In 1963, “there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day the Avengers were born.” Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp joined to fight Loki, the Norse God of Mischief. The team was brought together by comic book legends Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. The burgeoning comic book universe of Marvel Comics was small, publishing about eight titles monthly when Lee and Kirby put their biggest heroes into one book The Avengers and the legend of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was born.
The mythical standing of the Avengers will grow even bigger on May 4th with the release of the biggest super hero blockbuster movie ever, ‘The Avengers’. To honor this event Marvel Comics has digitally re-mastered and re-colored the original 1963 classic Avengers #1 in a special issue and titled it fittingly Avengers 1: The Coming of the Avengers!
Seeking vengeance on his brother Thor, Loki masterminds a plot from his imprisonment in Asgard to have Thor battle the Incredible Hulk. When Loki makes it look like the Hulk is on the attack a call goes out to Thor for his aid. The call is heard by not only Thor but also Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The heroes engage the Hulk in a battle. When the true orchestrator of the fight is revealed the heroes unite for the first time and name themselves the Avengers. Bad guys beware.
Written by Stan Lee at the dawn of the Marvel Comics this issue features his trademark snappy dialogue and captions. In this era there was a lot of expository words that narrated the story. This style of writing is where Lee excels by making the mundane seem exciting. Lee clearly shows the distrust people feel towards the Hulk, the awe the inspired by the presence of Thor, the excitement of Iron Man and Lee made you see that even the smallest of heroes, Ant-Man and the Wasp, were worthy of their placement among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The artwork of Jack Kirby is as dynamic as ever. Drawing all the characters he designed and introduced the Marvel Universe in one issue. His sense of action and drama is visible on the pages. Kirby’s style defined the look of Marvel for a decade with his big brawny heroes and diverse costume designs. In Avengers #1 Kirby’s pages are full dense using the traditional panel grid. You can follow the action of the story from panel to panel watching the Hulk leap through the sky.
Kirby’s artwork is embellished by his longtime inker Dick Ayers. A talented penciller in his own right, Ayers worked over Kirby’s pencils maintaining the look and feel of Kirby’s original layouts tightening the work to its stunning on page appearance.
With the re-release of Avengers #1 Marvel re-mastered the original artwork making the line work of Kirby and Ayers as clean and clear as possible. They also had the issue re-colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu. Beaulieu’s colors add a modern look to the issue that adds more depth and detail to the art. It presents a modern take on a classic.
Fifty years after its initial publication, Avengers #1 by Lee, Kirby and Ayers gets a modern facelift that only enhances the original production. Avengers 1: The Coming of the Avengers! tells the origin story of how Earth’s Mightiest Heroes first came together. It has all of the charm and style of the original 60s production and introduces the characters that will play a roll in the launch of a new ‘Avengers’ movie franchise this summer.
You can purchase your copy of Avengers 1: The Coming of the Avengers! at Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica. Hi De Ho has one of the most extensive selections of back issue comics and collected editions in Southern California. After reading the introduction to the Avengers you will want to seek out more of the Avengers’ rich history to get you ready for the movie.
If you can’t make it to Hi De Ho, click here to use the comic shop locator and find your nearest comic book retailer.