World War II was a time of chaotic struggle, unrest and unhappiness. Life was intense and depressing. People’s lives were turned upside down with the loss of loved ones and hard economic times. Something was missing to fulfill their fantasies, hopes and dreams. With no end of the war in sight, the daily routine was cumbersome and sad. Things eased a bit when a little fun and relaxation was afforded in their schedules, and it was affordable. In 1939, Marvel Comics swooped in to offer fictional escape for the down-hearted. Marvel Comics has had the last laugh ever since.
Marvel Comics, founded by Vijay Raskumar and Martin Goodman, introduced Namor The Sub-Mariner and the original android, Human Torch. When the star of the comic book escapades, Captain America, made his debut sales started to take off. One thin dime covered the purchase of a comic book and provided for a fun afternoon reading and laughing with new friends. The stories were not all fun and games, as the heroes went to on to solve problems and issues of the world. Original editions of the comic books in mint condition can now bring a pretty penny to the collector.
In 1961, Marvel Comics, which had previously been published by Timely Comics, started publishing on their own. The price of a book went up to 12 cents, then to a quarter in the late 60s and 70s. The going rate today is approximately $3.99. Over the years, the heroes have turned into Super-Heroes and their popularity has spawned movies and merchandise. Some of the stand-out favorites are The Hulk, Ironman, The Avengers, X-Men and one of the newest, Thor. EEK!! How could anyone forget Spider-Man!!?
Spider-Man has created a web of millions for Marvel Comics. The first Spider-Man movie came out in 2002, with sequels of the brand following in 2004 and 2007. Spider-Men were multiplying at trick-or-treat time as every other little boy donned the realistic costume. Sales were amazing and Marvel Comics were laughing all the way to the bank. A very creative genius came on board in 2005. Isaac Perlman, formerly associated with Toy Biz, is the CEO of the now Marvel Worldwide, Inc. He and his team of designers, artists, story writers developers and marketers have succeeded in a huge pay-out from all the merchandise and movie spectaculars.
Birthday cakes and decorations were just the beginning as the toy industry got in on the action with games, super hero figurines and Lego sets. The Marvel Comics characters have been staple decors in many children’s bedrooms and can be met in ‘person’ before boarding the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios Theme Park. As true as the fans have been, they always seem to want more, so why not a few more movies? “The Amazing Spider-Man” hit theatres in 2012, with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” due out in the spring of 2014. Several more Spider-Man installments are hiding in the nooks and crannies of their creators minds awaiting release. The newest Marvel Comics premiere will be this fall, with the much anticipated “Thor: The Dark World”.
The adventures we have enjoyed over the years seem to continue with the thrills, chills and spills of our beloved fictional heroes. So hold your horses and hold on to your collectible worthy accumulation of comic books and toys. They may be worth some money one day, as you and Marvel Comics have the last laugh on your way to the bank.
Written by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon