Sunday, October 12, 2008

Marvel Comics "Maggia" crime

Between 1850 and 1930, about 20,000 Italian-Swiss immigrants from Ticino, migrated to California. There was a well known quote, by a very well respected California politician of that time, which reflected how these people were absolute "model citizens." I checked, but unfortunately I don't have that quote handy right now. Perhaps someone out there can help us out with that. A good percentage of those immigrants came from the Maggia Valley in Ticino.


Well, Marvel Comics, a long time publisher of comic books, chose the name "Maggia" for another purpose. From Wikipedia (Maggia page):

"The Maggia is a fictional international crime syndicate that has appeared in various comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The organization exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe. Its structure is somewhat similar to the Mafia (which is itself almost never referred to in Marvel stories), but the Maggia differs in that it frequently hires supervillains and mad scientists to work for them. The characters Count Nefaria and his daughter Madame Masque have both been leaders of an important Maggia family.

The Nefaria family

This group bears little resemblance to the rest of the Maggia. The late Italian nobleman, Count Luchino Nefaria, a scientific genius, was the world's most powerful Maggia leader until his initial defeat by the Avengers. Afterwards he moved his base of operations to the New York City area, and then imprisoned Washington, D.C. within an impenetrable force-dome and held it for ransom. After his defeat and capture, his daughter Giulietta, also known as Whitney Frost, succeeded him as family head and led an unsuccessful attempt to capture the advanced weaponry of Tony Stark. She was eventually succeeded by a costumed criminal, the Masked Marauder, who demanded complete control of New York City or else he would detonate a nuclear device there. After his capture, the family again apparently came under control of Whitney Frost, by then known as Madame Masque. Contrary to standard Maggia practice, the Nefaria family, principally consisting of men under 40, has employed futuristic weaponry and even robots (like the Dreadnoughts), as well as costumed super-powered agents (Unicorn, Whiplash, Gladiator, etc.), and has launched open attacks on society. Its leader is always known as "Big M." There are many other Maggia "families" in the United States and Europe which do not employ superhuman agents. With both Count Nefaria and Madame Masque now pursuing separate agendas, it is not known who, if anyone, currently heads the Nefaria Family.

Luchino Nefaria is a wealthy Italian aristocrat, who while a traditionalist also desires greater wealth and power, driving him to join the criminal organisation the Maggia.

Madame Masque was born as Giulietta Nefaria, the daughter of the master criminal Count Luchino Nefaria, in Rome, Italy. She accepted her father's offer to become a professional criminal mastermind and was trained by him in strategy, criminal activities, and combat. She turned out to be a brilliant student and when her father was imprisoned, she became the new Big M, the leader of the Nefaria family of the Maggia."


The Maggia Valley is a district of the Swiss Canton of Ticino, and within it is the municipality of Maggia. It has an identity and a people of it's own. It has a coat of arms. Marvel Comics has no business whatsoever in "using" it's name in this slanderous manner.

There are corners of southern, northern, and eastern Europe, where the root stock population has a very serious organized crime problem within the native population. Northern Italy, Rome, Ticino, and Maggia are NOT in that short list..... AT ALL.

Many unfair stereotypes do have at least some grain of truth to them. In this case, there isn't a grain or even a single speck of truth. Shame on Marvel Comics for using and slandering the peaceful Maggia Valley and it's people.

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