It would be hard to argue that the Marvel Silver Age of comics was the best for the superhero genre. The stories and artwork exploded off the pages especially with the artwork of Jack Kirby, John Romita, Steve Ditko and John Buscema and with inspired dialogue by Stan Lee.
Beginning in in the early 60's with the Fantastic Four and soon after with Spider-man, The Hulk, Thor and the Avengers, the stories progressed in a linear fashion with events having far reaching consequences upon the characters and situations throughout the new and expanding Marvel Universe. Character deaths were, at that time, permanent and character change, even for their main characters and supporting cast evolved throughout this era.
This lasted until about 1968 when Marvel was sold and the characters began to become marketable iconic images of the day. Story-lines began to be repeated and cause had only temporary effects.
There might be many arguments when the actual peek of this era was, but for me I would say that it was December 1966 with this story here:
All the issues of the Fantastic Four lead up to this moment of spectacular greatness!
The ongoing battles with the infamous Doctor Doom, the baddest of the bad of marvel villains who had been out of action for more than a year after his hands were crushed by an out of control Ben Grimm!
The cosmic power of Galactus was unleashed upon the earth for the first time and the power of the Silver Surfer was demonstrated when he fought The Thing a couple of issue earlier. All the elements were in place for the battle royal! Here we have the Shakespearean tragedy at it's greatest!
The unsuspecting three-some (Johnny was out seeking the hidden refuge of the Inhumans and his love Crystal) get called into stop a prison escape of their old enemies the Sandman and the Wizard.
But this is all small potatoes as the Silver Surfer answers a royal summons from the ruler of Latveria...
After a brief friendly display of power between the two Doc Doom almost lets the cat out of the bag as one of his servants inadvertently bumps into his fearful master!
Doom is quick to seize control of his explosive anger in front of the wary Surfer.
And now begins the ultimate peek of the Marvel Universe...
One of the greatest, if not the greatest splash pages brought to you by Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Stan Lee.
So what does Doctor Doom do with his new found power cosmic? Begins to conquer the world starting with his own hapless Latverian villagers before moving on to the Defeat of the Fantastic Four in issue 58!
This storyline would continue on for another 4 issues after that. This was the very first time in the Marvel Universe that the power cosmic was stolen by an the diabolical Doctor Doom and went head to head, no holds barred against the heroes of the earth.
It would only be a few short years later that Kirby would bitterly leave marvel and the creativity would stagnate (for the most part). Unfortunately, this exact storyline would be revisited again and again in the 70's, 80's and 90's and adapted into a less than satisfactory movie with each time being watered down in it's power and grandeur.
Just thought I'd share....