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Comic Book / Marvel 1985

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"In Nineteen Sixty-One, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Marvel Comics Universe. Or so they thought..."
- Opening narration

Marvel 1985 is a 6 issue mini-series, published from July to December 2008.

The year is 1985. Marvel Comics has just finished its first big crossover Secret Wars and has had a big change in its status quo. Spider-Man now had a black suit, the Hulk was intelligent, and Storm has a mohawk, etc.

Meanwhile, outside of the exploits of costumed adventurers, Toby Goodman is riding on the heels of his parents' divorce. To cope with this big change in his life, Toby has taken to comic books, specifically Marvel comic books. One day, a walk in the woods with his biological father Jerry leads them to the recently sold Wyncham house, a household that was once home to a childhood friend of Jerry's. And from there, things start to become weird.

Toby swears he sees the Red Skull in the house and news of people who look similar to various Marvel supervillains begin increasingly popping up. Another trip to the Wyncham house confirms Toby's suspicions: villains from the Marvel Universe are bleeding into the real world, under the control of a mysterious mutant.


Written by Mark Millar and drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, 1985 is basically a love letter to the Marvel Bronze Age, in the style of 1980s Coming of Age films, except replacing the aliens and supernatural monsters with...well, Marvel characters.

Provides examples of:

  • The '80s
  • Adult Fear: The small town you live in is being attacked by superpowered beings from another universe and your son is nowhere to be seen.
  • Big Bad: Clyde Wyncham.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Toby manages to gather the Marvel heroes to fight against the army of villains.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Toby's mother's worst fear is that he'll end up this way the same as his father.
  • Came Back Wrong: Heavily implied when Clyde's father shows up at his door. He's supposed to be dead at the time.
  • Canon Welding: This story is the first appearance of Clyde Wyncham, a character that Millar would use in later Marvel stories to tie them together.
    • The comic is mentioned in Kick-Ass, where a clerk in a comic book store claims it's based on a true story.
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  • Captain's Log: It's revealed that the narration is from an older Toby's book about the story's events.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Clyde Wyncham suffered this at the hands of his frightened mother.
  • Continuity Nod: Several to the Marvel Comics status quo during 1985. Most prominent are the Hulk's intelligence and Spidey wearing his black costume.
  • Death Is Cheap: Effectively utilized by Toby. Jerry ends up being mortally injured during the climax. While he will surely die in the real world, the technology and nature of the Marvel Universe will save him so Toby sends him there.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The whole reason for the appearance of the Marvel characters is because Clyde's treasured comics collection was taken away when he was hospitalized.
  • Genre Savvy: Toby's love for comics prove to be useful when he figures out that the villains used a portal to enter the real world and uses it to travel to the Marvel Universe and contact its superheroes for help.
  • Hell Gate: The villains all come from a portal in the Wynchams' basement. It's not such a bad thing because Toby uses it to go into the Marvel universe and recruit heroes.
  • Hot Teacher: Young Jerry gleefully notes how he was able to see his teacher's panties while hanging out with Clyde.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Toby saying "Avengers Assemble!".
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Blob is given focus for a panel devouring anyone within reach.
  • Longing for Fictionland: Jerry and Clyde. The series even ends with Jerry in the Marvel Universe, with heavy implications that he will remain there for the rest of his life happily in a relationship with his childhood crush Jane Foster.
  • Mage in Manhattan: The whole premise is Marvel villains showing up in real life.
  • The Men in Black: Show up at the end to dismantle Galactus' world destroying machine and convince the public that nothing happened.
  • Mythology Gag: "And so the Marvel Zombies enlist another brainless wonder." note 
  • Phrase Catcher: When the heroes charge in to fight the villains, Toby excitedly yells "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!" before sheepishly apologizing to Captain America.
  • Real Life: The story supposedly takes place in our world.
  • Reality Warper: Clyde Wyncham, coupled by brain damage that basically removes any hesitation on his actions.
  • Red Herring: The opening narration implies that something else was the cause behind the creation of the Marvel Universe instead of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but this ends up not being the case. Instead, it's referring to the fact that while Lee and Kirby were the ones to have created the idea, it was Clyde Wyncham that brought it to life.
  • Straw Character: There's a character who works in the local comic store who is essentially a stereotypical detractor of superhero comics who favors the more mature and adult books that were gaining notoriety in the 80s.
  • Take That!: Appears to have one towards the The Dark Age of Comic Books, as the only one who actively reads its preliminary works comes off as snobbish and condescending towards Toby, who favors the usual superhero tales.

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