An even earlier love than gaming is my love of comics. I was a proper fan, from the age of about 7 or 8, right up to the present day. In all that time I’ve rarely strayed from Marvel comics. I think a large part of that was the way Stan Lee used to exhort his readers to never tolerate ‘lesser’ comics (Brand Echhs, or, the Distinguished Competition). I took him at his word, and to this day I don’t have any truck with Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman et al. Similarly I’ve never been able to move on from 4 colour supers. Growing up as a geek in the UK in the 70s, I should have been lapping up 2000AD. To an extent I did, but Marvel remained my true love.
What I really loved about Marvel was the universe. It wasn’t the one off stories, it was the (often convoluted and contradictory) threads that joined them all up. I loved Team Up, and I loved the big team books. One of my faves was the Avengers, just because I saw it as superb value for money. One comic, with about 20 heroes in it! Same with the X-Men, Defenders and of course, the Fantastic Four.
That universe was our own world in name only. The best bits were the exotic overlays that Marvel used. SHIELD. Wakanda. The Savage Land. Genosha. Latveria. AIM. Hydra. The Hand. Weapon X. The Captain Britain Corps. The Negative Zone. Counter earth. I also adored the tropes of comic-dom, even before I knew what the word ‘trope’ meant. I loved the monologues, the inevitable returns, the soap opera like plots, the total seriousness of the whole concoction. I love those things to this day.
So why not put some of those things into my D&D campaign?
I‘m not taking about spandex, I’m talking about building a world the way that Marvel built their continuity. For now, I’ll leave you to ponder that thought. Next ish: the origin. Don’t miss it True Believers.