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History of Marvel

Welcome to the History of Marvel! Once a small comic book company, Marvel has expanded to a huge media empire and multi-billion dollar property in the span of less than 100 years. Let’s learn how that happened!

Quick Links: Quarter 2

A day with an asterisk means you have something to print!

For this course material is utilized from Marvel Unlimited. You could get along without an account, but it will be much richer if you are able to read the comics. We will also be using material from Disney+. It is possible for you to source all of the movies and tv shows we will be watching without them, but a Disney+ subscription is the easiest method.

Day 1

1. Watch the video about the beginning of Marvel comics. (Video should begin at 19:20).
2. Read “The Human Torch” from Marvel Comics #1 (1939).

Day 2

1. Watch the video about the golden age of comic books.
2. Read “The Submariner” from Marvel Comics #1 (1939). The Sumbariner was actually the first marvel superhero to make a debut, appearing in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly in April of 1939.

Day 3

1. 1941 marked the appearance of another significant Marvel hero – Captain America! Watch the video about the history of Captain America (stop when you hit the GoDaddy ad.)
2. Read through Captain America Comics #1 (1941). How well does the original comic match the current version?

Day 4

1. Watch the first half of the video about teen sidekicks. Stop at 16:16.
2. Read The Human Torch #2 (1940), the first appearance of Toro.

Day 5

1. Watch the first half of the video about Timely Comics in the 1940s. End at 19:02.
2. Read through Captain America Comics #3 (1941) and be sure to read Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.

Day 6

1. Watch the first third of The First Superheroes at the Movies beginning at the linked location. End at 12:13.
2. Watch the first installment of the Captain America serial, Captain America: The Purple Death.

Day 7

1. Watch the selected section of the video about more the decline of superheroes after WWII.
2. Read through All-Winners Comics #1 (1941) for a crossover of Marvel’s biggest heroes of the 1940s.

Day 8

1. Watch the first part of the video about new genres in comics. (Stop at 8:11.) If superheroes were on their way out, what was replacing them?
2. Read through Tales of Suspense #2 (1959).

Day 9

1. Watch the video about the Anti-Comics Crusade and The Seduction of the Innocent.
2. Look through Journey into Mystery #40 (1952).

Day 10

1. Watch the video about congressional hearings and the CCA, and the way some comics reacted to this censorship. You can stop at 29:26.

Day 11

1. Watch the video about Atlas/Marvel in the mid-1950s. (Start at the selected point and watch until the end.)
2. Look through Black Knight #5 (1955). As was pointed out in the video, this is NOT the superhero Black Knight, who doesn’t make an appearance until the 1960s.

Day 12

1. Watch the first part of the video about more Atlas/Marvel comics in the mid 50s, and the introduction of Jimmy Woo. (Stop watching at 12:19.)
2. You can take a look at the original Yellow Claw comic here. These comics are not available to read on Marvel.com, likely because of outdated depictions of race.

Day 13

1. Watch this video overview of the Silver Age of Comics.
2. Read through Young Men #24 (1950).

Day 14

1. Watch the video about the birth of the Silver Age (beginning at the selected point). Stop at 31:38. This video deals with the ways that DC heroes were updated for the Silver Age, but it is interesting to see their evolutions.
2. Check it out! It’s Fantastic Four #1 (1960)!

Day 15*

1. Watch the first part of the video about the Marvel Age. (Stop at 13:29.)
2. Print a copy of this blank timeline. Label it with the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Modern age. Add the Marvel Age as well. Be sure to add a title to your timeline and the relevant dates. (As you can see from this graphic – and as was mentioned in the video – there are disagreements about the periodizations of comics between comic historians, but for today we will stick with the four period model.)

Day 16

1. Continue watching the video about the Marvel age, beginning at the selected point. Stop watching at 35:27.
2. Take a look at Fantastic Four #5 (1961), the first appearance of Dr. Doom.

Day 17

1. Let’s talk about Ant-Man! Watch the first part of the video about the Marvel Age (part 2.) Stop at 12:59.
2. Read through Tales To Astonish #44 (1963), the first appearance of the Wasp.

Day 18

1. Watch the next section of Marvel Age part 2, beginning at the selected spot. Stop at 25:34.
2. Look through The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962).
3. Look through Journey into Mystery #83 (1962).

Day 19

1. Finish watching Marvel Age, part 2. Today we’re talking about Spiderman!
2. Read Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962).

Day 20

1. Watch the first part of Marvel Hits it Big! Stop watching at 10:10.
2. Look through Tales of Suspense #39 (1963). This is where Iron Man is introduced.
3. Look for the first appearance of Dr. Strange in Strange Tales #110 (1963).

Day 21

1. Watch the next part of Marvel Age, part 3. Stop at 18:46. Things are getting crowded now on the superhero scene – 1963-64 bring us the X-Men, the Avengers, and Daredevil!
2. Take a look at Uncanny X-Men #1 (1963).
3. Read through Avengers #4 (1963).
4. Take a look at Daredevil #1 (1964).

Day 22

1. Continue watching Marvel Age, part 3. Stop at 28:49.
2. Consider how the Marvel heroes of the 1960s differ from the DC heroes created in the Golden Age. Why do you think readers responded so positively to the new Marvel heroes?

Day 23

1. Finish watching Marvel Age, part 3.
2. Take a look at Tales of Suspense #57 (1964), the first appearance of Clint Barton as Hawkeye, and in which he teams up with Natasha Romanov as Black Widow for the first time.

Day 24

1. Watch the beginning of Marvel Age part 4. This video focuses on the people that were brought on board in the early 60s as Marvel’s popularity exploded. Stop at 12:37.
2. X-Men #4 (1964) marks the original appearance of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

Day 25

1. Continue watching Marvel Age, part 4. Stop watching at 20:29.
2. Read through Fantastic Four #48 (1966), The Coming of Galactus.
3. Here is a link to Silver Surfer #1 (1968) if you want to read that one, too.

Day 26

1. Watch the rest of Marvel Age, part 4. In this segment you learn about tensions between Stan Lee and other members of the team at Marvel amid Marvel’s rising popularity.

Day 27

1. Watch the section of the video about Steranko. Stop at 21:42.
2. Take a look at Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (1968). Is the art style noticeably different than the earlier comics by other artists?
3. Take a look at Tower of Shadows #1 (1969).

Day 28

1. Watch the next section of the video about Marvel expanding to tv. Stop at 30:12.
2. Watch the intro for The Marvel Superheroes (1966).
3. Watch Fantastic Four episode 11, Demon in the Deep.
4. Watch Spiderman episode 7, Captured by J. Jonah Jameson.

Day 29

1. Watch the video section about Marvel expanding its distribution.
2. Check out Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969) for the debut of the Guardians of the Galaxy!
3. Take a look also at Fantastic Four #52 (1966) for the debut of Black Panther.

Day 30

1. Watch the video about comics becoming unchanging properties, beginning at the selected point. Stop watching at 25:15.
2. 1969 also marked the debut of Sam Wilson as the Falcon! Read Captain America #117 (1969) to see.

Day 31

1. Watch the video about Marvel’s Sliding Time scale and the end of the Silver Age.
2. Let’s watch another episode of Spider-man (1967)! Check out “The Witching Hour.”

Day 32

1. Begin watching the video about the bronze age. (Stop at 33:00)
2. Take a look at Avengers #90 (1971) for a peek at the Kree-Skrull War.

Day 33

1. Continue watching the video, beginning with Stan Lee’s big promotion. Stop at 36:38
2. Read Star Wars #1 (1977).
3. Watch Spidey Super Stories – Spidey Meets the Spoiler. These shorts represent the first Marvel live-action adaptation since the Captain America serial – and only the second time Marvel was adapted in live action. (Don’t worry. Things get better from here.)

Day 34

1. Today watch The Amazing Spider-Man (1977).

Day 35

1. Read the article “A History of Old Marvel Live-Action TV Shows” as a preview of what is coming up!

Day 36

1. Today watch the made for TV movie that began the Incredible Hulk series, part 1 and part 2.

Day 37

1. More heroes were introduced in the 1970s that are still popular today. Take a look at these comics to see the debut appearances of the following:

Day 38

1. Watch the next part of the video about the bronze age, starting in the selected place. Stop watching at 41:26.
2. Look through Avengers #115 (1973) for the beginning of the Avengers/Defenders War.
3. Defenders #8 (1973) continues the storyline.
4. If you want to read “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” (The Amazing Spider-Man #121 and #122 (1973)), here are the links.

Day 39

1. Watch the last section of the video, about the Punisher and X-Men.
2. Read Giant Size X-Men #1 (1975).

Day 40

1. Begin watching the video about Marvel in the late 70s/early 80s. Stop watching at 11:30.
2. You can read “Superman vs The Amazing Spider-man” here.
3. Take a look at Eternals #1 (1976).

Day 41

1. Continue watching the video about Marvel in the late 70s/early 80s. Stop at 21:43. (Yes, keep watching through the part about the DC Explosion/Implosion.)
2. Watch S01 E12 of The New Fantastic Four (1978), “The Final Victory of Doctor Doom.”

Day 42

1. Watch the video about Marvel acquiring the rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs properties. Stop at 26:54.
2. Watch an episode of Spider-Woman (1979).

Day 43

1. Watch the video about the increasing popularity of X-Men and Daredevil. Stop watching at 32:00
2. Take a look at Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980) for the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga.
3. Check out Daredevil #183 (1982) for his first face-off with the Punisher.

Day 44

1. Watch the video about big changes in the industry. Stop watching at 18:48.
2. Check out Iron Man #118 (1979) for the first appearance of James “Rhodey” Rhodes.
3. Avengers #181 (1979) marks the first appearance of Scott Lang.

Day 45

1. Watch more about big changes in the industry. (Finish the video.)
2. Watch an episode of Spider-Man (1981).

Please proceed to Quarter 2!