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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 9:36pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Okay, I picked up a copy of "Spidey Super Stories" #15 a few months back in a collection. It is cover dated February 1976, but came out in 1975. I figured this has to be the earliest appearance of a (then) New X-Men member outside of the title "The Uncanny X-Men." Nightcrawler appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #161 (along with cameo appearances of Wolverine and Colosssus), and the team teamed up with Spider-Man in "Marvel Team-Up Annual" #1, but those were both later in 1976.

So, looking up things on Google, I came upon the Marvel Wikia entry for "Spidey Super Stories" #15 (NOTE: For those that aren't aware, this is NOT a Wikipedia page). Well, the page says this is the first appearance of Storm! Um... what?

So, I clicked for more info... Apparently, someone out there (is this official with Marvel?) considers this Storm to be a different Storm than that in the "Uncanny X-Men." I get that it's not cannon, but, really... a "different" character? She is referred to as Storm from Earth-57780.

Yeah.

When did Marvel fans start to treat the Marvel Universe like the DC Universe? DC had the multiple Earths, and except for some things like Counter-Earth, Marvel used to avoid this sort of thing. I knew about Marvel-616, but how far does this now go?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 9:54pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

At one point Chris and I were kicking around the idea of doing the "real" version of that SPIDEY story in MARVEL TEAM-UP.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 10:01pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

That would have been awesome!
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David Miller
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 10:33pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

This is what you get with a wiki.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 10:34pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

With the arrival of Roy Thomas and other comics fans to the ranks of Marvel's writing staff, the "one world and it's the world outside your window" structure of Marvel began to unravel quickly. There's Counter-Earth, yes, but also Earth-S and Earth-A to contend with. Then came "What If" and every one of those worlds was out there somewhere in the great Marvel Multiverse. They could even cross over with one another. There was also the one where Ben Grimm was cured of being the Thing by his now-parallel-future-Earth counterpart.

DC's multiple Earths get blown out of proportion by Marvelites. There was Earth-2, yes, and then Earth-3, the villainous Earth. After those came a tale of Earth-A which was an alternate timeline construction of Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt under the command of the criminal Earth-1 Johnny. That Earth vanished at the end of the story. There was a Mirror-Earth in the Flash which was only visited twice that I know of and then, sadly, the bordering-on-unprofessional Earth-Prime, where DC staffers could interact with the DC characters. 

Earth-S came about to accommodate the Fawcett characters and their unique, more light-hearted worldview. Then, Earth-X was invented for the then-recently-acquired Quality Comics. Earth-B was a never-acknowledged-on-panel letters column joke and Earths-C and C-Minus were ho-ho-ho-stop-it-Roy-my-sides-are-aching, self-impressed yukfests from a defecting Marvel staffer havin' a bit of fun at his new employer's expense. 

At worst, that brought us up to nine extant alternate worlds by the time of Crisis, none of which caused any storytelling problems to the rest of the books unless a story happened to be set directly on one of them. And even then, the explanation for what was occurring was right there on panel every issue. No muss, no fuss. No real confusion, except perhaps for Marv Wolfman, who just didn't seem capable of wrapping his head around all that. 

Most of the parallel worlds featured unique characters with unique characteristics. Uncle Sam and co. on Earth-X had no counterparts except for Plastic Man and that's not too confusing, but maybe it is for some. Earth-S's Marvel Family had a couple of Earth-1 counterparts who appeared just once. Too confusing? I don't see how, but hey, maybe some folks are just not up to the challenge... There's an Eighties-era Earth-1 Julius Schwartz who showed up exactly once, but for the most part, DC parallel Earths did not contain lookalike counterparts, the way, say, nearly every issue of "What If" did, with Galactii, Cosmic Cubes, and Serpent Crowns multiplying alongside them.

Meanwhile, Marvel began to gorge itself on "alternate timelines" and futures where representatives came back to the original. Sales events began to build around new ones forming, many that were close to, but not quite, versions of previously established futures, and the counterparts began piling up at a precipitous rate. Then the comic Exiles came along, every issue set upon an ever-expanding list of parallel realities with new and different Sue Storms and Nightcrawlers and Blinks and Wolverines... Cross-Time Councils of Kangs and Legions of Infinite Reed Richards began to glut the titles... Cue the Ultimate Universe...

It is disingenuous to pretend that DC somehow has a weakness for this storytelling construct that Marvel wisely rises above. Yeah, for maybe the first ten years Marvel avoided these pitfalls, but then, so did DC for it's first ten or fifteen. Sadly, since Crisis, the very thing designed to clear up the problem, their indulgences have most assuredly sunk to the depths of Marvel's post-DOFP "Crisis of Infinite Timelines" w-w-wackiness. 

How far do Marvel's depredations continue to go along these lines? I know that Marvel catalogers, especially those of the online variety, cannot get enough of them. It's very au courant to cite every possible variation of Marvel's IPs as a separate earth. Gaiman's 1602 is one. Earth-X is another, maybe a number of others. Nicholas Hammond's Peter Parker has his own no doubt. Anyone here see the animated "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" show on Saturday Mornings in the Eighties? No doubt you'll be tickled to learn that they were all massacred during one of Dan Slott's "Crisis of Infinite Spider-Men" storylines from a short time ago. Even Ms. Lion's bloody corpse was shown on-panel! Ho-ho! Such fun! I wonder if Aunt May's murdered body was just downstairs! Wouldn't that just be a riot?

Now, of course, if you want, you can always just presume that in some other timeline on that parallel Earth, everyone survived, but that would technically give you yet another parallel Earth with lookalike counterparts...

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

As for first appearances, Spidey Super-Stories #11 from 1975 did give up Marvel's first Spider-Woman in the character of Valerie the Librarian from the Electric Company. 



Of course, she's clearly one of those SJW-appeasing diversity characters Marvel keeps throwing at us these days, so we can all just ignore her and wish everything would go back to normal, right?


Edited by Brian Hague on 12 October 2017 at 10:48pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 5:04am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

And then there's this...

Here's a story from PHANTOM STRANGER #15 (Oct., 1971), written by none other than New X-Men creator Len Wein and featuring an African woman named Ororo!  (She's a doctor/scientist type here but, you know, the Multiverse and everything!  Probably dyes her hair.)  Jim Aparo drew the story, but I guess that's supposed to be her on the cover too, drawn by famed X-MEN artist Neal Adams--so he technically gave us the first view of Ororo.  Two X-MEN legends gave us an Ororo at DC four years before Marvel did.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 13 October 2017 at 5:08am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 8:01am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Bloody hell, how convoluted. Earth-57780? Who on earth came up with designations like that?

I just preferred the shared earth approach. I loved it when Spider-Man showed up in a TRANSFORMERS comic (or was it the Transformers showing up in a SPIDER-MAN comic?). Wow, these guys live on the same earth. 

Having some book/person later designate it as having occurred on Earth-246534 is, well, what's the point?
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 8:46am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Alan Moore brought a concept to Marvel UK. The rest of Marvel just had to follow, because it came from Alan Moore.

It was OK in Captain Britain but did not need to become such a mill stone around Marvel. I really don't understand why they do these things. Kids just don't care about them.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Alan Moore? What happened exactly, James?
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

There were a lot of different Earths and Moore used a numbering system and designated the MU we’ve grown up reading the 616 universe. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 10:32am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Well, thank you very much, Mr Moore! :/

Talk about sucking the fun out of it all; talk about treating the comic universe like some science project where every jar has to have a designated set of numbers/letters; and talk about missing the point.

That guy could never resist tinkering. You could buy him a near-perfect car and he'd have everything changed. It's a shame an editor or senior person didn't say no to such indulgences.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Moore was poking fun at DC. Specifically, the idea that the main Earth where all the mainstream version of superheroes and supervillains lived was necessarily "Earth-One." He decided to label the main Marvel Earth as "616" in order to deflate the idea of a "main" Earth. 

That's fine for an idea that gets mentioned only once. But Marvel writers just wouldn't let go of it. 

And the idea that all the various Marvel timelines from What If? or Exiles or wherever need numbers -- it's sheer lunacy. 

And if licensed characters like the Transformers or Godzilla or whatever interact with Spider-Man, the Avengers, etc., and then Marvel loses permission to use said characters, just never mention it again. Absolutely no need to think of Earth-such-and-such. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 1:01pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

And if licensed characters like the Transformers or Godzilla or whatever interact with Spider-Man, the Avengers, etc., and then Marvel loses permission to use said characters, just never mention it again. Absolutely no need to think of Earth-such-and-such. 

***

Absolutely!

We enjoy the adventures for what they are. We are aware that, outside the continuity of the books, licenses lapse. We know that a licensed character who is published by Marvel today may be with IDW or DC tomorrow. It's no problem.

Designating earths for these crossovers is a bizarre thing to do. So just because a licence lapses, we suddenly need a designation for the Godzilla VS Avengers adventures, another designation for the Spider-Man/Transformers team-up, etc.

I liked how the early DC/Marvel crossovers adopted the shared earth approach. It was cool. When I read those, I thought about how great that Spider-Man and Superman were on the same world, but of course, that was designated as Earth-2353JK7864U or whatever, wasn't it?
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 1:17pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

 Adam Schulman wrote:
...That's fine for an idea that gets mentioned only once. But Marvel writers just wouldn't let go of it...

In fairness,  from what I recall, it was some of the more extreme fans rather than the writers who initially took the concept of Earth-616 too far. I remember first learning about it on fan websites and message boards where fans referred to the MU as we know it as Earth-616.  The comics (other than Moore's story) didn't refer to 616 as such until later. It seems to me that writers adopted that idea only after these extreme fans started using the term.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 1:18pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

It seems to me that writers adopted that idea only after these extreme fans started using the term.

***

Definitely a case of the tail wagging the dog!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

616 is the Number of the Beast in some versions of the Bible.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I wish I'd known that once I got 616 followers on Twitter. When I got to 666, I begged for an extra follower. I hate that number!

I'll be avoiding 616 equally now. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I wonder if Moore used that number intentionally, based on that Biblical trivia? I would think he is aware of that information. Hmm.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 4:14pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Earth 616: Another case of writers slavishly following an one off idea by Moore and making it continuity, much like the crippling of Batgirl, which was never meant to be in continuity. Even Alan Moore hates The Killing Joke (though he always praises the art by Brian Bolland). He considers it one of the worst things he's ever written. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 6:02pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

It's pedantic on the part of the industry, but even more pedantic when fans get into it. A comic forum years ago had one guy asking what earth the Superman/Spider-Man team-ups took place on.

WHO CARES?!

They took place on...earth. A hero from Metropolis teamed up with a hero from New York. Enough said. It doesn't have to be convoluted. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 6:05pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

It's been a while since I've read them, but Moore's references to Earth-616 in Captain Britain are further undercut by the story's eventual revelation that the extra-dimensional Merlin and his daughter Roma are essentially phonies, largely self-appointed authorities over universal matters, so the idea that they designate Marvel-Earth as 616 would be meaningless to just about everyone else. 

About Godzilla in the MU, Iron Man 193 features Dr. Demonicus from the old Godzilla comics and he claims to have captured his greatest enemy and transformed him via experimentation into the creature shown here on the cover. So, if you want Godzilla to still exist in the MU, he is there... sort of... 

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 6:54pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Robbie, that debate as to which Earth played host to the Superman/Spider-Man team-up was raised on-panel in What If #1, echoing fan concerns from that time. The Watcher explains in his introduction that questions still exist as to which Earth the battle between Spider-Man and a certain well-known space alien took place.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 7:06pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Robbie, that debate as to which Earth played host to the Superman/Spider-Man team-up was raised on-panel in What If #1, echoing fan concerns from that time. 

***

More tail wagging the dog, it would seem. Had I been editor of WHAT IF?, or any other title for that matter, I'd have either thrown away such letters or dismissed them with a glib remark.

I cannot understand what a fan could have gained from having such concerns. Superman met Spider-Man. Twice. They both live on the east coast. Such a meeting was inevitable. I don't know what fan concerns existed at the time, but it sounds like such fans had far too much time on their hands - and editors should have ignored such concerns.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I cannot understand what a fan could have gained from having such concerns. Superman met Spider-Man. Twice. They both live on the east coast. Such a meeting was inevitable. I don't know what fan concerns existed at the time, but it sounds like such fans had far too much time on their hands - and editors should have ignored such concerns.

•••

Concern sprang from the minds of those unimaginative fans who ask where the Avengers were the first time Galactus stopped by. When Superman met Spider-Man, they wanted to know why it hadn't happened a hundred times before.

That's right lads! Keep squeezing! You'll wring all the fun out of these things yet!

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