Comic Book Universes – I’d rather be dead

Comic book universes must be an absolute hell to live in if you’re one of the people who never get saved. Sure, we read about them and they’re amazing and we’re having fun reading what the heroes have done this week to make our world a marginally better place. We enjoy reading about them fighting off alien invasions, beating up killer robots, figuring out who the evil clone from the alternate dimension is and all that. As kids, we all imagined that it must be really, really cool to live in such a universe. As we grew up, we thankfully abandoned that thought. Because let’s look at what it would be like, for a minute.

I’m now just going to assume that you have no special powers. You might be exceptionally smart in one area or another, you might be good at maths. Or you learn a language in eight weeks (languages who require knowledge of another alphabet excluded) or you can look at a pile of wood and know exactly how much it is. These talents amaze the people around you. They go “Man, I wish I could do that” and it gives you a little ego-boost. Even stuff like you being able to play football really well or run the 100 meter dash the fastest brings you admirers. Well, not so in the Marvel Universe. You have Reed Richards who is better at everything. But for the sake of argument, let’s say he’s only better at maths than you are. Languages? There’s Cypher of the X-Men who understands you after you’ve coughed twice. He can understand your body language now too, so he can tell exactly when you’re in a real hurry to get to the toilet. And he does it instantly. Cypher understands you like nobody else ever has or ever will. That thing about the pile of wood? Meet Amadeus Cho who not only can tell you how much weight it is but also how many splinters there are after having taken a quick glance at it. He could also effortlessly set it on fire by simply holding up a glass shard. Or he could make it levitate by using a lizard’s hind legs and a piece of gum. Running fast? Meet Quicksilver who’s crossed an ocean by the time you took your third step in your not-so-amazing 100 meter dash.

 Fig. #1: Your superior.
So all the admiration you got for your special skills that are certainly impressive for our world, they mean absolutely nothing in a world where superheroes jump around at every corner. Seriously, there are thousands of heroes, mutants and other metahuman characters around. Try growing up in a world like that. Sure, when you are really fast, your mom will tell you that you’re “as fast as Quicksilver” and she’ll be proud of you. Let’s say you’re inspired by this, because Quicksilver is a big hero and all that. You run faster and faster, you join the track team. Eventually, the soul-crushing realization comes to you: You will never be as fast as Quicksilver. You will never get the admiration he does. All you’ll get is a gold medal or two.

Then there’s this little bit: You’d be living in constant fear. Fear of everything. Remember 9/11? Of course you do. Remember the time afterwards? Those weeks of uncertainty where you didn’t know whether or not it was over or if there was more to come? The weeks that basically stylized Osama Bin Laden to be a cackling madman with his finger on a red button that could blow up everything? And then there was that little titbit where we all suddenly realized that we’re still mortal after all and that bad stuff can happen to all of us. That feeling would be an every day occurrence for you, your neighbours and everyone you know. Especially if you just happen to be one of the unlucky sods who get to live in New York City, where a picnic in the park can turn out to be the genesis of a crazed vigilante or where suddenly, some people in spandex and a horde of aliens will fall out of the sky and decide to duke it out so that the Earth may be free until next Tuesday where another alien race decides to do the same. The Marvel Universe is littered with people who can take out cities by yawning, whose looks can kill and who can be thrown through the sturdy walls of your home and get up to have a laser fight where your living room was only seconds ago.

Yes, this argument has been made a hundred times in jokes and all that, but seriously, it would suck so hard, wouldn’t it? Not just suck. It would be downright terrifying. And the thing is that it’s not one of these many things that could kill us every day. Like, if you live in Los Angeles, an earthquake could end you every day. You get used to that. However, supervillains you never get used to. One day, a guy who is so radioactive that you become impotent by just looking at him decides to rob your neighbours, the next a giant mutant-hunting robot annihilates your entire neighbourhood just because the nice woman from two houses away has the ability to toast bread with her breath. Two days later, a crazy Nazi scientists unleashes a hitherto unknown virus that liquefies your brain and next Tuesday, a dinosaur from the future will claim that the playground at the nearby school is now his throne.

And it’s not just the villains you’ll be terrified of, no. The heroes are just as bad. Last year, Daredevil decided that all evildoers must die and so he used his control over a band of undead ninjas to control Hell’s Kitchen. Constant fear for tens of thousands of people living there. And if you see a masked do-gooder, how can you be sure that it’s not an evil clone or a life model decoy gone rogue or that the hero has just snapped or someone using magic to trick you into thinking it’s your favourite hero?
Yeah, I’d rather shoot myself in the head than live in the Marvel Universe. Going on holidays there, maybe. But living there? That would be living a nightmare.

And on a more light-hearted note, and one that is more about our hobby: What do you think comic books would be about in a world where everything we’ve read about in comic books would be real?
4 Comments Refresh

i absolutely agree and have said something to the effect anytime the question " If you could live in said fictional universe came up "
FYI: You should read Marvel 1985 if you haven't already, it covers this subject, or lesser so what would actual happen if Marvel characters,
villains especially showed up in our world.

Posted by Renchamp

And this is why I live in Wyoming. That, and cheap tuition.

Posted by PowerHerc

Posted by Nova`Prime`

Actually if you don't live in one of the big metropolises of said universe its probably not that bad. Granted every now and then bad shit happens to the small towns, but nine out of ten times its NY, Metropolis, Gotham, LA, London, or whatever big city.