Home Artistic creation 10 Marvel Creators Who Deserve More Credit

10 Marvel Creators Who Deserve More Credit

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MCU fans are familiar with the cultural force known as Stan Lee, the great animator to many comic book legends. With Lee’s ubiquity in movie cameos and press interviews, he’s become something of a godfather to the expanding Marvel galaxy. But as Lee’s plans for Marvel took shape in the 1960s and grew through modern times, many of his colleagues who helped build the empire fell into the shadows.

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Stan Lee’s work product permeates the public consciousness, but that is not the case for many of his most gifted collaborators. Veteran readers may remember the artists who gave birth to the heroes and villains of the MCU, but more credit goes to the unsung creators of Marvel Comics.

ten Steve Ditko helped found modern comics.

Steve Ditko was the architect behind Spider-Man, and perhaps the pinnacle of Marvel imagery and identity. In 1963, Ditko had a conversation with Stan Lee and turned a vague idea into a fully formed Wall-Crawler. Spider-Man proved that a popular comic can aspire to be literature, with stories full of human drama and empathetic characters. To challenge Marvel’s flagship protagonist, Ditko spawned a host of villains, including Doctor Octopus, the Lizard, and the Green Goblin. Contrasting the young Spider-Man was Doctor Strange, another product of the fertile year 1963. Strange’s magical tales drew on Ditko’s penchant for surrealism, with lasting impact.


9 Gil Kane’s work helped propel Marvel into the ’70s.

Any fan of Marvel’s Bronze Age is familiar with the work of Gil Kane. In the 1970s, Kane was a prolific cover artist for House of Ideas, created the characters Morbius and Iron Fist, and helped redesign Marvel originals Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock.

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Among his accomplishments was the art of one of the comic book’s legendary tales, “The Death of Gwen Stacy”, appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #121-122. Although he was a journeyman who contributed to the work of various other companies, notably DC, Kane continued sporadically with Marvel in the 80s on books such as the Micronauts.


8 Dave Cockrum played a crucial role in the birth of the Uncanny X-Men.

Although his output for Marvel was relatively small, Dave Cockrum helped create one of the most celebrated superhero teams of all time. Many readers might associate the early adventures of the Weird X-Men with John Byrne, but it was Cockrum who helped launch the title and designed much of the original programming. Phoenix, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler (which was almost part of DC’s the foreigners) all took shape on Cockrum’s drawing board. The artist also added the black cat to the pages of the amazing spider manbut it was his Weird X-Men contributions that have had a huge impact.


7 Mike Ploog was a master of the art of Marvel horror.

Mike Ploog was at the forefront of Marvel’s horror movement in the 1970s, a wave of dark creativity made possible by an era of permissiveness. The Comics Code Authority had lifted the ban on the horror genre in 1971, allowing a new crop of spooky tales. Ploog created the character Werewolf by Night for Spotlight on Marvel #2 in 1972, but his major contribution to the current Marvel Universe was his work on Ghost Rider for Spotlight on Marvel #5, tweaking the costume of the demonic biker. Horror fans also treasure Ploog for his work on Frankenstein’s Monster and a brief but acclaimed 1974 run on man-thing.


6 Gene Colan has contributed several memorable heroes to the MCU.

Another figure who thrived in the world of Marvel horror was Gene Colan, known for his work on the popular Tomb of Dracula book, which spawned the dark vampire hunter known as Blade. Colan produced another significant comic book character of color, the Falcon, the first African-American superhero and a mainstay of Marvel movies and television. Additionally, Carol Danvers emerged from Colan’s art for a 1968 issue of Marvel Superheroes. She would later take off as Ms. Marvel before taking on the role of Captain Marvel, now among the MCU’s most powerful heroes.


5 John Buscema was a Marvel Illustration titan.

John Buscema has had the honor of contributing to nearly every major Marvel title, from avengers for Wolverine. During his Silver Age run on the Avengers, he helped transform the Vision into the now-famous character in the MCU. Another major creation was the She-Hulk in 1980, which would later get its own Disney+ series in 2022.

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One of the best examples of Buscema’s artistic style is his work on Silver Surfer #4, depicting a battle between the Surfer and Thor. Ultimately, Buscema’s reputation is tied to the Conan tales, with the artist drawing over 200 stories featuring the creation of Robert E. Howard.


After inking his brother’s pencils on dear Stan Lee Silver Surfer title in 1969, Sal Buscema soon designed the avengers. In 1972, he co-created the Defenders team and reintroduced the Valkyrie in this popular Bronze Age book. Perhaps older Marvel readers will best remember the younger Buscema for his extended residencies on both the Spectacular Spider-Man (eight years old) and on his favorite comic book character the The Incredible Hulk (ten years). Ultimately, Sal Buscema contributed over 30 years of Marvel storytelling.


3 Don Heck stepped out of Jack Kirby’s shadow.

Although primarily an adventure comic artist early in his career, Don Heck was a significant early force in Marvel. The story to some extent overshadowed Heck’s accomplishments with those of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but it was Heck who did the interior art for Iron Man’s first appearance in Thrillers #39. Heck also drew many early issues of the avengers during the Silver Age and is credited with co-creating many Marvel protagonists, such as Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Black Widow, Mantis, and Havok.

2 Bill Everett left his mark with Submariner and Daredevil.

Bill Everett, like Jack Kirby, had a long career that spanned the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages of comic books. Most notably, he created the Sub-Mariner in 1939 Marvel Comics #1.

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Namor’s look would remain constant throughout Everett’s life and would feature in the artist’s last published work in Super Villain Team #1. These final Sub-Mariner illustrations appeared after the artist died in 1975. In addition to launching Marvel’s Sub-Mariner Monarch, Everett was also part of the team that released daredevil in 1964.

1 John Romita Sr.’s Spider-Man helped define the Marvel corporate brand.

When Steve Ditko stopped working on amazing spider man in 1966, John Romita Sr. stepped in. Romita developed the signature webslinger style, which became key to Marvel’s continued success in the late 60s and 70s. With help from Romita’s pens and brushes, amazing spider man became Marvel’s bestseller, dethroning the The Fantastic Four in 1969. Romita’s credits also include designing Mary Jane Wilson and famous thieves like the Rhino, Shocker and Kingpin. Although Romita contributed to other books and characters, such as Wolverine and Punisher, her work with Spider-Man cemented her legacy.


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