One of the oldest and most frequent questions debated around comic shops is “when does the Silver age of comics end and the Bronze age begin”. There are always different opinions and some lively debate in terms of people defending their opinions/positions on the matter. Many people had very strong feeling about this, others like myself didn’t understand the need to split them into specific ages beyond the decade year in which they came out (i.e. the 50’s or the 80’s).
Over the Christmas holidays this subject raised its head once again when I was asked who was Spider-Man’s first big Bronze age villain. My immediate answer was Morbius in Amazing Spider-Man #101. Alternative answers immediately chimed in: the Punisher, Hammerhead, Silvermane, and the Prowler. Still many different opinions. No real clear answer, as there was quite a difference of opinions on when the Bronze age actually begins.
When I got home I remembered Overstreet has definitions for each age of comics in their annual price guide, and I quickly look them up. The 47 Overstreet Price definition are:
The Silver Age: all comics published from 1956-1971.
The Bronze Age: all comics published from 1970-1984.
Sigh! No help from the referee on that one.
We are left with the Grey age of comics. I would have called it the 50 Shades of Grey age but that was already taken. Comic books published in 1970 and 1971 without a definitive Olympic medal colour to call there own.
I confess I have used and heard of number of different versions of when the whole Silver/Bronze age changeover took place. I’ll list some of the versions I have heard.
Price- The beginning of the $0.15 or $0.20 cover.
By a specific book – Conan #1, Amazing Spider-Man#121 or #129 (both way too late), House of Secrets #92, Detective #395, and Green Lantern #76 all receive support in this regard. Overstreet seems to have moved away from a specific book defining the beginning of an age. Showcase #4 used to be specifically named as the beginning of the Silver Age, but this has changed over the years to a time -bound age.
Year – the Bronze age begins in 1970, 1971, or 1972. I have seen/heard support for all three.
Personally, I think Overstreet would have it right if they changed their Silver age definition to 1956-1969 and the Bronze age 1970-1982. I think of the Copper age in 1983 and 1984.
So where does your Silver age collection end and Bronze age collection begin?