The Motley Fool marks the 50th anniversary of the Avengers with an article that’s part history lesson, part early celebration of Disney’s potential box-office haul from films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron (it is a financial website, after all). But the interesting part of the piece is a bit of trivia I’d never read before: that The Avengers #1 was thrown into production only because of a major delay on Daredevil #1.
While the article doesn’t provide a source, that tidbit may have come from Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, who explained in 2011 that the company planned to follow The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man in 1963 with The X-Men and Daredevil. However, between his day job and his drinking problem, artist Bill Everett fell far, far behind on Daredevil #1, leaving Marvel with a printing deadline but no comic.
“In those days, you booked print time way ahead of time — and if your book wasn’t ready, you paid for the printing time anyway,” Brevoort wrote.
An so it fell to Stan Lee to quickly come up with an idea for a comic that could fill the whole, and keep Marvel from losing money to a missed deadline. His solution was a title that brought together five of the company’s superheroes — Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, the Wasp and the Incredible Hulk — Justice League of America-style.
“So he and Jack Kirby brainstormed the first issue,” Brevoort wrote, “Kirby drew it up hastily, Dick Ayers inked it in what looks like no time flat, and it came out the same month as X-Men #1.”
Daredevil #1 made it to newsstands about six months later, in 1964, thanks to some help from Steve Ditko. Joe Orlando assumed duties as artist with the second issue.