Amazing Adventures

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Amazing Adventures is the name of several anthology comic book series, all but one published by Marvel Comics.

The earliest Marvel series of that name introduced the company's first superhero of the late-1950s to early-1960s period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books. That same series also included the first comic book to be labeled "Marvel Comics".

Ziff-Davis

The first series titled Amazing Adventures was a 1950s science fiction anthology produced by Ziff-Davis and featuring painted covers. It ran for six issues, beginning c. 1950. with the first two issues being undated. Subsequent issues were dated June, August, and November 1951, and Fall 1952. Its artists included Murphy Anderson, Bernard Krigstein, and Don Perlin, and at least one issue (#2) featured a cover painting by Alex Schomburg.

Marvel Comics

1961 series

Marvel's first series of this title premiered June 1961, and featured primarily science fiction and drive-in movie-style monster stories, virtually all drawn by the legendary comics artists Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. Notably, its first issue introduced the supernatural monster-hunter Doctor Droom, Marvel's first Silver Age of Comic Books superhero. Droom had powers of telepathy and hypnotic suggestion taught him by a Tibetan lama who had requested that someone travel from the U.S. to give him medical attention (later retconned as the Ancient One, the same sorcerer who trained Doctor Strange).

More a monster-story appendage than a serious attempt at creating a three-dimensional character in the manner of the upcoming Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, Doctor Droom vanished into obscurity for years when the series was retitled and reformatted as Amazing Adult Fantasy with #7. He resurfaced in the 1970s as Doctor Druid, having been renamed to avoid confusion with Doctor Doom. The series was retitled once more for its final issue, published as Amazing Fantasy #15, the comic book that introduced Spider-Man.

Amazing Adventures #3 (cover-dated Aug. 1961, published May 9, 1961 per the Library of Congress) was the first comic book labeled Marvel Comics, with a small "MC" box added to the cover.

1970s series

Marvel's next Amazing Adventures was a split title featuring the Inhumans (initially both written and drawn by Jack Kirby) and The Black Widow (initially by writer Gary Friedrich and penciler John Buscema). The Widow was dropped after #8, and full-length Inhumans stories ran for two issues before that feature, too, was dropped.

Issue #11 (March 1972) introduced solo stories of the erstwhile X-Men member Beast, in which he was mutated into his modern-day blue- (originally grey-) furred form. The initial story was by writer Gerry Conway, penciler Tom Sutton and inker Syd Shores. The Beast's supporting cast included Patsy Walker and her ex-husband, "Buzz" Baxter, who much later became the supervillain Mad-Dog. The series ended with issue #16 (Jan. 1973).

Following an issue that reprinted the backup features recounting the Beast's origin (edited from Uncanny X-Men #49-53 (with a new, single-page intro by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Jim Starlin), the title introduced the series "War of the Worlds" and its central character, Killraven, in #18 (May 1973). Created by co-plotters Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, scripter Conway, and pencilers Adams and Howard Chaykin, it was taken over by writer Don McGregor for a highly acclaimed run from #21 (Nov. 1973) to the final issue, #39 (Nov. 1976). Pencillers were Herb Trimpe, Rich Buckler, Gene Colan, and, most notably, P. Craig Russell from issue #27.

Its sister publication was Astonishing Tales.

1979 series

The next version of that title reprinted [Uncanny] X-Men #1-8, the first six issues of which were split into two-part stories. The backup featured was "Origin of the X-Men" from X-Men #38-48, except in Amazing Adventures #12, in which the incongruous backup was an 11-page, Jim Steranko "Nick Fury (Agent of SHIELD)" story, "Today Earth Died", from Strange Tales #168 (May 1968).

Eight covers of this 1979 series were reprints of the Jack Kirby originals; artists for the rest included penciler John Byrne on #6 and #9.

Other

The similarly named Amazing High Adventure was a sporadically published anthology of historical, biblical and science-fiction adventure stories. Like the 1950s Ziff-Davis Amazing Adventures, it, too, featured painted covers, with the artists including Joe Chiodo, Frank Cirocco, Dan Green and John Bolton. A one-shot Amazing Adventures (July 1988) was similar.

Bibliography of Marvel titles

  • Amazing Adventures #1-6 (June-Nov. 1961)
  • Amazing Adventures #1-39 (Aug 1970 - Nov. 1976)
  • Amazing Adventures #1-14 (Dec. 1979 - Nov. 1981)
  • Amazing High Adventure #1-5 (Aug. 1984, Oct. 1985, Oct.-Dec. 1986)
  • Amazing Adventures #1 (July 1988)

References