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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 The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company. Marvel was started in 1939 by Martin Goodman under a number of corporations and imprints but now known as Timely Comics, and by 1951 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
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 cr ...
, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others. The Marvel brand, which had been used over the years, was solidified as the company's primary brand. Marvel counts among its characters such well-known
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting the public, and fighting cr ...

superhero
es as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Wolverine, Hank Pym, Ant-Man, the Wasp (Marvel Comics), Wasp, Black Widow (Marvel Comics), Black Widow, Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics), Captain Marvel, Black Panther (comics), Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision (Marvel Comics), Vision, Ghost Rider, Blade (comics), Blade, Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil, the Punisher and Deadpool. List of Marvel Comics teams and organizations, Superhero teams exist such as the Avengers (comics), Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 team), Guardians of the Galaxy as well as supervillains including Doctor Doom, Magneto (Marvel Comics), Magneto, Thanos, Loki (comics), Loki, Green Goblin, Kingpin (character), Kingpin, Red Skull, Ultron, the Mandarin (character), Mandarin, MODOK, Doctor Octopus, Kang the Conqueror, Kang, Dormammu, Venom (Marvel Comics character), Venom and Galactus. 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. Additionally, Marvel has published several licensed properties from other companies. This includes ''Star Wars'' comics twice from 1977 to 1986 and again since 2015.


History


Timely Publications

Pulp-magazine publisher Martin Goodman created the company later known as Marvel Comics under the name Timely Publications in 1939.Postal indicia in issue, pe
''Marvel Comics'' #1 [1st printing] (October 1939)
at the Grand Comics Database: "Vol.1, No.1, MARVEL COMICS, Oct, 1939 Published monthly by Timely Publications, ... Art and editorial by Funnies Incorporated..."
Per statement of ownership, dated October 2, 1939, published in ''Marvel Mystery Comics'' #4 (Feb. 1940), p. 40; reprinted in ''Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics'' Volume 1 (Marvel Comics, 2004, ), p. 239 Goodman, who had started with a Western fiction, 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 editing, editor, managing editor, and business manager, with Abraham Goodman (Martin's brother) officially listed as publisher. Timely's first publication, ''Marvel Mystery Comics, Marvel Comics'' #1 (cover dated Oct. 1939), included the first appearance of Carl Burgos' Android (robot), android
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting the public, and fighting cr ...

superhero
the Human Torch (android), Human Torch, and the first appearances of Bill Everett's anti-hero Namor, 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.Per researcher Keif Fromm, ''Alter Ego (magazine), Alter Ego'' #49, p. 4 (caption), ''Marvel Comics'' #1, cover-dated October 1939, quickly sold out 80,000 copies, prompting Goodman to produce a second printing, cover-dated November 1939. The latter appears identical except for a black bar over the October date in the inside front-cover indicia (publishing), indicia, and the November date added at the end. That sold approximately 800,000 copies—a large figure in the market of that time. Also per Fromm, the first issue of ''Captain America Comics'' sold nearly one million 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 Retroactive continuity, retcon appearances and flashbacks—include the Whizzer (Robert Frank), Whizzer, Miss America (Madeline Joyce), Miss America, the Destroyer (Keen Marlow), Destroyer, the original Vision (Timely Comics), Vision, and the Angel (Thomas Halloway), 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, funny-animal comics featuring characters like Super Rabbit and the duo Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal. Goodman hired his wife's 16-year-old 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 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 cr ...
"—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 corporation, 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.


Atlas Comics

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 fiction, horror, Westerns, humor, funny animal, men's adventure-drama, giant monster, crime fiction, crime, and war comics, and later adding jungle books, Romance comics in the United States (1946–1975), romance titles, spy fiction, 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.Marvel : Atlas [wireframe globe
/nowiki> (Brand)] at the Grand Comics Database
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 fashion, popular trends in television and movies—Western fiction, Westerns and war dramas prevailing for a time, Drive-in theater, drive-in movie monsters another time—and even other comic books, particularly the Entertaining Comics, EC horror (genre), 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 (comics), 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 Namor, Sub-Mariner (drawn and most stories written by Bill Everett), and Captain America (writer
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 cr ...
, 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.


Marvel Comics

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 (Barry Allen), Flash, Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, Bruce Wayne, Batman, Clark Kent, Superman, Diana Prince, Wonder Woman, Oliver Queen, Green Arrow and other members of the team the Justice League, Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit. In 1961, writer-editor
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 cr ...
revolutionized
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting the public, and fighting cr ...

superhero
comics by introducing superheroes designed to appeal to older readers than the predominantly child audiences of the medium, thus ushering what Marvel later called the Marvel Age of Comics. Modern Marvel's first superhero team, the titular stars of ''Fantastic Four (comic book), 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. Stan 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 Thing (comics), the Thing. This naturalism (literature), naturalistic approach even extended into topical politics. Comics historian Mike Benton also noted: All these elements struck a chord with the older readers, including college-aged adults. In 1965, Spider-Man and the Hulk were both featured in ''Esquire (magazine), 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, Henry Pym, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil, the Inhumans, Black Panther (comics), Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics), Captain Marvel and the Silver Surfer, and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Magneto (Marvel Comics), Magneto, Galactus, Loki (comics), 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. Marvel even lampooned itself and other comics companies in a parody comic, ''Not Brand Echh'' (a play on Marvel's dubbing of other companies as "Brand Echh", à la the then-common phrase "Brand X").


Cadence Industries ownership

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 Cadence Industries, 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, Curtis Circulation Company. In 1971, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare approached Marvel Comics editor-in-chief
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 cr ...
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.Lee, Mair, p. 5. 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 (genre), horror (''The Tomb of Dracula''), martial arts (''Master of Kung Fu (comics), Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu''), sword-and-sorcery (''Conan (Marvel Comics), Conan the Barbarian'' in 1970, ''Red Sonja''), satire (''Howard the Duck'') and science fiction (''2001: A Space Odyssey (comics), 2001: A Space Odyssey'', "Killraven" in ''Amazing Adventures'', ''Battlestar Galactica (comics), Battlestar Galactica'', ''Star Trek (comics), Star Trek'', and, late in the decade, the long-running ''Star Wars (1977 comic book), 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 Atlas/Seaboard Comics, Seaboard Periodicals in 1974, reviving Marvel's old Atlas name for a new Atlas/Seaboard Comics, 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#In other media, 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 (comic strip), The Amazing Spider-Man'', ''Howard the Duck'', ''Conan the Barbarian (comics), Conan the Barbarian'', and ''The Incredible Hulk (comic strip), 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 (comics), John Byrne's run on the ''Uncanny X-Men'' and Frank Miller (comics), Frank Miller's run on ''Daredevil (Marvel Comics series), 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 ownership, creator-owned material in 1982; introduced company-wide crossover story arcs with ''Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions, 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.


Marvel Entertainment Group ownership

In 1986, Marvel's parent, Marvel Entertainment Group, was sold to New World Communications, 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 Marvel 2099, 2099 line of comics set in the future (''Spider-Man 2099'', etc.) and the creatively daring though commercially unsuccessful Razorline imprint of
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting the public, and fighting cr ...

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, Marvel Swimsuit Special, 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 ''Peter Parker: Spider-Man, 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 (1969 team), 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 (Marvel Comics), multiverse and ownership of the Protectors (comics), Genesis Universe. In late 1994, Marvel acquired the comic book distributor Heroes World Distribution to use as its own exclusive distributor.Duin, Steve and Mike Richardson (publisher), Richardson, Mike (ed.s) "Capital City" in ''Comics Between the Panels'' (Dark Horse Comics, Dark Horse Publishing, 1998) , p. 69 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, Title 11, United States Code, 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''.Duin, Steve and Mike Richardson (publisher), Richardson, Mike (ed.s) "Diamond Comic Distributors" in ''Comics Between the Panels'' (Dark Horse Comics, Dark Horse Publishing, 1998) , p. 125-126 In 1996, Marvel had some of its titles participate in "Heroes Reborn (comics), Heroes Reborn", a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters such as the Avengers (comics), Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and Outsourcing, 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.


Marvel Enterprises

In 1997, Toy Biz bought Marvel Entertainment Group to end the bankruptcy, forming a new corporation, Marvel Entertainment, 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 quality. The imprint was helmed by soon-to-become editor-in-chief Joe Quesada; it featured tough, gritty stories showcasing such characters as the Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil,McMillan, Graeme. Page 10
"Leaving an Imprint: 10 Defunct MARVEL Publishing Lines"
. ''Newsarama'' (January 10, 2013).
Inhumans and Black Panther (comics), 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 Imprint (trade name), imprints, such as MAX (comics), MAX (an explicit-content line) and Marvel Adventures (developed for child audiences). In addition, the company created an Multiverse, alternate universe imprint, Ultimate Marvel, that allowed the company to reboot (continuity), 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 (franchise), Men in Black'' movie series, starting in 1997, ''Blade (film), Blade'' movie series, starting in 1998, ''X-Men (film), X-Men'' movie series, starting in 2000, and the highest grossing series ''Spider-Man (2002 film), 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 late 2007 the company launched Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, a digital archive of over 2,500 back issues available for viewing, for a monthly or annual subscription fee. At the December 2007 the NY Anime Fest, the company announcement that Del Rey Manga would published two original English language Marvel manga books featuring the X-Men and Wolverine to hit the stands in spring 2009. 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.


Disney conglomerate unit (2009–present)

On August 31, 2009,
The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
announced it would acquire Marvel Comics' parent corporation, Marvel Entertainment, for a cash and stock deal worth approximately $4 billion, which if necessary would be adjusted at closing, giving Marvel shareholders $30 and 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they owned. 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 Comic Distributors, Diamond Book Distributors to Hachette Distribution Services. Marvel moved its office to the Sports Illustrated Building in October 2010. Marvel relaunched the CrossGen imprint, owned by Disney Publishing Worldwide, in March 2011. Marvel and Disney Publishing began jointly publishing ''Disney/Pixar Presents'' magazine that May. Marvel discontinued its Marvel Adventures imprint in March 2012, and replaced them with a line of two titles connected to the Marvel Universe (TV), Marvel Universe TV block. Also in March, Marvel announced its Marvel ReEvolution initiative that included Infinite Comics, a line of digital comics, Marvel AR, a software application software, application 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 American Broadcasting Company, ABC, a ''Once Upon a Time (TV series)#Graphic novel, 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, ''Star Wars'' comics would once again be published by Marvel. Following the events of the company-wide crossover "Secret Wars (2015 comic book), Secret Wars" in 2015, a relaunched Marvel universe began in September 2015, called the All-New, All-Different Marvel. Marvel Legacy was the company's Fall 2017 relaunch banner starting in September. The banner had comics with Lenticular printing, 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 Lone Star Comics, MyComicShop.com and at least 70 other comic book stores were boycotting these variant covers. Despite the release of ''Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'', ''Logan (film), Logan'', ''Thor: Ragnarok'' and ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' in theaters, none of those characters' titles featured in the top 10 sales and the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series was cancelled. Conan Properties International announced on January 12, 2018 that Conan would return to Marvel in early 2019. On March 1, 2019, Serial Box, a digital book platform, announced a partnership with Marvel. They will publish new and original stories that will be tied to a number of Marvel's popular franchises. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, from March to May 2020, Marvel and its distributor Diamond Comic Distributors stopped producing and releasing new comic books. On March 25, 2021, Marvel Comics announced they plan to shift their direct market distribution for monthly comics and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors to Penguin Random House. The change is schedule to start on October 1, 2021 in a multi-year partnership. Marvel will still be giving stores the options to order comics from Diamond, but Diamond will be acting as a wholesaler rather than distributor.


Officers

* Michael Z. Hobson, executive vice president; Marvel Comics Group vice-president (1986) *
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 cr ...
, Chairman and Publisher (1986) * Joseph Calamari, executive vice president (1986) * Jim Shooter, vice president and Editor-in-Chief (1986)


Publishers

* Abraham Goodman, 1939 * Martin Goodman, 1939–1972 * Charles "Chip" Goodman 1972 *
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 cr ...
, 1972 – October 1996 * Shirrel Rhoades, October 1996 – October 1998 * Winston Fowlkes, February 1998 – November 1999 * Bill Jemas, February 2000 – 2003 * Dan Buckley, 2003–—January 2017 * John Nee, January 2018—present


Editors-in-chief

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: Marvel reinstated the overall editor-in-chief position in 1995 with Bob Harras. ;Editor * Martin Goodman (1939–1940; titular only) * Joe Simon (1939–1941) *
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 cr ...
(1941–1942) * Vincent Fago (acting editor during Lee's military service) (1942–1945) * Stan Lee (1945–1972) * Roy Thomas (1972–1974) * Len Wein (1974–1975) * Marv Wolfman (black-and-white magazines 1974–1975, entire line 1975–1976) * Gerry Conway (1976) * Archie Goodwin (comics), Archie Goodwin (1976–1978) ;Editor-in-chief * Jim Shooter (1978–1987) * Tom DeFalco (1987–1994) * ''No overall''; separate group editors-in-chief (1994–1995) ** Mark Gruenwald, Universe (Avengers (comics), Avengers & Cosmic entity (Marvel Comics), Cosmic) ** Bob Harras, X-Men, Mutant ** Bob Budiansky, Spider-Man ** Bobbie Chase, Marvel Edge ** Carl Potts, Epic Comics & general entertainment * Bob Harras (1995–2000) * Joe Quesada (2000–2011) * Axel Alonso (2011–2017) * C. B. Cebulski (2017–present)


Executive Editors

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. ;Associate Editor * Jim Shooter, January 5, 1976 – January 2, 1978 ;Executive Editor * Tom DeFalco, 1987 * Mark Gruenwald, 1987–1994, senior editor: 1995–1996 * Carl Potts, in charge of Epic Comics 1989–1994, 1995–1996 * Bob Budiansky, early '90s – 1994 * Bobbie Chase, 1995–2001 * Tom Brevoort, 2007–2011 * Axel Alonso, 2010 – January 2011


Ownership

* Martin Goodman (1939–1968) ;Parent corporation * Magazine Management, Magazine Management Co. (1968–1973) * Cadence Industries (1973–1986) * Marvel Entertainment Group (1986–1998) * Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Enterprises **Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (1998–2005) ** Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment, Inc (2005–2009) ** Marvel Entertainment, LLC (2009–present, a wholly owned subsidiary of
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)


Offices

Located in New York City, Marvel has had successive headquarters: * in the 330 West 42nd Street, McGraw-Hill Building, where it originated as Timely Comics in 1939 * in suite 1401 of the Empire State BuildingSanderson, Peter
''The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City''
, (Pocket Books, 2007) p. 59.
* at 635 Madison Avenue (Manhattan), Madison Avenue (the actual location, though the comic books' Indicia (publishing), indicia listed the parent publishing-company's address of 625 Madison Ave.) * 575 Madison Avenue; * 387 Park Avenue South * 10 East 40th Street * 417 Fifth Avenue (Manhattan), Fifth Avenue * a space in the Sports Illustrated Building at 135 W. 50th Street (October 2010—present)


Productions


TV

Animated


Market share

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 in other media

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.


Games

In June 1993, Marvel issued its collectable caps for Milk caps (game), 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.


Collectible card games

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: * Marvel Superstars (2010–?) Upper Deck Company * ReCharge Collectible Card Game (2001–? ) Marvel * Vs. System (2004–2009, 2014–) Upper Deck Company * X-Men Trading Card Game (2000–?) Wizards of the Coast * Marvel Champions: The Card Game (2019—present) Fantasy Flight Games, a Fantasy Flight Games#Living Card Games, Living Card Game


Miniatures

* Marvel Crisis Protocol (Fall 2019—) Asmodee, Atomic Mass Games * HeroClix, WizKids


Role-playing

TSR, Inc., TSR published the pen-and-paper role-playing game Marvel Super Heroes (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

Video games based on Marvel characters go back to 1984 and the Atari game, ''Spider-Man (Atari 2600 video game), Spider-Man''. Since then several dozen video games have been released and all have been produces 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.


Films

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. As of May 2019 the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has grossed over $22 billion.


Live shows

* ''The Marvel Experience'' (2014–) * ''Marvel Universe Live!'' (2014–) live arena show * ''Spider-Man Live!'' (2002–2003) * ''Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark'' (2011–2014) a Broadway musical


Prose novels

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 (author), 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 (trade name), 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 Publishing Worldwide, Disney Books Group relaunched Marvel Press in 2011 with the Marvel Origin Storybooks line.


Television programs

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.


Theme parks

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 Iron Man Experience, Marvel attraction. Due to the licensing agreement with Universal Studios, signed prior to Disney's purchase of Marvel, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort 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 (film), Guardians of the Galaxy''.


Imprints

* Marvel Comics * Marvel Press, joint imprint with Disney Publishing Worldwide, Disney Books Group * Icon Comics (creator owned) * Infinite Comics * Timely Comics


Disney Kingdoms

Marvel Comics, Marvel Worldwide with Disney announced in October 2013 that in January 2014 it would release its first comic book title under their joint Disney Kingdoms imprint ''Seekers of the Weird'', a five-issue miniseries inspired by a never built Disneyland attraction Museum of the Weird. Marvel's Disney Kingdoms imprint has since released comic adaptations of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, two series on ''Figment'' based on Journey Into Imagination.


Defunct

* Amalgam Comics * CrossGen * Curtis Magazines/Marvel Magazine Group ** Marvel Monsters Group * Epic Comics (creator owned) (1982–2004) * Malibu Comics (1994–1997) * Marvel 2099 (1992–1998) * Marvel Absurd * Marvel Adventures, Marvel Age/Adventures * Marvel Books * Marvel Edge * Marvel Knights * Marvel Illustrated * Marvel Mangaverse * Marvel Music * Marvel Next * Marvel Noir * Marvel UK ** Marvel Frontier * Max (comics), MAX * Marvel Comics 2, MC2 * New Universe * Paramount Comics (co-owned with Viacom (2005–present), Viacom's Paramount Pictures) * Razorline * Star Comics * Tsunami (Marvel Comics), Tsunami * Ultimate Marvel, Ultimate Comics


See more

* List of comics characters which originated in other media * List of magazines released by Marvel Comics in the 1970s


Notes


References


Further reading

* * * * *


External links

* * * .
Complete Marvel Reading Order from Travis Starnes
{{Authority control Marvel Comics, Comic book publishing companies of the United States Comics publications Marvel Entertainment Mass media companies based in New York City Publishing companies based in New York City American companies established in 1939 Publishing companies established in 1939 1939 establishments in New York (state) Companies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996 The Walt Disney Company subsidiaries Articles which contain graphical timelines American culture