Illustrations have been a part of human society since early prehistory. Comic books started as collections of daily or weekly strips of sequentially ordered stories that were collected and printed independently in magazine form. In America, Benjamin Franklin’s famous “Join or Die” cartoon, published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, can be cited as an early example of a popular printed comic.
Let’s take a look at some key dates in comics history.
Tintin makes his debut in Belgian magazine. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. Original material for the series was published as a strip in the comics anthology Le Petit Vingtième.
Superman debuts Action Comics #1 cover dated June 1938. It is the first issue of the original run of the comic book/magazine series Action Comics. It features the first appearance of several comic-book heroes—most notably Superman and sold for 10 cents.
Captain America and Wonder Woman were both introduced in 1941.
Comics Code Authority established to censor comics. From 1954 to 1989, mainstream U.S. comic books had rules against portraying LGBT characters, enforced by the organization known as the Comics Code Authority. The Code, as it was often simply called, was not technically government censorship, as it was a private organization and publishers were not legally bound to follow its decisions.
The Fantastic Four is a superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team debuted in The Fantastic Four #1 cover dated November 1961, helping usher in a new level of realism in the comic industry.
The first recorded “official” comic book convention took place in 1964 in New York City. But it would be another 35 plus years before the going to comic conventions phenomenon took off.
in 1986 saw the rise of two seminal comic miniseries: Watchmen and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Although both were conceived independently, it’s amazing how complimentary and symbiotic they are in mood and structure as they redefined superheroe.
Image Comics was founded in 1992 by several high-profile illustrators, including Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee, as a venue for creator-owned properties. Comics creators could publish material of their own creation without giving up the copyrights to those properties.
X-Men movie kicks off superhero cinema boom. 20th Century Fox obtained the film rights to the team and other related characters in 1994 for $2.6 million. Bryan Singer was hired to direct the first film, released in 2000, and its sequel, X2 (2003). After each film outgrossed its predecessor, a further ten films were released set in the same cinematic universe.