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Friday, February 26, 2016

Maggia Crime Family Keys

When it comes to the Maggia Crime Family, it's basically and loosely based off the American Mafia to an extent, just the comic book version of it that deals with super-villains. In New York City, the American Mafia, known as the Cosa Nostra (Our Thing or This Thing of Ours), had five families that controlled certain rackets and territories in the city and even across the country.

The leaders of each of the families across the nation formed what's called a commission, where they discussed business matters, beefs, and voted on certain aspects of their criminal empire. Although there were bosses of different families in pretty much every major city within the U.S., the major families were the five in New York City.

The Maggia Crime Family is somewhat loosely modeled off this structure. They have five major known families in the Marvel Universe as well and they are known as the Silvermane Family, the Nefaria Family, the Hammerhead Family, the Costa Family, and the Noboli Family.

Like the real mafia, they came to be the most powerful criminal organization in the U.S. Unlike, the real mafia, the maggia are less centralized and their families are independent groups that are loosely connected or tied together.

Basically, this means that they often act or run their families independently from each other. However, they do often ban together or consolidate their power against other strong organized criminals such as the Kingpin or other Marvel mafias.

Alright, to make it less confusing, each part to this series will deal with one Maggia Family at a time, so we'll start off with the...


1st appearance of Count Nefaria
1st appearance of the Maggia

The 1st appearance of Count Nefaria in Avengers #13 also holds the 1st published appearance of the Maggia. Nefaria is introduced as the leader of the Maggia in this issue, and he is also the founder of the Nefaria Family, obviously since it's named after him.

His real identity is that of Luchino Nefaria, an Italian aristocrat who, like many super-villains in comic books, desired more wealth and power. Once a normal human, Nefaria was subjected to an experimental process process by one of Baron Heinrich Zemo's scientists Dr. Kenneth Sturdy.

This process granted him the combined powers of energy projection from the Living Laser, the strength of Power Man, and the speed of Whirlwind. However, these powers were amplified with Count Nefaria. The characters of the Living Laser, Power Man (not Luke Cage but Erik Josten), and Whirlwind became the Lethal Legion formed by Nefaria.

That would not happen until later and Count Nefaria would not obtain these powers until later as well. In his 1st appearance in this issue Count Nefaria is just a normal human but a genius scientist who has a lot of cool toys. 

Count Nefaria is the father of Whitney Frost, also known as Madame Masque. He is an important leader of the Maggia for sure. Avengers #13 has the cover date of February, 1965.

1st appearance of Whitney Frost
1st appearance of Whiplash

This is the 1st appearance of the character of Whitney Frost. She is known as Big M in this issue and she is the leader of the Maggia as well.

Her real name is Giulietta Nefaria. When her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, Count Nefaria gave Giulietta to the Frosts to be raised, and they named her Whitney.

When Nefaria revealed her true lineage to her, she became leader of the Maggia. She would later be disfigured and become Madame Masque later, but her 1st appearance is alongside of Whiplash.

Whiplash started his comic career as an enforcer for the Maggia, but his criminal career would see him part ways with the powerful criminal organization later on

He would be aligned with the Maggia for a spell when he was the character of Backlash. Both of their first appearances are in the Iron Many story, "The Coming of Whiplash".

February, 1968 is the cover date for Tales of Suspense #97 and Whitney Frost is a character on the Agent Carter TV show currently.

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Origin of Whitney Frost

In this issue here, Whitney Frost reflects on how she became Big M and the leader of the Maggia. The story reveals how Count Nefaria came to her and revealed her true origin and how she was forced to train under him to become the leader known as Big M.

Big M or Whitney Frost started out as an Iron Man villain and her earliest appearances are in Iron Man's stories. During this time, she developed feelings for Jasper Sitwell, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She would also have a romance with Tony Stark as well in the comics.

This issue is not that well-known as an origin issue for teh character of Whitney Frost. I don't think anyone is noting it as such either. December, 1968 is the cover date for Iron Man #8. 

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1st appearance of Whitney Frost as Madame Masque
1st appearance of Midas

This issue sees the 1st appearance of Whitney Frost as Madame Masque, the more popular criminal alter-ego for her character. Her first appearance also includes the first appearance of Midas.

Midas is not a Maggia member, but for some reason Madame Masque, teams up with this super-villain for a while. The Maggia is also not present in this issue, and I think it's not known that Whitney Frost is Madame Masque in her first few appearances as the character as well.

I believe Madame Masque is revealed to be Whitney Frost in Iron Man #24, but not 100% sure. September, 1969 is the cover date for Iron Man #17.

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1st appearance of the Eel

Although the 1st appearance of the Eel does not see this super-villain as a member of the Maggia, he would be employed by the group later. He is a former agent of the Maggia under the Nefaria Family.

There are two versions of the character, and this is the original known as Leopold Stryke. The 2nd version of the Eel is Edward Lavell. Both versions were under the employment of the Maggia as part of the Nefaria Family, but Lavell or the 2nd Eel is more associated to the Hammerhead Family.

Stryke as the Eel was teammates with the Porcupine, Plantman, Scarecrow, and Unicorn when these villains were Count Nefaria's henchmen in X-Men #22 and #23. He was not a long time employee of the Maggia, and I think those are the only two appearances he has as an ally of the Maggia or a member of the crime syndicate.

I don't think this version of the Eel was an important member of the Maggia to be honest. Strange Tales #112 has the cover date of September, 1963.

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1st appearance of the Plantman

Another 1st appearance of a former Maggia agent who was led by Count Nefaria, Samuel Smithers is Plantman. Armed with a Vega-Ray gun, Smithers could control and animate plant life.

Once again, not the greatest of Marvel villains or that significant of a Maggia member. Probably not even worth mentioning, but he is considered a former Maggia member regardless. Strange Tales #113 has the cover date of  October, 1963.

1st appearance of Porcupine

There are also others who took up the name of Porcupine, but this is the 1st appearance of the original, Alexander Gentry. To be honest, not the greatest of super-villains in the Marvel Universe, and like the Eel was a member of the Nefaria Family briefly.

Porcupine would not be part of the Lethal Legion that was round up by Count Nefaria, however. He was a member of the 1st Lethal Legion that was formed by the Grim Reaper.

Alexander Gentry is the only version of Porcupine to be a member or agent of the Maggia, even for a very brief time. I'd be surprised if this character wound up on the Netflix Marvel shows. Tales to Astonish #48 has the cover date of October, 1963.

1st appearance of Scarecrow

Ebenezer Laughton is also known as the Scarecrow, who is an accomplished burglar and professional thief. He is one of the villains who joined the Eel, Plantman, Porcupine, and Unicorn in holding Washington, D.C. ransom under the leadership of Count Nefaria.

Like his comrades, he is not a prominent member of the Nefaria Family or the Maggia, but is considered a former member of the crime-syndicate. Laughton is a master contortionist and escape artist.

This low level comic book villain also employs trained crows that will perform various tasks depending on certain hand gestures and tones in his voice. They will attack anything he commands them to. Tales of Suspense #51 has the cover date of March, 1964.

1st appearance of Unicorn

This is the original Unicorn and his first appearance. The original Unicorn is Milos Masaryk and was a Soviet intelligence agent.

He wears technology and body armor that was designed by the Crimson Dynamo, Anton Vanko, and his helmet can project  concussive energy blasts. I think Masaryk was the only version of the Unicorn that was a member of the Maggia or Nefaria Family.

Not the greatest of Marvel villains or even Maggia members. Tales of Suspense #56 has the cover date of August, 1964.

1st appearance of the Masked Marauder 
1st John Romita Sr. Spider-Man art 

Another Daredevil key issue tied to an eventual member of the Maggia is Daredevil #16 and the 1st appearance of the Masked Marauder. The Masked Marauder is Frank Farnum.

The Masked Marauder would also eventually become a leader of the Maggia and Nefaria Family, but he isn't a Maggia member in this comic here. This issue also guest stars Spider-Man.

Frank Fernum is a scientific genius and created Tri-Man and his helmet that projects "opti-blasts" which can temporarily or permanently blind someone. Don't think that would work on ole Daredevil though.

Although a former leader of the Nefaria Family, the Masked Marauder is a pretty brief member as well. He is revealed as the Big M in Spectacular Spider-Man #25. Cyclone is one of the Masked Marauder's henchmen as well as Tri-Man.

Interestingly, it was never explained how the Masked Marauder became leader of the Nefaria Family. The story arc that ran through Spectacular Spider-Man of the 1st series also incorporates issue #27, which is Frank Miller's 1st Daredevil artwork.

I think the story arc in Spectacular Spider-Man is the only time the Masked Marauder is a member and leader of the Maggia. He is defeated by Daredevil in issue #28, which is penciled by Frank Miller also, making it his 2nd Daredevil artwork.

As most already know, Daredevil #16 has the first Spider-Man artwork done by John Romita Sr. and the cover date of May, 1966.

1st appearance of the Gladiator

This character already appeared in Daredevil Season 1 as Melvin Potter, and was the genius who made the first Daredevil outfit in the Netflix TV series. In the comics, Melvin Potter first appeared as the super villain known as Gladiator and one of Daredevil's earliest of foes.

Gladiator would eventually help Whitney Frost when she was Big M to help raid Stark Industries. He really isn't a prominent member of the Maggia and ends up joining the syndicate in Daredevil #23 when the Masked Marauder pitted him against Daredevil in order to impress the Maggia and let him join their ranks.

They denied the Masked Marauder membership but liked Gladiator's style and let him into the organization. I wonder if we'll be seeing more of this character again in the Netflix series, and if the Maggia does show up, I wonder if they'll stick to the comic book roots and have Gladiator as an enforcer for them. Daredevil #18 has the cover date of July, 1966.

1st appearance of Tri-Man

Created by the Masked Marauder, this android was created to have the skills of three low-level thugs named Dancer, Mangler and Brain. Dancer was an expert safe cracker, Mangler was a strong wrestler, and the Brain was cunning and sinister.

Tri-Man is not a long lasting villain and doesn't recur often. He is still a henchman of the Masked Marauder when the character is seen as leader of the Maggia in the 1st series of the on-going Spectacular Spider-Man comic series.

Daredevil #22 has the cover date of November, 1966.

1st appearance of Cyclone

Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru, the original Cyclone was Andre Gerard. He was a French engineer that worked for NATO and developed a weapon that could generate high velocity tornado-like winds.

Having a fall-out with the organization, Gerard took his invention and used it for criminal purposes. His first appearance does not see him as a Maggia enforcer, but he would be employed by the Masked Marauder in the Spectacular Spider-Man comics.

Once again, I don't think Cyclone is a prominent Maggia member or recurs often in the comics as part of the crime syndicate. April, 1975 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #143.

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1st appearance & death of Daniel Lindy
1st meeting of Spider-Man & Moon Knight

Okay, there isn't much to say about Daniel Lindy. He is a Maggia member but dies in this issue. The character does tie in the Maggia for this story line.

However, what is noteworthy is that this is the 1st meeting between Spider-Man & Moon Knight, and this was listed in the Moon Knight key issues series done last year. Actually, this issue also marks the 1st issue to the story arc that sees the Masked Marauder as head of the Maggia.

So the story arc would start with Spidey and Moon Knight teaming up and end with Spidey and Daredevil teaming up against the Maggia. Pretty minor key in terms of the Maggia, but not for Spidey or Moon Knight fans.

If the two ever meet on the big screen, this comic just may get a nice bump in demand and value solely for that. September, 1978 is the cover date for Spectacular Spider-Man #22.

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Whitney Frost is already in the Peggy Carter or Agent Carter show, and since that show takes place in the past, I doubt she'll be showing in the Netflix series. So, they kinda screwed that one up.

I suppose Count Nefaria could still be used, and his first appearance does have the 1st appearance of the Maggia in Avengers #13. The character of Gladiator is already in the Daredevil Netflix series or was and he is or was a member of the Maggia.

When you look at the other characters or former members of the Nefaria Family, there's nothing to really get excited about. Some third or even fourth-tier characters or villains in my opinion.

After the Masked Marauder, Madame Masque took control over the Nefaria Family once again. The leader of the Nefaria Family is always known as the Big M, and so far the two most important leaders have been Count Nefaria and Madame Masque or Whitney Frost.

While the Nefaria Family is one of the most prominent of Maggia families, I'm not exactly sure in what illegal market they operate in besides acts of terrorism or trying to steal Stark's technology. Regardless, besides super-heroes, one of the Maggia's most dangerous of foes is the Kingpin or  Wilson Fisk.

I really don't see a lot of Nefaria Family members showing up in the Netflix series since that show is definitely more street-level. It would make more sense to have some members of the Costa Family show up since that group is definitely connected to the Punisher and Frank Castle.

So Part 2 of this will be jumping ahead right to the Costa Family and some key issues concerning members of that crime group.

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