Marvel Comics Biography and Art Gallery Collection

Collection: Marvel Comics Biography and Art Gallery Collection

First known as Timely Publications in 1939, then Atlas Comics in the 1950's, the comic book empire known as Marvel Comics came into being in 1961 with the launch of the first "Fantastic Four". With the help of creative geniuses Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel produced 831 comic books, each with at least one new superhero, during the 1960's. Known for focusing on characterization and placing heroes in a real-world context, Marvel's popularity with comic book readers continued to rise through the decades. Soon, Marvel was sporting a veritable pantheon of pop culture icons, including Spider Man, Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Captain America. The first modern comic books under the Marvel Comics brand was the Science Fiction anthology Journey into Mystery and the teen-humor title Patsy Walker (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 1950's and early 1960's, particularly with the Flash, Green Lantern and other members of the team the Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit.The introduction of modern Marvel's first superhero team, in The Fantastic Four, in November, 1961, began establishing the company's reputation which eventually ushered The Marvel Comics Age Of Comics in the 1960's. The majority of its superhero titles were written by Editor in Chief, Stan Lee, who restored the original adult sensibility and appeal of the superhero genre from its late 1930's roots back into the market. The company still continued to publish a smattering of Western Comics such as Rawhide Kid, Humor comics such as Millie the Model, and added the War comic Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos to its lineup.

Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee and freelance artist Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four, reminiscent of the non-super powered adventuring quartet the Challengers of the Unknown that Kirby had created for DC in 1957, originated in the Cold War culture that led their creators to revise the superhero conventions of previous eras to better reflect the psychological spirit of their age. Reviving such comic book standards 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 began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and antiheroes as the Hulk, Spider Man, Ant Man, Iron Man, the X Men, Daredevil and the Silver Surfer and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Galactus, Magneto, 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. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko generated the most successful new series in The Amazing Spider Man.

Marvel Comics launched 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. Marvel Comics suffered a blow in early 1992, when seven of its most prized artists: Todd MacFarlane (known for his work on Spider Man), Jim Lee (X Men), Rob Liefeld (X Force), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Larsen (The Amazing Spider Man), and Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), left to form Image Comics. Marvel Comics eventually added films to its entertainment arsenal, and has been behind some of the top-grossing films of the 21st century, including the "X-Men", "Spider Man", and "Iron Man" franchises.

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