From Humble Beginnings to $4 Billion

A timeline of Marvel shows the company's steep lows and great highs.

From Reuters:

 

 The following are some key dates for Marvel:

 

* 1939 – Martin Goodman founds "Timely Publications" later to become "Marvel Comics." Timely's first publication, Marvel Comics No. 1, includes the first appearance of The Human Torch.

 

* 1939 – Goodman hires teenager, Stanley Lieber, as an assistant. Lieber eventually took the name Stan Lee and became one of the company's most popular artists. Lee served as the company's editor-in-chief from 1941-1942 and 1945-1972.

 

* 1941 – "Captain America" comic launched, the company's first blockbuster title.

 

* 1961 – The first Marvel Comics branded comic published, the science-fiction "Amazing Adventures No. 3".

 

* 1962 – Spider-Man first appeared in the comic book "Amazing Fantasy No. 15." The character got his first solo in "The Amazing Spider-Man," in March 1963.

 

* 1963 – X-Men team of mutant superheroes first appeared in "The X-Men No. 1."

 

* 1986 – Company sold to New World Entertainment. Three years later, it was sold to MacAndrews & Forbes, owned by Ronald Perelman.

 

* 1991 – Marvel taken public in an initial public offering.

 

* 1996 – Company declares bankruptcy.

 

* 1997 – Bondholders take over control of company, financier Carl Icahn named chairman.

 

* 1998 – Company emerges from bankruptcy.

 

* 2000 – First "X-Men" movie.

 

* 2002 – First "Spider-Man" movie.