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Marvel's Bar With No Name Explained

Contains spoilers for "Marvel's MODOK" on Hulu

Hulu's "MODOK" is a genre hybrid that checks a lot of boxes. On one level, it's a sitcom about a self-absorbed father who's trying to redeem his personal and professional lives. But on another level, it's a parody of superhero shows — since that father also happens to be MODOK, a floating cyborg from Marvel Comics, whose name stands for "Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing."

However, while "MODOK" pokes fun at superhero tropes, it does so lovingly. It's clear that co-creator and star Patton Oswalt is a huge Marvel fan. Every episode of "MODOK" is packed full of Easter eggs and in-jokes that come from Marvel history, and the fan community. That level of attention to detail can only come from someone who's as obsessed with comics as Oswalt.

Knowing the history of all these Marvel details isn't necessary to enjoy the show, but it does make the viewing experience richer. Take the bar that MODOK visits in the fourth episode of Season 1. It's a typical dive bar that's named "The Bar with No Name." To a Marvel novice, that might sound like a throwaway joke. But The Bar with No Name has a long and sordid history in the Marvel canon. Here's what's up with the nameless bar, what's happened there, and how the version on "MODOK" is slightly different.

It's where everybody knows your secret identity

The Bar with No Name has appeared in many different corners of the Marvel universe, which we'll get to below. There are actually multiple versions of the bar, or perhaps the bar has multiple locations — it's never really explained. It made its first appearance in "Captain America" #318 in 1986. That version of the bar was located in Medina, Ohio, but since then, it's popped up in New York City. Is it the same bar that somehow magically moves to new cities? Or is it just that supervillains in each city simply pick a bar where they hang out, and the actual name doesn't really matter? It's Marvel, so both are possible!

In the comics, the Bar with No Name serves as the one place in the world where supervillains can gather and unwind without fear of danger ... though in practice, it's rarely been a safe haven. But overall, the Bar with No Name functions as a way to make supervillains seem a little more human. And relatable characters is what Marvel is all about.

That's a little different than the version we see in "MODOK." In the world of "MODOK," there are actually multiple places where supervillains can hang out. When MODOK fails to get into the SoHo Lair, an exclusive club for supervillains, the Bar with No Name is his plan B. For supervillains in the comics, the Bar with No Name is their only option.

Sadly, the Bar with No Name is ... not a great place to unwind

Practically every time The Bar with No Name has appeared in Marvel Comics, something horrible has happened to the customers. In The Bar with No Name's first appearance in "Captain America," for instance, a bunch of supervillains gathered at the Medina location to figure out a plan to deal with the so-called Scourge of the Underworld, a menace who was killing all the bad guys off, one by one. Unfortunately for them, it turned out the bartender was Scourge in disguise, and he massacred them.

The next time the infamous bar showed up was during the "Civil War" crossover series from 2006 to 2007. This time, the supervillain community held a wake for the departed Stilt-Man. The Punisher blew up the bar, killing everyone inside.

The Bar with No Name has been a recurring location in the "Amazing Spider-Man" comics since 2008. Spidey has had multiple run-ins with supervillains that left the Bar with No Name trashed. One time, he confronted a bookie who'd been betting against Spidey in fights. Another time, Spidey and Daredevil helped shut down the Bar for operating without a license. Yet another time, Peter Parker went to the Bar with a friend for trivia night, only for a bunch of villains to show up and trash the place in a brawl. In "Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5 #19.HU," in 2019, Manhattan's high real-estate prices forced the Bar with No Name to move to a tent in Queens, where it was renamed the "Pop-Up with No Name."

So, in the Hulu series, when MODOK arrives at the bar and assembles his supervillain team of D-listers without incident, it's one of the few times in Marvel history when The Bar with No Name remained intact.