Marvel Comics (or simply Marvel) is an American comic book publisher and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc. (formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group), part of Marvel Entertainment. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired the parent company. Marvel was started in 1939 by Martin Goodman as Timely Comics, and by 1951 had generally become known as Atlas Comics. The Marvel era began in 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others. The Marvel brand, which had been used over the years, was solidified as the company’s primary brand.