The Silver Age of Comic Books
The silver age of comic books lasted approximately from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s. During this period, a few attributes of comic book characters started to develop.
One of the most interesting developments was the incorporation of science fiction into the storylines. With science fiction at the helm, you could inject a myriad of stories. The stretching of known boundaries put a new spin on tales. Whereas, the scenes usually took place with normal circumstances, now the writer’s and artists were given free rein. The lack of limitations produced many out of the ordinary comic books. In the silver age of comic books, Batman and Robin could be placed anywhere where they were not confined to earth. I mention the two since they are not super powered.
The comic book companies took ordinary, though highly skilled, super heroes and could place them is rockets, visit alien worlds and fight for the good no matter what type of society there was. This brings an interesting thought. The societies in other worlds clearly had good people versus bad people. In the silver age of comic books, they took human traits and manifested them in aliens. There will always be good and evil, that is a given. The aliens had special abilities that transcended humans, but they were perpetually war-like. Conflict must arise in order for the super heroes to justify their existence.
Metamorphoses abounded in that era. With the fusion of science fiction into the comic book format, super heroes and villains could be transformed, or mutated, much more easily. The weapons in use were foreign and that could make even Superman pause.
The conflictive nature spread beyond the science fiction realm. During this era, the comic book publishers began to integrate more humanity into their characters. They were not necessarily robotic in their mannerism and emotional appeal, but the humanizing of the comic book heroes suggested a transformation had taken place. It took internalized personal melancholy to rise to the surface and manifest itself to create a more human character. A hero or arch villain could be produced dependent upon the character’s personality. As with any conflict situation, the reader had to be enthralled with the super hero. Could a person relate to what the comic book writer’s were hoping to convey? You have to remember adding human emotion and personal tragedies was new to the genre. The reaction was positive and that tradition continues to this day.
In the comic books of that age, another character was transformed. Aquaman began in the golden age and revamped in the late 1950’s. Originally, Aquaman was deemed a negligible super hero, but as the silver age took root, his role expounded. The personal conflict surfaced when it was revealed that his arch nemesis was his half brother called Ocean Master. Another attribute that changed for Aquaman during the silver age was his ability to live outside water changed from being able to live inside or outside water indefinitely, to him needing to get to water every hour.
All the changes that took place in the Silver age comic books represented a modification that society dictated. The alterations are a necessary step to keep the comic book industry relevant.