As we continue to celebrate Marvel’s 75th anniversary all year long on Marvel.com, we move into the 1970’s, and an “Age of Expansion,” where every avenue from mystical cities rooted in the martial arts and the farthest reaches of the cosmos became fertile breeding ground for heroes.
This week, we count down our top 10 Marvel heroes to debut during the 1970’s. Have your own thoughts? Let us know on Twitter using the hash tag #Marvel75!
First Appearance: LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE #1
Why He’s #2: “In the summer of 1972, John Romita, Sr., George Tuska and Archie Goodwin introduced one of the first comic titles showcasing an African-American hero. Young, Harlem-born Carl Lucas was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, ultimately landing in Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia. There, for the promise of a reduced sentence, he agreed to take part in a series of experiments in cell regeneration based on the original Super-Soldier concept and subsequent research. Exposed to what was thought to be a lethal dosage by a vengeful prison guard, Lucas developed augmented strength and invulnerability. After escaping the facility, he embarked on a vocation of vigilantism as the Power Man, Luke Cage. His heavy chain belt and tiara spoke to his trials, liberation and empowerment, offering an over-the-top, ‘Sweet Christmas!’ spouting icon for black power through the Marvel Comics lens. Luke Cage and Iron Fist ushered the grindhouse film genres of Blaxploitation and kung-fu into the realm of comics as the street-level Heroes for Hire, truly a product and snapshot of the time. Of course, Marvel’s first titular black hero endures well past his origin in the 70’s, with a pivotal role as a family man and the leader of multiple Avengers rosters in the modern age.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comics Spotlight: FANTASTIC FOUR #168
First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1
Why She’s #1: “With the debut of the All-New, All-Different X-Men in 1975, Marvel Comics finally found a super heroine with the powers and gravitas to stand alongside any super hero. The male dominated 1960’s proved to just be the calm before the storm.
“Unlike the rest of her peers on the X-Men team, Ororo Munroe was not plucked by Professor Xavier from anonymity. No, the weather-manipulating mutant had already worked her way up from picking pockets in Cairo to being worshiped as a goddess in Kenya. Xavier did not give her the opportunity to become a hero; he gave her the opportunity to become a hero again. Storm accepted her new role, bringing a sense of regal and raw power to the otherwise ragtag mutant ensemble. Even when she lost her powers for a brief period of time, she still possessed her indomitable will and innate ability to inspire others.
“But Storm's ascension to the top of this list should come as no surprise to those familiar with her place in history. As the first black female super hero to play a major role in an ongoing title, Ororo Munroe stormed through barriers to become a strong, highly visible, and positive force for representation in countless comics, cartoons, and films over the past 40 years.” – Brett White
Digital Comics Spotlight: UNCANNY X-MEN #117
Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hash tag #Marvel75 and keep up on Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration at marvel.com/75