Established in 1939 by Martin Goodman and kept alive by Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and the immortal Stan Lee, Marvel comics has become a powerhouse comic publisher of epic proportions in the seventy plus years since. With iconic characters like Spider-man, Wolverine, Iron Man, and The Punisher, and some of the most amazing super-teams in comic history like The X-men, The Avengers, The Marvel Knights, and The Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics has forever changed the face of the industry in its own image. Not only is Marvel Comics one of the original super-hero story tellers, but the company itself tells the super-powered story of a small business building into one of the biggest franchises in the world.
When Marvel comics began as a tiny pulp publisher known at the time as Timely Publications, the comic book medium in America was just beginning to catch fire. In Timely’s first book, Marvel Comics #1, they would introduce two characters the Human Torch and the Sub-mariner, now established members of comic book lexicon, that would prove to be the big bang of the Marvel Universe. Years later in 1961, now operating under its modern name, Marvel Comic’s would again revolutionize the superhero comic when writer-editor Stan Lee released issue #1 of The Fantastic Four.
When Fantastic Four proved to be a hit for the company, Marvel began publishing a multitude of would-be comics classics such as Spider-man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Ant-man, DareDevil, Iron Man, and The X-men. At the time, Marvel was highly regarded for their features of “superheroes in the real world” often depicting superheroes as misfits and freaks, such as The Hulk and The Thing, unlike their major competitor DC, whose biggest heroes at the time were a billionaire playboy and a perfect alien being.
During the Comic book boom of the early nineties Marvel would begin to establish many of the staples of the Marvel Universe today. With the X-men introducing the iconic character of Wolverine, who would later on get his own title, the extremely successful 2099 line, featuring many of Marvel’s most famous characters like Spider-man and The Punisher one hundred years in the future, and the expansion into animated television, with both The X-men and Spider-man becoming hugely successful cartoons, Marvel introduced business and creative innovations that once again put them far ahead of their competition.
Today, Marvel Comics is bigger than ever with many of its heroes seeing the big and small screen treatment. Characters like Wolverine, Ant-man, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, and Rocket Racoon, have become household names thanks to Marvel’s annual summer blockbusters and Netflix series’. With well written scripts, continuity between movies and series’, and the portrayal of superheroes by big name actors, Marvel has moved out and filled up the movie and television industry. With their comics lines seeing reboots and continuing story arcs Marvel still holds true to the medium that it knows best having incorporated many unconventional comics experiences that have now become the norm in the industry, such as digital comics and application software. With a multitude of mediums on which to enjoy Marvel Comics’ continuing story arcs such as television, movies, video games, and, of course, comics, it’s a great time to be a true believer!