February 1966: The Best Comics Month Ever?
If you asked most modern comics readers when the industry was putting out its best material, they’d probably reference the generally accepted high point of 1986-1987, and they’d have a pretty good case backing them up: “Crisis on Infinite Earths” was certainly the best example of continuity-as-storytelling and led to the great John Byrne relaunch of Superman, Walt Simonson’s run on “Thor” was ramping up, and–of course–Alan Moore and Frank Miller were redefining comics with books like “Swamp Thing,” “Watchmen,” and “Dark Knight Returns.” It was a pretty good time.
But not the best.
As a group of comics bloggers discovered this week, the honor of being comics’ true golden age belongs to a single month: February 1966. It all started with Dave Lartigue, whose pieces on Space Cabby and the truly insane Interplanetary Insurance, Inc. are easily some of the best comics commentary on the web. During his reading, Dave noticed that February ’66 seemed to be the month that DC was at the absolute height of their Silver Age madness, as evidenced by, among other things, the Flash fighting a guy who was clearly created when Gardner Fox heard someone call something “harebrained”…
After Dave threw down the gauntlet, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull took a look at the competition, laying out what Marvel was putting out in February 1966. Not only did that month see the release of “Fantastic Four” #48, the first part of the legendary Galactus Saga by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it also brought the greatest Marvel comic ever printed: “Amazing Spider-Man” #33’s “The Final Chapter!”
Once DC and Marvel had been established, the final piece of the puzzle came from Andrew Weiss. After all, Marvel and DC comics were usually good, so how would the Best Month Ever affect the generally terrible Charlton Comics?
I’m pretty sure the point stands.