Today’s entertainment is dominated by properties based on comic books. From the television shows that we watch
With the arrival of “Justice League” and “Thor Ragnarok” later this year following “Wonder Woman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” along with new season of “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Agents of Shield,” “Riverdale,” and “Lucifer,” as well as new shows coming soon like “Black Lightning,” it’s easy to see that comic book-based properties are at an all-time high.
To understand how comics moved from the page to the screen we must go through the long and interesting history.
Part I of this series will focus on how comic books invaded the radio.
The radio has been an important way for people to connect. It’s hard for us currently to appreciate what the radio did for human communication, but it is a truly revolutionary device. This is a device that allowed news and entertainment to reach every part of the world.
Before television, radio was where people heard not only the news but listened to entertainment like dramas and comedies.
Radio still played music, but it originally gave people a vehicle for storytelling as well.
To understand this transition, we must look at the period when comic books began to make a huge boom in America, right before and during World War II.
Household characters like Superman (1938) Batman (1939) and Captain America (1940) debuted during this
Along with these weekly comics, many characters were adapted for radio dramas.
This was another vehicle to tell the stories of these heroes accomplishing impossible tasks that inspired the American people.
One of the most popular radio dramas of the time was “The Adventures of Superman.” It ran from 1940 to 1951, spanning over two thousand episodes. This radio show brought about many additions to the Superman mythos, including the phrase “faster than a speeding bullet” and even more importantly, the introduction of Superman’s greatest weakness — kryptonite.
Stories told in radio influenced further tales of these characters going forward. Being able to hear favorite characters voiced on the radio made the fantasy of these heroes even more tangible to the public.
By entering the radio, comic book characters proved that they had stories to tell off the