In the Marvel 616 Universe, a very large amount of superheroes are generally based in the state of New York, including but not limited to Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four and all their super-heroic side-kicks and supporting characters.

The out-of-universe reason is that Marvel Comics is based in New York, and Stan Lee was very fond of the city.

However, is there ever an in-universe reason given for the disproportionate superhero population of New York, beyond they all coincidentally lived there before getting their powers?

  • Is there any evidence in-universe that other cities don't have their own collection of superheroes? :-) Apr 16, 2016 at 1:13
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    @HarryJohnston When evil rears its ugly head on the dark streets of Dubuque, Iowa, mild mannered accountant Jim Miller becomes Slugman (except during tax season, when his cousin Barry fills in for him)
    – Paul
    Apr 16, 2016 at 1:55
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    They are simply trying to help out the common New Yorker. It's well known that real estate and rent prices in NYC are out of control. By setting up shop in identifiable locations such as Avengers Mansion or Stark Tower, the super-heroes bring down local property values due to weekly bombings, invasions, biological attacks, chemical attacks, forced dimensional travel, etc. By proving these "super-savings" to the people of NYC, they become true super-heroes.
    – Jimmy M.
    Apr 16, 2016 at 6:19
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    I really want Stan Lee to join our community and answer this question himself, being a fan of his work ^_^
    – ABcDexter
    Apr 16, 2016 at 13:19
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    @ABcDexter We got the next best thing with an answer from Thaddeus Howze ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 16, 2016 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


No coherent explanation has ever been given, in-universe, for the disproportionate number of superheroes in Marvel's New York City or its United States. While New York appears to have an inordinate number of heroes given its population, many of those heroes are members of the Avengers and as such may have originated somewhere else.

  • New York's most popular native heroes (heroes whose origins were found in New York) include: The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Daniel Rand (Iron Fist). Tony Stark was born on Long Island and would eventually found the Avengers in New York.

  • Captain America was born on the Lower East side of Manhattan in the 1920s, so he would also be considered a native son, despite his very long absence after World War II. Charles Xavier was born in New York City, explaining his eventual return to the state after his adventures and early explorations of his mutant abilities.

  • Since the real answer is most of Marvel's writers were from New York, it made sense to write what you knew. Marvel wanted to always promote the idea that the Marvel Universe was just like the real one so they never used made up cities in the same fashion as DC Comic's Gotham or Metropolis.

  • In the past two decades Marvel has made some effort to spread out its metahuman populations around the Earth, by creating branch offices such as the West Coast Avengers and the Great Lakes Avengers. The Marvel Universe presupposes there were metahumans all across the world, but the characters we are following do not necessarily know of their existence. Creations such as the Rangers usually crop up when backup characters develop enough of a following for Marvel to designate a team and a story for their origin.

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  • Canada, China, Russia and the UK also have small metahuman populations and programs monitored usually by their governments. While Charles Xavier was alive he would scour the Earth using his Cerebro technology to find mutants no matter where they lived and inducted them, if they were willing, into the X-men.

Other mutant hunters such as Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse also found and either experimented on or destroyed mutants they thought were too weak to be of use to their respective agendas.

The events of Decimation have also reduced the number of mutants, planet-wide though we are not certain if the recent soft reboot of the Marvel Universe will change that previous limiter on mutant populations on Earth.


1-in-38 people living in the U.S.A. live in New York City.

Source: Mental Floss

A population with disproportionate concentration of the nation's population would be accordingly disproportionately affected by the vectors which create enhanced beings, be those genetics, amok science, cosmic encounters, or more.

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    This visualization also helps illustrate the point: visualeconsite.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/… High population concentrations additionally lead to lots of interesting things happening economically, socially/culturally/creatively, technologically, historically, etc. just due to the high amount of intereactions occuring within a densely populated area—especially if it's one that is very diverse and has a large influx of immigration or is a travel destination. May 14, 2016 at 1:28
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    Additionally, population centers will also attract powerful superheroes (and villains). It's like Hollywood and movie stars - if you want to go big, you go where the action is. Dec 27, 2016 at 21:04

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