Following the success of DC’s Justice League of America, in 1963 Marvel launched its own team of superheroes, The Avengers. The series was created by Marvel’s star creative team, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who picked a roster of heroes who were arguably more attractive as a team than acting alone. The founding members of the Avengers were Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Ant-Man the Wasp, although Hulk’s presence is almost anecdotical, since he would be an Avenger for only two issues. Maybe reckoning that the ceremonious Thor and the faceless Iron Man weren’t the best options to lead the team, Lee and Kirby decided to rescue a glorious piece of Marvel’s past, none other than Captain America, drawn by Kirby himself in the golden age of comic-books. The Captain would soon become the title’s landmark character, and has ever since closely associated with it (him calling the phrase “Avengers Assemble!” is the series’ trademark).
Kirby’s run on The Avengers features his usual exquisite pencils, and Lee’s prose sports characteristic agility and imagination. It must be noted that the characters’ speech is purposely grandiose, since the team is presented as a kind of America’s finest, with a strong regard for honor and duty. Other characteristics of the series are the ever-rotating roster (over time there would be several dozens of Avengers) and the internal conflicts of the team, often over its leadership. One of the few ever-present elements is Tony Stark’s (aka Iron Man) mansion, which serves as permanent headquarters for the group. The antagonist in Avengers #1 is Loki, archnemesis of Thor, and though it isn’t a really old issue, it has become quite valuable, with a copy in prime condition reaching $10000.
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