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IN Creative ON 12 Jun, 2016
Who does not know about Marvel Comics? Marvel has been associated with us since 1939 and most of us think that we know it all but it has been successful in keeping some things outside our reach. Nothing remains hidden in the age of Internet. Here are some facts about our very own Marvel which we never knew. These facts about Marvel are sure to surprise and shock you.
Let's have a look at some of these.
The Comic Code Authority which was an organization established in 1954 to make comics more kid-friendly but in addition to cutting down the bloodshed and violence they also decided to enact a ban on werewolves. Marvel managed to overcome this by making a contorted version of the Werewolf which looked less dangerous. The best example of this was Sauron who debuted in X-Men No.60 in 1969.
Then thankfully in 1971, the code was revised and werewolves were allowed to be included in the comic book stories as long as they related to the classic tradition of the "Gothic" literature of authors like Sir Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe. And after that came a flood of werewolf titles and characters, such as the popular Man and Wolf storyline running in Captain America in the early 1990s which saw the shield-wielding superhero turning into Cap-Wolf and Werewolf By Night title of the 1970s.
Jim Steranko was an admirable artist on Nick Fury, Agent of Shield in the 1960s but this wasn't the only notable thing about him. Before being a comic artist he was also an amateur Houdini artist putting on shows of escapology involving live burials and things like that. He was also a part of a rock band which once supported Bill Haley and the Comets. He once stole guns and motor vehicles and in 1956 he was arrested for the theft of 25 cars and two trucks. He was also a fire- eater, strange isn't it.
If Martin Goodman had struck on his original travel plans, then we would have never heard of Marvel Comics. On May 6, 1937, Martin Goodman planned to take a ride in the exciting new Hindenburg airship but was forced to take a plane instead. He had to do this because of non-availability of tickets which were next to one another. The Hindenburg got crashed that day which resulted in the death of 35 people onboard.
Martin Goodman, however, returned from his honeymoon and founded Timely Comics later that year which became Atlas Comics in 1951 and the same went on to become Marvel Comics in 1961.
Marvel was not only behind Spider-Man and Wolverine but they also developed the Transformer names Optimus Prime and Megatron. Toy manufacturer Hasbro had approached Jim Shooter who was the then editor in chief of Marvel comics. Hasbro also talked to the writers Denny O'Neil and Bob Budiansky. He had bought some robots with him which disguised themselves as cars and planes from the Japanese company, Takara and he wanted to repackage them. Budiansky created Megatron and O'Neil came up with Optimus Prime while Jim Shooter wrote an eight-page explanation that explained the relationship between the Decepticons and the Autobots.
Wally Wood is that pioneering artist whose name will always be held in high regard for his design of Daredevil's signature red costume but many know him as the dirty Wally Wood. In the later years during his downfall Woody, under the name Wallace Wood started making pornographic cartoons such as the explicit versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and a Disneyland Orgy. He also created a comic book called Gang-Bang and Flasher Gordon of which the latter was a lascivious version of Flash Gordon. In 2012 Disney bought Marvel probably forgetting about their former artist for playing around with their princess.
As is the case with many creative industries, it works on the basis of who got it first a simpler way to convey this is a trademark. Income can be generated by licensing of these trademarks through movies and merchandise. One such example is the term " Super Hero" which is trademarked jointly by Marvel as well as DC comics.
In 1973 Marvel applied for the trademark zombie after publishing Tale Of Zombie and two years later "Zombie" was officially trademarked to "Marvel" but by this time the term had widespread. But Marvel held the trademark till 1996 when they realized that it was almost impossible for them to reinforce it. Marvel then trademarked "Marvel Zombies" and with it, there was a document which said no claim is made to the exclusive right to use zombies.
Dave Cockrum who was an artist at Marvel resigned in 1979. Resignation letters are kept confidential but not in this case as the same letter was printed in a comic. The letter said that "I am leaving because now this is no longer the team-spirited one big family" where I once loved working. The letter said about the disintegration of morale at Marvel and the unfair and revengeful treatment which led him to leave Marvel.
Now most of you might be wondering how this was possible. There was just one little change which made it possible which was replacing the word "Marvel"with "Avengers". Three issues later in Iron Man No. 130 then writer David Micheline explained readers about the mixing up of letters which was due to a production error. But I bet not many know these facts about Marvel.
Steve Ditko was the first to pen Spider-Man, he is considered by many as one of the greatest comic book artists of all time. However, he left Marvel over a dispute of who owned the original artwork of Spider-Man. After years of legal disputes, Marvel accepted that all artwork belonged to the artists. But only in the form of gift and not in the form of copyright or royalties.
Ditko for sure didn't like it genuinely or as a method of revenge,he used the artwork for some different use. It was when historian Greg Theakston reached Ditko's studio he found out the ruined and slashed comic panels spread all over the place and when it was asked to Ditko, he refused to display or protect the famous boards and instead used it as cutting boards among other things.
So this was the story of how some of the most famous artwork of history was destroyed over some selfish dispute.
There have been presidents in comics from a very long time and the most recent being Barack Obama on the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 583. George Bush and Jimmy Carter have also shown up in the Marvel Universe but most surprising of these was Richard Nixon in Captain America No.175. The comic was published a month before Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate Scandal.
The story goes on until Captain tracks the mastermind inside the White House and then the person when cornered, decides to take his own life. Steve Englehart who wrote the story later said that there was a lot of political vibe in the series and honestly I am telling you that Marvel never hassled me for it. He admitted that the president was Nixon but was not sure if Marvel would accept it. So I censored myself unnecessarily.
If you have X-Men No. 118 go get it and find out how many times you can spot the word "sex". It won't be easy to spot and it has been used 18 times which means it's pretty much on every page and the word is concealed within the illustrations like the one you see above. It's on tree branches, hair strands, bottles of whiskey and protest signs.
Artist Ethan Van Sciver said that he included those mentions because Marvel was on his head all the time and it was annoying so he decided to have a little fun. I hope you enjoyed reading such facts about Marvel.