On August 8, 1961, Fantastic Four #1 changed superhero comics forever, and yet it's barely a superhero comic at all.
Legend has it the book was inspired by the success of rival DC's Justice League of America. That book is a superhero comic through and through, and apparently its team of heroes inspired Marvel publisher Martin Goodman to ask his top creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, to create a superhero team of their own. But while DC gathered its Justice League from their other superhero titles, Marvel was publishing no superhero books at that time.
So Lee and Kirby created a team from scratch. But springing from the minds of Lee, who was by all accounts terribly burnt out on comics at the time, and Kirby, who had done everything in comics, but was then the master of monsters, Fantastic Four #1 was a weird, dark superhero book, about a weird, dark team
This year is the seventy-fifth anniversary of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Captain America Comics #1 and to honor one of the nation’s greatest fictional heroes, a bronze statue is being erected in Captain America's honor. The statue will make its debut at San Diego Comic Con later this month, before finding a permanent residence in Steve Rogers’ native Brooklyn at Prospect Park.
Things are messed up right now, so let’s talk about comfort comics. Comics as escapism. There are a lot of current and recent comics that could work for this — All-Star Superman, Lumberjanes, and Squirrel Girl come to mind — but I want to go back a little farther.
Because here’s the cool thing about comics: They all used to be for kids. Which means that a lot of the classic comics, the influential ones that made the medium what it is, are also escapist fun. So when you want to read something that’s going to let you forget your problems and get lost in fantasy, you can also read something that will help you become well versed in comics canon. This is literally how I became who I am today.
On June 5, 1962, with a crack of thunder, a new hero burst on the scene. Well, not a new hero exactly. A very, very old hero who'd been reimagined for a modern world. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at the height of their (dubiously balanced) creative powers, with scripting help from Stan's brother Larry Lieber, took a millennia-old Norse god and made him into a superhero in Journey into Mystery #83, the debut of the Mighty Thor.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics and pop culture.
This week we're looking at some of the most bizarre licensed properties that have ever made their way to your local comic shop!
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we’re returning to Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World, for the next chapter in my imaginary film series, The Forever People.
On this day in 1966, in the pages of Fantastic Four #52, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to Wakanda, the most technologically advanced civilzation in the world, hidden in the heart of the African continent. At the head of this great nation was its king, T’Challa, who had recently assumed the throne from his father, and with it the title of the Black Panther.
Doctor Doom first appeared in Fantastic Four #5 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott and Stan Goldberg, published on April 10 1961. One of the most iconic villains in comic book history, Victor Von Doom has always remained steadfast in his goals: Take over the world for its own benefit, and kill Reed Richards along the way, if there's time.
Q: Aside from laying groundwork, most Golden Age stuff I've read is not very good. Are there any must-reads from the era? -- @TheKize
A: Listen, if you're having trouble getting into Golden Age books, I do not blame you. I've read my fair share of them over the years, and while I definitely think it's worth tracking down some of those early superhero comics if you're looking to broaden your horizons a little bit, I'll be the first to tell you that they can be hard to get into for a variety of reasons --- and as you said, chief among them is the fact that a lot of those old comics are just not very good.
Of course, you could say that about pretty much any era of comics and you wouldn't be far off from the truth. More than that, though, I think there's a big barrier that keeps the average reader from getting into those comics, and it has a lot to do with when, how, and why those comics were being made.
War hero. Secret agent. Government stooge. Machiavellian mastermind. Washed-up antique. Ageless warrior. Man out of time. Roughneck brawler. Unyielding patriot. Intergalactic assassin.
Nick Fury has been all these things, and many more, since his first appearance on March 5th 1963. He's a universal plot device, a character that can be adjusted and adapted to fit whatever a given story needs. He's been young, he's been old, he's been dead, he's been everywhere at once, he's been in hiding, he's been blindsided by corruption, he's been dead again, and he's been secretly behind the scenes the whole time. He's even been replaced by robot duplicates more times than anyone can remember.
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