The Avengers & The X-Men: The 50th Anniversary! // artwork by Jack Kirby (1963)
Well the day is coming to an end but I didn’t want it to let it go without sharing a little comic history around here. You see in this very day on September of 1963 (that’s 50 years ago bucko!) Marvel Comics unleashed to the world what it would become the premiere superheroes teams in comic history of this modern era. Yes, you may argue that slot was already filled by the almighty Justice League Of America featuring the Pantheon of Olympus taking care of the world. But the dynamics of team books had already been redefined by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in The Fantastic Four two full years prior to these releases. Here we had nothing but a brand new take on a basic idea. The Avengers was a team of heroes that really didn’t get along but nonetheless gathered together to resolve a crisis that none of them could handle alone. The X-Men however was as it’s tittle aptly put it “The Strangest Superheroes of All”. While every hero in the Marvel universe got his/her powers because of radiation or accidents, these guys were born this way and they were hated and feared because of this. Most outcasts could relate to this concept and as time proved the brand was Marvel’s ticket to success in the comic business (for almost all of the 80’s and the 90’s the top selling book was Uncanny X-Men, the only comic that could challenge those numbers were the New Teen titans of DC in the 80’s and Spawn of Image in the 90’s).
As the 21 century approached and The X-Men had their day in the sun, now it was the time for the Avengers to shine. Blessed for most of their story with the top notch talents of the industry, The Avengers became a franchise in the early 2000’s with multiple books and the basis for the Cinematic Marvel Universe a move that was so brilliantly executed that it made the team as recognizable and loved for the casual viewer as Marvel’s main staples (Spider-Man and Wolverine) and DC Powerhouses Superman and Batman.
Today you can find The Avengers and The X-Men all over the place and in every flavor you may like (Animation, Action Figures, Movies, Video Games, etc.) But to the true fan their legacy lives on in the Comics where we met them, the Comics that have chronicled their victories and defeats, the Comics where we learned to love these characters, The Comics where we still have some of the greatest talent in this world telling the best stories they can with these awesome characters.
Here’s to 50 years more! Congratulations guys!