Not too long ago, I had a debate with a former customer about which "age" of comics are currently in:
Here's what we know, so far:
The Golden Age of Comics truly begins with the publication of Action Comics #1 featuring Superman whose popularity soon begot Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Plastic Man and a host of other often two-fisted four-color champions.
The Silver Age is widely accepted to have begun with the first appearance of Barry Allen as the all-new, re-imagined Flash in the pages of Showcase #4. The Silver Age is mainly remembered for the replacing and re-branding of Golden Age characters with newer science based counterparts such as Ray Palmer, The Atom & Hal Jordan, The Green Lantern. The Silver Age is also fondly remembered for ushering in the Marvel Age of comics were old favorites such as Captain America and The Sub-Mariner were dusted off and re-introduced to audiences, new and old. It may be better known for Marvel's introduction of young heroes forged in the science of their time such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The X-Men.
Many believe that The Bronze Age of Comics began with the 1971 relaxation of The Comics Code that allowed for the publication of horror titles such as Tomb of Dracula & Swamp Thing. Many more believe it may have begun with Jack Kirby's exit from Marvel Comics, the death of Gwen Stacy, the re-emergence of The Batman as The Dark Knight by Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams or the introduction of "relevancy" to comics such as Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy's drug dependency.
The current argument is just what age are we currently in?
The Bronze Age is clearly over as we've moved beyond the things that categorize it. Are we in The Modern Age of Comics, as my friend suggests?
My buddy says The Bronze Age ended when Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee left comics for Hollywood and left his name to become a banner used to identify a Marvel comic, ushering in the first generation of writers and artists who grew up reading comics.
I believe we're in The Platinum Age of Comics, starting with the "Big Bang" of DC Comics' Crisis On Infinite Earths, an event that forever undid or re-positioned parts of their Golden and Silver Age histories, allowing for out-of-continuity comics landmarks such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen. I also believe that The Platinum Age of Comics began when a creator's name (superstar creators as marquee talent) on a comic became a comic's selling point starting with former Marvel mainstay John Byrne's exit to DC Comics to take on Superman, tangentially, leading to the formation of creator owned Image Comics by some of comics' hottest artists.
There's a very valid argument that the formation of Image may have kickstarted a whole new age, in and of itself but that is another fight for another day.
So, here's my question to you reading this:
What COMICS AGE do you currently think we're in and why?