Marvel introduced an iconic comic book crossover that changed everything

To this day, the secret wars The limited series is considered a landmark story in the history of Marvel Comics. This actually has nothing to do with its content, which is generally considered lackluster compared to most of the publisher’s other work at the time. Instead, the series is more considered (along with DC’s crisis on infinite earths) for pushing the concept of the comic crossover event. Ironically, the creation of this genre-changing comic had nothing to do with comics.


secret wars it exists because Marvel is trying to carve out a niche for itself in the toy aisle, and it even owes its name to this commercial endeavor. This brought in more revenue than Marvel anticipated, as the popular publisher realized just how much fans pledged to collect each issue of their first crossover event. Much to the chagrin of die-hard collectors, this feverish acquisition indulgence would have its start in a comic intended simply to promote a line of toys.

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Marvel’s Secret Wars was conceived for marketing

As mentioned, secret wars it wasn’t planned by any of the creatives at Marvel, but by the needs of the toy industry. In the early 1980s, toys were a huge market among children, and most cartoons from the time attest to that. One of the earliest examples of this was Masters of the Universe, a cartoon that is little more than a giant commercial for Mattel’s toy line of the same name. Likewise, DC Comics had struck gold with Kenner’s Super Powers action figure collection, leaving Marvel desperate for a piece of the pie.

Mattel agreed to make a toy line based on the Marvel characters as long as there was an attached comic book promoting the figures. This was the same logic used for the cartoon/toy line of Masters of the Universe, applied to a comic to play to Marvel’s strengths. The other major request was for the title to have something to do with the words “secret” and “wars”, as marketing found that these buzzwords worked well with children. The story featured major Marvel heroes and villains transported to an alien world to battle each other, so it made sense to use the most popular and leading characters from the superhero universe.


This was the first event of its kind, as it attracted a large number of big players from the Marvel Universe. Marvel titles would not only be affected by the events of secret Wars, but the industry as a whole would make it an annual mission to pursue their monetary success.

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Secret Wars strongly impacted the development of Marvel Comics

secret warsThe marketing driven narrative resulted in the introduction of several interesting and now iconic concepts to the Marvel Universe. The most notable of these was Spider-Man’s black alien costume, which allowed Mattel to easily make a “new toy” from the same mold. This suit would be later bond with Eddie Brock to become Venom, adding the mythos of the symbiotes to the world of Spider-Man. New female characters such as the villains Titania and Volcana, as well as a new version of Spider-Woman were introduced to the story simply to bolster the toy line, although no toys were ever produced for them. Titania will soon be making his live action debutdemonstrating the longevity of some of the characters introduced in the story.


Marvel saw how much of a financial success secret wars was and start “replicating” it by doing crossovers and annual events. Some of these would have the same scope as the original comic series, involving almost all of the major Marvel heroes and their books. Others would be contained within the respective families of books, such as the mutant massacrethat spread throughout the X Men comics as well as power pack Y Thor. Line-wide crossovers would generally occur at least once a year, acting as summer blockbusters in comic book form. By having different books related to these stories, Marvel (and DC, for the case) could guarantee an increase in sales for the finalists who wanted to have all the chapters of the epic. It also made the Marvel Universe feel more interconnected than ever.


This arguably fueled the 1990s speculation boom that elevated comics to even greater heights before almost killing the industry for good. Whether his legacy is seen as positive or negative, it is undeniable that secret wars it had a dramatic impact on Marvel’s creative and business model going forward. Since you cross as the current history of “Banner of War” are still going strong at Marvel, it seems the real war will always be with readers’ wallets.

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