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Origins of Marvel Comics

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Marvel presents the origins and history of its most famous creations. Narrated by Stan (the Man) Lee, that stellar storyman who saw comics as more than dime-store material and turned his characters into 20th-century mythology. Included are the beginnings of The Fantastic Four, which hurled Marvel out of the area of monsters without soul into the age of cosmic heroes; The Hu Marvel presents the origins and history of its most famous creations. Narrated by Stan (the Man) Lee, that stellar storyman who saw comics as more than dime-store material and turned his characters into 20th-century mythology. Included are the beginnings of The Fantastic Four, which hurled Marvel out of the area of monsters without soul into the age of cosmic heroes; The Hulk, brilliant scientist turned muddled monster; Spider-Man, the teenage superhero known affectionately to aficionados as "Spidey"; Thor, the surgeon turned Norse god with the mystical hammer and the Shakespearean speech pattern; and finally Dr. Strange, the oddball magician who uses his Satanic powers on the side of good. After you read the big full-color stories and learn about the first heady inspirations from Stan, you will see why Origins of Marvel Comics stands alone as one of the great classics - an undying tribute to Marvel mania.


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Marvel presents the origins and history of its most famous creations. Narrated by Stan (the Man) Lee, that stellar storyman who saw comics as more than dime-store material and turned his characters into 20th-century mythology. Included are the beginnings of The Fantastic Four, which hurled Marvel out of the area of monsters without soul into the age of cosmic heroes; The Hu Marvel presents the origins and history of its most famous creations. Narrated by Stan (the Man) Lee, that stellar storyman who saw comics as more than dime-store material and turned his characters into 20th-century mythology. Included are the beginnings of The Fantastic Four, which hurled Marvel out of the area of monsters without soul into the age of cosmic heroes; The Hulk, brilliant scientist turned muddled monster; Spider-Man, the teenage superhero known affectionately to aficionados as "Spidey"; Thor, the surgeon turned Norse god with the mystical hammer and the Shakespearean speech pattern; and finally Dr. Strange, the oddball magician who uses his Satanic powers on the side of good. After you read the big full-color stories and learn about the first heady inspirations from Stan, you will see why Origins of Marvel Comics stands alone as one of the great classics - an undying tribute to Marvel mania.

30 review for Origins of Marvel Comics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mott

    OK, I know that Stan Lee takes waaaay to much credit, and downplays or downright ignores significant creative contributions of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Bill Everett, etc. I didn't know that when I read this book in the 4th grade, but I do now. So you have to read the book with a grain of salt. That said, this book and Son of Origins are the books that made me fall in love with comics as a kid--even more so than reading comic books on their own. Lee tells the stories behind the creatio OK, I know that Stan Lee takes waaaay to much credit, and downplays or downright ignores significant creative contributions of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Bill Everett, etc. I didn't know that when I read this book in the 4th grade, but I do now. So you have to read the book with a grain of salt. That said, this book and Son of Origins are the books that made me fall in love with comics as a kid--even more so than reading comic books on their own. Lee tells the stories behind the creations of some of Marvel's most beloved characters, and places it all within historical context. It's written in a breezy, personable style that makes you feel like he's writing to you directly and letting you in on secrets. The origin stories of the great Marvel Silver Age superheroes are reprinted, along with a follow-up issue from a couple years later when they've really hit their creative stride. A fantastic book! I've held onto my copies all these years and now my kids are reading them. Purchase a used copy from the 1970s (thicker paper, better inking/coloring) than a reprint from the 80s or 90s.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tony Cafiso

    I read the part on Spider-man and how he became so popular. There were two volumes included in the book, the first was the first volume of Spider-man, and the second was a later volume that featured the shocker. In the first one it explains how he came to be Spider-man. In the other, he is facing the shocker and also going through troubles with his dual identities causing problems with his Girlfriend and Job. I enjoyed reading them because it helped me understand where they got the ideas for the I read the part on Spider-man and how he became so popular. There were two volumes included in the book, the first was the first volume of Spider-man, and the second was a later volume that featured the shocker. In the first one it explains how he came to be Spider-man. In the other, he is facing the shocker and also going through troubles with his dual identities causing problems with his Girlfriend and Job. I enjoyed reading them because it helped me understand where they got the ideas for the movies from. It is interesting reading the first comic that was about him because, having seen the movies, I can see how similar the stories are. The newest movie and the older ones all follow the comics, but focus on different aspects, such as which villains they use. It is also interesting how they end each volume, it seems like Stan Lee is narrating the whole time and ends each one by telling the reader to be ready for the next one. He also doesn't use very big cliff hangers either. I would recommend this to any Marvel Comics fans or anyone who likes old superhero comics.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    A superb book for learning the origin stories of many of Marvel's key superhero characters. The 1st issue reprinted in this book lets you read these great stories without the huge price you would have to pay to buy them individually. Very recommend to any comic fan.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mardahl

    This was an enjoyable read and a trip down memory lane. Stan Lee wrote a few pages of introduction for each of the Marvel heros presented in this book: * Fantastic Four * Hulk * Spiderman * Thor * Doctor Strange Each introduction was followed by two tales (comics): * The tale of that superhero's (or heroes, in the case of the Fantastic Four) origins * A story several years later so you could see the changes and developments in the character and the story line. The Fantastic Four is probably the first com This was an enjoyable read and a trip down memory lane. Stan Lee wrote a few pages of introduction for each of the Marvel heros presented in this book: * Fantastic Four * Hulk * Spiderman * Thor * Doctor Strange Each introduction was followed by two tales (comics): * The tale of that superhero's (or heroes, in the case of the Fantastic Four) origins * A story several years later so you could see the changes and developments in the character and the story line. The Fantastic Four is probably the first comic I ever read, aside from the "funnies" in the Sunday newspapers. This made the book a trip down memory lane. All written in a style that is unmistakeably Stan Lee. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    In 1974 I was 10 years old, and had discovered the wide and wonderful world of comic books. I was a precocious reader, and I devoured a ton of different titles. Superhero strips, horror strips...adventure...comedy….I pretty much liked ‘em all. What I didn’t like so much was the DC branded fare. Marvel was my addiction, as the comics coming from the mighty Bullpen seemed somewhat “edgier” and more dangerous to my pre-teen sensibilities. The one exception to that formula was a DC title named “The In 1974 I was 10 years old, and had discovered the wide and wonderful world of comic books. I was a precocious reader, and I devoured a ton of different titles. Superhero strips, horror strips...adventure...comedy….I pretty much liked ‘em all. What I didn’t like so much was the DC branded fare. Marvel was my addiction, as the comics coming from the mighty Bullpen seemed somewhat “edgier” and more dangerous to my pre-teen sensibilities. The one exception to that formula was a DC title named “The Demon.” Drawn and written by Jack Kirby, that was the only magazine that caught my attention from the “other” big comic book publisher of the era. But that’s neither here nor there. The decades-long battle between the comics giants has been well documented elsewhere, and I won’t belabor you with it here. My parents knew of my obsession, of course, and mostly accepted what was an inevitability. I was getting an allowance of $2.50 a week back then, which was a veritable fortune to a 10 year old kid. Coupled with the money I made from mowing lawns and taking out the trash for the residents of the trailer park that we lived in...well...I was as affluent as a kid could possibly be. I could make weekly trips to the dime store (Murphy’s…..I can still see it as plain as day) to stock up on the new releases, even WITH the price hike from 20 cents an issue to two bits. It was heaven on earth. For Christmas that year, my parents bought me a serious treasure. I opened the wrapping paper carefully to find a book. But not just ANY book. No, this one was special beyond words. It was “The Origins of Marvel Comics” by one Stan Lee, the publisher and creator (and writer) of a good number of Marvel’s best known titles. Finding this under our little tree was like finding the Holy Grail, but better. All you could do was drink from the Grail, but you could DIVE into this book and not come up for for hours on end. I must have read the thing a hundred times. By mid-1975 it was dog-eared and taped up and creased all to hell and back, but it was still one of my most prized possessions. Then one day I made a mistake. There was a guy who lived in one of the trailers who was also a comic book freak, but he was older. I would guess that Mike (yes, his name was also Mike) was probably in his mid-to-late 20s, a nice guy with a steady job who never caused any trouble and paid his rent on time. I was on my front steps reading “Origins” again when Mike strode on by. Curious, he asked what I was reading. I enthusiastically showed him. He asked to borrow the book. I hesitated. He asked again. I caved in and handed it over. No problem, right? Nice guy. I’d leave him to it for a couple of weeks and then he’d give the book back and all would be well. So I bided my time and waited, nervously. Then one day about a month later Mike just up and split. Moved out overnight, leaving nary a trace. His trailer was empty, but so was my heart, because old Mike had split with my BOOK. I tried to get another copy, but the place that my Mom had ordered it from was sold out. There was no internet back then, no way to easily and quickly search different websites for available copies of books. Long story short, I was never able to replace my lost treasure. Until now, of course. The more recent problem was finding a decently priced copy of the original printing. So I waited and waited, and finally found a copy for under $30 on AbeBooks. And thus my treasure was restored to me. And yes, I am still nothing more than a kid trapped in the body of a 55 year old man. Don’t judge me. I am going to go on record here and recommend the original 1974 Fireside pressing of “Origins.” You can get reprints cheaper, but the quality is subpar when compared to the thick pages and vibrant colors of the first edition. Yes, it can be a bit pricey, but it’s worth it in the long run. So what you’re getting with this gem is the origin story issues and a later adventure for five of Marvel’s silver age superhero trendsetters. These magazines revolutionized comic books, adding in a depth of characterization and a complexity of storytelling that was sorely missing in other superhero rags of the era. Marvel also made an effort to be more empathetic to their villains, giving THEM backstories and motives that often went far beyond the simple “good guy/bad guy” dichotomy. Here is the quick rundown on what’s included: “The Fantastic Four” - The awesome origin ish PLUS a later adventure from 1966 that is basically nothing more than The Thing and The Silver Surfer pounding the nuts off of each other. Absolutely classic stuff. If you want to get a feel for what superhero teams would forever be modeled on, you need to read this. “The Hulk” - Mean Green’s origin issue is the stuff of legend, but it’s the 1969 adventure pitting The Hulk against Namor the Sub-Mariner that is the true diamond here. The Hulk had grown in power and angst by this time, and having him duke it out with Namor was a stroke of genius. Namor at that point was also one of Marvel’s physically strongest characters, and to have these two giants hammer away at each other is a thrill and a half. “Spider-Man” - Spidey’s classic origin issue is a blast, effectively setting Peter Parker up for a lifetime of psychoses when he figures out that HE is to blame for the death of his dear old Uncle Ben. The second issue from 1969 is less impressive, featuring one of Spidey's sillier villains, The Shocker, he of the incredible vibrating power. Yeah. Vibrating power. “Thor” - Thor’s origin issue places the newly revived Thunder God right smack dab in the middle of an alien invasion. The second offering from 1967 has Thor and Balder and Sif doing battle with the mighty Enchanters. My advice is to just feast your eyes on all of the magnificent Jack Kirby artwork and let the tale take you away. “Dr. Strange” - Marvel’s attempt at an occult superhero took a few unusual turns before finally getting its feet under it. Originally appearing in “Journey Into Fantasy #110,” the good Dr. didn’t even get an origin issue until issue #115. The second tale is notable because of the artwork by Marie Severin, one of the few female artists working in the field in the 1960s. And so there you have it. Each chapter is introduced and expanded upon by Lee himself, who takes a lot of credit for the invention of this new breed of superheroes. It’s fun to read the stuff that Lee has to say about how these characters developed over time. It’s invaluable background information that will satisfy any comics fan who enjoys a bit of behind the scenes intrigue. I have to admit that I eventually forgave Mike for making off with my original copy. I had just about memorized the damn thing by that time anyway. But I’m also glad to have acquired another copy to place on my shelf and eventually hand down to one of my kids. The thrill of opening those pages is still there, proof positive that great storytelling augmented by fantastic artwork stands the test of time. One last little bit of trivia here. “Origins of Marvel Comics” is often credited with being the first “graphic novel” to ever be released. That alone gives it an added bit of collector cachet. This is a must-own if you are a comics fan, period. What are you waiting for? Go and search out a copy NOW, True Believer!!!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Sparvero

    A great way to read the original appearances of many of Marvel's most famous heroes. Seeing crisp color reprints of Jack Kirbys work is always a true delight. Apart from the actual comics this book is a pure piece of Marvel propaganda written by Stan Lee himself. He takes way too much time explaining how creative and innovative he was as he specifically created each hero and wrote every story. Key people such as Jack Kirby himself are outrageously downplayed and poorly mentioned. Two major issue A great way to read the original appearances of many of Marvel's most famous heroes. Seeing crisp color reprints of Jack Kirbys work is always a true delight. Apart from the actual comics this book is a pure piece of Marvel propaganda written by Stan Lee himself. He takes way too much time explaining how creative and innovative he was as he specifically created each hero and wrote every story. Key people such as Jack Kirby himself are outrageously downplayed and poorly mentioned. Two major issues turned this book sour: 1. Stan the man continually contradicts himself as he professes one thing in his intos to each comic and then the reader sees the very opposite in the material itself. Examples: claiming that spiderman was a oneshot idea thrown into the very last issue of Strange Tales but the reader sees at the last page of the issue a panel advertising for future adventures of spiderman. Stan claims that he never quite dipped into the sidekick element and such ideas make the material corny yet they make one for the very first appearance of The Hulk. He toots his own horn of how creative and complex the storylines are and uet in the very few issues contained in the book, two of them consist of an angry character initiating a fight and continuing it the whole time due to a misunderstanding and not listening to the other character. 2. Stan Lee feels the need to continually throw the competition under the bus in any way or situation he is presented with. Not only does he come off as a cheap politician in a debate but he also arrogantly assumes the reader is either completely new to comic books, and thus foolishly swayed by his comments, or he/she is a Marvel fanboy who enjoys these childish antics. Any casual reader who enjoys the comic book genre or even a DC fan who wants to appreciate the material might find themselves turned off by the writer. The reader comes away questioning the validity of many of writers claims especially since some of them are well known to be false. The comic material is mostly great and enjoyable but the book as a whole is ruined by Stan Lee as a writer and a person.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Anderson

    The original stories reprinted in full color. A must-have for any Marvel collector.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    In this book you have the first appearance and some key elements from the first decade or so of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and other classic marvel characters and that is phenomenal in and of itself, but the true value of this work is Stan Lee discussing the origins of these works and how Marvel started from Timely Publishing and how, through the years, it evolved out of the concept to be more human than otherworldly. He explains, as only he can in his normal tongue in cheek way that he wan In this book you have the first appearance and some key elements from the first decade or so of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and other classic marvel characters and that is phenomenal in and of itself, but the true value of this work is Stan Lee discussing the origins of these works and how Marvel started from Timely Publishing and how, through the years, it evolved out of the concept to be more human than otherworldly. He explains, as only he can in his normal tongue in cheek way that he wanted to do away with teen sidekicks - why would the super powered want a 13 year old hanging around? - and the idea of a secret identity - if he was super powered, he sure would not hide it. He also wanted to say that heroes would have bad days as well- they would disagree and while that concept is common now, in the 1960s, heroes never argued. So, in the Fantastic Four, he had Ben Grimm and Reed Richards argue from the word go - it just made sense to him. Published in 1974, that is the truest value of this book - only a little beyond a decade from creation, Stan looked back at his creations and tries to explain why each was what they were then and we can see how that got them to where they are today. Comic books may now be a buzzing industry with billion dollar film grosses and the like, but this book reminds us that there was a time when what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and a host of others did was odd and over the top - and now, over 40 years since this book was published, it seems almost quaint, but to the cultural historian and the fan, this should have a place on your shelf. Stan Lee gives us an almost back lot style tour of the process of our heroes...and it does not get much better than that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    Seeing as how I'm taking what will likely be a years-long undertaking of reading all the Marvel superhero comics from 1961 on, I thought it would be good to go back 40 years and read Stan Lee's origin stories. Okay, let's be real: Stan Lee has become as much a larger-than-life character as many of those he had a hand in creating. This buys him a lot of leeway. Because, make no mistake, the writing in this is absolutely horrible. Lee's love of alliteration and his bombastic statements are cringe-wo Seeing as how I'm taking what will likely be a years-long undertaking of reading all the Marvel superhero comics from 1961 on, I thought it would be good to go back 40 years and read Stan Lee's origin stories. Okay, let's be real: Stan Lee has become as much a larger-than-life character as many of those he had a hand in creating. This buys him a lot of leeway. Because, make no mistake, the writing in this is absolutely horrible. Lee's love of alliteration and his bombastic statements are cringe-worthy. But, he also takes as many shots at himself as he does anyone, and he's a hell of a lot of fun to read. He gives more credit to the artists than I remember when I first read this book, but then again, back then, I was twelve and Lee was only in his fifties. Now, I'm in my fifties and Lee is in his nineties (!). He's nowhere near as relevant as he was in the 60s, but there's gold in this book. I liked comics a lot before I read this book. But at the tender age of 12, when I finished this book, I loved them. I wanted to draw and write my own comics. I wanted to create characters that would be known and loved the world over, just like Lee did. You have to admit, the man was on a streak for a long time. And this is the story of it. My only complaint is, in true Stan Lee form, you get the highlights of the stories, but never the deep-down stuff. I know we never will, but I'd love to have seen that here.

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Northern

    I bought this off a friend in the '70's who was selling out his comic collectibles to raise cash for something he wanted. At the time it was the only way to view origin stories of some great superheroes. I have kept it all these years and it's amazing to me that it wasn't lost or destroyed. Even though I can now view all the original comic origins stories on line digitally. I just can not yet seem to let it go. Remember when comics were still sold in racks at the grocery store or at 7-11's? A by I bought this off a friend in the '70's who was selling out his comic collectibles to raise cash for something he wanted. At the time it was the only way to view origin stories of some great superheroes. I have kept it all these years and it's amazing to me that it wasn't lost or destroyed. Even though I can now view all the original comic origins stories on line digitally. I just can not yet seem to let it go. Remember when comics were still sold in racks at the grocery store or at 7-11's? A bygone era.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is a chronicle of the ways in which the writer, Stan Lee — along with seminal illustrators like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others — reinvented comic-book characters as complex, multi-faceted human beings and ushered in The Golden Age of comics. It's also a compendium of reminders of how and why Stan Lee made me a writer at the ripe young age of 10. Highly recommended, as is the follow up: Son of Origins of Marvel Comics.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kirby Davis

    Stan Lee's commentary is both insightful and fun. The mix of original appearances with later issues demonstrates impressive growth in writing, plot development, characterization, art, and the Marvel universe's striking depth. This makes for both a fun and insightful read, even when you consider the age of this book (1974).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    When Stan Lee passed away yesterday, I was telling my wife how excited I was to read this book as a kid. I got it for Christmas, the next year I got m'Son of Origins' and 'Bring on the Bad Guys' the year after that as well. Such great stuff. RIP & Excelsior Mr. Lee! When Stan Lee passed away yesterday, I was telling my wife how excited I was to read this book as a kid. I got it for Christmas, the next year I got m'Son of Origins' and 'Bring on the Bad Guys' the year after that as well. Such great stuff. RIP & Excelsior Mr. Lee!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan Farve

    Wonderful book about the origins of some of our favorite heroes: The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spiderman, Thor, and Doctor Strange. I highly recommend this for any Marvel fan as it details the creation of these heroes and supplies the actual origin issues for them as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hasan

    i want to read this book

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Fitzsimmons

    Not terribly heavy in historical detail, but the reprints of the early issues of Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and Spider-Man are all fascinating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Redwan Orittro

    A Marvel essential for anyone who wants to know the origin stories of their favourite super heroes. Contains key issues mostly from the golden and silver age

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Entertaining read. Loved learning the origins of Spider-Man!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fabri y Leo 6°B

    Está buenísimo, lindas historias, lo recomendamos muchisimo.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monstermatt Patterson

    I received this book as an Easter gift from my godmother,in 1975 or 76,along with a set of pastels and a drawing pad. It's such a great book to revisit!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    It introduced me to comic book "scholarship."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick Bright

    This was one of the books which got me into comics as a kid

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Qualls

    Exactly as described - a primer explaining origins of several of the Marvel characters. Useful to me, since I didn't grow up reading comics at all.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    This was the grail book for me in 1975. It showed up on my birthday.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nalin

    finally got a time to finish reading origins of my favorite marvel comic heros

  26. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

    isbn,original

  27. 4 out of 5

    Freder

    In the last several decades it has been far outstripped in its historical and reading value by other books; but back in the day, it was all we had, and if was terrif!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ben Stoutenburgh

    Good intro to some of the greats. Could have been clearer in Marvel history but that wasn't the point.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

    Recently cleaned out my room at my mothers house and found this book. It was one of my favorites as a kid.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Serge Pierro

    When this was released in 1974 it was one of the only sources available to read these classic Silver Age stories. Reprints some early and important books in the Marvel catalog.

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