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

Comic books did seem as if they were at the forefront of social transformation in the 1960s. They kept up with stories that related to the time period. For example, some comics displayed different aspects of the Vietnam and Cold War, even with the Comics Code of 1952 still in place. I feel that Marvel was the company that was at the forefront in comparison to all other companies, such as DC. Marvel created characters that were different and connected to the youth culture more. These characters, such as the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man became timeless. Stan Lee helped push Marvel to the forefront in order to keep up with the transformation of the youth culture. One of Lee's greatest triumphs, I feel, was Spider-Man. Instead of following the trend of superheroes from the thirties and forties, Peter Parker was a teenager, and experienced similar anxieties that the youth of that time period felt. He did not immediately think about becoming a hero, but actually thought about using his abilities to make a profit. Parker was more normal and teens could relate to him. It wasn't until he experienced the death of his uncle by a criminal that he could have stopped, did he decide to his abilities for good. Some of the Spider-Man comic also demonstrated the sentiment felt during the sixties, especially on college campuses. In one issue, there is a demonstration at the college that Parker attends, which could have represented the numerous protests going on in college campuses throughout the nation about student's discontent with the American government and their involvement in Vietnam.

Another Marvel comic that was at the forefront of social transformation was Fantastic Four. The story of Fantastic Four dealt with the fears and issues of the Cold War involving nuclear weapons. For example, they got their powers because of a nuclear reaction. Another thing that makes Fantastic Four stand out is the human quality that Stan Lee added. Their goal was to help mankind, but they did not get along most of the time, which seems normal. Stan Lee's comics seem like they demonstrated these human qualities that were lacking in the comics of the thirties and forties. Marvel was not the only company that was at the forefront of social transformation, but it did influence other companies to do so. Companies, such as DC followed in Marvel's example. Soon DC and other companies caught up with Marvel and began changing their style of writing. As society experienced changes, comics began to talk about social and sometimes political issues facing the country. Comics seemed to have transformed and change storylines and characters, making comics at the forefront of social transformation in the sixties, instead of lagging behind.


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