My love of comics goes back to the 70s and my cousin, Tim, who collected them. Conveniently, Tim lived across the street from the 7 Eleven, where comics and Slurpees were obtained many Saturday mornings. We would either read through them at his house or at my uncle’s automotive shop while our dads were ‘shooting the breeze.’While I’m a fan, I’m not historian, but here’s a brief history of Marvel:
Marvel started in October 1939 as Timely Publications, published by Martin Goodman, with its first issue, Marvel Comics #1. Issue number two brought us Marvel Mystery Comics in December and continued under that title through June 1949 with issue number 92. The next evolution brought us Marvel Tales with issues 93 through 159. Marvel Comics, as we know it today, was conceived by Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (artist), and Steve Ditko (artist) with the launch of The Fantastic Four in 1961. This began the era known as The Marvel Age of Comics.
Let’s focus on Stan Lee for a moment – Martin Goodman hired his cousin-in-law, Stan, as an assistant in 1939, at age 16. By his 19th birthday, Lee had been promoted to interim editor and continued working for Marvel until he eventually became Marvel Comics’ publisher in 1972. Although he’s retired, Lee (at 91 years old) still participates in conventions and makes cameos in the films. See, creative people live fun-filled, long lives!
On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment, which brings us up to date with the latest and greatest in superhero entertainment. And personally speaking, this acquisition makes a better match for Disney in the adult movie genre than the Touchstone film segment.
The reason why I enjoy Marvel, is its presentation of heroes that are mostly human and flawed. The Amazing Spiderman is the best example of this type of character. Peter Parker suffers from the usual teen and self-image issues that we all have faced or are currently facing. The Marvel heroes also battled real world villains and current political situations.
Comic historian, Mike Benton, wrote this critique:
“In the world of [rival DC Comics’] Superman comic books, communism did not exist. Superman rarely crossed national borders or involved himself in political disputes.From 1962 to 1965, there were more communists [in Marvel Comics] than on the subscription list of Pravda. Communist agents attack Ant-Man in his laboratory, red henchmen jump the Fantastic Four on the moon, and Viet Cong guerrillas take potshots at Iron Man.”
Geoff Boucher, an entertainment writer, had this to say:
“Superman and DC Comics instantly seemed like boring old Pat Boone; Marvel felt like The Beatles and the British Invasion. It was Kirby’s artwork with its tension and psychedelia that made it perfect for the times—or was it Lee’s bravado and melodrama, which was somehow insecure and brash at the same time?”
I’m looking forward to more Marvel/Disney films, such as Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, X-Men, Avengers, etc.
For more information just google Marvel and see where it takes you – there are fans much more entrenched in the world of comics than I am. Also check out the documentary, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, and marvel.com .