The Avengers is a team of superheroes, appearing in magazines published by Marvel Comics. The team made its debut in The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963), and was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, following the trend of super-hero teams after the success of DC Comics' Justice League of America.
Labeled "Earth's Mightiest Heroes", the Avengers originally consisted of Iron Man (Tony Stark), Ant-Man (Dr. Henry Pym), Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Thor, and the Hulk (Bruce Banner). The original Captain America was discovered by the team in issue #4, trapped in ice, and he joined the group when they revived him. The rotating roster has become a hallmark of the team, although one theme remains consistent: the Avengers fight "the foes no single superhero can withstand". The team, famous for its battle cry of "Avengers Assemble!", has featured humans, mutants, robots, gods, aliens, supernatural beings, and even former villains.
An animated television series, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, premiered on October 20, 2010. A feature film starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo,Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tom Hiddleston is scheduled to be released on May 4, 2012 in the United States.
The team debuted in The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963), using existing characters created primarily by writer-editor Stan Lee with penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby. This initial series, published bi-monthly through issue #6 (July 1964) and monthly thereafter ran through issue #402 (Sept. 1996), with spinoffs including several annuals, miniseries and a giant-size quarterly sister series that ran briefly in the mid-1970s.
Between 1996 and 2004 Marvel relaunched the primary Avengers title three times. In 1996, the "Heroes Reborn" line, in which Marvel contracted outside companies to produce four titles, included a new volume of The Avengers. Taking place in an alternate universe with a revamped history unrelated to mainstream Marvel continuity, The Avengers vol. 2 was written by Rob Liefeld and penciled by Jim Valentino, and ran 13 issues (Nov. 1996 - Nov. 1997). The final issue, which featured a crossover with the other "Heroes Reborn" titles, returned the characters to the main Marvel Universe.
A new relaunch with a new first issue, The Avengers vol. 3, ran 84 issues (Feb. 1998 - Aug. 2004). To coincide with what would have been the 500th issue of the original series, Marvel changed the numbering, and The Avengers #500-503 (Sept.-Dec. 2004), followed by the one-shot Avengers Finale (Jan. 2005),became the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline and final issues. In January 2005, a new version of the team appeared in the ongoing title The New Avengers, followed by The Mighty Avengers, Avengers: The Initiative, and Dark Avengers. Avengers vol. 4 debuted in 2010.