8 early Marvel comic book heroes
The Marvel publisher of comic books has been around for almost eight decades and meanwhile it has produced a wide range of famous superheroes, such as Captain America, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. Marvel started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and in the early 1950s changed its name to Atlas Comics. Those early years were called the Golden Age. Let’s see whose adventures you could read about more than half a century ago:
The Ka-Zar magazine only had three issues and it featured for the first time Ka-Zar, a boy raised by lions to become a figure similar to Tarzan. Ka-Zar’s real name is David Rand; his parents’ plane crashes in the Congo jungle and the young boy is raised by jungle animals. Ka-Zar becomes a strong man who defeats a greedy man called Paul De Kraft who enslaves the natives and gathers emeralds. The creators or Ka-Zar were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
2. Namor the Sub-Mariner
This character has debuted in 1939 and was created by Bill Everett. Namor was one of the three Marvel characters in the Golden Age of comic books. Namor is the son of a human sea captain and of a princess from the Atlantis kingdom. His superpowers include super-strength, aquatic abilities, and the ability to fly. What makes Namor unique is the fact he was the first known comic book antihero, acting like a villain.
3. Human Torch
Human Torch was created by writer-artist Carl Burgos and he appeared for the first time in Marvel Comics #1. An android developed by scientist Phineas Horton, Human Torch can surround himself with flames and when he is not taking his real appearance, he works as a police officer for the New York City Police Department. The Human Torch is one of the early three signature characters, along with Captain America and Namor the Sub-Mariner. The character was forgotten in the 1950s, but in 1961 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby took over Human Torch and transformed him into Johnny Storm, a member of the Fantastic Four.
Angel is the true identity of Thomas Halloway, a wealthy former surgeon. Because his mother died in childbirth, Thomas was raised by his father in prison, as he was a warden. Unlike other heroes, Angel did not wear a mask to conceal his identity, in spite of his costume. Another distinctive trait of Angel is that he does not have any superpowers – he just has a deep insight of the underworld due to his raising. Angel re-appeared in 1990s comic books as an older character and was featured as the leader of the Scourges of the Underworld group, which eliminated a large number of villains.
Electro was a robot hero with superhuman powers and who could run at 100 mph. Electro first appeared in the Marvel Mystery Comics magazine and was created by Steve Dahlman. Electro also appeared in Marvel Mystery #4 in the early 40s and is revived in The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston, in 2008 and 2012. In this series, the robot is part of the heroes trapped in a secret bunker during the Battle of Berlin to be examined by Nazi scientists. After the fall of the Third Reich, the eleven heroes are left in suspended animation to be recovered and sent back to New York sixty years later.
6. Black Widow
Black Widow or Claire Voyant is an antiheroine killing villains to deliver their souls to Satan, her master. Her first appearance was in Mystic Comics #4; her first five appearances are made throughout the Golden Age, and she returns several times in the 90s and 2000s, including the 12 issues of The Twelve. Abilities include superhuman strength, flight, mental suggestion, invisibility, death touch, immortality, and the ability to communicate with the dead.
The Vision was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and made his first appearance in Marvel Mystery Comics #3 in November 1940. The Vision continued to appear in the superhero anthology in issue #48 and was also featured in an eight-page story in Kid Comics #3 in summer 1943. Vision was taken to the modern age by Rick Jones and appeared together with the superhero team the Avengers during the Kree-Skrull War in The Avengers # 97 in March 1972. His last appearance was in the All-New Invaders series in 2014.
8. Captain America
Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 in March 1941. He was a very popular character during the wartime period as he was depicted as a patriotic supersoldier who fought the Axis powers of World War II. Captain America entered into obscurity in the 1950s as superheroes lost their popularity after war. However, the character was revived in 1964 and never removed from the publication again.
From forgotten superheroes like Ka-Zar to famous ones such as Captain America, who is still being featured in comic books today, the Golden Age of Marvel has delivered us some captivating figures. Which one is your favourite?