Comic Book Cultures

The 1960s: A New Kind of (Super)hero

This decade saw the emergence of the comic book "anti-hero," who reflected the alienation of the Baby Boomers from their parents' generation. In contrast to the invulnerable paragons of virtue seen in previous decades, Marvel Comics' new superheroes, notably Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk, were flawed misfit mortals. The '60s also saw the infiltration of nuclear power into the popular imagination, expressed in comics through the origin stories of Spiderman and the Hulk and the antics of Captain Atom. With the advent of the atom bomb, strength and authority became mixed blessings, since every conflict had the potential to escalate into a world-threatening nuclear war. The enduring appeal of the war comic genre is evident, as the Korean War continued to be fought in comic books as late as 1960. The emergence of '60s youth culture is also evident in these covers.