Marvel Publishing, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media. Marvel Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, owns Marvel Publishing.
The comic book arm of the company started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the early 1950s had generally become known as Atlas Comics. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from 1961, with the company later that year launching Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others.
Marvel counts among its characters such well-known properties as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Thor and Captain America; antagonists such as Doctor Doom, the Green Goblin, Magneto, Galactus, and the Red Skull; and others. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locales set in real-life cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.