IT WAS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA.
With the end of World WAr II, Americans were eager to return to the quiet pursuit of the American dream. Most citizens envisioned the postwar era as a peaceful time of new-home ownership, a well-paying job and a loving family. Yet what they would face was a culture of escalating tension and paranoia. With nuclear genie let out of the bottle, and much of Europe and Asia organized under the banner of Communism, fears of "Red" spies and sympathizers, and nuclear annihilation defined postwar America.
These political and social changes profoundly affected the comic-book industry. Marvel, then known as Timely Comics, had been essential reading during the 1940s. But after the war's end, readers lost enthusiasm for the exploits of super heroes such as Captain America and the Human Torch fighting leftover Nazis. A bold new entertainment option also chipped away at the audience for reading comic books: television. With challenges on all fronts, the industry searched for its next big thing.
In a burst of creative experimentation, publisher Martin Goodman and his lead writer/editor, Stan Lee, dove in headlong. They expanded into dozens of previously untapped genres: science-fiction tales of otherwolderly adventures and unimaginable monsters: realistic war comics targeted at the millions of G.I.s who'd read comics in the trenches; horror comics that kept America's youth awake under the covers for countless hours before becoming the center of a moral panic that rocked the industry; romance comics featuring Millie the Model and Patsy Walker that attempted to attract female readership. Marvel even gave their classic costumed heroes a new spin under the Atlas Comics banner, pitting Marvel Boy and Captain America against the most contemporary threat of Soviet spies and devious Communist saboteurs. From westerns to crime to horror, Atlas published it all!
While not all of the series of this era found lasting success, their experimentation brought together the explosive talents that would make Marvel a household name. Now, for the first time, the Marvel Masterworks present deluxe collections of the very best tales from this historic era. Many of these stories have never before been reprinted and have been unavailable to fants for more than fifty years. Within these covers is a rare first time capsule of a truly unforgettable era: the Atlas Era of Marvel Comics!