Why Superheroes Matter

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The Bronze Age (1970-1985)
Comics were swept up with the continuance of the social revolution from the ’60s through the ’70s. The United States was in the middle of a Cold War with Russia, post-Vietnam, post-Watergate, and overall disillusionment with the whole of the United States of America. With all of this happening, character conflict became the rule. Comics were starting to address more mature issues, and the creators were wanting to bring more realism to the Superhero genre. This was the time that the birth of the Graphic Novel was born, and epic story arcs that covered multiple issues became the radical departure from the single-issue self-contained stories of the Golden and Silver Age. The Dark Phoenix Saga was the first storyline that not only put a female character in a Tragic Hero role but ended the storyline with a major, well-established superhero being killed; and just as unprecedented,  her death was not immediately forgotten, but continued to affect the characters who had known her for some time afterward [Howe 183-6].

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