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The Beginner’s Guide to the Marvel Multiverse

Marvel has been in the spotlight quite a bit these past few years with its rise of cinematic movies and TV shows.  Heroes like the Avengers, Daredevil, and Spider-Man have gained a lot of attention from both die-hard fans and those casually interested in superheroes. Marvel has also revolutionized superhero movies, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.

But Marvel’s history goes back much further than just movies. And it has a lot of alternate stories, timelines, and universes. So, we’re going to cover some basics about the Marvel Multiverse.

What is the Marvel Multiverse?

Somewhat similar to the DC Multiverse, the Marvel Multiverse is a collection of alternate universes. Some of these universes are the result of stories told in different mediums or are the result of the creators rebooting origin stories to more modern times (e.g. Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ultimate Timeline).

But unlike the DC Multiverse, the alternate universes in Marvel also come more from branching off of key moments in the timeline, compared to DC’s various parallel dimensions. In the Marvel Multiverse, other realities often appear as a result of time travel. Not all of the alternate realities are an entire independent universe, but often relate more to the parent reality. Some of these alternate realities are splintered off of other realities and have a more parasitical relationship.

Also in Marvel Multiverse, the concept of a continuity, or universe, is not the same as a dimension. For example, demons like Mephisto and gods like Thor can hail from other dimensions, but still belong to the main Marvel timeline, Earth-616.

Unlike DC, Marvel has a ton of alternate universes.  A few popular alternate universes include:

  • Earth-7642: The universe where Marvel and DC characters co-exist. So, you potentially could have Ironman and Batman battle out, or Superman going up against Thanos.
  • Earth-1610: This is the Ultimate Universe, where many of the Marvel characters got reinvented for the modern age. Example titles include Ultimate Spider-Man and the Ultimate X-Men
  • Earth-199999: The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes all of the recent Marvel live-action movies and TV series. Example titles include Agents of Shield, The Avengers, and The Defenders.
  • Earth-2149: This is the Marvel Zombies Universe, where a zombie virus turned all of the costumed heroes into evil, flesh-eating zombies.
  • Earth-928: This the Marvel 2099 Universe, which takes place in an alternate future of Earth-616. It has futuristic incarnations of the Marvel heroes, villains, teams, etc.

History

The Marvel Multiverse didn’t appear until a while after Marvel comics had been in existence. The concept of the Multiverse began with the issues of Captain Britain. It was then established as being protected by Merlyn, and each universe its own protector, its own version of Captain Britain and a Sorcerer Supreme at all times.

As years passed, many writers played around with, developed, and reshaped the Multiverse, particularly in titles such as Exiles, X-Men, and the Ultimate Fantastic Four. Different iterations of Spider-Man also played around a lot with different dimensions and universes.

Keep in mind also that whenever there were time-traveling characters, new universes were often created as these characters ended up making their home times alternate timelines. For example, X-Men has several different timelines due to the actions of Rachel Summers, Cable, and Bishop, our time-traveling mutants.

Where to Start

This one is a bit tricky since the alternate universes in Marvel don’t seem to interact quite as much as the DC ones, although teams like the Fantastic Four and the Exiles like to do a lot of universe hopping.

If you want to start at the beginning of the concept of the Marvel Multiverse, check out the issues of Captain Britain, since that was where the concept fully started. If you want to go the very beginning where it was first mentioned, check out Michael Moorcock’s “Eternal Champion” sequence, whose main characters were the inspiration for the Captain Britain Corps.

Otherwise, you can look at multiple titles that deal with alternate timelines such as The Amazing Spider-Girl where Gwen Stacy gets spider powers instead of Peter. Or try any of the Ultimate titles, and the Exiles series. If you regularly watch the Avengers movies, you’re actually taking part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is another alternate universe.

If you want to get an extensive list of alternate universes, you can get Marvel’s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes.

Fun Trivia

  • Like DC, Marvel has a timeline where the Nazis won the war.
  • Currently, there are thousands of alternate universes in Marvel. And the list keeps growing.
  • There’s an alternate universe dedicated to Spider-Ham and various other anthropomorphic animal parodies of Marvel heroes.

The most common method to name an unnamed alternate universe is to take numbers from the publication date of the issue featuring the universe’s first appearance.

For timelines of some of these universes, don’t forget to check out our Marvel page!

Ultimate Fandom Timeline: The Origin of the Multiverse

The Nature of the Multiverse

The multiverse is something that has emerged from time to time, though eventually, it has always reverted to the original single timeline. Time is constant, and though it can be fragmented, eventually each separate timeline will re-converge, much like a wound will eventually heal.

A multiverse will only begin if an event (or multiple events) create such strain on the timeline that it is forced to fragment to save itself from breaking completely. This act is usually rare and localized. Read more “Ultimate Fandom Timeline: The Origin of the Multiverse”

Review : Justice League

Okay, let’s be real. No one really expected this film to be amazing. After the abysmal reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, knowing that this film was still being directed by Zack Snyder kind of kept anyone from thinking Justice League would be any different. Even I, a huge DC fan and somewhat of a DC apologist, did not have high expectations for Justice League.

That said, the success of Wonder Woman was a major confidence builder for the DCEU as a whole. People were starting to come around to how awesome the DCEU had the potential to be. Add to that, Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder as the director at the start of post-production (albeit for very sad reasons, the death of Snyder’s daughter). Plus, for anyone who grew up with these characters, there was clear anticipation to see them all on screen together.

My review will reflect what many have already said about this film. In short: it has its problems, but it gets the important stuff right, and it’s a step in the right direction for DC. Read more “Justice League”

The 10 Best Thor Comics and Graphic Novels

Who doesn’t love Thor? He’s handsome, crazy powerful, and kind of quirky in his attempts to understand Earth. Even if Thor’s not your favorite Avenger, you can’t help but like him. So, in honor of the latest Thor movie, Thor: Ragnorak, I decided to do an article on the Norse god himself.

Thor is a very interesting superhero since creators took him directly out of actual mythology. Compared to other superheroes that had their own beginnings, Thor has a rather unique background. It depends on the author, but Thor often draws influence from his mythological origins, adding some interesting elements to him, his battles, and his interactions with people on Earth. Whether the superhero version of him is similar to the mythological one is up for debate, but it’s still pretty interesting.  I mean, how many people can say that a member of a superhero team is literally a god?

I also don’t think Thor gets quite enough love in the MCU, but hopefully, this new movie has changed that. But he has quite the presence in comic books. So here are ten of the best comics and graphic novels starring our favorite Norse god and many fans’ favorite Avenger. Read more “The 10 Best Thor Comics and Graphic Novels”

Three Things to Remember When Studying Adaptations

Fidelity in Adaptations

When you are studying adaptations, it is important to remember that fidelity is not a valid criterion for understanding them. Fidelity implies a direct adaptation, changing only the actual media platform it uses. This is not a good way to study adaptations because it is impossible to study a work of media, when presented on another media platform, as the same thing. They are entirely different. For example, a book is words on a page that people imagine as they read them.

A movie is a bunch of images strung together: light hitting a piece of film. You simply cannot translate one thing to another without making “changes” to the story. For example, some things are easier to do in literature than in film, like point of view. POV can be used constantly in a written medium, but is very hard to sustain for long periods of time in film because of the viewers need to actually see the protagonist. Read more “Three Things to Remember When Studying Adaptations”

Ultimate Fandom Timeline: The Origin of Magic

The origin of magic occurred very early on in the timeline of the universe. While you could argue that magic existed in the early years when time had not yet solidified, this would be better classified as simple chaos, not quite magic. Mario might have been able to throw fire balls, but there was little structure to his magical abilities. Magic as we know it didn’t arrive until several billion years later. Read more “Ultimate Fandom Timeline: The Origin of Magic”

5 Best Companions for Link from The Legend of Zelda Series

In many of the games in the Zelda franchise, our main protagonist Link has often had companions to help him out along the journey. Some companions were great, while others were rather frustrating. Regardless there’s been a quite a variety of people that were willing to help our hero on his journey to become a hero. So here is the list of the top 5 companions Link has had.
Keep in mind, this is my personal opinion, so this list may be a little biased. Read more “5 Best Companions for Link from The Legend of Zelda Series”

Why an Obi-Wan Kenobi Spin-off Won’t be Boring

I’ve been waiting to write about this for a long time, ever since rumors/speculation hinted at an upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars spin-off film. I’ve seen a lot of people supportive of the idea, but I’ve also seen a lot of head-scratching.

“How can they make an Obi-Wan film?” they ask. “I want a film with new characters and storylines. Obi-Wan was just sitting around guarding Luke for 19 years.”

First of all, was he? Second of all, even if he did, there’s plenty of potential stories there. Who knows what kind of trouble might have come for Obi-Wan or Luke in that time.

So with that in mind, here are all the reasons why I think an Obi-Wan movie will not be boring, or in other words, why I don’t think he was just chilling in his hut for 19 years. Read more “Why an Obi-Wan Kenobi Spin-off Won’t be Boring”

A Beginner’s Guide to Batgirl

Robin hasn’t been Batman’s only sidekick. He’s had quite a few others, and that’s what this post is about! One important alter ego has been the mantle of Batgirl. Like Robin, this identity has been taken up by a few different people.

Here’s a quick look at the different women who took on the mantle of Batgirl and what they brought to the vigilante table. Read more “A Beginner’s Guide to Batgirl”