Golden Age of Comics (1938-1955)
Few comic book enthusiasts will dispute that "funny books" had been around since the end of the 19th century, but it was not until the 1930s when comics expanded into a major industry due to the enormous popularity of newspaper cartoons.
The comic book that heralded the Golden Age was Action Comics #1 in 1938, the introduction of Superman. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman is recognized as the most iconic comic book character to this day.
The success of Superman gave rise to an entirely new genre of characters with secret identities, extraordinary powers and colorful outfits – the superhero. Batman, Flash, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Hawkman were among those to follow.
The explosion of superheroes continued into the World War II era with the introduction of patriotic, inspirational characters and stories in which good invariably triumphed over evil. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's Captain America was created purposely for aiding the U.S. war efforts. After the war, superheroes fell out of vogue giving way to other styles of story-telling like science fiction, horror, crime, and animal-themed comics. Read more...
The event cited by many as the end of the Golden Age of Comics is the formation of the Comics Code Authority in 1954.