Marvel Comics’ Troubling Origins Story


In 1961, Justice League of America (featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) was selling exceptionally well for DC, and Marvel decided it was time for another try with superheroes. Like many publishers, they had created a stable of heroes to fight the Nazis, but when the war ended reader interest in superheroes had waned. Lee turned to Jack Kirby, who was already working with him on various monster comics, and together they created The Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic! The Human Torch! The Invisible Girl! The Thing!). A Justice League get-together had the sterile feel of a Rotary club meeting, but the Fantastic Four was an actual family, and as in many families, there were deep-seated resentments and lots of screaming—the violent outbursts weren’t just reserved for the bad guys. Superhero comics would never be the same.


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