Comic Book Terms – Shared Universe
What is a shared universe? The concept of a shared universe is one in which a multitude of different characters co-exist and/or interact. Typically this concept confines itself to one publishing company’s output (although concepts such as the Wold Newton family extend the boundaries considerably), and it is most common in the main superhero universes of DC and Marvel. The benefit of having a shared universe is that characters can make (sales-boosting) guest appearances and allow for team-ups between different characters, as well as allowing the “team” concept (JLA, Avengers, etc.) to exist at all. Stan Lee’s initial Marvel Universe creations in the 1960s best exemplify the “shared universe” concept, whereby characters (and villains) would feature across multiple titles, sometimes in the foreground of the story, sometimes as cameos in passing, but always underlining the interlinkedness of the shared universe.