Classic „Silver Age“ Comics

The Silver Age of Comics

What today is commonly called the „classical comics style“, more often than not doesn’t refer to the earliest phase of American comic strips and comic books – the „Golden Age“ of the 1930s and 40s –, but the „Silver Age“ of the late 1950s to early 1970s.

During this period, the big superhero series in particular established a graphically clear and anatomically streamlined style. With its few black areas, its statically clearly arranged studio aesthetic, this style matches the decade’s commercial spirit represented by Doris Day, Beat and Teen Culture.

While these products of the comics cultural industry were still emergent, blow-up paintings by pop artists like
Roy Lichtenstein
were already transferring them into high art contexts, thus irrevocably rendering the look of the
Silver Age iconic and camp.

The retro stylistic device of the Silver Age was ideally suited to an insurer’s occupational disability campaign, in which dream and reality, fortune and misfortune were made to collide with an ironic twist.

To this end, the original comics’ look, along with all its unintentionally funny details, was seized: the standardized body types and postures; the primly neat outline
brush style
; the slightly yellow-tinted color palette; the halftone dots’ irregularity brought about by exposure conditions; the irregularities visible in color areas caused by the printing paper; the mismatches of color registration.

Silver Age's defining pencillers were Marvel's Jack Kirby, Lois Lane specialist Kurt Schaffenberger, and Superman's psychologist Curt Swan

Blow-up paintings by Roy Lichtenstein: Slicker even than the slick Silver Age style

The style of make-up, clothing, poses, their graphic representation, the stylization of 1960s printing and reproduction technology – the concurrence of multiple layers of style creates the specific Silver Age look.

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