Most people have seen a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie or, at least, have heard of the Avengers. However, only a small portion of the people that follow the MCU have been following since the first comic books and the very first movie.
In 1939, Martin Goodman established what would eventually become Marvel Studios, called Timely Comics. In October 1939, he published the first Marvel comic book of the Marvel Comics series. The book introduced heroes such as Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and many more. About a year after, in 1940, Timely Comics had their “Golden Age”, where characters including Captain America were introduced. The characters and heroes in the books fought mainly Nazis and the Japanese before the entrance of the United States (U.S.) in World War II. However, the series was discontinued at the end of the 1940s. Timely Comics became Atlas Magazine when Martin Goodman created his own distribution company in 1951. The new Atlas Magazines had the genres of humor, war, science fiction, etc. Although, there was another factor that came into view soon.
Atlas Magazines’ main obstacle was the founding of DC Comics in 1956, which brought the “Silver Age” and reintroductions of old superheroes. The “Silver Age” also led Atlas Magazines to change the name to Marvel Comics. In 1961, to keep up with DC Comics, Martin Goodman hired Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to write the Fantastic Four, which was released in November of 1961. Up until the drop in comic book sales in 1966, Marvel was leading against DC. However, the drop in sales combined with poor management decisions and becoming public in 1991 led to Marvel Comics being bankrupt. When they managed to get out of bankruptcy in 1998, they diversified and expanded their cinematic offerings. Eventually, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko made heroic figures including Spiderman, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. Along with the characters, they also made the storyline more realistic by having the heroes interact and argue with each other more realistically, such as the Spider-Man story that was published without Comic Code Authority (CCA) in 1971, which also made the authorities change its code.
Of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee was probably the most like a ‘real-life’ superhero. As the years went on, Stan Lee became more and more popular in the media. Eventually, Stan Lee’s fame in the media led Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to leave the company because they thought that they weren’t properly being recognized for their work. However, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were still a crucial part when making the books and were also inspiring and influential artists.
Eventually, Marvel Comics turned into Marvel studios when they published the first Marvel movie in 2007. With Stan Lee writing the stories and the over 180 drawings and sketches from Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel was able to make many movies inspired by the stories and books. The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Studios in 2009 for four billion dollars, and Disney soon earned it all back with the box office sales from the 23 movies. Additionally, in the 2000s, the Avengers were created by a new team of writers including Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, and Ed Brubaker. Those writers helped the Avengers form and have the original Avengers film publish in 2012. From there, the views and merchandise related to the Avengers skyrocketed, and the movie’s merchandise and video games served as a main source of their profits. And it didn’t stop there as Marvel Studios started making more movies and attracting more people.
From a small comic book company to one of the biggest Cinematic Universes, Marvel Studios has entertained millions of people across the world. Whether it’s a comic book about the origin of a superhero, or villain, or a movie about a superhero squad, it will be spectacular.