Comics is a medium used to express ideas by images, often combined with text or other visual information. Comics frequently takes the form of juxtaposed sequences of panels of images. Often textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, and onomatopoeia indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information. Size and arrangement of panels contribute to narrative pacing. Cartooning and similar forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images. Common forms of comics include comic strips, editorial and gag cartoons, and comic books. Since the late 20th century, bound volumes such as graphic novels, comic albums, and tankōbon have become increasingly common, while online webcomics have proliferated in the 10th century.

The history of comics has followed different paths in different cultures. Scholars have posited a pre-history as far back as the Lascaux cave paintings. By the mid-20th century, comics flourished particularly in the United States, western Europe (especially in France and Belgium), and Japan. The history of European comics is often traced to Rodolphe Töpffer's cartoon strips of the 1830s, and became popular following the success in the 1930s of strips and books such as The Adventures of Tintin. American comics emerged as a mass medium in the early 20th century with the advent of newspaper comic strips; magazine-style comic books followed in the 1930s, in which the superhero genre became prominent after Superman appeared in 1938. Histories of Japanese comics and cartooning (manga) propose origins as early as the 12th century. Modern comic strips emerged in Japan in the early 20th century, and the output of comics magazines and books rapidly expanded in the post-World War II era with the popularity of cartoonists such as Osamu Tezuka. Comics has had a lowbrow reputation for much of its history, but towards the end of the 20th century began to find greater acceptance with the public and in academia.

The English term comics is used as a singular noun when it refers to the medium and a plural when referring to particular instances, such as individual strips or comic books. Though the term derives from the humorous (or comic) work that predominated in early American newspaper comic strips, it has become standard also for non-humorous works. It is common in English to refer to the comics of different cultures by the terms used in their original languages, such as manga for Japanese comics, or bandes dessinées for French-language comics. There is no consensus amongst theorists and historians on a definition of comics; some emphasize the combination of images and text, some sequentiality or other image relations, and others historical aspects such as mass reproduction or the use of recurring characters. The increasing cross-pollination of concepts from different comics cultures and eras has further made definition difficult.

Origins and traditions

Manga Hokusai

Hokusai, early 19th century

Toepffer Cryptogame 13

Histoire de Monsieur Cryptogame
Rodolphe Töpffer, 1830


Ally Sloper in Some of the Mysteries of Loan and Discount
Charles Henry Ross, 1867

The European, American, and Japanese comics traditions have followed different paths.[1] Europeans have seen their tradition as beginning with the Swiss Rodolphe Töpffer from as early as 1827 and Americans have seen the origin of theirs in Richard F. Outcault's 1890s newspaper strip The Yellow Kid, though many Americans have come to recognize Töpffer's precedence.[2] Japan had a long prehistory of satirical cartoons and comics leading up to the World War II era. The ukiyo-e artist Hokusai popularized the Japanese term for comics and cartooning, manga, in the early 19th century.[3] In 1930s, Mr. Chester, an early founder of “the Golden Age of Comics,” which make the comics flourished after World War II .[4] In the post-war era modern Japanese comics began to flourish when Osamu Tezuka produced a prolific body of work.[5]Towards the close of the 20th century, these three traditions converged in a trend towards book-length comics: the comic album in Europe, the tankōbon[a] in Japan, and the graphic novel in the English-speaking countries.[1]

Outside of these genealogies, comics theorists and historians have seen precedents for comics in the Lascaux cave paintings[6] in France (some of which appear to be chronological sequences of images), Egyptian hieroglyphs, Trajan's Column in Rome,[7] the 11th-century Norman Bayeux Tapestry,[8] the 1370 bois Protat woodcut, the 15th-century Ars moriendi and block books, Michelangelo's The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel,[7] and William Hogarth's 18th-century sequential engravings,[9] amongst others.[7][b]

Theorists debate whether the Bayeux Tapestry is a precursor to comics.
Theorists debate whether the Bayeux Tapestry is a precursor to comics.

English-language comics

Illustrated humour periodicals were popular in 19th-century Britain, the earliest of which was the short-lived The Glasgow Looking Glass in 1825. The most popular was Punch,[11] which popularized the term cartoon for its humorous caricatures.[12] On occasion the cartoons in these magazines appeared in sequences;[11] the character Ally Sloper featured in the earliest serialized comic strip when the character began to feature in its own weekly magazine in 1884.[13]

American comics developed out of such magazines as Puck, Judge, and Life. The success of illustrated humour supplements in the New York World and later the New York American, particularly Outcault's The Yellow Kid, led to the development of newspaper comic strips. Early Sunday strips were full-page[14] and often in colour. Between 1896 and 1901 cartoonists experimented with sequentiality, movement, and speech balloons.[15]

Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff (1907–1982) was the first successful daily comic strip (1907).
Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff (1907–1982) was the first successful daily comic strip (1907).

Shorter, black-and-white daily strips began to appear early in the 20th century, and became established in newspapers after the success in 1907 of Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff.[16] In Britain, the Amalgamated Press established a popular style of a sequence of images with text beneath them, including Illustrated Chips and Comic Cuts.[17] Humour strips predominated at first, and in the 1920s and 1930s strips with continuing stories in genres such as adventure and drama also became popular.[16]

Thin periodicals called comic books appeared in the 1930s, at first reprinting newspaper comic strips; by the end of the decade, original content began to dominate.[18] The success in 1938 of Action Comics and its lead hero Superman marked the beginning of the Golden Age of Comic Books, in which the superhero genre was prominent.[19] In the UK and the Commonwealth, the DC Thomson-created Dandy (1937) and Beano (1938) became successful humor-based titles, with a combined circulation of over 2 million copies by the 1950s. Their characters, including "Dennis the Menace", "Desperate Dan" and "The Bash Street Kids" have been read by generations of British schoolboys.[20] The comics originally experimented with superheroes and action stories before settling on humorous strips featuring a mix of the Amalgamated Press and US comic book styles.[21]

Superheroes have been a staple of American comic books (Wonderworld Comics #3, 1939; cover: The Flame by Will Eisner).

The popularity of superhero comic books declined following World War II,[22] while comic book sales continued to increase as other genres proliferated, such as romance, westerns, crime, horror, and humour.[23] Following a sales peak in the early 1950s, the content of comic books (particularly crime and horror) was subjected to scrutiny from parent groups and government agencies, which culminated in Senate hearings that led to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority self-censoring body.[24] The Code has been blamed for stunting the growth of American comics and maintaining its low status in American society for much of the remainder of the century.[25] Superheroes re-established themselves as the most prominent comic book genre by the early 1960s.[26] Underground comix challenged the Code and readers with adult, countercultural content in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[27] The underground gave birth to the alternative comics movement in the 1980s and its mature, often experimental content in non-superhero genres.[28]

Comics in the US has had a lowbrow reputation stemming from its roots in mass culture; cultural elites sometimes saw popular culture as threatening culture and society. In the latter half of the 20th century, popular culture won greater acceptance, and the lines between high and low culture began to blur. Comics nevertheless continued to be stigmatized, as the medium was seen as entertainment for children and illiterates.[29]

The graphic novel—book-length comics—began to gain attention after Will Eisner popularized the term with his book A Contract with God (1978).[30] The term became widely known with the public after the commercial success of Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight Returns in the mid-1980s.[31] In the 21st century graphic novels became established in mainstream bookstores[32] and libraries[33] and webcomics became common.[34]

Franco-Belgian and European comics

The francophone Swiss Rodolphe Töpffer produced comic strips beginning in 1827,[7] and published theories behind the form.[35] Cartoons appeared widely in newspapers and magazines from the 19th century.[36] The success of Zig et Puce in 1925 popularized the use of speech balloons in European comics, after which Franco-Belgian comics began to dominate.[37] The Adventures of Tintin, with its signature clear line style,[38] was first serialized in newspaper comics supplements beginning in 1929,[39] and became an icon of Franco-Belgian comics.[40]

Following the success of Le Journal de Mickey (1934–44),[41] dedicated comics magazines[42] and full-colour comic albums became the primary outlet for comics in the mid-20th century.[43] As in the US, at the time comics were seen as infantile and a threat to culture and literacy; commentators stated that "none bear up to the slightest serious analysis",[c] and that comics were "the sabotage of all art and all literature".[45][d]

In the 1960s, the term bandes dessinées ("drawn strips") came into wide use in French to denote the medium.[46] Cartoonists began creating comics for mature audiences,[47] and the term "Ninth Art"[e] was coined, as comics began to attract public and academic attention as an artform.[48] A group including René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo founded the magazine Pilote in 1959 to give artists greater freedom over their work. Goscinny and Uderzo's The Adventures of Asterix appeared in it[49] and went on to become the best-selling French-language comics series.[50] From 1960, the satirical and taboo-breaking Hara-Kiri defied censorship laws in the countercultural spirit that led to the May 1968 events.[51]

Frustration with censorship and editorial interference led to a group of Pilote cartoonists to found the adults-only L'Écho des savanes in 1972. Adult-oriented and experimental comics flourished in the 1970s, such as in the experimental science fiction of Mœbius and others in Métal hurlant, even mainstream publishers took to publishing prestige-format adult comics.[52]

From the 1980s, mainstream sensibilities were reasserted and serialization became less common as the number of comics magazines decreased and many comics began to be published directly as albums.[53] Smaller publishers such as L'Association[54] that published longer works[55] in non-traditional formats[56] by auteur-istic creators also became common. Since the 1990s, mergers resulted in fewer large publishers, while smaller publishers proliferated. Sales overall continued to grow despite the trend towards a shrinking print market.[57]

Japanese comics

Tagosaku to Mokube no Tokyo Kenbutsu
Rakuten Kitazawa created the first modern Japanese comic strip. (Tagosaku to Mokube no Tōkyō Kenbutsu,[f] 1902)

Japanese comics and cartooning (manga),[g] have a history that has been seen as far back as the anthropomorphic characters in the 12th-to-13th-century Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, 17th-century toba-e and kibyōshi picture books,[61] and woodblock prints such as ukiyo-e which were popular between the 17th and 20th centuries. The kibyōshi contained examples of sequential images, movement lines,[62] and sound effects.[63]

Illustrated magazines for Western expatriates introduced Western-style satirical cartoons to Japan in the late 19th century. New publications in both the Western and Japanese styles became popular, and at the end of the 1890s, American-style newspaper comics supplements began to appear in Japan,[64] as well as some American comic strips.[61] 1900 saw the debut of the Jiji Manga in the Jiji Shinpō newspaper—the first use of the word "manga" in its modern sense,[60] and where, in 1902, Rakuten Kitazawa began the first modern Japanese comic strip.[65] By the 1930s, comic strips were serialized in large-circulation monthly girls' and boys' magazine and collected into hardback volumes.[66]

The modern era of comics in Japan began after World War II, propelled by the success of the serialized comics of the prolific Osamu Tezuka[67] and the comic strip Sazae-san.[68] Genres and audiences diversified over the following decades. Stories are usually first serialized in magazines which are often hundreds of pages thick and may contain over a dozen stories;[69] they are later compiled in tankōbon-format books.[70] At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, nearly a quarter of all printed material in Japan was comics.[71] Translations became extremely popular in foreign markets—in some cases equaling or surpassing the sales of domestic comics.[72]In 21 century, about 40 per cent of all

publications in Japan are manga and the subjects range from aggressive macho stories to girl‘s comics, from hard porn to business guides.[73]

Forms and formats

Comic strips are generally short, multipanel comics that traditionally most commonly appeared in newspapers. In the US, daily strips have normally occupied a single tier, while Sunday strips have been given multiple tiers. In the early 20th century, daily strips were typically in black-and-white and Sundays were usually in colour and often occupied a full page.[74]

Specialized comics periodicals formats vary greatly in different cultures. Comic books, primarily an American format, are thin periodicals[75] usually published in colour.[76] European and Japanese comics are frequently serialized in magazines—monthly or weekly in Europe,[60] and usually black-and-white and weekly in Japan.[77] Japanese comics magazine typically run to hundreds of pages.[78]

A comparison of book formats for comics around the world. The left group is from Japan and shows the tankōbon and the smaller bunkobon formats. Those in the middle group of Franco-Belgian comics are in the standard A4-size comic album format. The right group of graphic novels is from English-speaking countries, where there is no standard format.
A comparison of book formats for comics around the world. The left group is from Japan and shows the tankōbon and the smaller bunkobon formats. Those in the middle group of Franco-Belgian comics are in the standard A4-size comic album format. The right group of graphic novels is from English-speaking countries, where there is no standard format.

Book-length comics take different forms in different cultures. European comic albums are most commonly printed in A4-size[79] colour volumes.[43] In English-speaking countries, the trade paperback format originating from collected comic books have also been chosen for original material. Otherwise, bound volumes of comics are called graphic novels and are available in various formats. Despite incorporating the term "novel"—a term normally associated with fiction—"graphic novel" also refers to non-fiction and collections of short works.[80] Japanese comics are collected in volumes called tankōbon following magazine serialization.[81]

Gag and editorial cartoons usually consist of a single panel, often incorporating a caption or speech balloon. Definitions of comics which emphasize sequence usually exclude gag, editorial, and other single-panel cartoons; they can be included in definitions that emphasize the combination of word and image.[82] Gag cartoons first began to proliferate in broadsheets published in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the term "cartoon"[h] was first used to describe them in 1843 in the British humour magazine Punch.[12]

Webcomics are comics that are available on the internet. They are able to reach large audiences, and new readers usually can access archived installments.[83] Webcomics can make use of an infinite canvas—meaning they are not constrained by size or dimensions of a page.[84]

Some consider storyboards[85] and wordless novels to be comics.[86] Film studios, especially in animation, often use sequences of images as guides for film sequences. These storyboards are not intended as an end product and are rarely seen by the public.[85] Wordless novels are books which use sequences of captionless images to deliver a narrative.[87]

Comics studies

Similar to the problems of defining literature and film,[88] no consensus has been reached on a definition of the comics medium,[89] and attempted definitions and descriptions have fallen prey to numerous exceptions.[90] Theorists such as Töpffer,[91] R.C. Harvey, Will Eisner,[92] David Carrier,[93] Alain Rey,[89] and Lawrence Grove emphasize the combination of text and images,[94] though there are prominent examples of pantomime comics throughout its history.[90] Other critics, such as Thierry Groensteen[94] and Scott McCloud, have emphasized the primacy of sequences of images.[95] Towards the close of the 20th century, different cultures' discoveries of each other's comics traditions, the rediscovery of forgotten early comics forms, and the rise of new forms made defining comics a more complicated task.[96]

European comics studies began with Töpffer's theories of his own work in the 1840s, which emphasized panel transitions and the visual–verbal combination. No further progress was made until the 1970s.[97] Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle then took a semiotics approach to the study of comics, analyzing text–image relations, page-level image relations, and image discontinuities, or what Scott McCloud later dubbed "closure".[98] In 1987, Henri Vanlier introduced the term multicadre, or "multiframe", to refer to the comics page as a semantic unit.[99] By the 1990s, theorists such as Benoît Peeters and Thierry Groensteen turned attention to artists' poïetic creative choices.[98] Thierry Smolderen and Harry Morgan have held relativistic views of the definition of comics, a medium that has taken various, equally valid forms over its history. Morgan sees comics as a subset of "les littératures dessinées" (or "drawn literatures").[96] French theory has come to give special attention to the page, in distinction from American theories such as McCloud's which focus on panel-to-panel transitions.[99] Since the mid-2000s, Neil Cohn has begun analyzing how comics are understood using tools from cognitive science, extending beyond theory by using actual psychological and neuroscience experiments. This work has argued that sequential images and page layouts both use separate rule-bound "grammars" to be understood that extend beyond panel-to-panel transitions and categorical distinctions of types of layouts, and that the brain's comprehension of comics is similar to comprehending other domains, such as language and music.[100]

Historical narratives of manga tend to focus either on its recent, post-WWII history, or on attempts to demonstrates deep roots in the past, such as to the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga picture scroll of the 12th and 13th centuries, or the early 19th-century Hokusai Manga.[101] The first historical overview of Japanese comics was Seiki Hosokibara's Nihon Manga-Shi[i] in 1924.[102] Early post-war Japanese criticism was mostly of a left-wing political nature until the 1986 publication of Tomofusa Kure's Modern Manga: The Complete Picture,[j] which de-emphasized politics in favour of formal aspects, such as structure and a "grammar" of comics. The field of manga studies increased rapidly, with numerous books on the subject appearing in the 1990s.[103] Formal theories of manga have focused on developing a "manga expression theory",[k] with emphasis on spatial relationships in the structure of images on the page, distinguishing the medium from film or literature, in which the flow of time is the basic organizing element.[104] Comics studies courses have proliferated at Japanese universities, and Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics[l] was established in 2001 to promote comics scholarship.[105] The publication of Frederik L. Schodt's Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics in 1983 led to the spread of use of the word manga outside Japan to mean "Japanese comics" or "Japanese-style comics".[106]

Will Eisner (left) and Scott McCloud have proposed influential and controversial definitions of comics.

Will Eisner
Scott McCloud.Making Comics Tour.RISD.gk

Coulton Waugh attempted the first comprehensive history of American comics with The Comics (1947).[107] Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art (1985) and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics (1993) were early attempts in English to formalize the study of comics. David Carrier's The Aesthetics of Comics (2000) was the first full-length treatment of comics from a philosophical perspective.[108] Prominent American attempts at definitions of comics include Eisner's, McCloud's, and Harvey's. Eisner described what he called "sequential art" as "the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea";[109] Scott McCloud defined comics as "juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer",[110] a strictly formal definition which detached comics from its historical and cultural trappings.[111] R.C. Harvey defined comics as "pictorial narratives or expositions in which words (often lettered into the picture area within speech balloons) usually contribute to the meaning of the pictures and vice versa".[112] Each definition has had its detractors. Harvey saw McCloud's definition as excluding single-panel cartoons,[113] and objected to McCloud's de-emphasizing verbal elements, insisting "the essential characteristic of comics is the incorporation of verbal content".[99] Aaron Meskin saw McCloud's theories as an artificial attempt to legitimize the place of comics in art history.[92]

Cross-cultural study of comics is complicated by the great difference in meaning and scope of the words for "comics" in different languages.[114] The French term for comics, bandes dessinées ("drawn strip") emphasizes the juxtaposition of drawn images as a defining factor,[115] which can imply the exclusion of even photographic comics.[116] The term manga is used in Japanese to indicate all forms of comics, cartooning,[117] and caricature.[114]


The term comics refers to the comics medium when used as an uncountable noun and thus takes the singular: "comics is a medium" rather than "comics are a medium". When comic appears as a countable noun it refers to instances of the medium, such as individual comic strips or comic books: "Tom's comics are in the basement."[118]

Panels are individual images containing a segment of action,[119] often surrounded by a border.[120] Prime moments in a narrative are broken down into panels via a process called encapsulation.[121] The reader puts the pieces together via the process of closure by using background knowledge and an understanding of panel relations to combine panels mentally into events.[122] The size, shape, and arrangement of panels each affect the timing and pacing of the narrative.[123] The contents of a panel may be asynchronous, with events depicted in the same image not necessarily occurring at the same time.[124]

A caption (the yellow box) gives the narrator a voice. The characters' dialogue appears in speech balloons. The tail of the balloon indicates the speaker.

Text is frequently incorporated into comics via speech balloons, captions, and sound effects. Speech balloons indicate dialogue (or thought, in the case of thought balloons), with tails pointing at their respective speakers.[125] Captions can give voice to a narrator, convey characters' dialogue or thoughts,[126] or indicate place or time.[127] Speech balloons themselves are strongly associated with comics, such that the addition of one to an image is sufficient to turn the image into comics.[128] Sound effects mimic non-vocal sounds textually using onomatopoeia sound-words.[129]

Cartooning is most frequently used in making comics, traditionally using ink (especially India ink) with dip pens or ink brushes;[130] mixed media and digital technology have become common. Cartooning techniques such as motion lines[131] and abstract symbols are often employed.[132]

While comics are often the work of a single creator, the labour of making them is frequently divided between a number of specialists. There may be separate writers and artists, and artists may specialize in parts of the artwork such as characters or backgrounds, as is common in Japan.[133] Particularly in American superhero comic books,[134] the art may be divided between a penciller, who lays out the artwork in pencil;[135] an inker, who finishes the artwork in ink;[136] a colourist;[137] and a letterer, who adds the captions and speech balloons.[138]


The English-language term comics derives from the humorous (or "comic") work which predominated in early American newspaper comic strips; usage of the term has become standard for non-humorous works as well. The term "comic book" has a similarly confusing history: they are most often not humorous; nor are they regular books, but rather periodicals.[139] It is common in English to refer to the comics of different cultures by the terms used in their original languages, such as manga for Japanese comics, or bandes dessinées for French-language Franco-Belgian comics.[140]

Many cultures have taken their words for comics from English, including Russian (Комикс, komiks)[141] and German (comic).[142] Similarly, the Chinese term manhua[143] and the Korean manhwa[144] derive from the Chinese characters with which the Japanese term manga is written.[145]

See also

See also lists


  1. ^ tankōbon (単行本, translation close to "independently appearing book")
  2. ^ David Kunzle has compiled extensive collections of these and other proto-comics in his The Early Comic Strip (1973) and The History of the Comic Strip (1990).[10]
  3. ^ French: "... aucune ne supporte une analyse un peu serieuse." – Jacqueline & Raoul Dubois in La Presse enfantine française (Midol, 1957)[44]
  4. ^ French: "C'est le sabotage de tout art et de toute littérature." – Jean de Trignon in Histoires de la littérature enfantine de ma Mère l'Oye au Roi Babar (Hachette, 1950)[44]
  5. ^ French: neuvième art
  6. ^ Tagosaku and Mokube Sightseeing in Tokyo (Japanese: 田吾作と杢兵衛の東京見物 Hepburn: Tagosaku to Mokube no Tokyo Kenbutsu)
  7. ^ "Manga" (Japanese: 漫画) can be glossed in many ways, amongst them "whimsical pictures", "disreputable pictures",[58] "irresponsible pictures",[59] "derisory pictures", and "sketches made for or out of a sudden inspiration".[60]
  8. ^ "cartoon": from the Italian cartone, meaning "card", which referred to the cardboard on which the cartoons were typically drawn.[12]
  9. ^ Hosokibara, Seiki (1924). 日本漫画史 [Japanese Comics History]. Yuzankaku.
  10. ^ Kure, Tomofusa (1986). 現代漫画の全体像 [Modern Manga: The Complete Picture]. Joho Center Publishing. ISBN 978-4-575-71090-8.[103]
  11. ^ "Manga expression theory" (Japanese: 漫画表現論 Hepburn: manga hyōgenron)[104]
  12. ^ Japan Society for Studies in Cartoon and Comics (Japanese: 日本マンガ学会 Hepburn: Nihon Manga Gakkai)


  1. ^ a b Couch 2000.
  2. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. xiv; Beerbohm 2003; Sabin 2005, p. 186; Rowland 1990, p. 13.
  3. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 41; Power 2009, p. 24; Gravett 2004, p. 9.
  4. ^ Ewing, Emma Mai (1976-09-12). "The 'Funnies'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  5. ^ Couch 2000; Petersen 2010, p. 175.
  6. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. xiv; Barker 1989, p. 6; Groensteen 2014; Grove 2010, p. 59; Beaty 2012; Jobs 2012, p. 98.
  7. ^ a b c d Gabilliet 2010, p. xiv.
  8. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. xiv; Beaty 2012, p. 61; Grove 2010, pp. 16, 21, 59.
  9. ^ Grove 2010, p. 79.
  10. ^ Beaty 2012, p. 62.
  11. ^ a b Clark & Clark 1991, p. 17.
  12. ^ a b c Harvey 2001, p. 77.
  13. ^ Meskin & Cook 2012, p. xxii.
  14. ^ Nordling 1995, p. 123.
  15. ^ Gordon 2002, p. 35.
  16. ^ a b Harvey 1994, p. 11.
  17. ^ Bramlett, Cook & Meskin 2016, p. 45.
  18. ^ Rhoades 2008, p. 2.
  19. ^ Rhoades 2008, p. x.
  20. ^ Childs & Storry 2013, p. 532.
  21. ^ Bramlett, Cook & Meskin 2016, p. 46.
  22. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. 51.
  23. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. 49.
  24. ^ Gabilliet 2010, pp. 49–50.
  25. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. 50.
  26. ^ Gabilliet 2010, pp. 52–55.
  27. ^ Gabilliet 2010, p. 66.
  28. ^ Hatfield 2005, pp. 20, 26; Lopes 2009, p. 123; Rhoades 2008, p. 140.
  29. ^ Lopes 2009, pp. xx–xxi.
  30. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 222.
  31. ^ Kaplan 2008, p. 172; Sabin 1993, p. 246; Stringer 1996, p. 262; Ahrens & Meteling 2010, p. 1; Williams & Lyons 2010, p. 7.
  32. ^ Gabilliet 2010, pp. 210–211.
  33. ^ Lopes 2009, p. 151–152.
  34. ^ Thorne 2010, p. 209.
  35. ^ Harvey 2010.
  36. ^ Lefèvre 2010, p. 186.
  37. ^ Vessels 2010, p. 45; Miller 2007, p. 17.
  38. ^ Screech 2005, p. 27; Miller 2007, p. 18.
  39. ^ Miller 2007, p. 17.
  40. ^ Theobald 2004, p. 82; Screech 2005, p. 48; McKinney 2011, p. 3.
  41. ^ Grove 2005, pp. 76–78.
  42. ^ Petersen 2010, pp. 214–215; Lefèvre 2010, p. 186.
  43. ^ a b Petersen 2010, pp. 214–215.
  44. ^ a b Grove 2005, p. 46.
  45. ^ Grove 2005, pp. 45–46.
  46. ^ Grove 2005, p. 51.
  47. ^ Miller 1998, p. 116; Lefèvre 2010, p. 186.
  48. ^ Miller 2007, p. 23.
  49. ^ Miller 2007, p. 21.
  50. ^ Screech 2005, p. 204.
  51. ^ Miller 2007, p. 22.
  52. ^ Miller 2007, pp. 25–28.
  53. ^ Miller 2007, pp. 33–34.
  54. ^ Beaty 2007, p. 9.
  55. ^ Lefèvre 2010, pp. 189–190.
  56. ^ Grove 2005, p. 153.
  57. ^ Miller 2007, pp. 49–53.
  58. ^ Karp & Kress 2011, p. 19.
  59. ^ Gravett 2004, p. 9.
  60. ^ a b c Johnson-Woods 2010, p. 22.
  61. ^ a b Schodt 1996, p. 22.
  62. ^ Mansfield 2009, p. 253.
  63. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 42.
  64. ^ Johnson-Woods 2010, pp. 21–22.
  65. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 128; Gravett 2004, p. 21.
  66. ^ Schodt 1996, p. 22; Johnson-Woods 2010, pp. 23–24.
  67. ^ Gravett 2004, p. 24.
  68. ^ MacWilliams 2008, p. 3; Hashimoto & Traphagan 2008, p. 21; Sugimoto 2010, p. 255; Gravett 2004, p. 8.
  69. ^ Schodt 1996, p. 23; Gravett 2004, pp. 13–14.
  70. ^ Gravett 2004, p. 14.
  71. ^ Brenner 2007, p. 13; Lopes 2009, p. 152; Raz 1999, p. 162; Jenkins 2004, p. 121.
  72. ^ Lee 2010, p. 158.
  73. ^ Watanabe, Toshio (1998). Art History and Comics. Tokyo. p. 1.
  74. ^ Booker 2014, p. xxvi–xxvii.
  75. ^ Orr 2008, p. 11; Collins 2010, p. 227.
  76. ^ Orr 2008, p. 10.
  77. ^ Schodt 1996, p. 23; Orr 2008, p. 10.
  78. ^ Schodt 1996, p. 23.
  79. ^ Grove 2010, p. 24; McKinney 2011.
  80. ^ Goldsmith 2005, p. 16; Karp & Kress 2011, pp. 4–6.
  81. ^ Poitras 2001, p. 66–67.
  82. ^ a b Harvey 2001, p. 76.
  83. ^ Petersen 2010, pp. 234–236.
  84. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 234; McCloud 2000, p. 222.
  85. ^ a b Rhoades 2008, p. 38.
  86. ^ Beronä 2008, p. 225.
  87. ^ Cohen 1977, p. 181.
  88. ^ Groensteen 2012, pp. 128—129.
  89. ^ a b Groensteen 2012, p. 124.
  90. ^ a b Groensteen 2012, p. 126.
  91. ^ Thomas 2010, p. 158.
  92. ^ a b Beaty 2012, p. 65.
  93. ^ Groensteen 2012, pp. 126, 131.
  94. ^ a b Grove 2010, pp. 17–19.
  95. ^ Thomas 2010, pp. 157, 170.
  96. ^ a b Groensteen 2012, pp. 112–113.
  97. ^ Miller 2007, p. 101.
  98. ^ a b Groensteen 2012, p. 112.
  99. ^ a b c Groensteen 2012, p. 113.
  100. ^ Cohn 2013.
  101. ^ Stewart 2014, pp. 28–29.
  102. ^ Johnson-Woods 2010, p. 23; Stewart 2014, p. 29.
  103. ^ a b Kinsella 2000, pp. 96–97.
  104. ^ a b Kinsella 2000, p. 100.
  105. ^ Morita 2010, pp. 37–38.
  106. ^ Stewart 2014, p. 30.
  107. ^ Inge 1989, p. 214.
  108. ^ Meskin & Cook 2012, p. xxix.
  109. ^ Yuan 2011; Eisner 1985, p. 5.
  110. ^ Kovacs & Marshall 2011, p. 10; Holbo 2012, p. 13; Harvey 2010, p. 1; Beaty 2012, p. 6; McCloud 1993, p. 9.
  111. ^ Beaty 2012, p. 67.
  112. ^ Chute 2010, p. 7; Harvey 2001, p. 76.
  113. ^ Harvey 2010, p. 1.
  114. ^ a b Morita 2010, p. 33.
  115. ^ Groensteen 2012, p. 130; Morita 2010, p. 33.
  116. ^ Groensteen 2012, p. 130.
  117. ^ Johnson-Woods 2010, p. 336.
  118. ^ Chapman 2012, p. 8; Chute & DeKoven 2012, p. 175; Fingeroth 2008, p. 4.
  119. ^ Lee 1978, p. 15.
  120. ^ Eisner 1985, pp. 28, 45.
  121. ^ Duncan & Smith 2009, p. 10.
  122. ^ Duncan & Smith 2009, p. 316.
  123. ^ Eisner 1985, p. 30.
  124. ^ Duncan & Smith 2009, p. 315; Karp & Kress 2011, p. 12–13.
  125. ^ Lee 1978, p. 15; Markstein 2010; Eisner 1985, p. 157; Dawson 2010, p. 112; Saraceni 2003, p. 9.
  126. ^ Lee 1978, p. 15; Lyga & Lyga 2004.
  127. ^ Saraceni 2003, p. 9; Karp & Kress 2011, p. 18.
  128. ^ Forceville, Veale & Feyaerts 2010, p. 56.
  129. ^ Duncan & Smith 2009, pp. 156, 318.
  130. ^ Markstein 2010; Lyga & Lyga 2004, p. 161; Lee 1978, p. 145; Rhoades 2008, p. 139.
  131. ^ Bramlett 2012, p. 25; Guigar 2010, p. 126; Cates 2010, p. 98.
  132. ^ Goldsmith 2005, p. 21; Karp & Kress 2011, p. 13–14.
  133. ^ O'Nale 2010, p. 384.
  134. ^ Tondro 2011, p. 51.
  135. ^ Lyga & Lyga 2004, p. 161.
  136. ^ Markstein 2010; Lyga & Lyga 2004, p. 161; Lee 1978, p. 145.
  137. ^ Duncan & Smith 2009, p. 315.
  138. ^ Lyga & Lyga 2004, p. 163.
  139. ^ Groensteen 2012, p. 131 (translator's note).
  140. ^ McKinney 2011, p. xiii.
  141. ^ Alaniz 2010, p. 7.
  142. ^ Frahm 2003.
  143. ^ Wong 2002, p. 11; Cooper-Chen 2010, p. 177.
  144. ^ Johnson-Woods 2010, p. 301.
  145. ^ Cooper-Chen 2010, p. 177; Thompson 2007, p. xiii.

Works cited


Academic journals


Further reading

External links

Academic journals




Aquaman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941). Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo comic book series. During the late 1950s and 1960s superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age, he was a founding member of the Justice League. In the 1990s Modern Age, writers interpreted Aquaman's character more seriously, with storylines depicting the weight of his role as king of Atlantis.The character's original 1960s animated appearances left a lasting impression, making Aquaman widely recognized in popular culture and one of the world's most recognized superheroes. Jokes about his wholesome, weak portrayal in Super Friends and perceived feeble powers and abilities have been staples of comedy programs and stand-up routines, leading DC at several times to attempt to make the character edgier or more powerful in comic books. Modern comic book depictions have attempted to reconcile these various aspects of his public perception, casting Aquaman as serious and brooding, saddled with an ill reputation, and struggling to find a true role and purpose beyond his public side as a deposed king and a fallen hero.Aquaman has been featured in several adaptations, first appearing in animated form in the 1967 The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and then in the related Super Friends program. Since then he has appeared in various animated productions, including prominent roles in the 2000s series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as several DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Actor Alan Ritchson also portrayed the character in the live-action television show Smallville. In the DC Extended Universe, actor Jason Momoa portrayed the character in the films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and Aquaman.


Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man," the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius-level intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.An American cultural icon, Batman has garnered enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable fictional characters of all time. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of "50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History". Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Captain America

Captain America (Steven "Steve" Rogers) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by cartoonists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (cover dated March 1941) from Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics. Captain America was designed as a patriotic supersoldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II and was Timely Comics' most popular character during the wartime period. The popularity of superheroes waned following the war and the Captain America comic book was discontinued in 1950, with a short-lived revival in 1953. Since Marvel Comics revived the character in 1964, Captain America has remained in publication.

The character wears a costume bearing an American flag motif, and he utilizes a nearly indestructible shield which he throws as a projectile. Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young man enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum to aid the United States government's efforts in World War II. Near the end of the war, he was trapped in ice and survived in suspended animation until he was revived in the present day. Although Captain America often struggles to maintain his ideals as a man out of his time with its modern realities, he remains a highly respected figure in his community which includes becoming the long-time leader of the Avengers.

Captain America was the first Marvel Comics character to appear in media outside comics with the release of the 1944 movie serial, Captain America. Since then, the character has been featured in other films and television series. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the character is portrayed by Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Endgame.

Captain America is ranked sixth on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" in 2011, second in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012, and second in their "Top 25 best Marvel superheroes" list in 2014.

Captain Marvel (DC Comics)

Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam (), is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher DC Comics. Artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker created the character in 1939. Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated Feb. 1940), published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word "SHAZAM" (acronym of six "immortal elders": Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities.

Based on book sales, the character was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, outselling even Superman. Fawcett expanded the franchise to include other "Marvels", primarily Marvel Family associates Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., who can harness Billy's powers as well. Captain Marvel was also the first comic book superhero to be adapted into film, in a 1941 Republic Pictures serial titled Adventures of Captain Marvel, with Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. as Billy Batson.

Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, partly because of a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics, alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett, and returned them to publication. By 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe and has attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success. Due to trademark conflicts over another character named "Captain Marvel" owned by Marvel Comics, DC has branded and marketed the character using the trademark Shazam! since his 1972 reintroduction. This, in turn, led many to assume that "Shazam" was the character's name. DC later officially renamed the character "Shazam" when relaunching its comic book properties in 2011, and his associates became known as the "Shazam Family" the following year. Captain Marvel/Shazam and his family battle an extensive rogues' gallery, primarily archenemies Dr. Sivana and Black Adam.

The character has been featured in two television series adaptations by Filmation: one live action 1970s series with actors Jackson Bostwick and Michael Gray portraying the character, and one animated 1980s series. An upcoming New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Shazam! feature film is scheduled for release in April 2019 as part of the DC Extended Universe, with Zachary Levi and Asher Angel portraying the title role. Captain Marvel was ranked as the 55th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Captain Marvel as the 50th greatest comic book hero of all time, stating that the character will always be an enduring reminder of a simpler time. UGO Networks ranked him as one of the top heroes of entertainment, saying, "At his best, Shazam has always been compared to Superman with a sense of crazy, goofy fun."

Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)

Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and designed by artist Gene Colan and first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (December 1967).

The character debuted during the Silver Age of comic books and has made many appearances since then, including a self-titled series and the second volume of the Marvel Spotlight series. Captain Marvel was ranked 24th in IGN's list of "The Top 50 Avengers" and has appeared in television series and video games.

A re-imagined version of the character portrayed by Annette Bening appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Captain Marvel (2019), which depicts Mar-Vell as a female Kree scientist who adopts the alias Dr. Wendy Lawson.

Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)

Captain Marvel is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

Carol Danvers

Carol Susan Jane Danvers is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, Danvers first appeared as an officer in the United States Air Force and a colleague of the Kree superhero Mar-Vell in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968). Danvers later became the first incarnation of Ms. Marvel in Ms. Marvel #1 (cover-dated January 1977) after her DNA was fused with Mar-Vell's during an explosion, giving her superhuman powers. Debuting in the Silver Age of comics, the character was featured in a self-titled series in the late 1970s before becoming associated with the superhero teams the Avengers and the X-Men. The character has also been known as Binary, Warbird and Captain Marvel at various points in her history. Danvers has been labeled "Marvel's biggest female hero", and "quite possibly Marvel's mightiest Avenger". In 2012, Danvers' incarnation of Ms Marvel was the highest ranked female character (at #11) on IGN's list of the "Top 50 Avengers".

Danvers has been featured in other Marvel licensed products including video games, animated television series, and merchandise such as trading cards. Marvel Studios released a live-action film featuring Danvers, titled Captain Marvel and starring Brie Larson, who will reprise the role in Avengers: Endgame.

DC Comics

DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since 1967. DC Comics is one of the largest and oldest American comic book companies, and produces material featuring numerous culturally iconic heroic characters including: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Hawkman, Cyborg and Supergirl.

Most of their material takes place in the fictional DC Universe, which also features teams such as the Justice League, the Justice Society of America, the Suicide Squad, and the Teen Titans, and well-known villains such as The Joker, Lex Luthor, Catwoman, Darkseid, Sinestro, Brainiac, Black Adam, Ra's al Ghul and Deathstroke. The company has also published non-DC Universe-related material, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and many titles under their alternative imprint Vertigo.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series Detective Comics, which featured Batman's debut and subsequently became part of the company's name. Originally in Manhattan at 432 Fourth Avenue, the DC Comics offices have been located at 480 and later 575 Lexington Avenue; 909 Third Avenue; 75 Rockefeller Plaza; 666 Fifth Avenue; and 1325 Avenue of the Americas. DC had its headquarters at 1700 Broadway, Midtown Manhattan, New York City, but it was announced in October 2013 that DC Entertainment would relocate its headquarters from New York to Burbank, California in April 2015.Random House distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comic Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market. DC Comics and its longtime major competitor Marvel Comics (acquired in 2009 by The Walt Disney Company, WarnerMedia's main competitor) together shared approximately 70% of the American comic book market in 2017.


The Hulk is a fictional superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk (May 1962). In his comic book appearances, the character is both the Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a vast degree of physical strength, and his alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, the two existing as independent personalities and resenting of the other.

Following his accidental exposure to gamma rays during the detonation of an experimental bomb, Banner is physically transformed into the Hulk when subjected to emotional stress, at or against his will, often leading to destructive rampages and conflicts that complicate Banner's civilian life. The Hulk's level of strength is normally conveyed as proportionate to his level of anger. Commonly portrayed as a raging savage, the Hulk has been represented with other personalities based on Banner's fractured psyche, from a mindless, destructive force, to a brilliant warrior, or genius scientist in his own right. Despite both Hulk and Banner's desire for solitude, the character has a large supporting cast, including Banner's lover Betty Ross, his friend Rick Jones, his cousin She-Hulk, sons Hiro-Kala and Skaar, and his co-founders of the superhero team the Avengers. However, his uncontrollable power has brought him into conflict with his fellow heroes and others.

Lee stated that the Hulk's creation was inspired by a combination of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although the Hulk's coloration has varied throughout the character's publication history, the most usual color is green. He has two main catchphrases: "Hulk is strongest one there is!" and the better-known "Hulk smash!", which has founded the basis for numerous pop culture memes.

One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the character has appeared on a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectable items, inspired real-world structures (such as theme park attractions), and been referenced in a number of media. Banner and the Hulk have been adapted in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations. The most notable of these were the 1970s The Incredible Hulk television series, in which the character was portrayed by Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. The character was first played in a live-action feature film by Eric Bana, with Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo portraying the character in the films The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The Kree, briefly known as the Ruul, are a fictional scientifically and technologically advanced militaristic alien race appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They are native to the planet Hala in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The Kree have appeared throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have been seen in the movies Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Captain Marvel. The Kree were also seen in the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

List of minor DC Comics characters

American comic book publishing company DC Comics has introduced many characters throughout its history, including numerous minor characters. These characters range from supporting characters, heroes and villains that appear infrequently to characters that only take part in a single story.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company.

Marvel started in 1939 with the common name for that early Golden Age is Timely Comics, and by the early 1950s, had generally become known as Atlas Comics. The Marvel era began in 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and many others. The Marvel brand had been used over the years, but solidified as the company's only brand with in a couple of years.

Marvel counts among its characters such well-known superheroes as Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Wolverine, the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, the Punisher and Deadpool, such teams as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Midnight Sons and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and supervillains including Thanos, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Ultron, Green Goblin, Red Skull, Loki, Doctor Octopus and Venom. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with most locations mirroring real-life places; many major characters are based in New York City.

Ronan the Accuser

Ronan the Accuser is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire, the militaristic government of the fictional alien race known as the Kree, and is commonly depicted as an adversary of superhero teams such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including several animated television series and video games. Actor Lee Pace portrays Ronan in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe films Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel.


The Skrulls are a fictional race of extraterrestrial shapeshifters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

The Skrulls appear in the 2019 film Captain Marvel. One of the Skrulls, named Talos, is portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn.


Spider-Man is a fictional superhero created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) in the Silver Age of Comic Books. He appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as in a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations set in the Marvel Universe. In the stories, Spider-Man is the alias of Peter Parker, an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City after his parents Richard and Mary Parker were killed in a plane crash. Lee and Ditko had the character deal with the struggles of adolescence and financial issues, and accompanied him with many supporting characters, such as J. Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, romantic interests Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson, and foes such as Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and Venom. His origin story has him acquiring spider-related abilities after a bite from a radioactive spider; these include clinging to surfaces, shooting spider-webs from wrist-mounted devices, and detecting danger with his "spider-sense".

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student from Queens behind Spider-Man's secret identity and with whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. While Spider-Man had all the makings of a sidekick, unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.

Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character developed from a shy, nerdy New York City high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers, Marvel's flagship superhero team. Spider-Man's nemesis Doctor Octopus also took on the identity for a story arc spanning 2012–2014, following a body swap plot in which Peter appears to die. Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker's supposed death. Miles is later brought into mainstream continuity, where he works alongside Peter.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel's flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in countless forms of media, including several animated and live action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and in a series of films. The character was first portrayed in live action by Danny Seagren in Spidey Super Stories, a The Electric Company skit which ran from 1974 to 1977. In films, Spider-Man has been portrayed by actors Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. Reeve Carney starred as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spider-Man has been well received as a superhero and comic book character, and he is often ranked as one of the most popular and iconic comic book characters of all time.

Stan Lee

Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber ; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, and producer. He rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry.

In collaboration with others at Marvel—particularly co-writer/artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. In doing so, he pioneered a more naturalistic approach to writing superhero comics in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he challenged the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, indirectly leading to changes in its policies. In the 1980s he pursued development of Marvel properties in other media, with mixed results. Following his retirement from Marvel in the 1990s, he remained a public figurehead for the company, and frequently made cameo appearances in films and television shows based on Marvel characters, on which he received an executive producer credit. Meanwhile, he continued independent creative ventures into his 90s, until his death in 2018.

Lee was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. He received the NEA's National Medal of Arts in 2008.


Superman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 on April 18, 1938. Superman regularly appears in comic books published by DC Comics and has been adapted to radio shows, newspaper strips, television shows, movies, and video games.

Superman was born on the planet Krypton and named Kal-El. As a baby, he was sent to Earth in a small spaceship by his scientist father Jor-El moments before Krypton was destroyed in a natural cataclysm. His ship landed in the American countryside; he was found and adopted by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark Kent. Clark displayed various superhuman abilities, such as incredible strength and impervious skin. His foster parents advised him to use his abilities for the benefit of humanity, and he decided to fight crime as a vigilante. To protect his privacy, he changes into a colorful costume and uses the alias "Superman" when fighting crime. Clark Kent resides in the fictional American city of Metropolis, where he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet. Superman's love interest is his fellow journalist Lois Lane, and his classic arch-enemy is the genius inventor Lex Luthor. He is a friend of many other superheroes in the DC Universe, such as Batman and Wonder Woman.

Although Superman was not the first superhero character, he popularized the superhero genre and defined its conventions. Superman is still one of the most lucrative superhero franchises.


Thanos (UK: , US: ) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, created by writer/artist Jim Starlin, first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (cover dated February 1973). Thanos is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and has clashed with many heroes including the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.

The character appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Damion Poitier in The Avengers (2012), and by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019) through voice and motion capture. The character has also appeared in various comic adaptations, including animated television series, arcade, and video games.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a founding member of the Justice League. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 with her first feature in Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986. In her homeland, the island nation of Themyscira, her official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. When blending into the society outside of her homeland, she adopts her civilian identity Diana Prince.Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G. Peter. Marston's wife, Elizabeth, and their life partner, Olive Byrne, are credited as being his inspiration for the character's appearance. Marston's comics featured his ideas on DISC theory, and the character drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger; in particular, her piece "Woman and the New Race".

Wonder Woman's origin story relates that she was sculpted from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and was given a life to live as an Amazon, along with superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods. In recent years, DC changed her background with the revelation that she is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, jointly raised by her mother and her aunts Antiope and Menalippe. The character has changed in depiction over the decades, including briefly losing her powers entirely in the 1970s; by the 1980s, artist George Perez gave her a muscular look and emphasized her Amazonian heritage. She possesses an arsenal of advanced technology, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in older stories, a range of devices based on Amazon technology.

Wonder Woman's character was created during World War II; the character in the story was initially depicted fighting Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the "damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics during the 1940s. In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Cale and the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).The character is a well-known figure in popular culture that has been adapted to various media. June 3 is Wonder Woman Day. Wonder Woman is part of the DC Comics trinity of flagship characters alongside Batman and Superman.

By country
and museums

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.