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
We've already rounded up the best events for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we've highlighted some of the best exclusive art prints to pick up, but there's so much more at SDCC. As the biggest convention of the year, it's a great way to interact with creators and this year's event has an amazing line-up of spotlight panels on some of the best writers and artists in the business.
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.
He's one of the most recognizable figures in all of popular culture. He's amazing, he's spectacular. He's been the subject of countless animated and live-action adaptations, starring in everything from Saturday morning cartoons to public television educational shows to big-budget motion pictures. He's been a nebbishy student, a professional wrestler, a schoolteacher, a fugitive, a technological entrepreneur, an intrepid photographer, and an Avenger. He catches thieves just like flies, he's got radioactive blood, and he does whatever a spider can.
But on June 5th, 1962, Spider-Man was simply a crazy new character vying for space on newsstands, and by any conventional measure, the odds were stacked against him.
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.
It’s not brought up too frequently in the recent waves of D.C. and Marvel blockbusters, but it’s kind of messed up that all the superheroes appear to be headquartered in New York. Yes, Manhattan magnetically attracts mega-powered megalomaniacs like mosquitos to a BBQ, but the rest of America, not to mention the rest of Earth, needs help as well. The comic books saw the Marvel universe establish a 50 States Initiative to ensure superheroic defense all across America, and the movies tend to send heroes on a jet toward danger wherever it may fall on the globe, but the reaction time is simply too slow.
Enter Chakra the Invincible, a superhero created by Stan Lee, Sharad Devarajan, and Gotham Chopra to serve the inhabitants of India. The subject of a string of comic books along with an animated film geared toward the sizable Indian market (2013’s animated film ran in English on Cartoon Network, but was also translated into Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu) will soon take on another new life with a full-blown Bollywood live-action adaptation, Variety reports.
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.
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.
On this day in 1962, the world was asked the question “Is he man or monster or... both?” as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk has remained one of Marvel’s most reliable franchises throughout the decades due to his relatability and perhaps above all else, his adaptability.
Since the beginning, The Hulk has been a character in flux. Originally The Incredible Hulk was colored grey, but printing logistics forced the change to the classic green. Bruce Banner’s transformation was originally triggered when day transitioned to night, and Hulk was much more verbose in his early incarnations and spoke in the flowery and dramatic tone typical of Stan Lee.
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