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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default What do you think of Marvel using New York City as the hub of their stories?

    New York City, as we all know, is the center of what happens in Marvel. It's a major thing that separates them from DC, which is geographically diverse but uses fictional cities of a vaguely-defined location. All the superhero action either happens in NYC, or at the very least, that's where they are based.

    For example:
    • The Avengers are based in the Avengers Mansion, or Avengers Tower, in Manhattan.
    • The Fantastic Four are based in the Baxter Building, also in Manhattan.
    • Spider-Man, the quintessential New York superhero, is from Queens and the majority of his stories are set in NYC.
    • Daredevil primarily operates in Hell's Kitchen.
    • Punisher is a New York native, and operates around that area (though he's gone to other areas, even foreign countries).
    • Moon Knight is also based in NYC and patrols primarily around that area (despite being from Chicago).
    • Individuals of other origins have a high tendency to wind up in New York. Examples: Hawkeye is from Iowa, Ant-Man (Scott Lang) is from Florida, the Power Pack are all originally from Virginia, the Wasp is from New Jersey, Carol Danvers is from Boston, Hulk is from Ohio, Doctor Strange is from Philadelphia, Venom is from San Francisco etc. yet many if not most of their stories have them in NYC.
    • The X-Men is a big exception... and by that I mean they're based in Westchester, an hour's drive from the Big Apple.
    • Kamala Khan's big deal is that she's not based in NYC, but rather she's based in New Jersey, across the bay.

    Of course, there are exceptions. You have cosmic stuff (but guess where that stuff ends up if it reaches Earth?), the Runaways are from Los Angeles (where that factors in their plot), the West Coast Avengers is... West Coast, Kaine as the Scarlet Spider became the big hero of Houston, Excalibur is in the UK, and Ant-Man's series took him back to Florida, and so on. But those the exceptions, not the rule.

    I know some people have taken issue with this, having all the fantastic stuff centered around one location. The MCU took great efforts to diversify, to make sure the cinematic universe didn't seem small. In my opinion though, I feel like it's a good thing that works in Marvel's favor.

    By that, here are some examples of what I mean:
    • Using NYC as the hub keeps everything focused and gives a sense of realism added to the superhero world ("The world outside your window" after all), whereas DC's method of fictional cities makes them feel more like smaller micro-settings.
    • It's also well-defined, which helps because Marvel has always been based there and thus they have first-hand knowledge of the place, giving each part of NYC a distinct feel whether positive as a city of hope and inspiration, or negative as a place where dreams become nightmares, because the location is consistent and can easily be both.
    • It gives a sense of community. You know how cultural stuff in the real world has a "hub", like how grunge music has Seattle and automobile culture have Detroit? I like to think that can be applied here: Superheroes in NYC. To be fair, NYC in the real world is considered the cultural capital, giving rise to a lot of things, it's what comes with being the biggest city in the country. Really, it's not that hard to believe all the supers would end up somewhere, and I doubt it'd be in Portland.
    • It also lends itself well to crossovers. If Spider-Man and Daredevil want to team up, it's easier for them to do so in NYC, while it would be a lot harder if Spidey was in NYC and DD was in Chicago.
    • The opposite end, such as having villains fight heroes they're not normally associated with (like Mysterio fighting Daredevil) is a lot easier to believe as well, when they're in the same town.

    I believe the NYC is too core to Marvel for them to diversify their locations on a massive scale, and if they ever try, it'll backfire miserably.

    But that's my opinion. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Well I certainly recommend using New York City above Toledo.


  3. #3
    Benefactor / Malefactor H-E-D's Avatar
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    I think the X-Men work much better in SF/California than they do in NY, but other than that, I don't really mind it. There's too many characters that you couldn't organically move out of NYC anyways, no more than you could organically relocate the Runaways to NYC on a permanent basis. The Avengers seem like they could be based anywhere, really (aren't they in the North Pole right now?).

  4. #4
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Marvel being centered around New York is just them properly acknowledging that I am the center of this and every other universe.

  5. #5
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    I actually feel like having just about everything in NYC has the opposite effect for me as it makes things feel less realistic.

    NYC is the hub for a lot of things but it's not the center of the universe.

    It's sort of like how in the MCU, the Security Council and SHIELD are supposedly United Nations-esque organizations, but the U.S. has complete control over everything about them.

  6. #6
    The Celestial Dragon Tien Long's Avatar
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    In the past, I was very proud that a lot of the Marvel Universe happened in NYC. Living outside of the city, I always felt a special relationship to those Marvel stories. Seeing Spider-Man swinging through a Manhattan reminded me of the times I'd come into the city on the GWB or Lincoln Tunnel with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline to greet me. Plus, the Marvel heroes would occasionally come over to Jersey. Let's just say I geeked out whenever I saw local towns mentioned in issues of the Avengers . (To be fair, it makes a lot of sense since many people at Marvel live in NJ. You'd be very surprised which Marvel editor you'd run into while waiting for the bus at the Port Authority ).

    However, after all these years, yeah, I'm definitely hoping that Marvel heroes are outside of the NY/NJ area. I still love this place, but I've started to appreciate other places. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, I'd love to see these cities have heroes and epic stories of their own. These cities shouldn't be the locale of one hero mind you, but several. I definitely think LA should be the next major hub of superheroes in Marvel. Hell, go global as well. London, Dubai, Mexico City, Shanghai, these places deserve some love too.

    So in closing, Marvel has always touted itself as being the world outside your window. Let's just say windows face a ton of places now, not just NYC.
    "I am a man of peace."

    "A man of peace...who fights like ten tigers."

  7. #7
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tien Long View Post
    In the past, I was very proud that a lot of the Marvel Universe happened in NYC. Living outside of the city, I always felt a special relationship to those Marvel stories. Seeing Spider-Man swinging through a Manhattan reminded me of the times I'd come into the city on the GWB or Lincoln Tunnel with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline to greet me. Plus, the Marvel heroes would occasionally come over to Jersey. Let's just say I geeked out whenever I saw local towns mentioned in issues of the Avengers . (To be fair, it makes a lot of sense since many people at Marvel live in NJ. You'd be very surprised which Marvel editor you'd run into while waiting for the bus at the Port Authority ).

    However, after all these years, yeah, I'm definitely hoping that Marvel heroes are outside of the NY/NJ area. I still love this place, but I've started to appreciate other places. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, I'd love to see these cities have heroes and epic stories of their own. These cities shouldn't be the locale of one hero mind you, but several. I definitely think LA should be the next major hub of superheroes in Marvel. Hell, go global as well. London, Dubai, Mexico City, Shanghai, these places deserve some love too.

    So in closing, Marvel has always touted itself as being the world outside your window. Let's just say windows face a ton of places now, not just NYC.
    That's interesting. Which ones live in NJ? I just always assumed everyone was in NYC (kinda like the superheroes they write about), since that's where their HQ is. Marvel has always had a distinct East Coast flavor, if not outright NYC. Of the legendary Marvel trio: Stan and Jack are native New Yorkers, while Steve is from Pennsylvania and moved to NYC later. In the '80s, many of the talent were from the East Coast such as Tom DeFalco (Queens), Ann Nocenti (NYC), Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest (Queens), Jim Shooter (Pittsburgh), Bill Sienkiewicz (Pennsylvania), Chris Claremont (Long Island), Frank Miller (Vermont), Ron Frenz (Pennsylvania), Bill Mantlo (Brooklyn), Ed Hannigan (Rhode Island), and Peter Allen David (New Jersey). There were definitely exceptions, like Walt Simonson (Tennessee), Louise Simonson (Georgia), Bob McLeod (Florida), Mark Gruenwald (Wisconsin) and John Byrne (Canada), among others, but an exception is exactly that.

    That may be why Marvel has always been oriented around NYC, because from the earliest days the creators were either NYC or close to it, and as they say "write what you know". If anything, the doors have only opened up today for creators from all around to be in Marvel, and I think the internet has something to do with it. But I'd be very interested to know which Marvel people were living in NJ.

  8. #8
    Spectacular Member karatattoo's Avatar
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    A long time ago I remember reading about the rationale the publishers, such as both Timely and National in the early years, had for giving their characters fictional cities as their locations.

    It was so the readers could pretend that places like Gotham City, or Central City were actually the readers' own home towns.

    For me, this was never a problem. Gotham City was Gotham City. That's all. I didn't pretend it was any place else. I also never lamented that New York City is a real place, which prevented me from having that pretense.

    I'm fine with many of Marvel's heroes being based primarily in NYC.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by karatattoo View Post
    A long time ago I remember reading about the rationale the publishers, such as both Timely and National in the early years, had for giving their characters fictional cities as their locations.

    It was so the readers could pretend that places like Gotham City, or Central City were actually the readers' own home towns.

    For me, this was never a problem. Gotham City was Gotham City. That's all. I didn't pretend it was any place else. I also never lamented that New York City is a real place, which prevented me from having that pretense.

    I'm fine with many of Marvel's heroes being based primarily in NYC.
    Huh, that's honestly kinda lame. It's like when a video game doesn't show the main character's face, so that you can "project" yourself on them.

  10. #10
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    You may notice that the MCU isn't nearly as NYC-dominated. Even Spider-Man, the hero who is most associated with New York, they made a whole point of taking him out of the city for his second (and possibly last) MCU film.

    This is partly because audiences for big budget movies like to see exotic or unusual locations and New York is the most familiar location in movies.

    I think the main reason for the NYC dominance in the comics has always been that it makes crossovers easier. When characters are based outside of New York, they have to come up with reasons why another character flew across the country to visit them. That makes it hard to pump up sales by featuring a Spider-Man guest appearance or something. By putting everyone in the same city, Stan Lee guaranteed that he and the other creators would never have to worry about finding excuses for a crossover. And that's been the case ever since then. It doesn't really apply as much to the movies where crossovers are planned out long in advance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurkle View Post
    You may notice that the MCU isn't nearly as NYC-dominated. Even Spider-Man, the hero who is most associated with New York, they made a whole point of taking him out of the city for his second (and possibly last) MCU film.

    This is partly because audiences for big budget movies like to see exotic or unusual locations and New York is the most familiar location in movies.

    I think the main reason for the NYC dominance in the comics has always been that it makes crossovers easier. When characters are based outside of New York, they have to come up with reasons why another character flew across the country to visit them. That makes it hard to pump up sales by featuring a Spider-Man guest appearance or something. By putting everyone in the same city, Stan Lee guaranteed that he and the other creators would never have to worry about finding excuses for a crossover. And that's been the case ever since then. It doesn't really apply as much to the movies where crossovers are planned out long in advance.
    I acknowledged that in the OP, as they didn’t want the cinematic universe to feel too small. That’s a good point, but it’s also the factor of “write what you know”, as Marvel’s history is rooted in NYC and is such a part of the lore that it’s likely too late to change it. I mean, the fact that west coast is so lite on superhero activity is actually part of the MU lore, which says a lot.

  12. #12
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    The creators were all from there back in the day. But I would love to see more characters based in other cities.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Factor's Avatar
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    Overdone. I think they should focus more on other cities and international locales and only have characters who are too intrisically connected to New York there (i.e. Spider-Man and F4).
    I like that the X-books have a great new setting and that Excalibur will be back in the UK.
    Agents of Wakanda is a nice step in the right direction.
    I think Luke Cage should set up a new Heroes for Hire in Chicago.
    Alpha Flight should be used more.
    Inhumans should be on the moon.

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Another thing to take into account is the difference between how Marvel and DC handle their shared universes.

    DC emphasizes individual settings more. While the shared universe idea is there, it doesn't factor into the narrative of the individuals as much as the lone narrative. It's why Gotham can support its own setting, or how Flash deals with stuff in Central City. Team-ups are a bigger deal in DC, and many things aren't as connected (such as something happening in a Superman comic having little if any effect in, say, a Green Arrow comic).

    Marvel on the other hand wears the shared universe on its sleeve. Characters appear in each other's series all the time, even if it has little bearing on the plot, and elements are fully connected such as how the Daily Bugle is a fixture in Marvel, spawning from the Spider-titles, and appearing elsewhere. This ranges from heroes in other titles, heroes fighting villains outside their normal rogues, or supporting characters of one hero helping a different one. What happens in one comic will likely also have an effect, even if just a reference, on another.

    I think the reason it works so easily is the fact that they're all in the same city. It's hard to have that kind of connection when everyone is so spread out. I mean, when has something in a Midwestern city ever had a big effect on a West Coast city? It's another reason why they're unlikely to spread everyone out.

  15. #15
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    It's outdated and rather insulting. Marvel claims that this makes them "the world outside your window", but it's only that for less than ten million people. It's like no one outside of New York is a real human being to them.

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