• Hero-dc

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Double page from the book.TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

KAPOW! — A new book from Taschen chronicles the Golden Age when men in tights ruled the page

Posted by Anna Trench,

When Superman swooped onto the front cover of Action Comics #1 in June 1938 he transformed the world on and off the page forever. The next decade was hijacked by dozens of masked and caped saviours in tights, many of whom are still ubiquitous in art and pop culture today.

The Golden Age of DC Comics, a new book from Taschen edited by Paul Levitz, chronicles those heady years when the fantastic adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash ruled the page. In the thick of war and Depression, readers were hungry for spectacular escapist entertainment where the public was protected and good always prevailed. More than just cheap thrills, these comics often provided a moral code for children and during wartime ran storylines reflecting current conflicts. As the war ended, however, the popularity of superhero comics waned, and by the mid-1950s comics had become scapegoats for a rise in juvenile delinquency.

Comics not only record evolving fashions, drawing styles and language. They can, if the character’s right, reveal the hopes and fears of a generation. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Golden Age is the extent to which those superheroes became inextricably bound up with the identity of America itself.

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    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Cover DC Comics characters and all related elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics. (s13)

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_09

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: “Wonder Woman” newspaper comic strip brochure. Cover art, artist unknown, 1944. TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_3d_03

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Double page from the book. TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_3d_02

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Double page from the book.TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_13

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Batman No. 10. Cover art, Fred Ray and Jerry Robinson, April–May 1942. TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_07

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: All-Flash Comics No. 2. Original interior art, “Chapter Four”;
    script, Gardner Fox; pencils and inks, E. E. Hibbard. Fall 1941. TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_06-2

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: Superman No. 16. Cover art, Fred Ray, May–June 1942. TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

  • Va_dc_comics_golden_age_03

    The Golden Age of DC Comics: The Big All-American Comic Book No. 1. Cover art, various artists, 1944.TM & © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

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Posted by Anna Trench

Anna is a writer and illustrator who joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Cambridge University and Falmouth university. She wrote for the site between January and March 2013.