The Avengers have been around since long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a mainstream pop culture juggernaut. In this new series, I’ll be reading the Avengers-related titles of the original Marvel Comics Universe from the 1960s through the present over the course of many, many months, and I’ll chart my observations here every two or three weeks.
I’ll include the Fantastic Four in this, since not only is their first (hopefully) good movie coming up this summer, but they’re also a major part of the traditionally super-heroic corner of the comics universe—as opposed to the feared-and-hated characters like the X-Men and Spider-Man or vigilantes like Daredevil, though Hulk gets included on account of being a founding Avenger. (If I included those other franchises, I’d never finish.) Between the Marvel Unlimited digital library and my own collection, we’ll be able to cover most (but not all) of the books starring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the like. Special thanks to The Complete Marvel Reading Order for sparing me the hard work of keeping track of what to read next.
So face front, True Believers, as we begin our long-term tour of the evolution of Marvel with this extra-sized first issue!
Fantastic Four #1-13, Tales to Astonish (starring Ant-Man) #27, 35-41, Incredible Hulk #1-6, Journey Into Mystery (starring Thor) #93-89, 91, Strange Tales (starring the Human Torch) #101-108, and Tales of Suspense (starring Iron Man) #39; years spanned: 1961-3.
We’re at the ground floor here, so pretty much everything is new.
Though Marvel Comics had been around in some or another since the late 1930s, Marvel continuity officially begins with the introduction of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, and the Thing in Fantastic Four #1.
The next character we meet is Hank Pym (who will be played by Michael Douglas in this summer’s Ant-Man movie) in Tales to Astonish #27, which is more a sci-fi short story about a scientist being almost done in by his own invention rather than a superhero tale. Pym becomes Ant-Man in TTA #35. Continue reading