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November 2, 2009

Are We in a New Golden Age?


In the foreword to his book 1,000 Comic Books You Must Read, Tony Isabella mentions that we indeed are. He asserts that, with the breadth of quality comics now being published, as well as the ready access to easily affordable reprints of classic works, this is the true Golden Age, one that’s better than any ever before. It’s hard to disagree, but I’ve been pondering it ever since reading it.

When I first started reading comics, there were huge continuity gaps for any new reader. There was no Internet, of course. If you were lucky, you might have a friend with an older brother who had some past issues lying around. But mostly, you had to wait for reprints (some were done in digest comics, but in black and white) or you had to hunt for back issues—some of which were quite expensive.
So, yeah, having access to all that content really is a golden age. Now, if you’ve missed an issue somewhere—whether it’s a 50-year-old one or one from last month—you have opportunities to get it. Even if you don’t, you can find the information you need to fill in the missing continuity gaps with the click of a mouse.
Has that made us better readers? I hope so. I hope that has made us more conscious of continuity, more respectful to the stories themselves, more able to recognize those great stories when we see them. That’s a true golden age, and I’m happy we're in it.