In the 1930s renewed interest in book-length strips, of the sort produced in Europe in the 19th cent. by Töpffer and Busch, led to the modern comic book, a magazine printed in color and aimed primarily at a juvenile audience—unlike comic strips, which are intended for the entire family. At first comic books reprinted entire episodes of newspaper strips, but eventually they evolved their own characters, e.g., Superman (1938), by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Batman (1939), by Bob Kane, and Captain America (1941), by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. In the United States adventure, crime, and war comics eventually elicited complaints from parents, teachers, and clergymen about the portrayal of violence in a product intended for children. In 1954 publishers formed a Comics Code Authority to administer self-censorship standards, thus averting government action.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.