary comic, but from a 1980's reprint.