Superhero Origins: The Avengers

Labeled as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, this organization entered the scene in 1963 as a team-up of existing characters from Marvel's most popular series. Together, they have come to defeat enemies that they could not otherwise withstand, and have regularly saved the Earth from its most deadly threats. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of The Avengers.
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Superhero Origins: The Avengers

Avengers assemble! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origins of The Avengers.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline, which unfolded in 1963’s The Avengers #1 and was expanded upon in issue #16, as well as The Avengers Annual #1.

Labeled as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, this organization entered the scene as team of existing characters from other popular Marvel series, only to form an ever-changing roster of heroes that would save the Earth from its most powerful threats.

In its original form, the group differed greatly from the way we recognize it today. Its founding members included the unlikely pairing of Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and the Hulk. The roster was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in an attempt to drive attention away from DC’s own “Justice League of America.”

In their first adventure together, they faced off against Loki, the Asgardian god of trickery and deception, who sought revenge on his brother Thor. Loki did so by creating an illusion that tricked the Hulk into destroying a railroad track. Loki’s hope was that the Hulk would destroy Thor when he arrived to stop the green beast from destroying the track.

Unexpectedly, Iron man, Ant-Man and Wasp also appeared on the scene to save the day. Grasping what had happened, the superheroes united to defeat Loki, and decided to continue working together whenever necessary. This prompted Wasp to quickly name them “The Avengers”, as she felt it sounded fierce. Afterwards, they forged a charter that would define them as an entity.

An experiment for Marvel, this team-up comic series was initially welcomed with mixed reviews. Part of the reason was the questionable casting. For example, the Hulk was seen as too out of character, having always preferred to work alone. This prompted Stan Lee to remove him in the second issue, citing mistrust between the Hulk and his companions. Hulk was then replaced with Captain America, who would come to be closely associated with the team and define it for decades to come.

Moreover, Issue #16 swapped the other founding members to make room for a new roster of heroes. This further defined the comic as a flexible series with its characters constantly forming larger and more cohesive fight units depending on their challenges and needs.

Likewise, members have since regularly taken their leave and recruited replacements. These have included a mix of superheroes, former villains and even non-humans, including Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, the God Hercules, Black Panther, Vision and The Black Widow, just to name a few. Despite this, old colleagues would regularly return to serve as reserve members.

Since this original comic series, The Avengers has spawned several spinoffs, including the “West Coast Avengers.” The core franchise itself has spun into alternate realities and has been rebooted multiple times, updating its history and characters in order to both expand its legacy and introduce the team to a new generation.

In 2012, Marvel studios finally fulfilled the dreams of longtime fans by uniting their characters in a big budget live action team-up, having previously established several of them in their own film franchises. This modern version of the iconic team included fan favorites Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, all under the command of Nick Fury and SHIELD.

One of the most popular comic team-ups of all time, the Avengers continues to thrill fans, while assembling to punish the enemies of peace and justice.

To learn more about the origins of its individual members, be sure to visit WatchMojo.com
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