Saturday, March 10, 2007

Beware the Maggia!

If you're not a Marvel Comics reader, or former reader, you're probably thinking "What the hell is Gueguen going on about this time? Is that some weird mispronunciation of Mafia?" Not in the Marvel universe, dear friends. Since the mid 1960s the Maggia has been Marvel's stand in for the Mob, although apparently the "real" Mafia also turns up these days as well. Reading some old comics tonight I got thinking about the Maggia and how it came about. I'd kind of suspected for a while that Marvel didn't want to get in trouble with the Mafia by using it in comic books, and apparently Stan Lee admitted this in an interview in recent years. It certainly makes sense given that Marvel's editorial offices were, as they are now, located in New York, and I would assume their printing was done in New York in those days as well. So, given the Mafia role in a lot of New York business at the time, it's not hard to imagine Stan and company not wanted to cause trouble for themselves by doing something to piss them off in a comic story, even if it was more likely to be deliveries being slowed up by Mob controlled trucking firms than wiseguys threatening to feed Stan to the fishes or something equally cliche.

Incidentally the Maggia first appeared way back in The Avengers #13, as did Maggia boss Count Nefaria. Yeah, Lee was real subtle with that name, wasn't he?

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