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The HISTORY of MARVEL - Part 1

Marvel, thanks to the Marvel cinematic universe, today is a huge name and everyone knows about it. We all enjoy Marvel movies, so much so that MCU movies are some of the top grossing films of all time. Avengers with box office collection of $1.5 bn, is the fifth highest grossing film of all time and just to put things in perspective, that is more than any of Christopher Nolan’s movies or any Lord of the rings, Hobbit, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Harry Potter, Fast and furious and James Bond movies. But was marvel always this big? And how long has Marvel been around? Well, It has been eight decades since the inception of Marvel and no, Marvel wasn’t always this big. There were times when sales were extremely low, there were times when Marvel movies were not working and there was a time when Marvel went almost bankrupt. That’s right! The eight-decade journey of Marvel, with its many ups and downs, has been marvelous and in this blog series, I will take you through it all. 

Marvel origins and the Golden age of comics

comic strip

Newspapers in the 19th century used to dedicate a small part of the paper to comic strips. These strips usually consisted of about 4-7 images with dialogues written above/below the drawing of the characters. A small funny drawing and a small funny story, that's what comic strips were. In 1933, MC Gaines started reprinting comic strips in the form of magazines and that's how comic books came into existence. In 1934, DC Comics was formed. Like every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain, every comic book needs a good old fashioned superhero. DC needed a god-like figure to play the protagonist in their comic book stories and that is when they came up with Superman. 
timely comicsearly marvel comics

In 1939, Martin Goodman founded Timely comics which later on would become Marvel comics. At this time, getting into comic book business was not vert attractive. Comic books were thought of as "inferior entertainment" and something for kids. But Martin Goodman had seen the success of Superman and knew that one-day comic books would become really big. Martin Goodman's prediction was right and comic books become vastly popular in the 1940s. This period came to be known as the "Golden age of comics". Marvel's (then, Timely) first heroes were "Human Torch" and "Namor". However, Marvel did not see any real success until the release of Captain America. 

Captain America Timely comicsIn 1941, artist Jack Kirby created Captain America in response to World War II. Captain America immediately struck a chord with the American audiences as he was a superhuman soldier who was fighting Nazis in the war. 

Sometime in the early 1940s, Stan Lee joined Marvel and in a few years become the most important person at Marvel. (Yes, he is the same person who has cameos in every Marvel movie). Marvel turned out to be the perfect place for Stan Lee who loved to read and write fantasy stories. In the years to come, Stan Lee would create the most iconic Marvel characters like Spiderman, IronMan etc. Timely comics that thrived during the world war portraying the heroic tales of Captain America in the war against the Nazis, started to lose focus after the war ended. To make the matters worse, in the early 1950s, comics started facing opposition from the American people. 

Why were people against comics? Were the 50s the darkest times for Marvel and did they go bankrupt during this time? When were Avengers created and how did superhero movies come into existence? Continue reading on "The HISTORY of MARVEL - Part 2".

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