The different Maggia families.
Attribution unknown, artist Jack Kirby
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Avengers #13 (February 1965)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Don Heck (artist)
In-story information
Type of organizationOrganized crime
Agent(s)Full list

Maggia is a fictional international crime syndicate appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The organization exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as Earth-616, as well as other Marvel universes. Its structure is somewhat similar to the real-world New York Mafia (which is itself rarely mentioned in Marvel publications), but the Maggia differs in that it frequently hires supervillains and mad scientists to work for them.[1] Some of the prominent Maggia members are supervillains themselves, such as Hammerhead, Silvermane, Count Nefaria and his daughter Madame Masque. The Maggia has come into conflict with various superheroes, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers.

Comic creator Scott Shaw believes that the Maggia were created to avoid offending the real-life Mafia, as some comic book distributors had Mafia ties in the 1960s.[2] Since their debut in comics, the Maggia have been adapted into several forms of media, including television series and video games.

The Maggia appeared in the second season of the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Agent Carter, with the Los Angeles branch led by Joseph Manfredi portrayed by Ken Marino.

Publication history

The Maggia first appeared in The Avengers #13 (February 1965) and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck.[3]

Fictional organization history

The Maggia is an international crime syndicate that is the world's most powerful organization dedicated to conventional crime (as opposed to subversive activities). Originating in southern Europe, the Maggia spread throughout non-Communist Europe and the Americas. Its presence in the United States first came to public attention in the 1890s, and the Maggia's widespread bootlegging of illegal liquor during the Prohibition Era has become legendary. Today the Maggia controls most of the illegal gambling, loan-sharking, and narcotics trade in the United States, as well as many legal gambling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada. It also has great influence within various labor unions, and controls politicians on every level of government. Especially in recent years, the Maggia has invested many of its illegal gains into legitimate businesses. However, the Maggia enforces a strict code of secrecy among its members, and does not hesitate to punish betrayals and failures with death. The Maggia is not a monolithic organization but is instead a coalition of many virtually independent groups known as "families." The leading members of each family are usually connected through familial or marital ties. The Maggia also has affiliations with other criminal groups such as the Morgan organization in New York City's Harlem.

With Bruno Karnelli's terrible leadership, the loss of Silvermane, Count Nefaria pursuing his own agenda, and Hammerhead siding with Mister Negative, the Maggia is thrown into chaos until Mysterio appears and uses robot duplicates of the dead Maggia members.[4][5] When the Hawkeyes Kate Bishop and Clint Barton attempted to make a difference in the lives of everyday people by fighting organized crime, several New York crime families, including the Maggia, struck back against them.[6]

During the "Infinity" storyline, it was revealed that the Nobili Family are members of the Maggia where some of its members turned out to be descendants of some Inhumans.[7]

During the "Gang War" storyline, Count Nefaria visits Hammerhead's group after hearing about what happened to Madame Masque. While mentioning that he'll take the blame for what happened to her daughter, Count Nefaria tells Hammerhead that the other crime lords will bow to the Maggia once again.[8] As Count Nefaria talks with Silvermane about the upcoming gang war, a mysterious person crashes their meeting by taking control of Silvermane's body by having it attack Count Nefaria and remove Silvermane's head from it.[9] The Maggia are shown on the map of New York City to be assisting Hammerhead in running Astoria.[10] Having defeated Hammerhead and revealed to still be alive, Madame Masque dares Hammerhead to call all of his men. When they show up, they find Madame Masque and Shotgun with a defeated Count Nefaria and Silvermane's head in his arms. They are left swearing an oath to her as Silvermane's head declares her the new leader of the Maggia.[11] Madame Masque, Shotgun, and Silvermane's head learn about different statuses like Mister Negative's fight with Mister Negative, the Maggia acquiring Crime Master's territory upon Spider-Man and his allies defeating him and Ringmaster, and the Sinister Syndicate fighting Rose. In addition, Madame Masque is told by Shotgun that Kingpin is back in town and Janice Lincoln has an army. Madame Masque states that her family will be fighting Kingpin's family soon as she tells her father that she has a use for him.[12] Madame Masque later recruited the A.I.M. Agents that avoided capture when Crime Master was defeated to her side. Thanks to her mastery over technology and magic, it is revealed that Madame Masque is using a spell to control Shotgun. After a parley with Janice Lincoln, Madame Masque uses the same control spell on Count Nefaria and Silvermane the next day when the Maggia confronts the Sinister Syndicate (who now have Digger since Rose was taken away by Wilson Fisk's men) and their allies in Central Park as she gets special gauntlets from Rabble.[13] Madame Masque, Count Nefaria, Silvermane, Shotgun, and the A.I.M. Agents on Madame Masque side face off against Janice Lincoln, the Sinister Syndicate, and those who are on Janice's side. Digger was able to tackle Count Nefaria and Silvermane. Using her special gauntlets, Madame Masque takes down Beetle and Digger. When Spider-Man and his allies show up, Spider-Woman and Elektra's Daredevil appearance make their way towards Count Nefaria and Silvermane. After knocking out a mind-controlled Owl, Spider-Man takes on Madame Masque.[14] After Tombstone had those on Janice's side fall back, Mayor Luke Cage, Mary Jane Watson's Jackpot appearance, and Spider-Boy arrive to help fight the Maggia. A liberated Shotgun shoots the mind-control sigils off of Count Nefaria and Silvermane leaving them to be subdued by Jackpot and She-Hulk. Mayor Cage and She-Hulk fight Silvermane while Elektra, Jackpot, and Spider-Woman fight Count Nefaria leading to both their defeats. Madame Masque is defeated when Spider-Man webs up her final gauntlet enough to explode. The defeat of the Maggia enabled Tombstone to take over the New York underworld.[15]

Known Maggia families

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Several "families" are based in the New York City area. Three of these families have come to pre-eminence:

The Silvermane Family

Its leader is Silvio "Silvermane" Manfredi,[16] one of the last of the legendary gangsters who came to notoriety during the 1920s and 1930s. This group conducts its activities along traditional Maggia lines, and is heavily involved with the narcotics trade. Silvermane uses unusual scientific means only for the personal goal of staving off his own death, and not for the family's activities. Although Silvermane has a son, Joseph, also known as Blackwing, his successor as family head will probably be his longtime rival, top Maggia lawyer Caesar "Big C" Cicero. Silvermane initially retained control of his organization after being turned into a cyborg, but most recently his failing health, in both human and cyborg bodies, have left him a figurehead leader at best.

The following characters have been members of the Maggia's Silvermane family:

The Hammerhead Family

Dominated by middle-aged Maggia traditionalists, this family first became notorious under unusual circumstances. Perhaps in imitation of the Nefaria family, its leader known as the "Top Man" outfitted his family hit men with costumes and advanced weaponry. He then gained ownership of the Baxter Building through questionable means, thinking that doing so would somehow give him legal title to the technology of the building's famed occupants, the Fantastic Four. The Fantastic Four defeated and captured the "Top Man", his claims to owning the Baxter Building were dismissed by the courts, and the "Top Man" was reportedly assassinated by order of his own family. The family then sought a new leader who would direct operations along thoroughly traditional lines and chose a newcomer known only as Hammerhead, an amnesia victim whose new ruthless persona had been shaped by his love for gangster films. Hammerhead uses methods from the Prohibition era, including gang wars, although he will use advanced technology for personal ends, such as the exoskeleton that magnifies his strength. In light of Hammerhead's recent loyalty shift to Mister Negative, the status of his Maggia family remains undetermined. They very normally ally with Tombstone and Chameleon.

The following characters have been members of the Maggia's Hammerhead family:

The Nefaria Family

This group bears little resemblance to the rest of the Maggia. The Italian nobleman Count Luchino Nefaria, a scientific genius, was the world's most powerful Maggia leader until his initial defeat by the Avengers. Afterwards, he moved his base of operations to the New York City area, and then imprisoned Washington, D.C. within an impenetrable force-dome and held it for ransom. After his defeat and capture, his daughter Giulietta, also known as Whitney Frost, succeeded him as family head and led an unsuccessful attempt to capture the advanced weaponry of Tony Stark. She was eventually succeeded by a costumed criminal, the Masked Marauder, who demanded complete control of New York City or else he would detonate a nuclear device there. After his capture, the family again apparently came under control of Whitney Frost, by then known as Madame Masque.[22] Contrary to standard Maggia practice, the Nefaria family, principally consisting of men under 40, has employed futuristic weaponry and even robots (like the Dreadnoughts),[23] as well as costumed super-powered agents (Unicorn, Whiplash, Gladiator, etc.),[24] and has launched open attacks on society. Its leader is always known as "Big M". With both Count Nefaria and Madame Masque now pursuing separate agendas, it is not known who, if anyone, currently heads the Nefaria Family.

The following characters have been members of the Maggia's Nefaria family:

The Costa Family

The Costa Family is associated with the Maggia and was responsible for the death of Frank Castle's family, which led to Castle becoming the Punisher. At one point, they used William "Billy the Beaut" Russo (a.k.a. Jigsaw) as an enforcer and hitman.[28]

The following members are seen in the Costa Family:

The Nobili Family

The Nobili Family is a struggling Maggia family. It turns out that some of the members of the Nobili Family are descendants of some Inhumans.

The following members are seen in the Nobili Family.

The Fortunato Family

The Fortunato Family are strong opposers of Wilson Fisk who came in conflict with Spider-Man.

The following members are seen in the Fortunato Family.

Other Maggia members

The following members do not fall under the category of the other five Maggia families:

Competitors and allies

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Various criminals have attempted to unify the American East Coast's independent criminal groups so as to compete with the Maggia's domination of organized crime. Other lesser criminal organizations may in fact cooperate and work for the Maggia, pay street taxes, or manage to operate under the radar of the Maggia.

The most successful competitor of the Maggia has been the Kingpin, who, at his peak, was more powerful than all of the Maggia families combined.

As noted above, the principal leaders of all three major Maggia families are, to one extent or another, no longer in ideal leadership positions. With the Kingpin presently exiled from the U.S. in the wake of Daredevil story arcs, the potential for a power vacuum is huge, and the stage is set for a gang war between any and all challengers.

The Spider-Man villain called Mister Negative plotted to target the Maggia Families, perhaps hoping to take the Kingpin's place. The supervillain Hood has also formed a supervillain crime syndicate which enlists various costumed criminals in an attempt to gain control of the underworld.

Other lesser crime bosses include the Slug (a Miami-based drug kingpin) and the Owl. Whether they are connected to the Maggia or manage to operate separately is unknown. Don Fortunato once managed to gain control of much of New York City's underworld in the absence of the Kingpin. Although Fortunato seems to run a traditional Mafioso organized crime group, he is actually connected to the Maggia and the terrorist organization known as HYDRA. The original Mr. Fish was mentioned to have planned to start a Maggia branch in his area.

Although the Maggia organization is, for the most part, analogous in the Marvel Universe to the real-life Italian and Italian-American Mafia or La Cosa Nostra, there exist in the Marvel Universe other Italian crime families that resemble more closely the real Mafia or La Cosa Nostra. Some of these families and organizations have been referred to as "the Mafia" in recent comics, but it is unknown whether or not these families ultimately operate under Marvel's Maggia organization or are a part of a separate, more realistic La Cosa Nostra organization in the Marvel Universe. These more realistic Italian Mafia organizations are often featured in Punisher comics. As most of these organizations operate on a crew-based street level and specialize in traditional organized crime rather than superpowered organized crime, it is possible they are not connected to the more powerful Maggia. Examples of these organizations include:

Other versions

House of M

In the House of M reality, the Maggia is a criminal organization that was led by Count Nefaria. The Maggia were annihilated by Magneto's Sentinels for plotting against him.[29]

In other media



The Maggia appear in the Spider-Man: Far From Home prequel short film Peter's To-Do List.[32][33][better source needed]

Video games


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