A DC Comics Retrospective: The Silver Age

The First Justice League Comic Book

The “Golden age of comics” was at an end in the 1940s, resulting in many writers and artists leaving DC Comics. Many comic book fans would get minimum comics at this time, and the few there were, were not varied in superheroes. This caused DC Comics to try and solve the issues of sales and comics produced by completely redoing their comic runs. In current times, the idea of resetting the comic book universe is much more known by people and is plentiful. However, in the 1950s, restarting a decade’s worth of convoluted lore was mind-boggling and shocked many into reading comics again.

The writers of these comics made sure that not only was it a reset for these characters, but a refresh for the writers, with new amazing stories and ideas being created again. This first started with The Flash, and it turned him into The Flash everyone knows today. No longer was he a middle-aged man wearing a metal cap with wings. It was a more relatable young adult who wore a sleek red outfit, which was far less silly-looking even at the time. Many superheroes started being rebooted into more cool, relatable superheroes for everyone to enjoy just like The Flash. Eventually, they even rebooted The Justice Society of America, into the far more recognizable The Justice League of America.

This abrupt change in the comics needed answers, and the DC Comics Company established why almost every character was different. Their explanation was that the previous comic book runs were of an alternate universe, called Earth-2. Everything was similar but noticeable enough to be different, which is why all of the characters were the same name and had similar backstories. They weren’t willing to forget the golden age though, and they set up that golden age heroes could always come to the new universe through a vibrational field.

Silver Age Flash Racing Bronze Age Flash

Most people agree that The Flash was the first superhero in “The Silver Age of Comics”, even so, a certain few arguments are in favor of someone else. Many people believe that The Martian Manhunter was the first superhero to reboot this universe, however, this can be proven wrong quickly. The Martian Manhunter may have been a whole year before the new Flash run, but it was clear it was a typical detective story for the time. The twist of the comic, and why many people believe it was the beginning of this more adventurous age of comics, is that the detective was secretly an alien living on earth. 

Martian Manhunter may have been an attempt at the time to be the reset of the comic book universe, but it wouldn’t have been their first attempt. A few superheroes were written, and based on their popularity would be the start of “The Silver Age”. None ever got as popular as The Flash, which is why he began the new universe in the first place. One of these attempted resets was with a character named captain comet, which felt like a less intriguing Superman.

“The Silver Age” never got as popular or as unpopular as “The Golden Age” had once gotten. In fact, the only reason “The Silver Age” went into “The Bronze Age” was because of the lack of writers again. This time it was not uninterest or lack of ideas, rather most big writers of the time were retiring or, sadly, dying. This was sad and a huge gut-punch to the fans, nevertheless, it did help progress the genre once again, this time even into cinema. “The Silver Age” was a very important time for comics, especially DC, but it needed to come to an end to further this company to greater stories.


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