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Marvel Comics is an American comic book company owned by Marvel Publishing, Inc., a division of Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
Marvel counts among its characters such well-known properties as Spider-Man, the X-Men and their member Wolverine, the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil and many others. Most of Marvel's fictional characters are depicted as inhabiting a single shared world; this continuity is known as the Marvel Universe.
The comic book arm of the company was founded in 1939 as Timely Publications Per statement of ownership, dated Oct. 2, 1939, published in Marvel Mystery Comics #4 (Feb. 1940), p. 40; reprinted in Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics Volume 1 (Marvel Comics, 2004, p. 239 and was generally known as Atlas Comics in the 1950s. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from the early 1960s, with the launching of Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others. Marvel has since become one of the largest American comics companies, along with DC Comics.
Marvel Comics was founded by pulp-magazine publisher Martin Goodman in 1939 as Timely Publications, based at his existing company at 330 West 42nd Street, New York City, New York. Goodman's official titles were editor, managing editor, and business manager, with Abraham Goodman officially listed as publisher. The company's roots go back further, to Goodman's first Western pulp, in 1933. A precursor of one Marvel character, the jungle lord Ka-Zar, first appeared in a 1936 pulp; he was adapted to a comic-book story in the first Timely Comics release, and the name became that of a different Marvel jungle lord introduced in the 1960s.
Timely's first publication was Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), contained the first appearance of Carl Burgos' android superhero, the Human Torch, and the first generally available appearance of Bill Everett's anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner, among other features. Namor had debuted in Motion Picture Funnies #1; The contents of that sales blockbuster Per researcher Keif Fromm, Alter Ego #49, p. 4 (caption), Marvel Comics #1, cover-dated October 1939, quickly sold out 80,000 copies, prompting Goodman to produce a second printing, cover-dated November 1939. The latter is identical except for a black bar over the October date in the inside-front-cover indicia, and the November date added at the end. That sold approximately 800,000 copies. Per Fromm also, the first issue of Captain America Comics sold nearly one million copies, and were supplied by an outside packager, Funnies, Inc, but by the following year Timely had a staff in place. With the second issue the series title changed to Marvel Mystery Comics.
The company's first true editor, writer-artist Joe Simon, teamed with soon-to-be industry legend Jack Kirby to create one of the first patriotically themed superheroes, Captain America, in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941). It, too, proved a major sales hit, with a circulation of nearly one million.
While no other Timely character would be as successful as these "big three", some notable heroes — many continuing to appear in modern-day retcon appearances and flashbacks — include the Whizzer, Miss America, the original Vision, and Paul Gustavson's Angel. Timely also published one of humor cartoonist Basil Wolverton's best-known features, "Powerhouse Pepper", A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics (Smithsonian Institution / Harry N. Abrams, 1981) as well as a children's funny animal line whose most popular characters were Super Rabbit and the duo Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal.
Atlas ComicsAtlas Comics in the 1950s — followed pop-cultural trends with a variety of genres, including funny animals, Western, horror, war,crime, humor, romance, spy fiction and even fantasy, all with varying degrees of success. An attempted superhero revival from 1953 to 1954, with the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner and Captain America, lasted only from late 1953 to mid-1954.
From 1952 to late 1956, Goodman distributed his comics to newsstands through his self-owned distributor, Atlas. He then switched to American News Company, the nation's largest distributor and a virtual monopoly — which shortly afterward lost a Justice Department lawsuit and discontinued the business. As historian and author Gerard Jones explains, the company in 1956 "...had been found guilty of restraint of trade and ordered to divest itself of the newsstands it owned. Its biggest client, George Delacorte, announced he would seek a new distributor for his Dell Comics and paperbacks. The owners of American News estimated the effect that would have on their income. Then they looked at the value of the New Jersey real estate where their headquarters sat. They liquidated the company and sold the land. The company ... vanished without a trace in the suburban growth of the 1950s.
The final comic to bear the Atlas globe logo was Dippy Duck #1, one of the company's two releases with an October 1957 cover date. The other Patsy Walker #73, was the first both without the globe with the "Ind." tag.
Although Timely's titles occasionally used a cover treatment reading "A Marvel Magazine" as early as All Surprise Comics #12 (Winter 1946/47; see logo below), and though for several months in 1949 and 1950 the company's comics bore a circular logo labeled "Marvel Comic", the first comic book formally branded as "Marvel Comics" was the science-fiction anthology Amazing Adventures #3, which showed the "MC" box on its cover. Cover-dated August 1961, it was published May 9, 1961.Library of Congress copyright information at Grand Comics Database: Amazing Adventures #3
At that point, Goodman attempted a new direction by following the current drive-in science fiction-movie trend, launching or revamping six titles to offer that genre of story: Strange Worlds #1; World of Fantasy #15; Strange Tales #67; Journey into Mystery #50; Tales of Suspense #1; and Tales to Astonish #1. Their space-fantasy tales proved unsuccessful, and by the end of 1959, most of these titles (Strange Worlds and World of Fantasy being canceled) were devoted to B-movie monsters. Most featured a line-up of Jack Kirby-drawn stories (often inked by Dick Ayers) followed by Don Heck's atmospheric rendering of jungle/prison escapes and weird adventures, or stories by artists such as Paul Reinman or Joe Sinnott, followed by a Stan Lee-Steve Ditko twist-ending bagatelle, which were sometimes daringly self-reflexive.Hembeck.com (Nov. 12 2004): "Tales of the Mysterious Mr. Ditko (and the Not-So-Mysterious Mr. Lee...)", by Fred Hembeck
Marvel also expanded its line of girl-humor titles during this time, introducing Kathy ("the teen-age tornado!") (Oct. 1959) and the short-lived Linda Carter, Student Nurse (Sept. 1961).
In the wake of DC Comics' success reviving superheroes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit. Apocryphal legend has it that in 1961, Timely and Atlas publisher Martin Goodman was playing golf with either Jack Liebowitz or Irwin Donenfeld of rival DC Comics, then known as National Periodical Publications, who bragged about DC's success with the Justice League (which had debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 Feb. 1960 before going on to its own title).
However, film producer and comics historian Michael Uslan partly debunked the story in a letter published in Alter Ego #43 (Dec. 2004), pp. 43-44:"Irwin said he never played golf with Goodman, so the story is untrue. I heard this story more than a couple of times while sitting in the lunchroom at DC's 909 Third Avenue and 75 Rockefeller Plaza office as Sol Harrison and [production chief] Jack Adler were schmoozing with some of us ... who worked for DC during our college summers.... The way I heard the story from Sol was that Goodman was playing with one of the heads of Independent News, not DC Comics (though DC owned Independent News). ... As the distributor of DC Comics, this man certainly knew all the sales figures and was in the best position to tell this tidbit to Goodman. ... Of course, Goodman would want to be playing golf with this fellow and be in his good graces. ... Sol worked closely with Independent News' top management over the decades and would have gotten this story straight from the horse's mouth.}} Goodman, a publishing trend-follower aware of the JLA's strong sales, confirmably directed his comics editor, Stan Lee, to create a comic-book series about a team of superheroes. According to Lee in Origins of Marvel Comics (Simon and Schuster/Fireside Books, 1974), p. 16: "Martin mentioned that he had noticed one of the titles published by National Comics seemed to be selling better than most. It was a book called The sic Justice League of America and it was composed of a team of superheroes. ... ' If the Justice League is selling ', spoke he, ' why don't we put out a comic book that features a team of superheroes?'"
Editor/writer Stan Lee and freelance artist Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four, reminiscent of the non-superpowered adventuring quartet the Challengers of the Unknown that Kirby had created for DC in 1957. Eschewing such comic-book tropes as secret identities and even costumes at first, having a monster as one of the heroes, and having its characters bicker and complain in what was later called a "superheroes in the real world" approach, the series represented a change that proved to be a great success. Marvel began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and antiheroes as the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men and Daredevil, and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Galactus, the Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus. The most successful new series was The Amazing Spider-Man, by Lee and Ditko. Marvel even lampooned itself and other comics companies in a parody comic, Not Brand Echh (a play on Marvel's dubbing of other companies as "Brand Echh", a la the then-common phrase "Brand X").Time (Oct. 31, 1960): "The Real Brand X"
Marvel's comics were noted for focusing on characterization to a greater extent than most superhero comics before them. This was true of The Amazing Spider-Man, in particular. Its young hero suffered from self-doubt and mundane problems like any other teenager. Marvel superheroes are often flawed, freaks, and misfits, unlike the perfect, handsome, athletic heroes found in previous traditional comic books. Some Marvel heroes looked like villains and monsters. In time, this non-traditional approach would revolutionize comic books.
Comics historian Peter Sanderson wrote that in the 1960s, "DC was the equivalent of the big Hollywood studios: After the brilliance of DC's reinvention of the superhero ... in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it had run into a creative drought by the decade's end. There was a new audience for comics now, and it wasn't just the little kids that traditionally had read the books. The Marvel of the 1960s was in its own way the counterpart of the French New Wave.... Marvel was pioneering new methods of comics storytelling and characterization, addressing more serious themes, and in the process keeping and attracting readers in their teens and beyond. Moreover, among this new generation of readers were people who wanted to write or draw comics themselves, within the new style that Marvel had pioneered, and push the creative envelope still further.Sanderson, Peter. IGN.com (Oct. 10, 2003): Comics in Context #14: "Continuity/Discontinuity""
Lee became one of the best-known names in comics, with his charming personality and relentless salesmanship of the company. His "voice" permeates the stories, the letters and news pages, and even the hyperbolic house ads of many of the Marvel Comics of the first half of the 1960s: his sense of humor and generally lighthearted manner, and the exaggerated depiction of the Bullpen (Lee's name for the staff) as one big, happy family. The artists — who eventually co-plotted the stories based on the busy Lee's rough synopsis or even simple spoken concept, in what became known as the Marvel Method — contributed greatly to Marvel's product and success. Kirby in particular is generally credited for many of the cosmic ideas and characters of Fantastic Four and The Mighty Thor, such as the Watcher, the Silver Surfer and Ego the Living Planet, while Steve Ditko is recognized as the driving artistic force behind the moody atmosphere and street-level naturalism of Spider-Man and the surreal atmosphere of Doctor Strange. Lee, however, continues to receive credit for his well-honed skills at dialogue and story sense, for his keen hand at choosing and motivating artists and assembling creative teams, and for his uncanny ability to connect with the readers. These included nickname endearments in the credits and in the monthly "Bullpen Bulletins" and letters pages, with readers given humanizing hype about the likes of artists and writers "Jolly Jack Kirby", "Rascally Roy Thomas", "Jazzy Johnny Romita" and others, right down to letterers "Swingin' Sammy Rosen" and "Adorable Artie Simek".
Lesser-known staffers during the company's industry-changing growth in the 1960s (some of whom worked primarily for Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's umbrella magazine corporation) included circulation manager Johnny Hayes, subscriptions person Nancy Murphy, bookkeeper Doris Siegler, merchandising person Chip Goodman (son of publisher Martin) and Arthur Jeffrey, described in the December 1966 "Bullpen Bulletin" as "keeper of our MMMS [[[Merry Marvel Marching Society]] files, guardian of our club coupons and defender of the faith".
In the fall of 1968, company founder Goodman sold Marvel Comics and his other publishing businesses to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation. It grouped these businesses in a subsidiary called Magazine Management Co. Goodman remained as publisher.Les Daniels, Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1991), p. 139. .
In 1970, Stan Lee saw the opportunity to market a British audience without using reprinted American material. In October 1976, Marvel created "a British hero for British people", Captain Britain, first released exclusively in Britain and later in America.
In 1971, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee was approached by theUnited States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to do a comic book story about drug abuse. Lee agreed and wrote a three-part Spider-Man story portraying drug use as dangerous and unglamorous. However, the industry's self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, refused to approve the story because of the presence of narcotics, deeming the context of the story irrelevant. Lee, with Goodman's approval, published the story regardless in The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 (May-July 1971), without CCA approval. The storyline was well-received and the CCA's argument for denying its approval was criticized as counterproductive. The Code was subsequently revised the same year. Nyberg, Amy Kiste. Seal of Approval: History of the Comics Code. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Miss., 1998
Goodman retired as publisher in 1972 and was succeeded by Lee, who stepped aside from running day-to-day operations at Marvel. A series of new editors-in-chief oversaw the company during another slow time for the industry. Once again, Marvel attempted to diversify, and with the updating of the Comics Code achieved moderate success with titles themed to horror (Tomb of Dracula), martial arts, (Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu), sword-and-sorcery(Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja), satire (Howard the Duck) and science fiction ("Killraven" in Amazing Adventures). Some of these were published in larger-sized black-and-white magazines, targeted for mature readers. Marvel was able to capitalize on its successful superhero comics of the previous decade by acquiring a new newsstand distributor and greatly expanding its comics line. Marvel pulled ahead of rival DC Comics in 1972, during a time when the price and format of the standard newsstand comic were in flux. Goodman increase the price and size of Marvel's November 1971 cover-dated comics from 15 cents for 36 pages total to 25 cents for 52 pages. DC followed suit, but Marvel the following month dropped its comics to 20 cents for 36 pages, offering a lower-priced product with a higher distributor discount. Daniels, Ibid., pp.154-155
In 1973, Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation changed its name to Cadence Industries, which in turn renamed Magazine Management Co. as Marvel Comics Group. Goodman, now completely disconnected from Marvel, created a new company called Atlas/Seaboard Comics in 1974, reviving Marvel's old Atlas name, but this project lasted only a year-and-a-half.Atlas Archives
In the mid-1970s, Marvel was affected by a decline of the newsstand distribution network. Cult hits such as Howard the Duck were the victims of the distribution problems, with some titles reporting low sales when in fact they were being resold at a later date in the first specialty comic-book stores. An attempt by Marvel to buy DC was frustrated by DC's refusal to sell its entire library of characters (wanting to retain control of Superman and Batman), and DC was later folded into Warner Communications by owner Kinney National Company.
By the end of the decade, Marvel's fortunes were reviving, thanks to the rise of direct market distribution (selling through those same comics-specialty stores instead of newsstands) and the sales increase of previously borderline books — such as the canceled '60s title The Uncanny X-Men, revived to become a hit series under the team of writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, or the more naturalistic, urban-crime superhero comic Daredevil, by writer/artist Frank Miller.
By the 1980s, one-time DC wunderkind Jim Shooter was Marvel's Editor-in-Chief. Although a controversial personality, Shooter cured many of the procedural ills at Marvel (including repeatedly missed deadlines) and oversaw a creative renaissance at the company. This renaissance included institutionalizing creator royalties, starting the Epic imprint for creator-owned material in 1982, and launching a brand-new (albeit ultimately unsuccessful) line named New Universe, to commemorate Marvel's 25th anniversary, in 1986. However, Shooter was responsible for the introduction of the company-wide crossover (Contest of Champions, Secret Wars) and was accused by many creators, especially near the end of his tenure, of exercising his job in a draconian manner and interfering with the writers' creative process.
In 1981 Marvel purchased the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises animation studio from famed Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng and his business partner David H. DePatie. The company was renamed Marvel Productions and it produced well-known animated TV series and movies featuring such characters as G.I. Joe, The Transformers, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, and such TV series as Dungeons & Dragons (TV series)|Dungeons & Dragons, as well as cartoons based on Marvel characters, including Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
In 1986, Marvel was sold to New World Entertainment, which within three years sold it to MacAndrews and Forbes, owned by Revlon executive Ronald Perelman. Perelman took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange and oversaw a great increase in the number of titles Marvel published. As part of the process, Marvel Productions sold its back catalog to Saban Entertainment (acquired in 2001 by The Walt Disney Company), and Marvel management closed the animation studio, opting to outsource.
Marvel earned a great deal of money and recognition during the early decade's comic-book boom, launching the highly successful 2099 line of comics set in the future (Spider-Man 2099, etc.) and the creatively daring though commercially unsuccessful Razorline imprint of superhero comics created by novelist and filmmaker Clive Barker. Yet by the middle of the decade, the industry had slumped and Marvel filed for bankruptcy amidst investigations of Perelman's financial activities regarding the company.
In 1990, Marvel began selling Marvel Universe Cards with trading card maker Impel. These were collectible trading cards that featured the characters and events of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel in 1992 acquired Fleer Corporation, known primarily for its trading cards, and shortly thereafter created Marvel Studios, devoted to film and TV projects. Avi Arad became director of that division in 1993, with production accelerating in 1998 following the success of the film Blade.
In 1994, Marvel acquired the comic book distributor Heroes World to use as its own exclusive distributor. As the industry's other major publishers made exclusive distribution deals with other companies, the ripple effect resulted in the survival of only one other major distributor in North America, Diamond Comic Distributors Inc.
Creatively and commercially, the '90s were dominated by the use of gimmickry to boost sales, such as variant covers, cover enhancements, regular company-wide crossovers that threw the universe's continuity into disarray, and even special swimsuit issues. In 1996, Marvel had almost all its titles participate in the Onslaught Saga, a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters, such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, in the Heroes Reborn universe, in which Marvel defectors Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were given permission to revamp the properties from scratch. After an initial sales bump, sales quickly declined below expected levels, and Marvel discontinued the experiment after a one-year run; the characters returned to the Marvel Universe proper. In 1998, the company launched the imprint Marvel Knights, taking place within Marvel continuity; helmed by soon-to-become editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, and featuring tough, gritty stories showcasing such characters as the Inhumans, Black Panther and Daredevil, it achieved substantial success.
Marvel goes public
In 1991, Pereleman took Marvel public in a stock offering underwritten by Merrill Lynch and First Boston Corporation. Following the rapid rise of this immediately popular stock, Perleman issued a series of junk bonds that he used to acquire other children's entertainment companies. Many of these bond offerings were purchased by Carl Icahn Partners, which later wielded much control during Marvel's court-ordered reorganization after Marvel went bankrupt in 1996. In 1997, after protracted legal battles, control landed in the hands of Isaac Perlmutter, owner of the Marvel subsidiary Toy Biz. With his business partner Avi Arad, publisher Bill Jemas, and editor-in-chief Bob Harras, Perlmutter helped revitalize the comics line.
With the new millennium, Marvel Comics escaped from bankruptcy and again began diversifying its offerings. In 2001, Marvel withdrew from the Comics Code Authority and established its own Marvel Rating System for comics. The first title from the era to not have the code was X-Force #119 (Oct. 2001). It also created new imprints, such as MAX, a line intended for mature readers, and Marvel Age, developed for younger audiences. In addition to this is the highly successful Ultimate Marvel imprint, which allowed Marvel to reboot their major titles by reconstructing and updating its major superhero and villain characters to introduce to a new generation. This imprint exists in a universe parallel to mainstream Marvel continuity, allowing writers and artists freedom from the characters' convoluted history and the ability to redesign them, and to maintain their other ongoing series without replacing the established continuity. This also allowed Marvel to capitalize on an influx of new readers unfamiliar with comics but familiar with the characters through the film and TV franchises. The company has also revamped its graphic novel division, establishing a bigger presence in the bookstore market. As of 2007, Marvel remains a key comics publisher, even as the industry has dwindled to a fraction of its peak size decades earlier.
Stan Lee, no longer officially connected to the company save for the title of "Chairman Emeritus", remains a visible face in the industry. In 2002, he sued successfully for a share of income related to movies and merchandising of Marvel characters, based on a contract between Lee and Marvel from the late 1990s; according to court documents, Marvel had used "Hollywood accounting" to claim that those projects' "earnings" were not profits. Marvel Comics' parent company Marvel Entertainment continues to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange as MVL. Some of its characters have been turned into successful film franchises, the highest-grossing being the X-Men film series, starting in 2000, and the Spider-Man series, beginning in 2002.
In 2006, Marvel's fictional crossover event "Civil War" established a federal superhero registration act in the Marvel universe, creating a political and ethical schism throughout it.
The company launched a major online initiative late in 2007, announcing Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, a digital archive of 2,500 back issues available for viewing, for a monthly or annual subscription fee.
In November of 2007, Marvel contacted the popular comic book bittorrent site, Z-Cult FM, and gave them three days to remove any and all illegal scans of Marvel comic books before they pressed offical charges. Z-Cult contacted Marvel and negotiated that it would remove all Marvel comics from its site within seven days.
The Marvel editor-in-chief oversees the largest-scale creative decisions taken within the company. While the fabled Stan Lee held great authority during the decades when publisher Martin Goodman privately held his company, of which the comics division was a relatively small part, his successors have been to greater and lesser extents subject to corporate management.
The position evolved sporadically. In the earliest years, the company had a single editor overseeing the entire line. As the company grew, it became increasingly common for individual titles to be overseen separately. The concept of the "writer-editor" evolved, stemming from when Lee wrote and managed most of the line's output. Overseeing the line in the 1970s was a series of chief editors, though the titles were used intermittently. Confusing matters further, some appear to have been appointed merely by extending their existing editorial duties. By the time Jim Shooter took the post in 1978, the position of editor-in-chief was clearly defined.
In 1994, Marvel briefly abolished the position, replacing Tom DeFalco with five "group editors", though each held the title "editor-in-chief" and had some editors underneath them. It reinstated the overall editor-in-chief position in 1995, installing Bob Harras. Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief in 2000.
- Joe Simon (1939-1941)
- Stan Lee (1941-1942)
- Vincent Fago (acting editor during Lee's military service) (1942-1945)
- Stan Lee (1945-1972)
- Roy Thomas (1972-1974)
- Len Wein (1974-1975)
- Marv Wolfman (black-and-white magazines 1974-1975, entire line 1975-1976)
- Gerry Conway (1976)
- Archie Goodwin (1976-1978)
- Jim Shooter (1978-1987)
- Tom DeFalco (1987-1994)
- No overall editor-in-chief (1994-1995)
- Bob Harras (1995-2000)
- Joe Quesada (2000-)
Located in New York City, Marvel has been successively headquartered in the McGraw-Hill Building (where it originated as Timely Comics in 1939); in suite 1401 of the Empire State Building; at 635 Madison Avenue (the actual location, though the comic books' indicia listed the parent publishing-company's address of 625 Madison Ave.); 575 Madison Avenue; 387 Park Avenue South; 10 East 40th Street; and 417 Fifth Avenue.
Marvel characters in other media
Marvel characters and stories have been adapted to many other media. Some of these adaptations were produced by Marvel, while others were produced by companies licensing Marvel material.
Many television series, both live action and animated, have been based on Marvel Comics characters. These include multiple series for popular characters such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Of particular note were the animated series from the mid to late 90's, which were all part of the same Marvel animated universe.
Additionally, a handful of television movies based on Marvel Comics characters have been made.
Marvel characters have been adapted into films including the Blade, Spider-Man, and X-Men trilogies; the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and The Punisher duologies; Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, and Iron Man.
Additionally, a series of direct-to-DVD animated films began in 2006 with Ultimate Avengers.
- Marvel Multiverse
- Major Events of the Marvel Universe
- List of Marvel Comics alien races
- List of Marvel Comics characters
- List of Marvel Comics cosmic entities
- List of Marvel Comics movies
- List of Marvel Comics people
- List of Marvel Comics teams and organizations
- Marvel Golden Age characters
- Kirby: King Of Comics
- Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution
- Marvel Entertainment official site
- The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Marvel Guide: An Unofficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- All in Color for a Dime by Dick Lupoff & Don Thompson
- The Comic Book Makers by Joe Simon with Jim Simon
- [Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee] by Stan Lee and George Mair
- Jack Kirby: The TCJ Interviews, Milo George, ed. (Fantagraphics Books, Inc., 2001).
- Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics, by Les Daniels (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1991)
- Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book by Gerard Jones (Basic Books, 2004) trade paperback
- Stephen Korek- Marvel comics and the future
- Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee
- The Steranko History of Comics, Vol. 1 by James Steranko ISBN 0-517-50188-0
- A Timely Talk with Allen Bellman
- Atlas Tales
- The Marvel/Atlas Super-Hero Revival of the Mid-1950s
- Jack Kirby Collector #25: "More Than Your Average Joe"
- Independent Heroes from the USA: Clive Barker's Razorline
- Buzzscope (June 23, 2005): "Addicted to Comics" #10 (column) by Jim Salicrup
- Daredevil: The Man Without Fear fan site: Marv Wolfman interview