Many comicbook aficionados are aware that Stan Lee, along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others, are best known for their game-changing origin stories of superheroes such as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and numerous others at the dawn of the Marvel Age of Comics. However, it is later stories by Lee and Kirby and others that really set the precedent for epic events in the lives of the Marvel characters. Some fans may already be familiar with the original Galactus trilogy presented in Fantastic Four (volume 1) issue #48-50, but here are five other pulse-pounding sagas by Lee and company to revisit.
The Inhumans Saga: Fantastic Four #44-48
Although Medusa makes her debut as a villain in Fantastic Four #36, much more is learned about her and her people starting in Fantastic Four #44. The FF travels to the hidden land of Attilan and learns about Medusa and her royal family of Inhumans including Gorgon, Triton, Medusa and their king, the silent but powerful Black Bolt. They also run into romantic entanglements – Medusa’s sister Crystal and Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch, are almost immediately infatuated with one another – as well as a deadly enemy in Maximus the Mad, who has usurped the throne of his brother, Black Bolt, the rightful king of Attilan. The FF need to untangle all this drama before they return to New York City and confront the colossal threat of Galactus in issue #48.
The Latveria Saga: Fantastic Four #84-87
The Mangog Saga: The Mighty Thor #154-157
Another cosmic epic is presented in the The Mighty Thor comic by Kirby and Lee as the god-like manifestation of an entire people once conquered by the Asgardians, known as Mangog, threatens Asgard and the Norse gods themselves. Thor must defend Asgard from this enemy, but it is a losing battle, until All-Father Odin himself must intervene. The rest you’ll have to see for yourselves!
The Cosmic Cube Saga: Tales of Suspense #79-81
Captain America and Iron Man shared the spotlight in Marvel’s monthly Tales of Suspense title. Each hero was featured for half an issue, which made for quite a few ongoing storylines. One such saga featured Captain America and the creation of a powerful item by technological villains A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), which was dubbed the Cosmic Cube. This powerful item allowed its wielder to bring into reality anything he or she imagined. The powerful Cube ends up in the hands of the fanatically evil Red Skull, and it’s up to Cap to stop him!
The Lifeline Tablet Saga: The Amazing Spider-Man #68-75
Stan not only plotted out epic sagas with “Jolly” Jack, who to say the least was a natural when it came to cosmic stories, but he also plotted and scripted a major ongoing saga for Spider-Man with artist “Jazzy” John Romita. This epic concerned the Lifeline Tablet, an ancient relic that first gains the attention of the mighty Wilson Fisk, Kingpin of Crime. Spider-Man must stop the Tablet from getting into the wrong hands, which leads to battles with the Kingpin, the Shocker, and others including, surprisingly, the reformed mutant Quicksilver. However, the Tablet eventually falls into the hands of the criminal gang leader known as Silvermane, and Spider-Man must find a way to defeat this dangerously reinvigorated criminal. Other artists besides Romita contribute to these epic eight issues, including legendary artists John Buscema and Jim Mooney.
Check out these sagas, all of which are currently available in print through Marvel Masterworks, Marvel Essential and Epic Collection trade paperback editions or digitally via Amazon Kindle, comiXology.com or Marvel.com.