Marvel at 80: 7 ‘Super’ Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Marvel!
Did you know about Throg, the Frog of Thunder?
Marvel Comics completes 80 years of existence today and is probably bigger than it ever was. Founded in 1939 and went by Timely Comics which later changed to Atlas Comics and then finally to Marvel, the company has gone through numerous upheavals before becoming the ubiquitous brand that it is today.
Everyone knows the legendary Stan Lee-Jack Kirby era, Marvel Studios and the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Disney buying the corporation in 2009. But we’re willing to bet that you didn’t know about these under-the-radar facts about Marvel.
1. Loki Appeared in the Comics Before Thor
Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston in the MCU, has emerged one of the best comic book villains with a genuinely complex and surprising arc. Thor’s devious half-brother, sometimes friend sometimes foe, the Avengers’ first genuine threat, is an audience favourite. But did you know that Loki made his first Marvel Comics appearance a whole 13 years before Thor? Yup, he debuted as the villain in the 1949 volume of Venus while Thor was introduced in 1962. Granted, he looked way different than his current avatar, but most beloved characters rarely do in their first comic.
2. Venom Was Created by a Fan
Venom has been a beloved Spider-Man villain ever since his debut in the comics and has been played on screen most recently by Tom Hardy, whose 2018 film is all set to spawn a franchise. But did you know that the original concept for the striking black and white suit came from a fan? In 1982 Illinois resident Randy Schueller sent in his pitch for a Spider-Man ‘stealth suit’ as part of a competition. Marvel loved the idea so much they purchased it from Randy for $220. However, they couldn’t figure out how to use it until a couple of years later when they introduced the alien symbiote which takes over Peter Parker’s suit.
3. Marvel Almost Bought DC
True comic book geeks know that the rivalry between Marvel and DC isn’t as antagonistic as the film universes make them out to be. Marvel and DC have often often come together for crossovers, and many characters have been sold from company to another. But did you know that we came *this* close to a world where Marvel owned DC and there was no rivalry at all? The story goes that in 1984 when DC was floundering, Warner Bros offered to sell the company to Marvel but they refused. DC would later bounce back and ironically Marvel itself went into bankruptcy in the 90s.
4. Spiderman or Spider-Man?
Batman, Aquaman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman: the one thing they have in common is their simple nomenclature with no hyphen. So why does Spider-Man have one? Legend goes that when Stan Lee was set to introduce Peter Parker and his alter-ego in 1962, DC’s Superman comics were more popular than ever. Stan didn’t want any confusion between Supes and Spidey, since they both had similar sounding names plus a blue and red colour scheme. He decided to separate the words and add a hyphen to make Spider-Man distinct. And a legend was born.
5. Nick Fury Was Sam Jackson Even Before He Was Cast
We all know that Marvel comics have been tweaking their designs to look more like the characters’ film counterparts. But did you know that Nick Fury in the comics looked like Samuel Jackson much before the MCU even existed? That’s right. When the Ultimate Marvel version of the character was introduced in 2002, the artists specifically based him on the Pulp Fiction actor, even mentioning in the comic that Nick resembles Sam. Sam loved the reference and happily agreed to play him.
6. Throg A.K.A Thor as a Frog
You loved Spider-Ham in Into the Spider-Verse (who is a real comic book character by the way) but did you know about Throg i.e. the frog with the power of Thor? You heard that right! Puddlegulp is a frog Thor befriends (it’s a long story) who using a sliver of Mjolnir becomes Throg, the Frog of Thunder. He is a member of an all-animal group of Avengers who starred in their own comic titled Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. Now that’s something we want to see on the big screen!
7. Santa Claus is a Mutant
You read that right! Not only is Santa Claus, yes *that* Santa Claus, a mutant in the Marvel universe, he is in fact the most powerful mutant ever registered by Professor X’s Cerebro. Santa has had all kinds of adventures in the comics, crossing paths with Captain America and the X-Men. He was even kidnapped by Adolf Hitler during World War II as a ploy against the USA! Whew. We’ll leave you to discover more.
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