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Author Topic: Iron Man and the Rolling Timeline.  (Read 10050 times)
Agent 333
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« on: May 04, 2008, 08:38:43 PM »

Marvel's official policy has a sort of "Rolling Timeline" effect on their characters. In other words, everything that has happened in their comics still happened, just not when the comic actually came out to keep the characters roughly the same age. Some observant folks have pointed out that for most Marvel characters who actually show signs of aging (Spider-Man, Kitty Pryde, Franklin Richards), it translates to roughly four years of real time is one year of "Marvel Time".

Anyhow, the point of this thread is to come up with dates of the important milestones in Iron Man's history in "relative" form rather than absolute form. For example, it has been stated several times recently that Iron Man's been around for roughly 14 years, so we can put Iron Man's origin at the date of 14 Years Ago. I'm willing to speculate the more recent an event is, the less compressed the timeline. In other words, stuff that happened 40-45 years ago was all relatively the same time, but stuff that happened in the past two years takes two years of 'Marvel time'. Thus, while our timeline is linear, the Marvel timeline would be an inverse logarithmic timescale (see the attatched image for a better explanation).

Other milestones I'm going to need help with are important things like the Armor Wars, Rhodey taking over the Armor, Civil War, etc. I'll continually update this first post whenever we get a consensus on a particular date.

14 Years Ago: Iron Man's origin, Avengers Formed, First appearance of the Mandarin

... (This is where I need the most help)

2 Years Ago: Secret War, House of M, Extremis, New Avengers formed
1 Year Ago: The Civil War, Tony Appointed Director of SHIELD
Less than 1 Year Ago: World War Hulk
Now: Secret Invasion
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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 10:39:16 PM »

Agent, I will warn you that this way lies madness.  As a historian of Iron Man, I once tried to do something similar to what you're proposing, and it will drive you insane.

Marvel's sliding timescale is a ghastly beast created back in the 70's as "The 7-year-rule" to give explanation to something that didn't really need explaining: Marvel characters don't age in real time.  Then someone took it a step further and came up with the convoluted idea that 4 real-world years equals 1 Marvel year.  Okay, but in relation to what?  It took a year and a half for Iron Man vol.4 #1-6 to come out, yet that story took place in a matter of days.  Mighty Avengers #1-6 took place in a matter of hours, yet took something like a year to come out.  Other books have sometimes spanned weeks in a single issue.  It's almost impossible to make it all fit together.

A decade or so back, when comic books were published with a sense of real continuity, it might have been possible to figure something like this out, but I've long since given up on it.   My new philosophy is: The issue I just bought is happening Now.  Any prior issue is happening Before Now.

I wish you the best of luck with this Herculean task, but I fear I'll soon be visiting you in the mental ward.
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Agent 333
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 10:53:28 PM »

I'm sorry to hear that Roger, I was kind of hoping on your encyclopedic knowledge to help with some things.

One method I came up with while making the above post is to actually make a mathematicall function to fit the above curve and then use some fun Calculus to cram the real timeline into it (yay integrals), but that might have a few issues.

The reason I'm not trying to do every single event but rather just the major milestones is the same reason you said, too many things happening over different intervals. Still, it'd be nice to know, for example, how long ago the Kree-Skrull War was in relation to Secret Invasion...
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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 12:33:05 AM »

Well, I'm certainly available to bounce ideas off of, and I do enjoy sorting out general continuity in regards to what order stories happen within the expanse of the Marvel Universe ("between this story and this story" type stuff mostly).  You can try the Calculus method, but I'm afraid that all you'll actually gain from that is a monumental migraine.  But hey, I suck at math and I've been wrong before, so if it actually worked, you might be considered something of a genius. Smiley

I also make good use of the Marvel Chronology Project on a regular basis:

http://www.chronologyproject.com/
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nicktem
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 07:53:14 PM »

Agent, I will warn you that this way lies madness.  As a historian of Iron Man, I once tried to do something similar to what you're proposing, and it will drive you insane.



I second that, i tried working it out with other charachters and the whole MU (except X-MEN) and realised it cannot be done properly. I only came up with a general timeline, Its been 15 years of superheroing, thats going by Spider-Man's current age to when he first appeared.

Madness!
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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2008, 10:07:13 PM »

Its been 15 years of superheroing, thats going by Spider-Man's current age to when he first appeared.

Ah, but I believe now Marvel has backpedaled, saying that Peter is only in his mid-20's!
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Agent 333
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2008, 10:18:51 PM »

Alright, here's the mathematical analysis. No benchmarks are labeled, unfortunately.
It's a logarithmic progression. I divided up the total area under the curve by the 45 year span, and came up with something like this.
Each vertical stripe is a year of real time, alternating between red and gold every 5 years. Black lines seperate the years of 'comic time'.
Real time years are listed at the top, 'comic time' along the bottom. One unfortunate thing I realized while doing this is that it'd have to be redone every year to keep it current, but if I could write some nice software to do it for me...

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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2008, 10:24:04 PM »

Head....hurts...

Seriously, though, that's pretty cool, man!  My hat's off to you!
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nicktem
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2008, 10:51:27 PM »

Its been 15 years of superheroing, thats going by Spider-Man's current age to when he first appeared.

Ah, but I believe now Marvel has backpedaled, saying that Peter is only in his mid-20's!

U serious?? I thought he was at least 29. As he was around 28 in 93....from what i gathered. And Marvel havent let him turn 30.

Nice Work, Agent!

You could get a excel macro to do that for you no worries.

However, you will never know if it is correct or not because Marvel have the Master Timeline which is updated accordingly, if you could cross-reference yours with the Master copy than it would be perfect!
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Roger A Ott II
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2008, 11:04:51 PM »

because Marvel have the Master Timeline which is updated accordingly

You sure about that?  I get no sense that time means anything to most of the current editors and writers at Marvel, with a few exceptions.
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Agent 333
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2008, 11:07:04 PM »

Most of my computations were done in OpenOffice Calc, which is an open source Excel clone. I don't know the tricks well enough to get it to do everything I'd like it to do for me though, so I had to fiddle around in Paintshop to get it to look purty. I am a Computer Geek by trade (graduating with a Bachelors in Computer Science on Saturday), so it shouldn't be too much trouble to throw together a program that works better than doing it the hard way every time.

Honestly, a lot of it is based on assumptions and fudging to make the numbers seem right. And I sort of gave up being mathematically accurate after the major column headings, plus there's all kinds of floating point error going on in the above image (ie. decimals getting truncated or rounded improperly).

I also envision that the finalized version would be able to specifiy a time range in either real or comic time and show you just that part of the graph with greater precision, and more benchmarks shown.

Hmm....


All right, the next real step is to start throwing events onto the line. I figure ToS #39, IM vol 3 #1, Armor Wars, Rhodey takes over, stuff like that should probably be marked, along with a few newer ones like Civil War and New Avengers formation. If anyone wants to save me the research, I'm not gonna look at this again for a while, throwing up the dates of publishing of the above benchmarks plus any others you feel are important would be a major help.
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nicktem
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2008, 05:24:54 AM »

because Marvel have the Master Timeline which is updated accordingly

You sure about that?  I get no sense that time means anything to most of the current editors and writers at Marvel, with a few exceptions.

Yeah. Your good mate Joey Q has stated Marvel has a Master Timeline which they use to kinda keep track, but at the same time they let writers do what they want because it gives for a better story (well isolated story kinda thing).

Honestly, a lot of it is based on assumptions and fudging to make the numbers seem right. And I sort of gave up being mathematically accurate after the major column headings, plus there's all kinds of floating point error going on in the above image (ie. decimals getting truncated or rounded improperly).

Yeah i figured as much. Impossible task!

All right, the next real step is to start throwing events onto the line. I figure ToS #39, IM vol 3 #1, Armor Wars, Rhodey takes over, stuff like that should probably be marked, along with a few newer ones like Civil War and New Avengers formation. If anyone wants to save me the research, I'm not gonna look at this again for a while, throwing up the dates of publishing of the above benchmarks plus any others you feel are important would be a major help.

HAHAHA! MAADDDNESS!! HAHA!
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Agent 333
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2008, 04:20:15 AM »

Here's the updated version, with some benchmarks thrown in for reference. Anyone want to suggest some more benchmarks, especially in that giant gap in Vol. 3? Also, note that even with the extream compression, Tony's still spent a quarter of his superhero career in some variation of the Classic Armor (plus or minus Horns, rivets, rollerskates, and a nose). Also, Rhodey's been War Machine for more than half of Tony's superhero career, thanks to the compression.
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nicktem
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2008, 09:18:58 PM »

wow. nice work. looks good to me.
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2008, 09:49:11 PM »

Add in the Sentient armor in the Volume 3 gap.  "The Mask in the Iron Man" storyline that happened in 2000.  It was major enough to get its own tpb.   
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