If you look at Marvel comics published during the 1950s and 1960s, you’ll notice some similar titles in the series: “Tales of Suspense,” “Amazing Fantasy,” “Journey Into Mystery,” and the aforementioned “Tales to Astonish.”
During the 1950s, the crime, horror, romance, and superhero comics that Marvel (formerly Timely and Atlas Comics) had published fell out of fashion. Ground zero for this was the book “Seduction of the Innocents” written by psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham. The No Good Doctor argued that comics were a corrupting influence on youth (for example, he attacked Batman and Robin for promoting homosexuality), sparking a moral panic and resulting in the formation of the Comic Book Code Authority. What the Hays Code was to movies, the CCA was to funny books; comics couldn’t be scary, sexy, or promote immoral and “un-American” values.
Now, under strict censorship, Marvel’s bread and butter became sci-fi comics with outrageous monsters and aliens. These played into a similar niche to horror comics, but were brighter and meatier. Of course, Marvel eventually got back into the superhero business when Kirby and Lee created “The Fantastic Four” in 1961. This change was reflected in how the old monster comics began featuring superheroes instead; eventually they were all renamed to reflect this. The fifteenth and final issue of “Amazing Fantasy” was Spider-Man’s debut; the series was later succeeded by “The Amazing Spider-Man.” “Tales to Astonish” became “The Incredible Hulk,” “Tales of Suspense” became “Captain America” and “The Invincible Iron Man,” and “Journey Into Mystery” became “The Mighty Thor.” .
However, the science fiction comics that Marvel had been publishing paved the way for the superhero renaissance. Except for Thor, all of Marvel’s heroes had origins rooted in science fiction. Stan Lee himself joked about how often he used radioactivity to give his superheroes his powers because the effects seemeducate scientist.