Biographic by Steve McGarry for April 27, 2008
Marvel Movies. Founded as Timely Comics in 1939, Marvel Comics exploded into pop culture in the 1960s, publishing a wealth of innovative comic books. The likes of The Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, and The Incredible Hulk made Marvel a powerhouse in the world of Comic book publishing. Beginning with "The Marvel Superheroes" in 1966, many of the company's hottest properties, including The Fantastic Four and Spiderman, were adapted into animated tv series. Life-action TV adaptations began in the 1970s, with Nicholas Hammond starring in "The Amazing Spider-Man, before Bill Bixby and bodybuilder Lou Ferringo made "The Incredible Hulk" a household name. The first movie based on a Marvel character to receive a wide theatrical release was "Howard The Duck" an expensive 1986 flop from the production company of George Lucas. Over the next few years, low-budget adaptations and TV movies saw the likes of action star dolph lundgren portray "The Punisher" and David Hasselhoff appear as "Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D "Wesley Snipes" enjoyed big box office success playing the vampire hunter "Blade" in a 1998 movie that spawned two sequels- but that success has been dwarfed by the phenomenal performance of the three "Spider-Man" movies, which have grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide! "X-Men" and "The Fantastic Four" have also been turned into big movie franchises, Nicholas Cage's portrayal of "Ghost Rider" hit gold, and Jennifer Garner's "Electra" was spun off from Ben Affleck's "Daredevil" this summer sees Robert Downey Jr. play "Iron Man" Edward Norton became "The Incredible Hulk" and there is a lengthy list of big-budget takes on other Marvel properties in the production pipeline.