When you think of opportunities for cosplay, it’s natural for your mind to jump first to convention events. These effectively represent the bulk of cosplay culture. If you have a circle of friends devoted to fandom though, it can also be fun to set up your own cosplay events. And one enjoyable option you may not have considered –– but which is surprisingly relevant to some comics fans in particular –– is a home poker night.
To give a brief introduction, poker is one of the most beloved games in the world. Although the exact origins of the game are debatable, its closest predecessor was probably the European game Poque from the 17th century. It then spread across the oceans in the midst of exploration and trade efforts. Over time, the game branched out into different varieties and gained appeal among new demographics, ultimately becoming a part of western culture.
Today, we know poker as one of the world’s most beloved gaming pastimes –– appealing to the masses for a number of reasons. The rules of poker are easy to pick up, even for beginners, which helps attract new players to the scene. There are also lots of ways to play the game, from live rooms to apps and online games. And of course, poker has also become a constant in pop culture, both through televised tournaments in the real world and through periodic casino films. Amidst all of this, it should perhaps not be surprising that poker has also been embraced by Marvel Comics –– even if a lot of fans may not remember or realize it.
Specifically, we’re referring to The Thing’s “Floating Super-Hero Poker Game.” This is basically an ongoing series of poker games that was first held between members of the Fantastic Four, but over time (and comics) has expanded to include numerous other characters from the Marvel universe.
To give you a better idea of the scope of the “floating” game, here are some of the notable poker nights attended by our favourite superheroes.
Avengers Mansion hosted the first recorded poker game in graphic novel history, in the 1979 issue Marvel Two-in-One #51 –– though it is heavily implied that the characters have played before. Indeed, the indication is that The Thing regularly hosts poker games. This is made clear when he’s surprised that a woman, Ms. Marvel, joins in for this particular game night.
The seven-card stud poker night was held at the Avengers Mansion and included the Beast, Wonder Man, Nick Fury, District Attorney Blake Tower, and the resident butler Edwin Jarvis. However, the fun was cut short when Fury was called to prevent Jacob Pollock from stealing Yellow Claw’s Sky Dragon from the SHIELD facility.
Since the mutant couple Scarlet Witch and Vision planned a date night at the Avengers Mansion, the next game was moved to The Fantastic Four’s headquarters, the Baxter Building. This time around, the players included the Thing, Iron Man, Captain America, the Beast, Hawkeye, the Wasp, and Jarvis. However, just when The Thing realized that he had the best hand of the evening, a conflict arose between Annihilus and Blastaar, and the heroes needed to go and save the night.
To celebrate the anniversary of the Avengers’ formation, a poker game was played by the Beast, Hawkeye, Giant-Man, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and his wife Crystal. But in typical superhero game fashion, it was interrupted when warriors claiming to be sent by the time-travelling warlord Kang attacked them. Later on, it was revealed that this attack was a part of the plan of Kang’s future self, Immortus.
The Thing also hosted a massive poker event to celebrate his “Bar Mitzvah,” and his 13th year of being a mutant. This was attended by The Fantastic Four; the former and current Avengers, including Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Falcon, and Yellowjacket; and X-Men alumni like Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Marvel Girl, and the Beast.
Unknowingly, some of the heroes in attendance were actually Skrulls just waiting to invade the superhero community, setting up the events for Secret Invasion. This event also marks the last time these heroes got together before Civil War, where Captain America was killed (though he wasn’t in the film version) –– making it perhaps the most noteworthy of the floating poker game events.
Poker Night Cosplay
Add up all of those floating poker game instances and you get a pretty broad spectrum of Marvel characters! That’s not to say you need to limit yourself to these characters if you’re hosting a poker night anyway. But the inspiration is there for you to host your very own edition of The Thing’s Floating Super-Hero Poker Game.
If you have a big circle of friends who enjoy Marvel cosplay, or you’re attached to a big community of cosplayers, this kind of themed game night makes for one more great excuse to go all out with your fandom.
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Happy Canadian, as well as a hardcore video game addict. Spends all day and night trying to come up with new ideas for Share My Cosplay. Need help with something feel free to contact me.