There is a long history of urbanism helping to define Marvel Comics for the audience. Now with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU’s relationship with New York has taken on a cinematic legacy. Ten Years into the cinematic adventures of Marvel superheroes and the skyline in New York is as much a part of our experience as it ever was in print. We have Vanity Fair to thank for this rundown of the real-life spaces that have defined New York in the MCU.
Broadly speaking, the historical relationship between superhero comics and urban landscape is one way to understand the evolution of the city. On first glance, this might seem limiting, but as Jorn Ahrens and Arno Meteling write in the introduction to Comics and the City Urban Space in Print, Picture, and Sequence, “…comics are inseparably tied to the notion of the “city.” What they mean and what has been well documented is the rise of modern comics, especially in the United States are linked to shift from rural to the urban milieu. As is the case with the cowboy in the late nineteenth century, the superhero genre contextualizes a frontier, suggests a requirement of force necessary for civic order and links these efforts to the maintenance of the community. Given this fact, it should come as no surprise that protecting New York is a trope whether a print or film.