[[quoteright:350:[[JimmyOlsen http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/olsen72cover_5074.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The Silver Age in a nutshell. [[Website/{{Superdickery}} Take four]] [[DrinkingGame shots]].]]

->''"Today we once again venture forth into the deepest depths of insanity known as 'the Silver Age' - when comics cost 12 cents, Superman could juggle planets with his pinky finger, and stories didn't have to follow anything like 'logic' or 'natural plot development'!"''
-->--'''Linkara''', ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall''

Depending on who you ask, either a magical time when comic books were wonderful and everyone read them, or a historical relic where everything was childish, pointless, and/or ludicrous. ([[NarmCharm Or both]].)

The Silver Age lasted from 1956 to about 1970 (although some people count everything up until 1985 as part of it, folding in the TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks). Note that this is the period that spawned the '60s ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series, and no, this is not a coincidence. The Silver Age was a time of talking gorillas and super-powered pets, of covers that were created before the story and seventeen types of Kryptonite. It was naive and visionary, futuristic and outdated.

And every {{Superhero}} comic published today owes something to it.

In the late 1930s, the {{Superhero}} was born. The genre quickly exploded, with hundreds of titles published at the height of the time now known as the TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks. Unfortunately, by 1950, the popularity of superhero comics had declined precipitously. This was due largely to the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII taking away nearly all of the go-to enemies for heroes to fight, plus the knock-on result of people just being tired of fighting in general. During [[TheInterregnum this period]], superhero comics slowly vanished from the stands, to be replaced by horror comics, Westerns, monster comics, romance comics, humor comics, and other genres, with only a few (Franchise/{{Superman}}, Franchise/{{Batman}}, and Franchise/WonderWoman among them) still surviving.

That all changed in 1954 with the publication of Frederic Wertham's ''Seduction of the Innocent'', a book that [[LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics accused comics of creating juvenile delinquency and sexual "deviancy"]], creating a backlash that led directly to the creation of UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode, which caused the destruction of the old comics paradigm almost literally overnight.

And then, in the September-October 1956 issue of Creator/DCComics's ''Showcase'', something magical happened. A remake of super-speed character Franchise/TheFlash with a new costume, secret identity, and origin spiked the sales charts. After a couple more test issues, they gave him his own title, and tried redoing another Golden Age character, Franchise/GreenLantern. This too was successful, and the {{Superhero}} genre was off to the races. Within a couple years, several other companies threw their hats into the ring, such as Atlas, Charlton, and ACG. In 1961, Creator/StanLee of Creator/MarvelComics was told by his boss to create something in the vein of DC's Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica. Thus, the Comicbook/FantasticFour appeared on the stands, and Marvel's innovative characterization-based approach to comic books appeared.

The Silver Age can be split between two approaches the more old-fashioned Golden Age style with stalwart, lantern-jawed heroes solving the plot through logic and creative use of their signature abilities... and the more characterization-based style, where heroes dealt with supervillains and inner demons alike. One could say that the Silver Age ended when Creator/JackKirby, one of the creators of the latter style at Marvel, moved to DC, the mainstay of the old-fashioned approach. However, Creator/SteveDitko, the third major founding talent of Marvel Comics and co-creator of Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}}, had crossed over before him.

The Silver Age was, in a word, silly. Due to the assumptions of UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode, creators were generally restricted to creating entertainment for children, and the Code's guidelines as to what was age-appropriate were very strict, precluding a lot of possible storylines that might deal with more mature themes. TheFifties also saw a general turn toward conservatism in American society as a reaction against the disruption of the War, and pushing the envelope or questioning social norms was frowned upon. This is most obvious when it comes to female characters, who had been more independent back in the Golden Age this is the era when Franchise/WonderWoman became [[NoGuyWantsAnAmazon vaguely apologetic about rescuing male characters]]; and Lois Lane, who had been portrayed as an ambitious career woman before, decided [[AcceptableFeminineGoalsAndTraits her main goal in life]] was [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe forcing Superman to marry her]] and becoming a housewife.

Morality in Silver Age comics was extremely [[BlackAndWhiteMorality black and white]]; heroes in particular followed a strict, moralistic code of conduct. Since dealing with serious real-world issues was frowned upon, wacky SpeculativeFiction plots that bore no relation to reality became increasingly common. Supervillains' plans were usually [[LighterAndSofter more goofy than genuinely threatening]]. Superheroes had names like [SomethingPerson] or [TheAdjectivalSuperhero], which would seem too {{narm}}y today, and they would develop NewPowersAsThePlotDemands no matter how flimsy the justification or how absurd the power (one word: [[http://superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=36&Itemid=53&limitstart=4 super-weaving]]).

Since realism and consistent characterization were not exactly high priorities, the age saw a lot of {{Superdickery}}; Silver Age CoversAlwaysLie, and characters would frequently be seen doing something bizarrely out-of-character on the cover just to attract more buyers. Depending on who you ask, all this wackiness is either the Silver Age's fatal flaw or all part of the [[NarmCharm charm]].

Another fascination of the Silver Age was '''Science!''' The Silver Age occurred alongside the SpaceRace. Science was [[ForScience the answer to]], [[ScienceIsBad and source of]], every problem. The mutations of the Comicbook/{{X-Men}}, the alternate universe known as Earth-2, the alien conqueror known as Starro the genre was filled to the brim with SpeculativeFictionTropes. Many of the more fantasy-based heroes of the Golden Age were remade with scientific origins and powers. Of course, the science wasn't necessarily very ''[[{{technobabble}} scientific]]''. The authors were rarely scientists themselves, and even those who were [[RuleOfCool didn't let the facts get in the way of an exciting story]], especially when the stories were already so goofy. Thus, you had stuff like ice missiles that were attracted to speed, people who were [[ILoveNuclearPower exposed to radiation receiving superpowers]] instead of cancer, and so on.

Which is not to downplay its significance, mind you. Many of the most famous comic book characters and story-lines came from this era (The Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil) and many new ideas were created that would become standard in future comics: Superheroes as a social platform? The teenage masked hero? They started here. As well as how already existing characters were changed. (Many of the most famous elements and characters in The Green Lantern were non-existent in the Golden Age).

Over time, social mores relaxed and the moral panic around comic books faded. The {{Superhero}} genre began deliberately distancing itself from Silver Age silliness in an attempt to prove that comic books were a medium that could tell stories that were relevant to adults as well as kids and could deal with serious real-world issues. This trend toward [[DarkerAndEdgier a more serious tone]] and [[VerySpecialEpisode more socially relevant stories]] continued throughout the [[TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks Bronze Age]] and culminated in the grim darkness of the [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]]. In the [[TheModernAgeOfComicBooks Modern Age]], however, the pendulum has started to swing back (which might qualify the various Ages as parts of a CyclicTrope). ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', which ran from 2008-2011, attempted to revive the age in a modern setting.


[[folder: Notable series of the Silver Age: ]]

* ''[[Comicbook/SpiderMan Amazing Spider-Man]]'' (most successful instance of the Marvel style)
* ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' (beginning of the modern MarvelUniverse)
* ''Franchise/TheFlash'' (introduced the AlternateUniverse to TheDCU and in general exemplifies the age)
* ''Showcase'' (introduced updated versions of Golden Age heroes as well as popular new characters)
* ''Superman's Pal ComicBook/JimmyOlsen'' and ''Superman's Girl Friend, ComicBook/LoisLane'' (spinoffs from ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}'' and notable for their often bizarre plots and even bizarrer science. The former series is generally thought of by comic readers as the single most stereotypical example of Silver Age tropes, especially in modern {{Shout Out}}s.)
* ''[[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk The Incredible Hulk]]'', first true anti-hero of that age, and arguably the last "monster comic" that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee did.
* ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}

The brilliant computer game ''FreedomForce'' and its almost-as-brilliant sequel ''Freedom Force Versus the Third Reich'', both from Irrational Games, are loving {{homage}}s to the Silver Age, played 100% straight.

Usually accepted as lasting from the foundation of UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode until Creator/JackKirby's move to DC. (1954-1970). Alternatively starting with the reintroduction of ''Franchise/TheFlash'' (1956). Alternatively ending with price increases to 15 cents (1969) or ''The Amazing ComicBook/SpiderMan'' #100 (1971). Many also argue that ''The Amazing Spider-Man ''#121 is a much more important and fitting end: ''ComicBook/TheNightGwenStacyDied''.