Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions

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Contest of Champions
Cover of Contest of Champions #1 (June 1982).
Art by John Romita, Jr. and Bob Layton.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Publication date June - August 1982
Number of issues 3
Main character(s) See Text

Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions is a three-issue comic book limited series published from June to August 1982 by Marvel Comics. The series was written by Mark Gruenwald with art by John Romita, Jr. and Bob Layton.

Publication history[edit]

This series was significant as it was Marvel's first published limited series. An unrelated five issue limited series published in 1999, Contest of Champions II, is a sequel in title only.[1]


An Elder of the Universe, the Grandmaster, challenges a hooded female called the "Unknown"—eventually revealed to be Death—to a game for the life of his fellow Elder, the Collector (killed by the cosmic being Korvac in the title Avengers).[2] The pair decide to use various superheroes from Earth as pawns, the goal being to collect the four pieces of a prize called the "Golden Globe of Life." A victory for the Grandmaster's team means the Collector may be resurrected, while a loss indicates the character must remain dead.

The Grandmaster's team consists of Captain America, Talisman, Darkstar, Captain Britain, Wolverine, Defensor, Sasquatch, Daredevil, Peregrine, She-Hulk, the Thing, and Blitzkrieg.

Death's team consists of Iron Man, Vanguard, Iron Fist, Shamrock, Storm, Arabian Knight, Sabra, Invisible Girl, Angel, Black Panther, Sunfire, and the Collective Man.

Although the storyline depicts a tie and the Grandmaster's team is written as being successful, Death advises that the Collector can only be resurrected if the Grandmaster takes his fellow Elder's place in the Realm of the Dead, with the character agreeing to the terms. International heroes Blitzkrieg (Germany); Collective Man (China); Defensor (Argentina); Peregrine (France); Shamrock (Ireland); and Talisman (Australia) debut in the series, and each issue contained a catalogue of all featured heroes and was the prototype for the publication the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.[citation needed]

An Avengers Annual eventually reveals that this was a ruse perpetrated by the Grandmaster as he is able to steal Death's powers and then via another deception forces the entity to banish all Elders from her realm, effectively making them immortal.[3]


  • Contest of Champions Vol. 1 #1-3
  • West Coast Avengers Annual #2
  • Avengers Annual #16

Contest of Champions (2015)[edit]

In the aftermath of Secret Wars, the Collector and Grandmaster put in motion another Contest of Champions. They use the remnants of Doom's Battleworld as their base of operations which becomes known as the Battlerealm, with the prize being an artifact called the Iso-Sphere.[4]

In other media[edit]


Video games[edit]

  • A version of the Contest of Champions storyline was adapted as an online MMORPG in December 2014.
  • The comic book was adapted into a 2014 fighting game for Android and Apple iOS with a similar title, Marvel: Contest of Champions.


Collected editions[edit]

  • Avengers: The Contest (Contest of Champions #1-3, West Coast Avengers Annual #2, Avengers Annual #16)


  1. ^ Contest of Champions II #1 - 2 (September 1999); #3 (October 1999); #4 - 5 (November 1999)
  2. ^ Avengers #175 (September 1978)
  3. ^ Avengers Annual #16 (1987)
  4. ^ Contest of Champions vol. 2 #1
  5. ^