Whatever happened to The Marvel Universe?

About a year ago I wrote an open letter to the people of Marvel Comics, asking about what I felt was wrong in Marvel Comics today. You can read that article here: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/08/19/an-open-letter-to-marvel-about-the-state-of-the-marvel-universe/

It’s what I’m back to talk about again today, but in more detail. See, as I’ve mentioned before, thanks to their Marvel Unlimited app, I’ve been reading through the history of the Marvel Universe in chronological order for the past three years. Currently I’m in mid 1983, and I noticed something really fascinating during this time frame.

There weren’t any big crossover events yet, but the continuity between books was just astounding. I recently read what amounted to a crossover between The Avengers and The Fantastic Four, wasn’t hyped or advertised as such it was just these two issues of The Avengers (issues #232-233) tied into the ending of a four part Fantastic Four story (issues #253-256)

More remarkable, they even featured the same ending page.

And these stories tied into further things still, as The Avengers issue tied into what was going on in Iron Man at the time, and the following issue tied into a Dr Strange story involving Dracula. This is amazing, mind blowing stuff, that really makes the universe and the characters in it feel real.

You don’t see this level of world building anymore in comics. You have each book written by an individual writer, who does whatever he or she feels like with the characters, regardless of what’s going on in the bigger Marvel Universe. Like, right now, I’m reading the Inhumans vs X-Men event right now, and in it, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, along with Ms. Marvel, are fighting on the side of The Inhumans. Meanwhile, in their own books, they’re doing their own thing completely independent of what’s going on in this crossover. And in Ms. Marvel’s case, she’s also in The Champions, alongside young Cyclops, whom she’s opposing in this crossover, with no mention of that whatsoever.

It’s as if it’s up to the fan to try to piece this all together, and maybe it’s not even a big deal to current fans and kids getting into comics, but I grew up in the bullpen days of Marvel, when everything was connected and it made sense big picture wise. I wish they’d return to that again someday because now it reminds me of the days before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when I’d have to imagine and pretend that all these superhero movies were connected, not that we’d ever see anything like that onscreen.

Maybe it’s harder to write like that, and maybe they feel like it inhibits writer’s creativity, to have things be connected, but it used to be done and work quite well . And I really feel if they went back to this style again it could change the game, and blow some new fans minds. It’s not about a crossover where you need to pick up every book, but if you read a few different books, it shouldn’t feel like each book is it’s own thing. That’s what made Marvel so great back in the day.


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