In previous blog posts, we have covered a wide range of topics like comic book movies, big events in the comic world, and even briefly looked at the history of comics. This month, let’s discuss the actual hobby of comic book collecting. Here are a few simple things you should be familiar with before starting your collection.
The first rule we give everyone is read what you love and collect what you enjoy. There are several great resources for collecting comics that can be found online, but I happen to think the “Overstreet Price Guide” is one of the most useful tools any collector can own. In this handy book, you will find several pages regarding the state of the industry, grading of a book’s condition, and of course, a price guide.
Collectors have some jargon to help distinguish between the collecting periods and the age of comic books. Think of them like historical periods, similar to the ages of dinosaurs. The age of the book has no reflection on the value, but these terms help collectors quickly identify the important features of a book.
The Golden Age period is typically defined by books dating from the mid 1930s to the early 1950s. Although the actual dates are debatable, typically anything from these decades is considered “Golden Age.” One feature of Golden Age comics is the large print size, which is noticeably larger than comics published today. Also, many titles published in this period were not super hero themed but featured westerns, crime, romance and war. It was also during the Golden Age when the horror genre took off and started a national uproar. Parents and citizen groups were concerned about the content of these books, and as a result, the industry created the Comic Book Code Authority in 1954. You can read more about this interesting story at Wikipedia.
The Silver Age is typically considered to date from 1956 to the early 1970s. Print sizes are slightly smaller than Golden Age books but are still bigger then the books we read today. Many of the great heroes you recognize today came from this age, as publishers focused more on hero-based stories to be more family friendly.
The Bronze Age of comic books starts in the 1970s and goes to 1985. This era is notable as many mainstay books ended production, as the popularity of romance, war and westerns faded. This period is when many fans began “collecting” comic books as a hobby. While many people saved their Gold and Silver Age books, it is during this period that actually preserving comic books to form a collection became a hobby.
The Modern Age runs from1985 to the present. These books are typically what you find on the shelf today at the library or a comic book shop. Unlike comics from the past, these books are in touch with current events and real world topics – and at the same time entertain us with thrilling stories.
I hope you took good notes, kids; there will be test of this later. In the meantime read, read, read.