Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mighty Marvel Manhattan

The center of the Marvel Universe has always been New York City. The Avengers Mansion, the Daily Bugle, Empire State University, Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, and Luke Cage’s old office above the Gem Theater, are all located in a fairly realistically portrayed (except, you know, for the superheroes) Manhattan. DC’s fictional cities were originally generic settings, and have become thematic support for their central characters, but Marvel’s New York has always been more of place which its characters adapted to, or arose from.

TSR’s Marvel Superheroes rpg dealt with the city in a few of supplements (New York, New York, and the map on the judge’s screen, to name a couple), but never really gave us a lot of detail. That’s a shame, because there’s more to be had from the comics. Wizard #199 published the map above, and an accompanying article, but the best reference I've found is Peter Sandersen’s The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City.

Sandersen, of course, contrasts the Marvel Universe version of the city with ours. He also (as one might expect) pulls out the occasional obscure detail (like the Snakeroot cult in catacombs beaneath Central Park’s Belvedere Castle from Daredevil). What’s most interesting to me, though, is how some of the geographic elements are really easter eggs for Marvel Comics history--like the fact that Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich shared an apartment at 177A Bleeker Street, which turns out the be Dr. Strange’s address in the MU.

If you’ve got a yen to game in the Marvel Universe, or are just a Marvel fan, I’d say its worth checking out.


The Angry Lurker said...

Been a Marvel fan quite a long time, thanks for this it brought back memories.

Brutorz Bill said...

Good stuff! I was always a bit more of a Marvel fan than a D.C. one.

JF said...

It is a great resource, one I've been using to set up my November 2011 solo Heroclix giant war game across Manhattan (which I started posting the rules for at

Adam Dickstein said...

DC Fan here but I must say that is a pretty darn cool map.

It always bugs me that DC has (IMHO) more interesting worldbuilding with its fictional cities but fewer good maps of their world.


Trey said...

@Barking Alien - I'm a fan of DC, too. The best reference they've done was the atlas put out by Mayfair games, though its maps were not the best.

Xyanthon said...

Cool, thanks for shaing! I'm a Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse Guy. Aw, heck, I'm just a comics fan in general.