TIMELINE PROJECT

This section of Shanghalla seeks to present a timeline of the American comic book industry. Although the list cannot detail every minute development, the intent is to be as comprehensive as possible. Corrections are welcome in the comments section or by emailing duke.harrington@gmail.com



--- THE STONE AGE ---
**Prehisory — August 1842.  Timespan: 41,842 years**
All precursors to comics books, from cave paintings of the actual stone age, though to the appearance in America of the first narrative story told in sequential pictures.

40,000 BCE-1839, 1840-1899
  

--- THE ANTEDILUVIAN AGE ---
**September 1842 — December 1921.  Timespan: 79 years, 4 months**
The period just before the arrival of something that looks like an actual comic book, starting with publication in 1842 of America's first narrative in sequential pictures, THE ADVENTURES OF MR. OBADIAH OLDBUCK.



--- THE IRON AGE ---
**January 1922 — March 1933.  Timespan: 11 years, 3 months**
Starting with COMIC MONTHLY, a short-lived series making its debut in January 1922 as the first attempt to sell a comics periodical to the public on its own merit, though to the first product to actually resemble the modern comic book as we know it.



--- THE PLATINUM AGE ---
** April 1933 — April 1938.  Timespan: 5 years, 1 month**
From FUNNIES ON PARADE, published in April 1933 as the first product resembling comics books in their current form, through to the first appearance of the Man of Steel.



--- THE GOLDEN AGE ---
**May 1938 — August 1948.  Timespan: 10 years, 4 months**
From the first appearance of Superman in ACTION COMICS, No. 1 (on-sale May 3, 1938) to ALL-AMERICAN COMICS, No. 102 (on-sale August 20, 1948), the last of that series issued before its conversion from super-heroics to western adventures.

1935-19391940-19441945-1949


--- THE LATE GOLDEN AGE ---
**September 1948 — December 1950.  Timespan: 2 years, 4 months**
(Total Golden Age: 12 years, 8 months) 
Starting from the search for new saleable story genres, signaled by the conversion of All-American Comics to ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN at No. 103 (on-sale September 17, 1948), though to the last original-run appearance of the Justice Society of America, as their home title would suffer a similar fate following publication of ALL-STAR COMICS, No. 57 (on-sale December 13,1950).

1945-1949, 1950-1954


--- THE ATOM AGE ---
 ** January 1951 — June 1956.  Timespan: 4 years, 6 months**
While super-heroes were supplanted by a host of genres, including funny animals, westerns, crime, and romance comics, the period between comics' Golden and Silver Ages is best typified by the science fiction and bug-eyed monster themes that predominated during the 1950s. Although this age runs from the end of the last era to the start of the next, its real ten tentpoles are the first DC sci-fi title, STRANGE ADVENTURES, No. 1 (on-sale June 23, 1950), and the last EC comic, INCREDIBLE SCIENCE FICTION, No. 33 (on-sale May. 1, 1955).

1950-19541955-1959


--- THE EARLY SILVER AGE ---
**July 1956 — January 1958.  Timespan: 1 year, 7 months**
While the first appearance of the Barry Allen version of The Flash in SHOWCASE, No. 4 (on-sale July 5, 1956) is often cited as the start of the Silver Age, the story is very much an outlier, as it would be three years until the next attempt to modernize a Golden Age DC hero, making The Flash, and the Martian Manhunter before him, really more in line with Atom Age sensibilities.

--- THE SILVER AGE ---
**February 1958 — May 1967.  Timespan: 9 years, 4 months**
The first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes in AVENTURE COMICS, No. 247 (on-sale February 27, 1958) kicks off a rapid expansion of the Superman mythos, marking the true start of the Silver Age, a period that ends with the arrival of corporate America on the scene, when Kinney National Corp. buys DC Comics in 1967. It's a line of demarcation marked closely enough by the last appearance of DC's famous "go-go checks" on its covers, with THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE, No. 106 and THE ATOM, No. 32 (both on sale June 1, 1967).

1955-19591960-1964, 1965-1969


--- THE LATE SILVER AGE ---
** June 1967 — March 1969.  Timespan: 1 year, 10 months**
(Total Silver Age: 12 years, 9 months)
This era is bookended by the transition from the preeminence of plots and writers to artists and style, as given visceral display on the cover of BATMAN, No. 194 (on-sale June 6, 1967), which is the first book to take real liberties with its logo, and ADVENTURE COMICS, No. 380 (on-sale March 27, 1969), the last in the Silver Age run of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the last to sport a 12¢ cover price.




--- THE EARLY BRONZE AGE ---
** April 1969 — November 1970.  Timespan: 1 year, 8 months**
Nothing that originally sold more than 12¢ (other than giants and certain Dell Publishing comics) can truly be said to be of the Silver Age, and ACTION COMICS, No. 377 and ADVENTURE COMICS, No. 381 (both on-sale April 29, 1969) are the first 15-centers from the big two publishers, Marvel and DC. Meanwhile, FANTASTIC FOUR, No. 102 (on-sale June 9, 1970) marks a definite end post, as it features the last story by the uber-creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, although this age formally ends at the start of the next.

NOTE: The sub-era known as the MARVEL AGE crosses traditional boundaries, running from FANTASTIC FOUR, No. 1 (on-sale August 8, 1961) to the death of Gwen Stacy in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, No. 121 (on-sale March 13, 1973)

--- THE BRONZE AGE ---
** December 1970 — October 1976.  Timespan: 5 years, 11 months**
Jack Kirby's move from Marvel to DC with NEW GODS, No. 1 (on-sale December 22, 1970) — which DC trumpeted with "Kirby is coming!" house ads — really begins in ernest attempts by publishers to market creators in equal or greater measure to the characters on which they worked, a move that parallels the transformation of the fan press into a professional industry dedicated to covering comics news.

--- THE LATE BRONZE AGE ---
**November 1976 — March 1979.  Timespan: 2 years, 5 months**
(Total Bronze Age: 10 years)
The first appearance of a revamped DC Bullet cover brand on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, No. 139 (on-sale November 4, 1976) marks a shift of DC Comics' place in the corporate hierarchy at Warner Communications under new publisher Jenette Kahn, while that era hits its nadir with the infamous DC Implosion and publication in the summer of 1978 of CANCELED COMICS CAVALCADE, No. 2. That said, this era does not formally end until the start of the next age.

--- THE COPPER AGE ---
**April 1979 — February 1985.  Timespan: 6 years, 11 months**
A sea change in the way comic books are published — from periodicals of continuing adventures aimed at a mass audience, to specialty items with defined story arcs produced for a collectors' market — is presaged by publication of the industry's first limited series, WORLD OF KRYPTON, No. 1 (on-sale April 12, 1979). The era ends with the collapse of decades worth of DC Comics story continuity (Marvel would soon take similar, if less drastic measures) in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, No. 12 (on-sale December 5, 1985). As with past ages, however, this one truly ends at the start of the next.

1975-19791985-1989



--- THE DARK AGE ---
**March 1986 — October 1997.  Timespan: 11 years, 9 months**
Starting with BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, No. 1 (on-sale March 20, 1986) comic book heroes become grim 'n' gritty, and oftentimes downright deadly, while the concept of the prestige format book takes hold. The era ends with the collapse of Marvel's attempt to outsource production of its books, at CAPTAIN AMERICA, No. 13 (on-sale September 24, 1997)

1985-1989, 1990-19941995-1999



--- THE DIAMOND AGE ---
**November 1997 — January 2012.  Timespan: 14 years, 3 months**
Marvel resumes production of its key books with a new FANTASTIC FOUR, No. 1 (on-sale November 5, 1997), in an era notable for the emergence of Diamond Distributers as a monopoly, rising from the distributor wars as, for all intents and purposes, the sole supplier of comic books to specialty stores, which by now are about the only place where new comics can be found.



--- THE DIGITAL AGE ---
**February 2012 — present.  Timespan: 4 years, 11 month . . . and counting**
Although there had been comics offered first as digital downloads before print copies arrived in comic book stores, BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED, No. 1 (launched in February 2012), is the first ongoing series to adopt such a publishing plan. It only lasts 18 issues, to July 17, 2013, but it represents another encounter with the event horizon for an industry that remains very much in transition. 

2010-20142015-2019



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