The history of Marvel superheroes always sends chills down the bones… in that thrilling and mind-boggling, refreshing-gulp-of-cold-soda kind of way. How the comic book and now superhero movie giant started out, and what superheroes paved the golden age to where they are tod— here’s a brief look-back on their genesis.
Let’s Marvel At… Marvel’s History
Okay. That isn’t the most original subtitle there is but we’re geeking out just by reading it. That said, we’ll have you start at the beginning. With Marvel’s beginning, that is. 1939 was the year that aligned all the cosmic comic book stars and gave birth to Timely Comics, the company’s original name.
At the time, it’s competing comic-book-also-giant entered the market in almost the same period.
The first-ever edition of Timely was issued in the same year and it was fiery. We’ll talk about the details later below. Regarding said pioneering issue (ever), the company had to pay staff from Funnies Inc. to help out with the content. However, after that, Timely hired their own to join the team (or should we say Universe?).
Then, the early 1940s came around and legend would soon be etched in stone. This was the time when then editor Joe Simon got a hold of… dun dun dun… Jack Kirby himself. Their work harbored another number 1 hit by 1941 and, as the very apt cliche goes, the rest was history.
Although the comic book industry took a hit in the 1950s, what with the war devastating nations and economies, and plummeting sales, Timely became Atlast, and then finally, Marvel Comics by the 1960s.
The First Superheroes: The Superheroes That Started It All
You’re read about 1939 and how that year was pivotal to Marvel Comic. And it’s because of their first issue, and that issue featured The Human Torch, the first Marvel superhero. His nemesis, the mutant Namor The Submariner.
It was the ultimate yin and yang which propelled the popularity of superheroes-versus-villains. The Human Torch got his powers through a cosmic ray accident. Hence, he was rendered capable of absorbing fire as well as manipulating it. In contrast, Namor The Submariner relied on water for his super strength and reflexes. Plus, the added telekinesis over marine animals.
Afterward, the Simon-Kirby team up produced the initial copy of Captain America. Similar to the plotline in the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, you’ll re-learn about Steve Rogers and how his determination and heart finally convinced Dr. Abraham Erskine’s team that he was willing to be injected with the Super Soldier Serum.
Subsequently, following the dark ages of the comic book industry arose the eventual duo that would be paramount not only to Marvel Comics but to the “superhero” theme on the silver screen. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby developed the story of the Fantastic 4 and countless others after.
Fantastic 4 had a unique story compared to others, in that Lee and Kirby decided to make the superheroes relatable. Real situations and real problems, plus the eventual villain they had to defeat.
This fresh theme proved a success, and still is the basis of superhero stories in terms of writing flow and build. Today, Marvel’s legacy lives on.