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 Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, 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.
|Parent company||Marvel Entertainment, LLC|
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Founded||1939 (as Timely Comics)|
1947 (as Magazine Management)
1961 (as Marvel Comics)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||135 W. 50th Street, New York City|
|Distribution||Diamond Comic Distributors|
Hachette Client Services
|Publication types||Comics/See List of Marvel Comics publications|
Pulp-magazine publisher Martin Goodman founded the company later known as Marvel Comics under the name Timely Publications in 1939. Goodman, who had started with a Western pulp in 1933, was expanding into the emerging—and by then already highly popular—new medium of comic books. Launching his new line from his existing company's offices at 330 West 42nd Street, New York City, he officially held the titles of editor, managing editor, and business manager, with Abraham Goodman (Martin's brother) officially listed as publisher.
Timely's first publication, Marvel Comics #1 (cover dated Oct. 1939), included the first appearance of Carl Burgos' android superhero the Human Torch, and the first appearances of Bill Everett's anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner, among other features. The issue was a great success; it and a second printing the following month sold a combined nearly 900,000 copies. While its contents came from an outside packager, Funnies, Inc., Timely had its own staff in place by the following year. The company's first true editor, writer-artist Joe Simon, teamed with artist Jack Kirby to create one of the first patriotically themed superheroes, Captain America, in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941). It, too, proved a hit, with sales of nearly one million. Goodman formed Timely Comics, Inc., beginning with comics cover-dated April 1941 or Spring 1941.
While no other Timely character would achieve the success of these three characters, some notable heroes—many of which continue to appear in modern-day retcon appearances and flashbacks—include the Whizzer, Miss America, the Destroyer, the original Vision, and the Angel. Timely also published one of humor cartoonist Basil Wolverton's best-known features, "Powerhouse Pepper", as well as a line of children's funny-animal comics featuring characters like Super Rabbit and the duo Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal.
Goodman hired his wife's cousin, Stanley Lieber, as a general office assistant in 1939. When editor Simon left the company in late 1941, Goodman made Lieber—by then writing pseudonymously as "Stan Lee"—interim editor of the comics line, a position Lee kept for decades except for three years during his military service in World War II. Lee wrote extensively for Timely, contributing to a number of different titles.
Goodman's business strategy involved having his various magazines and comic books published by a number of corporations all operating out of the same office and with the same staff. One of these shell companies through which Timely Comics was published was named Marvel Comics by at least Marvel Mystery Comics #55 (May 1944). As well, some comics' covers, such as All Surprise Comics #12 (Winter 1946–47), were labeled "A Marvel Magazine" many years before Goodman would formally adopt the name in 1961.
The post-war American comic market saw superheroes falling out of fashion. Goodman's comic book line dropped them for the most part and expanded into a wider variety of genres than even Timely had published, featuring horror, Westerns, humor, funny animal, men's adventure-drama, giant monster, crime, and war comics, and later adding jungle books, romance titles, espionage, and even medieval adventure, Bible stories and sports.
Goodman began using the globe logo of the Atlas News Company, the newsstand-distribution company he owned, on comics cover-dated November 1951 even though another company, Kable News, continued to distribute his comics through the August 1952 issues. This globe branding united a line put out by the same publisher, staff and freelancers through 59 shell companies, from Animirth Comics to Zenith Publications.
Atlas, rather than innovate, took a proven route of following popular trends in television and movies—Westerns and war dramas prevailing for a time, drive-in movie monsters another time—and even other comic books, particularly the EC horror line. Atlas also published a plethora of children's and teen humor titles, including Dan DeCarlo's Homer the Happy Ghost (similar to Casper the Friendly Ghost) and Homer Hooper (à la Archie Andrews). Atlas unsuccessfully attempted to revive superheroes from late 1953 to mid-1954, with the Human Torch (art by Syd Shores and Dick Ayers, variously), the Sub-Mariner (drawn and most stories written by Bill Everett), and Captain America (writer Stan Lee, artist John Romita Sr.). Atlas did not achieve any breakout hits and, according to Stan Lee, Atlas survived chiefly because it produced work quickly, cheaply, and at a passable quality.
The first modern comic books under the Marvel Comics brand were the science-fiction anthology Journey into Mystery #69 and the teen-humor title Patsy Walker #95 (both cover dated June 1961), which each displayed an "MC" box on its cover. Then, in the wake of DC Comics' success in reviving superheroes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with the Flash, Green Lantern, and other members of the team the Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit.[n 1]
In 1961, writer-editor Stan Lee revolutionized superhero comics by introducing superheroes designed to appeal to older readers than the predominantly child audiences of the medium. Modern Marvel's first superhero team, the titular stars of The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961), broke convention with other comic book archetypes of the time by squabbling, holding grudges both deep and petty, and eschewing anonymity or secret identities in favor of celebrity status. Subsequently, Marvel comics developed a reputation for focusing on characterization and adult issues to a greater extent than most superhero comics before them, a quality which the new generation of older readers appreciated. This applied to The Amazing Spider-Man title in particular, which turned out to be Marvel's most successful book. Its young hero suffered from self-doubt and mundane problems like any other teenager, something with which many readers could identify.
Lee and freelance artist and eventual co-plotter Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four originated in a Cold War culture that led their creators to revise the superhero conventions of previous eras to better reflect the psychological spirit of their age. Eschewing such comic-book tropes as secret identities and even costumes at first, having a monster as one of the heroes, and having its characters bicker and complain in what was later called a "superheroes in the real world" approach, the series represented a change that proved to be a great success.
Marvel often presented flawed superheroes, freaks, and misfits—unlike the perfect, handsome, athletic heroes found in previous traditional comic books. Some Marvel heroes looked like villains and monsters such as the Hulk and the Thing. This naturalistic approach even extended into topical politics.
Comics historian Mike Benton also noted:
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.
All of these elements struck a chord with the older readers, such as college-aged adults. In 1965, Spider-Man and the Hulk were both featured in Esquire magazine's list of 28 college campus heroes, alongside John F. Kennedy and Bob Dylan. In 2009, writer Geoff Boucher reflected that,
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?
In addition to Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, Marvel began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and antiheroes as the Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Inhumans, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and the Silver Surfer, and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Galactus, Loki, the Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus, all existing in a shared reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locations that mirror real-life cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
In 1968, while selling 50 million comic books a year, company founder Goodman revised the constraining distribution arrangement with Independent News he had reached under duress during the Atlas years, allowing him now to release as many titles as demand warranted. Late that year, he sold Marvel Comics and its parent company, Magazine Management, to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation, with Goodman remaining as publisher. In 1969, Goodman finally ended his distribution deal with Independent by signing with Curtis Circulation Company.
In 1971, the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare approached Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee to do a comic book story about drug abuse. Lee agreed and wrote a three-part Spider-Man story portraying drug use as dangerous and unglamorous. However, the industry's self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, refused to approve the story because of the presence of narcotics, deeming the context of the story irrelevant. Lee, with Goodman's approval, published the story regardless in The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98 (May–July 1971), without the Comics Code seal. The market reacted well to the storyline, and the CCA subsequently revised the Code the same year.
Goodman retired as publisher in 1972 and installed his son, Chip, as publisher. Shortly thereafter, Lee succeeded him as publisher and also became Marvel's president for a brief time. During his time as president, he appointed his associate editor, prolific writer Roy Thomas, as editor-in-chief. Thomas added "Stan Lee Presents" to the opening page of each comic book.
A series of new editors-in-chief oversaw the company during another slow time for the industry. Once again, Marvel attempted to diversify, and with the updating of the Comics Code published titles themed to horror (The Tomb of Dracula), martial arts (Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu), sword-and-sorcery (Conan the Barbarian in 1970, Red Sonja), satire (Howard the Duck) and science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey, "Killraven" in Amazing Adventures, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and, late in the decade, the long-running Star Wars series). Some of these were published in larger-format black and white magazines, under its Curtis Magazines imprint.
Marvel was able to capitalize on its successful superhero comics of the previous decade by acquiring a new newsstand distributor and greatly expanding its comics line. Marvel pulled ahead of rival DC Comics in 1972, during a time when the price and format of the standard newsstand comic were in flux. Goodman increased the price and size of Marvel's November 1971 cover-dated comics from 15 cents for 36 pages total to 25 cents for 52 pages. DC followed suit, but Marvel the following month dropped its comics to 20 cents for 36 pages, offering a lower-priced product with a higher distributor discount.
In 1973, Perfect Film and Chemical renamed itself as Cadence Industries and renamed Magazine Management as Marvel Comics Group. Goodman, now disconnected from Marvel, set up a new company called Seaboard Periodicals in 1974, reviving Marvel's old Atlas name for a new Atlas Comics line, but this lasted only a year and a half. In the mid-1970s a decline of the newsstand distribution network affected Marvel. Cult hits such as Howard the Duck fell victim to the distribution problems, with some titles reporting low sales when in fact the first specialty comic book stores resold them at a later date. But by the end of the decade, Marvel's fortunes were reviving, thanks to the rise of direct market distribution—selling through those same comics-specialty stores instead of newsstands.
Marvel ventured into audio in 1975 with a radio series and a record, both had Stan Lee as narrator. The radio series was Fantastic Four. The record was Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero concept album for music fans.
Marvel held its own comic book convention, Marvelcon '75, in spring 1975, and promised a Marvelcon '76. At the 1975 event, Stan Lee used a Fantastic Four panel discussion to announce that Jack Kirby, the artist co-creator of most of Marvel's signature characters, was returning to Marvel after having left in 1970 to work for rival DC Comics. In October 1976, Marvel, which already licensed reprints in different countries, including the UK, created a superhero specifically for the British market. Captain Britain debuted exclusively in the UK, and later appeared in American comics. During this time, Marvel and the Iowa-based Register and Tribune Syndicate launched a number of syndicated comic strips — The Amazing Spider-Man, Howard the Duck, Conan the Barbarian, and The Incredible Hulk. None of the strips lasted past 1982, except for The Amazing Spider-Man, which is still being published.
In 1978, Jim Shooter became Marvel's editor-in-chief. Although a controversial personality, Shooter cured many of the procedural ills at Marvel, including repeatedly missed deadlines. During Shooter's nine-year tenure as editor-in-chief, Chris Claremont and John Byrne's run on the Uncanny X-Men and Frank Miller's run on Daredevil became critical and commercial successes. Shooter brought Marvel into the rapidly evolving direct market, institutionalized creator royalties, starting with the Epic Comics imprint for creator-owned material in 1982; introduced company-wide crossover story arcs with Contest of Champions and Secret Wars; and in 1986 launched the ultimately unsuccessful New Universe line to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Marvel Comics imprint. Star Comics, a children-oriented line differing from the regular Marvel titles, was briefly successful during this period.
In 1986, Marvel's parent, Marvel Entertainment Group, was sold to New World Entertainment, which within three years sold it to MacAndrews and Forbes, owned by Revlon executive Ronald Perelman in 1989. In 1991 Perelman took MEG public. Following the rapid rise of this stock, Perelman issued a series of junk bonds that he used to acquire other entertainment companies, secured by MEG stock.
Marvel earned a great deal of money with their 1980s children's comics imprint Star Comics and they earned a great deal more money and worldwide success during the comic book boom of the early 1990s, launching the successful 2099 line of comics set in the future (Spider-Man 2099, etc.) and the creatively daring though commercially unsuccessful Razorline imprint of superhero comics created by novelist and filmmaker Clive Barker. In 1990, Marvel began selling Marvel Universe Cards with trading card maker SkyBox International. These were collectible trading cards that featured the characters and events of the Marvel Universe. The 1990s saw the rise of variant covers, cover enhancements, swimsuit issues, and company-wide crossovers that affected the overall continuity of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel suffered a blow in early 1992, when seven of its most prized artists — Todd McFarlane (known for his work on Spider-Man), Jim Lee (X-Men), Rob Liefeld (X-Force), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Larsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny X-Men) — left to form Image Comics in a deal brokered by Malibu Comics' owner Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Three years later Rosenberg sold Malibu to Marvel on November 3, 1994, who acquired the then-leading standard for computer coloring of comic books (developed by Rosenberg) in the process, but also integrating the Ultraverse into Marvel's multiverse and ownership of the Genesis Universe.
In late 1994, Marvel acquired the comic book distributor Heroes World Distribution to use as its own exclusive distributor. As the industry's other major publishers made exclusive distribution deals with other companies, the ripple effect resulted in the survival of only one other major distributor in North America, Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. Then, by the middle of the decade, the industry had slumped, and in December 1996 MEG filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In early 1997, when Marvel's Heroes World endeavor failed, Diamond also forged an exclusive deal with Marvel—giving the company its own section of its comics catalog Previews.
In 1996, Marvel had some of its titles participate in "Heroes Reborn", a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and outsource them to the studios of two of the former Marvel artists turned Image Comics founders, Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. The relaunched titles, which saw the characters transported to a parallel universe with a history distinct from the mainstream Marvel Universe, were a solid success amidst a generally struggling industry, but Marvel discontinued the experiment after a one-year run and returned the characters to the Marvel Universe proper.
In 1997, Toy Biz bought Marvel Entertainment Group to end the bankruptcy, forming a new corporation, Marvel Enterprises. With his business partner Avi Arad, publisher Bill Jemas, and editor-in-chief Bob Harras, Toy Biz co-owner Isaac Perlmutter helped stabilize the comics line.
In 1998, the company launched the imprint Marvel Knights, taking place just outside Marvel continuity with better production qualtity. The imprint was helmed by soon-to-become editor-in-chief Joe Quesada; it featured tough, gritty stories showcasing such characters as the Daredevil, Inhumans and Black Panther.
With the new millennium, Marvel Comics emerged from bankruptcy and again began diversifying its offerings. In 2001, Marvel withdrew from the Comics Code Authority and established its own Marvel Rating System for comics. The first title from this era to not have the code was X-Force #119 (October 2001). Marvel also created new imprints, such as MAX (an explicit-content line) and Marvel Adventures (developed for child audiences). In addition, the company created an alternate universe imprint, Ultimate Marvel, that allowed the company to reboot its major titles by revising and updating its characters to introduce to a new generation.
Some of its characters have been turned into successful film franchises, such as the Men in Black movie series, starting in 1997, Blade movie series, starting in 1998, X-Men movie series, starting in 2000, and the highest grossing series Spider-Man, beginning in 2002.
Marvel's Conan the Barbarian title stopped in 1993 after 275 issues. The Savage Sword of Conan magazine had 235 issues. Marvel published additional titles including miniseries until 2000 for a total of 650 issues. Conan was pick up by Dark Horse three years later.
In a cross-promotion, the November 1, 2006, episode of the CBS soap opera The Guiding Light, titled "She's a Marvel", featured the character Harley Davidson Cooper (played by Beth Ehlers) as a superheroine named the Guiding Light. The character's story continued in an eight-page backup feature, "A New Light", that appeared in several Marvel titles published November 1 and 8. Also that year, Marvel created a wiki on its Web site.
In 2009 Marvel Comics closed its Open Submissions Policy, in which the company had accepted unsolicited samples from aspiring comic book artists, saying the time-consuming review process had produced no suitably professional work. The same year, the company commemorated its 70th anniversary, dating to its inception as Timely Comics, by issuing the one-shot Marvel Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 and a variety of other special issues.
On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Comics' parent corporation, Marvel Entertainment, for $4 billion or $4.2 billion, with Marvel shareholders to receive $30 and 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own. As of 2008, Marvel and its major, longtime competitor DC Comics shared over 80% of the American comic-book market. As of September 2010, Marvel switched its bookstores distribution company from Diamond Book Distributors to Hachette Distribution Services.
Marvel discontinued its Marvel Adventures imprint in March 2012, and replaced them with a line of two titles connected to the Marvel Universe TV block. Also in March, Marvel announced its Marvel ReEvolution initiative that included Infinite Comics, a line of digital comics, Marvel AR, an application software that provides an augmented reality experience to readers and Marvel NOW!, a relaunch of most of the company's major titles with different creative teams. Marvel NOW! also saw the debut of new flagship titles including Uncanny Avengers and All-New X-Men.
In April 2013, Marvel and other Disney conglomerate components began announcing joint projects. With ABC, a Once Upon a Time graphic novel was announced for publication in September. With Disney, Marvel announced in October 2013 that in January 2014 it would release its first title under their joint "Disney Kingdoms" imprint "Seekers of the Weird", a five-issue miniseries. On January 3, 2014, fellow Disney subsidiary Lucasfilm announced that as of 2015, Star Wars comics would once again be published by Marvel.
Marvel Legacy was the company's Fall 2017 relaunch banner starting in September. The banner had comics with lenticular variant covers which required comic book stores to double their regular issue order to be able to order the variants. The owner of two Comix Experience stores complained about the set up of forcing retailers to be stuck with copies they cannot sell for the variant that they can sell. With other complaints too, Marvel did adjust down requirements for new titles no adjustment was made for any other. Thusforthly MyComicShop.com and at least 70 other comic book stores were boycotting these variant covers. With a handful of Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, in theaters, none of those characters' titles were in the top 10 and even the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series was canceled. Thus films do not affect comic book sales. Conan Properties International announced on January 12, 2018 that Conan would return to Marvel in early 2019.
On January 19, 2018, Joshua Yehl, editor of ign.com, speculated on potential changes if Disney's Proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox goes through. He expects Fox franchises licensed out to other firms would be moved to Marvel and that Fox's Marvel film properties would be treated better by the publishing division. However, Marvel had licensed Archie Comics to publish Marvel Digests collections for the newsstand market. While Disney has licensed IDW Publishing to produce the classic, all-ages Disney comics since the Marvel purchase and a Big Hero 6 comic book to go along with the TV series despite the fact that the Disney movie was based on a Marvel Comic book. Then on July 17, 2018, Marvel Entertainment announced the licensing of Marvel characters to IDW for a line of middle-grade reader market comic books to start publishing in November 2018.
Marvel's chief editor originally held the title of "editor". This head editor's title later became "editor-in-chief". Joe Simon was the company's first true chief-editor, with publisher Martin Goodman, who had served as titular editor only and outsourced editorial operations.
In 1994 Marvel briefly abolished the position of editor-in-chief, replacing Tom DeFalco with five group editors-in-chief. As Carl Potts described the 1990s editorial arrangement:
In the early '90s, Marvel had so many titles that there were three Executive Editors, each overseeing approximately 1/3 of the line. Bob Budiansky was the third Executive Editor [following the previously appointed Mark Gruenwald and Potts]. We all answered to Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco and Publisher Mike Hobson. All three Executive Editors decided not to add our names to the already crowded credits on the Marvel titles. Therefore it wasn't easy for readers to tell which titles were produced by which Executive Editor … In late '94, Marvel reorganized into a number of different publishing divisions, each with its own Editor-in-Chief.
Marvel reinstated the overall editor-in-chief position in 1995 with Bob Harras.
Originally called associate editor when Marvel's chief editor just carried the title of editor, the title of the next highest editorial position became executive editor under the chief editor title of editor-in-chief. The title of associate editor later was revived under the editor-in-chief as an editorial position in charge of few titles under the direction of an editor and without an assistant editor.
Located in New York City, Marvel has had successive headquarters:
In 2017, Marvel held a 38.30% share of the comics market, compared to its competitor DC Comics' 33.93%. By comparison, the companies respectively held 33.50% and 30.33% shares in 2013, and 40.81% and 29.94% shares in 2008.
Marvel characters and stories have been adapted to many other media. Some of these adaptations were produced by Marvel Comics and its sister company, Marvel Studios, while others were produced by companies licensing Marvel material.
In June 1993, Marvel issued its collectable caps for milk caps game under the Hero Caps brand. In 2014, the Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers Japanese TV series was launched together with a collectible game called Bachicombat, a game similar to the milk caps game, by Bandai.
The RPG industry brought the development of the collectible card game (CCG) in the early 1990s which there were soon Marvel characters were featured in CCG of their own starting in 1995 with Fleer's OverPower (1995–1999). Later collectible card game were:
TSR published the pen-and-paper role-playing game Marvel Super Heroes in 1984. TSR then released in 1998 the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game which used a different system, the card-based SAGA system, than their first game. In 2003 Marvel Publishing published its own role-playing game, the Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game, that used a diceless stone pool system. In August 2011 Margaret Weis Productions announced it was developing a tabletop role-playing game based on the Marvel universe, set for release in February 2012 using its house Cortex Plus RPG system.
Video games based on Marvel characters go back to 1984 and the Atari game, Spider-Man. Since then several dozen video games have been released and all have been produced by outside licensees. In 2014, Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes was released that brought Marvel characters to the existing Disney sandbox video game.
As of the start of September 2015, films based on Marvel's properties represent the highest-grossing U.S. franchise, having grossed over $7.7 billion  as part of a worldwide gross of over $18 billion.
Marvel first licensed two prose novels to Bantam Books, who printed The Avengers Battle the Earth Wrecker by Otto Binder (1967) and Captain America: The Great Gold Steal by Ted White (1968). Various publishers took up the licenses from 1978 to 2002. Also, with the various licensed films being released beginning in 1997, various publishers put out movie novelizations. In 2003, following publication of the prose young adult novel Mary Jane, starring Mary Jane Watson from the Spider-Man mythos, Marvel announced the formation of the publishing imprint Marvel Press. However, Marvel moved back to licensing with Pocket Books from 2005 to 2008. With few books issued under the imprint, Marvel and Disney Books Group relaunched Marvel Press in 2011 with the Marvel Origin Storybooks line.
Many television series, both live-action and animated, have based their productions on Marvel Comics characters. These include series for popular characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the Punisher, the Defenders, S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Deadpool, Legion, and others. Additionally, a handful of television movies, usually also pilots, based on Marvel Comics characters have been made.
Marvel has licensed its characters for theme parks and attractions, including Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, which includes rides based on their iconic characters and costumed performers, as well as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride cloned from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios Japan.
Years after Disney purchased Marvel in late 2009, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts plans on creating original Marvel attractions at their theme parks, with Hong Kong Disneyland becoming the first Disney theme park to feature a Marvel attraction. Due to the licensing agreement with Universal Studios, signed prior to Disney's purchase of Marvel, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney are barred from having Marvel characters in their parks. However, this only includes characters that Universal is currently using, other characters in their "families" (X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc.), and the villains associated with said characters. This clause has allowed Walt Disney World to have meet and greets, merchandise, attractions and more with other Marvel characters not associated with the characters at Islands of Adventures, such as Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Irwin said he never played golf with Goodman, so the story is untrue. I heard this story more than a couple of times while sitting in the lunchroom at DC's 909 Third Avenue and 75 Rockefeller Plaza office as Sol Harrison and [production chief] Jack Adler were schmoozing with some of us … who worked for DC during our college summers.... [T]he way I heard the story from Sol was that Goodman was playing with one of the heads of Independent News, not DC Comics (though DC owned Independent News). … As the distributor of DC Comics, this man certainly knew all the sales figures and was in the best position to tell this tidbit to Goodman. … Of course, Goodman would want to be playing golf with this fellow and be in his good graces. … Sol worked closely with Independent News' top management over the decades and would have gotten this story straight from the horse's mouth.
Goodman, a publishing trend-follower aware of the JLA's strong sales, confirmably directed his comics editor, Stan Lee, to create a comic-book series about a team of superheroes. According to Lee in Origins of Marvel Comics (Simon and Schuster/Fireside Books, 1974), p. 16: "Martin mentioned that he had noticed one of the titles published by National Comics seemed to be selling better than most. It was a book called The [sic] Justice League of America and it was composed of a team of superheroes. … ' If the Justice League is selling ', spoke he, 'why don't we put out a comic book that features a team of superheroes?'"
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Marvel Comics employed a realism in both characterization and setting in its superhero titles that was unequaled in the comic book industry.
Marvel took advantage of this moment to surpass DC in title production for the first time since 1957, and in sales for the first time ever.
Share of Overall Units—Marvel 38.30%, DC 33.93%; Share of Overall Dollars—Marvel 36.36%, DC 30.07%
Bullseye is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A psychopathic assassin, Bullseye uses the opportunities afforded by his line of work to exercise his homicidal tendencies and to work out his own personal vendetta against Daredevil. He is also an enemy of the Punisher. Although he possesses no superpowers, Bullseye is able to use almost any object as a lethal projectile, be it weapons like shuriken and sai or seemingly harmless objects like playing cards and pencils. His marksmanship is uncanny, at a nearly supernatural level.
Bullseye was 20th in IGN's list of the "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time", and 35th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers". The character has been adapted into various forms of media relating to Daredevil. He has been portrayed by Colin Farrell in the 2003 film adaptation and by Wilson Bethel as Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter in the third season of the Netflix television adaptation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.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.Daredevil (Marvel Comics character)
Daredevil is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Daredevil was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with an unspecified amount of input from Jack Kirby. The character first appeared in Daredevil #1 (April 1964). Writer/artist Frank Miller's influential tenure on the title in the early 1980s cemented the character as a popular and influential part of the Marvel Universe. Daredevil is commonly known by such epithets as the "Man Without Fear" and the "Devil of Hell's Kitchen".Daredevil's origins stem from a childhood accident that gave him special abilities. While growing up in the historically gritty or crime-ridden working class Irish-American neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen in New York City, Matt Murdock is blinded by a radioactive substance that falls from a out-of-control truck after he pushes a man out of the path of the oncoming vehicle. While he no longer can see, his exposure to the radiactive material heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human ability, and gives him a "radar sense." His father, a boxer named Jack Murdock, is a single man raising his now blind son. Jack is later killed by gangsters after refusing to throw a fight, leaving Matt an orphan. Some years later, after donning a yellow and dark red costume (which he soon changes to all dark red), Matt seeks out revenge against his father's killers as the superhero Daredevil, fighting against his many enemies, including Bullseye and Kingpin. He also becomes a lawyer after having graduated from Columbia Law School with his best friend and roommate, Franklin "Foggy" Nelson.
Daredevil has since appeared in various forms of media, including several animated series, video games and merchandise. The character was first portrayed in live action by Rex Smith in the 1989 television movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and then by Ben Affleck in the 2003 film Daredevil. Most recently Daredevil was portrayed by Charlie Cox in the Marvel Television productions Daredevil and The Defenders on Netflix for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Galactus
Galactus () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Formerly a mortal man, Galactus is a cosmic entity who originally consumed planets to sustain his life force, and serves a functional role in the upkeep of the primary Marvel continuity. Galactus was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in the comic book Fantastic Four #48, published in March 1966.
Lee and Kirby wanted to introduce a character that broke away from the archetype of the standard villain. In the character's first appearance, Galactus was depicted as a god-like figure who feeds by draining living planets of their energy, and operates without regard to the morality and judgments of mortal beings. Galactus' initial origin was that of a space explorer named Galan who gained cosmic abilities by passing near a star, but writer Mark Gruenwald further developed the origin of the character, revealing that Galan lived during the previous universe that existed prior to the Big Bang which began the current universe. As Galan's universe came to an end, Galan merged with the "Sentience of the Universe" to become Galactus, an entity that wielded such cosmic power as to require devouring entire planets to sustain his existence. Additional material written by John Byrne, Jim Starlin, and Louise Simonson explored Galactus' role and purpose in the Marvel Universe, and examined the actions of the character through themes of genocide, manifest destiny, ethics, and natural/necessary existence. Frequently accompanied by a herald (such as the Silver Surfer), the character has appeared as both antagonist and protagonist in central and supporting roles. Since debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, Galactus has played a role in over five decades of Marvel continuity.
The character has been featured in other Marvel media, such as arcade games, video games, animated television series, and the 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
In 2009, Galactus ranked 5th on IGN's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Villains", citing the character's "larger than life presence" as making him one of the more important villains ever created. IGN also noted "Galactus is one of the few villains on our list to really defy the definition of an evil-doer" as the character is compelled to destroy worlds because of his hunger.Hela (comics)
Hela () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Asgardian goddess of death is based on the Norse goddess, Hel. The ruler of Hel and Niflheim, the character has been a frequent foe of Thor. Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, Hela first appeared in Journey into Mystery #102 and was adapted from Norse mythology by editor/writer Stan Lee and artist/writer Jack Kirby.
Hela is portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Hulk
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.Jigsaw (Marvel Comics)
Jigsaw (William "Billy" Russo, also known as Billy "The Beaut" Russo before his disfigurement) is a fictional character, gangster, and supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Ross Andru, the character made his first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976). He is depicted as an enemy of the Punisher and Spider-Man.
Jigsaw was portrayed by Dominic West in the 2008 film Punisher: War Zone and Ben Barnes in the Netflix television adaption set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Kingpin (character)
The Kingpin (Wilson Grant Fisk) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (cover-dated July 1967).
The character is portrayed as one of the most feared and powerful crime bosses in the Marvel Universe, typically holding the position of New York City's crime overlord. Initially an adversary of Spider-Man, the character later became the arch-enemy of Daredevil, and a recurring foe of the Punisher. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains Of All Time List ranked the Kingpin as number 10.The Kingpin's signature look is his extraordinarily heavyset appearance, with most of his mass consisting of muscle. He usually wears a white suit jacket and carries a cane, which he tips with diamonds or other hard substances as necessary to aid in physical combat. The name "Kingpin" is a reference to the title of crimelord in Mafia slang nomenclature.
Wilson Fisk has been portrayed in animation, film, and television by John Rhys-Davies, Michael Clarke Duncan, Vincent D'Onofrio, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Liev Schreiber.List of films based on Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics is a publisher of American comic books and related media. It counts among its characters such well-known superheroes as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Wolverine, Daredevil and Deadpool, and such teams as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of Marvel's fictional characters are depicted as occupying a shared fictional universe, most locations mirroring real-life places. Many major characters are based in New York City.Film adaptations based on Marvel Comics properties have included theatrically released film serials, live action and animated feature films, direct-to-video releases, and television films.Mutant (Marvel Comics)
In American comic books published by Marvel Comics, a mutant is a human being that possesses a genetic trait called the X-gene. It causes the mutant to develop superhuman powers that manifest at puberty. Human mutants are sometimes referred to as a human subspecies Homo sapiens superior, or simply Homo superior. Mutants are the evolutionary progeny of Homo sapiens, and are generally assumed to be the next stage in human evolution. The accuracy of this is the subject of much debate in the Marvel Universe.
Unlike Marvel's mutates, which are characters who develop their powers only after exposure to outside stimuli or energies (such as the Hulk, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and Absorbing Man), mutants have actual genetic mutations.Storm (Marvel Comics)
Storm is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, first appearing in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). Cockrum's original concept for a character with the power of weather control was of a male. This changed after he realized that multiple females with cat-related abilities, his first idea for a black female hero, had been created and were in development. Descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses, Storm is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans born with superhuman abilities known as mutants. She is able to control the weather and atmosphere and is considered to be one of the most powerful mutants on the planet.
Born Ororo Munroe to a tribal princess of Kenya and an American photojournalist father, Storm is raised in Harlem and Cairo. She was made an orphan after her parents were killed in the midst of an Arab–Israeli conflict. An incident at this time also traumatized Munroe, leaving her with claustrophobia that she would struggle with for life. Storm is a member of the X-Men, a group of mutant heroes fighting for peace and equal rights between mutants and humans. Under the tutelage of a master thief an adolescent Munroe became a skilled pickpocket, the means of which she meets through coincidence the powerful mutant Professor X. Professor X later convinces Munroe to join the X-Men and use her abilities for a greater cause and purpose. Possessing natural leadership skills and formidable powers of her own, Storm has led the X-Men at times and has been a member of teams such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four as well.
Created during the Bronze Age of Comic Books, Storm is the first major female character of African descent in comics. She is regarded by some as being Marvel Comics' most important female superhero, having drawn favorable comparison to DC Comics' most famous female lead Wonder Woman. When Marvel and DC Comics published a DC vs. Marvel miniseries in 1996, Storm was pitted against Wonder Woman in a one-on-one battle and emerged victorious due to winning a popular vote amongst readers. Storm is also part of one of the higher profile romantic relationships in all of comics. Having married childhood sweetheart and fellow superhero Black Panther, ruler of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Munroe was made queen consort through marriage. The title was lost however when the two later divorced.
Storm is one of the more prominent characters in the X-Men series, having appeared in various forms of media relating to the franchise, including animation, television, video games, and a series of films. The character was first portrayed in live-action by Halle Berry in 2000 film X-Men, and by Alexandra Shipp in the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse. In 2011, she was ranked 42nd overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.Symbiote (comics)
The Symbiotes (colloquial: Klyntar) are a fictional species of organic, amorphous, multicellular, extraterrestrial symbiotes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Klyntar bond with their hosts, creating a symbiotic bond through which a single entity is created. They also are able to slightly alter their hosts' personalities, by influencing their darkest desires and wants, along with amplifying their physical and emotional traits and personality, granting them super-human abilities.
The symbiotes have also appeared in other media. The Venom symbiote appears in Spider-Man 3 and Venom, along with other symbiotes. All-Black the Necrosword also appears in Thor Ragnarok, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Thanos
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.Thor (Marvel Comics)
Thor is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, which is based on the Norse deity of the same name, is the Asgardian god of thunder who possesses the enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, which grants him the ability to fly and manipulate weather amongst his other superhuman attributes.
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller-plotter Jack Kirby. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and is a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each volume of that series. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, movies, video games, clothing, toys and trading cards.
The character was first portrayed in live action by Eric Allan Kramer in the 1988 television movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor Odinson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and will reprise his role in Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Additionally, archival footage of Hemsworth as Thor was used in the episodes "Pilot" and "The Well" of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Thor placed 14th on IGN's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" in 2011, and first in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.Venom (Marvel Comics character)
Venom is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Spider-Man. The character is a sentient alien Symbiote with an amorphous, liquid-like form, who survives by bonding with a host, usually human. This dual-life form receives enhanced powers and usually refers to itself as "Venom". The Symbiote was originally introduced as a living alien costume in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984), with a full first appearance as Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988).
The Venom Symbiote's first human host was Spider-Man, who eventually discovered its true nefarious nature and separated himself from the creature in The Amazing Spider-Man #258 (November 1984) — with a brief rejoining five months later in Web of Spider-Man #1. The Symbiote went on to merge with other hosts, most notably Eddie Brock, its second and most infamous host, with whom it first became Venom and one of Spider-Man's archenemies.Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares." Venom was ranked as the 22nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time in IGN's list of the top 100 comic villains. IGN also ranked Mac Gargan's incarnation of Venom as #17 in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers", while the Flash Thompson incarnation was ranked as #27. The character was listed as #33 on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters.Vision (Marvel Comics)
The Vision is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is an android and a member of the Avengers who first appeared in The Avengers #57 (October 1968). The character is portrayed by Paul Bettany in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron, the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, and the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War. He is loosely based on the Timely Comics character of the same name.Wolverine (character)
Wolverine (birth name: James Howlett; colloquial: Logan, Weapon X) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, mostly in association with the X-Men. He is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, powerful regenerative ability known as a healing factor, and three retractable claws in each hand. Wolverine has been depicted variously as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, and the Avengers.
The character appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 before having a larger role in #181 (cover-dated Nov. 1974). He was created by Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, writer Len Wein, and Marvel art director John Romita Sr. Romita designed the character, although it was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine then joined a revamped version of the superhero team the X-Men, where eventually writer Chris Claremont and artist-writer John Byrne would play significant roles in the character's development. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982, which debuted Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice."
Wolverine is typical of the many tough antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book antiheroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became a fan favorite of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise, and has been featured in his own solo comic book series since 1988.
He has appeared in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman in nine of the ten films. The character is highly rated in many comics best-of lists, ranked #1 in Wizard magazine's 2008 Top 200 Comic Book Characters; 4th in Empire's 2008 Greatest Comic Characters; and 4th on IGN's 2011 Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.