Browse Exhibits (6 total)

DC Women of the Silver Age

During the Silver Age, DC Comics published multiple ongoing series featuring female characters. Among the publisher's most popular characters were Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Lois Lane. 

Like many popular works of this era, the depiction of female characters in these comics was often dismissive, sexist, and sometimes downright offensive. Indeed, the depiction of female characters in mainstream comic books remains controversial. These works reflect a time where women had fewer choices and were often expected to fit into circumscribed roles in society.

This exhibit highlights covers, pages, and panels from DC Comics comic books featuring female characters.

Spider-Man: A Hero for All of Us

Before the Silver Age, there were few comic book superheroes to whom regular kids could relate. Among the most popular heroes before the Silver Age were an almost deity-like being from a lost world (Superman) and a billionaire playboy dark knight (Batman).

This changed in the Silver Age, most visibly with the introduction of Marvel's Spider-Man and his alter ego Peter Parker.

By day, a geeky lower middle class kid from Queens, Spider-Man struggled with problems average teenagers identified with, such as getting a date for the prom and struggling to fit in at school. Parker struggled to balance his role as a superhero with the responsibilites of his day to day life.

This exhibit features covers and panels from 1967-68 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. Many of the panels highlight the hero's recurrent struggles with romance.

DC and Marvel: The Big Two

Heroes and Villains: Silver Age Comics at Atkins Library focuses on superhero comics published by DC Comics and Marvel during the Silver Age of American comic books. 

Though there were other publishers producing superhero comics during the Silver Age, characters from the DC and Marvel stables had the most lasting impact on pop culture. 

These characters ran the gamut from Golden Age superheroes who never left the public's consciousness (Batman, Superman) to older characters reintroduced to a new generation (The Flash, Green Lantern) to entirely new creations (Spider-Man, Thor). 

This portion of the online exhibit serves as introduction to some of the most noteworthy characters published by DC and Marvel during the Silver Age.

The Dark Knight's Rogues Gallery

Making his debut in a 1939 issue of Detective Comics, Batman is a character whose cultural influence has continued to grow over the past 70 years. As the focus of countless TV shows and movies, the Dark Knight has a relevancy far beyond the comics world. 

A large part of Batman's enduring appeal is due to his colorful rogues gallery, which is among the most recognizable cast of villains in popular culture. Characters like the Joker, the Penguin, and Catwoman are arguably as well known as the Caped Crusader himself.

The character's Silver Age titles, which included Batman, Detective Comics, and The Brave and the Bold, introduced a number of new foes, but also relied heavily upon well known adversaries first seen in the 1940s and 50s.

This exhibit highlights memorable appearances of Batman's Silver Age rogues gallery. 

Breaking the Fourth Wall

Acknowledging the existence and boundaries of the medium used to tell a story, or breaking the fourth wall, became a common part of storytelling in Silver Age comic books. Characters would often directly address the reader and it was not a rarity for a writer or artist to appear as a character alongside their superhuman creations.

This exhibit highlights examples of breaking the fourth wall in Silver Age comics.

Silver Age Artists

A number of artists contributed to the look of comic book superheroes during the Silver Age. Many of their contributions to these characters live on today in their current incarnations.

This exhibit highlights comic book covers from the collection featuring the work of influential Silver Age artists.