Need Help on Super Hero Genre Histoty.

I did the post below in my Writing Topics Genre and History. It has been revised, with additional information.

It is mainly DC Comics, but only media are covered two, plus some material on Marvel and other publishers.

Until I wrote this, I had no clear idea on when events in super hero genre happened.

I dont include predessors like Scarlet Pimpernel, Gladiator, Phantom, Zorro, Lone Ranger. Doc Savage and the Shadow.

Please correct and suggest additions

Major Super Hero Genre History
Identified according to Medium

Interesting fact; The Company that would become DC had Siegel and Shuster working for them for two years before Action Comics 1. They were not unknown teenagers to DC but experienced creators.

Also, the woman who modeled for Siegel Shuster as Lois Lane became Siegel’s second wife, not his only wife. She was the one who shamed DC to employ Siegel as a writer for Superman stories again from 1956 to 1967 where he wrote Return to Krypton and Imaginary Story Death of Superman.

Super Hero Genre History

1933 Comic Strip (unpublished) Superman by Siegel Shuster (both born 1914 so 19 years old)

1935 Comic Book New Fun Comics has first all New Material

1936 Comic Book New Fun Siegel Shuster does Federal Men

1938 Comic Book Siegel Shuster
produces Slam Bradley, Radio Squad, Spy, Federal Men and Dr. Occult.

1938 Comic Book Siegel Shuster Superman and alter ego Clark Kent, Lois Lane appear in Action Comics 1
Golden Age begins.
Siegel Shuster sells rights for 130 dollars, get 10 year contract

1939 Comic Strip Siegel Shuster Superman

1939 Comic Book Kane Finger Batman Detective 27

1939 Comic Book Timely now Marvel Android Human Torch by Burgos and Anti hero Namor the Submariner by Everett appear.

1940 Comic Book MLJ now Archie First patriotic super hero The Shield.

1940 Comic Book All Star Comics 3 Justice Society of America, first super hero team.
Superman and Batman excluded because had own title. Original members are Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, Sandman, Hourman, Spectre and Doctor Fate. Last issue 57, replaced by All Star Western, in 1951.

1940 Comic Book Fawcette Whiz Comics Captain Marvel

1940 Comic Book All Star Comics 8 (Justice Society of America comic) Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston and H G Peter. Golden Lasso based on lie detector developed by Marston. Early Wonder Woman had a lot of bondage in Sensation and Wonder Woman Titles, due to psychological beliefs, lifestyle of Marston.

1940 Batman 1 First appearance of Joker and Catwoman

1940 Comic Book Detective 38 Robin, first sidekick. Gave Batman someone to talk to. Kids wanted to be Robin. Batman takes a more gentle tone after Robin appears

1940 Radio Adventures of Superman Added Jimmy Olson (gave Superman someone to talk to, essential in radio), Kryptonite, Batman and Robin

1940 16 page Comic Insert for Newspapers The Spirit Will Eisner.

1941 Comic Book Timely now Marvel Captain America Simon and Kirby

1941 Comic Book MLJ now Archie Pep Comics Archie Andrews

1941 Movie Superman Max Fleischer Cartoons Superman flies, not leaps, in later cartoons.

1941 Movie serial Captain.Marvel

1941-1970 Comic Books Mort Weisenger was editor of Superman and Batman. Supergirl, Batwoman, Red Kryptonite, Bizarro, Bat Mite, Giant Typewriters, Imaginary Stories, all were his ideas.

1942-45 WW II

Siegel drafted. Poor eyesight of Shuster causes him to be rejected.

30% of the reading material shipped to soldiers are comic books

Paper needed to be donated for War effort. These paper drives make older comics very rare.

1945 Comic book More Fun 101 introduced Superboy - Superman when he was young. Superboy was not part of Siegel Shuster contract. Siegel suggested it but DC said no. DC used character while Siegel was in Army…

1946 Soldiers return home.
Comic book sales drop dramatically because no longer shipped to soldiers, former soldiers think of comics as related to war, comic book covers no longer can carry dramatic and patriotic War themes.

1947 Court Case As 10 year contract nears end, Siegel Shuster sue DC for rights to Superman and Superboy lose case and fired by DC.

1947 Comic Book Simon Kirby Young Romance

1948 Movie Serial Superman

1950 Comic Book EC Comics Crime Horror

1950s Most superheroes no longer puplished. Only Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superboy, and backups Aquaman and Green Arrow survived

Replacements were Cowboy titles (Atlas now Marvel had Kid Colt Outlaw, Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, and Wild Western, all by Stan Lee. Harvey had Boys’ Ranch, by Simon and Kirby, DC Comics All-Star Western, which replaced the JSA in All Star Comics) Romance, Archie, Atlas Miller the Model and Patsy Walker (lHellcat decades later) by Stan Lee, and EC Comics Crime, Horror, Science Fiction, War and Humor (Mad)

1952 TV Adventures of Superman

1954 Book Seduction of the Innocent Comic book says comic books cause juvenile delinquency

Batman Robin were portrayed in the book as homosexuals living together Superman was a fascist. Wonder Woman was a Lesbian.

1954 Congressional Hearing on Comics EC Publisher Bill Gaines Testifies. Public Relations disaster

1954 Comic Code Authority
(CCA) created, providing self censorship guidelines for remaining publishers.

1954 Wholesalers refuse EC Comics because no CCA seal on covers

1955 Magazine Mad first appears.

1955 Comic Book Detective Comics backup Martian Manhunter

1956 Comic Book Showcase 4 The Flash. Julius Schwartz editor. Kanigher Infantino Kubert
The Silver Age Starts

1958 Comic Book Adventure Comics Legion of Super Heroes.

1958 Magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, started by publisher James Warren and editor Forrest J Ackerman.

1959 Comic Book Supergirl Action Comics 252.

1959 Comic Book Archie Publishers Adventures of the Fly (originally child orphan with Captain Marvel transformation, then adult, prototype for Spider-Man when Kirby did inital drawings for Stan Lee which he rejected for leaner Steve Ditko version) and Double Life of Private Strong (revival of Archie’s patriotic super hero Shield, which predated Captain America, with Superman like powers, sued out of existence by DC) by Simon and Kirby. Simon Estate now owns both of these characters, but not related character Fly Girl or original 1940s Shield.

1959 Comic Book Showcase 22 Green Lantern by Schwartz Broome Kane

1960 Comic Book Brave and Bold Justice League of America Schwartz Fox Sekowsky

1961 Comic Book Marvel Fantastic Four Lee Kirby. On golf course, DC publisher Jack Liebowitz told Marvel Publisher Martin Goodman of big hit JLA by editor Julius Schwartz. Goodman tells Stan Lee, cousin to Goodman’s wife, to create a title with a group of super heroes. Julie said later on, “I not only saved DC Comics, I saved Marvel Comics too.”

1961 Comic Book Flash 123 Flash of Two Worlds Original Flash Jay Garrick, Earth 2 parallel world introduced. Schwartz Fox Infantino.

1961 Fan Magazine Alter Ego Jerry Bails Roy Thomas

1962 Comic Book Marvel Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider-Man Lee Ditko

1963 Comic Book My Greatest Adventure 80 Doom Patrol Drake Haney

1964 Comic Book Marvel Avengers 4 Captain America thawed from ice Lee Kirby

1964 Magazine Creepy James Warren Publisher revival of horror comics. Like Mad Magazine, not under CCA code.

1965 Comic Book Brave and the Bold 60 Teen Titans Haney

1966 Comic Book Adventure Comics 346, Jim Shooter,
14 years old at the time,
wrote his first Legion of Super Heroes story.

1966 TV Batman. Camp craze begins. 20th Century Fox Television (now Disney, which own Marvel) still holds the rights to this show, not Warner Brothers.

1966 Comic Book Marvel Fantastic Four 52 Black Panther Lee Kirby

1967 Comic Books DC Comics becomes part of Warner Brothers.

1970 Comic Book Detective Comics 395 Batman serious character again O’Neill Adams Bronze Age starts

1970 Comic Book Green Lantern Green Arrow 76 O’Neill Adams

1970 Comic Book Marvel Conan the Barbarian Roy Thomas

1971 Comic Book New Gods Kirby comes to DC

1971 Comic Book Marvel Kree–Skrull War Roy Thomas,Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, and John Buscema.

1972 Fan Magazine Comic Reader by Paul Levitz In 1975, left NYU to work for DC Comics Wrote Legion of Super Heroes and JSA in All Star Comics. Served as Batman editor, vice president, executive vice president, president and publisher of DC Comics. Along with publisher Jenette Kahn and editor Dick Giordano, he was responsible for hiring creaotrs such as Alan Moore, Marv Wolfman, John Byrne, George Perez, Keith Giffen and editor Karen Berger. In 2009 he stepped down as President and Publisher of DC Comics to serve as the Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant for the newly-formed DC Entertainment. Afterward, as the co-creator of the Earth-2 Huntress with artist Joe Staton he wrote a mini series on her which continued into Worlds Finest with Power Girl in the New 52.

1971 Comic Book Marvel Man Thing, Thomas Conway later The Writer of Man Thing Steve Gerber

1972 Comic Book Swamp Thing Wein Wrightson

1972 Comic Book Marvel Tomb of Dracula Wolfman Colan

1973 Magazine James Warren reprints The Spirit by Will Eisner

1973 TV Super Friends

1973 Comic Book DC Comics Shazam The Original Captain Marvel C C Beck

1975 TV Wonder Woman First season set in World War II

1975 Comic Book Marvel Invaders Marvel Captain.America Human Torch Namor in World War II, Thomas

1975 Comic Book Marvel X men Giant 1 Wein Cockrum Storm Wolverine major characters later writer Claremont artist Byrne

1975 Neal Adams Jerry Robinson and others campaign for justice for Siegel Shuster who are destitue while millions are spent on new Superman movie. DC Vice President Paul Levitz, later to become DC Publisher, helped push Warner Brothers to agree on final deal. Eventually Siegel Shuster got 20,000 each a year, extendable to heirs, medical benefits, and credits on comic books, TV and movies.

1975 Comic Book Marvel Defenders non team Hulk Dr Strange Namor sometimes Silver Surfer later Nighthawk, Valykrie, Hellcat (Patsy Walker, created in 1950s as teenager) First issue by Gerber, created by Thomas

1976 Comic Book All Star Comics 58 revival of Justice Society of America Power Girl introduced later Helena Wayne, Huntress, daughter of Earth 2 Batman and Catwoman Conway Wood, later Levitz Stanton

1976 Jenette Kahn, 28 years old, became publisher of DC Comics.
Offers Royalties to creators. The implementation of these incentives proved useful as Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter, was alienating much of his company’s creative staff with his authoritarian manner and major talents there went to DC like Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, Marv Wolfman, and George Perez. Resigned in 2002 still President. She revitalized DC Comic including creating Vertigo with editor Karen Burger.

1976 Comic Book Marvel Howard the Duck Gerber Brunner

1977 Comic Book Black Lightning Tony Isabella

1978 Movie Superman Warner Brothers and DC get a lot of good publicity as Siegel and his wife and Shuster attended Premiere of Superman the Movie and saw ‘Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’ credit appear on the screen.

1979 Movie Michael Uslan, buys movie rights to Batman, when Warner Brothers thought TV Batman made character unprofitable for movies. Uslan still owns movie rights to Batman. Also got movie rights to Swamp Thing for free because Warner Brother executive considered character to be useless in terms of profit. How times (don’t) change.

1980 Comic Book New Teen Titans Wolfman Petez.

1982 Movie Swamp Thing Wes Craven Producer Michael Uslan.

1984 Comic Books DC Comics were not selling well while Marvel was doing great. Warner Brothers almost closed down the DC Comics publishing imprint and wanted to license the characters to Marvel. According to Jim Shooter. Marvel would have continued to publish DC’s seven most popular properties – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Justice League, Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes – and would have had room to expand the line later if they so chose.
Shooter wanted deal but Marvel executives declined, thinking that DC was failing because of the characters, and that it would not be profitable for Marvel.

1984 Comic Book All Star Squadron Set in World War II, original members Hawkman Atom, Dr Midnight (from JSA) Plastic Man, Robotman, Jonny Quick, Liberty Belle. Thomas

1984 Comic Book Swamp Thing Anatomy Lesson Alan Moore

1985 Comic book Crisis on Infinite Earths by Wolfman Perez

Bronze Age ends and Modern Age begins.

1986 Comic Book Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller, later to be first hugely successful Graphic Novel.

1986 Comic Book Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons… Also converted to hugely successful Graphic Novel.
Continuously in print so rights never reverted to creators, as promised.

1986 Comic Book Man of Steel Byrne

1987 Comic Book Wonder Woman Perez

1988 Graphic Novel Killing Joke by Alan Moore. Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, paralized for 23 years, later becomes Oracke.

1989 Comic Book Sandman Neil Gaiman

1989 Comic Book Doom Patrol Grant Morrison

1989 Movie Batman Director Tim Burton and Producer Michael Uslan, who bought movie rights to Batman in 1979, .

1992 Movie Batman Returns Catwoman Penguin

1992 TV Batman The Animated Series Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Start of DCAU.

1992 Comic Book Death of Superman. Sells millions of copies. Event created because TV show Lois and Clark in development and planned Lois Lane Clark Kent marriage had to be postponed to coordinate with new series.

1993 TV Lois and Clark

1993 Comic Book Vertigo Imprint
Karen Burger Editor until pushed out in 2013. Now works for Dark Horse. Successful titles under Vertigo included Fables, Hellblazer, The Invisibles, 100 Bullets, Preacher, V for Vendetta, The Unwritten and Y: The Last Man, plus already existing titles Sandman, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol and Animal Man.

1994 Jack Kirby dies. Co Creator of Marvel Comics Captain America, Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Silver Surfer, Black Panther, Thor, Sgt Fury and Howling Commandos, Original X men. For Archie Comics The Fly, and Lancelot Strong. Created Boy Commandos, Newsboy Legion, redesigned Sandman, Green Arrow, Challenger of the Unknown, later New Gods, Mister Miracle, Forever People, Darksaid, Etrigan the Demon, Kamandi for DC.

1996 Comic Book Kingdom Come Waid Ross

2000 Movie X men

2001 TV Smallville

2001 TV Justice League Animated

2002 Movie Spider-Man

2002 TV Birds of Prey

2003 TV Teen Titans Animated

2004 TV Justice League Unlimited Animated

2004 Comic Julius Schwartz died, editor in late 40s of Golden Age Green Lantern and Justice Society of America and Silver Age Flash. Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Atom. Hawkman and later in the 70s Batman and Superman.

2004 - 20013 Siegel heirs sue DC, after an inital agreement in 1997. Part of suit was that Superboy was not part of the original 10 year work for hire contract but an independent matter. That is why Superboy was not used by DC in this time period. A judge ruled in 2013 that the 1997 agreement had been done freely and with forethought. That agreement gave the Siegel heirs a $2 million advance, a $1 million non-recoupable signing bonus forgiveness of a previous
$250,000 advance, a guarantee of $500,000 per year for 10 years, a 6 percent royalty of gross revenues, and various other royalties

2005 Movie Batman Begins Nolan

2005 Movie Constantine

2006 TV Legion of Super Heroes

2008 Movie The Dark Knight Joker (Oscar Nomonation) Nolan

2008 Movie Iron Man

2008 Movie Magazine Famous Monster of Filmland creator, Forrest J. Ackerman dies.

A typical obit from Paul Dini, who with Bruce Timm, created BTAS and the DCAU:

Before the internet, before Entertainment Weekly and the nightly show biz shows, we fans of the cinema fantastic had no touchstone to that world other than through Forry and FAMOUS MONSTERS. Each month in its pages we would learn of Hollywood’s horror lore, of Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney, Sr., and Jr., and of wonders to come – Star Wars, Superman, Carrie, and hundreds of others. We devoured the articles, we marveled at the photos, we groaned at the puns, we ordered the models and horror masks, and most of all we loved the man who brought it all to us.

Here’s to you, Forry. And thanks, from me and every kid you held in your spooky, but always thrilling Dracula-like trance each month.

Ackerman provided inspiration to many who would later become successful artists, including Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Stephen King, Penn & Teller, Gene Simmons (of the band Kiss), Rick Baker, George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Guillermo del Toro, John Landis, television producer Kevin Burns and countless other writers, directors, artists, and craftsmen.

Many of them wrote their own obits for him, echoing Deni.

2009 Movie Watchmen

2009 Movie Disney buys Marvel

2010 TV Young Justice

2011 Comic Book DC NEW 52 Reboot characters much younger.
Many characters and marriages go into oblivion.
Timeline shortened except for Batman and Green Lantern Batman urban legend in his beginning years.

2011 Movie Green Lantern bombs

2012 Movie Avengers a massive hit. Warner Brothers realizes it is behind, pushes quick route to movie Justice League.

2012 TV CW Green Arrow

2013 Movie Man of Steel start of DCEU

2013 TV Teen Titans Go

2014 TV CW Flash

2014 TV Constantine

2014 TV Gotham Batman presequel

2015 TV CW Supergirl

2016 Movie Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice introduces Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Brief glimpses of Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.

2016 Movie Suicide Squad Harley Quinn Amanda Waller

2016 Internet YouTube DVD DC Super Hero Girls set in Super Hero High School

2016 Comic Book DC Rebirth Legacy Characters like Wally West and older Superman back

2017 TV Batman actor Adam West dies.

2017 Comic Book Len Wein, creator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine, dies.

2017 Movie Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins

2017 Movie Batman Lego

2017 Movie Disney buys Fox, who had movie rights to X men and Fantastic Four.

2018 Comic Book Steve Ditko died. Co creator of Spider-man, his major villains and Dr Strange. Creator of Captain Atom, Qustion, Creeper, Hawk and Dove, Nightshade and Squirrel Girl

2018 TV CW Black Lightning

2018 Movie Black Panther

2018 Movie Justice League, does not recover costs. Mixture of two directors, may have been released early, after expensive and extended reshoots, so Warner Brothers Executives could get bonuses.

2018 Movie Teen Titans Go

2018 Internet DC Universe Titans

2018 Movie Aquaman

2018 Comic Book Stan Lee dies. Co creator of early Marvel characters: Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Hulk, Spider Man, Sgt Fury and the Howling Commandos, Dr. Strange, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, Original X men, Daredevil. Revived Namor Captain America

2019.Internet DC Universe Compete Digital Library

2019 Internet DC Universe Young Justice Season 3, Doom Patrol (unexpected hit) and Swamp Thing (cancelled)

2019 Movie Shazam

2019 TV DC Super Heroes Girls Version 2 Teenage versions of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Batgirl, Zatanna, and Jessica Cruz, students of Metropolis High School with Secret Identities.

2019 Internet Krypton, Pennyworth (both presequels to Superman, Batman - Alfred). Titans season 2. Sandman (Netflicks,) Watchmen (HBO) in Development

A couple of notes. Marston worked in the lie detector and improvements to it, but it’s actual inventor is John Augustus Larson.

Marsdin has originally complained in letter form about the lack of a female superhero & DC hires him to write it.

As for bondage in WW comics, it can be associated to his lifestyle, but I think it better said that his beliefs on the topic where more sociopolitical that psychological. Marsdin has an affinity for a matriarchal societal view rather that a patriarchal view as he believed it would result in a more peaceful planet.

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Might want to add Camelot 3000 into that timeline. It had a number of firsts,!including being a comic shop book only and most importantly printed on Baxter paper rather than pulp paper. It allowed for more vivid artwork.

Also worth noting Adams artwork in the early 70’s as bringing in renaissance perspective geometry and physical form, musculoskeletal structure to superhero styles.

Could mention The Jokers 5 way revenge as the first modern take on a truly sociopathic and lethal Joker. You may want to mention that the Batmania craze of 66/67 nearly killed the character when the bubble burst. Also it is the reimagining and taking Batman back to his detective roots that occurred in the early 70’s. (Personally I see the first appearance of this in Batman 232, Daughter of the Demon, but their are arguments for books dating back approx 18 months previous.


@Desade acolyte


The 1979 entry on Michael Uslan gaining movie rights for Batman indicates that Warner Brothers thought Batman was unsuitable because of TV Batman.

The 1975 WW show entry might be useful to mention following two seasons were set in present day. Also an odd production note. WW hairstyle was different in the WWII version and allowed for her hair to release and come down in the first pirouette. The modern era show started with a similar but different style and had an issue with her hair behaving in the same manner. Episode 7 of season 2 had to substantial changes, the opening and closing credits were moved from a primarily animated sequences to live action sequences. Also her Diana Prince’s hair style was changed to acstraight haired ponytail. And WW character hair had curls. Which meant that there had to be hairstyle change whether shot on set or on location. One can tell from the editing that, especially on location, the shot sequences not including WWcin the shot. (While I have never seen any documentary evidence for this. It is likely those edit changes were done so as to shoot other scenes while her WW curls were being put in.)

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1986 Howard the Duck premiered as the first major feature-length theatrical film based on a Marvel Comics property.

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I will include in next revision