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  1. #1
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    Default Comic Ages: Official/Unofficial

    The majority of us have heard of the Ages timeframes in comics. Over the last 20 years the list of Ages as been expanded.

    For you, what is your Ages timeframes that you go by?

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Pre-Golden Age: Before 1938
    Golden Age: 1938-1954
    Silver Age: 1955-1968
    Bronze Age: 1969-1985
    Modern Age: 1986-1994
    Dark Age: 1995-2011
    Digital Age: 2011-present

    The key moments in my timeline are:

    The debut of Superman in 1938 (Up, up, and away!)
    The launch of the Comics Code in 1955 (Comics are for Kids!)
    The Writer Purge at DC in 1968 (So long Gardner Fox, John Broome, Bob Haney, Arnold Drake and others; hello friends of Neal Adams)
    The start of Marvel Time as a result of Marvel licensing characters for cartoons in 1968 (also referred by some as the year Marvel 'Sold Out')
    Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars II (not the first one), both being the first major events that crossed over into other ongoing comics, both in 1985 (Everything is connected... And you will buy them all!)
    Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen in 1986 (Comics aren't just for Kids! Really!)
    Image's formation in 1992 (We can do it!)
    The move to Comic Shops only around 1992-1994 (Where did all the comics go? cries kids with only bicycles for transportation)
    Marvel and DC leave the Comics Code in 2001 (Marvel) and 2011 (DC) (Comics aren't for Kids! Really!! Let go of my Batman!!!)
    DC and Marvel go digital in 2011 (They still make comics?, exclaims half the population)

    It's not perfect, but it's my current time-table.
    "There's magic in the sound of analog audio." - CNET.

  3. #3
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    I keep mine simple:

    Golden Age 1933-September, 1956
    Silver Age October, 1956-September, 1986
    Modern Age October, 1986-present*
    * Modern Age split into sub-catagories:
    DC: Man of Steel: October, 1986-November, 1999
    Birthright: December, 1999-April, 2006
    Secret Origin: May, 2006-October, 2011
    New 52: November, 2011-present
    Marvel: October, 1986-One More Day
    Brand New Day-Disney Acquisition (May, 2009)
    Disney's Marvel: June, 2009- present*
    *Marvel Now: December, 2012-present

  4. #4
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    The Pulp Era: 1910s to 1930s (John Carter of Mars, Zorro, The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake)

    The Golden Age: Late 1930s to late 1940s (Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Green Arrow & Wonder Woman)

    The Silver Age: Late 1950s to late 1960s (Supergirl, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman & The Atom revamps, the Teen Titans & Doom Patrol)

    The Bronze Age: '70s to mid '80s (Hard Travelling Heroes, Kirby's DC creations, Black Lightning, Firestorm, New Teen Titans, Outsiders, Infinity Inc)

    The Dark Age: Mid '80s to late 90s (Dark Night, Watchmen, Man of Steel, Perez's Wonder Woman, JLI, Death in the Family, Doomsday, Emerald Twilight, Wonder Thong)

    The Platinum Age: Late 90s to late 2000s (JLA, the Authority, Silver Age/Bronze Age retro revamps galore)

    The Modern Age: 2010ish to present.

  5. #5
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    The two periods I recognize are the Golden Age and the Silver Age. And even there, I'd say that the Golden Age was an authentic thing. But it was fans from those days looking back on their childhoods and saying, "That was a Golden Age." As we do with a lot of things. And when we do that, we're not thinking in a meticulous way and doing some heavy analysis with dates and creators--it's just a feeling about an amorphous time period.

    Out of that comes the idea of a Silver Age as a point of contrast. Those same fans (Roy Thomas for example) were in on the experience of a new revival in comics and since they had already identified this Golden Age, they naturally called the next period a Silver Age.

    The problem is that self-appointed comics experts then took those two categories and tried to quantify them and sub-divide the history of comics--so that the vague Golden Age and Silver Age themselves were contracted to fit certain dates, with other sub-divisions squeezed in. It was all back to front, because the categories didn't come out of an objective study. The categories came first and the studies came later.

    The other thing that bugs me is that a lot of this has become about super-heroes, as if the only comics anyone ever read or that were important were super-hero comics. To me the "Golden Age of Comics" in the United States begins around 1934 (FAMOUS FUNNIES) or 1935 (NEW FUN). If you say it begins in 1938, with ACTION COMICS, you're suggesting that the super-hero is the most important thing--and not the medium of comics itself.

    I'm more interested in the comics format and the development of that medium--into which many different kinds of stories landed. With the popularity of comic books, the publishers experimented with different kinds of content, constantly looking for the latest trend that would grab the dimes out of kids' pockets. So adventure heroes, slap stick comedy, super-heroes, jungle adventure, funny animals, horror, romance, screen stars, crime, western, science fiction, 3-D, games and puzzles, teen humour, kid humour, good girls, whacky creatures, war stories, toys, paper dolls, porn, promotional contests, lenticular covers, variant covers.

    Most writers and artists were polymaths, they didn't stick with one flavour of comics. They needed to make a living, so they had to be good at a wide range of comic books. The most prolific comics writer Paul S. Newman did every kind of comic imaginable and his career went from the 1940s to the 1990s--maybe we should use those dates to identify the Paul S. Newman Age of Comics--that's as good as any other category.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    The Pulp Era: 1910s to 1930s (John Carter of Mars, Zorro, The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake)

    The Golden Age: Late 1930s to late 1940s (Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Green Arrow & Wonder Woman)

    The Silver Age: Late 1950s to late 1960s (Supergirl, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman & The Atom revamps, the Teen Titans & Doom Patrol)

    The Bronze Age: '70s to mid '80s (Hard Travelling Heroes, Kirby's DC creations, Black Lightning, Firestorm, New Teen Titans, Outsiders, Infinity Inc)

    The Dark Age: Mid '80s to late 90s (Dark Night, Watchmen, Man of Steel, Perez's Wonder Woman, JLI, Death in the Family, Doomsday, Emerald Twilight, Wonder Thong)

    The Platinum Age: Late 90s to late 2000s (JLA, the Authority, Silver Age/Bronze Age retro revamps galore)

    The Modern Age: 2010ish to present.
    This is pretty much how I break it down too. Except, in my mind the Dark & Platinum Ages are combined.
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  7. #7
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    I'm not as cold as Jim Kelly on the Gold/Silver/Bronze age of comics: they do correspond with cultural shifts within the dominant publishers of comics in the USA, and have value in that specific context. The periods after that feel a lot more nebolous, however.

    But a more rigorous classification should probably look harder at distribution methods (in a broad sense) rather than only content or themes. Now, I'm far from well-versed in comics history, but the restructuring of DC in 1937 and the arrival of the CCA both fit nicely into a distribution-focused view.

    Note also that when doing a classification in this way, one probably should not look at when a new distribution method is introduced, but when it becomes widespread or commercially important. So the graphic novel and trades should be counted from 1986–87 or so, not from when the term and format was first introduced.

    Such a scheme would also place focus on the collapse of the newsstand market, which arguably was just as important as the rise of the direct market. (The collapse of the similar mass-market paperback market in 1996 was a major thing for the entire publishing industry.)

    Checking the wikipedia page on the direct market, it seems like the direct market and the graphic novel both evolved at roughly the same period (circa 1978–1987) marking that as a period of transition. I'm not sure when the newsstand publishing market collapsed, but that would mark the end of a second period of transition.

    ETA: Today, we live in another transitory period, with the rise of digital comics. It's also been going on for somet time, and we haven't seen its end yet.
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  8. #8
    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    The Golden Age is the mid 30s to the mid 50s.

    The Silver Age is the late 50s to the late 60s.

    The Bronze Age is the early 70s to the mid 80s.

    The Dark Age is the mid 80s to the mid 90s.

    The Modern Age is the late 90s to late 00s.

    Digital Age is Now - I think this era is its own thing, characterized by digital comics, "SJW" Marvel comics, crowdfunded comics, webcomics, and endless relaunches from Marvel and DC. I think we're getting close to the fall of the comic shop and direct market, which will certainly be a massive moment in the history of comics. The internet has opened up bold new paths for distributing and reading comics, and comics fans are starting to utilize it more and more.

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    I prefer hardcopies that are easily accessible. Take away physical comic shops and there is no use to collect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire Savior View Post
    The Golden Age is the mid 30s to the mid 50s.

    The Silver Age is the late 50s to the late 60s.

    The Bronze Age is the early 70s to the mid 80s.

    The Dark Age is the mid 80s to the mid 90s.

    The Modern Age is the late 90s to late 00s.

    Digital Age is Now - I think this era is its own thing, characterized by digital comics, "SJW" Marvel comics, crowdfunded comics, webcomics, and endless relaunches from Marvel and DC. I think we're getting close to the fall of the comic shop and direct market, which will certainly be a massive moment in the history of comics. The internet has opened up bold new paths for distributing and reading comics, and comics fans are starting to utilize it more and more.
    I prefer hardcopies that are easily accessible. Take away physical comic shops and there is no use to collect.

  11. #11
    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltmonster View Post
    I prefer hardcopies that are easily accessible. Take away physical comic shops and there is no use to collect.
    And that's the problem. Collectors have become the primary focus and lifeblood of the comics industry and look where it's led us. What should be most important is compelling stories with compelling characters, not collecting 15 versions of the same comic just because it has a different cover, or duping people into buying 200 tie-in comics to complete a story which will end up costing one person $400 to read, or perhaps even 700 if they buy all the silly covers. Everyone is drawn to compelling stories with compelling characters, but only a select few are going to do something like buying the same product over and over again just because the cover is different. If people are drawn in by compelling stories (which should take precedence in comics, but don't), they will read them however they can, be it on a computer screen, or wherever.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Mutant God's Avatar
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    Golden Age - 30s to early 50s
    Silver Age - mid 50s to early 70s
    Bronze/Dark Age - mid 70s to early 2000s
    Iron Age/Digital Age - mid 2000s to present
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    Bartender: Now calm down Skeeter they aint hurtin nobody.

    Skeeter: No! I wanna know som'in from the "O5" How come you cant go back to your own timeline in the first place and how come when Reed Richards "fixed" the universe you wasnt put back and how come the changes that happn to you dont happn to your present day selves?

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  13. #13
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    The collector market isn't what it used to be. Prices have fallen on a lot of what used to be valued comics. The greater part of the comic consuming public doesn't care about collecting or comics history. But the few people who are into collecting will pay a lot more money than the average consumer, so it helps the comic shops to sell to those over-spending collectors and speculators. The reason there are the variants and the special editions is for the sake of brick and mortar comic stores. The industry doesn't want to drive thousands of comic shop owners out of business, so they try to do things to help those shops. If they were mercenary about it, the comic industry would let the shops die and they would content themselves with releasing everything digitally. Thankfully, they're not that cold hearted.
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  14. #14
    Incredible Member Vampire Savior's Avatar
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    It's not just the variants, it's also the endless events, the tie-ins, and the constant relaunches. All this is done to appeal to a certain very idiosyncratic type of costumer, and I propose it is being done at the expense of the customer who just wants to read a comprehensible story that they can make sense out of. That is based in a die-hard collector-like mentality, because that type of chaos wasn't going on when comics were being read by normies who got them from spinner racks and such. It's as if the comics industry wants this hobbie to be as esoteric and inaccessible as possible. The only thing I can think of that has anything at all to do with making money that is comparable is the Scandinavian Black Metal movement of the early 90s, which actually consciously and intentionally tried to be inaccessible:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_metal

    And about the variants, they are done for the sake of the shops, and yet...to get the variants, the shops are forced to buy loads of regular cover comics that they likely won't be able to sell, just to get that one special version of the cover. Hmm... that sounds like a very dysfunctional relationship between the publisher, distributor, and the shops to me.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Air Wave's Avatar
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    I'm glad you separated out the period before Superman. I definitely think that should be some sort of "dark age." Also, I've always felt there should be something between the Golden & Silver Ages. The first time I ever heard the expression they called it 1938-1945, which makes more sense to me. Maybe that period should be 1950-1955, the era without a Flash.

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