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  1. #1
    Boisterously Confused
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    Default Was 1986 the most important year for superhero comics since 1938?

    Yes, I fell for the clickbait, but the author of this post on Nerdist makes a good point. A lot of seismic shifts hit all comics in 1986. Outside of the superhero explosion spanning 1939-40, has there been as big a single 12-month span for superhero comics, ever?

  2. #2
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    It seems mostly important to D.C. and mostly important to super-heroes. Even there, I can think of things that happened in 1985 and 1987 that were as important to the company Superman built.

    Why fans of the comic book medium believe it begins and ends with super-heroes, I don't know. Once you let go of that bias, there are other periods in comics just as significant for what happened to the art form--as far as stuff like crime, horror, humour or adult fantasy are concerned.
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  3. #3
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, Daredevil Born Again, Man of Steel, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mutant Massacre, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Elektra Assassin, Punisher: Circle of Blood

    Yeah
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  4. #4
    Incredible Member Zauriel's Avatar
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    1986 was not only an important year for comics, but also an important year for politics. Challenger exploded on on January 28, 1986, Chernobyl had a nuclear accident on Saturday 26 April 1986,

    Ronald Reagan was in charge. Soviet Union was still fighting in Afghanistan and slowly decaying from within. Berlin still had a wall there. Charles and Diana were still married. Iran–Contra affair was still embroiling the country.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986

  5. #5
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    One could argue that 1956 (the start of the Silver Age) was the most important year for the superhero genre, because sales of superhero comics had been in decline since the end of WWII as other genres (crime, Western, horror, and romance) had become increasingly popular and were taking their place. The introduction of the new Silver Age superheroes (along with the collapse of the horror market following the Kefauver hearings and the introduction of the Comics Code) revived the popularity of the superhero genre.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, Daredevil Born Again, Man of Steel, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mutant Massacre, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Elektra Assassin, Punisher: Circle of Blood

    Yeah
    Basically this. These especially left an impression on me. That was definitely a good year for comics.
    The (old) Hank McCoy thread. https://community.cbr.com/showthread...on-Thread-2020

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, Daredevil Born Again, Man of Steel, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mutant Massacre, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Elektra Assassin, Punisher: Circle of Blood

    Yeah
    A Catch-22 year. On the one hand, sort of a banner year for comics no longer being for kids albeit that had already happened. But also a year that pulled comics out of the basement in terms of sales and reinvented them as a market that lasted a few years before they were right back where they started. If I'm not mistaken, wasn't that era just about the last heyday of big comics sales?
    Power with Girl is better.

  8. #8
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    The return of the horror comics in the 70s was pretty big for me.

    But other than a few blips in the 90s (AC 700, Spawn, & I want to say a Maximum Carnage issue), I think 86 was the last year comic books out sold magazines by a majority share of the market.
    Last edited by BeastieRunner; 04-16-2021 at 10:50 AM.
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  9. #9
    Mighty Member tib2d2's Avatar
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    Its hard to argue against 1986 being the big one. The beginning of the Silver Age in 1956 was a watershed moment, it essentially created the comics and industry we all grew up loving.

    They are equally important and both were dealing with publishers trying to figure out lagging comic book sales. Its a fun discussion to have, I'm going back and forth in my head as to which year was more important!

  10. #10
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    Comics have never been better than the 1980s.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shooshoomanjoe View Post
    Comics have never been better than the 1980s.
    Big 2 supers sure.

    The amount of great non super stuff right now is insane.
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  12. #12
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    I don't know. For me the numbers don't add up.

    In North America, the Baby Boom began in 1946 (nine months after the war ended). So by 1954, the first Boomers would be eight years old--which seems to me was the prime age to buy comics back then (any younger you didn't have enough money and you couldn't read very well and by the time you became a teen you had other stuff to distract you like chasing girls and boys). Granted the Comics Code came into effect which limited the kinds of comics you could read and there was T.V. (but with few channels and only so many hours for children's programming). However, given the huge population of Boomers, I would expect that comics were selling in their highest numbers. Maybe just not super-hero comics--probably western, war and science fiction, plus lots of humour comics.

    What brought about the changes in the mid-1980s was the failure of the mass market. No more Baby Boomers left to buy the comics in the drugstores and lots more distractions for kids (video games, arcade games, big box office movies, a hundred channels 24/7 on the T.V., trading cards, wrestling). So that drove comics to the direct sales shops where publishers could get a bigger mark-up and sell multiple copies of the same issue to fans and speculators. It was the falling popularity of comics that caused them to change so they mainly appealed to a small niche market of super-hero lovers and collectors.

    I get why we think that 1986 was such a banner year--because those comics were made for the fans with the loudest voices. A select number of super-hero comics came out that year (and ovelapping with the years before and after) which are the comics that everyone in the community talk about. If there had been hundreds of similar comics all coming out at the same time in large print runs, those highly collectable items wouldn't stand out.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I don't know. For me the numbers don't add up.

    In North America, the Baby Boom began in 1946 (nine months after the war ended). So by 1954, the first Boomers would be eight years old--which seems to me was the prime age to buy comics back then (any younger you didn't have enough money and you couldn't read very well and by the time you became a teen you had other stuff to distract you like chasing girls and boys). Granted the Comics Code came into effect which limited the kinds of comics you could read and there was T.V. (but with few channels and only so many hours for children's programming). However, given the huge population of Boomers, I would expect that comics were selling in their highest numbers. Maybe just not super-hero comics--probably western, war and science fiction, plus lots of humour comics.

    What brought about the changes in the mid-1980s was the failure of the mass market. No more Baby Boomers left to buy the comics in the drugstores and lots more distractions for kids (video games, arcade games, big box office movies, a hundred channels 24/7 on the T.V., trading cards, wrestling). So that drove comics to the direct sales shops where publishers could get a bigger mark-up and sell multiple copies of the same issue to fans and speculators. It was the falling popularity of comics that caused them to change so they mainly appealed to a small niche market of super-hero lovers and collectors.

    I get why we think that 1986 was such a banner year--because those comics were made for the fans with the loudest voices. A select number of super-hero comics came out that year (and ovelapping with the years before and after) which are the comics that everyone in the community talk about. If there had been hundreds of similar comics all coming out at the same time in large print runs, those highly collectable items wouldn't stand out.
    You do make a really good point. There's a solid case that the early 1980s were when The Big Two narrowed their focus hard.

  14. #14
    Invincible Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seismic-2 View Post
    One could argue that 1956 (the start of the Silver Age) was the most important year for the superhero genre, because sales of superhero comics had been in decline since the end of WWII as other genres (crime, Western, horror, and romance) had become increasingly popular and were taking their place. The introduction of the new Silver Age superheroes (along with the collapse of the horror market following the Kefauver hearings and the introduction of the Comics Code) revived the popularity of the superhero genre.
    Aside from the Barry Allen version of The Flash, how many other Silver Age superheroes were introduced that year?

    Remember, the beginning of Marvel Comics with Fantastic Four #1 wouldn't happen until five years later in 1961.
    Last edited by MajorHoy; 04-17-2021 at 01:55 PM.

  15. #15
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    What about 1992? Rise of image comics and creator owned comic books. I think thats pretty significant.

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