It was an age of mighty heroes, misunderstood monsters, and complex villains. With the publication, in November 1961, of Fantastic Four No. 1, comics giant Marvel inaugurated a transformative era in pop culture. Through the next two decades, the iconic Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men leapt, darted, and towered through its pages. Captain America was resurrected from his 1940s deep-freeze and the Avengers became the World’s Greatest Super Heroes. Daredevil, Dr. Strange, and dozens more were added to the pantheon, each with their own rogues’ gallery of malevolent counterparts. Over 50 years later, these thrilling characters from the ’60s and ’70s are more popular than ever, fighting the good fight in comics, toy aisles, and blockbuster movies around the world.
In The Marvel Age of Comics 1961–1978, legendary writer and editor Roy Thomas takes you to the heart of this seminal segment in comic history—an age of triumphant character and narrative innovation that reinvented the super hero genre. With hundreds of images and insider insights, the book traces the birth of champions who were at once epic in their powers and adversaries and grounded in a world that readers recognized as close to their own; relatable heroes with the same problems, struggles, and shortcomings as everyone else. By the ’70s, we see how the House of Ideas also elevated horror, sword and sorcery, and martial arts in its stable of titanic demigods, introducing iconic characters like Man-Thing, Conan, and Shang-Chi and proving that their brand of storytelling could succeed and flourish outside of the capes and tights.
Behind it all, we get to know the extraordinary Marvel architects whose names are almost as familiar as the mortals (and immortals!) they brought to life—Stan “The Man” Lee, Jack “King” Kirby, and Steve Ditko, along with a roster of greats like John Romita, John Buscema, Marie Severin, Jim Steranko, and countless others. The result is a behind-the-scenes treasure trove and a jewel for any comic fan’s library, brimming with the innovation and energy of an invincible era for Marvel and its heroes alike.
Since 1965, Roy Thomas has been writing for movies, television, and especially comic books. With notable runs on Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, Conan the Barbarian, The Incredible Hulk, and Star Wars, he served as a Marvel editor from 1965–80 and editor-in-chief from 1972–74. He currently edits the comics-history magazine Alter Ego and writes two online Tarzan strips as well as the occasional comic book. He and his wife Dann live in South Carolina.