Earth’s Mightiest Show Shares Its Top Marvel Comics Featuring New York City
Ahead of New York Comic Con 2019, here are some classic Marvel stories starring the Big Apple picked by Ryan, Lorraine, and Langston!
Any Marvel fan worth their salt knows that its epicenter lies in New York City. Rather than making up a fictional version of the Big Apple, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and the rest of the Marvel bullpen made their home Marvel’s home. The City That Never Sleeps was the perfect location to host the hustle, bustle, and bombast of the first Marvel Comics stories, and it continues to be at the center of Marvel’s gigantic universe.
As we approach this year’s New York Comic Con – Thursday, October 3-Sunday October 6 – the happy hosts of Earth’s Mightiest Show have provided their favorite NYC stories from Marvel Comics! See what Ryan “Agent M” Penagos, Lorraine Cink, and Langston Belton want you to read!
Ryan “Agent M” Penagos
SECRET INVASION #8
By Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Francis Yu, Mark Morales, and Laura Martin
The culmination of Marvel’s 2008 epic line-wide event, the culmination of years of buildup around the Skrull infiltration of earth, AND the kickoff to a new era for Marvel’s Super Heroes and Villains! The final issue of SECRET INVASION is also packed with New York City goodness. The final battle is set in Central Park, a location with plenty of Marvel history of its own, such as the Dark Phoenix Saga. And of course it’s packed with New York-based heroes with major beats happening at two NYC headquarters: Avengers Tower and the Baxter Building. The Fantastic Four’s headquarters even gets an unfortunate makeover… after most of it is blown up. Ahhhhh, New York City – always under construction!
FANTASTIC FOUR #15
By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, and Art Simek
So many comics set during the early days of the Marvel Age feature New York City in one way, shape, or form. That’s in large part because Stan, Jack, Steve, and the bullpen squad were born and bred New Yorkers! They just wanted to tell stories around things they knew and saw. And nothing better epitomizes that than this issue of FANTASTIC FOUR, which features the first appearance of the Yancy Street Gang. Ben Grimm AKA the Thing grew up on the Lower East Side of New York on Yancy Street— just like Jack Kirby and the real-world Delancey Street. We see the Yancy Street Gang taunting, haunting, provoking, and prodding the Thing for the first time in this issue, but Ben’s history with the crew goes back to his days a child. Yancy Street, and the YSG, remains integral to the Fantastic Four as it’s now the location of the FF’s home—4 Yancy Street.
By Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, John Roshell, and Richard Starkings
A recent gem with deep connections to two classics, the MARVELS EPILOGUE came out earlier this year to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of MARVELS, one of the greatest Marvel tales—and a deeply New York-centric series. The closing pages of the issue flash back to major Marvel Universe moments that protagonist Phil Sheldon witnessed, many of which occurred in NYC, such as the coming of Galactus, a heartbreaking Spidey moment, and more. But it’s the beginning of the issue that feels most closely tied to New York as it’s set during the holiday season at one of New York’s most celebrated winter spots: the tree at Rockefeller Center. This story gives us a different look at another Marvel Classic, UNCANNY X-MEN #98, a holiday special featuring the All-New, All-Different X-Men visiting the tree, only to have their spirits dashed by a vicious attack from mutant-hunting sentinels. Mutants versus robots? Just another snowy day in Marvel’s NYC.
Lorraine Cink’s Picks
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #270
By Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Bob McLeod
There is no better way to tour Manhattan than with a little bit of mayhem and destruction! I love this issue so much because it’s not only an iconic fight, but it highlights NYC’s most memorable sites. Firelord comes to exact vengeance on Spider-Man for tossing his staff into the mucky East River. So the be-flamed villain does just that from the South Street Seaport near the Brooklyn Bridge all the way up to Grand Central Station in Midtown all the way up to the Bronx-bound elevated trains in northern Manhattan! And of course, what would a tour of Marvel’s New York be without a swing through the iconic skyline and, of course, a drop-in at the (fictional) Daily Bugle and Avengers Mansion? Bonus: Spidey is wearing his super cool black suit for this story that he picked up during SECRET WARS, and the Avengers make some great cameos.
DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #4
By Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.
Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen go hand-in-horn. Not many heroes get to be champion of the neighborhood where they grew up, but Ol’ Hornhead does! (Fun fact: Hell’s Kitchen is only blocks away from Marvel’s real headquarters in NYC!) This entire series is only five issues and they are all worth reading, but I specifically chose issue #4 in this series because it captures the grittiness of the Hell’s Kitchen from the ‘80s and ‘90s as only Daredevil can. Daredevil lives the life of a real New Yorker: hanging out in a diner with his best friend Foggy Nelson, grabbing a cab, admiring the blinking lights of Broadway, and hitting the rooftops, because you’ll take rooftop access no matter where you can get it.
ULTIMATE FALLOUT #1
By Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Andy Lanning, Justin Ponsor, and Laura Martin
The centerpiece of this issue is the funeral of Peter Parker after being attacked by the Green Goblin and dying in the arms of his one true love, Mary Jane Watson. The event in honor of Peter – and Spider-Man – displayed recognition by a city that sometimes hated him as much as they needed him. We see a lot of people across NYC mourning in their own ways, but the most striking scene to me is his funeral, depicted beautifully at St. Peter’s Cathedral – a real NYC landmark and very fitting for our own Peter Parker. We see Aunt May and the women in Peter’s life enter to crowds of people, and there is a scene between May and a little girl who was saved by Peter that makes me cry every single time I read it. This is one of the things I love about New York – the people. New Yorkers may not be patient if you are a slow walker on the sidewalk, but they show up for each other in times of crisis. I’d also like to dedicate this one to Justin Ponsor, who was a colorist on this book and passed away earlier this year.
DAMAGE CONTROL #1
By Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colon
DAMAGE CONTROL follows the organization that cleans up after Marvel’s massive Super Hero battles. They are in charge of rebuilding buildings as well as Search and Rescue, recovering potentially dangerous resources left behind in the aftermath. This reminds me of all the hardworking folks who keep New York clean and running smoothly. It even gets some extra NYC cred because Damage Control’s HQ is in the historic Flatiron Building! Who doesn’t love a good ol’ New York office atmosphere?
BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #517
By David Liss, Francavilla, and Simone Bianchi
I chose this one because any NYC resident knows that this city attracts people for all sorts of reasons, but the stress can sometimes leave you drained. This reminded me of when Matt Murdock needed a break from NYC and asked T’Challa to step in as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen! After Daredevil’s villainous turn in “Shadowland,” Matt Murdock steps away from the mantle of the Man Without Fear to rediscover himself. He asks T’Challa, the Black Panther and King of Wakanda, to take his place. At this point, T’Challa has been cut off from his funds, tech, and title and has opted not to accept the help of friends and family. He ends up working with the cops and taking on Vlad Dinu, a crime lord hellbent on ruling Hell’s Kitchen. You want a gritty NYC story? This issue goes full gritty!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #230
By Roger Stern and John Romita
Spider-Man is in a race against time to save Madame Web who was recently kidnapped then abandoned by the unstoppable Juggernaut! This is a favorite issue of mine – it’s got Spider-Man, a huge fight, and a rare NYC visit from Juggernaut, which was awesome to see. And Juggernaut is kind like NYC – big, loud, always on the move, and always testing our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, who has, as the story’s title says, “To Beat the Unbeatable Foe”!
They say that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere – that’s probably why Marvel Super Heroes have been so super successful for 80 years!
Watch Agent M, Lorraine Cink and Langston Belton on Marvel LIVE! from New York Comic Con Thursday, October 3 through Sunday, October 6 at Marvel.com/nycc2019!
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