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Were comics at the forefront of social transformation or lagging behind in the 1960’s?

In my opinion, comics were at the forefront of social transformation in the 1960’s. I say this because many of the comics incorporated the current issues and events of this decade into their stories. Comic book industries did this in order to keep the public’s interests due to the fact that comic books were falling out of popularity. The creation of television and radio were overpowering the industry and publishers knew they had to change some of their story lines and characters if they wanted to survive. Marvel was the main company leading the entire industry into this change. Stan Lee’s “Spider-man” was a new type of hero. Peter Parker was just your ‘everyday’ kid with ‘everyday’ problems. He greatly reflected the average student in the 60’s. When he obtains his power, he doesn’t immediately jump into the superhero role. He first uses his powers for personal gain in order to achieve popularity. It isn't until he is confronted with the consequences of his actions that he learns a lesson and becomes the righteous, crime fighting superhero called Spider-man. Along with this new type of hero, Spider-man also incorporated student protests and society’s problems with the Vietnam War in many of his stories. It was these differences that made Spider-man so popular during this decade.

Marvel also used current issues in the Fantastic Four. Many of their comics dealt with many issues involving the Cold War. The characters were also different then the popular superheroes of the past. These four superheroes often bickered with each other when they didn’t agree with each other. They played practical jokes on each other and, though Mr. Fantastic was the leader, each of the other characters brought their own ideas to the table. This was not an aspect in comics before the 1960’s and was also one of the reasons this comic became so popular. It was mainly these changes that helped keep comics in the forefront of social transformation in the U.S.


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