Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Barry!

Anthony's Annotations bids a Happy 50th to the Silver Age. This month marks fifty years since Barry Allen made his debut in Showcase #4 and launched a brand new era for costumed superhero stories and a new renaissance for sequential art.

October marks the 50th anniversary of what's usually considered as the start of the Silver Age of comic books---Showcase #4 (Sept.-Oct. 1956), featuring the first appearance of the second and longest-lasting version of the Flash, a "police scientist" named Barry Allen who gained his powers through being splashed by chemicals that were struck by a lightning bolt.

Comics' "Golden Age" had dwindled by the early 50s, with the superheroes (such as the first superhero team, the Justice Society) having been given the heave-ho in favor of other genres, such as funny-animals, Westerns, and horror. By 1956, someone at DC Comics apparently thought bringing back a revised version of an old hero would sell comics, and thus the second Flash, a revised version of the original Mercury-helmet-wearing Flash of the 40s, was born.

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