Maggia (Marvel)

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The Maggia are a crime family that feature in Marvel Comics.



The Maggia

Many years ago, a young Ernesto Karnelli spearheaded a doomsday initiative for the Maggia to blackmail the city of New York. This involved them commissioning a statue made in his younger likeness with it costing millions of dollars. The statue was actually constructed from an incredibly rare element called Tritium that was unbelievably explosive if exposed to a special charge. It was built in the vicinity of City Hall and the criminal courts to be used as leverage against New York if it ever targeted him. A cover story was later made over the statue stating that it commemorated a lesser known battle in the American Civil War over an area known as Blood Creek though no such conflict took place. Thus, the statue remained undetected for years and became a closely guarded secret with the contractors that built it suffering a loss in its construction. Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds discovered the secret conspiracy and began an investigation into the nature of the Blood Creek statue. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual v1 #42)

After the formation of the Avengers, the superheroes began targeting the Maggia's operations leading to the combined assault from both them and the police meaning that their profits in American was down in the fiscal year. This attracted the attention of Count Nefaria who punished his underling and proceeded with his plot to take down the team of heroes. (Avengers v1 #13)

Count Nefaria later re-established his control in the Maggia where he began adding lieutenants in the form of various supervillains to add to his power base. To increase his strength, he sought to add the X-Men into his ranks as he thought he could convince them to become his enforcers in the Maggia due to mankind's hatred of Mutants. Thus, he dispatched his supervillain henchmen and tasked them with capturing the X-Men so that they could be brought to him. (X-Men v1 #22)

With the Maggia leadership, a bid was made by the Masked Marauder and Gladiator was made to usurp the criminal organisation from its European leaders by defeating Daredevil by creating the android Tri-Man to defeat the vigilante. (Daredevil v1 #22) The Masked Marauder later became the new Big M of the Maggia and headed its executive council when they were approached by the mysterious Carrion. The supervillain offered a proposal whereby he would help them eliminate a thorn in their side in the form of Spider-Man. However, the Masked Marauder was threatened by the villain and attempted to have him killed but failed to account for his superhuman abilities whereupon he escaped. (Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man v1 #25) Whitney Frost later took over the operations of the Maggia where she became its mysterious leader under the identity of the Big M. She sought to empower the organisation and ensure it never experienced a defeat again which she believed was possible claiming the super-weapons of Tony Stark and Stark Industries. (Iron Man v1 #1) As the Big M, she called to collect the gambling debt of Morgan Stark who owed the cartel money as part of her rule as the cartels new leader. He attempted to placate them by bringing them the unconscious Iron Man but the hero recovered and attacked the criminals on their gambling ship which was when Whiplash was dispatched to fight the superhero. (Tales of Suspense v1 #97)

During the activities of the Fantastic Four, the Maggia came to see a great opportunity to improve their operations by pilfering the advanced technology of the superhero team. They decided to buy the Baxter Building and use a legal notice in an effort to remove the superheroes based there so that they could steal the scientific equipment left behind. The Top Man then had his men move into the structure and attack the Fantastic Four claiming that they were simply defending the building from illegal occupants. He gave orders for the Fantastic Four not to be harmed but his lieutenant Gimlet attempted to dispose of the superheroes who freed themselves and defeated the Maggia with the Top Man unmasked as a doorman as he had taken the position as part of his plot to take the Baxter Building. (Fantastic Four v1 #101)

Mr. Fish after his transformation used his new abilities to establish himself as a local Maggia head man in New York where he came into confrontation with Luke Cage. (Power Man v1 #29)

They were responsible for taking over Williams Innovations that became a front and cover for Maggia operations. (Marvel Premiere v1 #55) The crime syndicate had succeeded in completely covering their tracks in preventing anyone from seeing the company's criminal activities allowing them to operate publically during business demonstrations. (Iron Man v1 #145) The Maggia were known to had approach the Pride about opening a new route for heroin distribution. (Iron Man: Legacy v1 #11)

In an effort to restore his reputation, Silvermane started a mob war among the Maggia and those that opposed him as he sought to make himself the supreme crime lord in the city. (Spider-Man: Power of Terror v1 #1)

The entire Karnelli family was said to had come to Midtown as part of a big meeting with the Maggia. Secretly, Bruno Karnelli had formed an alliance with Mister Negative to help install himself as head of the Maggia crime families. However, Bruno was betrayed and was kidnapped where his blood was used alongside the Tablet of Entropy to create a deadly poison that targeted the Maggia bloodlines. Mister Negative then had his Inner Demons release 'the Devil's Breath' which started killing the Maggia during their meet up at the Vandemere Hotel. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #547) Those of the Karnelli and Manfredi bloodlines were killed whilst those that were not related by blood were spared. In the mean time, the Inner Demons targeted a circus where the wives and children of Maggia members were being entertained during the meeting. Spider-Man went to protect them where he helped take the targets to safety with Mister Negative vowing to kill the Wall-Crawler if he interfered again. For his actions, the Maggia were grateful to Spider-Man and offered him one favour along with honorary status as one of their family. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #548)

Over the course of years, the Maggia crime family faced devastating losses among their ranks. After a further attack from Mr. Negative, Mysterio was hired by Carmine Karneli who had Quentin Beck create robotic duplicates of the fallen Maggia heads to provide their organization credibility as they sought to continue the gang war against the Inner Demons. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #618)

The organization later attempted to regroup with all five families gathering their manpower with a big meeting being called at an Italian restaurant named Durante in Boston. However, this proved to be a trick orchestrated by the Controller who used his mind control discs to take over their bodies. The meeting was interrupted by the Avengers with the Controller sending his Maggia henchmen against them and managed to take over some of the superheroes but the villain was defeated. (Avengers v7 #1.MU)


They were noted for being a world-wide criminal cartel. (Avengers v1 #13) Such was their reputation that they were noted for being the world's most deadly syndicate of crime. (Fantastic Four v1 #101) As such, they were said to be the world's greatest crime cartel. (Tales of Suspense v1 #97)

There were a number of Maggia families that included:

  • Silvermane Family :
  • Hammerhead Family :
  • Nefaria Family :
  • Costa Family :
  • Nobili Family :
  • Karnelli Family : (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #547)

The Maggia Supreme Council was noted as being a body consisting of the leaders of the entire criminal organisation. (Fantastic Four v1 #101)

When two Maggia families were on the brink of war, then tradition dictated that there should be the Wedding of the Martyrs. This saw a prince and princess of each family getting together in a sacred union to stave off further conflict. Ancient Maggia tradition led to the pair being bound together by oath and law held at a church. During the ceremony, the two were reminded of their duties to their family and the responsibilities they had towards the Maggia's traditions. The priest then opened a special door where the bride and groom were alone in the room with them expected to fight to the death to settle their family's respective differences. Some Martyrs were successors of multiple such weddings where they managed to survive such trials. Families told their children that being a martyr and killing for the family was a fast-track for rank and position among the Maggia. Others did it as an honor and sign of commitment to the family where they intended to repay them for everything given to the child. (Black Cat Annual v1 #1)

For members of the organisation, banishment from their ranks was considered a terrible fate as they had nowhere else to go if they left the Maggia. (Avengers v1 #13) Those that displeased members of the criminal organisation were known to receive the Maggia Touch whereby a hand was placed on the chin of a person that was a sign that the person was marked for death. (Fantastic Four v1 #101)

It was known that they did business with a criminal banking organisation called Pluto that operated in the underworld. Access to the Pluto-accounts was made with a code-string of numbers that changed every day according to an algorithm. The algorithmic key was based on the dates of the oldest tombs maintained by the Maggia which consisted of the first founders that landed on the shores of America. (Black Cat Annual v1 #1)

They were known to make use of a wide degree of advanced equipment including protective clothing that saved a person from weapon fire, cold emitting refrigeri-beams, noxo-gas and similar such weapons. (Fantastic Four v1 #101)

The Maggia were known to had operated a gambling ship at one point which a secret ship underneath that served as a speedy sea-going hidden headquarters for them. (Tales of Suspense v1 #97) By sailing in international waters, it meant that the occupants of the vessel were not bound by any country's laws. (Tales of Suspense v1 #99) Beneath Long Island, the organisation maintained the Maggia Secret Catacombs that contained some of their treasures. A Dreadnought was noted to serve as a guardian of the tombs that attacked any intruders. (Black Cat Annual v1 #1)


  • Whitney Frost : a brunette haired woman who briefly was the leader of the Maggia under the identity of the Big M. (Iron Man v1 #1)
  • Bruno Karnelli  : adult black haired male who was the heir apparent of the Karnelli family. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #547)
  • Carmine Karnelli : an adult male with a moustache who was not a blood relative but actually adopted by the Karnelli family though this fact was hidden from others with Carmine being a loyal member of the Maggia. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #548)
  • Ernesto Karnelli : black haired male who was the long-hidden leader of the shadow arm of the Maggia undermob. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual v1 #42)
  • Silvermane : an old white haired male who was regarded as the last of the legendary old time leaders of the Maggia who was still powerful in the organisation despite his old age. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #75)
  • Caesar Cicero : a short bearded male who was noted for being a big-time mouthpiece of the Maggia that sought to replace Silvermane as leader. (Amazing Spider-Man v1 #75) the 'Big C' was once of the head of the Maggia and used to own the Excelsior Club. (Defenders v5 #7)
  • Hammerhead :
  • Top Man : a high ranking member that headed one of the families who plotted to take over the Baxter Building to claim its advanced technology which he attempted to do so buying out the building and forcing out the Fantastic Four. (Fantastic Four v1 #101)
  • Gimlet :
  • Big Rock :
  • Man Mountain Marko :
  • Masked Marauder :
  • Jimmy Eyes :


  • The Maggia were created by Stan Lee and Don Heck where they made their first appearance in Avengers v1 #13 (February, 1965).
  • In Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v1 #6 (1983), it was said to had originated in southern Europe where it spread throughout non-Communist Europes and Americas where it sought to rule through crime rather than act as a subversive group. Its existence in the United States first came to the notice to the public in 1890s where it operated illegally during the Prohibition Era. The Maggia were not a monolithic organisation but was a coalition of many virtually independent 'families' that were connected to one another through family or marital ties who enforced a strict code of secrecy among its members that were not above punishing betrayal or failure.
  • They receive an entry in Heroic Age: Villains v1 #1 (2011) where Steve Rogers provides an assessment on their threat potential and Spider-Man along with other costumed heroes could handle the Maggia but that local authorities along with the FBI were best suited in dealing with them.

Alternate Versions

  • In House of M: Masters of Evil v1 #3 (2009), the Maggia were shown to had existed in the alternate reality known as the House of M designated as Earth-58163. They were destroyed by Magneto's Sentinels for plotting against him.

In other media


Maggia henchmen in Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, the Maggia appeared as antagonists who were a rival crime syndicate to the Tong and were led by Count Nefaria. The Mandarin made strikes against their leadership leading to them retaliating by sending Killer Shrike and Unicorn to abduct Gene Khan, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. This was done so to use them as hostages and to send a message to the Tong leader Xin Zhang. They were defeated when seemingly Iron Man arrived leading to the Maggia being arrested. One mistreated member of the Maggia named Arthur Parks stole an experimental vest from Stark International leading to him becoming the Living Laser. The Mandarin later attempted to broker a peace with Count Nefaria but the presence of Pepper Potts disrupted the talks leading to renewed hostilities. When the police arrived, half the Maggia managed to escape but Nefaria and Black Knight were both arrested. When Iron Man seemingly disappeared, Maggia with Killer Shrike and Unicorn were robbing a jewelry store but were stopped by the arrival of War Machine.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Maggia were mentioned in the animated television series in the episode "Everything's Wonderful". A.I.M. were involved in a weapons sale with the Maggia that was interrupted by Wasp and Thor.
  • In Agent Carter, the Maggia appeared in the live-action series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where they appeared in the shows second season. They were operating in the 1940s with their Los Angeles branch being led by Joseph Manfredi who was the former boyfriend of Agnes Culley who went by the stage name of Whitney Frost. Manfredi led the Maggia in supporting his former flame's experiments in the use of Zero Matter.

Video games

  • In Iron Man, the Maggia appeared as antagonists in the video-game tie-in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. They were shown to had been clients of Stark Industries where they purchased weapons from them. When Tony Stark returned, he stopped the production and sale of weapons leading to Maggia soldiers striking at one of his warehouses in order to take the armaments. Iron Man managed to stop them and destroyed the weapon crates to prevent Stark technology from falling into their hands.
  • In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the Maggia appeared as antagonists in the setting of the Facebook video game. A Dossier provided information on them stating that they had influence Europe particularly in Italy and the United States where they were concentrated in the five boroughs of New York City. They consisted of a number of prominent 'Families' that historically were the Karnellis, the Manfredis, and the Nefarias.
  • In Marvel Heroes, the Maggia were mentioned as a crime syndicate controlling Hell's Kitchen that were controlled by various families until the Kingpin took over the organization.


  • Avengers:
  • Fantastic Four v1:
  • Tales of Suspense v1:
  • Iron Man v1:
  • Marvel Premiere:
  • Amazing Spider-Man v1:
  • Spider-Man: Power of Terror v1:
  • Black Cat Annual v1:

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