The Marvel Age of Comics

 
 

 

 

 

Marvel silver age comics are some of the most adventurous and epic stories ever published. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were perhaps the greatest writer-artist team in comic book history. For kids and grown ups alike they created a wonderous and strange place known as the Marvel universe. A place where many heroes began as awkward and ordinary people. Yet in their transformation many felt tainted and burdened with their super powers. Some felt as they had become monsters, freaks and outcasts. They were born from the ashes of the Atomic Age and fought more than fascists of the 1940s.. they now fought their own inner demons..

 

As many comic lovers know, this is Grandaddy of all Marvel comics, the 1939 Golden Age treasure which started it all for Marvel. Published by Timely (the company that later became Marvel) it was entitled Marvel Comics #1. It presented the first appearance of both the original Human Torch and Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner.

They would eventually fight along side Captain America beating the crap out of the fascists.


Captain America Comics #1, March 1941.

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby were the hottest team in comics overnight. America was on the verge of entering WW II, and Cap was the perfect icon of patriotism. Another master stroke was Adolf Hitler being slugged by Cap on the cover of the first issue!

These Marvel super hero stories stayed popular throughout the 40s and early 50s. Although their comics disappeared from the newstands in the mid-fifties, being replaced by stories of super powered apocalyptic creatures like Fin Fang Foom and Gormuu. Yet all the Golden Age heros were later revived by Marvel in the early 60s.

The same origin story of the Human Torch was beautifully reinterpreted by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross in Marvel #0, Marvel Comics 1994.

 

But this was the comic that really started the Mighty Marvel Age of Comics, Fantastic Four #1.

THE FANTASTIC FOUR appeared in the Summer of 1961, connecting Marvel's Nuclear Age creature comics of the 1950's within the same universe (or so to speak.) The "Marvel Age of Comics" saw the creation of numerous enduring characters such as Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, the revival of Captain America and the Sub-Mariner, The Avengers, The X-Men, Silver Surfer, and that's only some of the good guys! Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were the major creators of the time.

 

 

 

 

For me, comic book collecting is a slice of pop culture which I have been interested in for more than 25 years. Now as father of two small boys I am collecting the same titles I did when I was a kid.. Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four. I mainly collect comics for the story and art, the characters, and for the connection to comic history. I like the changing narrative threads weaved by writers and artists over the course of time. I buy new and back issues to help fill in some gaps and have found many great deals on eBay.

 

TALES TO ASTONISH #35, appeared in January 1962 and was the second appearance of Dr. Hank Pym as Astonishing Ant-man. The classic TTA #27 story, "The Man in the Ant hill" featured Hank's first appearance and origin, where he shrunk down to ant size and and made a desperate escape. TTA #35 was his return as a crime fighting super hero in a new costume and cybernetic helmet.

Hank Pym went on to become Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket and eventually just Dr. Pym during his stint as a West Coast Avenger. He was the father of Ultron, an artificial intelligence experiment gone awry. His guilt from creating the Ultron was resolved in the recent pages of the The Avengers vol. 3 issue 22. He was actually a founding member of the Avengers along with the Wasp, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk.



Avengers #1 hit the stands in September 1963.


One year earlier, in the summer of 1962, a certain wall crawling costumed hero first appeared in Amazing Fanstasy #15

 

 

 

Hero worship is a deal big for kids, myself included...

When I was a kid my older brother Steve and I mainly just collected Marvel comics, we never were big DC fans. We collected various silver age titles for a number of years and have a large collection of Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spiderman, X-Men, etc.. We grew older, went away to college and stopped buying comics. But now many years later, a parent myself I have returned to my roots and started collecting again.

 

 

Here are some favorites from the Marvel Age of Comics..

 

 

 

 Avenger #4 

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, 1964

"Captain America Lives Again"

Fantastic Four #50

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, 1966

"The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer"

 Captain America #100

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, 1967

"Cap in his Own Mag At Last"

 

I have many favorite comic books artists but there are only a few who can rub elbows with Jack Kirby. For instance, someone like Jim Steranko.

 

 

 Shield #4 

Stan Lee & Jim Steranko, 1968

"Shield Origin Issue"

 Captain America #111

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, 1968

The 2nd of 3 Steranko Cap comics

 

I also was drawn to the tragic figures in the work by Jim Starlin.


Adam Warlock

Warlock first appeared as "Him" in the FF #66-67 storyline. He emerged from his Beehive Cocoon as a scientific experiment and ended up destroying his creators. He scrapped with the Mighty Thor and eventually became a Demi-God on an alternate Earth. The Power of Warlock was revived in the late 70's by Starlin and he ended up being killed off and reanimated several times since. He has become close allies with the Silver Surfer in battling against and along side of Thanos, the mad Titan.

(Warlock has an erie and similar kinship to Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion characters Elric and Hawkmoon.)
The Power Of Adam Warlock : The Soul World

 

Captain Marvel (Mar-vell)

The earlier Captain Marvel was drawn by Gil Kane, but Starlin further developed him in later issues. He was a Kree warrior from another galaxy who was created in the late 60s and fought the enemy Skrulls. He eventually died of cancer in Starlin's "The Death of Captain Marvel" in Marvel first Graphic Novel in 1982. Amazingly this "anti-hero" has actually stayed dead.

Marvel's Captain Marvel

 

Finally, one more tragic figure...


Avengers #57

This was the first appearance of The Vision, the synthezoid Avenger, who was believed to be created from the recycled android body of the original Human Torch of the 1940s. He was programmed with the brain waves of Simon Williams, another a tragic hero, known as Wonderman (who first appeared as a villian in Avengers #9.) The Vision has been a member of Earth's Mightest Heroes since this issue and had been married to Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch (sister of Quicksilver and the daughter of Magneto.) It was later revealed by John Byrne, in the pages of the West Coast Avengers more than 20 years later, that Vision was actually not the Original Human Torch.. or is he? (as eluded to by Kurt Busiek in the recent Avengers Forever)

 

Some cool comics links 

That's about all for now, more updates to follow.

In the meantime check out a few of these sites..

Art Comics

Comic Art & Graffix Gallery Virtual Museum & Encyclopedia© tm

COMICBOOKART.COM, Welcome to..

Comic Sites Alliance

The Highly Unofficial, Unauthorized, Pirate Page of Marvel Comics Images

JACK "KING" KIRBY!

The Jack Kirby Collector

Joe Simon's Authorized Home and Licensing Page

Marvel Online

The Museum of Comic Art

Old Comic Books Main Info Page

Overstreet's FAN Universe

The Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Index

Steranko

A Tribute to Lee and Kirby: Literary Works

Jonah Weiland's Comic Book Resources

WEIRD FUTURE COMIC BOOK LINKS!

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Larry Kless @ 2000

 

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