Marvel Universe

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A brief overview of the Marvel Universe

Warning: this article may contain spoilers as it is about a comics and movie/TV show series. The Marvel Universe is a complex series of comics, movies and TV shows, with intricate storylines spanning from far in the past to well into the future. To date, there are more than 80000 named characters with superpowers in this universe including heroes like Thor or Daredevil, villains like Doctor Doom or Thanos. There have been media representations which include works such as (but not limited to) comic books such as Thor and Iron Man; films like Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange; TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jessica Jones. Overall, the media representation of the Marvel Universe is a pastiche — a deliberately created combination — of different genres and ideas that create the whole.


The Marvel Universe was created as a result of the popularity of comic books during 1940s–1960s. In order to meet demand for Marvel Comics publications, they quickly introduced more superhero and villain characters than could be contained in one series, and thus expanded into other titles such as The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Doctor Strange et al. The characters were also renamed as The Ultimates and The Ultimate Avengers.

Over the years, Marvel has introduced many characters to the shared universe. There are several events that led to emerging of new ideas for comics. It included events like X-Men’s debut in issue #1 in September 1963. Black Panther made his first appearance in July 1966 as T’Challa, the first African superhero in mainstream comics. In 1968, Marvel published three issues of Spider-Woman about a female character which was later cancelled after just one issue due to protests from feminists (Campbell 12). Many of Marvel’s comics and most notably its costumed characters, stick to principles of classic archetypal superhero storytelling. For example, Spider-Man is an adolescent science nerd named Peter Parker who gains extraordinary powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider.

The Marvel Universe has also been affected by real events that have shaped the world at large, such as the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War. They have also had storylines which have reflected cultural trends in society, for example a storyline in 2006 where Spiderman was thought to be a murderer.

Marvel has also created fictional versions of real world locations such as New York City (where many of their stories take place) and Washington D.C.. The depictions vary from realistic to exaggerated.

Major events and crises

Several major events and crises have taken place in the Marvel Universe throughout its history. These events have been depicted in the films and TV shows.

As well as characters, the Marvel Universe also includes locations. The fictional Marvel locations are generally based on real places with fictionalized characteristics. They are often directly based on a real world location, but with a comic twist, such as New York City which is portrayed as a crime-ridden city where super villains thrive. Another is the X-Mansion, which is analogous to Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters in Salem Center (Blue Valley) in Westchester County, New York. The Savage Land is an Antarctic place made up of jungles and forests inhabited by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures; it’s analogous to Tierra del Fuego island.
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