Marvel Comics is the world’s largest publisher of comic books with a 37 per cent market share.
Marvel has produced more than 8,000 characters.
Notable sales on the collectors' markets include a copy of Marvel Comics #1 that was sold at auction for $350,000, a world record at the time in 2001.
Main article: Comic books
The company was founded in 1939 as Timely Comics. The first publication, Marvel Comics #1, appeared in Oct 1939 and introduced the Human Torch.
In 1951 the publisher became known as Atlas Comics before becoming Marvel Comics in 1961.
The first comic to appear under the Marvel Comics name was Amazing Adventures #3, which was published on May 9th 1961.
Titles such as the Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and X-Men were all subsequently created.
The publisher was bought by Disney for $4 billion in 2009.
The Marvel Universe
Characters in Marvel titles are known to inhabit the "Marvel Universe”, a concept that enables characters across all titles to meet and storylines to interweave. This idea is believed to have helped the popularity of Marvel publications.
Most expensive collectors' edition
Main article: Marvel Comics #1
In 2001 a copy of Marvel Comics #1 (rated CGC 9.0) known as the “Pay Copy” was sold at auction for $350,000, which was a world record at the time.
This particular issue is considered unique as it was the copy used by the publisher to record how much each contributor was paid, on which date and with which check number. It contains hand-written notation detailing payments to Burgos, Everett, Ben Thompson and Paul Gustavs along with Frank R. Paul (who received $25 for his cover).
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