Rules of the Marvel Universe

and Introduction to Me in the Marvel Universe


In the comics (well, in almost all the superhero comics) there are an infinite number of universes. This includes the world where you and I live, which is somewhere the superheroes don't. These universes (other than ours) are said to be parallel universes, and the various Planets Earth in these universes are said to be parallel Earths.

Well, if there are parallel Earths, there must be parallel Massachusetts. And parallel me (what a frightening thought!)

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Scott Eiler, a humble engineer and frustrated writer of comic books. At least, that's what I am in this universe.

But in other universes, I'm somewhat different.

Take, for example, the "Marvel Universe". This is the universe in which all Marvel Comics (including "Spider-Man", "X-Men", "Fantastic Four", and "Incredible Hulk") take place. This universe is quite different from our own, even if it seems similar on the surface. The differences can be summarized as follows:

Rule 1. Every god which was ever conceived in mythology actually exists, and is related to Earth via a Cosmic Axis. (This is due to an entity called the DemiUrge, which is the biosphere's urge to greatness, so to speak. The DemiUrge brought all the gods - with exception of the one true Maker of the Universe - into actual, physical being. Apparently, only the Earth has a DemiUrge.) These gods are, of course, paranormal when viewed from human standards. (Hence, Thor.)

Rule 2. There are lots of intelligent alien races in the universe, and they're especially interested in Planet Earth. (This may be due to a prominent warp nexus in our solar system, or due to the Cosmic Axis - see Rule 1 - or both.) Many aliens are paranormal when viewed from human standards. (Hence, the Skrulls - an entire race of shape changers. Just like the Martians in the DC universe, except the Martians are supermen too.)

Rule 3. Many humans can withstand deadly stress or radiation, and thereby gain paranormal powers. Hence, the proliferation of superhuman beings. (The origin of this in the Marvel Universe is due to one alien race of "space gods", known as the Celestials, which experimented on humans. Almost every other comic-book universe has Rule 3 also, but has its own reason for humans gaining superhuman powers. In the DC Universe, for instance, it's the MetaGene.)

Rule 4. Technology is more advanced than in our universe. Therefore, it is possible for humans to gain abilities through technology which are the equal of paranormal powers. These humans effectively become paranormal. (Hence, Iron Man.)

Rule 5. Magic works. Some humans can learn magic, and thereby become paranormal. (Hence, Doctor Strange.) Other humans can be influenced by mystic entities, and thereby become paranormal. (Hence, the Ghost Rider.)

Rule 6. Any human can gain abilities significantly above the norm, in combat and many other fields of human endeavor. Such humans effectively become paranormal. (Hence, Captain America.)

Rule 7. Most paranormal beings on Planet Earth (whether human or inhuman) will put on a costume and fight wholeheartedly either for justice or injustice. (This rule does not necessarily follow from the previous rules. Rule 7 is what makes the Marvel Universe different from a horror, fantasy or science fiction novel.)

Rule 8. Paranormal powers are somewhat limited for beings who can survive on Earth without consuming the planet. The most powerful paranormal beings on Earth (such as the mighty Thor - see Rule 1) can lift about 100 tons (roughly a Boeing 747, if one believes Marvel Comics) with great effort. (Rule 8 is what makes the Marvel Universe different from the DC Universe. Superman, who lives in the DC Universe, can lift the Great Pyramids easily. Sometimes he can even move the Earth.)

Rule 9. Whatever the paranormal beings do, the universe will be almost exactly like our own universe from the viewpoint of most humans. (Rule 9 is what makes the Marvel Universe hard to believe at times.)

Rule 10. Time passes differently, generally more slowly, in the Marvel Universe than in our own. For example, the Fantastic Four was founded in 1961 by a couple of World War II veterans who wanted to beat the Russians to the moon. As of 2002, the Fantastic Four was not on Social Security yet. (Rule 10 can make the Marvel Universe even harder to believe, if you try to keep track of which President appeared in Marvel Comics the third time the Fantastic Four fought Galactus. Really, it's best just to forget about it. By the way, the President was Nixon.)

Rule 11. New! It's not just a universe, it's a multiverse. Major events in the history of the universe could have gone either way - and they are known to have gone both ways, depending on where you're looking. This is known as "alternate universes". You can see a lot of these in science fiction. Usually, when you see them in novels, it means either Adolf Hitler or Jefferson Davis was a bit more successful. When you see them in comic books, it usually means Spider-Man got turned into a vampire or something. (Rule 11 allows for crossovers between Spider-Man and Superman, even though they live in different universes which different publishers operate. It also lets me write fan fiction which doesn't necessarily look just like the Marvel Universe. For starters, I throw some of my own superheroes into the mix. Then, I let them do stuff like change the outcome of Presidential elections.)

The end result of these rules - especially Rules 7 and 9 - is a universe where heroes, villains, aliens and cosmic entities fight each other continually with powers which could shatter mountains or even move the planet - and most people never notice.

And I have a counterpart in that universe. We all do. (See Rule 9.)

My counterpart, like me, once studied the martial arts. Unlike me, he did so for more than six months; he probably got his black belt years ago. He's virtually unstoppable in a fight against normal humans. (Rule 6 helps make my counterpart significantly above the norm in dexterity and stamina.)

My counterpart, like me, helped build the MX Missile launch control systems. Like me, he once worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative. (In the Marvel Universe, SDI works. See Rule 4.) Like me, my counterpart has also worked on a nationwide weather radar system or two. However (thanks to Rule 4), these systems also control weather.

But my counterpart, unlike me, is a real hacker in the fictional sense. He can infiltrate any system he's ever worked on. In the real world, I probably can't; it's pretty hard to dial in to a system when the company deletes your account the day after you leave, as always happens in the real world. (Rule 6 makes my counterpart significantly above the norm in computer science.)

Through Rules 4 and 6, my counterpart therefore qualifies as paranormal. Therefore, he wears a costume and fights wholeheartedly for justice (see Rule 7). But like me, his idea of a costume may not conform to societal norms. Much like his idea of justice.

Like me, he starts this narrative by working at a small engineering company in Massachusetts called Anything for a Buck Systems, or ABS for short. (Okay, it's not really called that, but it might as well be.) Unlike me, he's ready for an adventure.

If you are a fan of the DC Universe and are offended by the lack of said universe in these adventures, don't worry. The universes always cross over eventually (see Rule 11).

But watch out. Fan fiction may enter into the story (see Rule 11). But if you're reading this story right now, you are reading fan fiction, so who cares.

Our story starts in 1988. I have experience in MX and the NEXRAD weather control project, and I'm working on SDI now.

For the purpose of this essay, I am assuming that I in the Marvel Universe have read Marvel Comics just like in our universe which started publishing in 1961, but the Fantastic Four didn't necessarily hijack their rocket ship then and start the whole superhero phenomenon there. (Hey, nobody said fiction had to be the same as reality, even fictional reality.) That will explain a lot of chronological inconsistencies.

To resolve any remaining inconsistencies, I refer you to the web sites of fans greater than I:

I'm impressed, because that's just what I want to do, only I'll settle for knowing what year superheroes first appeared.

The chronology masters seem to agree with me that one year of Marvel Comics represent two to three years of real time. So, I'm running with it. It may or may not be important to the story, but for the purpose of this fiction, my Marvel Universe counterpart starts his 1988 adventures in a universe where Reed Richards and company went public in 1979. This gives the Marvel Universe nine years to build up to those important inspirational events, Inferno and the Armor Wars.

Of course, Marvel super heroes don't age in real time, but I do. My adventures will go through some reality shifts, which will allow the timelines to change. So, by (say) 2001 I will find I actually start out the same time Reed Richards did, and that would be 1988.

In both my universe and Marvel's, there are some important stories which only work if we all observe 2001 at the same time. So starting then, our timelines are synchronized.

After 2003, synchronization becomes less of an issue. And there are plenty of reality shifts to shake things up then. If it goes on long enough, I may have gone to college with Reed Richards's father. But let's wait for it, shall we?