What do Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, and Iron Man have in common? They’re all creations of Marvel Comics! Whether you know them from comic books, movie screens, or both, Marvel’s superheroes are among the world’s most popular characters. But where did they come from?
Marvel Comics was the title of a comic book published by Timely Publications in 1939. The first issue featured the Human Torch and other superheroes. It is now one of the world’s most valuable comics, with a copy having sold for US$350,000 in 2003! It was also a hit in its own day, as was the company’s next offering, Captain America, in 1941. The end of World War II, however, also brought an end to comics’ golden age. Timely, now called Atlas, struggled along for the next 15 years without great success.
In 1961, the company again changed its name, this time to Marvel Comics, and quickly turned its fortunes around. Over the next three years, Marvel introduced the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, the X-Men, and Daredevil. Even Captain America came back after more than a decade to meet a whole new generation of fans!
Marvel’s success owed much to the humanity of its heroes. Spider-Man was really Peter Parker, a teenage nerd who acquired super powers from a spider bite. The X-Men were mutants, born with abilities that could save the world but made them outcasts. And Daredevil was a superhero with a difference—he was blind! Thanks to these and other successful titles, Marvel soon became one of the world’s best-selling comic book companies. It still competes for that title with the industry’s other giant, DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
In recent years, Marvel has found a new world to conquer. Its characters are now as successful on the screen as they ever were on paper. If the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Iron Man film series are any indication, the house of heroes will be around for a long time.
《漫威漫畫》是「時代出版社」於1939年發行的漫畫書。第一期登場的人物有「霹靂火」和其他超級英雄。這本漫畫目前是全球最價值連城的漫畫之一，2003年竟賣出35 萬美元的天價！發行當年亦掀起熱潮。而 第二個超人氣漫威角色，就是1941 年出版的《美國隊長》。不過，隨著第二次世界大戰落幕，漫畫書的「黃金年代」亦接近尾聲。「時代出版社」更名為「阿特拉斯出版社」，於二戰之後苦撐15年卻無傑出成就。
漫威的成就可說是建立在英雄人物們的人性上。蜘蛛人的真面目是名為彼得‧ 帕克的青少年，因為被蜘蛛咬了之後得到超能力；X 戰警是天賦異稟的變種人，擁有拯救世界的能力卻被世界排擠；夜魔俠則因為失明，成為大家眼中十分特別的超級英雄！多虧他們和其他大受歡迎的成功角色，漫威很快就成為全球銷售第一的漫畫公司之一。而與漫威角逐漫畫界龍頭稱號的另一家巨擘「DC漫畫」，旗下超級英雄包括超 人、蝙蝠俠與神力女超人。