Home Comic Books

Who was the first Marvel character?

Here's a hint: He's a founding member of the Fantastic Four and he's extremely flammable.

Screengrab via Marvel Comics

Marvel may be a household name today, but that wasn’t always the case. Every huge entertainment company has its own story of humble beginnings, and Marvel is no different.

Marvel characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers, and The Fantastic Four are household names, but they had their humble beginnings like everyone else.

Who was the first superhero to grace the pages of Marvel Comics? The answer may surprise you. Let’s look at some history first.

What is Marvel?

Marvel Entertainment is one of the two largest American media companies that have characters for comics books, movies, and action figures, along with DC. Marvel Comics handles the superhero storylines through serialized drawn comic books, where the bulk of the material for Marvel movies comes from.

The company is headquartered in New York City and owned by the Disney Company.

How old is Marvel Comics?

The first iteration of Marvel was called Timely Comics. That was founded in 1939. Over the years the company wanted to capitalize on the growing popularity of comic books so it focused more on that and changed its name to Timely.

In the early 1960s, Timely was changed one more time to Marvel Comics.

How is Marvel different from DC?

Marvel and DC are similar in that they both are companies that feature superheroes, but they have a completely different roster. DC has superheroes like Superman, Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, as well as many others.

Marvel superheroes include Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Avengers, and Howard The Duck.

Who was the first Marvel Superhero?

Because many comic book characters in the Marvel universe were introduced many years ago, they’ve gone through quite a number of iterations over the years – even marquee characters like Spider-Man.

In 1939, Marvel Comics debuted three superheroes in its first issue, when the company was still called Timely Comics. Those superheroes? Human Torch, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Angel.

Human Torch aka Johnny Storm (Jim Hammond originally) appeared first in the issue, so he’s the first Marvel Superhero ever. The issue features seven stories. So who exactly is Human Torch?

Who is the Human Torch?

The Human Torch is the superhero name of Johnny Storm. After a troubled childhood, he joined his sister Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) on a spaceflight where he was exposed to cosmic radiation.

He has the power of flight and can become engulfed in flames and shoot fire. He was killed in Fantastic Four #587 and later revived by tiny insect creatures implanted in his body. While he was away, Spider-Man filled in for him in the Fantastic Four.

Jon Silman
About the author

Jon Silman

Jon Silman is a stand-up comic and hard-nosed newspaper reporter (wait, that was the old me). Now he mostly writes about Brie Larson and how the MCU is nose diving faster than that 'Black Adam' movie did. He has a Zelda tattoo (well, Link) and an insatiable love of the show 'Below Deck.'