view3/7/2018Dr. Occult (DC) Superman (DC) Batman (DC) The Human Torch (Marvel) Sub-Mariner (Marvel) The Spectre (DC) Captain Marvel (Fawcett) The Flash (All-American)

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The Golden Age: 1938-1955


* Egyptian/Mesopotamian

Classical (Greek/Roman)


Norse mythology


Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)



The Shadow

Doc Savage

Hugo Danner (Gladiator, by Philip Wylie)

Creators/Important names:

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Bob Kane and Bill Finger

William Moulton (Charles) Marston

Martin Goodman

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Stanley Lieber

Maxwell (M.C.) Gaines

William Bill Gaines

Harvey Kurtzman

Dr. Fredric Wertham







Dr. Occult (DC)

Superman (DC)

Batman (DC)

The Human Torch (Marvel)

Sub-Mariner (Marvel)

The Spectre (DC)

Captain Marvel (Fawcett)

The Flash (All-American)

Green Lantern (All-American)

Hawkman (All-American)

Wonder Woman (All-American)

Plastic Man (Quality)

Captain America (Marvel)

(The five underlined superheroes are those I expect you to know the most about: who created them; their historical antecedents; their powers (or lack thereof); the way they were marketed; and the way their characters changed during this time.

For example: I would expect you to know that Superman shares some similarities to Hugo Danner; that he also shares several qualities with Moses; and that in his original incarnation by Siegel and Shuster, he was evil.)


Comics origins in pulp magazines and mens magazines (like Stag)

The move from comic books as collections of newspaper strips to original content

Early creators and the struggle for credit

The copycat nature of early superheroes

The target audience of comic books

Messiahs (defenders) vs Golems (avengers)

Comic books as propaganda

Racism/sexism in comic books

The growth of comics during the Golden Age (including numbers)

The birth of the teenager

The popularity of superheroes as it waxed and waned in the postwar era

The Red Scare and its effect on comics

The challenges of censorship and the reasons it was proposed

The two waves of comic censorship: legislative and popular

The rise of E.C. and its effect on comics (including MAD) especially superheroes

The Comics Code Authority (compared to the Hays Code)

The two major competitors of comic books through the 1950s and 1960s


Licensing (including examples of what can happen when you give away control of a character)

Deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics