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Copper Age Comics

Copper Age comics are those published between 1984 and 1991, and on the timeline of comic book history, are bracketed between Bronze Age comics (published before 1984) and Modern Age Comics (published after 1991). Within the industry, the beginning of Copper Age comics was marked by a large group of high-profile artists moving away from Marvel and into privately-owned companies.

Most copper aged comics also offer more refined art, coloring, and shading, as art production and printing techniques became cheaper and more widely available, and in many cases comics were printed on higher-quality paper or multiple editions offered in larger formats and books. In subsequent Modern Age Comics, the increasing ability to digitize art from creation would continue to improve and reduce costs for art, production, and printing.

What Trends Were Popular In Copper Age Comics?

In the copper age, there were very many different trends and plot mechanics which became iconic and indicative of the time:

  • Crossover comics, in which the heroes of one comic title meet, battle, assist, or otherwise encounter the protagonists of another comic title
  • Independent comic publishers, such as Dark Horse, NOW Comics, and Core Magazine
  • Anti-hero main characters, which saw significant tone changes in Batman titles, Deadpool, and Spawn
  • Movies based on comic titles, such as Superman, Batman, the Swamp Thing, Flash Gordon, Condorman, The Incredible Hulk, the Punisher, and Howard the Duck

Which Major Titles Were Released In The Copper Age?

Several titles which would become major hits were all released in the Copper Age of comics. Many of these received subsequent films, film options, or revamped titles in the Modern Age of comics. A few of these include:

  • Watchmen
  • Dark Knight
  • Deadpool
  • Gambit
  • Cable

What Do Copper Age Comic Collectors Look For?

The Copper Age of comics is also known as the period when comic collecting began to become its own industry, as individuals who'd been teens at the beginning of comic distribution (in the 60s) became adults and nostalgic for the entertainments of their childhood. But like with comics from other ages, many of the key items which denote value or desirability apply across age. In general, collectors of Copper Age comic books look for:

  • Key crossover issues, especially firsts of famous titles 
  • Early Limited Wolverine issues, especially the first issues of the Wolverine collection
  • Issues with the first appearance of later popularized characters, such as Deadpool or Symbiote
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