It was 1965 and the Fantastic Four were facing enemies unlike any they had seen before: a family - just like them – with stunning super powers.
They called themselves the Inhumans and they were quite literally a royal family, consisting of the strong, silent Black Bolt; his wife Medusa with hair that had a mind of its own; the powerful Gorgon; water-dweller Triton; Crystal, who can control the elements; and the very intelligent Karnak… and then there was the villainous Maximus.
And did we mention Lockjaw? A teleporting bulldog… yes, you read that right.
The imagination of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby was on full display with this creation, and they brought the Inhumans in to an epic multi-part story.
The characters were so popular that they got their own ongoing series within “Amazing Adventures” in 1970, and their own self-titled book in 1975.
Despite their popularity in Marvel’s heyday, they went mostly forgotten until 1998, with an Eisner Award-winning limited series, which in the Marvel tradition, made a commentary on the real world with the Inhumans.
The family returned with more limited series in 2000 and 2003.
The Inhumans figured more and more in Marvel’s multi-issue arcs in the 2000s, and more Inhumans joined the Marvel universe, known as nuHumans, in 2013, which was explored further in the series “Inhuman” the following year.
This new expansion of the Inhumans -who gain their powers through a process called terrigenesis – was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a major story arc on “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”
At the same time, the Inhumans have been a constant of Marvel Comics in recent years, with various series like “Uncanny Inhumans.”
Marvel Studios originally planned a feature-length film for 2019, but instead decided to bring the original Inhumans to television, in an ABC TV series set to premiere tonight.
We even saw a comic book series that seemed like a no-brainer: “Inhumans vs. X-Men.” Time – and legal issues – will tell if we see that on the screen in the future.
It’s been a long road for Marvel’s royals, but they’re finally making their mainstream debut, and they’re now a cornerstone of the Marvel universe.