The DC Comics History
DC Comics had a rather tumultuous beginning. Initially named the
"National Allied Publications" in 1934, several comic book series were
produced, such as "New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine" in February 1935,
"New Comics" in December 1935, "Detective Comics" in 1937 and finally
"Action Comics" in 1938. Ownership changed hands from Major Malcolm
Wheeler-Nicholson, to his accountant and publisher partners Harry
Donenfeld and Jack S. Liebowitz, who called their enterprise "DC Comics"
(named after "Detective Comics"). As the new owner's first endeavor, they
sifted through the pile of rejected ideas and unearthed Superman.
Public fascination with the superheroes of DC Comics came and went
throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In mid-1955, the Silver Age of comics was
born, characterized by a revamping of old characters that were somewhat
more "human," and an amalgamation of different universes into battles
royal. The Justice League of America would bring together Superman,
Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and other characters
for the first time. It's said that this era inspired Marvel Comic Books'
Stan Lee to create more "human" characters and combine superheroes in the
Fantastic Four series.
After "the Silver Age of comic books" of the 1950s and 1960s came "the
Bronze Age" of the 1970s and 1980s. The Silver Age had introduced
characters who were more "human" and less stereotypical do-gooders. They,
like humans, hosted a range of emotions, interacted with other humans and
struggled with complex psyches. During the "Bronze Age," darker and
previously-off-limits themes of drug abuse, personal vices, inner
conflict and anti-hero character development entered the comic realm.
Kids were no longer the only readers, so the business savvy comic book
creator had to address more serious themes of society, personality
defects and science. The 1980s began what is known as "the Modern Age of
comic books," which persists today. This "Modern Age" builds off the
Bronze Age but delves even further into the darker side of graphic
novels, intertwining sex, drugs, vices, psychological struggles,
imperfect anti-heroes, cynicism and social critique. During this time,
the DC Comics Batman's The Dark Knight series takes off, X-Men launches
into the complex back histories of their characters and the Mutants went
to war against the humans, and a number of apocalyptic comics graphic
novels came out, threatening the end of the world.
DC Comics may be the oldest of the "superhero" genre, although it's
certainly not the only one. Its rival, Marvel Comics, has seen decades of
illustrious success, picking up its steam in the 1960s, pushing comics
graphic novels to new heights as a way to grapple with psychological
issues and purge frustrations with oneself and society at large. There
will always be heroes and villains in the world so it's unlikely that
this medium, which is often passed down from generation to generation,
will ever die.