The Ages of the Avengers: Essays on Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Changing Times examines stories from one of Marvel Comic's most popular franchises in light of the contemporary cultures when those comic books originally produced. With essays that address tales from some of the very first issues of The Avengers through Avengers Arena, which concluded in 2014, five decades of comic books are analyzed by popular culture scholars. Audience expectations for entertainment have fluctuated dramatically throughout the years, and comic book creators have been forced to adapt to shifting hopes, fears, and concerns amongst readers. Like any popular culture product, issues of the Avengers are reflective of the time period when they were produced, and the comic books have adapted to changing times to avoid becoming relics of a bygone era. In this collection, essays examine Avengers storylines such as the Korvac Saga, Civil War, and Secret Invastion, scrutinize key characters including the Black Panther and Hank Pym, and explore how real world events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11 influenced the popular entertainment being produced and consumed in America.
Joseph J. Darowski, a professor of English at Brigham Young University-Idaho, USA has published work on comic book superheroes such as the X-Men, Green Lantern, and Superman and is the author or co-editor of several books.