I’ve been reorganizing books shelves and back issues boxes the last few weekends, restocking the spinner rack in my office with my favorite comics from middle school, and I keep thinking about the truism that I’ve come across many times over the years: “The golden age of comics is twelve.” Because, for me at least, it really seems to hold true. The comics that I first read between the summer of 1982 when I turned twelve and the summer of 1983 when I turned thirteen were foundational in the development of my tastes and interests, and I can draw a direct line between them and the kinds of stories that I am writing now. But as true as the sentiment is, I got to wondering where it originated.
I’d always known that the phrase was a play on an older aphorism about “the golden age of science fiction,” but wasn’t sure just who had originally said it, and where. This morning I took to Google to see if I could find the answer, and ended up falling down a deep, deep hole.
The short version is that the quote is popularly attributed to a fan in the 1960s, Peter Graham, possibly in the pages of the fanzine “VOID,” but the long version turns out to be a bit less clear. The website Quote Investigator has done some fairly exhaustive digging, and while they haven’t yet found a definitive source, the notes of their investigation make for interesting reading with appearances by many of the biggest names in SF/F in the mid- to late-20th Century.