Archive | October, 2017

The Seventies as DC’s Bronze Age Golden Age

2 Oct

A regular comment from comic book fans is that every fan has their own “Golden Age” of comics and that it is the time when they began reading. This is very true for me personally.  I began collecting comics in the early 1990s and quickly tracked down various post-Crisis books, so my “Golden Age” of collecting is from about 1986-1996.  I have a soft spot from then until 2003, when I had to sell my collection to pay bills as young, single dad.  When I began reading comics again in 2007, it felt like a “Silver Age” to me.  I found out my favorite character, Hal Jordan, had come back and been joined by the entire GLC.  A new crisis had happened, which reinvigorated many titles.  This gave me almost twenty years of comics to truly enjoy and then this summer I discovered a magical new decade: the 1970s.

As a DC Comics fan, I am truly impressed with the volume of good titles DC published during the era.  For one thing, Kirby had just come to DC and his Fourth World of books are widely acclaimed.  I knew I loved these books.  But I had not read any of his other books, though I was familiar with Kamandi and the Demon, through their latter appearances.  That all changed at Heroes Con in Charlotte this summer, where I found 10 issues of Kamandi, which is easily one of the most insane and over the top books I have ever read. I also picked up my first issues of Warlord.  I was vaguely familiar with Travis Morgan from sundry crossovers, but to read some of Mike Grell’s original run was exciting and made me want to dig deeper into the world he created.  But my favorite book I got to sample for the first time was the original Len Wein Swamp Thing. Like most, I discovered Swamp Thing because of Alan Moore and I still think he wrote the best run on the character.  I enjoyed the New 52 series also. But to finally have a chance to read the original run by Wein and see just how many of the characters were there from the beginning and to see how it all fit together was a joy.

But just because I got lucky at a convention, that doesn’t mean the 1970s were all good, I can hear you say.  So what other characters were created there during this time period?  Jonah Hex was created in 1972 and gone onto be one of the most beloved Western characters to have never been played by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.  Ra’s Ah Ghul and his daughter appeared in 1971.  John Stewart debuted in the same year.  Power Girl, my favorite Supergirl, was created in 1976.

The decade included groundbreaking runs in their ongoing books also.  For example, the classic Green Lantern Green Arrow team-up series occurred during this time.  The Bat books were revitalized, as was the Superman books with the infamous “Kryptonite nevermore” tale. The incredible All Star Comics revival began in 1976.  Batman of Earth 2 died in 1979.  Cockrum and Grell’s runs on the Legion introduced some of the most popular characters to the team and told classic tales.  And DC first licensed the Marvel Family in 1972.

The 1980s and 90s of DC Comics are far and away my favorite period in comic book history.  The decade of the 2000s brought me back to the hobby I had missed so much.  And though the New 52 was a failed experiment overall, it and Rebirth have had some amazing moments, with much potential.  But for sheer creative ideas and groundbreaking tales, the 1970s have a great deal to offer the fans of the DCU.  Kirby, Wein, and a legion of other creators told some of the best books in DC’s history. DC-Explosion2

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