I remember a time when Marvel's Tom Brevoort said that they never used the "616" sobriquet internally at Marvel Comics. Created by Alan Moore for Captain Britain, it identified the dimension in which the Marvel universe occurred. DC Comics had Earth 1 and Earth 2, so Marvel had Earth 616. It was a good joke, but also emphasised the idea of perspective, that you are just one of many universes, nothing special.
Chris Claremont, a big fan of those Captain Britain stories picked it up and ran with it in Uncanny X-Men and Excalibur, before it was referred to in other titles.
But as fans used it in debates, there was resistance at Marvel editorial to refer to it in this fashion. Brian Bendis also objected to the Ultimate Universe being seen as another dimension on the multiverse. Until, of course, it was.
Marvel has also, in the past, rejected the concept of rebooting continuity. Stories shuffle, are rewritten, reinterpreted, but the reboot is seen as a DC thing. Marvel relaunch things, but stories count. Even when they did away with the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, it was done with magic and memory, everything still happened, people just remember it all differently.
But, since Bleeding Cool ran the first Time Runs Out story we have been pointing out that Marvel have been teasing the idea of a reboot. We've always seen it as teasing, however.
Yesterday,Marvel's SVP of Sales & Marketing, David Gabriel spoke to his former employee James Viscardi about Secret Wars for ComicBook.
there will be a "616 finale!" and that means exactly what many fans have suspected – everything ends. We've been saying it over and over again but at the core,Battleworld IS the Marvel Universe when Secret Wars #1 hits in May.
But what will happen at the end, when it is restarted. Will it be restarted? A different number, a different way of thinking when it comes to continuity.
WARZONES! are the building blocks of the Marvel Universe, event level stories all on their own. While these are mostly self-contained, they're also grand pieces of continuity from Marvel's past and new spins on existing favorites. All of which are laying foundations for a new Marvel Universe. Each of these stories can be read on their own, but you can bet that each of these titles is going to have a big effect on the future of the Marvel Universe post-Secret Wars.
Gabriel talks a lot about building a new Marvel Universe during Secret Wars – but just how new will it be? Is this really a reboot, rejecting past Marvel statements about the way they do business, or is it just a big tease again?
I have been told by Marvel sources that the fan theory of putting the X-Men and Fantastic Four into a separate non-Marvel movie studios continuity is bunkum, though it is a popular one.
But, as Gabriel says,
So many fans want to know the ending of Secret Wars before it's even started. While you'll all have to wait and see, I will say this:
And as for those sales,
We're going to surpass a half a million units on the first issue which is amazing. And that's just selling straight to our Direct Market core retailers.
Which would be the highest direct sales comic of the year, above Star Wars, which used Gamestop, Lootcrate and conventions to get that million number. And you can bet Marvel will be using some of those for Secret Wars as well…