A DC Comics Retrospective: The Golden Age

First Batman and Superman team-up comic

It’s easy to see that if you’re interested in movies, comic books, or even games, you know about DC’s comic book company. Now, while most traction current day is primarily hostile towards this titan of the comic book industry, we shouldn’t overlook the massive changes in pop culture and media in general because of DC. 

People tend to forget how the superhero genre started at all, but it was with DC comics with their big hit at the time, Superman. The idea of the modern superhero was nonexistent before writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster put together a new series for their comic books named Action Comics. Right away Jerry went for something different, as detective comics were known previously for their western comedy comic book runs. Jerry created a comic about a man with incredible strength and abilities, unlike any other man. This idea with Superman was a massive hit and started the massive love for superhero media that we have today. Superheroes interested thousands, and very quickly they wanted more superhero comics, even if it wasn’t a continuation of Superman.

Superman was still being made with carefully crafted, fun, and action-packed comics, however people were begging for different kinds of superheroes. Eventually, Bob Kane and Bill Finger published Detective Comics #27, featuring the iconic superhero Batman. Batman was an even bigger hit at first, giving DC Comics massive amounts of money. Now that DC Comics had a lot of money, they were willing to experiment with their superhero ideas.

One of these risks at the time was female superheroes, as the 1930s and 1940s were tough times filled with discrimination for women. However, DC Comics tried dabbling with superhero women during this time to encourage women, and show how strong they could be, giving inspiration to girls across America. While most people think the first female superhero was Wonder Woman, it was technically the Red Tornado, a parody superhero about a woman acting like she wasn’t a female superhero. However, the first popular woman superhero was Wonder Woman, which she debuted in All-Star Comics #8, in December 1941.

Although, even before the first girl superhero, there were continuous amounts of team-ups of the different superheroes. We take this for granted now, but there was once a small point to which none of these superheroes ever teamed up. Eventually, though, DC Comics created the first superhero team, The Justice Society of America in All-star Comics #3. This team was a clear predecessor to the famous Justice League, but it started with the superheroes, The Atom, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Flash, The Sandman, Hourman, and The Spectre.

Eventually, DC Comics’ ideas were running low, as most comics were very similar with the same heroes. This burnout for the writers and readers slowly started the downfall of superheroes in the late 1940s. It’s weird today to think that superheroes fell out of style as quickly as a decade after they were created, but it is true. Because of this, DC Comics started majorly changing the comics back to westerns, comedies, romance, sci-fi, and even more types of comics, all except superhero comics most of the time. It wouldn’t be until the Silver Age of DC Comics, in the mid-1950s, when the superhero comic idea changed entirely, some say for the better.

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