In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Reader Bob L. wrote in to ask:
Hi Brian, something that’s bugged me for years: When did the Inhumans start calling the Great Refuge Attilan? For the life of me I can’t find it. I’m familiar with the FF stories but suspect it may have been in the Thor backups, which I haven’t read.
Great question, Bob, and it’s one that’s honestly a bit confusing, due to different writers having different takes on it.
Amazingly enough, the first mention of the city of Attilan came in Captain America Comics #1, in a back-up story written and drawn by Jack Kirby starring Tuk the Cavebody…
This is only important because it is clear that the name stuck with Kirby when it came time to name the home of the Inhumans years later.
Okay, so in Fantastic Four #47 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott), we meet the Inhumans’ home at the Great Refuge…
For the next decade or so, that is how their home will be referred to as, as “The Great Refuge.”
Okay, but very soon after, in the very same Thor back-ups that Bob referred to, in Thor #146 (by Kirby and Lee), we see the origins of the Inhumans, which include their island home of Attilan…
So this is SORT of the answer to the question.
However, here’s the tricky part – it is clear, as shown here in Thor #152, that the idea was that the Inhumans LEFT Attilan to go to their NEW home at the Great Refuge.
Thus, in the early Lee/Kirby Thor backups, it seems as though Attilan and the Great Refuge were TWO distinct places.
However, in What If…? #30 (written by Peter Gillis), it was simply explained that Attilan was literally picked up and moved to their new home in the Himalayas…
Thus, I think What If…?#30 is the proper answer for when the Inhumans’ home became known as Attilan, because from that point forward, when people would refer to their home, it would be as Attilan.
Great question, Bob!
Okay, folks, if anyone else has a question regarding when something in comic book history first showed up, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to figure it out for you!
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