I’ve read a lot of comics. And especially a lot of Marvel comics. I’ve done many features on titles and characters, following teams like The Fantastic Four and The Avengers all the way from the beginning into the 21st Century. And recently, I got the idea of reading every Marvel comic in chronological order. So, I’m revising all the posts I’ve done on all those books, and republishing them as a new series: Every Marvel Comic Ever Published!
Note: I’m NOT doing a “chronology of the Marvel Universe.” There are already dozens of sites that try to put all these stories and comics in order. I’m trying to catalog every book Marvel published since the Silver Age, and share interesting little factoids with you. Like how many times Thing busts through a floor. I’m also going to *try* to read and share about every issue, but there are some books and some runs that, no, I just can’t. Even as I start this journey, I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it. But I’ll surely try….
Note 2: Many of these posts are updates of features I’ve already done; for the republished posts only, check here.
- Overall quality compared to other books out during the same year
- Significance to the Marvel Universe
- Innovation (did it do something really different for its time)
- Sentimental or “re-read” value (can you read it more than once and still love it?
Overall, it should about like this:
- A is excellent, one of the best examples of the art form
- B is above average, for one or more of the reasons above
- C is average. Not great, not terrible, not very memorable.
- D is below average. Bordering on bad, and should be read only by freakish completists like myself.
- F is terrible. Stay away.
Although characters like Captain America and Submariner existed before 1961, this is really when it all began. Over at DC, editor Julie Schwartz was redefining Golden Age heroes like Green Lantern and, in the pages of Showcase #4, bearing a July 1961 publication date, introduced “Flash of Two Worlds,” which broke the superhero genre wide open. Over at Marvel, Stanley Lieber needed to do something new, and was floundering writing genre books. Then, under the pen name “Stan Lee,” he teamed up with Jack Kirby to create The Fantastic Four. What followed was a tsunami of creative activity, unparalleled by any entertainment company, ever, including Disney.
Find all 1961 posts here.
The 1961 Awards:
- Best Comic: Fantastic Four #1
- Best Selling Marvel Title of the Year: Tales to Astonish (#40, according to Comichron)
- Best Debut: It’s gotta be Thing, right? Thing.
The year in which Marvel Comics explodes, introducing Thor and all the Asgardians, Spider-Man, tons of fabulous,timeless over-the-top villains like Dr. Doom, The Skrulls, and Doctor Octopus, Hulk, and so much more.
Find all 1962 posts here.
Issues published in 1962:
- Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 (First appearance of “mutants”)
- Amazing Fantasy #15 (First Spider-Man)
- Fantastic Four: #2 (First Skrulls); 3; 4 (First Silver Age appearance of Namor); 5 (First Doctor Doom); 6; #7 (1st Impossible Man); #8 (1st Puppet Master); 9
- Journey into Mystery: #83 (1st Thor); 84 (1st Loki); 85; 86; 87
- The Incredible Hulk: #1; 2; 3; 4
- Strange Tales: #101-102
- Tales to Astonish: #27 (First appearance of Hank Pym); 35 (1st Ant-Man); 36-38
The 1962 Awards
- Best Comic of 1962:Fantastic Four #5. Runners up: Amazing Fantasy #15, Incredible Hulk #1, Fantastic Four #7
- Best-selling Marvel Book of 1962: Modeling With Millie (#44).
- Best Debut: Spider-Man. Runners up: Doctor Doom, Hank Pym, Hulk, Thor, The Skrulls.
Marvel’s core characters were created in the prior year: Spidey, Hulk, Ant-Man, and Thor, as well as some terrific villains. The Fantastic Four were developed and turned into a wellspring of Science Fiction genius. So what next? Well, for one thing, we’d only had one Spider-Man comic so far. For another, no Iron Man yet. No Dr. Strange. And no team-up book. 1963 would fix all that…
Find all 1963 posts here.
Issues published in 1963:
- The Amazing Spider-Man: #1 (Fantastic Four guest appearance); 2 (1st Vulture, 1st Tinkerer, 1st J. Jonah Jameson); 3, 4 (1st Sandman); 5; 6 (1st Lizard); 7 (1st web parachute).
- The Avengers: #1; 2.
- Fantastic Four: #10; 11; 12 (FF vs. Hulk, and, with Amazing Spidey #1, the start of the true “shared universe”); 13 (First Watcher and Red Ghost); 14 (Namor proposes to Susan Storm); 15 (1st Yancy St. Gang, Mad Thinker and Awesome Android); 16-17 (1st FF two-part story!); Fantastic Four Annual #1 (1st appearance of Atlantis), 18 (1st Super Skrull);19 (1st Rama Tut); 20 (1st Yancy St., 1st Molecule Man); 21 (first Nick Fury post-WW2).
- Incredible Hulk: #5; 6 (Final issue).
- Journey Into Mystery: 88-90; 90-97.
- Sgt Fury: #1 (1st Nick Fury) *Note: This series is not covered in full because it is not fully integrated into the Marvel Universe.
- Strange Tales: #105-109;110 (1st Dr. Strange); Strange Tales Annual #2 (1st time Spidey and Torch meet at Statue of Liberty), 111; 112-114 (Captain America teaser); 115 (origin of Dr. Strange); 116-119.
- Tales to Astonish: #39-43; 44 (1st Wasp), 45-47; 48; 49 (1st Giant-Man); 50.
- Tales of Suspense: #39 (First Iron Man); 40-44, 45 (1st Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts); 46-47; 48.
- The Uncanny X-Men: #1; 2
The 1963 Awards:
- Best Comic of 1963: Fantastic Four #12. Runners up: Tales of Suspense #39, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Fantastic Four #14
- Best-Selling: Rawhide Kid (#24). Comichron doesn’t rank issue sales, only title sales, at this point, and superheroes still hadn’t quite caught on.
- Best Debut: The X-Men. Runners up: The Watcher, Magneto, Awesome Android, Dr. Strange, The Wasp, Iron Man, Sandman…With so many incredible characters coming out, it’s impossible to pick just one.
By this time, Marvel has more than a dozen regular monthlies. In terms of debuts for this year, it’s a little sparse. Daredevil comes on board, and that’s about it. Still, the sheer volume of titles I’m covering here (leaving out Westerns and books that barely count/matter as part of the Marvel Universe official history, like Sgt. Fury and Rawhide Kid) means soon I’ll have to start batching by title and stop listing each issue in order of chronological release date because, um, it’s too damn cumbersome. But we’ll see.
Find all 1964 posts here.
Issues published in 1964:
- The Amazing Spider-Man: #8 (Peter Parker stops wearing glasses); 9 (1st Electro); 10; 11-12 (Doc Ock unmasks Spider-Man); 13 (1st Mysterio); 14 (1st Green Goblin, Spidey fights Hulk); 15 (1st Kraven the Hunter); 16 (Spider-Man meets Daredevil for the first time); The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1st Sinister Six); 17; 18-19
- The Avengers: #3; 4 (1st Silver age Captain America); 5; 6 (1st Silver Age Baron Zemo, 1st Masters of Evil); 7; 8 (1st Kang); 9 (1st Wonder Man); 10; 11
- Daredevil: #1 (1st appearance of DD); 2; 3 (1st Owl); 4; 5 (1st Wally Wood issue)
- The Fantastic Four: #22 (1st time Invisible Girl uses forcefields); 24; 25-26 (includes the Top 10 Hulk vs. Thing fights); 27; Fantastic Four Annual #2 (origin of Dr. Doom); 28; 29; 30 (1st Diablo); 31-32 (Sue and Johnny Storm’s father introduced, dies); 33
- Journey into Mystery: #100; 101-102;103 (1st Executioner); 105-106 (2 part story, Hyde and Cobra team-up); 107; 108; 109; 110-111
- Marvel Tales Annual #1 (reprints only)
- Strange Tales: #116-119; 120; 121-123; 124-127 (1st Clea and Dormammu and Mindless Ones)
- Tales to Astonish: #51-56 (1st Black Knight, 1st Tales of the Wasp); 57 (1st Wasp stinger); 58; 59; 60-62 (Hulk gets a solo series, 1st Leader)
- Tales of Suspense: #49 (1st Tales of the Watcher); 50 (First Mandarin); 51 (1st Scarecrow); 52 (1st Black Widow); 53; 54; 55; 56 (1st Unicorn); 57; 58-60 (Captain America gets a solo series)
- The Uncanny X-Men: #3 (1st Blob); 4 (1st Brotherhood of Evil Mutants); 5; 6; 7 (1st Cerebro, the mutant-finding computer); 8
The 1964 Awards
Best Single Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #14. Runners up: Fantastic Four Annual #2, The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, The X-Men #4.
Best multi-issue story: The Amazing Spider-Man #18-19. Runners up: Journey Into Mystery 105-106, Fantastic Four #25-26, Strange Tales #124-127 (Dr. Strange story only).
Best Debut: Captain America and Daredevil (tie), because it wasn’t really Cap’s first appearance–just his first one in Marvel Universe continuity). Other than that, it was a great year for villains, with Runners Up: Mysterio, Green Goblin, Mandarin, Black Widow, Executioner, and Kraven the Hunter.
Bestselling Marvel Book of the year: Action Comics was the bestselling title of 1964. Marvel still didn’t report sales of its superhero books, so their best title was Strange Tales, which barely cracked the top 40, selling under a bunch of other DC books like The Atom and a ton of Archie and Gold Key titles.
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