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  1. #1
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    Default When did the sliding timescale first begin in Marvel Comics?



    Read the dates on Jean Grey's grave. It says 1956-1980. She would have been seven years old when The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963.

    When The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963 and Jean grey was at least 16 years old, she would have been born in 1947.



    When did the first signs of a sliding timescale begin in Marvel Comics?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_timeline

  2. #2
    Chosen One Carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post


    Read the dates on Jean Grey's grave. It says 1956-1980. She would have been seven years old when The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963.

    When The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963 and Jean grey was at least 16 years old, she would have been born in 1947.



    When did the first signs of a sliding timescale begin in Marvel Comics?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_timeline
    When stuff like the example you gave made it an necessity to tell stories that somewhat make sense.
    "One may be intelligent, and a Nazi. Then one is not decent. One may be decent and a Nazi. Then one is not intelligent. And one may be intelligent and decent. Then one is not a Nazi"
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  3. #3
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    That tombstone is certainly is a good example of why it's needed. Another factor would be stories that show that Ben Grimm and Reed Richards were in the armed services in WWII. Ben was in the Army Air Force and Reed was in the O.S.S. With Nick Fury, they came up with the Infinity Serum IIRC. Now getting back to the FF, the birth of Franklin back in the 1960s is the biggest factor IMO. And it has kept him locked into a state of a grade school age child when he should be a lot older. With Reed and Ben, they just don't have those flashbacks to the WWII service, like when Ben's plane was shot down and he was rescued by Captain Savage in a short lived war comic of the same name.
    Last edited by Iron Maiden; 05-17-2018 at 01:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member Oberon's Avatar
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    Franklin's birth is a great example; 12 months of pregnancy!

    His childhood itself; born in '68 but in the mid '70s she is still under two, or certainly three.

  5. #5
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    I recall a Stan Lee interview where he talks about Peter Parker's graduation and if they had known Spider-Man would have been that successful, they would have kept his High School days going for longer..

    I think there's always been a sliding timescale for Marvel, DC, and Archie comics. Characters are either fixed at a certain age, or they grow slowly. One can choose to fixate on it and attempt to work it out, or one can ignore it and deal with the inevitable flaws in the system.

  6. #6
    Mighty Member Oberon's Avatar
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    I remember seeing a '70s or so Justice League I think, where they showed a flashback to their earlier era. Lois Lane all late '50s look with the Jackie Kennedy kind of pill box hat - totally retro. It was cute but already from a fashion point of view, totally "old hat".

    But it showed the disparity of having comics even spanning over a decade having to account (possibly) for the Elton John Lament ("Comic book heroes never grow old").

    like you say ignore or deal. I agree.

  7. #7
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    Not sure why we can't all agree that in the MU, time works differently and suspend our disbelief a little.
    By not fixating on it, everything is cool.
    By retconning and tinkering, confusion, contradictions and mistakes creep in all the time.

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    The sliding timescale only worked for a brief time window when editorial dreamed it up. It’s utter nonsense and best ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by jebsib View Post
    Not sure why we can't all agree that in the MU, time works differently and suspend our disbelief a little.
    By not fixating on it, everything is cool.
    By retconning and tinkering, confusion, contradictions and mistakes creep in all the time.
    Indeed. It’s not even a matter of agreeing. We either recognise this truism or get stressed for no reason.
    Last edited by JKtheMac; 05-17-2018 at 03:59 PM.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    More info here and here.
    Particularly this quote:
    "The ever changing, ever developing universe stopped in its tracks. Regarding late 1968, Sean Howe writes: 'For the last year or two, Lee had conveyed to his writers that Marvel's stories should have only 'the illusion of change,' that the characters should never evolve too much, lest their portrayals conflict with what licensees had planned for other media.' -'Marvel Comics: The Untold Story' p.101"

    It was basically introduced because Marvel discovered they could make money in licensing the characters and needed them to change as little as possible to remain marketable.
    Last edited by Lee Stone; 05-17-2018 at 04:16 PM.
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    Astonishing Member Mary Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post


    Read the dates on Jean Grey's grave. It says 1956-1980. She would have been seven years old when The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963.

    When The X-Men #1 was published in September 1963 and Jean grey was at least 16 years old, she would have been born in 1947.



    When did the first signs of a sliding timescale begin in Marvel Comics?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_timeline
    Dates on tombstones are always funny when looked back at. I remember reading a What if? set in around Avengers #215 titled "what if Yellowjacket had died?" and one could clearly see on the tombstone the dates 1948-1982 on Hank Pym's grave (which would have made him 14 years old at the beginning of his career in 1962...!). Much later on, Waid wrote the epilogue for Age of Ultron, that led into Avengers A.I, and it was stated that Pym's grandmother died when he was 7, and the date on her tombstone is 1929-1988. An early Avengers issue (in the 70s?? Can't remember) had said that T'Challa and Pym were "only infants" during WW2.

    I gave up a long time ago to try to make sense of all this
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  11. #11
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    I don't know when it became "official" but I'd say it was probably around the 80's that people started noticing the inconsistencies...some characters aging, some not...real time being the same as Marvel time, real time ignored...

  12. #12
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    As I read the others' opinions and explanations here, I would agree with most of them.

    If Jean Grey's tombstone said 1947-1980, that would make her 33 years old.

    Peter Parker is still in mid-twenties last time i looked.

    But there are inconsistencies in the time line like Valerie Richards. She is now 4 years old, just a couple of years younger than her brother Franklin?

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post
    As I read the others' opinions and explanations here, I would agree with most of them.

    If Jean Grey's tombstone said 1947-1980, that would make her 33 years old.

    Peter Parker is still in mid-twenties last time i looked.

    But there are inconsistencies in the time line like Valerie Richards. She is now 4 years old, just a couple of years younger than her brother Franklin?
    Oh dear. <Steps slowly away from the can of worms just opened, pausing only to say...> Let’s not worry about the ages of the Richards family too much, considering the art hints that suggest they will be older when they return.

  14. #14
    Tyrant Sun User leokearon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post
    As I read the others' opinions and explanations here, I would agree with most of them.

    If Jean Grey's tombstone said 1947-1980, that would make her 33 years old.

    Peter Parker is still in mid-twenties last time i looked.

    But there are inconsistencies in the time line like Valerie Richards. She is now 4 years old, just a couple of years younger than her brother Franklin?
    Peter is 28 as revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (April 2014). Valeria is one of the biggest problems, she was born in June 2002 and by the time Civil War was over in Jan 2007 she was already two.
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  15. #15
    Astonishing Member vitruvian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKtheMac View Post
    The sliding timescale only worked for a brief time window when editorial dreamed it up. It’s utter nonsense and best ignored.



    Indeed. It’s not even a matter of agreeing. We either recognise this truism or get stressed for no reason.
    It's going to have to continue to slide, unless they want to let characters like Peter Parker get older. If he's never going to break 30, then his birth cannot be any more than 30 years before the current year, and his origin as Spider-Man any more than 15.... so the years in which he was first active will have to slide. Even in a fictional universe such as the MU, absent time travel shenanigans which are not a part of his back story, he cannot have been swinging around in the 60s, or even the 80s. Even in the MU, being a certain age in years means you were born that many calendar years ago, and no more. Again, barring time travel shenanigans. Physical youth and longevity, as for Steve Rogers and Thor, and Magneto if they opt to keep the WWII elements of his backstory, are another matter.... Steve is not under 30 chronologically simply because he appears under 30 physically, and everyone knows that and even refers to it.

    Which yes, also means that things like which President or pop stars or fashions and so on the characters interacted with will generally be implicitly, if not explicitly, retconned as a consequence. And that a whole heck of a lot of stuff has happened with these characters in a span of no more than 10-15 years of activity. But generally, that's not a problem for storytelling, as such topical details rarely ever come up in new stories... so unless they want to let the characters age a bit (which honestly, they could probably do considering the changing standards for how old you can be and still be a credible action star), continuing to slide the timeline is the better alternative to appearing to have failed 1st grade math.

    However, just because they're stuck with the sliding timeline doesn't mean they need to emphasize or highlight it in any way whatsoever. Leave it completely implicit that whenever you establish a character's chronological age - which you should only do when strictly relevant to the story, anyway, for the most part you can just be completely vague and give an ambiguous sense of which are the older and younger characters, 'years ago' is better than giving an exact number of years in the past, etc. - that means all their past stories are in some sense retconned so that they happened in years that make sense. Avoid specific timelines beyond 'months' or 'weeks' or 'years' - i.e., things like a specific 6 month or year long gap between storylines, because fans are capable of adding those up and discovering that they come to more than the 13-15 years available - wherever possible. Just keep it loose and it's generally not a problem.
    Last edited by vitruvian; 05-18-2018 at 08:54 AM.

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