Royal Mail today revealed the images of the Marvel Super Hero stamps issued to mark the UK’s celebration of Marvel’s iconic comic stories.
The 15-stamp set features some of the most popular Super Heroes from the comic books.
Ten stamps show: Spider-Man; Hulk; Thor; Iron Man; Doctor Strange; Captain Marvel; Peggy Carter; Black Panther; Captain Britain and Union Jack. A further five stamps are part of an exclusive short comic strip story contained in a miniature sheet.
The world-famous Marvel Comics grew out of Timely Comics, which in 1939 published its first comic book, Marvel Comics #1.
Editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby created a Super Hero revolution when they devised a new world of characters in the early 1960s, including Hulk and Thor.
In 1963, Lee and Steve Ditko hit upon a new idea for a hero; a teenager who accidentally takes on Super Hero abilities – and tested it out in a magazine that was about to be retired. However, the character caught the attention of the readers and Spider-Man was born.
In 1972, Marvel UK was formed, publishing weekly comics that repackaged the stories for a British audience. This changed in 1976 when Captain Britain Weekly was launched, featuring the adventures of the first Marvel Super Hero created for the UK.
The 1980s, in particular, saw US comic publishers heavily recruiting British writers and illustrators, who increasingly worked on the American publications and began to inject darker storylines to widen the appeal of the characters. One such artist is Alan Davis, who designed the new Special Stamps, and has worked with Marvel since the early 1980s and first illustrated Captain Britain in 1985.
A specially-created story, also illustrated by Davis, features five further stamps printed in a miniature sheet. The story, entitled Avengers UK, sees Captain Britain rallying Super Heroes to face the arch villain Thanos.
Stamp illustrator, artist, Alan Davis, said: “I really can't take all the credit for producing these stamps. The speed of production required in US comics makes it necessary to separate the creative disciplines into four individual jobs. Writer, penciller, inker and colourist. My primary focus is writing and pencilling.
“My long-time collaborator Mark Farmer supplied the blackline inks for the stamps and Laura Martin added the colour.”
Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said: “Generations have grown up, spellbound by the adventures and the personalities of these Super Heroes. Our epic new stamps celebrate each in characteristic pose, emerging from the stamp frame.”
The stamps and a range of collectible products are available now to pre-order from www.royalmail.com/marvel and go on general sale from Thursday 14 March by phone on 03457 641 641 and in 7,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.
Doctor Strange - Once a brilliant yet vain neuro-surgeon, Stephen Strange sought out the help of the Ancient One when his hands were badly damaged in a car crash. Strange’s path led him to become a Master of the Mystic Arts and Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, protecting the world from evil forces.
Thor - The mighty Thor is the Norse God of Thunder. Once cast out of Asgard for his pride, he was trapped on Earth as the injured doctor, Donald Blake. Thor’s banishment is long ended and now he protects both Earth and Asgard as an Avenger.
Captain Marvel - Carol Danvers was an Air Force officer when she met Kree hero Captain Mar-vell. After her DNA mixed with his during an explosion, she gained super powers and took the name Ms Marvel. Following the original’s death, Carol took on the mantle of Captain Marvel to honour his legacy. Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel is in cinemas from 8 March, 2019.
Spider-Man - Peter Parker is Spider-Man, New York’s amazing web-slinging hero. Bitten by a radioactive spider as a teenager, Peter Parker gained arachnid-like abilities and, after his Uncle Ben was murdered, swore to use his abilities to help others – having realised that with great power comes great responsibility.
Black Panther - T’Challa is the Black Panther, ruler of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda and protector of its valuable vibranium supply. T’Challa first travelled to America to learn more about the country’s heroes and soon became a leading member of the Avengers.
Hulk - When mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner was bombarded by radiation from a gamma bomb, he was transformed into the Incredible Hulk. The green-skinned behemoth is one of the planet’s most powerful and misunderstood heroes – feared by a world he has saved numerous times.
Peggy Carter - Peggy Carter was working for the French Resistance in the Second World War when she met and fell in love with Captain America. The two fought the Axis powers together before they were separated by the war. Peggy went on to become a leading agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division).
Union Jack - The original Union Jack was Lord James Falsworth, who fought in the First World War. When his descendant refused to take on the role, the mantle was passed to Joey Chapman, a working class hero from Manchester, who has gone on to fight alongside the Knights of Pendragon and the Invaders.
Captain Britain - Brian Braddock was chosen by Merlyn to be Britain’s greatest protector. Granted amazing powers, Brian became Captain Britain. He soon learned he was part of a multidimensional Captain Britain Corps and has fought alongside Excalibur and the Avengers to keep his country – and the world – safe from harm.
Iron Man - When terrorists captured billionaire inventor Tony Stark, they forced him to create weapons. With shrapnel near Stark’s heart endangering his life, Stark tricked the terrorists, building a suit of powered armour to defeat them. It was the birth of the armoured Avenger – the invincible Iron Man.