Comics where neither at the forefront of social transformation, nor did they lag behind. They simply had a mini revolution of their own to update into what was emerging as the new American values, creating and updating characters to fit the new standards of the American dream and American normalcy.
DC comics did this by changing some of its older characters origins, and changing the broader genre of their super heroes from fantasy to science fiction. By taking the Flash and the Green Lantern and making them experiments gone right, it reinforced the nations need to continue scientific exploration and glorified the space race. It easily stayed within the code, and the figures of a cop by day, super heroes by night sat well with the American public, and created a sense of unity between the hero and the secret identity, instead of contrasting, or juxtaposing it.
Marvel comics did this by creating characters with more emotional depth. It was a new idea, that superheroes might not want their powers, and that powers could make their life harder. By displaying the moral struggles of the hero, Stan Lee unknowingly created a children’s pastime with depth. Teenage and adult fans of the super hero genre were impressed.
Comics did change to keep up with societal norms, but it also updated for its own good. It was the development of richer, and more cohesive plots that brought comics into its silver age, not its constant rhetoric on social issues. The stories were more general and could be applied to many different social issues, while also showcasing multi dimensional characters, more relatable then the simple super icons of the past.