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Save for Later. In response, the comic book industry adopted the stringent Comics Code. By the mids, only Superman , Batman and Wonder Woman retained a sliver of their prior popularity, although effort towards complete inoffensiveness led to stories that many consider silly, especially by modern standards. This ended what historians have called the Golden Age of comic books. In the s, DC Comics , under the editorship of Julius Schwartz , recreated many popular s heroes, launching an era later deemed the Silver Age of comic books.
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The Flash , Green Lantern , Hawkman and several others were recreated with new origin stories. While past superheroes resembled mythological heroes in their origins and abilities, these heroes were inspired by contemporary science fiction. In , DC banded its most popular heroes together in the Justice League of America , which became a sales phenomenon. These comics continued DC's use of science fiction concepts radiation was a common source of superpowers but placed greater emphasis on personal conflict and character development.
This led to many superheroes that differed from predecessors with more dramatic potential. For example, the Fantastic Four were a superhero family of sorts, who squabbled and even held some unresolved acrimony towards one another, and Spider-Man was a teenager who struggled to earn money and maintain his social life in addition to his costumed exploits.
Writer Dennis O'Neil portrayed the Green Arrow as an angry, street-smart populist and the Green Lantern as a good-natured, but short-sighted, authority figure. This is the first instance in which superheroes were classified into two distinct groups, the "classic" superhero and the more brazen anti-hero. Likewise in Marvel Comics , Captain America was revived in the Silver Age , as a hero out of his time after spending decades in suspended animation. The character grew to question his patriotic ideals until he received a traumatizing shock at the end of an adventure that was the Marvel Universe 's analogy to the Watergate scandal.
Disillusioned, the Captain gave up his persona in favor of Nomad until he came to a personal epiphany that he could become Captain America again and champion America's ideals themselves alone. Batman, The Punisher, and Daredevil were driven by the crime-related deaths of their family members and continual exposure to slum life, while X-Men 's Wolverine was tormented by barely controllable savage instincts.
Iron Man , already a heart-transplant patient subject to occasional heart attacks, now also struggled with debilitating alcoholism. The trend was also seen in the miniseries Watchmen by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons , which was published by DC but took place outside the DC Universe with new characters. Some of the superheroes of Watchmen were emotionally unsatisfied, psychologically withdrawn, sexually confused, and even sociopathic. Watchmen also examined perceived flaws in the superhero mythos such as the inculpability of vigilantism , and the supposed ultimate irrelevance of fighting crime in a world threatened by nuclear holocaust.
DK2, the long-awaited follow-up to The Dark Knight Returns, contrasts the traditional superhero-crimefighter character with the politicized characters that evolved during the s; this was, perhaps, epitomized by The Authority and Planetary , both written by British author Warren Ellis. In DK2, Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor is the power behind the throne , controlling a tyrannical American government, as well as Superman himself.
Superman's submission to Luthor's twisted power structure, in the name of saving lives, is contrasted with Batman's determined attack against corrupted institutions of government; the dual message has been interpreted to be that crime can occur at all levels of society, and that heroes are responsible for fighting both symptoms and causes of societal dysfunction and corruption. By the early s, anti-heroes had become the rule rather than the exception, as The Punisher , Wolverine and the grimmer Batman became popular and marketable characters.
This was a financial boom time for the industry when a new character could become well known quickly and, according to many fans, stylistic flair eclipsed character development. Image changed the comic book industry as a haven for creator-owned characters and the first significant challenger to Marvel and DC in thirty years. McFarlane's occult hero Spawn fared somewhat better in critical respect [ citation needed ] and long-term sales.
In this decade, Marvel and DC made drastic temporary changes to iconic characters.
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DC's " Death of Superman " story arc across numerous Superman titles found the hero killed and resurrected, while Batman was physically crippled in the " KnightFall " storyline. At Marvel, a clone of Spider-Man vied with the original for over a year of stories across several series. All eventually returned to the status quo.
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Throughout the s, several creators deviated from the trends of violent anti-heroes and sensational, large-scale storylines. Acclaimed titles such as Busiek's, Ross' and Brent Anderson 's Astro City and Moore's Tom Strong combined artistic sophistication and idealism into a super heroic version of retro-futurism. Ross also painted two widely acclaimed mini-series , Marvels written by Busiek for Marvel Comics and Kingdom Come for DC, which examined the classic superhero in a more literary context, as well as satirizing antiheroes.
Superhero films began as Saturday movie serials aimed at children during the s with the first film adaptation of a comic book superhero being The Adventures of Captain Marvel in The decline of these serials meant the death of superhero films until the release of 's Superman , a critical and commercial success. Several sequels followed in the s. Yet while both franchises were initially successful, later sequels in both series fared poorly both artistically and financially, stunting the growth of superhero films for a time.
Hit films such as 's Blade , 's X-Men and Unbreakable , and 's Spider-Man have led to sequel installments as well as encouraging the development of numerous superhero film franchises in the 21st century, both successful such as 's Batman Begins , a reboot of the Batman film series and unsuccessful such as 's Catwoman. With that resurgence, the subgenre has become a major element of mainstream film production with outstanding successes like 's The Dark Knight , 's The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises , 's Iron Man 3 , and 's Avengers: Age of Ultron attracting major revenue and critical plaudits.
In , the film Sign Gene featured about deaf superheroes who use sign language. Several live-action superhero programs aired from the early s until the late s. These included Adventures of Superman  starring George Reeves , the action-comedy Batman  series of the s often interpreted as being campy starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
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In the s however, the genre would find a newfound credibility in the medium with the original series, The Six Million Dollar Man  and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman ,  being sustained successes. The Incredible Hulk  of the late s and early s, however, had a more somber tone.
Superboy  ran from in syndication. The NBC series Heroes  tells the story of several ordinary people who each suddenly find themselves with a superpower. The British series Misfits  incorporates super-human abilities to undesirables in society. In this case, young offenders put on community service all have super powers and each use them to battle villains of sorts.
In the s, an unsuccessful attempt was made to realize this last concept in the United States with the short-lived action comedy, Misfits of Science. Marvel meanwhile had a successful television spin-off of their Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise Agents of S. DC series include Shazam! Since the s, superhero cartoons have been a staple of children's television, particularly in the U.
However, by the early s, US broadcasting restrictions on violence in children's entertainment led to series that were extremely tame, a trend exemplified by the series Super Friends. Meanwhile, Japan's anime industry successfully contributed its own style of superhero series, such as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. The following decade, Batman: The Animated Series , which was aimed at somewhat older audiences, found critical success in mainstream publications.follow url
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Original superheroes with basis in older trends have also been made for television, such as Disney's Gargoyles by Greg Weisman and Cartoon Network's Ben 10 franchise and Nickelodeon 's Danny Phantom. Beginning s, the radio serial Superman starred Bud Collyer as the titular hero. Other superhero radio programs starred characters including the costumed but not superpowered Blue Beetle , and the non-costumed, superpowered Popeye. Also appearing on radio were such characters as the Green Hornet , the Green Lama , Doc Savage , and the Lone Ranger , a Western hero who relied on many conventions of the superhero archetype.
Superheroes occasionally have been adapted into prose fiction, starting with Random House 's novel The Adventures of Superman by George Lowther. In the s, Elliot S! The character likewise returned in s books, with a installment series from Avon Books beginning in , written by Phantom creator Lee Falk , Ron Goulart , and others. Also during the s, Pocket Books published 11 novels based on Marvel Comics characters. Original superhero or superhuman fiction has appeared in both novel and short-story print forms unrelated to adaptations from the major comic-book companies.
It has also appeared in poetry. Print magazines devoted to such stories include A Thousand Faces: A Quarterly Journal of Superhuman Fiction , published since in print and electronic form, and online only as of  and This Mutant Life: Superhero Fiction , a bimonthly print publication from Australia , published since Superhero poems there included Philip L. Novels with original superhuman stories include Robert Mayer's Superfolks St. With the rise of e-book readers like Kindle and Nook, a host of superhero stories have been self-published, including R.
Haywood's Extracted , R. Leone's Invinciman , and Mike Vago's Selfdestructible While many popular superheroes have been featured in licensed video games, up until recently there have been few that have revolved around heroes created specifically for the game. In the s and s, the Internet allowed a worldwide community of fans and amateur writers to bring their own superhero creations to a global audience.
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