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The bronze age
The 1970's
In 1970 Marvel came out with a different type of hero. He was Conan the Barbarian. His comic series would last 20 years, and beyond with new series. He is probably best remembered for Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian movie. Conan wasn't a Marvel created hero though. Originally Conan came from a series of books by Robert E Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1920's and 30's.

In 1971 Marvel broke the rules. They did a story that the CCA (Comics Code Authority) would not approve. Despite this, Marvel published the story anyways. They were afraid that they would not get public support for it was only 22 years previous that people were burning comics because of the "evil" that they did. The comic was The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98. This story was about the harmful effects of drug use. The CCA thought the drug issue should be ignored completely. But the public was on Marvel's side in this case.

Amazing Spider-Man #121 shocked everybody. In this 1973 issue Spider-Man's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy was murdered by his enemy The Green Goblin. Never before had readers witnessed the death of such an innocent and key character. It reminded people that the villains that superheroes fight are indeed harmful and crazy. Usually we see villains make an attempt to do something bad, but they never succeed. The superhero always stepped in and saved the day. This time one was too late, and a fatal price was paid.


In 1973-4, a different breed of heroes were produced by Marvel. They are sometimes called anti-heroes. The two that became the most popular are Wolverine and The Punisher. Wolverine was a wild, formerly psychotic man would kill someone at the drop of a hat. He made his first appearance in Incredible Hulk #181, he was then introduced as one of the new X-Men in 1975, from there his popularity sky- rocketed. The Punisher's first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #129. The Punisher did appear in other Spider-Man stories but it would be in the mid 1980's before he would receive a comic book of his own. These anti-heroes were popular because they were different; they didn't have the same pure good motives and methods that Superman did. They would often kill (or try to kill) the villains they went against. Some parts of their personality reflected what normal people think but would not act out.

In 1975 The New X-men came. They made their appearance in Giant Sized X-men #1. Among them was Wolverine, who is still one of Marvel's most popular characters. This book is a lot like the original Star Trek cast. It included different heroes from around the world. Most of these places (or ethnic groups) didn't have heroes to call their own in the Marvel universe. Wolverine was Marvels first Canadian hero. Others include Colossus from Russia, Storm who was originally from Cairo, but was contacted from Kenya, Banshee from Ireland, Sunfire from Japan, Thunderbird who was an Apache Indian, and Nightcrawler from Germany.

In 1976, Marvel and DC would have their first superhero crossover. This was a battle between Superman and Spider-Man. Because of the success of this book, many other company crossovers have happened since then. It should be mentioned that Marvel and DC did do one other collaboration before this book. It was a co-published Wizard of Oz book in 1975.

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