Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

One For The Ages:
Barbara Gordon and the (Il)-Logic of Comic Book Age-Dating
Chart And Citations

Works Cited

Bailey, Murel. "Opinion 33: Toward a Consistent Nomenclature for the Ages of Comics." Quarter Bin. August 2000

Coogan, Peter. "Astro City and the Superhero Renaissance." Criticism in Action panel notes. Comics Arts Conference. Marriott Hotel and Marina, San Diego. 3 July 1996.

---. "The Secret Origin of the Superhero: The Origin and Evolution of the Superhero Genre in America." Diss. Michigan State U, 2002.

---. "The Secret Origin of the Superhero: The Origin and Evolution of the Superhero Genre in America." Electronic dissertation notes, 2001.

Dashiell, Sterling. "When Was the Bronze Age?" Comic Book Marketplace 2.56 (February 1998): 80.

Entertainment Industries Council. "PRISM Awards Up 90% Over Last Year." 20 May 2003

Franke, Jerry and Elayne Wechsler-Chaput. "FAQ: DC Universe Frequently Asked Questions." rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup. 24 August 1998. 20 May 2003

Howze, Thaddeus. Oracle: A 21st Century Athena. 20 May 2003

Klock, Geoff. How to Read Superhero Comics and Why. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002.

Lewis, A. David. "To Be Kurt, Not Short: A Three-Part Interview with Kurt Busiek - Part III." 20 May 2003

Moore, Alan (w), Bolland, Brian (a), and John Higgins (c). Batman: The Killing Joke. New York: DC Comics, 1988.

Morrison, Grant, Mark Waid, Christopher Priest (w), Porter, Howard, Arnie Jorgensen, Yanick Paquette (p), Dell, John, David Meikis, Mark Pennington, et al. (i). JLA: Strength in Numbers. Ed. Dan Raspler. New York: DC Comics, 1998.

Mougin, Lou. "The Age Rage…" Comic Book Marketplace 2.43 (January 1997): 71-72.

"One for the Ages." Wizard: The Comics Magazine 112 (January 2001): 84-95.

Reynolds, Richard. Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1992.

Semich, Mark. Superman Through the Ages! 20 May 2003

Thomas, Roy (w) and Smith, Barry (a). Conan the Barbarian vol. 1 no. 1. New York: Marvel Comics, 1970.

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 29th edition, 1999.


All due acknowledgement to the writers at Wizard: The Comic Magazine whose own article title must have left a subconscious imprint in naming this piece.

The terms "evolution" and "development" are used warily, since even they presuppose that these Ages must be movements forward. This would make each following Age better than the last - and the current Age the best by definition. This is just one of the problematic and erratic assumptions that will be argued against later in the article.

Of course, a reverse argument could be made that, since Detective Comics #225 appears on the list, the Silver Age must have already been in effect at the time of its printing - more likely, though, J'onzz is part of the aforementioned "precursor" category and not valuable enough to be labeled Golden by Overstreet.

Klock's renaming of the Ages, though, is wonderfully apropos given this theme of his book.

In both Coogan and Klock's cases, however, one wonders how the events of September 11, 2001 may have altered or even derailed their systems' normal procedure. While the catastrophe itself could not have been predicted, the unpredictability itself arising from an incident of global magnitude could. In fact, one could argue that the push towards a new genre like superheroes that World War II initiated in comic books was predictable, even if the war and the genre itself were not.

The cinematic adaptations of these superheroes no doubt had some effect. Compare Superman: The Movie, made in 1978 during the explorational Bronze Age, to the bleak and twisted beauty of Batman, made in 1988 at the height of this darker Age.

Whether Marvel's recent break from the CCA argues for an eye towards yet another emergent Age will be for subsequent reviewers to determine. Especially in light of its current MAX line, the long-term success or failure of which is yet uncertain, they will have to answer: Is this a backslide? Is Marvel following Image's lead (even though, ironically, it was Marvel from which Image broke)? Is this Marvel guiding its own destiny?

A. David Lewis is a graduate of both Brandeis University and Georgetown University, with an M.A. in English Literature, and has lectured across the continent on the subject of comics and literature. In addition to IJOCA, his scholarly writing has also been featured at such online essay sites as and The Gaiman Archive. David is also the creator/writer of Mortal Coils, a dark suspense pseudo-anthology comic series, for Red Eye Press as well as scriptwriter for its Valentine action title.

-- A. David Lewis

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