The world as portrayed in Marvel Comics, especially under Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. As in The DCU, Marvel heroes form teams and Cross Over occurs frequently, with many Continuity Nods. (In fact, you could argue that Marvel invented the Continuity Nod.) Many of these comic books have been the basis for movies, TV series or both.Many TV series and movies set in the Marvel Universe take place in and around New York. The original architects of the world put most of the heroes there, as a subversion of the then-dominant trope of No Communities Were Harmed and as an excuse for Cross Overs.The Marvel Universe's defining characteristics include a general trend toward realism mixed with the fantastic, a little more Civvie Spandex than The DCU, and a strong undercurrent of cynicism among the local populace who are anything from skeptical to distrustful of superpowered beings aside from charismatic mega-celebrities like Iron Man and the Fantastic Four. Of course, it varies from writer to writer; in some eras Marvel have more explicitly tried to root their Universe in 'the real world', while at other times there have been entire mutant ghettos covering large areas of New York City.You can find a timeline of its major events here.Currently owned by Disney; a striking parallel to Disney's old animatedshorts rival Warner Bros. owning the DCU.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, a animated series from 2010-2012 features the "classic" roster - Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp - with more superheroes added over the course of the series.
A 1994 cartoon version, shown with the contemporary Fantastic Four cartoon as part of the "Marvel Action Hour." Season 1 saw Shellhead leading Force Works, but a massive Re Tool for Season 2 saw - among other changes - more solo hero action.
Spider-Man Unlimited, a short-lived 1999 cartoon where Spidey is transported to Another Dimension. Originally intended to be based on Spider-Man 2099... a comic book title many fans argue Bruce Timm ripped off when developing Batman Beyond.
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, a 2003 MTV computer-animated series based loosely on the movie continuity.
Ultimate Spider-Man, a animated series that premiered in 2012, where Peter, also a high-school student in this show, is being trained by SHIELD to be a professional superhero and teams up with a variety of other Marvel superheroes.
X-Men, a 2000 big-budget movie. Had two sequels, in 2003 and 2006. A 2009 Wolverine focused prequel has been released, and in 2011 another prequel called X-Men: First Class set in the 1960s focused on younger days of Professor X and Magneto.
Wolverine and the X-Men, a 2008 cartoon series (which aired in 2009 in the US), is the latest adaptation. It dives straight into a spinoff of the comics continuity, so in tone it's closest to the 1992 cartoon (but in art it's more like Evolution). Canceled after one season.
The "Astonishing X-men" quadrilogy, a quartet of motion comics adapting the "Breakworld" arc of Joss Whedon's run, ending on a cliffhanger with Kitty Pryde trapped inside a 7-mile long bullet that has just been fired at Earth.
None other than David Hasselhoff played the title character in Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, a 1998 Made-for-TV Movie, and did a surprisingly credible job at it (though the movie failed in other respects).
The Silver Surfer had a short-lived 1998 animated series, most notable for being cancelled right after a Cliff Hanger where the universe ceased to exist.
A 2013 show, Marvel: Agents of SHIELD, set within the MCU continuity with Agent Coulson as the main character. It is developed by The Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon, with the help of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.
Other movie adaptations:
A big-budget Ghost Rider film starring Nicholas Cage was released in early 2007. A sequel was released in 2012.
An animated Black Panther TV series, done in the style of motion comics, was created for BET based on a previous storyline.
As well, Marvel Entertainment has announced that they are planning future movie projects for The Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack, and Shang-Chi.
The set-up of The Avengers movie in Iron Man and Tony Stark's cameo in The Incredible Hulk suggest that Marvel may be trying to place the movies independently produced by Marvel Studios into their own continuity.
Doctor Strange was made into a failed Pilot Movie in 1978; its demonology content allegedly prompted outcries from Christian groups that made sponsors back off from the project.
A direct-to-DVD animated movie was released in 2007.
Badass Bookworm: High Evolutionary, Thanos, M.O.D.O.K., The Leader, Valeria and Reed Richards, Alyssa Moy, Beast, Mad Thinker, Hank Pym, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Maelstrom, Mr. Sinister, Bruce Banner and Spider-Man. Iron Man is actually an aversion: despite being brainy, he doesn't spend his time buried in books and studies.
Bald Women: Moondragon and Nebula (after her escape from Titan and a cybernetic operation)
The Berserker: Hulk, Juggernaut, Colossus, Thing, Thanos, Wolverine and Thor when he delves into the Warrior's Madness.
Blessed with Suck (One of Stan Lee's innovations was to write about "superheroes with problems." Characters like Spider-man, the Hulk, and the Thing were early results of this.)
Iron Man was the first superhero with a substance abuse problem.
Bullying a Dragon: It's like the civilians of the Marvel verse refuse to accept that pissing off a super-powered being is NOT a good idea.
City of Adventure: Makes you wonder just how New York City hasn't gotten wiped out yet.
They've got Damage Control. These guys are always there to make sure NY lives to see another day.
Comic Book Time: When he revealed himself during Civil War, Peter Parker stated that he had been acting as Spider-Man since he was 15. Same goes for the first X-Men team, who started in heroics in their teens (sans Beast), and now almost 50 years later (in real time), they still seem to be 30-somethings.
The Fantastic Four are among the first characters of the Marvel Universe. Reed and Sue quickly married and had a child, who is still a small child (and makes some people from the future flee in terror).
Crapsack World: Few comic book universes make life harder on its heroes than the Marvel Universe. At different times, either the public hates them, the government actively tries to kill mutants, the media paints them as evil, or laws have been passed making most of them wanted fugitives.
And that only covers Earth, which probably contains only a fraction of all the combined power in the universe. The Marvel Universe is crawling with cosmic beings such as Galactus and countless others who have all been either indifferent to or outright wanted to massacre the Earth.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check (The Trapster, the Ringer and many, many more. Occasionally subverted by villains like the Wizard, who became a zillionaire through legitimate means before getting bored and turning to crime, or 8-Ball, who only became a supervillain after he was fired from his job and blacklisted for being suspected of selling company secrets to pay his gambling debts.)
Deconstruction: Arguably a founding father of the concept for superhero comics as it definitely helped popularized the idea of Fantastic Racism for the genre. (People don't seem to notice as much due to how the earlier Marvel comics were not truly Darker and Edgier.) But still Marvel is definitely one of the reasons why being a super powered being (especially if you were born with super powers) might not get you respected.
Most of Dr. Strange's antagonists qualify, but especially Dormammu.
And for the cosmic storylines, Thanos and Annihilus, the later's attempted genocide against all life was so catastrophic that most of the remaining civilizations named their highest threat to the galaxy level after him.
Dying Like Animals: If it isn't a Reindeer, its a Lemming, a Wasp, or a Jackal. The best you can hope for is that its a Bat. 99.9+% of this entire planet's population is either ready to join an anti-metahuman hate group or else so mind-bogglingly stupid that they should be put on suicide watch.
Every once in a while a random preacher gives a pro mutant speech, or some cop mentions how much Spider-Man has done for the city, but such moments are sadly uncommon, and recent events are only making the whole thing worse. It makes one wonder if you shouldn't just let Galactus eat the place.
Easily Conquered World: When you look back at history, not so much. When one prospective conquering race heard about everything Marvel Earth has fought and beaten, they ran. Ran.
Easy Road To Hell: In both the DC and Marvel 'verses there have been examples of people getting sent to Hell with magic, rather than through any fault of their own. Granted, in most such cases they were able to get out later.
There's also most of the gods. Gaea is the Mother-Goddess in most pantheons in Marvel and has birthed a child in just about all of them. Thus, you get wacky family connections like The Mighty Thor being The Incredible Hercules's great-uncle.
Fantastic Racism: Marvel is very well known for this; documentaries have suggested that one reason for Marvel's popularity in the 60's was its use of resonant contemporary themes like bigotry and the marginalization of minorities.
Fun with Acronyms: Recurrent with any organization that uses an acronym (see Arms And Armor Theme Naming; another prominent example is Advanced Idea Mechanics, or simply A.I.M.); subverted with H.A.M.M.E.R. in which Norman Osborn first came up with the name without an acronym behind it and, even after he was arrested and broken out again, no one knows what it stands for.
The crowner, though, may be the anarcho-terrorist organization ULTIMATUM (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind).
Genius Bruiser: Many physically imposing characters also have massive intellects to back them up.
A God Am I: Thor, Hercules, Zeus and Odin make their godly heritage known to all who meet them.
Good Is Not Nice: Wolverine and Iron Man might be under the flag of good, but they can be outright pricks at times.
Healing Factor: A very common ability once you get to the bigger tiers. Wolverine, Deadpool and Hulk are the three most popular examples.
Humans Are Bastards: X-Men comics are the clearest example, but this trope shows up in other series as well.
I Love Nuclear Power: A little radiation can be a wonderful thing in the Marvel Universe. Several of their heroes, including the Hulk, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and even Capatin America owe their origins in whole or in part to various forms of radiation, as do a corresponding number of villains, such as the Abomination, the Leader and the U-Foes.
Immortality: Marvel has at least one character who embodies each subtrope.
Immortality Hurts: To his credit, Deadpool has fun when he gets mutilated, shot, stabbed, burned, decapitated, skinned and liquefied, mostly because of his habit of being a funny guy, but he still feels the pain.
Number of the Beast: Fandom recurrently tends to call the primary Marvel Universe number 616, sometimes considered to be the original number of absolute evil. Writer Dave Thorpe allegedly deliberately came up with the designation, since he considered this what the superhero genre in essence had evolved intonote The number actually comes from the date Fantastic Four #1, the book that kickstarted the Marvel Universe as we know it, was released: June 1961 (61/6).
Fandom considered designating the Marvel Zombies universe as 666. It eventually ended up as 2149.
In the end, Earth-666 became the native reality of the Undead Avengers. In context: said reality is populated by a Fantasy Kitchen Sink of monsters, which includes the superheroes, like a vampire Wolverine, a werewolf Captain America, and another Frankencastle.
The Omnipotent: It really depends on one's definition of omnipotent. The Living Tribunal has been called omnipotent by several different characters, yet multiple beings have surpassed his power (Beyonder, Thanos, Protege and Molecule Man) and defeated him. The Infinity Gauntlet grants the wearer omnipotence but every being who has ever worn it has had it forcibly taken from them.
The only indisputable example of an omnipotent character is The-One-Above-All. Just as the name says, he is above everyone in strength and is the higher power the Living Tribunal serves and answers to.
One Steve Limit: You better believe this trope is averted. There are easily half a dozen characters named James (Wolverine, War Machine, Bucky), a good few Henrys (the original Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket and so on, Beast), and plenty of Peters (Spider-Man, Trapster).
Token Minority Couple — Black Panther was paired off with Storm because they were both African, and no other reason then that.
Well also they both knew each other from past adventures, lost their virginity to each other, and are two very powerful people.
Too Dumb to Live: Many characters have had moments of this but it's hard to believe someone knows Bruce Banner can turn into the Hulk, yet they still try to piss him off.
In recent years in a push to make the world Darker and Edgier, the civilian populace has shown a desire, nay, eagerness to emphatically embrace anything and everything that curtails their civil liberties and gives as much power as possible to megalomaniacal psychopaths. This is notable when Norman Osborn returns after the Siege of Asgard fiasco: the Avengers suddenly find themselves accosted by picket lines in front of Avengers Mansion and protesting their role in peacekeeping (never mind that the President of the U.S. himself put Steven Rogers in charge of American security and fully supports him), thanks to Osborn manipulating the common people into thinking the Avengers are war criminals (which they apparently forgot he himself was).
World War II: The Golden Age. Marvel's history began during this time, so its original characters live in this setting. Some legacy heroes/villains are also based on characters published in this time (such as the Human Torch). Note that Adolf Hitler was seemingly killed in his bunker by the original Human Torch, but actually survived for a while as the Hate-Monger.