Marvel Comics is a well documented “universe”. Every issue has cause and effect that will effect other issue’s in that run and possibly other titles as well. It’s almost like it’s a living breathing thing. How does Marvel Universe “time” relate to our “time”?
Well, it’s a complicated monster but I will do my best to explain it to you.
Marvel Time begins at Fantastic Four Volume #1 Issue #1 (1961)
Every issue was about a month of time respectively.
Then they slowed time down and a couple different methods of compression were used to keep track of time and it seemed that everyone had their own idea about the time game. Then they got into a bunch of sliding time-scales and mega contradiction’s that would make a flux-capaciter blow a 1.21 gigawatt fuse. I could go into depth on all of that but I don’t think you want that. Why? because it even confuses me. The simple fact is that 13 years has passed in the Marvel Universe since 1961. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Marvel Time is something as readers we shouldn’t take too seriously. But, it can be an issue if you think about it. It should be resolved in some way. I had always dreamed that at Marvel in the “House of Idea’s” they had this Huge Board on the Wall. This huge board contained all the major points of intersection in the Marvel Universe. Almost like a huge Time-line. Axel Alonso, you writing’ this down? Like Spider-Man would have all point’s relevent to him and how they crossed in other character’s timeline’s. Of course everyone couldn’t be on there but at least the major character’s could have been. Anyway, that’s a thought that was trapped in my mind and it begged to be let out. Let’s continue…
Currently when Marvel Comics releases an issue it is set in the time of Now. A book released today is today in the Marvel Universe. The real difference is that 4 of our years is equal to 1 of theirs.
2008 – Fidel Castro Resigns, Hurricane Hanna hit’s Haiti & US, followed by Hurricane Ike, Barack Obama is elected President, Brad Renfro, Heath Ledger, Charlton Heston, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, Paul Newman, Bettie Page all died.
2009 – Swine Flu, Michael Jackson dies, along with Dom DeLuise, David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Brittany Murphy, and that was about it for 2009. Slow year.
2010 – Winter Olympics, Tsunami Hits Indonesia, Teddy Pendergrass, Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, Leslie Nielsen pass away. Even slower year than 2009.
2011 – So far we’ve had a Tsunami Hit Japan, Osama Bin Laden killed, Nate Dogg, Elizabeth Taylor, Amy Winehouse all have passed away. With still 4 months to go.
2008-2011 – Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Messiah War, War of Kings, Captain America: Reborn, Utopia, Nation X, Necrosha, Realm of Kings, Siege, Fall of the Hulks, Doomwar, Second Coming, The Gauntlet, Grim Hunt, Heroic Age, The Thanos Imperative, World War Hulks, Curse of the Mutants, Shadowland, Chaos War, Death of Johnny Storm, Age of X, Onslaught Unleashed, Fear Itself, Spider-Island, and Finally Schism.
All of the stuff that happened in our 4 years also happened in 1 Marvel Universe Year on top of their own special events as well. It makes for a pretty intense year. No wonder we call them “super heroes”. When I’ve had a rough day, I think to myself “It’s ok, tomorrow will be a better day.” But for them? Tomorrow’s not gonna get any better because tomorrow is filled with 4 days of extra curricular activities from our time. You can even go further with that and say that 5 of our hours is equal to 1 of thiers. If my math is correct. Now that I think about it… it’s not that bad when you break it down to decimals. (note: the decimals were on the piece of paper I was doin’ the figg-ur-in.)
They had to slow time down to keep the characters from aging drastically. Makes sense. I mean, I don’t know how old Ms. Marvel was when she first stepped on the scene but, I can guess that she was in her 20’s. I couldn’t imagine her being close to 80 years old now. That just doesn’t make for good stories. …although. … No, nevermind.
On the other end of that spectrum you do want some time to pass. We can’t have Steve Rogers running around as Captain America for 3 or 4 generations. It just wouldn’t make sense. Let’s do the math. Let’s see, so our retirement age is 65. He was probably 18 when he enlisted, then frozen probably around the age of 20 something and came back around the early 1960’s so, he should be about 30 something now in Marvel Time. In about 150 years of our time he should be close to that retirement age and then he could retire from the job in general. That seems fair. Oh and I didn’t want to mention his death and resurrection due to reader’s head’s falling off. (And we got reader’s “with their head’s falling off!!”)
Of course this wouldn’t apply to those character’s that have the gift of youth. (Wolverine, Nick Fury etc.)
All that I’m trying to point out is that if you are having problems with the time contradiction. Try to rationalize it with my theory. It will make you feel better about the whole thing and then you can get back to the real reason for reading. The Story! By the way, I wrote this 2 days ago but saved it once yesterday and it took me 2 total hours to write while thinking that it would only take 1. My brain oozed out of my ear for 15 minutes and then I had to resume only to find that 3 days had passed. Does your head hurt yet?
*special sidenote* I am not including Timely comics history due to them not keeping with a continuous universe format. Even though they did have character’s like Captain America, Sub-Mariner, The original Human Torch they were not Marvel Yet.
- Marvel Universe Restock at Wal-Mart (battlegrip.com)
- Marvel Comic-inspired minimalist art (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Marvel Universe reveals a mouthy merc (massively.joystiq.com)
- What Happened to Ultimate Marvel? (comicscrazed.wordpress.com)