Questions about Flashbacks

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DonCampbell
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Questions about Flashbacks

Post by DonCampbell » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:45 am

The Marvel Chronology Project defines a flashback as "a scene which takes place out of chronological order, within the confines of a particular story." For the most part, flashbacks involve characters remembering/recounting something that had happened to them previously, and they only count if they contain new information. However, I'm not certain if scenes that are presented out of order but not as part of someone's recollection are considered flashbacks.

For example, let's say that HERO COMICS #3 is part of a 5-issue LS. Page 1 is a title/recap page, pages 2-6 reveal how the villain escaped from the authorities before the LS began, and pages 7-22 are set in the present. In this situation, would pages 2-6 be considered a flashback? If not, then what would it be?

Let's change things a bit. Suppose that while pages 7-12 and 19-22 are set in the present, pages 13-18 make up a second scene that is set in the past but after pages 2-6. Since pages 13-18 are set before pages 7-12 but appear after them within the issue, is this considered a flashback? Or maybe I'm confusing "story" with "issue" and making a problem where there isn't one?

Finally, on a slightly different topic, sometimes stories contain flashforwards, in the form of either visions by psychics or glimpses of the future provided by time machines. If these visions turn out to be accurate and they are later depicted in another story, which has story would be listed? Would it be the flashforward vision or the "actual events" story?

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Russ Chappell
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Re: Questions about Flashbacks

Post by Russ Chappell » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:37 pm

DonCampbell wrote:For example, let's say that HERO COMICS #3 is part of a 5-issue LS. Page 1 is a title/recap page, pages 2-6 reveal how the villain escaped from the authorities before the LS began, and pages 7-22 are set in the present. In this situation, would pages 2-6 be considered a flashback? If not, then what would it be?
First of all, title/recap pages aren't counted as pages, unless they include new scenes, so to be technical, you're asking about pages 1-5, in relation to pages 6-21, in your first question.

The current trend is to treat this as a flashback.
Let's change things a bit. Suppose that while pages 7-12 and 19-22 are set in the present, pages 13-18 make up a second scene that is set in the past but after pages 2-6. Since pages 13-18 are set before pages 7-12 but appear after them within the issue, is this considered a flashback? Or maybe I'm confusing "story" with "issue" and making a problem where there isn't one?
I don't see anything in your question that brings a "second story" into the equation. Let's assume that everything is one story, and a particular character, say, Charlie the Tuna, appears in every scene. As I understand your scenario, the flow reads like this:
pg. 2-6
pg. 13-18
pg. 7-12
pg. 19-22

His chronology would read:
XYZ 125 (2 - 6)-FB
XYZ 125 (13 - 18)-FB
XYZ 125

Finally, on a slightly different topic, sometimes stories contain flashforwards, in the form of either visions by psychics or glimpses of the future provided by time machines. If these visions turn out to be accurate and they are later depicted in another story, which has story would be listed? Would it be the flashforward vision or the "actual events" story?
Normally, the "future glimpse" would take precedence over the "actual event" appearance. But be aware that we don't recognize "flash forwards." They would simply be treated the same as a time travel appearance. The "future glimpse" appearance is placed in a character's chronology, relative to other appearances, from that character's perspective. And your distinction that the vision is accurate is a crucial one. We ignore inaccurate visions. Furthermore, we assume that prophetic visions are inaccurate, until they're proven otherwise.

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