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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default The Pillars of the Marvel Universe?

    What would you say are the “Pillars”, or sections of the MU where characters and stories can be divided?

    To me, I think the MU can best be split into multiple sections that goes like this:

    Spider-Man
    X-Men
    General
    Cosmic
    Other

    Spider-Man: AKA, the Spider-Verse. It’s a distinct side of the universe of its own focusing on Spidey, supporting heroes, supporting characters, and his endless rogues, while also struggling with the mundane issues of life. His corner is a very large one, and is the biggest street level corner there is for sure. It’s notably defined by lacking much of the epic scale and grandeur of the other sides, instead being smaller scale affair that’s s till tied to the larger universe.

    X-Men: AKA, the X-Universe or the Mutant Universe. This is largely about mutants, the superpowered outcasts of society, who protect a world that hates and fears them. This side has grown absolutely massive, enough to be its own universe theoretically speaking, with sub-sections like New Mutants, X-Factor, X-Force, Alpha Flight, Excalibur and so on, and a whole lot of worldbuilding tied to this side of Marvel.

    General: Basically, superheroes and villains that aren’t tied to Spider-Man or X-Men (except when they are...), with the two big General MU teams being the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. The General MU was the basis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to it being the side that they had access to. These are home to many great heroes and epic stories of their own, often focusing on different sides and lacking the mundane aspects of Spider-Man and the social commentary aspects of X-Men.

    Cosmic: The line where magic and science blurs, and it’s often set in space or some fantastical location. Examples of Cosmic include the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Eternals, Nova, Silver Surfer, etc. This is the weird and wide side of Marvel, and where some of the most powerful beings originate.

    Other: Anything that can’t be conveniently tied to the other ones like non-Spidey street (Daredevil, Punisher), more isolated stories (Exiles, Runaways), supernatural (Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Blade), and basically if it can’t fit the other ones, it goes here.

    ——

    Would you say this is accurate, and do you think there’s anything else to add?

    Discuss.

  2. #2
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    Default

    I think this is a pretty broad list. Are these just the spaces characters occupy or is it what makes Marvel, well, Marvel?

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    What would you say are the “Pillars”, or sections of the MU where characters and stories can be divided?
    To be honest, the MU works when things aren't so rigidly drawn, where the pillars exist without you knowing about it, which becomes apparent only later. And where sometimes the pillars aren't really there.

    Would you say this is accurate, and do you think there’s anything else to add?
    I'd say it's fair. It's just that the best Marvel stories always have an unexpected quality where you aren't sure how it's gonna turn out.
    -- Like Hickman's run on New Avengers/Avengers ultimately became a Fantastic Four story. Nobody could have predicted or anticipated that when it was being told.
    -- Likewise in Secret Wars 1984, Shooter made Captain America the guy who took down Doom, which was still a new and unexpected thing at the time.
    -- Infinity Gauntlet was a story where Adam Warlock, certainly a hero of very low profile ultimately became the lead hero.

    I think the danger of jotting down stuff as pillars might lead to a rigidification where people think that sometimes one pillar is higher than the other, or has the foundation in cement while the others are looser and meant to be replaceable.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, Marvel works best when the various genres start to melt into each other, when characters are put into unexpected stories.

    Like, let's take the new Morbius mini. Poor Melter, a rather traditional Z-list supervillain, gets dropped into what would otherwise be a rather standard horror comic and the guy clearly doesn't know how to deal.

    And having Blade in the Avengers is just fun.

  5. #5
    Invincible Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Think about the old mid 90s trade dress, when the corner boxes had logos instead of characters. What they used was Spider-Man (which included New Warriors - this is why Ben Reilly joined the team), Avengers (including solos such as Iron Man and Captain America), Fantastic Four, X-Men, Edge (Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider), Alterniverse (What If and other AUs, equivalent to DC's Elseworlds label), 2099, and cosmic. Licensed and Malibu titles were still using characters in the corner boxes.

    Nowadays, the classifications would be pretty similar. How does this sound: Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Knights (Daredevil and other street level heroes), Cosmic (represented by the GOTG emblem?), and Champions (teenage books, even if the characters aren't actually on the team - so Runaways would be in this category, and Moon Girl and Squirrel Girl would've been as well). Some people actually fit in multiple categories. In those cases, one would be picked, likely based on their editorial office. So Miles Morales would count as Spider-Man, even though he's a Champion. Thor wouldn't be classed as cosmic, because he's an Avenger. If Rogue, a former Uncanny Avenger who actually debuted in an Avengers annual, got a solo book, she'd be counted as X-Men, as that's what she's best known for.

    That is, of course, similar to DC's current system, except that they use individual character emblems instead of putting the Justice League one on books like Flash and Green Lantern.
    Last edited by Digifiend; 01-05-2020 at 06:37 AM.
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  6. #6
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    FF is cosmic. Most things fall under Avengers, Cosmic, Spider-Verse, and X-Men. Obviously many things do not, but they don't have to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Banner
    I like Charles Xavier, nice guy. But we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political life. #Professor$

  7. #7
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    FF is cosmic. Most things fall under Avengers, Cosmic, Spider-Verse, and X-Men. Obviously many things do not, but they don't have to.
    Not everything FF is cosmic though. They have plenty of adventures on Earth itself.

  8. #8
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Not everything FF is cosmic though. They have plenty of adventures on Earth itself.
    FF was the backbone of everything Marvel Cosmic for many years (Because 75% of the big stuff was introduced there), important intergalactic developments still happen there, and new cosmic concepts are still introduced there. In some runs this is forgotten when Marvel doesn't care about Cosmic stories like the Waid/Ringo run or stuff like Marvel NOW! where they were kept in their own corner, but generally them being most strongly tied to Cosmic stuff is how they are and how they once again have become since they returned. Stuff like A4 Empyre is the restoration of order.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Banner
    I like Charles Xavier, nice guy. But we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political life. #Professor$

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