Marvel Comics is coming to an end
Well kind of…
The Marvel Comics universe as we know it is in flux! Worlds are literally colliding!
Marvel’s latest comic book crossover event, Secret Wars, is at hand. In order to keep all of their stories succinct and in line, they’ll be eliminating all of their stories, continuities and universes that will lead things to a brand new Marvel Comics.
To simplify things, Marvel has assigned each of their continuities or universes a number. For instance, the main comic book universe that you’re probably familiar with is known as Earth-616. The second most known universe is known as the Ultimate universe, or Earth-1610. Every single Marvel comic book series, story, film or television show is part of this multiverse.
Earth-616 contains most of the stories that you grew up on. On Earth-616, Peter Parker is Spider-Man. However, on Earth-1610 (which was created in 2000), Spider-Man is Miles Morales (Peter Parker died). There are a great many other differences between these two earths, such as Earth 1610 Nick Fury being an African American.
Even the Marvel cinematic universe, which includes the films of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and television shows Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter are considered among the many earths in the Marvel multiverse (Earth-199999).
In the new crossover event, Secret Wars, these two universes are the last two universes left in existence and are on a collision course which will only leave one universe intact. As these two universes collide, all of the inhabitants vie to see which universe–and who in it–will remain.
To the delight of Marvel fans, you’ll most likely get to see our favorite characters go up against each other. We might be able to see Earth-616’s Spider-Man (Peter Parker) face off against Earth-1610’s Spider-Man (Miles Morales), or Earth-616’s smartest, Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), go up against Earth-1610’s smartest (and probably most ruthless), The Maker (Reed Richards).
This story is being told in an eight-part series, Secret Wars, in a multitude of tie-ins and in three other subtitle series: Secret Wars: Battleworld, Secret Wars: Last Days and Secret Wars: Warzones.
Once this series wraps in October, the “All-New All-Different Marvel” will be upon us. What does that mean for Marvel Comics? I don’t know. However this change will supposedly be what Marvel is for the next few decades.
Now why would Marvel Comics decide to cancel their imprints and start with something new and different when it’s been going well for the last 75 years? I’m not totally sure of their reasoning, but I speculate that it may have to do with Marvel Studios.
I believe that comic books are popular again due to the success of Marvel Studios’ superhero films. They may even gain new readers from fans of their films, which is a terrific–albeit somewhat counterintuitive development–as the fever of comic book fans likely made the movies happen directly contribute to their success.
Imagine that you’ve never read any of Marvel’s comic books but picked up one because you just saw Avengers. You notice that in the comic book Nick Fury is a white guy, whereas in the films he’s played by Samuel L. Jackson. Confusing, right? Unifying all of their stories would make it easier for a new reader to get involved with their comic books.
Obviously getting rid of all of their continuities will simplify things, but will your favorite character make the cut? My guess is as good as yours, but I’d say that if your favorite character appears in one of the Marvel cinematic universe’s films then you’re probably safe.
As Marvel plans to rebrand this upcoming fall, it’ll be interesting to see how everything will end up once the dust has settled.
(Slider image credit: blastr.com)
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