Marvel’s Turning 80 This Year And You’re All Invited To The Party

by James Ferguson

Marvel Comics is celebrating a milestone birthday this year as the publisher reaches the big eight-oh.  Instead of having fun on a single day or week, Marvel is ringing in this monumental anniversary with a year-long party.  Throughout all of 2019, Marvel will be honoring some of its most iconic characters and stories across every decade of the company’s history, going all the way back to the early years as Timely Comics through to the adventures in the Marvel Universe today.

The fun kicks off this month as Marvel brings back some classic and reimagined Marvel super hero teams as we revisit some of Marvel’s early titles like Marvel Comics Presents and Marvel Tales with facsimile editions and trade collections.  We’ll also get some special 80th anniversary-themed variant covers throughout the year, beginning with nine connecting variants by artist Phil Noto this month.

This Fall, the publisher has teased an “extra-special, extra-sized publication of a Marvel-ous Millennial Milestone” poised to change the course of Marvel history forever…or at least until the 160th anniversary.  We’ve heard these kind of claims before, so I’ll reserve my judgement.

The party extends to the Marvel animated series too, starting with the release of Avengers Assemble: Black Panther’s Quest on January 13th on Disney XD.  This is Marvel’s longest running animated series to date.  This season follows King T’Challa as he goes on a vision quest through time, exploring the history of the Black Panthers, Vibranium, Wakanda, and the Marvel Universe itself.

Marvel’s digital shows and podcast will get in on the fun with special tributes to the publisher’s 80-year history.  Look for these on Earth’s Mightiest Show, This Week in Marvel, Women of Marvel, Marvel’s Voices, and Marvel 101.  There will also be themed episodes of the cooking show, Eat the Universe.  All of these are available on Marvel.com.

Did you think that was it?  No way, True Believer!  Look out for a multi-platform feature called Today in Marvel History, taking fans through the past 80 years of the Marvel Universe.  You’ll see the first appearances of some of your favorite characters and see how they’ve evolved over the years with a bi-weekly animated series on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus daily Marvel facts on Twitter, and in-depth articles on Marvel.com. Check out marvel.com/marvel80 or follow the hashtag #Marvel80 for more.

What’s a party without favors? Marvel will release a series of curated 80th anniversary merchandise including retailer exclusive collectibles, fashion and apparel, accessories, specialty products, and limited edition toys from the likes of Hasbro and Funko. More will be announced soon, including a special collaboration with Ample Hills Creamery in July.  For now, we’ve got a sneak peek of some of that sweet merch for the toy collectors out there.

Proving that they really know how to throw a party, Marvel will also have some special exclusive merchandise, experiences, and live events at comic conventions, museums, D23, Disney Cruises, and Disney Parks throughout the year, including some virtual live events. Marvel games are getting in on the action with limited time in-game events to celebrate key characters, stories, costumes, and other extras from Marvel history.

So long story short, if you like Marvel Comics in any way, shape, or form, you’ll have something to celebrate the publisher’s 80 year history. I didn’t even mention that a new Avengers movie comes out in a few months!

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