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Old March 22 2013, 11:25 PM   #1
Gotham Central
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Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Can someone tell me why just about all of the action in the Marvel Universe takes place almost exclusively in New York?

I've primarily been a DC guy most of my life. However with the new Marvel Now, I've been giving that universe a try. The one thing that I have found a bit jarring is that the world feels small compared to DC. In the DCU just about every member of the Justice League or the Titans spends their time in different cities. In Marvel, regardless of the team, they all seem to hang out in and around NYC.

Is there a reason for this?
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Old March 22 2013, 11:30 PM   #2
Skywalker
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were both from New York and were based there (along with Steve Ditko, and Marvel in general) when they worked together.
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Old March 22 2013, 11:31 PM   #3
Pondwater
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

A population of 8 Million People, lots of streets = infinite possibilities. And Stan Lee is from there.
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Old March 22 2013, 11:57 PM   #4
Nerys Myk
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Because every time a character moves to another town, they eventually move back to NYC. Remember when DD and the Black Widow lived in San Francisco! ( Hell, remember when DD and the Black Widow were a team/dating!!!)
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Old March 23 2013, 12:20 AM   #5
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

In Boston, the skyscrapers are so small that superheroes would look ridiculous zipping about them. Except maybe if they were college student superheroes. That'd be appropriate, too, what with all the colleges in the area.

Washington, DC isn't a real city, so it doesn't get any.

No supervillains have any interest in Detroit, so it doesn't need any.

Chicago has Gary Hobson.

At least movie Tony Stark mostly lives in LA.
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Old March 23 2013, 12:20 AM   #6
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Because every time a character moves to another town, they eventually move back to NYC. Remember when DD and the Black Widow lived in San Francisco! ( Hell, remember when DD and the Black Widow were a team/dating!!!)
The question is why?

Doesn't that feel limiting? Again, as a DC fan, it seems crazy that so much mayhem is confined to one city.
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Old March 23 2013, 12:22 AM   #7
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

The Marvel Universe is a lot more bigger and expansive than just New York City.

As Mr. Adventure stated above...it was where Stan, Jack, and Steve were based when they came up with most of the early Marvel U...and no it doesn't feel limiting at all.
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Old March 23 2013, 01:02 AM   #8
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Well, Metropolis and Gotham and so on all started out as thinly-disguised versions of Manhattan anyway.

And it's not just Stan and Jack. Historically, the heart of the US comic book industry has alway been in NYC, so that's what most of the early writers and artists saw when they looked out the window . . . .
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Old March 23 2013, 01:07 AM   #9
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

If the heroes moved to other cities... Would the villains follow?
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Old March 23 2013, 01:15 AM   #10
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Gotham...
"The Big Apricot".
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Old March 23 2013, 01:19 AM   #11
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
Can someone tell me why just about all of the action in the Marvel Universe takes place almost exclusively in New York?
It doesn't. It takes place all over the world, and in fictional places like Madripoor and the Savage Land, and in realms like the Blue Area of the Moon, Asgard, the Shi'ar Empire, the Negative Zone, etc. The West Coast Avengers were based on... well, you can guess. The X-Men have been centered around the San Francisco Bay area in recent years. Their spinoff team Excalibur was based in Great Britain. Alpha Flight is in Canada. And so on.

Of the six Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date, New York City was the primary location only in The Avengers, though it was one of several featured locations in The Incredible Hulk and Captain America, while much of Iron Man 2 took place in nearby Flushing Meadows. The IM films are based mainly in Malibu, California, while Thor took place in Nevada and Asgard.


In the DCU just about every member of the Justice League or the Titans spends their time in different cities. In Marvel, regardless of the team, they all seem to hang out in and around NYC.

Is there a reason for this?
The reason is because DC's titles started out as self-contained comics and only gradually began to establish interconnections, while the Marvel Universe that Stan Lee and his collaborators created in the '60s onward was treated almost from the start as a shared, interconnected world where characters from different books could cross over with one another, deal with common threats, be affected by developments in other books, etc. It was all part of making the MU feel like a larger, realer universe. Having many of the characters live in the same city facilitated such interaction, and New York is the largest, most cosmopolitan city in the US and one of the largest in the world. There's also the fact that Lee et al. wanted the MU to feel like it was happening in our world, with references to real places and events, rather than in fictional locales like Metropolis, Gotham, Central City, Star City, etc. NYC was the city they lived in and knew the best, so it was the one they could most convincingly portray.

(It also facilitated the frequent metatextual gag of having Marvel's authors, artists, and editors show up in the pages of their own books as spectators and chroniclers of the comics' events -- like when Lee & Kirby got bounced from Reed Richards and Sue Storm's wedding.)


Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Well, Metropolis and Gotham and so on all started out as thinly-disguised versions of Manhattan anyway.
Indeed, there's a very early Batman story that opens "In the calm of a New York night," and I think an early Superman issue also claimed to be in New York. It took a while to settle on Gotham and Metropolis as the respective settings.
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Old March 23 2013, 02:20 AM   #12
M'rk, son of Mogh
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

As of right now:

The Hulk (well, Banner and his new team) is in the New Mexico.
Scarlet Spider is in Houston.
Guardians of the Galaxy are not on earth.
Nova as well.
Gambit has been all over the globe in his series.
Cyclops' team is in Canada.
Savage Wolverine takes place in the Savage Land.
Captain America takes place in another dimension!

What books are you reading? To me, the majority are NOT in New York at the moment.
Sure, that's where the Avengers meet. But that's where their HQ is. Their first arc took place on Mars!
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Old March 23 2013, 03:08 AM   #13
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

Setting aside the MCU, The Fantastic Four movies, the Spider-Man movies and the X-Men movies all largely took place in NYC. Granted that X-Men 2 took the action somewhere in Remote Up North and X-Men 3 took the action to San Francisco. But I guess to "more" answer the question, I believe NYC is primarily where most of Marvel's heroes live so it follows that some action would take place there. Especially if we expand this to the comics where NYC has the X-Men, Spider-man, Iron Man and pretty much the entire Marvel Universe living and operating there. Honestly, that's got to make for a pretty tough situation for super heroin'.
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Old March 23 2013, 03:23 AM   #14
Nerys Myk
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

M'rk, son of Mogh wrote: View Post
As of right now:

The Hulk (well, Banner and his new team) is in the New Mexico.
Scarlet Spider is in Houston.
Guardians of the Galaxy are not on earth.
Nova as well.
Gambit has been all over the globe in his series.
Cyclops' team is in Canada.
Savage Wolverine takes place in the Savage Land.
Captain America takes place in another dimension!

What books are you reading? To me, the majority are NOT in New York at the moment.
Sure, that's where the Avengers meet. But that's where their HQ is. Their first arc took place on Mars!
OTOH

The FF and the Fantastic Four are based in NYC.
Daredevil is based in NYC.
Spider-Man is based in NYC
Captain America is based in NYC.
The X-Men are based near NYC.

Now they may venture out of NYC from time to time but they are based there and have adventures there.
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Old March 23 2013, 03:39 AM   #15
Greg Cox
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Re: Why do Marvel stories take place exclusively in NYC?

And, of course, Dr. Strange was based out of the West Village for years.

I have to admit that, when I first moved to NYC, I was thrilled to discover that Bleecker Street was a real place.

Alas, Yancy Street proved fictional . . . .
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