It was the year 1938, and the first ever issue of Action Comics#1 was out, introducing Superman on its cover and establishing comicbookart as a force to be reckoned in the world of mainstream movements. In an instant, the magic of comics managed to attract millions of fans worldwide, eager to get more of their favourite characters and superheroes involved in exciting new adventures. From The Adventures of Tintin, incredibly popular among the readers in France and Belgium, to the exquisite variety of the Japanese manga, comic books had a great influence on popular cultures worldwide. However, the superhero frenzy, which is very much alive and well today too, was introduced by the American comics, whose Golden, Silver and Bronze eras wrote history of the movement and left a comprehensive legacy. After the introduction of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman in the US, comics became part of a much larger picture, having entered in the world of big production industries. It was an exciting time, when world’s biggest comics publishers, those being DC Comics and Marvel, fought who would sell more copies in the middle of a true comics fever. After the World War II, between the 1930s and the 1950s, the world witnessed the Golden Age of Comics, where the likes of Batman (and Robin), Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, the Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, but also Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roy Rogers and Tarzan, all dominated the market and contributed to the image-saturated ambient of that era. The Silver Age, between the 1960s and 1970s, brought sales drop, but also the rise of self-publishing underground movements such as Underground Comix, and the more naturalistic superheroes such as Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four or Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man. During the late 1980s and the 1990s, comics saw its definite downfall.
The Art of Comics Today
In an age where superheroes are mostly seen in movies, tv shows, cartoons and video games, it is hard to talk about the presence of comic books as we know them. Their evolution, like that of almost all other art forms as well, was imminent, and with the arrival of computers and the Internet, they adjusted to fit the demand of the new times. With the first generation of computers came the first digitally created and printed comics and graphic novels, which became more and more sophisticated in graphic quality as years advanced. Comic creators started using 3-D rendering and the first Photoshop effects, for example, and had distributed their artworks through CD-ROMs before placing them on the World Wide Web. Those published on the internet got the name of webcomics, and their virtual presence as such led to the creation of entire dedicated businesses, award ceremonies and webcomics collectives. Even with the inexorable development of digital media and the virtual world, comic books persevere, in physical, digital, online and any other form imaginable. The omnipresent influence of comic books is undeniable. Today’s artists like Mahmud Asrar, Stjepan Sejic, James Harren, Declan Shalvey, Bill Sienkiewicz, Eliza Frye, Karen Hallion, Natalia Hernandez, Ramona Fradon, Charles Soule, Ryan Stegman, Jason Latour, Kris Anka and Rags Morales continue to shape this exciting movement, as creative spirits who share different passions, whether it’s cartooning and illustration, storyboards and animation, product and poster design. They draw inspiration from their predecessors, but also many other alternative artistic styles, daily life and of course, popular culture and society.
You can find comic book cover art at auctions and on eBay as well!
Whether collected for fun or profit, comic books became a hot item for many people around the world, especially during the Golden and Silver Age. As their popularity grew, comics came to be discussed at numerous community and fan conventions organised around the world. To help collectors find what they’re looking for, there are many comic books price guides which help established the value of a comic over a period of time. After the boom of the comic art market in the late 1980s and its subsequent crash in the mid-1990s, the prices started having a steady rise again in the last few years – collectors today can find pieces going from a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars, or even more. Among the places offering original comic art today, apart from eBay, there is Comic Art Fans, a website where hundreds of collectors share their art in a virtual gallery, and for those in search of high-end comic market, there are auction houses like Heritage and ComicLink. On this page, you will find many interesting articles dedicated to the comics community and its many talented creatives.