Monday, June 22, 2009

Manic Monday--The Whirligig Of Time

There are moments when I really hate a "rolling timeline."

Oh, don't get me wrong...I understand and agree with the necessity of such a fiction. We can't have Ben Grimm being 90-something years old, so we gently massage his back story so that instead of fighting in WWII, he fought in Korea...or Vietnam...or any day now, Gulf War I.

And if we want to say that Peter Parker really hasn't been fighting crime for 45+ years, hey, I'm down with that. Say he's 30 now (?), and I can play along with the fiction just fine, thank you.

But sometimes, the technique calls way too much attention to itself, especially when creators are trying too hard to be clever and specific, and cognitive dissonance sets in HARD.

Case in point: Captain America #600. One of the back-up stories, by Mark Waid and Dale Eaglesham. We're having an auction of a vast amount of Cap memorabilia, including this:

Now, this bears a closer examination:

We're clearly told that this is Cap's ORIGINAL Avenger's ID card. It's his first, the one that Tony Stark welcomed him into the modern world with. And later in the story, Stark himself verifies its authenticity.

Now take a closer look at the card, specifically, the president's signature on the bottom line.




OK, slow down, breathe...

You mean Cap wasn't thawed out until the Clinton Administration??

You mean Cap missed Watergate?? And so he didn't unveil Nixon as head of the Secret Empire?!?

So Cap missed the Bicentennial??!!??

Cap slept through the Civil Rights era and Vietnam and Gulf War I?!?

Cap missed disco?!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!!?!?!

See what I mean?? Waid and Eaglesham just should have left it vague...Yeah, maybe it makes sense to do it this way within the Marvel chronology, but it just feels soooooo wrong.

At least now Cap never had to see the 1990 movie...

Speaking of the whirligig of time (thanks, Bill S.), this is post #700 around these here parts. But I don't want to feel too old, so maybe I'll backdate everything to say I didn't start posting until last month...

Important note: unlike Cap, I don't have to count the first 58 issues of Tales of Suspense, in which he didn't even appear, in order to have 600 make sense!!

Anyhoo, thanks to everybody who reads, lurks, comments, enjoys, mocks, disagrees, or just skims by. It's a gas, and I ain't stopping anytime soon.


De said...

I thought that was a tad odd as well. Perhaps we'll see some sort of retcon explaining it.

I thought the whole #600 business counted the issues of the other series (including the *shudder* Liefeld attempt) after Cap #454.

googum said...

See, I thought the card looked too new--I remember an old one from the back of one of the Marvel Universe Handbooks--and then didn't notice the signature. I can't believe I didn't notice that...check my blogger picture!

Congrats on 700! And if you backdate now, you can ignore "One More Day"!

Sea-of-Green said...

The really funny thing about the rolling timeline is that each "update" just adds to the amount of time Cap was on ice. Heck, if not for global warming, Marvel could probably keep this up indefinitely -- "In the year 2205, World War II hero Captain America is thawed out ..."

Anonymous said...

The 8-issue 2005 mini-series Earth's Mightiest Heroes which was an updated fill-in-the blanks mini sort of moved The Avengers beginnings and discovery of Captain America in a more modern age but it wasn't in really forced on the reader or trumpted. It was more subtle.
While no set dates were giving the civilians, settings and newsmen on television in the comics were much more 80's/90's than 1960s.

Anonymous said...

The 8-issue 2005 mini-series Earth's Mightiest Heroes was an updated fill-in-the blanks mini-series which sort of moved The Avengers beginnings and discovery of Captain America into a more modern era but it wasn't really forced on the reader or trumpted.
It was more very subtle.
While no set dates were given, the civilian garb, appliances, cars, buildings and and even the newsmen on television were much more 80's/90's than 1960s.

Alan---reposted with fewer typos and better grammar. the first post is what happens when posting with a cramped laptop keyboard.

snell said...

De: you are correct, but it was the earlier numbers that were massaged. Cap got his solo series, running alongside Iron Man, in Tales of Suspense #59. When he graduated to his "own" title, he just took over the old numbering of Tales of Suspense--#99 of that series was followed by Captain America #100. (Pretty much the same thing happened with the Hulk and Tales To Astonish).

So Cap's numbering for that series was really off by 58. Check out the gallery of covers in the back of Cap #600--they include the first 58 issues of TOS, even though Cap never appeared in them!!

De said...

I hadn't looked at the cover gallery until now. I guess Cap was really behind the scenes in those early issues of Tales of Suspense.

Anonymous said...

Well, missing disco, the Capt. Amateur horror movie, and "(shudder) Leifield" - ha! ha! - is more than reason enough to mess with all aspects of space and time.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Googum, I got the same card in a Wizard special. Although I'm not sure either of us want it considering who's in charge right now.

(I actually carry mine in my wallet with my JLA membership card. Yes, I'm that big of a geek. No, I don't go showing it off to people like a moron. This is I actually admitted to this.)