All year long on Marvel.com, we’re celebrating Marvel’s 75th anniversary, and to fully appreciate the scope of that history, you need to go back to where it all began.
In 1939, Timely Comics entered the Golden Age of comics with MARVEL COMICS #1, debuting the Sub-Mariner and original Human Torch among other soon-to-be-stars and others who would be quickly forgotten. Over the next decade-plus, what would later become the Marvel Universe expanded with dozens of characters making their mark or falling by the wayside.
This week, we count down our top 10 Marvel characters to debut during the Golden Age. Have your own thoughts? Let us know on Twitter using the hash tag #Marvel75!
First Appearance: USA COMICS #1
Why He’s #6: “Though the name ‘Whizzer’ might not send modern criminals bolting for cover, the moniker instilled a sense of wonder in the early 1940’s. Robert Frank moved at an unheralded velocity, deriving a name from the sound and splendor of his impossible speed. Struck by a venomous cobra, the boy received a transfusion of mongoose blood from his father; there follows the speediest of recoveries. After besting certain death, the fleet-flooted youngster embarked on a five-year victory lap, all culminating in his induction to the All-Winners Whizzer also fought alongside Bucky in the Liberty Legion in an effort to free the Invaders from the machinations of the Red Skull during the second World War. The blonde dynamo’s significance in early Marvel history cemented in 1976 when writer Gerry Conway revisited the character’s origin: though originally believed a direct result of the last-ditch blood transfusion, Whizzer’s super speed actually proved a latent mutant trait. In retrospect, this makes Whizzer one of the earliest mutants to serve his country as a costumed hero.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comics Spotlight: MARVEL PREMIERE #29
First Appearance: MYSTIC COMICS #6
Why He’s #5: “A dark mirror to Captain America, Keen Marlow represents one of the earliest super-soldiers exposed to the miraculous serum, or one very much like it. Captured and imprisoned for espionage in Nazi Germany, the one-time journalist submitted to experimental injections from a fellow P.O.W., a German scientist with no allegiance to the Reich. Afforded incredible human strength, Marlow escaped his captors and donned a horrifying and monstrous mask. He fought behind enemy lines in either theater of the second World War, his skull emblem synonymous with a merciless ferocity. The Destroyer also figures as one of the earliest creations of Stan Lee and appeared in countless titles in the Marvel catalog. Perhaps because his fearsome presentation lacked the niceties of peers like Cap and other Invaders, Destroyer never made the same transition to post-War heroics, retreating from public life and adventuring in the wake of Allied victory.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comics Spotlight: INVADERS (1975) #14
Come back tomorrow to see two more entries on the list, share your thoughts on Twitter with the hash tag #Marvel75 and keep up on Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration at marvel.com/75