• Has the Odinson Come Up with the Equation for Real World-to-Comic Book Time?

    Greetings from the Odinson,

    Thursday March 22 was the Odinson’s birthday, another year older, if not wiser.  Interesting thing about my birthday is that on March 22, 1976 shooting began on what would become my all time favorite movie – Star Wars.  That by itself would make my birthday awesome, but even cooler is the fact that on March 22, 1931, Mr. William Shatner was born.  That’s right, ladies and gentleman, the Odinson shares a birthday with none other than Captain Kirk himself.  I also share a birthday with actress Reese Witherspoon and legendary western writer Louis L’Amour.  These are just some interesting facts about the day I was born. Now on to some other things…

    The latest mega event at Marvel, AVX, got me thinking about the City of New York.  In the Marvel Universe, 90% of the world’s super hero population seems to live in and around New York City.  You would think that would make the Big Apple the safest place in the world to be.  I suggest the complete opposite.  With all the huge building-demolishing super battles that go down in the streets of New York, I’m surprised that there is anyone brave enough to still call that little stretch of land their home. 

    Just sticking to recent events only - New York City has been almost completely destroyed no less than five times in recent events.  What makes this even more amazing is the difference in real time elapsing vs. comic book time.  We all know that a decade of real word time does not reflect a decade worth of comic book time.  If it did, then Peter Parker would be an old man.  I guesstimate, using Peter Parker’s estimated age of being around 33 (see the NOTE below to see how I estimate Parker’s age), that a decade of real time equals roughly 3 years worth of comic book time.

    That being said, how in the world is there still a New York City left standing in the midst of a tumultuous Marvel Universe?  In 2006, the super heroes of Earth waged a Civil War that decimated half of downtown.  Skyscrapers trembled and fell to the ground, victims of the power being unleashed in the streets of the city.  But that devastation was nothing compared to what came next.  In 2007, World War Hulk engulfed the City of New York.  The Incredible Hulk had returned from his exile to the furthest reaches of outer space, and he was not happy.  He was madder and stronger than ever and the wanton destruction he unleashed was mind-blowing.  Whole city blocks crumbled before his might as he battled against those that betrayed him.  Just one year later (real time), in 2008, the heroes and villains of Earth waged war with an invading horde of Super –Skrulls in middle of downtown Manhattan and halted their Secret Invasion, but not without some heavy property damage.  Then, in 2011, Fear Itself engulfed the planet and though chaos reigned around the globe, no city on Earth was hit harder than New York City, as Sin, the new Red Skull, unleashed her neo Nazi war machines on the populace and even Avengers Tower came crashing down.  And only a few short months later, in Fantastic Four #600-604, the Forever storyline sees a full-on war between the Kree Armada and the Annihilation Wave right over the streets of New York City.  Throw in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and a cosmic brawl between Galactus and the nigh omnipotent Celestials, and I’m surprised there’s a building left standing in the streets of New York. 

    From 2006 to 2012, that’s 6 years of real time gone by, meaning 2 years of comic book time has elapsed.  So in 2 years, the Big Apple has been nearly utterly demolished not once, not twice, but no less than five times, and these are just the times I can think of off the top of my head.  I’m not even including your run-of-the-mill Avengers brawl with Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.  Yet at the beginning of every issue of a new major event or storyline, there’s the Big Apple, all shiny and new.  Buildings erected and undamaged as if nothing ever happened.  In the real world, it takes about 1-2 years to build one skyscraper.  In the Marvel Universe, whole city blocks are being destroyed every six months (comic book time).  

    First, why would anyone ever live in the Marvel Universe New York City?  And second, how in the world does this magnificent cityscape keep getting rebuilt in time for the next Kree invasion?  The answer to the first question is simple, New Yorkers have seen it all, and they are a hardy bunch.  The answer to the second question has already been addressed by the House of Ideas.  The answer is Damage Control.   Damage Control is a special company that specializes in the repair and reconstruction necessary after a huge super hero/villain throw-down.  They are the ones that put the city back together after every Marvel Big Event, and they do it with speed and efficiency.

    So what have we learned here today?  We’ve learned how to calculate real world and comic book time (see NOTE below).  We’ve learned that New York City in the Marvel Universe is the most dangerous place to live.  Despite that fact, and possibly because of it, that’s where most of the world’s super community calls home.  We’ve learned that Damage Control is responsible for putting the Big Apple back together again after every Marvel Big Event brouhaha.  And, we’ve learned that the Odinson shares a birthday with William “Captain Kirk” Shatner.  I leave you now with a look at how I worked out my formula for determining real word to comic book time.            

    NOTE:  In Amazing Spider-Man #185, Peter Parker graduated from college.  This puts his age at around 22.  That issue came out in 1978.  Amazing Spider-Man #1 came out in 1963.  That’s 15 years of real world time between issues.  If we can all agree that in AMSM #1 Peter Parker was around 16-17 years old then that’s 5 years of comic book time elapsed (22 minus 17 = 5).  So take 15 [years of real world time] and divide it by 5 [years of comic book time] and get 3.  This signifies that for every 3 years of real time that elapses, 1 year of comic book time has elapsed.  Next take 1978 (Peter’s graduation) and subtract it from 2012 (current real time date) and that’s 34 years of real time.  Divide 34 by 3 and get roughly 11 years of comic book time.  Add 11 to 22 (Peter’s estimated age in Amazing Spider-Man #185) and currently Peter Parker is 33 years old.

    **NOTE: A little convoluted I know, but give me a break, I just made up that equation on the spot, and it’s as good an explanation of real world-to-comic book time as any.  Though I will go on record as saying that Peter Parker will always be around 25 to me.  But for the sake of this article, this is the equation I’m using. 

    This is Odinson bidding thee farewell    

    1 comment so far:

    #1) Aaron A. - 9:29 AM, Mar 28, 2012

    I have long held a theory similar to yours that's a little more complicated but accounts for the majority of exceptions; aging is slowed to that rate by use of, or frequent proximity to the use of, the metagene. That would explain why superheroes with their own books, and their supporting casts, age with almost imperceptible slowness and yet, when the Whizzer returned from a retirement of only 25 years he appeared to have aged an astonishing ... 25 years! Golden agers like Blonde Phantom who don't even have super powers, drop out of the crimefighting game and get older at a regular rate. Batman, however, hardly ages a day not because HE has a metagene but because he spends so much of his time around people who actively use theirs. It's like second-hand longevity. Works for Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen whether they know it or not. Constant exposure to really high levels of power, as almost any member of the Fantastic Four can attest, will even take the gray out of your temples or yield 'bonus lives' where you can die and come back a few times. The moral is, it doesn't take a superpower to live forever, just a complete lack of dignity to croney-up to someone who uses them. Snapper Carr and Rick Jones should never have dropped their fanboy antics, Jimmy Olsen could school them on skin care and boot polishing tricks.

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