In a feature story in The New Yorker on how Kevin Feige created “The Narrative Experiment That Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” it was revealed that one of the key people involved is Mike O’Sullivan, the head writer and researcher of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
Handbook was a huge unprecedented success that was enormous in scope to produce and launched DC Comics’ version Who’s Who in the DC Universe.
Eventually, team-ups and merged worlds changed the way comics were published. Mike O’Sullivan, the head writer and researcher of the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe,” explains that, in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, readers would often encounter comic-book stories by means of single paper issues: “There was a finite start and finish to a self-contained story,” he said. By the eighties, however, individual comic books were being republished, five or six at a time, in a trade-paperback format. Formerly independent stories were now merged; each multi-volume collection, in turn, pointed toward a larger, forever-expanding narrative. Today, that narrative includes not just M.C.U. movies but television shows: “Agent Carter,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and Marvel’s “Defenders” miniseries, on Netflix, contain references to big happenings in the M.C.U. O’Sullivan now heads a team responsible for combing through both the comics and films and recording every detail of every character arc and story line to preserve continuity. When his team spots an error, it confers with Marvel editors and Marvel Studios to decide how to then proceed in the Marvel canon going forward.
For an industry not famous for taking care of its elders, this is pretty damn cool!