As a kid, I had always just bought comics but had never read them. What better time to START reading comic books than when you are over 40 years old!?!?
I remember buying issue #1 of this series. I had just started going to the comic book shops and was collecting GI Joe and West Coast Avengers. Comics were hot during the time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had recently come out. Their first few issues were selling for a lot of money. Even back then my investing mindset told me that I needed to buy #1 issues of things in case they would one day make me a millionaire (and surely they would).
The Marvel Saga didn’t make me a millionaire but it did stick with me through the years. When I decided to start reading all these comic books I had bought over the years (something I’d rarely done) I started with it. I went out and found the issues I was missing in my collection and read all 25 issues.
The series is a quick history lesson on the entire Marvel Universe from beginning through that time. There is not anything new in the series. Most of it is just reprinting excerpts from previous comic books over several decades. Its goal is to be a quick way for a newcomer to Marvel Comics to come up to speed. That sounds like me! So I’ll start here!
What in the heck is a Marvel Universe? In the early 60s, Stan Lee (writer/editor) and some notable artists (Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) created a series of titles where the different titles were all related (into a universe). Super-teams such as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many Marvel superheroes live in this universe, including characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Captain America, Wolverine, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Captain Marvel and Deadpool, among numerous others. It also contains well-known supervillains such as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Ultron, Thanos, Loki, Green Goblin, Kang the Conqueror, Kingpin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom.
The Marvel Universe is further depicted as existing within a “multiverse” consisting of thousands of separate universes, all of which are the creations of Marvel Comics and all of which are, in a sense, “Marvel universes”. In this context, “Marvel Universe” is taken to refer to the mainstream Marvel continuity, which is known as Earth-616 or currently as Prime Earth.
I’ll say it…Stan Lee was a damn genius. To come up with all that in the first place is one thing but to publish it over several decades and survive the ups and downs of the economy and business world is amazing. Before reading this, I didn’t understand that all the different titles in the Marvel Universe worked together with stories interweaving between titles. The fact that this was happening over several decades should not be underestimated. I believe Stan Lee was indeed a superhero of his own kind. What a stud. I’m glad that the film industry latched onto his work and turned them into blockbuster films before he passed away. I love seeing his cameo in each one.
As I read this series I learned which teams I liked (X-Men, Avengers) and which I didn’t (Fantastic Four). I learned which heroes and villains I liked (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Deadpool, the Hulk) and which I didn’t (Namor, Thor, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Captain America, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Captain Marvel). As a 40-year-old man, I began to fill the holes I had in my collection or start entirely new collections…OF COMIC BOOKS?!?! What. A. Nerd.