Your "Oh, Crap! I'm Old!" Moment For The Day

By | Sunday, February 19, 2012 3 comments
I referenced last month the notion of Marvel using a sliding ten year timescale. It's the notion that all of the continuity stories that occurred in Marvel's comics since Fantastic Four #1 have taken place in a ten year timeframe, and will always take place in a ten year timeframe, regardless of how much time has passed in real life. It's basically a way to keep the characters frozen in time, so they don't age themselves out of being viable characters.

Now maybe this hit everyone else a few months ago and I just wasn't paying attention, but it hit me tonight that that means that the FF's first rocket flight, the death of Uncle Ben, the formation of the Avengers, the Galactus Trilogy, the Kree-Skrull War... all the great stories from the early days of Marvel? They now all happen after September 11, 2001.

Johnny Storm and Peter Parker were still in high school when the World Trade Center collapsed. The Power Pack kids have no memory of taking commercial flights that didn't involve removing their shows and receiving full body scans. Captain America was thawed out of a block of ice in a post-9/11 America. All depictions of the WTC in the comics are now chalked up to "artistic license." This issue...
... can't have happened.

Marvel has a long history of referencing real events in their stories, and it makes sense to do that. Most of the events they reference, though, were either well into history by the time I learned about them or were superficial and largely irrelevant. Broad references like "dirty Commies" would transfer to other countries easily enough. I have no memory of Vietnam, nor did I read those issues when Flash Thompson served until decades after the fact. The changing face of the President is fairly inconsequential in the comics; it's just a means to show "hey, this must be big; the President is involved!" And, of course, fashion trends change so quickly and tended to be out of date by the time an issue hit the stands anyway.

9/11 is the first significant event in my recollection had an impact on the comic stories I read as I was reading them. And while I'm not reading Marvel comics these days, it's a curious notion to try to put every story I've ever read from them in the context of a post-9/11 mindset.

Guess I need to add some grey hairs to that drawing of me that I use all over the web.
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Matt K said...

That is pretty wack.

Though the fact that ASM #36 "can't have happened?" From what I recall, it may be best that way.

Chris K said...

Don't ask me to give a citation for this, but I'm fairly sure that in recent years Marvel has quietly upped that 10-year timeframe to 15.

I think that a number of books have done skip-aheads of "X number of months / years later" to break in new directions or creative teams (I know Morrison's X-Men did; I think Bendis' New Avengers did), and I think that a lot of Marvel's constant event-to-event has depended on some amount of time passing, and it had become too much to squeeze into an already crowded 10 years.

I'm almost certain I've read of an official extension of the time frame, but I can't recall where. (So don't take my word for it...)

Mitchell Craig said...

The events of the Marvel Universe taking place in a post-9/11/2001 world would give it a whole new significance.