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Comic Book Superhero History

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1 Comic Book Superhero History

2 Early Precursor to Superheroes
The Scarlet Pimpernel a play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, written in 1903 Story: a British nobleman adventurer known only as The Scarlet Pimpernel, after the small flower with which he signs his secret notes, leads a secret society which rescues French noblemen from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Turns out he’s the clownish Sir Percy Blakeney, who pretends to be a drunken fop to hide his adventurous identity. His wife is, Lois Lane-style, anamoured of the adventurer, not knowing he is actually her husband, for whom she has little respect. Notable actors: Anthony Andrews, Richard E. Grant

3 A Precursor To Superheroes
Zorro Created by New York-based pulp writer Johnston McCulley in 1919. Appeared in novels, short stories and films before appearing in comics Secret identity: Don Diego de la Vega, a Spanish nobleman troubled by Spain’s colonial rule of California, adopts the identity of masked trickster anarchist vigilante Zorro (Spanish for “fox”). Boring rich man by day, masked terrorist at night. His horse was called Toronado. His sidekick was deaf-mute servant Bernardo (a precursor to Bruce Wayne’s Alfred). He rode out of a secret cave under his mansion as well. The novel was helped by stuntman-actor Douglas Fairbanks and Canadian-born wife Mary Pickford making a movie adaptation a year later for their new studio United Artists, which they started with Charlie Chaplin. Actors: Douglas Fairbanks, Guy Williams (for Disney) and Antonio Banderas (first Hispanic actor ever to play Zorro)

4 Another Precursor To Superheroes
The Phantom created by Lee Falk, (also creator of comics character Mandrake the Magician) Was a daily newspaper comic starting in 1936 Story: Kit Walker is the 21st in a line of legendary “Phantoms,” each called “The Ghost Who Walks,” having no supernatural abilities, but being so ninja-like as to appear to have ghost powers. On his left hand is a ring with crossed sabres, which he gives to people he will protect. On his right, a ring with a skull, made from the nails in Jesus’ cross, which leaves a skull-shaped mark on enemies’ faces when he punches them. Rides a horse named Hero. Leads a huge army of Africans called the Jungle Patrol. Actor who played him in 1996 movie: Billy Zane

5 Mystery Men: Big Influences On Superheroes
Will Eisner’s The Spirit Appeared in newspapers right when Superman and Batman were taking off, starting in 1940 Denny Colt is a masked vigilante who solves mystery and stops criminals in a huge city, with the blessing of the police commissioner. Had a lair under his own tombstone, being thought dead. Other characters: black sidekick Ebony White, villains The Octopus, Dr. Cobra and Mister Carrion; a witch named (witch) Hazel P. Macbeth, femme fatales P'Gell, Sand Saref, Silk Satin, Silken Floss and Lorlei Rox. Actors: Gabriel Macht (with Samuel Jackson as The Octopus) in 2008

6 Another Mystery Man The Shadow
Created by Walter B. Gibson as a radio drama, then series of short stories for magazines, then a comic First aired on Detective Story Hour on radio in 1931 Story: rich guy Lamont Cranston learns the ancient Eastern art of “clouding men’s minds” when he is near, making them unable to see him. By night he drives around fighting crime with his two pistols and maniacal laugh. A precursor to Batman and the Joker Catchphrases: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" (maniacal laugh) and “Crime does not pay!” Had the attributes and stylized look of a criminal or robber, but was a (dark) hero. Had a Jewish chauffeur and a black sidekick. Crime often took place in Chinatown with Asian villains Girlfriend: Margo Lane Actors: Frank Readick, Jr., Orson Wells, Alec Baldwin

7 Yet Another Mystery Man
The Green Hornet created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for radio in 1936, and then adapted for comics and short stories, film serials and television Story: Britt Reid is a wealthy newspaper publisher who goes out with his Asian sidekick Kato to fight crime in his car Black Beauty with various gadgets, including a sleep gun. Concurrent with the Adam West Batman and aired on the same channel, The Green Hornet TV show aired in 1966, starring an Asian actor named Bruce Lee(!) as Kato. Fans were more into Bruce Lee than the Green Hornet. Notable actors: Van Williams, Seth Rogan

8 The Golden Age: 1930s-1950s

9 First comic book superhero?
D.C. Comic’s Superman Appeared in Action Comics in 1938 Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 Secret identity: Clark Kent (named after actors Clark Gable and Kent Taylor). Reporter at The Daily Planet newspaper in Metropolis. Lair: the Fortress of Solitude Born Kal-El on doomed planet Krypton to parents Jor-El and Lara. Weakness: kryptonite (shards of his exploded birth planet) At first, only able “to leap tall buildings in a single bound,” his powers kept getting increased until he could fly in space. Superman characters: Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White (boss) Superman actors: George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh

10 A dark opposite to Superman?
D.C. Comic’s Batman First appeared in Detective Comics in May 1939 created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, based on a The Shadow story. Secret identity: millionaire Bruce Wayne. Lair: the Batcave under Wayne Manor in Gotham City. Parents Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot in front of him as a small boy. Other characters Alfred Pennyworth the butler, Dick Grayson (Robin), Police Commissioner Gordon Huge assortment of gadgets, huge “rogue’s gallery” of whacky, themed supervillains including The Joker, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Killer Croc Batman actors: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale

11 Female Superhero? D.C. Comics’ Wonder Woman
Created by William Moulton Marston (the psychologist who invented the lie detector before inventing the character with the lasso which made criminals tell the truth) and H. G. Peter First appeared in All Star Comics in 1941 Secret identity: Diana Prince (sometime army intelligence officer) From Themyscira, an all-female island of Amazons, created from clay by mother Hippolyta (queen of the Amazons, making Diana a princess) Originally fought nazis with boyfriend Steve Trevor. Before they decided she could fly, they gave her an invisible jet. Weakness: helpless if tied up by a man. Wonder Woman actresses: Lynda Carter (70s), Adrianne Palicki (2011)

12 Magical Superman Ripoff?
Captain “The Big Red Cheese” Marvel (never owned by Marvel Comics) Owned by Fawcett Comics’ (then bought by D.C. Comics) Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker First appears in Whiz Comics in 1940 12 year old homeless newsboy Billy Batson calls out the name of the wizard Shazam and magically transforms into an adult superhero called Captain Marvel Lacks Superman’s vision powers, but has “Wisdom of Solomon” Other characters: Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Junior, Uncle Marvel Villains: Black Adam, Dr. Sivana

13 American WWII Supersoldier?
Marvel Comics’ Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941) by Timely Comics, who would kinda become Marvel Comics later Secret identity: weakling Steve Rogers is given an experimental Supersoldier Formula and an indestructible shield (adamantium and vibranium). Likes to ride a motorcycle. Frozen in ice at end of WWII so they could bring him back in comics later Member (leader) of Marvel’s The Avengers Sidekick: Bucky Barnes Villains: Nazis, Hitler, The Red Skull, Baron Zemo (notable) Captain America actors: Chris Evans This actor’s dad wrote The Catcher In The Rye (!)

14 “Runs fast” guy? D.C. Comics’ The Flash
Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940) Secret identity: Jay Garrick, who fell asleep in a science lab and inhaled heavy water vapour. Wore red football shirt and his father’s WWI helmet, with wings on it, like Greek god Mercury Part of one of the earliest superhero teams, The Justice Society (later “League”) of America

15 Ring Dude ...and I shall shed my light over dark evil.
D.C. Comics’ Green Lantern was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell (who was ripping off Aladdin) First appeared in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940) Secret identity: railroad engineer Alan Scott Story: inherited a green lantern made from the metal in a meteor which fell to earth, and told him how to make a magic ring which could do almost anything. (make him invisible, walk through walls, paralyse or blind people temporarily, cut stuff like a welding torch) Weakness: the ring doesn’t work on anything made of wood. Scott learned this when hit with a wooden club. Part of the Justice Society of America ...and I shall shed my light over dark evil. For the dark things cannot stand the light, The light of the Green Lantern!

16 The Silver Age: mid 50s-1970

17 A New(s) Flash Secret identity: Barry Allen, police scientist (from talkshow hosts Steve Allen and Barry Gray created by writers Robert Kanigher and John Broome and penciler Carmine Infantino First appeared in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956) Story: a lightning bolt hits chemicals in his lab, drenching him in them. Other characters: girlfriend Iris West, Wally West (Kid Flash) Villains: Mirror Master, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Pied Piper, The Trickster, Captain Boomerang Actor Michael Rosenbaun is remarkable for playing Lex Luthor on Smallville while voicing the animated Flash on Justice League.

18 New Green Lantern In brightest day, in blackest night,
Secret identity: fearless test pilot Hal Jordan Revamped by writer John Broome and Batman artist Gil Kane, First appearence in Showcase #22 in 1959 Story: on the planet Oa, little blue creatures called the Guardians of the Universe dole out power rings to space police called the Green Lantern Corps. Abin Sur is ours, and when he dies, the ring finds Jordan. It can form solid objects out of imagination/will Weakness: doesn’t work on anything yellow Other characters: girlfriend Carol Ferris, Inuit best friend Tom “Pieface” Kalmaku Villains: Sinestro, Parallax (evil Hal Jordan) Played in the 2010 movie by Canadian actor Ryan Renolds (who was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Deadpool) Guardians on Oa were based on Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben Gurion In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!

19 Marvel’s teen hero (The Amazing) Spider-Man
created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko (who just drew himself for Peter Parker) first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) Secret identity: Peter Parker High school science nerd is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains its powers. Works at Daily Bugle, not Daily Planet. Photographer, not reporter. Hyphen in name. Other characters: Aunt May, J.Jonah Jameson (boss), Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, Harry Osbourne Villains: The Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, Electro, The Kingpin, Mysterio, The Rhino, Kraven the Hunter. (notable) actors: Tobey McGuire, Andrew Garfield

20 Marvel’s Monster (The Incredible) Hulk
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (who made Captain America) First appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962) Secret identity: scientist Bruce Banner (sometimes David) Based on Robert Louis Stephenson’s Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Story: a gamma radiation accident makes Banner uncontrollably transform whenever he loses his temper. Originally grey, but a printing error made him green, which they liked. Other characters: Rick Jones, girlfriend Betsy Ross, General “Thunderbolt” Ross, cousin Jennifer “She Hulk” Walters, Dr. Leonard “Doc” Sampson Villains: Abomination, The Leader Notable actors Lou Ferrigno/Bill Bixby, Eric Bana, Ed Norton, Mark Rufalo

21 Marvel’s Blind Character
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett (help from Jack Kirby) first appeared in Daredevil #1 (April 1964) Secret identity: Matt Murdock Story: blind(ed by radiation) New York street kid becomes a lawyer, while fighting crime like Batman/Spider-man using his other, greatly enhanced senses Other characters: Jack Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page Villains: The Kingpin, The Fixer, Bullseye, Electra Notable actors: Ben Affleck

22 Marvel’s Tech Hero (The Invincible) Iron Man
created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963) (not) secret identity: millionaire Tony Stark (flying Batman with armour and energy weapons) Story: Howard Hughes-style millionaire inventor turns a pacemaker needed to keep his damaged heart going into a flying suit of armour. A cold war, anti-communist, anti-asian one. Other characters: Jarvis (Batman-style butler), assistant Penny Potts, chauffeur Happy Hogan, Rhodey Rhodes Villains: alcohol, the Mandarin, Justin Hammer, Crimson Dynamo, Backlash Notable actors: Robert Downey Jr.

23 Marvel’s First Superhero Team
The Fantastic Four First appeared in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961) created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Jack Kirby Story: scientist Reed Richards, with girlfriend Sue Storm, her brother Johnny and pilot Ben Grimm, fly an experimental spacecraft and get exposed to space radiation, giving them powers. No secret identities. They become: Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch (II), The Thing and Invisible Girl/Woman Villains: Galactus (eater of worlds), Dr. Doom, the Skrull Empire Actors: Ioan Gruffudd, Chris “Captain America” Evans, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba

24 Marvel’s Mutant Team The (Uncanny) X-Men
first appeared in The X-Men #1 (September 1963) created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby Story: a mutant professor starts a school to train mutant children to be superheroes. The ideological difference between Martin Luther King (understanding) and Malcolm X (equality through violence if necessary) inspired the Professor X/Magneto divide. About tolerance. Original members: Professor X, Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl Villains: Magneto, Sentinels, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, The Hellfire Club, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister Notable actors: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden and Canadian actors Shawn Ashmore and Anna Paquin

25 Marvel’s “Superheroes We Already Made” Team-Up Team
The Avengers First appeared in The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963) created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, after the success of D.C.’s The Justice League of America superhero team A teaming of Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and the Wasp, soon joined by Captain America Battle cry: “Avengers Assemble!” Could fight the villains of any of the team members, so first faced Thor’s evil brother Loki of Asgard

26 The Bronze Age:

27 Refining Comic Style In the 70s and 80s, comparatively few successful new characters were created. Mostly the old ones were made more “real-world.” Art styles got more realistic Every superhero had a “girl version.” Themes got gritty Racial themes and social problems were no longer censored out Horror and supernatural ideas were no longer censored either.

28 “Hero” who kills with a gun?
The Punisher Created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr., and Ross Andru first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974) Secret identity: Frank Castle Story: his family were killed by criminals (like Bruce Wayne) so unlike Batman, he drives around in a van and shoots criminals Other characters: Microchip (his gear guy) Villains: the Mafia, drug cartels, organized crime of every nationality or origin Actors: Dolph Lungren, Thomas Jane, Ray Stevenson

29 British Future Hero Who Kills With A Gun?
2000 AD’s Judge Dredd Created by John Wagner (writer), Carlos Ezquerra (artist), Pat Mills (editor) First appeared in 2000 AD #2 in 1977 Story: in the post-apocalyptic future, “Judges” with cybernetic upgrades and smartguns go around being judge, jury and executioners. Judge Joseph Dredd is one of these. Actors: Sylvester Stallone

30 A Canadian Superhero (who kills nearly everyone nearby)
Wolverine created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr. first appeared in the final "teaser" panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974) No secret identity. Unknown identity until 2001, when they ended the mystery (one of the most interesting things about the character) by saying he’d been born James Howlett in Alberta in the 1880s. Catchphrase: “I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn’t very nice.” Other characters: Alpha Flight’s Heather Hudson, Yuriko, The X-Men (particularly Jean Grey), Sabretooth, Magneto Actors: Hugh Jackman

31 Unsuccessful Canadian Superhero Team
Alpha Flight Created by Chris Claremont and (Canadian) John Byrne as “Canada’s answer to The Avengers” first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979) originally just part of Wolverine’s backstory. Sasquatch (in back), then l-r: Northstar, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora, (front) Puck and Marina They have always tried to make this team work, and revamped it and changed things, but it never sells outside of Canada. Pierre Trudeau appeared in an X-Men comic, demanding Canadian government funded Wolverine’s return to Alpha Flight

32 Hero From Hell? Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider
created by Gary Friedrich, writer-editor Roy Thomas, and artist Mike Ploog. First appeared in Marvel Spotlight #5 (Aug. 1972) Story: stunt rider Johnny Blaze sells his soul to an evil force named Mephisto to cure his mentor’s cancer. As a ghost rider, Blaze transforms into a blazing skeleton and punishes evil whenever in the presence of an evil-doer. Actor: Nicholas Cage

33 “Grit” Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy got addicted to heroin
Iron Man struggled with alcoholism Batman’s sidekick (Jason Todd, the second) Robin got killed Aquaman’s infant son was killed Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy and her father were killed

34 First Black Superhero? Marvel Comics’ Black Panther
Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller-co-plotter Jack Kirby first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966), later in Jungle Action. Secret identity: T'Challa, King of African nation of Wakanda In The Avengers

35 First Black Superhero with his own comic?
Marvel Comics’ Luke Cage Created by writer Archie Goodwin and artist John Romita, Sr. first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972) Story: A street youth in jail, underwent a procedure which gave him impervious skin and enhanced strength. Works for the chedda

36 Black Vampire (Hunter)?
Marvel Comics’ Blade Created by writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan First appeared in The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973) Story: Eric Brooks is born in a whorehouse to a prostitute who was killed by a vampire while giving birth, which gave the child quasi-vampiric powers Actors: Wesley Snipes and Kirk Jones

37 Black X-Man? Marvel Comics’ Storm
created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975) Secret identity: Ororo Monroe (Ororo T’Challa once she married The Black Panther) Story: a child street thief in Africa, Storm was found by Professor X and trained to be an X-man. Actors: Halle Berry

38 Tongue-In Cheek Attempt to Include All Things Teens Like In A Single Title:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird First appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 in It was the toy line which sold the story. Story: four teenaged, anthropomorphic turtles, raised by a rat sensei to be trained ninja warriors, fight aliens, robots, other mutants, street criminals and the evil samauri Shredder Named after renaissance artists: Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Donatello. Other characters: April O’Neil, Casey Jones, (Master) Splinter, Krang, Beebop, Rocksteady, Shredder

39 The Modern Age: 1985-present
“In this period, comic book characters generally became darker and more psychologically complex” Wikipedia

40 British Writer Attempts To Take Gritty Superhero Realism As Far As It Can Go…
Watchmen Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons Watchmen came out monthly in 1986 Intended to take “gritty” and problematic to the limit, and be a “tombstone for superhero comics” so this “gritty” thing could be put to bed once and for all. Features “new” characters based on established kinds of superheroes “spawned” a huge following of ripoff comics with more nasty characters who killed, with demons, violence, sex and drugs.

41 Canadian-Created, Black, Gritty, Demonic 90s Hero?
Image Comics’ Spawn Created by “writer”/ Spider-man artist Todd McFarlane of Calgary, Alberta First appeared in Spawn #1 (May 1992) Story: black U.S. Marine Al Simmons becomes a CIA assassin, and is then assassinated by the CIA and sent to Hell for assassinating. Simmons sells his soul to an evil force named Malebolgia to see his wife one last time. As a hellspawn, Spawn punishes evil whenever in the presence of an evil-doer. (So, Ghost Rider with some Batman tossed in.) Other characters: Malebolgia, Clown, Angela Todd McFarlane created the “incredibly flexible, twisted up looking” Spider-Man poses, and sells toys of characters from horror movies. Neil Gaiman successfully sued McFarlane for not giving him a cent for toys based on characters Gaiman created while writing an issue of Spawn. Actor: Michael Jai White

42 Silver Age Makeovers Characters got “reboots” to try to fix the fact that people had been writing stories about them for many decades. Rebooting meant you could add anything you liked, remove anything that seemed kinda silly, and change whatever you felt like. The most famous was Canadian John Byrne starting the Superman mythos over.

43 Crisis on Infinite Earths
D.C. had decided that there were infinite earths with different Batmen, Supermen and the like. This meant they could have stories that contradicted each other (or planets with ape versions of heroes, or with an Earth where the villains were the heroes) and not worry. In 1985 they decided to undo that, blow up all the extra Earths and characters and start over. They killed the Barry Allen Flash. Kid Flash (Wally West) took over. Also Supergirl. All the embarassing superdogs and supercats and batdogs and superhorses all got erased. Things got (a bit) less childish and more modern.

44 Superman Reboot Canadian writer John Byrne was given Superman to reboot in Gone were Superman being able to move planets, survive without oxygen in space, travel through time and the like. Stopping a 747 jet in flight became challenging for him again. Superman was once again the only survivor from Krypton. All the characters who’d shown up over the years, somehow having survived the destruction of Krypton (including Supergirl, and Krypto the Superdog) were erased. Superman’s adoptive earth parents were alive again. Clark Kent got a personality and was the “real” guy, where before he was just a disguise for Superman.

45 Batman: Year One In 1987, Frank Miller (famed for Batman:The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear and the Wolverine four-issue book, rebooted the fifty year old character Now Batman could start out in the 70s rather than the 30s, and Robin wasn’t taking thirty years to finish high school. Grittier. Street Crime. No yellow oval around the bat symbol on his chest, and no one smiling. Catwoman as a prostitute/dominatrix with a whip.

46 Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals
In 1987, George Perez, Greg Potter and Len Wein rewrote the whole Wonder Woman story to give her a solid, detailed, mythological backstory. No invisible jet. No Wonder Girl, Wonder Dog or stuff like that.

47 Meanwhile at Marvel… Spider-Man got a black suit for a while.
Marvel had been writing these characters for only twenty, not fifty years, and there weren’t so many silly/complicated things to fix. (there never was a Spider-Horse or Hulk-Cat.

48 And Someone Got Smart And decided they could take the suit (a temporary Spider-man sales gimmick) and make a modern anti-hero called Venom. He debuted in 1987.

49 And Someone Got Greedy Here’s a picture of five alien symbiotes at once. They have had fourteen different symbiotes in total in Spider-Man related comics. Audiences can smell “greedy” and can start resenting parting with their money.

50 Comic Sales Boom and then Decline
The glut of titles (Spider-Man and Superman would have four titles a month each) started to hurt the market. Marvel (with the popular 90s X-Men cartoon and toys) got greedy with a ridiculous number of X-Men/mutant-related books, pumped out thoughtlessly like sausages. Every X-title referred to events in every other X-title that month, so you were supposed to buy them all. Comic book sales were in crisis by the mid 90s, and by the late 90s, Marvel had declared bankruptcy. Marvel survived bankruptcy, but had to scale back comic books heavily, and focus on toys, TV and movies.

51 D.C. Kills Death In Comics
To grab massive sales, D.C. advertised in 1992 that they would kill Superman. Sales rocketed to see this happen and to buy the last few issues with Superman alive in them. Superman’s death was mentioned on the news.

52 The Reign of the Supermen
Instead of the Superman story ending, it continued (in about four different interlocked-story titles each month) with an army of “Is one of these the real Superman, returned from the dead?” characters. Sales continued to benefit from reader interest in what the heck D.C. was up to.

53 Superman Wasn’t Dead! Superman shows up, not dead, and with a 90s mullet. Readers felt cheated. Sales plummeted despite pretty much every single comic book character ever created then getting killed off and brought back in a vain attempt to recreate the sales of the “Death of Superman” storyline/trick No one believed comic book death anymore. If a character was in danger, you knew they could actually die and they’d be fine anyway.

54 Animation and Film People don’t read many Western comics anymore. They collect the old ones. They buy graphic novels. Kids read Japanese stuff. If you like these old characters, there are quality cartoons made of them every year, and movies as well.

55 The Spinner Racks Have Left The Convenience Stores…
And the last man standing? Archie Andrews, created in 1941 by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana A deal with the devil?

56 90s NonSuperhero Books These books were marketed at adults, with extremely graphic, horror-based imagery, but were not so much about macho fighting as psychological, political, mythological or theological stuff. They didn’t just have boobs and drugs and people getting shot, but were terribly intelligent also. And cleverly vulgar.

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