Range of Influence of Marvel Time

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Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by DonCampbell » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:22 pm

We all accept that life on Marvel-Earth is subject to a phenomena known as "Marvel Time" which causes time to pass for its inhabitants at a rate that is (generally) somewhere between one-fourth to one-third as fast as time passes in our "real" world. As a recent issue of the Official Index to the Marvel Universe stated, "Most events in Marvel comics are subject to the sliding timescale - for those in the Marvel universe it has been less than 15 years since FF #1, '61." And there are any number of examples in which a character in a newly-published story states that an event depicted in a comic published "X" years ago actually occurred "Y" years ago (where the value of Y is much less than that of X). However, all the examples that I can think of are set on Earth. Off-hand, I cannot recall any story set in outer space in which Marvel Time is so evidenced.

This leads me to wonder if perhaps some writers are under the impression that Marvel Time only affects Marvel-Earth itself and not the rest of the universe in which Earth-616 exists (let's call in Reality-616). Is there any basis for my speculation? Does anyone happen to recall a storyline in which a "cosmic event" was described as occuring more recently than its publication date? For example, the FF's first contact with the Skrulls in issue #2 would, according the the OIttMU, have taken place close-to-but-less-than-fifteen years ago since it took place soon after their public debut in FF #1. For the Skrulls, how long ago was that encounter? Was it the (Skrull equivalent to) nearly-15 years? Or close to the almost-50 years that was when the story was published?

And what about other cosmic events? The Kree-Skrull War storyline from Avengers #92-97, the death of Captain Marvel from Marvel Graphic Novel #1, Secrets Wars, Secret Wars II, Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade, Annihilation - are all of these events subject to Marvel Time or not? You'd think that they are, that Marvel Time is a universe-wide phenomena, but I'm just not sure if it has ever been established in-story that it is. And there have certainly been stories in which the writers have, knowingly or otherwise, really not taken Marvel Time into account. And then, of course, there's Bendis.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by Somebody » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:46 pm

Human characters such as Quasar & Professor X have lived out in space for extended periods of time without the accelerated aging you'd expect in such a scenario.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by loki » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:39 pm

If only Earth or near Earth was subject to the sliding timescale, then the Skrulls would not have encountered the First Line post-1980 when they tried to invade.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by DonCampbell » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:27 am

Somebody wrote:Human characters such as Quasar & Professor X have lived out in space for extended periods of time without the accelerated aging you'd expect in such a scenario.
Okay, that's one good argument against my speculation.
loki wrote:If only Earth or near Earth was subject to the sliding timescale, then the Skrulls would not have encountered the First Line post-1980 when they tried to invade.
And that's a second good argument. I guess it's clear then: Marvel Time is a phenomena that affects the entire reality in which Earth-616 exists. I'm glad that there is such a consensus on this board.

However, I don't think that I was entirely wrong to wonder about it. Sure, the fact that humans from Earth have spent extended periods of time in outer space without aging more than their friends on Earth did over the same period does indicate that Marvel Time flows at the same rate throughout Earth's reality. And loki's example shows that the sliding timescale does encompass MUCH more of the "mainstream" reality than just Earth and its environs. Still, I can't remember ever reading any story in which alien characters mentions specific periods of elapsed time which demonstrate that Marvel Time affects them. An example of what I mean would be if a present-day Skrull were to state that it has been 23 years since his race first met the Fantastic Four, and a footnote explains that 23 Skurullian years equals 14.5 Earth-years. That's the sort of direct, specific proof of the universality of Marvel Time that I was hoping that someone could provide.

In all honesty, my speculation was prompted by my concerns about the upcoming return of the Spaceknights and the Dire Wraiths in the pages of the ANNIHILATORS miniseries. I was (and remain) a big ROM fan. After his series ended in 1985, he and Brandy vanished until they showed up in INCREDIBLE HULK to attend Rick and Marlo's wedding in 1994. The Galadorians next appeared in the SPACEKNIGHTS miniseries in 2000. Sadly, I found that miniseries to be disappointing. While the story itself was pretty good, the writer's poor attention to continuity created some serious inconsistencies with ROM which made it almost painful to read. Fortunately, the miniseries contains temporal references that make it clear (to those who bother to read it) that the events depicted therein must occur "decades" (or even centuries) after ROM's final issue. And if Marvel Time does affect all of Reality-616, then stories set in the "present-day" MU shouldn't catch up with the miniseries until 60 to 80 years after ROM's finale (i.e. sometime between 2045 and 2065). Right?

Unfortunately, there is a Spaceknights-related example that not all Marvel writers pay attention to Marvel Time. As part of his ANNIHILATION miniseries in 2006, writer Keith Giffen chose to include some of the third-generation Spaceknights from SPACEKNIGHTS in issue #2 as allies of Blastaar. Although ANNIHILATION was published 21 years after ROM ended, on Earth-616 only 5 to 7 "Marvel Time" years should have passed. This would seem to create something of a problem. So far, the only "official" explanation I've read is that Galador "apparently exists under a different rate of time than Earth." This is an idea that just makes me cringe inside. And if ANNIHILATORS does reference SPACEKNIGHTS, then not only will the poor continuity of the earlier miniseries be forever bonded to the MU, but the idea that time can flow faster away from Earth will also become "canon." Ick.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by loki » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:04 am

DonCampbell wrote:So far, the only "official" explanation I've read is that Galador "apparently exists under a different rate of time than Earth." This is an idea that just makes me cringe inside. And if ANNIHILATORS does reference SPACEKNIGHTS, then not only will the poor continuity of the earlier miniseries be forever bonded to the MU, but the idea that time can flow faster away from Earth will also become "canon." Ick.

Don Campbell
Not sure where this "official" explanation came from. The only evidence I can think of off hand that suggests decades passed on Galador was the adult children of Rom and Brandy. And, per the Spaceknights entry in the handbooks, the explanation for that is:

"Between survivors, Galadorians returning from colony worlds, and accelerated growth technology rapidly bringing Galador’s new generation of children to adulthood, the planet was swiftly repopulated."

What sort of tech was used isn't clear - might be biological, might be some sort of time-dilation trick, might be something else - but the point remains, it wasn't a natural phenomenon or proof that time passes more rapidly on Galador under normal circumstances.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by DonCampbell » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:14 pm

loki wrote:
DonCampbell wrote:So far, the only "official" explanation I've read is that Galador "apparently exists under a different rate of time than Earth." This is an idea that just makes me cringe inside. And if ANNIHILATORS does reference SPACEKNIGHTS, then not only will the poor continuity of the earlier miniseries be forever bonded to the MU, but the idea that time can flow faster away from Earth will also become "canon." Ick.
Not sure where this "official" explanation came from. The only evidence I can think of off hand that suggests decades passed on Galador was the adult children of Rom and Brandy. And, per the Spaceknights entry in the handbooks, the explanation for that is:

"Between survivors, Galadorians returning from colony worlds, and accelerated growth technology rapidly bringing Galador’s new generation of children to adulthood, the planet was swiftly repopulated."

What sort of tech was used isn't clear - might be biological, might be some sort of time-dilation trick, might be something else - but the point remains, it wasn't a natural phenomenon or proof that time passes more rapidly on Galador under normal circumstances.
First, where did this explanation about "accelerated growth" originate? I do remember reading something like that in some handbook-style comic but my collection isn't as organized as it should be and I was unable to find it.

Second, in a related matter, I distinctly recall reading another handbook-style comic, published later, which referred to the adventures of the third-generation Spaceknights (as seen in the SPACEKNIGHTS LS) as taking place in an alternate future instead of in the recent past. I remember this primarily because of the intense RELIEF that I felt at knowing that Marvel was no longer going to try to insist that SPACEKNIGHTS took place at about the same time as other issues published by Marvel in 2000.

Third, from the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: "Galadorians Rom #1 (1979) Humanoid race from planet Galador; technologically advanced; apparently exist under different rate of time than Earth; created Spaceknights (first generation) to combat invasion by the Dire Wraiths @ 200 years ago; later virtually exterminated by Spaceknights (second generation); repopulated by Rom and Brandy Clark; identified members Arianne, Baldar, Dann, Gaspar, Janoth Kel, Rom, Ray-Na, Spaceknights, Talo, Veleng-Than."

Fourth, the SPACEKNIGHTS miniseries does not just suggest that decades passed on Galador by featuring Rom and Brandy's adult children, it flat-out STATES it! On page 2 of issue #2, Balin claims that the Dire Wraiths “were all banished to the Ebon Dimension decades past.” This statement has some interesting implications. For one thing, even by the final issue of ROM it was clear that there were still many Wraiths scattered throughout the universe. So, if Balin's claim that ALL Wraiths were banished has any validity, then said banishment must have taken place AFTER Rom returned to Galador and became human again. And this, in turn, means that the SPACEKNIGHTS miniseries is set "decades" after the ROM finale. Also, even if we assume that Balin (actually, writer Jim Starlin) made a mistake and the banishment which he mentioned was really meant to be the one which took place on Earth in ROM #66, there's still Marvel Time to take into account. SPACEKNIGHTS was published in 2000, only 15 years after ROM #66 was published. However, in Marvel Time that same time period was no more than 4 or 5 years in duration, much less than the decades that Balin mentioned. Again, this demonstrates that the miniseries MUST actually take place sometime in the then-future of the MU.

But wait! There's even more. SPACEKNIGHTS #5 ends with Tristan, the only Galadorian who can detect the new Wraith threat, musing to himself, “How ironic that my father faced the same situation when he first came to Earth centuries before...” Okay, "CENTURIES before?" Where did that come from? Sure, Rom's quest lasted for over two hundred years but for almost all of that time he was soaring through space. He never actually came to Earth until 200 years after he left Galador. So, either Starlin made a massive mistake or SPACEKNIGHTS was actually set hundreds of years in the MU's future.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by loki » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:53 am

DonCampbell wrote:
loki wrote:
DonCampbell wrote:So far, the only "official" explanation I've read is that Galador "apparently exists under a different rate of time than Earth." This is an idea that just makes me cringe inside. And if ANNIHILATORS does reference SPACEKNIGHTS, then not only will the poor continuity of the earlier miniseries be forever bonded to the MU, but the idea that time can flow faster away from Earth will also become "canon." Ick.
Not sure where this "official" explanation came from. The only evidence I can think of off hand that suggests decades passed on Galador was the adult children of Rom and Brandy. And, per the Spaceknights entry in the handbooks, the explanation for that is:

"Between survivors, Galadorians returning from colony worlds, and accelerated growth technology rapidly bringing Galador’s new generation of children to adulthood, the planet was swiftly repopulated."

What sort of tech was used isn't clear - might be biological, might be some sort of time-dilation trick, might be something else - but the point remains, it wasn't a natural phenomenon or proof that time passes more rapidly on Galador under normal circumstances.
First, where did this explanation about "accelerated growth" originate? I do remember reading something like that in some handbook-style comic but my collection isn't as organized as it should be and I was unable to find it.
From the Spaceknights entry in the handbooks.
DonCampbell wrote:Second, in a related matter, I distinctly recall reading another handbook-style comic, published later, which referred to the adventures of the third-generation Spaceknights (as seen in the SPACEKNIGHTS LS) as taking place in an alternate future instead of in the recent past. I remember this primarily because of the intense RELIEF that I felt at knowing that Marvel was no longer going to try to insist that SPACEKNIGHTS took place at about the same time as other issues published by Marvel in 2000.
Don't know what you recall reading, but the entry I'm quoting was from the hardcovers, the most recent entry to cover the Spaceknights.
DonCampbell wrote:Third, from the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: "Galadorians Rom #1 (1979) Humanoid race from planet Galador; technologically advanced; apparently exist under different rate of time than Earth; created Spaceknights (first generation) to combat invasion by the Dire Wraiths @ 200 years ago; later virtually exterminated by Spaceknights (second generation); repopulated by Rom and Brandy Clark; identified members Arianne, Baldar, Dann, Gaspar, Janoth Kel, Rom, Ray-Na, Spaceknights, Talo, Veleng-Than."
The Master List entry in question speculated on the time rate, but it is out of date. The handbook entry on the Spaceknights is the official stance.
DonCampbell wrote:Fourth, the SPACEKNIGHTS miniseries does not just suggest that decades passed on Galador by featuring Rom and Brandy's adult children, it flat-out STATES it! On page 2 of issue #2, Balin claims that the Dire Wraiths “were all banished to the Ebon Dimension decades past.” This statement has some interesting implications. For one thing, even by the final issue of ROM it was clear that there were still many Wraiths scattered throughout the universe. So, if Balin's claim that ALL Wraiths were banished has any validity, then said banishment must have taken place AFTER Rom returned to Galador and became human again. And this, in turn, means that the SPACEKNIGHTS miniseries is set "decades" after the ROM finale. Also, even if we assume that Balin (actually, writer Jim Starlin) made a mistake and the banishment which he mentioned was really meant to be the one which took place on Earth in ROM #66, there's still Marvel Time to take into account. SPACEKNIGHTS was published in 2000, only 15 years after ROM #66 was published. However, in Marvel Time that same time period was no more than 4 or 5 years in duration, much less than the decades that Balin mentioned. Again, this demonstrates that the miniseries MUST actually take place sometime in the then-future of the MU.
Starlin did make a mistake. The presence of the Spaceknights mini-series 3rd Generation Spaceknights in Annihilation, including one of Rom's sons, shows that they are in the present day, not an alternate future. If you want an in-story explanation that isn't just Balin mis-speaking, then you can cover it by Balin meaning that all the Dire Wraiths in Galador's region of space having been banished decades ago, which is what the majority of Galadorians believe to be the case, as they are unaware of the ones Mentus invited in and kept hidden from the populace.
DonCampbell wrote:But wait! There's even more. SPACEKNIGHTS #5 ends with Tristan, the only Galadorian who can detect the new Wraith threat, musing to himself, “How ironic that my father faced the same situation when he first came to Earth centuries before...” Okay, "CENTURIES before?" Where did that come from? Sure, Rom's quest lasted for over two hundred years but for almost all of that time he was soaring through space. He never actually came to Earth until 200 years after he left Galador. So, either Starlin made a massive mistake or SPACEKNIGHTS was actually set hundreds of years in the MU's future.
I hate to say it, but Starlin made a mistake. Or, at least, he intended it to be in an alternate timeline, but, as with The Truth or the first arc of the Hudlin Black Panther, once it got brought into 616 continuity, various continuity issues arose that needed to be worked around. The official explanation is that Galador used accelerated growth techniques, which might include time dilation (and hence be another explanation for the comments above, as personal time experienced could well be greater than that of the wider universe).

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by zilch » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:16 pm

And Cap, originally had been in the ice for less than 20 years and now nearly 50 years.

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Re: Range of Influence of Marvel Time

Post by lkseitz » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:37 pm

Really sorry I missed the discussion back when it was new. Chris Batista, who not only drew but also plotted the Spaceknights LS, contacted me back when it was coming out. IIRC, Starlin was brought on because, while Batista was an experienced artist, he was not a proven writer. Unfortunately, Starlin is on record as saying, "I thought [Rom] was a pretty dumb character back in the seventies. I just took on the job of scripting the series so that I could pay for some parts for my boat." (http://www.universohq.com/quadrinhos/en ... _eng02.cfm) Starlin introduced many errors in his scripts and it drove Batista nuts at the time. What we ended up with, at least in some cases, was a bad mishmash of Batista's original script and Starlin's rewrites. I personally blame Mike Marts for failing at doing a proper job as editor. I suppose it's too much to hope that they'd fix some of the more egregious errors when they republish it later this year. :(
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