Top Definition
Marvel Worldwide Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American publisher of comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide's parent company.

Marvel started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the early 1950s had generally become known as Atlas Comics. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and many others.

Marvel counts among its characters such well-known properties as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Wolverine, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and the Avengers and antagonists such as the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Kingpin, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Loki, Galactus, Thanos, the Abomination, and the Red Skull. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locations that mirror real-life cities. Characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange are based in New York City, whereas the X-Men have historically been based in Salem Center, New York, and the Hulk's stories have usually been set in the American Southwest.
Marvel Comics began life as "Timely Publications" in 1939, with comic books featuring Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner and an early version of the Human Torch. Legendary comics writer Stan Lee was hired as an office assistant in 1939. Within two years, the 19-year-old Lee was promoted to editor of the Marvel Comics line, a post that he would keep until 1972.

Everything changed in 1961, when Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby ushered in "The Marvel Age of Comics" by creating The Fantastic Four -- a new style of superhero comic that focused on the characters' internal drama as well as their heroic adventures. The style was a huge success, and the Lee/Kirby team went on to create the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Mighty Thor and the X-Men. The prolific Lee worked with artist Steve Ditko to create Marvel's greatest success story, Spider-Man. Stan Lee's Marvel revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators.
by The Centurion October 28, 2014
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