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Steve Ditko

75 Years of Marvel Comics celebrates the origins of the movie blockbusters

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In the 75 years of its existence, Marvel Comics has never been as far to the forefront of our culture’s consciousness as it is now. Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2013 mega-hit Marvel’s The Avengers, is due to hit theaters May 1, followed by Marvel Studio’s 12th superhero flick, Ant-Man, on July 17. Marvel Comics also announced recently that the Marvel Universe, the most ambitious effort at serial fiction ever produced by humankind—a continuous storyline that has lasted more than 53 years—will come to an end and be replaced by a new universe this year. And the iconic images of Marvel’s mightiest characters now grace merchandise from T-shirts to knapsacks to bed sheets to guitar picks.…

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Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield and…Spider-Man? Literature’s great teenage characters

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The modern-day superhero may have started with Superman in 1938. But the superhero as we know him—the first to be truly considered a “character” in a literary sense—was unveiled in 1962, in the most unlikely circumstances, when a radioactive spider bit a shy, bookworm of a teenager in the pages of Marvel Comics’ Amazing Fantasy #15. That was when Spider-Man was born. Spider-Man was a marked departure from teens who had preceded him in the comic book pages. He was, in fact, not a man, but a boy—or a young man, at least. Until 1962, most comic-book teenagers were sidekicks to their grown-up counterparts—Robin to the adult Batman, or Bucky to Captain America. (Unlike the Bucky made famous in the…

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