Marvel 75: The Scope of Secret Wars Pt. 1


From Marvel Comics

30 years later, the influence of SECRET WARS can still be felt across the comic book industry. Not bad for a series created to sell toys!

A celebration of Marvel on its 75th anniversary would not be complete without examining the origins and effects of one of the company’s most important projects of all time: MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS. The 12-issue series, which launched in 1984, broke all kinds of new ground.

Written by then-Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter and drawn by CAPTAIN AMERICA artist Mike Zeck with Bob Layton fill-ins, SECRET WARS pits a group of heroes and villains against each other on a patchwork planet called Battleworld because The Beyonder, a nearly omnipotent extra-dimensional being, wanted to see the fight up close. The cast included Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the male members of the Fantastic Four, many of the X-Men, Dr. Doom, Dr. Octopus, Magneto and even Galactus among others.

Stories like this, with huge casts and epic struggles, might be common place today, but not in the mid-80’s.

Sides were taken, strange bedfellows were made, epic moments were conveyed, and plenty of toys were produced. To get the inside story on how SECRET WARS came to be and the lasting effects it had, Marvel.com talked to series artist Mike Zeck, original editor Tom DeFalco, Marvel historian Peter Sanderson, and more.

SECRET ORIGINS

As with all stories, this one should start at the beginning. However, instead of taking root in the realm of comics, the roots SECRET WARS go back to the toy industry.

“Kenner had already licensed the DC super heroes and super-villains in 1984, leading to Kenner’s Super Powers Collection of action figures, which began to be released in that same year,” historian Peter Sanderson recalls. “Also in 1984 DC published the first Super Powers comics miniseries, with covers by Jack Kirby; a second series, this one drawn by Kirby, followed in 1985, and a third series, drawn by Carmine Infantino, in 1986. Presumably Mattel and Marvel were responding to and competing with Kenner and DC's Super Powers.”

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