In celebration of the new ‘Marvel‘ hit movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Infection feels that it is the perfect time to go through the history of Marvel Comics…Right after we employ the use of Hugh Jackman‘s sex appeal to grab us more hits than Ike give Tina.
Now that we’ve shamelessly done that…We’ll begin educating those of you who have managed to tear your eyes away from Jackman.
Marvel comics is one of the most popular and largest comic book companies in the world. The only other company on this planet that The Infection knows of that is able to challenge them for the title of the greatest comic book company would be DC Comics. Throughout their history Marvel has created some of the world’s most recognizable pop culture icons. Heroes such as Spider-man, The Hulk, Captain America and many others have come from this comic book powerhouse. The Infection is proud to present the history of Marvel Comics.
In the beginning the company wasn’t called ‘Marvel’ as we know it today but it was formed in 1939 as Timely Publications by a publisher named Martin Goodman. At this point in time comic books were an expanding medium and they were highly popular, new comics were being pumped out like clockwork. Like every fad in the beginning it has it’s explosive stage so there were alot of hit and miss stories out there. Officially, Goodman held the titles of editor, managing editor and business manager. He set up shop in the big apple, New york city, and that’s how it began.
Timely comic’s first publication, ‘Marvel Comics’ , was released for October 1939. In it contained the first appearances of The Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. Later on the company would strike gold when they hired the late and great Jack Kirby, who wasn’t so great yet, and they created one of the first patriotically themed superheroes- Captain America. In late 1941, a Stanley Lieber a.k.a Stan Lee was promoted from general office assistant to interim editor of the comics line. Remember those two names- Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in later years they would become a most formidable writer/artist powerhouse.
In the 50’s we would have the company name change from Timely to Atlas Comics. Atlas comics was the perfect name for the company at the time as it stretched into a variety of genre’s. After WWII, superheroes were somewhat out of style…for the time being. Atlas made a comic out of everything that was popular at the time. They tried and failed to revive some of the old superhero glory from before the war but it just looked like the people weren’t into it anymore.
Finally the 60’s would come along and that’s where things got started again! The first big change is that Marvel comics would become known as we know it today with the name change to Marvel. It all began in the late 1950’s when DC comics managed to successfully revive some of their superheroes so Marvel decided to follow suite. First Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would team up to create the Fantastic Four with the first issue cover dated November 1961. From that point on they were Marvel comics as we know them today.
Marvel had a unique approach for creating superheroes at the time with the concept of creating superheroes for the ‘real world’. Unlike superheroes of the past who were the cookie cutter, handsome/beautiful, all American hero/heroine, they made some changes. These changes were key to their success.
Marvel provided heroes with personality defects. They made superheroes that not only combated the black and white ideals of good and evil but they also combated the issues of the day. Through focusing on characterization they managed to create heroes that people could not only admire but now people could relate to them in a way they could not before.During the 60’s was also when Stan Lee would rise to fame as one of the biggest names in comics.
After the 60’s came the 70’s and the 80’s where they lost some momentum. In 1972, Goodman retired as publisher and Stan lee succeeded him. For a brief moment in time they pulled ahead of DC Comics in 1972 and much like they had done while they were Atlas comics- they diversified in the 70’s. By the mid 70’s they saw a loss in profits but by the end of the decade they were back in business. In 1978 a new editor-in-chief was hired, Jim Shooter, he took care of alot of the problems that the company was having such as meeting deadlines and he institutionalized creator royalties.
By the mid 80’s Marvel got a bit of a toss around. Having been sold in 1986 to New World Entertainment it was then sold three years later to Mac Andrews and Forbes. During this time Marvel went from being a private to a public company on the NYSE, which saw some good profits for them. By the beginning of the 90’s they were doing well for themselves…until 1996 when the company filed for bankruptcy. After a long list of legal issues and being tossed around, the company landed in the hands of Issac Perlmutter by 1997. Perlmutter along with the help of his business partner Avi Arad, publisher Bill Jemas, and editor-in-chief Bob Harass came and saved the sinking ship. Although some would argue that the ship sunk a long time ago.
In the 2000’s to present day the Marvel we know is still out there and in the biz. Name’s have changed and people have come and go but it’s still the same good old Marvel comics that the people know and love…for the most part. They’ve produced movies, made some cartoons and they’re having a blast doing what they’ve been quite good at for years, keeping the people entertained.
Speaking of Marvel films…here’s a preview of what you’re missing if you don’tgo and see the new X-Men origins: Wolverine movie in theaters!
Entertain us with your thoughts!