To the ones who have read the DC comics from 1935 to 1940, how mature are they compared to the ones from the Silver age?

I don’t understand.

Just read it slowly

I break.the response in separate pieces

One part is I don’t personally believe that comics were initially for kids based on my research. That is your IF.

I dont believe your THEN.either.

That an idea is for a specific audience.

Anf I give my reasons.

In the end, if you are left with doubt, that is the human condition, on many more important things than this.

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Oh, I understand now. Okay, thanks

@TravisMorgan Can I find Roy Thomas on Facebook?

I don’t know, I’m not on Facebook.

Fun Fact! We’re currently in communication with the head of DC archives/historian, who is interested in joining us for a Q&A in a few weeks. That could be a good stage for this kind of question. Keep your eye on the Community Calendar!


WOW!!! :smiley:


As @TurokSonOfStone1950 I don’t really agree with the premise and even IF the characters were originally made to entertain kids I don’t see a problem with wanting adult, mature or whatever stories about them. The characters are strong enough that they can support different takes, so why not do it?

You mention Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an example of stuff originally meant for mature readers. That’s actually a good example that shows how some characters can work well with different target audiences. Eastman and Laird did not have a problem with their characters being portrayed in a completely different manner for the animated series in order to target a different and bigger audience.

The only real difference between that case and the case of Superman and Batman is that DC Comics are the owners of the characters and not the creators. So basically whatever DC Comics thinks is acceptable use of the characters goes. But even if we look at what the creators created and what their intent was, it doesn’t appear that they had children in mind specifically when creating their characters. Batman was heavily influenced by the pulps which weren’t targeted at kids and Superman drew from science fiction and the story content was definitely not targeted at children at the beginning.

After all Action Comics #1 had Superman stop a wife-beater for instance. Hardly the most obvious thing to write about if you were writing for kids.

Also in Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 we get a scene like this:

I don’t think kids are particularly interested in contracts and the like. They’d be much more interested in stuff like Robin and the Joker and other colorful characters.

But reading the stories it looks as if they fairly early on realized that a lot of children WERE reading them, so the writing adapted to reach a larger audience and the creators were part of it. So when they are doing more mature stories it is simply because they believe that is how they reach the most readers in the current market.


What people? The “general public” has no clue, the closest thing we can see is the oust Kefauver hearings and the CCA certainly simplified the stories and made them less adult for a while. But, that was due to political pressure based on flawed data.

As @TurokSonOfStone1950 points out, especially with the trinity. The are part of the public consciousness and the public zeitgeist for 80 years. In that sense, DC doesn’t “own” the characters, the public does. Sure, DC owns the copyright, but the characters has taken in many lives of their own.

It is a credit to the characters initial creators and the creators that came after them, that these characters can be told in stories of all types, for all age groups or targeted at a specific age group. Look at some of the Elseworlds that have been done. In Gotham by gaslight, it is a Victorian era, but Batman Is still Batman and retains his core elements. The sane with Superman in Red Son. These are just but two of many examples and are not targeted towards young children. Now look at the 60’s & 70s Superman, Batman & Superfriends cartoons. These are very clearly targeted at young children. The trinity characters are clearly recognizable as elements, albeit simplified elements of the core of those characters.

And even if fictional characters were originally targeted at children, take Mother Goose characters and Alice in Alice in Wonderland, even these characters can be written and performed for strictly adult audiences as the X-Rated version of Alice in Wonderland clearly demonstrates. The notion that a character even if specifically created towards young children can’t be used to tell adult stories is poppycock.


@Tenzel So the original Superman and Batman were more for adolescents but skewed more to younger kids? I mean I just want to know. Thats it. The only thing thats confusinh me now is that the creators originally wanted to publish Superman as a newspaper strip. And newspaper strips were for all ages. But yet the other documentary says they were targeted to adolescent which makes sense also.

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That newspaper strips were generally all ages, doesn’t mean all of the strips were equally so. That doesn’t really matter though. When Siegel and Shuster started out comic books were mainly collections of newspaper comic strips, and getting a syndicated strip was what you’d want as it was where the big money was at the time. So when they started trying to sell Superman that would be the way to go to make it big.

That didn’t pan out and you started seeing more comic books with original material, so it became a viable option.

I think you are getting waaay too caught up in the whole children or adolescent matter. Some strips were more kid friendly than others but they appeared in the same newspapers. I mean you had stuff like Tarzan and Flash Gordon as well as Katzenjammer Kids and Popeye or even Krazy Kat being done at the same time. Wildly different strips that had varying degrees of maturity, but that were still read by adults and kids alike.

My point is it doesn’t really matter. They were written to sell and if adapting your stories meant you sold more that was pretty much what you did. Especially as a newcomer.


And that’s still true.


@TurokSonOfStone1950 I am very confused about something and I need help understanding it.
So I watched two documentaries on the history of comics. Both seem like the best sources for anyone who wants learn about comic books and understand their history. One I watched was “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked”. It said that Superhero comics didnt have a audience in mind in the beginning, but publishers noticed that their stories were almost exclusively being read by children, so superheroes began changing to reflect that. Which is when Batman changed from a dark, scary creature of the night to a fun lighthearted law abiding do gooder, and Superman went from fighting social injustice to weird crazy stories about parrallel worlds and stuff, and a little later even the Joker would stop killing. ( and the original creators of Superman originally wanted to publish the character as a newspaper strips, which were read by all ages right? ) you told me the same as well and I thoutht it was confirmed.
But then I watched the documentary here on the DC universe app called " Secret Origin, The Story of DC comics". This one says that superheroes and the very first DC comics ( back then called National Periodical Publications ) initially targeted to adolescent boys, and the Marvel superheroes introduced in the 1960s brought them back. This also seems to make sense because Seigel and Shuster were young adults themeselves and the science fiction and detective pulps that inspired Superman and Batman were very popular among teens and young adults also right?
Both documentaries show different aspects of the comic book history and I have been told that they are both correct, but I need an explanation to tell me HOW they are both correct.
Can someone help me understand? I am getting tired of stressing about this now.

@munozjosue087.81052, I have a question. You’ve probably looked into this specific subject more than a lot people. Given everything you’ve read and seen, including the various opinions you’ve read on here, what do you think? What’s your opinion on if comics were initially intended for kids specifically, or more to the public in general?


@ralphsix I really don’t have one. Not until one is confirmed

The problem is none of us were there and, as you’ve seen, there are some conflicting sources out there, so I don’t think there’s any way for you to ever have a “confirmed” answer.

Most of us here think the initial comics were intended for everyone who would buy them, however within just a few years of publication , they were being geared for kids.


@ralphsix So is the Secret Origin, the Story of DC comics wrong when they said they were originally targeted to adolescent boys?

Possibly. Like you’ve seen, there are conflicting sources on that. In the end, you’ll just have to form your own educated opinion on that, as the rest of us have.


I agree with.@ralphsix

None of us are experts
None of us was around then

But Publishers want as much money as possible
Why restrict your audience at the beginning?
Why restrict it to an audience without income, in the midst of the Great Depression.?

The answers are not here

Look at the beginning of this link

See how the big money was for
Comic strips which was the most popular part of the paper

Why would anyone choose
To take a piece of the pie
When you could try for the whole pie?

But when
You discover
You can only get a certain audience

You try to maximize that audience


When will this happen?

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