With the success of The Fantastic Four, team comics became big business. While an attempt to replicate this attempt, The X-Men, would prove unpopular at the time, another title became huge. It’s about The Avengers, which would bring together many Marvel heroes from other titles, mainly from anthology.
Unlike other team books of the decade, the Avengers roster moved quickly. In issue 4 they had already welcomed the star of the Golden Age, Captain America, to their ranks. At issue 16, he would become the team leader and start over with a whole new roster.
Many of the characters and stories introduced in this decade would endure in time. They would come to form the basis not only of the Avengers, but of much of the Marvel Universe. The covers, many of which were created by artist Jack Kirby, would quickly become iconic and still hold a special place in the hearts of the fandom.
The 10 best X-Men comic book covers of the ’60s, ranked
The 10 best Spiderman comic book covers of the ’60s, ranked
10 Captain America joins the Avengers
The first three issues had established a team from across the Marvel universe. However, number 4 would bring them together for real. Captain America was featured in this issue. This would be revived from its cryogenic state after an absence from the comics since the golden age.
The number itself doesn’t slow down for a minute. Captain America’s body is first discovered by Namor, fresh from a recent battle with the Hulk. Once revived by The Avengers, Captain America sets off on the adventure of finding his hotel. This leads him to contact Rick Jones and an alien race. The issue culminates in a great battle, in which the Avengers finally offer Captain America a place on the team.
9 arrival of the Avengers
The cover of the first issue is a huge technicolor feast that invites readers to bet on the new title. In it the main members appear, advancing on Loki, who has his back to the viewer. Although these characters had already appeared in other headers, it was the first time they met under the same banner.
Loki is the one responsible for the heroes reuniting when he tries to trick the Hulk. A distress signal sent by Rick Jones is intercepted by Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp. When Thor arrives for his wayward brother and fires him, the team reunites as The Avengers and the rest becomes history.
8 Behold … the vision!
While many covers had opted for primary color explosions, this cover by John Buscema went in the opposite direction. He used deep reds and blacks to add drama to a new character in the franchise. That character was an android known as The Vision.
Son of Ultron, Vision must lead the team into a trap. However, it overcomes their programming and saves them from the machinations of their creator. The Vision would become a veteran member of the team and a fan favorite. Despite undergoing many changes, their stories would always follow the ideas established in this issue, their search for their humanity.
7 the old order changes
Despite being together for only 15 issues, the team would undergo a big change with this comic. Thor returns to Asgard, and The Wasp leaves the team due to mental strain. When Iron Man and Giant-Man follow him, it seems that the team is finished.
That is until the old enemy Hawkeye arrives, asking to start a new life as a member. Captain America’s televised recruiting drive attracts the attention of two other former criminals. They are Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, former members of The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The number is important not only because of the new team itself, but because it set the theme of redemption. This theme will be at the core of all future Avengers stories.
6 In our midst … an immortal!
In number 38 another new member of the team appears, Hercules. Under the influence of a love potion administered by the Enchantress, Hercules is sent to defeat The Avengers. After a brief fight, he regains his sanity.
Upon returning to Olympus, he discovers that he has been exiled by Zeus. This leaves him at the mercy of the Avengers, who graciously welcome him into the mansion as a guest. Hercules would become a fan favorite and much loved character. Although he would often take a backseat to Thor, his jovial character and zest for life have made him a welcome addition to any Avengers roster.
The cover of issue 66 features an excellent perspective shot from a top down view. It looms over the stairs of the Avengers Mansion, as Clint Barton, in his Goliath outfit, climbs up and the rest of the team springs into action. The object of all The Avengers scorn is The Vision.
In this issue, Vision steals an adamantium cylinder from SHIELD’s helicarrier and uses it to rebuild his father, Ultron. The number is notable because it was the fictional metal’s first appearance in the Marvel universe. It also marked the return of Thor and Iron Man to the team after a long absence.
4 Till death do us part
If the cover of this issue seemed wild, the plot was even more so. The issue features the wedding of Wasp and Yellow Jacket, who has just admitted to killing Goliath. Inexplicably, only Hawkeye seems angered by this revelation. The mania starts right there.
Despite the fact that the Fantastic Four organize the flowers and the Circus of Crime is in charge of the catering, the Wasp is still surprised by the result of her day. Luckily, Yellow Jacket ends the issue by admitting that Goliath’s death was a schizophrenia-induced lie. At that moment, everything seems to return to normal.
3 The Arrival of Wonder Man
Wonder Man would only have one outing in the 1960s, until his resurgence in issue 151. Simon Williams was arrested for taking money and blamed Tony Stark. This led to a plot in which The Lords of Evil contacted him and gave him powers, to fight alongside them.
They would have won, had it not been for a change of mind from the Wonder Man who saved the Avengers themselves. He died a heroic death, dying from the poison administered by Baron Zemo. When he was later revived, he became an integral member of the team and a leading member of the West Coast Squad.
2 In battle he joined
Long before the big Avengers vs. X-Men, there had already been small clashes between the two teams. This was the first and featured a team of Avengers paired up against the original X-Men. It is the continuation of a story from X-Men # 45.
The story centers on a confusion when Quicksilver joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Unbeknownst to the Avengers, they attack Cyclops who confronts him. The issue ends with Magneto’s defeat and an apparent death. The story would use Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch as a bridge between the world of mutants and that of the Avengers, a recurring theme for years.
1 The Black Knight lives again
The Black Knight had been a former enemy of The Avengers. He was a member of the Lords of Evil and had used his high-tech weaponry and flying horse to attack them. Therefore, it should not have been a surprise when he arrived once more and was immediately attacked.
This time, the man in the suit was Dane Whitman. Nephew of the original Black Knight, he had decided to use his uncle’s weaponry for good. He would become an ally of the team and later a full-time member.