Marvel Comics blew out the blaze of candles on its 80th birthday cake last year, honoring and recognizing the long road from the tiny publishing house of Timely Comics in 1939, to the Disney-owned superhero juggernaut of the 21st century. Its iconic characters and compelling stories have vaulted the Marvel Universe to the pinnacle of pop-culture today.
To encapsulate the House of Idea's milestone anniversary and the global company's enviable stable of heroes and villains like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Galactus, Black Widow, Wolverine, Doctor Doom, and The X-Men, Titan Books is releasing Marvel: The First 80 Years on Nov. 24 — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of this deluxe commemorative edition.
This gorgeously illustrated, 160-page companion book dissects the origins and dense history of the largest and most successful comic book company on the planet, emerging from the talented minds of legendary creators such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chris Claremont, Joe Simon, and Steve Ditko.
From simple beginnings and the obstacles it overcame to emerge as the powerhouse of publishing that it is today, Titan's comprehensive examination of Marvel Comics contains all-encompassing overviews of the trials and triumphs from each decade, with iconic milestones, characters, creators, lavish illustrations, and fun behind-the-scenes trivia.
Marvel: The First 80 Years emphasizes how the decade of the Eighties was a particularly important period where Spider-Man and The Hulk helped pave the way to pop-culture immortality with spotlight appearances on TV, in grand publicity stunts, and even a starring role for the dynamic web-spinner in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a massive balloon.
"Newly founded, Hollywood-based Marvel Productions produced a pair of cartoon series destined to become classics," the book explains. "In 1981 the company simultaneously debuted Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, (which teamed Spidey up with Iceman and a new heroine, the flaming mutant, Firestar) as well as the syndicated Spider-Man. They were joined in 1982 by The Incredible Hulk, which Stan Lee himself narrated."
The Incredible Hulk live action series also charged back to the small screen, and generated a trio of smashing, made-for-television movies: The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk (1989), and The Death Of The Incredible Hulk (1990).
But the most memorable marketing event came in 1987 to salute Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, when Stan Lee officiated a touching wedding ceremony with costumed actors at New York's Shea Stadium before a Mets-Pirates baseball contest with 45,000 cheering fans on hand to witness the nuptials.
Now enjoy our five-page peek at Titan Books' Marvel: The First 80 Years (Nov. 24) in the full gallery below.