Amazing Adventures

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".


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.[1]

Marvel Comics

Amazing Adventures

Amazing Adventures #3 (Aug. 1961)
Cover art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers..
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Format Anthology
Genre Fantasy
Science fiction
Publication date (Vol. 1) June 1961 – November 1961
(Vol. 2) August 1970 – November 1976
(Vol. 3) December 1979 – January 1981
Number of issues (Vol. 1) 6
(Vol. 2) 39
(Vol. 3) 14
Creative team
Writer(s) (Vol. 1) Stan Lee
(Vol. 2) Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Gary Friedrich, Jack Kirby, Don McGregor, Roy Thomas
Penciller(s) (Vol. 1) Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby
(Vol. 2) Neal Adams, Rich Buckler, John Buscema, Howard Chaykin, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, P. Craig Russell, Jim Starlin, Tom Sutton, Herb Trimpe
Inker(s) Syd Shores

1961 series

Marvel's first series of this title ran six issues, premiering with June 1961 cover-date. It featured primarily science fiction and drive-in movie-style monster stories, virtually all drawn by either Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko.[2][3] Its first issue introduced the supernatural monster-hunter Doctor Droom, Marvel's first Silver Age of Comic Books superhero.[4] 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.[5]

Doctor Droom vanished into obscurity for years when the comic was retitled and reformatted as Amazing Adult Fantasy from issues #7–14 (Dec. 1961 – July 1962).[6][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 (Aug. 1962), the comic book that introduced Spider-Man.[8]

1970 series

Amazing Adventures vol. 2, #39 (Nov. 1976). Art by P. Craig Russell. (Face of Old Skull, man at left, redrawn by John Romita Sr.)

Marvel's next Amazing Adventures was a split title featuring the Inhumans (initially both written and drawn by Jack Kirby, later drawn by Neal Adams) and the Black Widow (initially by writer Gary Friedrich and penciler John Buscema).[9] The Widow was dropped after vol. 2, #8, and full-length Inhumans stories ran for two issues before that feature, too, was dropped.[10]

Vol. 2, #11 (March 1972) introduced solo stories of erstwhile X-Men member the Beast, in which he was mutated into his modern-day blue-furred (originally grey-furred) form.[11] The initial story was by writer Gerry Conway, penciler Tom Sutton, and inker Syd Shores. Steve Englehart became the feature's writer with issue #12[12] and added Patsy Walker and her then-husband, "Buzz" Baxter,[13][14] to the Beast's supporting cast in issue #13.

In the fall of 1972, writers Englehart, Conway and Len Wein crafted a metafictional unofficial crossover spanning titles from both major comics companies. Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein's first wife Glynis, interacting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont. Beginning in Amazing Adventures vol. 2 #16 (by Englehart with art by Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin), the story continued in Justice League of America #103 (by Wein, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano), and concluded in Thor #207 (by Conway and penciler John Buscema). As Englehart explained in 2010, "It certainly seemed like a radical concept and we knew that we had to be subtle (laughs) and each story had to stand on its own, but we really worked it out. It's really worthwhile to read those stories back to back to back – it didn't matter to us that one was at DC and two were at Marvel – I think it was us being creative, thinking what would be really cool to do."[15][16][17] The Beast's strip ended with vol. 2, #16 (Jan. 1973).[10]

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 Englehart and penciler Jim Starlin), the title introduced the series "War of the Worlds" and its central character, Killraven, in vol. 2, #18 (May 1973). Created by co-plotters Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, scripter Conway, and pencilers Adams and Howard Chaykin,[18] it was taken over by writer Don McGregor for an acclaimed run from vol. 2, #21 (Nov. 1973)[19] to the final issue, vol. 2, #39 (Nov. 1976). Pencillers were Herb Trimpe, Rich Buckler, Gene Colan, and, most notably, P. Craig Russell from vol. 2, #27.[10][20]

Its sister publication was Astonishing Tales. Additionally, plans were announced for a never-realized third split book featuring Doctor Strange and Iceman.[21]

1979 series

Volume 3 was a reprint series running 14 issue (Dec. 1979 – Jan. 1981). It reprinted X-Men #1–8 (Sept. 1963 – March 1964), the first six issues of which were split into two-part stories with an accompanying backup feature. For all but issue #12, this was the "Origin of the X-Men" backup feature from X-Men #38–48. The exception was the incongruous, 11-page Jim Steranko "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." story, "Today Earth Died", from Strange Tales #168 (May 1968).[22]

Eight covers of this 1979 series were reprints of the Jack Kirby originals; artists for the rest included penciler John Byrne on vol. 2, #6 and #9.[22]


The similarly named Amazing High Adventure was a sporadically published anthology of historical, biblical and science-fiction adventure stories from August 1984 to December 1986.[23] 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, cover-billed as Amazing Adventures (July 1988) but listed as Amazing Adventure in the copyright indicia, was similarly an anthology with a painted cover.[24]

Collected editions


  1. Amazing Adventures (Ziff-Davis, 1950 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  2. Amazing Adventures (Marvel, 1961 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  3. Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. New York, New York: Harry N. Abrams. p. 81. ISBN 9780810938212. Monsters...were almost all that Marvel offered as the 1960s dawned, and even they were running out of steam...Things looked bleak, but during 1961, editor Stan Lee was working with [Jack] Kirby and [Steve] Ditko to create a new line of super heroes
  4. Markstein, Don (2011). "Doctor Droom". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013. The superhero creations of Lee and Kirby didn't start with The Fantastic Four. Five months earlier, in the back pages of one of the typical monster comics they were doing at the time, they introduced their least well remembered star. Doctor Droom...debuted in Amazing Adventures #1, dated June 1961.
  5. DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 80. ISBN 978-0756641238. A master of the dark and mystical world of black magic, Dr. Droom...went to Tibet to treat an ailing lama.
  6. Amazing Adult Fantasy at the Grand Comics Database.
  7. DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 81: "With its seventh issue, Amazing Adventures became Amazing Adult Fantasy, but this move proved to be more than the usual Marvel name change...Since screenwriter Rod Serling's Twilight Zone was gaining popularity and critical acclaim on television, [Stan] Lee believed there was a market for intelligent fantasy and science-fiction stories."
  8. Amazing Fantasy (Marvel, 1962 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  9. Sanderson, Peter "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 146: "As Marvel was expanding its line of comics, the company decided to introduce two new 'split' books...Amazing Adventures and Astonishing Tales. Amazing Adventures contained a series about the genetically enhanced Inhumans and a series about intelligence agent the Black Widow."
  10. 1 2 3 Amazing Adventures (Marvel, 1970 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  11. Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 154: "In Amazing Adventures #11, by scripter Gerry Conway and artist Tom Sutton, Hank McCoy, the Beast's alter ego,...mutated, growing grey fur all over this body."
  12. Englehart, Steve (n.d.). "Amazing Adventures featuring The Beast". Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013. The series was handed over to a brand-new writer for his very first superhero.
  13. Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 156: "New Marvel writer Steve Englehart reintroduced Timely teen Patsy Walker into the Marvel Universe as a supporting character in the Beast's new series."
  14. Markstein, Don (2009). "Patsy Walker". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013. In 1972, Patsy was back, as a supporting character in a series starring The Beast.
  15. Larnick, Eric (October 30, 2010). "The Rutland Halloween Parade: Where Marvel and DC First Collided". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  16. Cronin, Brian (October 1, 2010). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #280". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  17. Amazing Adventures #16 (Jan. 1973), Justice League of America #103 (Dec. 1972), and Thor #207 (Jan. 1973) at the Grand Comics Database
  18. Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 159: "Roy Thomas conceived the initial idea of an alternate-future Earth sequel to H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds...Neal Adams plotted the first story with a script by Gerry Conway and art by Adams and Howard Chaykin."
  19. Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 161: "Marvel's 'War of the Worlds' series in Amazing Adventures became a true classic when Don McGregor took over as writer."
  20. "Philip Craig Russell". Lambiek Comiclopedia. 2013. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  21. "Marvel News". Marvelmania Magazine (5): 30. 1970.
  22. 1 2 Amazing Adventures (Marvel, 1979 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  23. Amazing High Adventure at the Grand Comics Database.
  24. Amazing Adventure at the Grand Comics Database.

External links

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