Marvel Events Part II: The Silver Age

by GregFahlgren

Continuing from Part I, I explore the important cross-over events of Marvel's Silver Age

Welcome back True Believers! And welcome to Part II of my Marvel Events series! Today, I’ll be focusing on the Silver Age of comics, looking at the various big events that occurred throughout that magical (and really weird) time. The Silver Age was a time where big events were starting to become more and more common. However, these were not the dozens of issues, company-wide crossovers of today that we’ve become used to. Some of these events took place along one to three issues, our first entry taking place solely in Fantastic Four Annual #3. But, these events helped shape the universe, the characters, and the future of the comic book industry. So follow me, True Believers, as I take us on a little trip into the past.

The Wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm

Damn people showing up without an invite...

Who doesn’t love a wedding? Weddings are great! Well, unless of course said wedding gets attacked by every supervillain in the world, then they kind of suck.

Such was case for the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, the Fantastic Four’s star couple (Thing and Human Torch never did figure things out). The wedding had been a long time coming, superheroes not getting a lot of free time to plan this kind of stuff frankly. Much to everyone’s joy however, it was it was finally happening, the couple inviting all their superhero friends to celebrate their union.

However, Dr. Doom, the Fantastic Four’s resident party pooper, decides he wants to ruin things for the happy couple (dude needs to get laid). Using a special device, he lures the world’s supervillains to the wedding, inciting them to attack the ceremony whether they really wanted to or not. What results is one of the largest battles in Marvel history, almost every single hero and villain entering the fray.

Eventually, Reed was brought to the Watcher, who gave him a device of his own, this one to send the villains away and wipe their memories of the event. After the villains had gone away (and Doom... I don’t know, probably cried a lot) Reed and Sue married without incident, even if Jack Kirby and Stan Lee hadn’t been let into the ceremony.

The Wedding was hugely significant for Marvel, the 1argest battle they’ve ever had, and the only time that they had that many characters in one place. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby probably didn’t think much of what they were doing, just wanted to write a fun issue, but the influence this issue had on comic books cannot be denied.

Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang

A Noble Quest... No Really!

Taking place around the same time as the wedding, Namor the Sub-Mariner, who by now is king of Atlantis (I know I know, sounds like Aquaman, don’t bring it up in front of Marvel fans), returns to Atlantis to find that Krang, his archenemy, start a civil war! He locks Namor up, only for the King to be sprung by Lady Dorna. Namor then begins a quest to find the Trident of Neptune (don’t say ANYTHING about Aquaman guys and gals) so he can defeat Krang. After going through a series of trials, including a big fight with Iron Man, Namor gains the Trident, returns to Atlantis, and defeats Krang, banishing him forever.

This storyline is unique in that it was the first time a story was started in one issue, then finished in another. This technique is used often now, almost every issue it seems for most books, but back then, it was revolutionary. It wasn’t the greatest story ever told, but it was another step on the path comics was heading down.

Daredevil-Dr. Doom Swap

Another story involved Dr. Doom, this one is a little weird (okay, it was the Silver Age, everything was weird). The story starts out with the Trickster fighting Daredevil. Then, Tricksters decides that he needs to break into the Baxter building DISGUISED as Daredevil. Daredevil stops him, but the action draws the attention of Dr. Doom (naturally). Doom gets this idea that if he can somehow BECOME Daredevil, he can get into the Baxter Building and destroy the Fantastic Four! Simple right?

Doctor Doom then somehow switches bodies with Daredevil (worst Freaky Friday remake ever), and heads to the Baxter Building. Daredevil, now in Doom’s body, stops him, and manages to switch the bodies back. However, as Daredevil tries to tell the Fantastic Four what’s happened, Doom shows up, claiming to be Daredevil, and that Daredevil is Doom. The Fantastic Four fight Daredevil, who escapes, running into Spider-Man and Thor, who help him sort out the whole mess. Yes, that actually happened. WELCOME TO THE SILVER AGE!!

Not going to say much else about the event other than this is a strange instance of one character’s villain showing up in another’s book, and the story then being completed in another title during the Silver Age. Even stranger, that’s the most normal thing about this crossover...

Terrible Trio

It happened... I think.

This crossover was essentially this one time that Egghead, Mad Thinker, and Puppermaster all teamed up to take over the world. I can’t see to find a lot of information on the story itself, other than it spanned across a few titles, where the Trio were defeated by Captain Marvel, The Avengers, and Namor. This again is an example of cross-overs happening almost by accident, and that's probably why I couldn't find too much info on it. All three villains have showed up since then, though to my knowledge never as a top tier opponent for Marvel's heroes.

Sorry I don't have much more than that, but given how old the story is, it's not surprising how little I was able to find.

Formation of the Defenders

They've come to... DEFEND US! Yeah... that'll do.

The Marvel Universe already a few teams running around out there by the end of the Silver Age, most notably the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men. The Defenders were formed almost by accident over the course of a few team ups.

Featuing the Hulk, Doctor Strange, and Namor, the team first unites to defend the earth from invades know as Undying Ones, all of whom are servants of the Nameless One. They stop the invasion, and then part ways. A little while late, Namor recruits Hulk and Silver Surfer to stop dangerous weather control device, facing off with the Avengers at the same time. Finally, all four heroes came together to fight the techno-wizard Yandoth, after which they decided to stick together for a while, adding the hero Valkyrie soon thereafter.

This crossover was never down with the intention of forming a team, but the fan response to these stories was positive enough that Marvel decided to run with it. The Defenders stuck around for a long time after that, becoming one of the biggest teams in comic books. The Formation storyline was the first time that team had been created through a crossover, and the technique has been used time and time again since.

Conclusion

The Silver Age, much like the Golden Age, was a time of experimentation. The writers and artists , primarily Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, were creating so much so often that crossovers and events like these were more by accident than design. However, they did succeed in broadening the universe, and bringing the characters of the Marvel U closer together than they had ever been before.

Well, that's it for today. See you soon for Part III where I enter the decade of the seventies, and things really start to kick into high gear! Until next time, HAPPY READING TRUE BELIEVERS!

Read Part I!

First chapter of a series of blogs detailing the Events and Crossovers of the Marvel Universe.
Updated: 12/13/2015, GregFahlgren
 
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