Thursday, March 8, 2012

The 6 Long Lasting Originals

In the Golden Age there were a LOT of superheroes and mystery men introduced, hundreds really, and they almost all went just as quickly away.

Even some still around today (mostly in other forms,) such as Green Lantern, The Flash, and Captain America, only lasted 8 or 9 years.

There were a few they tried to revive in the 50’s, such as the Commie fighting Cap and Sub-Mariner that lasted for all of 4 issues, but for the most part even the famous fell by the wayside before they could make it to 10 years.

Many of these characters that were introduced, or remade and reintroduced in the Silver Age of the 60’s, such as the space traveling version of Green Lantern, and the red suited Flash are still around today after more than 40 years, but despite the same names these were really new characters.

However of the originals from the Golden Age starting the 40s there were only six who generated the interest to last 13 years or more, still published even with the bottom falling out of interest in the superhero genre in the mid 40s, and the rise of Horror, Western, War, & Romance comics, and anti-comic campaigns at the start of the 50s.

Those six were Superman & Lois, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, The Marvels, Plastic-Man and Doll-Man & Doll-Girl.

I imagine some deep psychological truth can be discerned from the reason those six stayed so popular for so long, I’ve read speculation that Superman was so popular because he was somehow perceived by the public on a subconscious level as the embodiment of the New Deal Era in one persona, at the time heroic female figures in popular media were thin on the ground so that explains Wonder Woman, and Batman… well is Batman, Plastic-man ran on the power of Jack Cole’s creativity, the Marvel family was fun, and back then superheroes were allowed to be fun. As for Doll-Man… you tell me, I guess it was something in the era he was sailing along on, and whatever that was seems to be gone now, because while they have half-heartedly tried to bring him back, they just can’t bring themselves to really try.

Today of course Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are still going and doing quite well, and there are versions of Cap, Cap Jr. Mary Marvel and Plas at DC, but more out of sheer stubbornness on their part than real popularity, as for Doll-Man and Doll-Girl? Well sure, what’s not to love about two people whose sole ability is being able to shrink themselves down to six inches in height so they can go charging into battle on the back of a Great Dane? I mean it worked from 1940 to 1953.

I guess you had to be there. 

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