Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Discuss chronologies for characters in the main "Marvel Universe"

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zilch
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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by zilch » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:33 pm

Yah.... try and do some JSA chronologies sometimes... real time until the Silver age, then sliding timescale... plays havoc with working with the kids.

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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by Leoparis » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:51 pm

In a decade, it will be possible to tie Magneto's origin to the Yugoslavian wars.

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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by RLG » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:56 pm

What really chafes me is when Marvel promotes a comic book as being "a very special" issue like the one where Spider-Man meets President Obama. By their own admission, in a very short few years, Spider-Man won't be meeting the first African-American president but will just be meeting the "president du jour." They might as well say, "Please buy this very special issue before it becomes 'not so special' anymore!" I love how the House of Ideas, whose success against the Distinguished Competition was due to the fact they wrote about 'real' people with 'real' problems has devolved into a company that is scared or incapable of having their characters age. Personally, all of their talk about being respectful stewards of their characters rings hollow to me.

I ask you - what is more implausible? A Marvel timeline (ala Paul B's calendar or George O's work) where 25 years or so have passed since FF 1 and Peter Parker is now forty-something? Or this never-ending 'jumping thru hoops' of "bumping up" which wars characters fought in, continually revising POTUS identities, etc.?

Aside from Marvel (who adopted it for the purpose of gaining new, younger readers (i.e. to make money)), is there anyone out there who really thinks the Sliding Timescale is a good idea?

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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by Chris McCarver » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:33 pm

It's pretty much the only way Marvel can maintain a running narrative without a lot of their characters being in their 60s to 80s by now (which in itself would be interesting, as we'd have new generations of characters take up the reins of heroism as older characters aged, died, and/or retired), having to resort to universe-wide reboots every few years, or just handwaving their slow or nonexistent aging over the years. You can't realistically have a character refer to something that happened 35 years ago if the character's forever 30.
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Leoparis
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Post by Leoparis » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:47 am

Of course it's a good idea.
The two other possibilities are
1) characters age in real time. They would all be beyond retirement age by now.
2) Their adventures take place in their original era. Few readers would want to read superheroes in the 70s (I would but that's the era of my youth). Superheroes aren't historical fiction but fantasy.

But also it isn't an idea created by Marvel. Nearly all popular fiction characters don't age: The Phantom, Tarzan. And the trend has been to maintain those characters in the present as long as possible. In the 1930s new Sherlock Holmes stories took place in the then-current era. It's only in the latter part of the twentieth century that it became increasingly difficult to fit Tarzan into contemporary times (Africa wasn't the unexplored continent anymore). t one point writers return those characters to their original era. We have seen in recent years how Sherlock Holmes could be adapted to fit with modern times (especially with Watson as an Afghanistan veteran).

And I really don't see why and how one could chafe about Spider-Man meeting Obama being very special. It's not like the comic book itself is going to morph in 10 years and feature another president. You seem to confuse the intradiegetic aspect (character's internal history) with the extradiegetic one (historical context in which the stories are written). Do you chafe at Superman boxing with Muhammad Ali and DC making a big deal about it?

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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by djmomo17 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:09 am

I hate the sliding timescale. In my mind it doesn't exist. When I read a comic from the 70s I see stories about Vietnam, Ford and Nixon, these characters sometimes affect plotlines based on their specific personalities, so it's not so easy to just cut and paste a prez from 10 years ago today. Henry Kissinger arranged the non-aggression pact between the US and Latveria back in SVTU 7, that's way better than if the Bush administration did the same.

Why not just make it a standing premise that beings in Earth 616 age at a different rate than in the real world? If you can have every 10th person be a mutant (seemingly) why not have a slow-aging premise? Besides, I don't age in my own mind (at least when reading comics :) ) so why should it matter in the MU?
Uatu's List: An Unofficial Timeline Chronology of the Marvel Universe - Current Year: 1980 - Through A Glass Darkly
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Re:

Post by djmomo17 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:14 am

Leoparis wrote: 1) characters age in real time. They would all be beyond retirement age by now.
2) Their adventures take place in their original era. Few readers would want to read superheroes in the 70s (I would but that's the era of my youth). Superheroes aren't historical fiction but fantasy.
These would both make excellent miniseries! Or at least a short run, like 1602.
You could also have the Sentry be in his own timeframe and not "retconned out" or whatever, I can't remember what actually happened there..
Uatu's List: An Unofficial Timeline Chronology of the Marvel Universe - Current Year: 1980 - Through A Glass Darkly
http://uatuslist.blogspot.com/

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Re: Re:

Post by Chris McCarver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:40 am

djmomo17 wrote:
Leoparis wrote: 1) characters age in real time. They would all be beyond retirement age by now.
2) Their adventures take place in their original era. Few readers would want to read superheroes in the 70s (I would but that's the era of my youth). Superheroes aren't historical fiction but fantasy.
These would both make excellent miniseries! Or at least a short run, like 1602.
You could also have the Sentry be in his own timeframe and not "retconned out" or whatever, I can't remember what actually happened there..
Actually, the characters-aging-in-real-time idea did get tried by Marvel. Chris Claremont wrote a couple minis under the title GeNext, which shows a group of Xavier's students who are all children or grandchildren of current Marvel characters. And the MC2 imprint sort of followed that idea as well, since Tom DeFalco basically set his continuity break back in the mid-90s and had the characters age more or less in real time since.
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Re: Recent article about the Sliding Timescale

Post by Paul Bourcier » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:11 pm

I take the approach that current stories are set in the 1970s (or 1980s) of Earth-616, which looks a lot like the 2013 of our reality. Perhaps presidents' administrations take less time in 616 than in our reality (and there are lots more Christmases in 616, too). Or maybe we just have to gloss over those temporal references. :(

The most recent issue of Captain America establishes that the twelve years Cap spent in Dimension Z in the current story arc is longer than the time that elapsed between Avengers #4 and now. This is a good example of a timescale that not only slides but collapses!
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