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Marvel Comics Vol 1 1

Marvel Comics began life as "Timely Publications" in 1939, with comic books featuring Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch. Legendary comics writer Stan Lee was hired as an office assistant in 1939. Within two years, the 19-year-old Lee was promoted to editor of the Marvel Comics line, a post that he would keep until 1972.

Everything changed in 1961, when Lee and artist Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four -- a new style of superhero comic that focused on the characters' internal drama as well as their heroic adventures. The style was a huge success, and the Lee/Kirby team went on to create the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Mighty Thor, the X-Men and the Avengers. The prolific Lee worked with artist Steve Ditko to create one of Marvel's greatest success stories, Spider-Man. Stan Lee's Marvel revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators.

The Marvel Universe

Today, Marvel has broken the barrier of comics, attracting new fans thanks to their notorious presence in animated series, video games and movies, of which Marvel's heroes are blockbuster stars, with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men and the Avengers becoming regular features of the summer movie season.

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