The Royal Mail has given a first look at 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, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel.
the heroic line-up is joined by Peggy Carter, Black Panther, Captain Britain and Union Jack while a further five stamps will be part of an exclusive short comic strip story contained within the stamp.
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. 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.
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, added: “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.