For decades -in particular, since the 1960's-
Marvel Comics has been telling noteworthy fictional stories. The following is a list of the major plotlines, detailing such things as first appearances of characters, character deaths (though those tend to be less permanent in superhero comics) and other important developments. Note that all of these events take place within a sliding timescale, which means that they are assumed to have taken place in a period of up to fifteen years before the current date, regardless of when they were actually published.
For a list of events before the "Modern Era" see
Timeline of the Marvel Universe.
Event Year Developments
Emergence of the Fantastic Four 11/1961 After a trip to space, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm develop fantastic powers.
Re-emergence of Namor 05/1962 the Sub-Mariner gets his memories back after a meeting with the human Torch.
Emergence of the Incredible Hulk 05/1962 After being bombarded by gamma rays in a nuclear explosion, Dr. Bruce Banner becomes a rampaging creature.
Emergence of Spider-Man 08/1962 Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider and embraces a super-hero career.
Emergence of Thor 08/1962 The thunder god Thor awakens inside the body of mortal Donald Blake.
Emergence of Iron Man 03/1963 Tony Stark creates his first suit of Iron Man armor.
Emergence of Doctor Strange 07/1963 After years of mystical training, Stephen Strange becomes Earth's greatest defender against supernatural threats.
Emergence of the X-Men and Magneto 09/1963 Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Beast, and Angel are brought together for the first time by Professor X. They go public while fighting mutant criminal Magneto for the first time.
Emergence of the Avengers 09/1963 Iron Man, Thor, Ant Man, the Wasp and Hulk assemble for the first time.
Emergence of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. 09/1963 Colonel Nick Fury and his espionage agency get involved in super-human affairs for the fist time.
Re-emergence of Captain America 03/1964 Steve Rogers is awakened from suspended animation by the Sub-Mariner and found by the Avengers. He becomes a member of the team.
Emergence of Daredevil 04/1964 As a young boy, Matthew Murdock was blinded in a tragic accident, which also honed his senses to super-human levels. Now an adult, he embraces a super-hero career.
Emergence of Galactus and the Silver Surfer 03-05/1966 Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer, plan to destroy Earth. The Silver Surfer rebels against his master and, as punishment, remains a prisoner of earth's atmosphere.
Event Year Developments
The X-Tinction Agenda 1990 The New Mutants and the X-men are kidnapped and taken to Genosha, which culminates in their escape; the Genoshan government is overthrown.
Armor Wars II 1990 - 1991 Iron Man continues his mission against those he believes stole his technology, but creates tensions between himself and those who trust him most in the process.
Infinity Gauntlet 1991 Thanos uses the power of the Infinity Gems to become Supreme Being.
Operation: Galactic Storm 1992 The Avengers become involved in a war between the Kree and the Shi'ar.
Infinity War 1992 Magus, Adam Warlock's "Evil Side", creates evil doppelgangers of Earth's heroes to gain ultimate power.
X-Cutioner's Song 1992 The Legacy Virus is created, and Stryfe goes up against combined X-teams.
Infinity Crusade 1993 Goddess, Adam Warlock's "Good Side", recruits an army of heroes to fight her holy war.
Maximum Carnage 1993 The Carnage Family massacres downtown New York only to have Spider-man and Venom in their way.
Fatal Attractions 1993 Magneto returns more powerful and determined than ever, ripping the adamantium from Wolverine's bones and enraging Professor X.
Siege of Darkness 1993 The Midnight Sons battles Lilith in her quest to take over Earth.
Phalanx Covenant 1994 The Phalanx race attacks earth.
Clone Saga 1994 - 1996 The clone of Spider-Man, who was long thought dead, returns. His creator, the Jackal also returns to wreak havoc in Spider-Man's personal life.
Age of Apocalypse 1995 Legion travels back in time to kill Magneto, but accidentally kills his own father, Charles Xavier, creating a dystopian alternative timeline in which Apocalypse rules the world.
Avengers: The Crossing 1995 One of the Avengers is brainwashed and turns into a murderer.
Onslaught 1996-1997 The Marvel heroes died while defeating the nigh-omnipotent being, Onslaught, and later revealed that they have been transported to an alternate universe that was created by Franklin Richards
Operation: Zero Tolerance 1997 In the aftermath of Onslaught the U.S. government begins to round up mutants.
Heroes Reborn 1997 The heroes from Heroes Reborn return to the regular Marvel Universe.
Contest of Champions II 1998 Earth's heroes are abducted and brainwashed with nanoprobes to participate in a fighting competition.
Avengers Forever 1998 - 2000 Avengers from different time periods are assembled to participate in the Destiny War, a conflict between Kang the Conqueror and his future self, Immortus.
Event Year Developments
Apocalypse: The Twelve 2000 Apocalypse emerges once more, along with a mysterious prophesy of 12 powerful mutants capable of destroying him.
Maximum Security 2000 Fed up with Earth's interference in intergalactic affairs, the starfaring alien community quarantines the Sol System and turns Earth into a prison for the universe's worst criminals.
The Kang Dynasty 2001-2002 Kang and his son Marcus declare war on present-day Earth, killing everyone in Washington DC and briefly taking over the planet.
Infinity Abyss 2002 Mad partial-clones of Thanos try to destroy the universe.
Avengers Disassembled 2004 The Scarlet Witch goes insane and kills or incapacitates the current Avenger-roster.
Secret War 2004 - 2005 Nick Fury starts a secret war against Latveria who he believes has been selling high-tech weaponry to super villains.
Spider-Man: The Other 2005 Spider-Man goes through a mysterious, life changing event after facing the super villain Morlun.
House of M 2005 The Scarlet Witch alters reality, creating a world in which mutants are in charge.
Decimation 2005 - 2006 In the aftermath of House of M the mutant population has greatly decreased.
Planet Hulk 2006 Hulk is exiled to a far-off planet of Sakaar by the mysterious Illuminati.
Annihilation 2006 - 2007 Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, Nova, and Ronan face the Annihilation Wave.
Civil War 2006 - 2007 Heroes are divided when the U.S. government passes the Super-human Registration Act.
Civil War: The Initiative 2007 Government sponsored heroes led by Iron Man take control in the aftermath of the Civil War.
World War Hulk 2007 The Hulk returns to Earth to exact revenge on those who exiled him. As an old enemy forms the Gamma Corps to take him down, a handful of heroes who helped Hulk in the past consider joining his side.
Annihilation: Conquest 2007 Nova, Starlord, Wraith, & a new Quasar lead a group of cosmic heroes against a new threat to the universe.
Endangered Species 2007 The 198 remaining mutants must avoid the threat of genocide as Beast searches for a solution to M-Day.
Messiah Complex 2007 Following the events of Endangered Species, a savior of the Mutant Race is found, and both the X-Men and Mr Sinister are after it.
Secret Invasion 2008 An event that features an invasion by the Skrull race which has gone unnoticed, and the secret purpose behind it.