Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Discuss your favorite comics, comic heroes, comic companies. Anything comics. Did we mention comics?
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DerRabbi
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Re: Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:47 am

One of the delineating factors between Silver Age and Bronze Age comics is that the creators of the Silver Age were just as likely to not want to work in comics as they wanted to in other industries. Comics were the lower tier illustration jobs they could get or hammered out for themselves because they were generally not accepted in other similar industries; commercial illustration and the newspaper comic strips in particular. These were better paying and more prestigious industries at the time and many of the original comics creators being sons of Jewish immigrants were more than likely cut off from these sorts of jobs; comics was a fall back position. Their comics heroes were the newspaper artists; Alex Raymond, Hal Foster, etc.

The Bronze Age of comics were generally created by the 1st generation of cartoonists that wanted to work in comics by and large. Their influences were the Marvel and DC comics themselves. They were younger (often hippies and counter cultural figures) and were generally younger & more irreverent than the Golden and Silver Age creators. Think about the differences in the creative impulses of say Steve Gerber from that of Jack Kirby.

I think its a pretty big difference marker and is the real reason of the transition between the ages. It isn't just that Kirby left Marvel and Gwen Stacy died. I think the importance of the creators primary influence being the comic books themselves is a very big factor. It begins the process of the comics industry (well at least the superhero comics industry) to start the process of "eating itself". It would really be until nearly the 2010s until cartoonists working for the big 2 would be significantly influenced by things other than the big 2 comics themselves; indie comics, european comics, etc.
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Re: Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:45 pm

DerRabbi wrote:
Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:47 am
The Bronze Age of comics were generally created by the 1st generation of cartoonists that wanted to work in comics by and large.
I think its a pretty big difference marker and is the real reason of the transition between the ages. It isn't just that Kirby left Marvel and Gwen Stacy died. I think the importance of the creators primary influence being the comic books themselves is a very big factor.
I agree - that's a different explanation for what I consider the rise of the creators as the focus in the bronze-ish age as being a change from much of the 1960's and early 70's Marvel and DC - the top creators by the mid-70's and 1980's weren't trying to just make a comic that was like the comic from last month in style, they were adapting and modifying the conventions and moving away from the house style - which I think led to a leap in quality and unique vision. Sort of how directors in the 70's like Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola etc., who grew up on the fairly generic 1950's sci-fi or gangster or war film of the week (that didn't attract or reward big name talent, like the comics in those days) elevated the genre films to be more personal projects and styles.
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DerRabbi
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Re: Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:25 pm

They certainly made them more personal and stylized. Particularly the writing. I would push back at the point that they made better comics necessarily. Silver Age Marvel is still the explosive creative event with the publisher the effects of which are still seen today. Certainly the Bronze Age creators fleshed out those ideas. In particular I think the artists of the Silver Age with their greater palette of influences were slightly more adept visual story tellers and cartoonists.
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Re: Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:41 pm

I would agree that Silver Age Marvel comics were bursting with creativity in terms of developing new characters and interesting story directions while creating the bedrock of the characters. But I think Bronze Age comics was often better executed in terms of art quality, dialog, and longer-term storytelling. But that is personal preference of course - especially with the art - as I find the technical, compositional and storytelling skills of a Byrne or Perez or Miller to be superior to the skills of a Buscema or Romita and so on.
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Re: Comics and Defining the Ages. Are we ready to re-label and redefine the "modern age" ?

Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:00 pm

I think todays comics are distinctly different than comics from the 90s to the point where they don’t really read the same.

Comics then were much more expository. Like if you read a 90s Spiderman, you’ll see narrator boxes, and thought bubbles, and dialogue that is very explicitly rehashing the story and telling you exactly what is going on. There’s no subtext really and it doesn’t read how people actually talk. Today it’s more bendis-fier and the language is more like, how people actually talk, and there’s very little narration boxes or extremely explicit exposition. Imo, this is sometimes to the detriment of the story (I think Hickman books suffer from being hard to follow because of this at times).


The other major major change is comics have expanded to encompass a lot more than superheroes than they did in the 90s. That always kind of existed, but it’s a lot bigger part of the market now. I’d argue that started with Watchmen (which still had superheroes in its way), and was really cemented by The Sandman, and has exploded since then where like The Walking Dead was one of the most popular series of the last 15 years and has no super powered characters at all.

Other things that could mark new ages would be the further rise of indies, the development where comics are now the secondary vehicle to the multimedia properties instead of the other way around, and digital distribution changing how people read and collect


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