Worlds Collide, Brands Collab: Marvel is coming to Magic: The Gathering

 Marvel collaboration with Magic: The Gathering trailer still - a kid with a Captain America shield.
Marvel collaboration with Magic: The Gathering trailer still - a kid with a Captain America shield.

The endless parade of incongruous Magic crossovers continued today with news that Marvel, the purveyor of movies, television shows, comics, videogames, and other popular media that you simply cannot get away from, is coming to Magic: The Gathering.

Comic book superheroes may not seem like a natural fit for a fantasy-based card game, but it's really more about mass marketing than narrative cohesion: Hasbro, parent company of Magic publisher Wizards of the Coast, said its collaboration with Marvel will see the creation of "collectible products and tentpole sets" of cards for Magic: The Gathering. It's done similar crossovers with Fortnite, Stranger Things, Street Fighter, Warhammer 40K, The Lord of the Rings, and other multimedia giants.

"We are extremely proud to collaborate with Marvel to bring its iconic characters to fans around the world in new ways," Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Gaming president Cynthia Williams said. "These tentpole sets will build on the tradition of incorporating beloved fan-favorite characters and elements from world-class brands into Magic: The Gathering."

Marvel, too, "can’t wait for fans to see how the Marvel Universe translates seamlessly into gameplay within these Magic: The Gathering products and sets," Dan Buckley, president of Marvel comics and franchise, said, noting that "trading cards have always been a part of Marvel's DNA."

That of course is silly marketspeak, but fair as far as it goes: Marvel has published numerous trading card series over the years, going all the way back to the mid-'60s, although it didn't really go whole-hog until the 1990s, with the Marvel Universe cards.

The deal with Marvel isn't the only licensed crossover that might make you ask yourself, "Why are they doing this?" Last week, Wizards of the Coast revealed four Fallout-themed Commander decks coming to the game next year. The Marvel cards are considerably further off: The first set, featuring "fan-favorite characters and epic stories," will roll out in 2025. A Final Fantasy crossover is set to happen that same year.