Review: 'Marvel's 616' Takes a Peek Behind the Comic Book Panels

by JC Alvarez
Friday Nov 20, 2020
Review: 'Marvel's 616' Takes a Peek Behind the Comic Book Panels


The world(s) of Marvel Comics means something different to everyone, and over the course of the imprint's incredible history it has touched creatives, intellects, and everyday individuals in ways that have had profound impacts on people's lives beyond just the pop-cultural implications. In the new Disney+ original documentary series "MARVEL 616," premiering on the streaming service November 20th, audiences are invited to go beyond the superheroes and into the real world inspirations that crosses all possibilities.

The Marvel universe is a richly diverse environment that has inspired so many people across all walks of life. The "MARVEL 616" takes a look at those individuals who were compelled to create because of what they read in Marvel Comics. Sensing that there might be a vacuum in the medium, female writers pursued telling stories that reflected their experiences. Sana Amanet, a VP at Marvel Entertainment, shares her story, growing up as a Muslim woman who immediately resonated with Marvel's heroes and especially the powerfully positive female role models inside the pages of "X-Men" and "Avengers" comics.

Some of the most famous names in comics, including Louise Simonson and Trina Robbins, tell their stories and how they felt inspired to get themselves into the field, which had largely been a male-dominated arena. That has changed dramatically in recent history. Now the ladies have shaped the brand and have had as significant an influence on the industry as Stan Lee, the man behind the publishing brand's greatest commodities, including Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor and more.

In the episode "Unboxed," the Marvel characters are given form and function as one of the most profitable series of toys on the market. The comics may have inspired many imaginations, but the toy makers have given collectors a whole new reason to allow their narrative worlds to flow. The highly lucrative action figure merchandizing of the comics characters has given fans an entire new reason to love these super powered personalities — it's even given artists a way to express their creativity as toy photographers, recreating their favorite moments from the pages of their most treasures comic books.

One of the episode's most exciting moments is an insider's visit to the Funko design facilities to watch the artists transform the most recognizable characters into the popular Pop! line that relies on raising the cuteness factor and turning it up to 100%. There's also a visit to Toy Fair, where all this excitement culminates. Here fans get to revel in all things Marvel, from the latest action-figures from Hasbro Toys to Funko's newest Pop! redux and photo arts who share their intricately detailed snapshots, freezing the frame forever!

Even the non-comic book aficionado can relate to the stories in "MARVEL 616," which, across each episode, explores how Marvel Comics has become relevant beyond just the books, movies, or its massive fandom. It's about unleashing one's own imagination and inspiration, finding a truth that they connect with. Whether that's through cosplay or creating, it's proof of just how much more interconnected we are as a culture. When you find something that "gets you," it can have a profoundly positive influence on your life that can touch you and everyone you come in contact with. So share a comic book today, and see how it will shape a mind in the future.

"MARVEL 616" begins streaming on Disney+ November 20th.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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