The History of Comic Books

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A comic book or comicbook,[1] also called comic paper or comic magazine (often shortened to simply comic or comics) is a magazine made up of "comics" —narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog (usually in word balloons, emblematic of the comic book art form) as well as including brief descriptive prose. The first comic book appeared in the United States in 1933, reprinting the earlier newspaper comic strips, which established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term "comic book" arose because the first comic books reprinted humor comic strips. Despite their name, comic books are not necessarily humorous in tone; modern comic books tell stories in a variety of genres. Comic book historians continue to debate the exact boundaries of these eras, but they have come to an agreement, the terms for which originated in the fan press. Comics as a print medium have existed in America since the printing of The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck in 1842 in hardcover—making it the first known American prototype comic book. The introduction of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman in 1938 turned comic books into a major industry,[2] and is the start of the Golden Age of comics. Historians have proposed several names for the Age before Superman, most commonly dubbing it the Platinum Age.[3]

While the Platinum Age saw the first use of the term "comic book" (The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats (1897)), the first known full-color comic (The Blackberries (1901)), and the first monthly comic book (Comics Monthly (1922)), it was not until the Golden Age that the archetype of the superhero would originate.

The Silver Age of comic books is generally considered to date from the first successful revival of the dormant superhero form—the debut of Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino's Flash in Showcase No. 4 (September/October 1956).[4][5] The Silver Age lasted through the late 1960s or early 1970s,...
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