The movie Avengers: Endgame (2019) is the highest grossing in history, dethroning Avatar (2009), by James Cameron. The Marvel Studios movie is the culmination of a saga that began in comics 56 years ago, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Born in response to the success of the Justice League, from the DC Comics publishing house, The Avengers were characterized from the beginning by having front-line heroes, such as Thor, Captain America and Iron Man. Over the years, the members have been changing, but without losing the features that made this group "The Most Powerful Heroes on Earth."
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Avengers Comics
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Avengers Comics
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Marvel Studios films have once again aroused interest in the Avengers comics. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, this heterogeneous group of superheroes has changed members countless times. However, they have always maintained their reason for existing: fighting threats together that they could not face alone.
- Writers and artists such as Roy Thomas, Roger Stern, George Pérez or John Byrne, among others, have created the Avengers collections. The group has created several versions over the years, such as The Avengers West Coast or The Ultimates. The latter team served as inspiration for the film version of the group.
- Discovering the Avengers collections for the first time does not have to be challenging, you just have to follow a series of recommendations. First, you must decide if you want to cover everything published or only the best stories, which are usually collected in volumes. Getting information on the internet and knowing the opinion of other readers are also good ideas.
Our Selection: The Best Avengers Comics
The extraordinary success of films such as Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel Endgame has revived interest in this superhero group again. As a consequence, the shelves of department stores and specialized bookstores are overflowing with classic and less classic titles of The Avengers. Here are some of his best-selling comics this year.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Avengers Comics
Many people do not attempt to purchase superhero comics for the first time simply because they are worried they will not understand anything. They can't be more wrong! The Marvel Universe has been evolving since 1961, reinventing itself every few years, precisely to capture new readers. Next, we have created a simple guide to reading The Avengers, including the classics.
How were the Avengers created?
The creation of The Avengers also came in response to the tremendous success of its rival group, The Justice League of DC Comics. However, while the group was formed by their best heroes, such as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, Marvel's Avengers were composed of second-tier characters.
In their first issue, released in September 1963, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and The Wasp faced Loki, the God of Lies. In this first adventure, the stars of the publishing house, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, did not appear. It was Janet Van Dyne, better known as The Wasp, who baptized the heterogeneous group as The Avengers.
Who are the scriptwriters of The Avengers?
- Stan Lee. We could not forget to mention, along with Jack Kirby, one of the creators of the group. Lee knew how to capture reader's attention with the approach given to the collection, a superhero group in which relations between its members were as much or more important than the battles they fought. The rotational characteristic of its members was another of Lee's successes.
- Roy Thomas. Thomas was the predecessor of Stan Lee, and in charge of the Avengers series. Lee had set the bar very high, but the new screenwriter not only maintained the level of quality, but improved the collection in many ways. Thomas was in charge of The Avengers from 1966 to 1972, giving us stories such as the origin of The Vision or the Kree-Skrull War, among others.
- Roger Stern. Leading the Avengers for five years, Stern was relieved in 1987 due to disagreements with the editor of the collection. However, among the more than 60 numbers he wrote are some of the best stories of The Most Powerful Heroes on Earth, such as the plot of Assault of the Mansion (numbers 270 to 277 of The Avengers).
- Kurt Busiek. In charge of The Avengers since the end of 1998, Busiek remained in the collection for four years. Together with the artist George Pérez, he redefined the group, to place it again in front of the Marvel collections of the time. The result? One of the best successes in recent history of The Avengers.
How many groups of Avengers have existed?
- Avengers West Coast. Created by screenwriter Roger Stern and cartoonist Bob Hall, they were the first alternative group of Avengers to have their own collection. Among its members were characters such as The Vision, Hawkeye, Mockingbird or Wonder Man, among others.
- Avengers of the Great Lakes. Emerging from the pages of The West Coast Avengers, this particular group of superheroes was made up of third-row heroes. After demonstrating their worth in a rescue mission, Captain America gave them permission to use the name of Avengers.
- The Ultimates. Created to catch new readers, the Ultimate line featured a darker and more realistic Marvel Universe than traditional collections. The Avengers, here called Ultimates, are a group under government control, organized by Nick Furia. Many of the ideas reflected in the movies were taken from this comic collection.
- New Avengers. After the events narrated in the plot Avengers: Disunits (2004), the scriptwriter Brian Michael Bendis decided to relaunch the group, with heroes as important as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Luke Cage or Spider-Woman, among others.
- Dark Avengers. After the plot of Invasion Secret (2008), a group of villains led by Norman Osborn, traditional enemy of Spider-Man, usurped the place of The Avengers for their own purposes. Villains like Bullseye, Moonstone, Venom, and even an alleged Wolverine son, were part of this infamous team.
What Avengers comics have inspired the movies?
- The Avengers: The first feature film about The Avengers borrowed many elements from the comic book The Ultimates, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. The most striking, the election of Samuel L. Jackson for the role of Nick Furia, the same actor who had inspired Bryan Hitch for the Fury of the Ultimates.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: In Joss Whedon's movie, Ultron is created by Tony Stark, not by Hank Pym, as in the comic. However, there are certain references to the comic, such as the creation of The Vision, consequence of the birth of Ultron, or the destruction of a small European nation, something similar to what happens in the comic Ultron Unlimited (1998).
- Avengers: Infinity War: Fans of the recent movie, "Avengers: Infinity War," would love this story. After the battle for the infinity gauntlet is safely in the past, Thanos seems to have turned over a new leaf. The 2018 film took many of the elements of the comic The Gauntlet of Infinity, by screenwriter Jim Starlin. In the original miniseries published in 1991, however, Thanos' terrible finger snapping occurred at the beginning of the story, not at the end, as in the movie.
- Avengers: Endgame: The Avengers latest film delivery included some references to Secret Empire, a recently published collection of comics. The elevator scene in which Captain America said Hail Hydra! In a low voice or the death of Black Widow are some of those references.
The Avengers comics have been published for almost sixty years, building a coherent universe among all its collections. Approaching these stories for the first time, therefore, may seem overwhelming. However, if you follow our recommendations, you will have no problem understanding these wonderful comics and becoming a true fan.
Decide What Type of Reader You Are
There are two types of comic readers: the usual and the unusual. If you think you are in the second group, we recommend that you first choose full story arcs. In this article we have shown you some stories of The Avengers to begin with without the need for prior knowledge of the Marvel Universe.
However, if you intend to delve fully into this wonderful universe, you can start the Avengers collection from the beginning. These are stories that, contrary to what you might think, have stood up well over time. It is not necessary that you read every story published, you can focus on the stages of the authors and cartoonists that you like the most.
The Graphics Matter
Some people think that the quality of a comic lies in the interest of the story, with the graphic aspect in the background. Others, on the other hand, put the visual narrative before the story. Today, thanks to digital art, Marvel comics have an extraordinary graphic section, so none of the current collections will let you down in that regard.
Marvel comics prior to the arrival of digital drawing and coloring, however, have a graphic narrative that, in many cases, exceeds that of many current artists. Jack Kirby, John and Sal Buscema, George Pérez, John Byrne or Alan Davis are some of the classic artists who have contributed to create the image we currently have of The Avengers.
Not so long ago, those who approached the Avengers comics or any other Marvel collection were forced to read their stories in monthly booklets of 24 to 48 pages. This required waiting a whole month to discover how the story continued, which frustrated many readers, as you can imagine.
Currently, however, most Marvel collections are reissued in paperback or paperboard volumes, many times a few months after being published in staple booklets. In this way, it is possible to read a whole stage or plot arc at once. They are also the format chosen by publishers to reissue classic material.
Choose a Marvel Series
The Avengers collections, like those of the rest of Marvel, have gone through various stages, primarily aimed at attracting new readers. It is a phenomenon that has been hightened in recent years, especially in the last decade. One of these relaunches was The Heroic Age, which began in 2010, an attempt by the publisher to return to its origins.
In 2012 came Marvel Now!, a restart designed for new generations of readers. The changes greatly affected the Avengers, who saw how heroes such as Spider-Man or Wolverine joined their ranks. The latest relaunch, Fresh Start, has affected, above all, the characters that have appeared in movies and television series.
Like any good writers, the creators of the series include many twists and turns and there’s plenty of action as well as all these forces fight to either preserve or pervert reality.
The Avengers began their journey in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Their success was almost instantaneous and, since then, they have not stopped attracting new readers, captivated by the quality and interest of their stories and by their excellent artists. The popularity of the group has caused numerous variants to emerge from it, some with more success than others. With so many story arcs, you are sure to find a Marvel story for you.
With this article we have tried to get you closer to this amazing group of heroes, almost unknown to the general public before their arrival on the big screen. Apart from our selection of comics, we have also suggested some stories of The Avengers that we consider essential, as well as their most notable authors and artists.
(Source of featured image: Keith Homan: 71285341/ 123rf.com)