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DC Comics iintroduced the silver age Flash in Showcase Comics #4 cover dated September 1956. The re-introduction of this super hero signaled the begginning of the silver age super hero revival. That revival being responsible for the proliferation of the super hero in comics after 1956, and the continued existence of superheroes, and likely the comic book itself, which was on the verge of general extinction in 1955.

manhunter profile

But before the Flash made his appearance, DC introduced to comics fans the Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics #225 cover dated November 1955. many comics fans conclude that this is the actual start of the revival. I say not, and this is why....

When superhero comics began dissapearing in 1946, the field still had great characters like Batman, Superman, Captain America, the Human Torch, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and quite a number of others in regular publication. The larger portion of comics published however was not of the super hero genre.

As well, heroes werer constantly being introduced, by all companies. They just weren't all super, and quite a number of them were evildoers. DC was also constantly introducing new characters throughout the period 1947-1955.

Mr District Attorney, taken from the popular radio show made it's debut in January 1948. Superboy #1 began in 1949 followed by Tomahawk #1 in 1950 and the Phantom Stranger in 1952. Captain Comet was first seen in Strange Adventures #9 in 1951, Congo Bill #1 came out in 1954 and the Brave & Bold #1 came out cover dated August 1955, introducing the Viking Prince, Silent Knight and the Golden Gladiator. I'm sure there were many other DC characters introduced in this period, so what is the big deal about Martian Manhunter?

The reality is that Martian Manhunter had no place in the DC universe until he was included in the Justice League of America in Brave & Bold #28. His inclusion gives the impression that he is indeed an important character to DC's history, and in some ways he may be, but he is not the catalyst for the silver age revolution. Very simply, the Flash IS!

manhunter 2

It was only after the success of the character that DC made a concerted effort to bring about the mass return of superhero characters. That was because of the huge response that DC had to the Flash and Challengers of the Unknown. Indeed, it may really be that team of four whose creation is the real catalyst to the silver age. Why you ask? Because they were written & illustrated by the great Jack Kirby, the creator of more super hero characters than any other person in the history of comics.

Jack's work has always been very popular with fans, and though the Flash was introduced to us in Showcase #4 and the Challengers in Showcase #6, the popularity of the Challengers was more immediate, leading to the publication of Challengers of the Unknown #1 with a cover date of April 1958, while the Flash's popularity took a little longer to ignite and thus, Flash Comics #105 came out with a cover date of February 1959.

The Challengers of the Unknown leapfroged the Flash into their own title by ten months. Should not the success of the title induce DC's editors to publish Flash #105. It may well be possible. So Martian Manhunter, is he important to the revival? Absolutly not! If he hadn't been included into the JLA he may very well have faded very quickly, but that stroke of luck has let him remain a part of the DC universe.

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