By Panagiotis Michalatos (A Class)

Marvel Comics is the common name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group is an American publisher of comic books and related media. Since the 1960s, it has been one of the two largest American comics companies, along with DC Comics. Located in New York City, Marvel has been successively headquartered in the McGraw-Hill Building on West 42nd Street (where it originated as Timely Comics in 1939).

Marvel started in 1939 as “Timely Publications”, and by the early 1950s had generally become known as “Atlas Comics”. Marvel“s modern incarnation dates from 1961, the year that the company launched “The Fantastic Four” and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others.

Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), the first comic from Marvel precursor Timely Comics.

 Cover art by Frank R. Paul.

Martin Goodman founded the company later known as Marvel Comics under the name “Timely Publications” in 1939. Timely’s first publication, Marvel Comics #1 (cover dated Oct. 1939), included the first appearance of Carl Burgos” android superhero, “the Human Torch”, and the first appearances of Bill Everett’s anti-hero, “Namor the Sub-Mariner”, among other features. The issue was a great success, with it and a second printing the following month selling, combined, nearly 900,000 copies. In 1950 the name of Timely Comics changed to Atlas Comics but their post-war comics that they published was out of fashion. The problems for Atlas Comics didn’t stop there because this time a new player joined the game, DC Comics. Atlas did not achieve any breakout hits and, according to Stan Lee, Atlas survived chiefly because it produced work quickly, cheaply, and at a passable quality.

The first modern comic books under the Marvel Comics brand were the science-fiction anthology Journey into Mystery #69 and the teen-humor title Patsy Walker #95 (both cover dated June 1961), which each displayed an «MC» box on its cover. Then, in the wake of DC Comics“ success in reviving superheroes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with the “Flash”, “Green Lantern”, and other members of the team “the Justice League of America”, Marvel followed suit.


(The first comic of Marvel)

On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Comics’ parent corporation, Marvel Entertainment, for $4 billion or $4.2 billion, with Marvel shareholders to receive $30 and 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own.