Marvel’s Contest of Champions Comics and Games -A History

Contest of Champions (2015) with the Maestro
   

Marvel's  Contest of Champions  Comics and Games -A History

  In Marvel comics lore, the term "Contest of Champions" is a significant title and is also an example of how Marvel returns to the well of creativity by tapping into an old idea to create new stories and adventures for their fans.  As of this writing, Marvel has produced three separate Contest of Champions comic book limited series, and one very popular game, called, rather unsurprisingly, Marvel's Contest of Champions.   The first Contest of Champions series, published in 1982, is unquestionably the most important of them all, as this was the first time Marvel published a limited series (also known as a mini-series) of comics with a unique title and a limited and pre-determined number of issues.  This Contest of Champions ran for three issues and featured multiple Marvel heroes and characters from across the Marvel Universe.  
Contest of Champions #1 (1982)

Contest of Champions #1 (1982)

The plot of this story-line was an excuse to bring together various Marvel characters together to fight each other.  The set-up involved two powerful beings, the Grandmaster and Death, placing a bet with each other for the life of another Elder of the Universe, the Collector.  They each selected a team of heroes and set them to fight each other, and the winner won the life of the Collector. So basically, we had two bad guys gambling for the life another bad guy, using good guys as pawns in their vicious little Marvel gambling game.   The Grandmaster's team was made up of Captain America, Talisman, Darkstar, Captain Britain, Wolverine, Defensor, Sasquatch, Daredevil, Peregrine, She-Hulk, the Thing, and Blitzkrieg. Death's team line-up included Iron Man, Vanguard, Iron Fist, Shamrock, Storm, Arabian Knight, Sabra, Invisible Girl, Angel, Black Panther, Sunfire, and the Collective Man.   As mentioned before, this was the first of Marvel 's limited series, a concept that has turned out to be very popular.  The most recent examples of these limited series includes the Secret Wars titles (1984-1985, 2004, and 2015), and Original Sin (2014).   In 1999, Marvel also published a Contest of Champions II mini-series, but this was not an actual sequel to the original, since it did not continue the Grandmaster/Death wager.   
Contest of Champions #1 (2015)

Contest of Champions #1 (2015)

A new Contest of Champions began in 2015, and did feature the Grandmaster and the Collector pitting Marvel heroes against each other again as part of a wager.  This series places the captured heroes on a portion of Dr. Doom's Secret Wars Battleworld they now called Battlerealm.  The prize for the winning bad guy this time is an item called the Iso-Sphere.   In 2014, Marvel and Kabam games released a massive multiplayer online role-playing game online (and for Android and Apple IOS) called Marvel: Contest of Champions
Marvel Contest of Champions Game Logo

Marvel Contest of Champions Game Logo

What began in 1982 as an experiment in publishing for Marvel has developed into a popular heroes vs. heroes fighting contest and game, and to think it all started with a little wager between a couple of powerful super-villains.  By the way, the first Contest of Champions comic series is pretty good reading!

About the Author

Roger Lee
Roger Lee is a life-long comic book and sci-fi aficionado. As such, he fell into the habit of writing about the superheroes and sci-fi scenarios that he reads in the comics and books and sees on screen. Since writings on superheroes need to be shared, he has written for web audiences for years. His writings have appeared on www.comicshistoryguy.com, www.comicbookmovie.com, www.bamsmackpow.com, and now in superheroreviews.com.