Comic books have been around for decades, weathering ups and downs in their popularity. As times change, old heroes evolve and new heroes rise in response. All of The Avengers are a direct product of their specific time, but since history often repeats itself (and what these heroes represent is both universal and American), they are more popular now than ever. Well, that and the fact that they’re a blockbuster movie franchise.
These characters all have origins in the Golden Age and Silver Age but managed to adapt and survive to maintain relevance. Here’s a look at the timeline of The Avengers:
The Golden Age (1938-56)
The Golden Age brought us Captain America. Captain America’s origins absolutely depended on the time they were written in.
In fact, he was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby specifically to drum up support for WWII. And you couldn’t get more obvious than having a wartime hero named Captain America who was born on the 4th of July in the working class Lower East Side of Manhattan!
This appeal to Americanism is timeless, and that’s why he’s still around when other heroes from the era have been long forgotten.
Silver Age (1956-70)
In the Silver Age, times were changing. New threats and wonders hovered on the horizon, and The Cold War and Atomic Age created a fear of what the future may hold.
Out of this, the Hulk and Spider-Man (though only an official Avenger in the comics) emerged. It’s no coincidence that radioactive spiders and gamma rays created these two icons.
Guess who else came from the Silver Age? Captain Marvel and Black Panther.
In an era where civil rights were at the forefront of America’s consciousness, it was time for some diversity in the Marvel catalog.
The creation of these two heroes was also no coincidence; in fact, without the civil rights movement, there might not be a Captain Marvel or Black Panther.
Because these issues are still culturally relevant, and comic readership is diversifying, these heroes have actually increased their appeal.
Bronze Age (1970-85) to Modern Age (1985-current)
The Bronze Age saw The Hulk and The Avengers fighting in The Wraith War against invaders from outer space, with cross-overs in storylines keeping them all in action.
In the Modern Age, The Avengers started to become darker (and a little weird), partly to appeal to more modern readers.
These characters went through transformations, perspective shifts and even death. Despite the fact that they were a product of their times, their values are timeless, making them forever relevant.