10 Shocking Cover Ups Marvel Comics Wants You To Forget

Marvel is not here to make friends, but if they are, they're incredibly bad at it.

Marville Cover Greg Horn
Marvel Comics

Marvel has been operating as a large part of the cultural zeitgeist for over eighty years.

In that time, like any company worth writing about, they've seen astronomical heights and deeply depressing lows. Some of these are well-documented and oft-retold. After all, they are the company with the highest selling single issue of a comic of all time, with 1991's X-Men #1 selling over 8 million copies. On the other end of the spectrum, who could forget the time they declared bankruptcy only five years later?

However, not everything in their history is as well known as these huge events. Marvel have so mant skeletons in their closet that they've started to spill out into the room, and it's very difficult to sweep a skeleton under the rug.

With that in mind, here are some of the strangest, silliest, and most shocking times Marvel have metaphorically driven over their neighbour's dog and pretended it was just a speed bump. Whether it's exploiting a legal loophole, hiding a massive creative failure, or even erasing an artist's entire legacy from the history books, it seems there is no low Marvel won't stoop to in the name of the brand.

10. Jack Kirby Created Everything

Marville Cover Greg Horn
By Susan Skaar [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

When we think of the people who shaped Marvel, it is natural for Stan Lee to pop into our heads. Although he was an undeniable force in building the company's public image and cultural significance, he too often gets credit for actually creating their most famous superheroes. In truth, that credit should be aimed more towards a true unsung hero: Lee's collaborator, Jack Kirby.

You just need to look at their careers side-by-side: Jack Kirby created tons of characters both before and after working with Stan Lee, including the iconic Captain America. But Lee had never created a superhero until he worked with Kirby, and after they stopped collaborating he never went on to create a truly memorable character again (unless you count Stripperella, which you really shouldn't). Kirby's fingerprints are even all over Spider-Man, one of Lee's few characters he 'allegedly' had no hand in creating at all.

Kirby is now championed by other struggling comics creators, seen as somewhat of a martyr for the community. When Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo made a Fantastic Four comic in which the team met God, they made sure to make the Almighty look and act exactly like Kirby.

Image Comics, a company created by writers and artists who were sick of Marvel's "work-for-hire" contracts, originally planned to have "Jack Kirby presents" at the start of all of their comics. This was in protest to Marvel writing "Stan Lee presents" before each title, even if Lee had no involvement with that title.


Jimmy Kavanagh is an Irish writer and co-founder of Club Valentine Comedy, a Dublin-based comedy collective. You can hear him talk to his favourite comedians about their favourite comics on his podcast, Comics Swapping Comics.