Comics that Changed the Industry Forever
Comics have had a long and rocky road in the public spotlight. From the heroes who help the public weather WW2 and Vietnam to the flashy sci-fi and sorcery Silver Age, to comics that sought to tell stories about real life issues.
These comics are the ones that changed the world and showed everyone what comics could and should be.
Action Comics #1 (1938)
The comic that started in all, Action Comics #1, brought Superman to the world stage. He could do things no other man could, and that alone caused fans to rave and buy up every issue featuring the hero from Krypton.
He also spawned the entire DC universe and even helped influence Marvel comics, and none of this would have started without two men and a hero with an S on his chest.
Fantastic Four #1 (1961)
This comic features what is called “Marvel’s First Family” and it delivered. While these heroes fought the same fantastic villains and problems as others, they were a flawed family. Given their powers by accident, these heroes got angry, bickered, annoyed one another, but ultimately stood together as a family against both external and internal problems.
They showed that a flawed hero can still be a hero and that people are only monsters if they believe they are, and other opinions don’t matter.
First appearance of Black Panther- Fantastic four #52 (1966)
With Black Panther being the first African superhero to grace Marvel comics this African King appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four to battle them. After testing their skills, he asked them for help to retake his kingdom. He was a modern hero who was freed from racial stereotypes of the time and even premiered in Jungle Action and other titles.
The Night Gwen Stacy died- The Amazing Spider-Man #121 (1973)
As the darker and more violent Bronze Age began to take over comics, one thing was always certain. The hero saved his love from anything. Until this issue that saw Spider-man fail to save his girlfriend Gwen from the Green Goblin.
While it is still hotly debated whether the fall itself or Spiderman’s attempt to catch her ultimately killed her, this comic re-introduced death into the Comic universes, and this was a death people didn’t come back from.
The Dark Knight Returns (1986)
Frank Millers take on Batman ushered in the darker and grittier comics that we all know today. This comic featured an older Batman, darker versions of classic heroes, and a Gotham gone down the tubes as the Dark Knight came out of retirement to defend his city one last time.
Featuring violence, darkness, and mature themes, this comic paved the way for a darker universe were the line between hero and villain began to blur.
These comics are only a fraction of the industry changers that have made their marks on history, and countless articles could list and debate them, but these five comics each helped start a new trend in the industry, and those trends continue now in the present.