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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Europe, Marvel Style

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at the introduction of three notable Marvel European countries, Latveria, Transia and Symkaria.

Latveria, home of Doctor Doom, did not debut until 1964’s Fantastic Four Annual #2, which gave us the origin of Doctor Doom…


Transia first appeared in 1966’s Avengers #31…

It then appeared in Thor #133-135 as the home of Wundagore.

You’ll note, though, that while Wundagore is named, Transia is never named in any of these stories.

So it was not until 1967’s Avengers #36 that it was first named…

Even here, Transia is the name given to the VILLAGE, not the country. That is the name given to the country, though, whenever people refer to it in the future (it IS a tiny country).

Symkaria was first mentioned in 1985, with the debut of its most famous citizen, mercenary Silver Sable. However, we did not actually get to Symkaria until 1989’s Amazing Spider-Man #322…


Doctor and Boris sure get around.

Wow, I had no idea Boris was such an old character. I wonder: does this make him the longest-lasting minion in comic books?

Jane Foster appears to be having dinner with a beefy Uatu.

He’s more of a porky Uatu, really.

You could do this for Central America and Southeast Asia (and Africa too) And DC as well.

When I read the title, I honestly expected to see those lederhosen-clad peasants chasing Nightcrawler through their village, which of course happened all the time in Germany in 1975.

Well in fairness Europe actually has vampires, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster, so maybe the torch-wielding mobs never went out of fashion.

There are a number of other tiny European countries that have popped up in Marvel Earth over the years, of course, but they wouldn’t necessarily pass the “notable” test.


September 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Well in fairness Europe actually has vampires, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster, so maybe the torch-wielding mobs never went out of fashion.

—————————As noted elsewhere, they may have two counterparts of Arsene Lupin. Also, perhaps they remember Solomon Kane’s adventures in the Black Forest.


Frederick Marryat (author of Mr. Midshipman Easy but for our purposes the author of a werewolf story) seems to have helped encourage the use of vaguely central or Eastern Europe for horror tales. (I would note Victor Hugo, but Quasimodo lived in Western Europe, and some people do not consider that novel horror. Shelley’s novel took place in Switizerland, which I suppose counts as Central Europe.)

Mr. Lee seems to have



September 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

You could do this for Central America and Southeast Asia (and Africa too) And DC as well.

——————————————–How about the Phantom’s Bangala?

A curious and fun fact about Latveria was overseen…

As it can be seen in the images above, the country was geographically moved from one point of Europe to another!!!

Originally, Latveria was located at the Bavarian Alps (in Germany, as the image above shows)… but later, it was moved to the BALKANS… and now, it has borders with, exactly, Symkaria and Transia!.

I don’t remember when Latveria was moved to the Balkans… but, as I remember, it was still in the Bavarian Alps in Doctor Doom’s series in Astonishing Tales (early 1970’s).

Going from Kirby to McFarlane makes me ill. Give the old school anyday!

Gotta love the blatant exposition in the Spider-Man story…

“Interesting criticism, coming from a man whose only reason for being here is money! Or need I remind you of every detail of everything that has happened to us in the last few issu– I mean, days?”

Mr. Lee seems to have referenced Gerolstein from Eugene Sue’s novels about Prince Rodolphe as well as Ruritania from Prisoner of Zenda for Latveria.

As I recall, a reference to Latveria as in the Balkans occurred in a Daredevil story in the 1960’s where Doom showed up. However, I seem to recall a reference as late as 1989 during Acts of Vengeance more consistent with the Bavarian Alps. The map of Europe in the original official handbook (Europe receives it own entry) circa 1983, and the Wundagore entry (reprinted the aforementioned map) in the Deluxe Edition placed Latveria in the Balkans.

Will Murray, who writes articles for the recent Sanctum House reprints of the Shadow and Doc Savage, notes that Calbia from the Doc Savage novel The Kingmaker may have served as an inspiration for Latveria. Sanctum House reprinted this Doc Savage novel recently.


Graustark serves as another possible influence on this subject.

Hi Brian,

Kirby reshows the valley that is Transia the same year as Avengers #31, in a brief scene in Thor #134:)

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