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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 just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It ...
acquired
Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC (formerly Marvel Enterprises) is an American entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an ...
, Marvel Worldwide's parent company. Marvel was started in 1939 by Martin Goodman as
Timely Comics Timely Comics is the common name for the group of corporations that was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman (publisher), Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics. "Timely Publ ...
, and by 1951 had generally become known as
Atlas ComicsAtlas Comics may refer to * Atlas Comics (1950s) Atlas Comics is the 1950s comic-book publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Tra ...
. The Marvel era began in 1961, the year that the company launched ''
The Fantastic Four The Fantastic Four are a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They debuted in ''The Fantastic Four (comic book), The Fantastic Four'' #1 (cover dated Nov. 1961), helping usher in a new level of re ...

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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
,
Jack Kirby Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comics artist, comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium's major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential ...
,
Steve Ditko Stephen J. Ditko Page contains two reproductions from school yearbooks. A 1943 Garfield Junior High School yearbook excerpt lists "Stephen Ditko". A 1945 Johnstown High School yearbook excerpt lists "Stephen J. Ditko" under extracurricular activit ...
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 that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fighting . is the genre of that is cent ...

superhero
es as
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
,
Iron Man Iron Man is a 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 ...
,
Captain America Captain America is a 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 pr ...

Captain America
, the
Hulk The Hulk is a fictional 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 ...

Hulk
,
Thor In Germanic mythology Germanic mythology consists of the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myth ...
,
Wolverine The wolverine () (also spelled wolverene), ''Gulo gulo'' (''Gulo'' is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aro ...
,
Ant-Man Ant-Man is the name of several superheroes appearing in books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Ant-Man's first appearance was in ''Tales to Astonish'' #35 (September 1962). The persona was originally t ...
, the
Wasp A wasp is any insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known a ...
, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel,
Black Panther A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of the leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic ...
,
Doctor Strange Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics ...
, the
Scarlet Witch The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, Play (theatre), play, television series, film, or video game ...
, Quicksilver,
She-Hulk She-Hulk (Jennifer Susan Walters) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist John Buscema, she first appeared in ''The Savage She-Hulk'' #1 (cover-dated February 19 ...

She-Hulk
, the
Vision Vision or The Vision may refer to: Perception Optical perception * Visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color visio ...
, the
Falcon Falcons () are birds of prey Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have Bird vision, keen eyesight for detecting foo ...
, the Winter Soldier,
Ghost Rider Ghost Rider is the name of many antihero An antihero (sometimes spelled as anti-hero) or antiheroine is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism In philosophy Phil ...

Ghost Rider
,
Blade A blade is the portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with an edge that is designed to wikt:puncture, puncture, wikt:chop, chop, Cutting, slice or scraper (archaeology), scrape surfaces or materials. Blades are typically made from materials that a ...
,
Daredevil Daredevil may refer to: * A stunt performer Arts and media Comics * Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications) Daredevil is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordin ...
,
Luke Cage Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Ma ...
,
Iron Fist Iron Fist may refer to: Military * Iron Fist (exercise), an Indian Air Force exercise held in 2013 and 2016 * Iron Fist (countermeasure), an Israeli counter-weapon system * 20th Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom) or The Iron Fist, a British Army ar ...
,
Ms. Marvel Ms. Marvel is the name of several fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictiona ...
,
Miles Morales Miles Gonzalo MoralesAhmed, Saladin (w), Garrón, Javier (a). ''Miles Morales: Spider-Man'' #1 (2018) Marvel Comics (New York). () is a fictional character, fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher Marve ...
, the
Punisher The Punisher (Francis "Frank" Castle, born Castiglione) is a Antihero, fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru. ...
,
Shang-Chi Shang-Chi, also known as the Master of Kung Fu and Brother Hand, is a fictional 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 he ...
and
Deadpool Deadpool is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publis ...
. Superhero teams exist such as the
Avengers Avenger, Avengers, The Avenger, or The Avengers may refer to: In the Marvel Comics universe * Avengers (comics) The Avengers are a fictional team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team made it ...
, the
X-Men The X-Men are a fictional team of superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In Ame ...
, the
Fantastic Four The Fantastic Four are a fictional 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 dedi ...

Fantastic Four
and the
Guardians of the Galaxy The Guardians of the Galaxy is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel C ...
. The Marvel universe also features well-known
supervillain A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In American English, th ...
s including
Doctor Doom Doctor Victor Von Doom is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic book, American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, the character made his debut in ''Fantastic ...

Doctor Doom
,
Magneto A magneto is an electrical generator In electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage ...
,
Thanos Thanos is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He was created by writer-artist Jim Starlin, and made his first appearance in ''Iron Man (comic book), The Invincible Iron Man'' #55 (cover date February 197 ...

Thanos
,
Loki Loki (, often Anglicized as ) is a Æsir, god in Norse mythology. According to some sources, Loki is the son of Fárbauti (a jötunn) and Laufey (mentioned as a goddess), and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. Loki is married to Sigyn and ...
,
Green Goblin The Green Goblin is the alias of several supervillains A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character that is commonly found in American comic books, usually possessing superhuman abilities. A supervillain ...

Green Goblin
, Kingpin,
Red Skull The Red Skull (german: Roter Schädel) is an alias used by several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, primarily Johann Schmidt. The first Red Skull appeared in ''Captain America Comics'' #1 (March 19 ...
,
Ultron Ultron () is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a self-aware and highly intelligent robot (sometimes referred to as a "synthezoid") created by Hank Pym who developed a grudge against Pym a ...
, the
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
,
MODOK MODOK (also written as M.O.D.O.K.; an acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, p ...
,
Doctor Octopus Doctor Octopus (Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius), also known as Doc Ock for short, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a highly intelligent, Near-sightedness, myopic, and somewhat stocky mad scie ...
, Kang,
Dormammu Dormammu () is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, Play (theatre), play, television series, film, or video game). The character may be e ...
,
Venom Venom is a type of poison In , poisons are that can cause , injury or harm to , , , and usually by chemical reactions or other on the scales, when an organism is exposed to a sufficient quantity. In a metaphorical broader use of term it ...
and
Galactus Galactus () is a fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communication), medium, consisting of people, events, or places that are imagination, imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.William Harmo ...
. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the
Marvel Universe The Marvel Universe is a fictional universe where the stories in most American comic book titles and other media published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publi ...
, with most locations mirroring real-life places; many major characters are based in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the major city in the United States. Located at the s ...

New York City
. Additionally, Marvel has published several licensed properties from other companies. This includes ''
Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is an American epic Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also re ...

Star Wars
'' comics twice from 1977 to 1986 and again since 2015.


History


Timely Publications

Pulp-magazine Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. The term "pulp" derives from the cheap Pulp (paper), wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In con ...
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 The Grand Comics Database (GCD) is an Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks ...
: "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 ''Marvel Mystery Comics'' (first issue titled simply ''Marvel Comics'') is an American comic book series published during the 1930s–1940s period known to fans and historians as the Golden Age of Comic Books. It was the first publication of Marve ...
'' #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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
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 Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosoph ...

editor
,
managing editor A managing editor (ME) is a senior member of a publication To publish is to make content available to the general public.The Seattle Times">The Seattle Daily Times—Editorial Department". Editing is the process of selecting and preparing w .. ...
, and
business manager Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a busi ...
, with Abraham Goodman (Martin's brother) officially listed as publisher. Timely's first publication, ''
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel En ...
'' #1 (
cover date The cover date of a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is ...
d Oct. 1939), included the first appearance of
Carl Burgos Carl Burgos (; born Max Finkelstein ; April 18, 1916 – March 1, 1984) Note: Gives only month and year of death. was an United States of America, American comic book and advertising artist best known for creating the Human Torch (android), origin ...
'
android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fighting . is the genre of that is cent ...

superhero
the
Human Torch The Human Torch (Jonathan "Johnny" Storm) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is a founding member of the Fantastic Four. He is writer Stan Lee's and artist Jack Kirby's reinventio ...
, and the first appearances of
Bill Everett William Blake Everett (; May 18, 1917 – February 27, 1973) was an American comic book writer-artist best known for creating Namor the Sub-Mariner as well as co-creating Zombie (comics), Zombie and Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil ...
's
anti-hero An antihero (sometimes spelled as anti-hero) or antiheroine is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and f ...

anti-hero
Namor the Sub-Mariner Namor the Sub-Mariner () (Namor McKenzie) is a character (arts), fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Debuting in early 1939, the character was created by writer-artist Bill Everett for comic book pack ...
, 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 An alter ego (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...
'' #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, 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 Captain America is a 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 pr ...
'' 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 Joseph Henry Simon (born Hymie Simon; October 11, 1913 – December 14, 2011) was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. Simon created or co-created many important characters in the 1930s–1940s Golden Age of Comic Books ...
, teamed with artist
Jack Kirby Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comics artist, comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium's major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential ...
to create one of the first patriotically themed superheroes,
Captain America Captain America is a 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 pr ...

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 Retroactive continuity, or retcon for short, is a literary device in which established diegetic Diegesis (; from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the ...
appearances and flashbacks—include the Whizzer,
Miss America Miss America is an annual competition that is open to women from the United States between the ages of 17 and 25. Originating in 1921 as a "bathing beauty revue", the contest is now judged on competitors' talent performances and interviews. As o ...
, the
Destroyer In navy, naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a Naval fleet, fleet, convoy or Carrier battle group, battle group and defend them against powerful short range attacke ...
, the original
Vision Vision or The Vision may refer to: Perception Optical perception * Visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color visio ...
, and the
Angel An angel is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel An angel is a supernatural ...
. Timely also published one of humor cartoonist
Basil Wolverton Basil Wolverton (July 9, 1909 – December 31, 1978)
at the
's best-known features, "
Powerhouse Pepper Powerhouse Pepper is a character in American humor comic books published in the 1940s by Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics. Created by writer-artist Basil Wolverton, the character was a dim-witted but big-hearted boxer with superhuman st ...
", as well as a line of children's
talking animal A talking animal or speaking animal is any non-human animal that can produce sounds or gestures resembling those of a human language. Several species or groups of animals have developed forms of communication which superficially resemble verbal l ...
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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

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 World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. 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 A shell corporation is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific obje ...
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 Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
,
Westerns Western is a genre of fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communication), medium, consisting of people, events, or places that are imagination, imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.Willi ...
, humor,
talking animal A talking animal or speaking animal is any non-human animal that can produce sounds or gestures resembling those of a human language. Several species or groups of animals have developed forms of communication which superficially resemble verbal l ...
,
men's adventure Men's adventure is a literary genre, genre of magazine that was published in the United States from the 1940s until the early 1970s. Catering to a male audience, these magazines featured pin-up girls and lurid tales of adventure that typically feat ...
-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 William Blake Everett (; May 18, 1917 – February 27, 1973) was an American comic book writer-artist best known for creating Namor the Sub-Mariner as well as co-creating Zombie (comics), Zombie and Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil ...
), and
Captain America Captain America is a 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 pr ...

Captain America
(writer
Stan Lee Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber ; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

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. In 1957 Goodman switched distributors to the American News Company — which shortly afterward lost a United States Department of Justice, Justice Department lawsuit and discontinued its business. Atlas was left without distribution and was forced to turn to Independent News, the distribution arm of its biggest rival, DC Comics, National (DC) Comics, which imposed draconian restrictions on Goodman's company. As then-Atlas editor
Stan Lee Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber ; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
recalled in a 1988 interview, "[We had been] turning out 40, 50, 60 books a month, maybe more, and ... suddenly we went ... to either eight or 12 books a month, which was all Independent News Distributors would accept from us."


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 date The cover date of a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is ...
d 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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
revolutionized
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fighting . is the genre of that is cent ...

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 Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comics artist, comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium's major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential ...
'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 Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
and the Fantastic Four, Marvel began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and antiheroes as the
Hulk The Hulk is a fictional 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 ...

Hulk
,
Thor In Germanic mythology Germanic mythology consists of the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myth ...
, Henry Pym, Ant-Man,
Iron Man Iron Man is a 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
X-Men The X-Men are a fictional team of superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In Ame ...
,
Daredevil Daredevil may refer to: * A stunt performer Arts and media Comics * Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications) Daredevil is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordin ...
, the Inhumans,
Black Panther A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of the leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic ...
,
Doctor Strange Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics ...
, Captain Marvel and the Silver Surfer, and such memorable antagonists as
Doctor Doom Doctor Victor Von Doom is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic book, American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, the character made his debut in ''Fantastic ...

Doctor Doom
,
Magneto A magneto is an electrical generator In electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage ...
,
Galactus Galactus () is a fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communication), medium, consisting of people, events, or places that are imagination, imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.William Harmo ...
,
Loki Loki (, often Anglicized as ) is a Æsir, god in Norse mythology. According to some sources, Loki is the son of Fárbauti (a jötunn) and Laufey (mentioned as a goddess), and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. Loki is married to Sigyn and ...
, the
Green Goblin The Green Goblin is the alias of several supervillains A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character that is commonly found in American comic books, usually possessing superhuman abilities. A supervillain ...

Green Goblin
, and
Doctor Octopus Doctor Octopus (Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius), also known as Doc Ock for short, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a highly intelligent, Near-sightedness, myopic, and somewhat stocky mad scie ...
, all existing in a shared reality known as the
Marvel Universe The Marvel Universe is a fictional universe where the stories in most American comic book titles and other media published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publi ...
, 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"). Originally, the company's publications were branded by a minuscule "Mc" on the upper right-hand corner of the covers. However, artist/writer
Steve Ditko Stephen J. Ditko Page contains two reproductions from school yearbooks. A 1943 Garfield Junior High School yearbook excerpt lists "Stephen Ditko". A 1945 Johnstown High School yearbook excerpt lists "Stephen J. Ditko" under extracurricular activit ...
put a larger masthead picture of the title character of ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' on the upper left-hand corner on issue #2 that included the series' issue number and price. Lee appreciated the value of this visual motif and adapted it for the company's entire publishing line. This branding pattern, being typically either a full-body picture of the characters' solo titles or a collection of the main characters' faces in ensemble titles, would become standard for Marvel for decades.


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, though he remained 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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
to do a comic book story about drug abuse. Lee agreed and wrote a three-part
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

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 The Fantastic Four are a fictional 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 dedi ...

Fantastic Four
panel discussion to announce that
Jack Kirby Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comics artist, comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium's major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential ...
, 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 that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fighting . is the genre of that is cent ...

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 The Marvel Universe is a fictional universe where the stories in most American comic book titles and other media published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publi ...
. 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 The X-Men are a fictional team of superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In Ame ...
''), Rob Liefeld (''X-Force''), Marc Silvestri (''
Wolverine The wolverine () (also spelled wolverene), ''Gulo gulo'' (''Gulo'' is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aro ...
''), 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, on November 3, 1994, Rosenberg sold Malibu to Marvel. In purchasing Malibu, Marvel now owned leading standard for computer coloring of comic books that had been developed by Rosenberg, and also integrated the Ultraverse line of comics and the Protectors (comics), Genesis Universe into Marvel's Multiverse (Marvel Comics), multiverse. 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 (1996 comic), Heroes Reborn", a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters such as the
Avengers Avenger, Avengers, The Avenger, or The Avengers may refer to: In the Marvel Comics universe * Avengers (comics) The Avengers are a fictional team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team made it ...
and the
Fantastic Four The Fantastic Four are a fictional 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 dedi ...

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 Daredevil may refer to: * A stunt performer Arts and media Comics * Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications) Daredevil is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordin ...
,McMillan, Graeme. Page 10
"Leaving an Imprint: 10 Defunct MARVEL Publishing Lines"
. ''Newsarama'' (January 10, 2013).
the Inhumans, and
Black Panther A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of the leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic ...
. 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). The company also 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 the company's properties were adapted into successful film franchises, such as the ''Men in Black (franchise), Men in Black'' movie series (which was based on a Malibu book), starting in 1997, the ''Blade (film), Blade'' movie series, starting in 1998, the ''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 was canceled in 1993 after 275 issues, while the ''Savage Sword of Conan'' magazine had lasted 235 issues. Marvel published additional titles including miniseries until 2000 for a total of 650 issues. Conan was picked up by Dark Horse Comics 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 New York 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 Timely Comics is the common name for the group of corporations that was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman (publisher), Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics. "Timely Publ ...
, by issuing the one-shot ''
Marvel Mystery Comics ''Marvel Mystery Comics'' (first issue titled simply ''Marvel Comics'') is an American comic book series published during the 1930s–1940s period known to fans and historians as the Golden Age of Comic Books. It was the first publication of Marve ...
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 just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It ...
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 bookstore 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 branding, which began that September. Books released as part of that initiative featured Lenticular printing, lenticular variant covers that 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 requiring retailers purchase an excess of copies featuring the regular cover that they would not be able to sell in order to acquire the more sought-after variant. Marvel responded to these complaints by rescinding these ordering requirements on newer series, but maintained it on more long-running titles like ''Invincible Iron Man.'' As a result, Lone Star Comics, MyComicShop.com and at least 70 other comic book stores boycotted 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, in which they would publish new and original stories 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 that they planned to shift their direct market distribution for monthly comics and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors to Penguin Random House. The change was scheduled to start on October 1, 2021, in a multi-year partnership. The arrangement would still allow stores the option to order comics from Diamond, but Diamond would 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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
, 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 A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
, 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 Joseph Henry Simon (born Hymie Simon; October 11, 1913 – December 14, 2011) was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. Simon created or co-created many important characters in the 1930s–1940s Golden Age of Comic Books ...
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 Joseph Henry Simon (born Hymie Simon; October 11, 1913 – December 14, 2011) was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. Simon created or co-created many important characters in the 1930s–1940s Golden Age of Comic Books ...
(1939–1941) *
Stan Lee Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber ; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication ...

Stan Lee
(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 Avenger, Avengers, The Avenger, or The Avengers may refer to: In the Marvel Comics universe * Avengers (comics) The Avengers are a fictional team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team made it ...
& Cosmic entity (Marvel Comics), Cosmic) ** Bob Harras, X-Men, Mutant ** Bob Budiansky,
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

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 Marvel Entertainment, LLC (formerly Marvel Enterprises) is an American entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an ...
, LLC (2009–present, a wholly owned subsidiary of
The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It ...
)


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 Timely Comics is the common name for the group of corporations that was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman (publisher), Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics. "Timely Publ ...
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

* Spider-Man's wedding (live performance), Spider-Man's Wedding (1987) *Spider-Man On Stage (1999) *Spider-Man Stunt Show: A Stunt Spectacular (2002-2004) *''Spider-Man Live!'' (2002–2003) * ''The Marvel Experience'' (2014–) *''Marvel Universe Live!'' (2014–) live arena show * ''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
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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 *
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* Max (comics), MAX


Disney Kingdoms

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 * 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
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