Comic History 101, Part 1: The Pre-Platinum Age

I gave a lecture on comic book history to a bunch of high-schoolers uh…last month. That was fun. I put a decent amount of work into so I thought I’d do some installments, right here on Channel Blog. Why horde all the knowledge for myself?

This is going to be a four-colour superhero-centric introduction to comic books, but naturally I will address the important indie comics and whatnot. Feel free to chime in if you’d like to add something or point out my grievous errors.

Let’s begin with this image of Herakles/Hercules from, oh let’s say 500 B.C.


Oh what a stunning bloke, with his 12 mighty tasks and all. He’s what I’d consider the first real “popular” hero. Son of a god and a moral woman – that’s something we’ll see in literature quite a bit. Part of the “champion versus monster” tradition. And as any fan of Marvel Comics knows, Hercules is indeed portrayed in comics as a hero. And really in DC too, as part of the Wonder Woman mythos – all Greek gods, that.

Here’s a picture of Sherlock Holmes.


What’s that you say? He’s no comic book character? True, and no superhero either. But keep this in mind, because he’s important part of one of the most popular superheroes today, and you can probably guess who I mean.

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