Over the years, comic book writers and artists have brought us to parallel dimensions, alien planets and magical kingdoms, often all within the span of a single issue, but sometimes the best stories happen right in our own backyard. In the early days of the industry, pulp heroes and costumed crime fighters often existed only in fictional cities, such as Metropolis and Gotham City. This separated the stories from our reality, and in the process, alienated readers who felt they couldn’t relate to these books.

However, when Timely Comics—better known as Marvel now—came to prominence in the late ‘30s, the publisher made the decision to set its comics exclusively in the real world, with New York being the main backdrop for a bulk of the stories. This innovation made readers feel a connection to these stories and characters that other companies couldn’t duplicate. It’s always a thrill for New Yorkers to see Peter Parker hanging out with Gwen Stacy in the Village, the Fantastic Four setting up their headquarters on Madison Avenue, and the Avengers fighting aliens in Midtown in their monthly comics. In our opinion, this is one of the main reasons why Marvel is the biggest powerhouse in the business at the moment.

After realizing that fans were responding to these stories more than others, most of the other comic book companies have followed Marvel’s lead. In the ‘70s, DC even began incorporating New York City into books like The Teen Titans and Kamandi, much to the glee of readers everywhere. Revel in the industry’s fascination with the greatest city on Earth with our countdown of The 15 Most Iconic NYC Comic Book Images.

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