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CapnFrance said on April 2nd, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Yes.
So, so much yes.

Especially if it’s told primarily from a civilian’s point of view, like Marvels. Not actually sure how well that would work, but for some reason it seems like it would get the feeling you’re going for better.

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YES PLEASE.

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That sounds like a lot of fun.

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Hahaha. Oh my yes.

I’ve always loved the idea of how rapid fire things must move in a comic book universe, but I didn’t realize that it was this bad!

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I don’t think the readers are supposed to add up the dates and events that happened between them like this.

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I’m sorry, I think your timeline is going to collapse under it’s own weight and slip into untold dimensions.

You’re going to have to use the Google Maps API for zooming in and out on that thing.

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It’s simple. Kitty Pride’s birthday is February 29 and she looks young for her age…

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Bill Reed said on April 2nd, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Hasn’t Roy Thomas written this already?

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malakim2099 said on April 2nd, 2011 at 6:51 pm

To avoid a long debate, I’ll just say I would LOVE to see that. 😀

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die Geisthander said on April 2nd, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I’d so ENTIRELY read that. And buy copies of the trade, which would also be given to me as gifts so I’d end up re-gifting it to people all over the place.

And I wouldn’t even mind.

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mygif

I don’t see a story here. Well, that is, I don’t see a story that hasn’t already been written. I’m pretty sure I could achieve the effect you’re going for simply by obtaining the back issues set in the period, and reading them all in rapid succession. (Or pick up whatever issue of Marvel Saga recaps that period and read it really slowly.)

You could do the same thing with, say, all the stories that must take place during the nine months of Sue Richards’s first pregnancy, or Peter Parker’s final year of college, or the year between Onslaught and Heroes Return. Point being, since FF #1 it’s ALWAYS been a busy year in the Marvel Universe. I’m not sure why this is supposed to be a revelation.

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Count me in, since I’m a firm believer in the “Power Pack takes place over the course of a year” theory. (The series starts near the end of summer, then progresses through the first day of school in New York, Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer before it all starts getting shaky in the last half-dozen issues and the undo-the-damage Christmas Special.)

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I’d read it if the author could make it coherent, but I don’t think anybody could.

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This isn’t a comic. Sorry, it’s not.

This is something that gets sent to your mail. A daily news feed that you have set as your news page…

Crap, this works as the ZNN news page as a one year project.

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God yes.

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Very nice idea.

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Wow, whan you line it all up like that…

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@Jim Smith: I suppose my only counter-argument to that is that we’ve seen Batman’s origin before, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying “Batman Begins”. :) Sometimes a story can be retold in an entertaining way, and one of the best ways to do that is to see it from a different perspective. Seeing those seven years of real time as one very chaotic year of Marvel Time, I think, qualifies as a different perspective.

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I’d write it like the “Guy at a News Stand” sections of The Watchmen. Just a year in his life; just an ordinary guy, selling newspapers, offering his bored, occasionally outraged commentary, to the readers lingering and malingering around.

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That’s _Las_ Vegas… :-)

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I love this idea, and since you began the blog post using Kitty Pryde as your mathematical basis, she ought to be to the focal point of the story, too. Call it, “My Year of Living Dangerously,” or something. Bloody brilliant.

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Ha, that’s really insane when you think about it. Makes me think of Morrison’s take on Bat-continuity in a way. That sounds like it was perhaps the busiest ‘year’ in Marvel’s existence maybe. If done right, I think it could work. A story could be woven that takes place within that year’s span of time. Kind of like how Marvels covered a lot of events that already happened, though over a much broader span of time.

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Dave DeRose said on April 3rd, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I’ve actually been wanting to do this for a while myself.

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We’re talking about a series that would revisit more storylines that demand burial than merit revisiting, so no thanks (although one that explicitly dumped some of said storylines from continuity might sway me if done right – no promises, though).

I’d prefer something that just explicitly said that Claremont was full of shit about that initial “this all happened between these two birthdays of Kitty’s” statement and amend it to let things happen in a slightly more sane time frame.
Also, retcon her age *on first appearance* to 14, and make her Excalibur birthday (with that character with the name so characteristic of a certain era of Claremontiana) her 17th or 18th, if just to slightly de-creepify some of her boyfriends, and have some of her behaviour in the years since make better sense.

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the Looter said on April 3rd, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m sorry Ed (Jack Norris), but no. Didn’t you read John’s summary of storylines? That was one of the best eras of Marvel storylines ever, which is why a project like this would be totally awesome. Kudos John Seavey!

Also, Saturnyne may have been a pet Claremont character, but she was actually created by Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis in Marvel UK’s fantastic Captain Britain. And to lay some further science on y’all, the character pretending to be Courtney Ross isn’t Saturnyne, but Evil Interdimensional Doppelgänger Sat-Yr-9, also not created by Claremont, but by Alan Davis.

Finally, the interesting thing about using Kitty Pryde as a measuring tool for the passage of time in the Marvel Universe is that a mere 75 issues later, in 1997’s Excalibur #90, it’s implied that Kitty Pryde is now 18 years old, on account of her doing dirty deed with Pete Wisdom. Ergo, the next 7 years of OTL time span 3 years of Marvel time, making the preceding ‘Year of Living Dangerously’ all the more hectic.

Man, I miss ’80s Marvel. Or maybe just being seven years old.

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mygif

Sorry, Looter, but I’m going to have to “but, no” you right back.
Yes, I did read the summary of storylines, and had a very different reaction to you; almost the polar opposite, in fact.

“That was one of the best eras of Marvel storylines ever,”

The very presence of both Secret Wars I and II, Mutant Massacre, Fall of the Mutants, the X-Men’s Australian era, Inferno, the Thing’s career as a pro wrestler (DeFalco era Two-In-One: not good), most of the Stern-era Avengers run events cited in the article (citing any Avengers lineup that includes Gilgamesh as an example of something “good” is deluded), and Acts of Vengeance, all of which were flat-out crap, render that statement incorrect.

“Saturnyne may have been a pet Claremont character, but she was actually created by Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis in Marvel UK’s fantastic Captain Britain.”

Whose fault was it that her name (well others too, and in some other books that seemed to have Claremont in common) would get rendered as a kind of logo WITHIN A SPEECH BALLOON? Because that was really annoying. A really cheesy way to oversell a character’s importance, to me.

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What about Englehart’s ‘Bigtown’, miniseries? Wasn’t the premise initiallyon the introduction of real time into the MU?

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the Looter said on April 3rd, 2011 at 8:59 pm

As I hinted at in my previous post, nostalgia may play a role in my assessment of the quality of those comics. Nevertheless:

The comic that made me not just buy but actually collect comics was the Rogue-exits-the-Siege Perilous issue of Uncanny, just before the X-Tinction Agenda. It was drawn by Jim Lee and I was maybe nine or ten years old. The Dutch publisher put out these TPBs by literally binding old unsold comics together into fat softcovers, allowing me to catch up with old storylines while at the same time getting sucked into the coolness of the Muir Island Saga, Magneto’s return, Bishop, etc.

For me, Uncanny X-Men ‘begins’ with their fight against Nimrod alongside the Hellfire Club, the introduction of the Marauders, the X-Men getting hunted around first the US and then the world, the X-Men VS Avengers LS (another Stern production), defeating a fantastically powerful trickster god by letting all their friends think they died, the wicked cyberpunk-look of the Reavers, the focus on just a small group of X-Men over a long period of time, the sense of genuine danger, change and choices having consequences (characters got hurt and left the series), the Siege Perilous, Longshot & Mojo, Freedom Force, Forge, Genosha…that long run of stories just blew me away as a kid. People always rave about the fabled Claremont/Byrne run, but to me, Claremont’s work with Romita Jr., Silvestri & Leonardi is where it’s at. It was a time in comics when if Wolverine was stuck with Storm in the middle of nowhere due to car trouble, he didn’t appear in ten other books still fighting alongside the X-Men. When thanks to one or two writers having total control over the entire X-franchise, the storylines and character arcs made sense and could simmer and develop over long periods of time.

Same with the Avengers. That John Buscema cover of Cap and Zemo fighting each other amidst the ruins of the Mansion? Shivers. Doctor Druid going crazy and jumping out of a Quinjet full of Kangs while lost in the timestream? Eerie! Captain America in his ‘the Captain’ mode forming an ad-hoc Avengers team with Gilgamesh, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman to fight Orphan-Maker and, later on, Super-Nova? Dope! Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel, the solo Jarvis adventure during Inferno, Hydro-Base…that to me, constitutes ‘the Avengers’. Just like the Thing/Human Torch/Crystal/She-Thing FF will always be my favorite FF (speaking of which, isn’t evil Arab stereotype/rapist hologram al-Fasaud due for a comeback these days?), and Michelinie-era married Spider-Man (Joe Robertson in jail! Captain Universe! Webs! Nick Katzenberg!) is the best ever.

So, while I might agree with you that Secret Wars is pretty damn silly (especially II), and assume that there’s a good reason they didn’t translate/publish Marvel Two-In-One by Tom DeFalco (who wrote some crappy, crappy Spidey during the ’90s) here in the Netherlands, anyone who so blatantly dismisses such a substantial chunk of the very era of comics that made me fall in love with the medium in the first place can be nothing less than a curmudgeonly enemy of both (personal) joy and (objective) quality.

So there!

(also, using logos and symbols to visually represent alien sounds or curses or whatnot is a tried and true technique used by everybody from Hergé and Tezuka to Moebius and Kriek. Next you’ll be telling me you don’t like thought-balloons and sounds effects.)

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@Ed: Stern didn’t write the brief “Gilgamesh era” of the Avengers; he’d already left the book by then in favor of Walt Simonson. Simonson disassembled the team (without having to resort to the Scarlet Witch), then built it back up into the Thor/Cap/Mr. Fantastic/Invisible Woman/Gilgamesh incarnation…then less than five issues later, he was off the book in favor of John Byrne.

Also, the Thing wasn’t a pro wrestler in MTIO; that happened much later, in his own title.

I’d also disagree with you on the quality of some of those stories; “Acts of Vengeance”, while not a particularly deep storyline, had some fun and memorable elements (the Cosmic Spidey sub-story, the Hulk’s fight against the Grey Gargoyle, Quasar’s being tasked to retrieve Vault escapees, Hawkeye being the first responder at the Vault, the Mad Thinker’s rejection of Loki’s offer…)

Also, the first Secret Wars is better than you probably remember it being, and most of the Claremont stuff, while not without its flaws, hangs together much better in retrospect than it did when it was coming out in 22-page chunks.

You are, however, completely and totally right about Secret Wars II. :)

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mygif

See, the point where you claim the X-Men “begins” for you is right where I was dropping the books, not to return full-time until Morrison. And I had been buying since before the “All New All Different” team debuted in Giant Size #1.
Claremont was burned out as a writer big-time by that point, and generally, after Paul Smith, the art was godawful (JRjr. was okay, but there’s plenty of much better books that he worked on, Lee was unbearably ugly for the first fifteen years of his career, and Silvestri and Leonardi are just flat-out eye torture).

And don’t cite “Wolverine didn’t appear in ten other books still fighting alongside the X-Men” to me, sonny: you can only use that when talking to your juniors, not your elders, so you can put that argument right back in your ass where you pulled it from.

I am a lover of joy, and a devotee of (actual) quality; I can’t help it if someone has such terrible taste that they can so relentlessly defend “the very era of comics” that had me dropping books left and right, and largely renouncing my Marvel-zombie-hood for an increasing diet of DC (and later, alternative/indie stuff).

Finally:
“also, using logos and symbols to visually represent alien sounds or curses or whatnot is a tried and true technique used by everybody from Hergé and Tezuka to Moebius and Kriek. Next you’ll be telling me you don’t like thought-balloons and sounds effects”

Non-point, as it doesn’t even slightly relate to what I was actually complaining about. I’m talking about nonsense like this:

http://tinyurl.com/3npsn9j

Using funny symbols to indicate an alien language or whatever is a completely different thing from someone stating their name in a speech bubble in the form of the logo they’d have on the cover of their own comic if they had one.
(Yeah, this image is from an FF from much later than the 80s, but it was the only one I could track down quickly, and this kind of thing seemed to keep happening with this general group of characters.)

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the Looter said on April 3rd, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Ha!

You know, while typing away at my little rant I did realize that some kid some day will write exactly the same thing about Civil War, JMS’s Spider-Man and the Bendis-era Avengers, all books were the good is greatly outweighed by the subpar, mediocre and outright bad. To some extent, it’s a generational thing, where the first comics you read feel fresher because they show you tropes and storytelling devices you later take for granted.

On the other hand, quality is timeless. Whether it’s Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme or BKV’s Runaways, there’s something ineffable there that makes it worth the read, no matter what decade. I did later go back and read the Byrne/Smith issues of Uncanny and enjoyed them tremendously, so I guess it just pains me that you can’t give my generation’s X-Men (and other Marvel Comics) the chance/due I did yours. But it pleases me that we at least share an appreciation for Morrison’s X-Men, which also brought me back to the book (having dropped it in disgust near the end of the Kelly/Seagle era).

Anyway, I’ll grant you this: using cover-style logos in speech bubbles is indeed an afront to the eyes. Furthermore ‘this general group of characters’ (by which I take it you mean the Captain Britain characters) has suffered from excessive Claremontian usage – what was once (under Moore & Davis)a fairly dark, sterile and genuinely weird sci-fi outpost of the Marvel Universe has been totally destroyed by way too much whimsy and cutesy Excalibur screwball antics.

Finally, re: the artists. Jim Lee doesn’t need me defending him and Silvestri becomes more and more of a parody of bad ’90s art every time he puts pencil to paper, which is a shame since his early work (circa Uncanny #225) had a rubbery, almost cartoonish quality to it that’s been completely lost. However, I do think you’re really doing a disservice to yourself by dismissing Rick Leonardi: that man is a straight-up original. From the way he poses his characters to how he frames the action, choosing angles and whatnot, not to mention how he textures costumes and backgrounds, is really one of a kind. Probably one of the most unsung artists of the past couple of decades, and a real favorite of other artists from what I’ve read.

Also, read Scalped. It’s good.

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John 2.0 said on April 3rd, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I’m not sure I see the point? I mean, is it structured as some sort of continuity porn miniseries? Is it Marvels with bad 80’s crossovers? What’s the story you want to tell? That the Marvel Universe sucks if you don’t have superpowers and get eaten by a demonic lamp?

Besides who wants to pull at these threads? I don’t know if ‘hypertime’ is still in effect (or whatever the sliding timeline is), but if it’s still ‘the Avengers formed 10 years ago, but all the stories still count’ then why even bother with this exercise? Is your follow up story how Cap has met 6 or 7 Presidents in 10 years?

Maybe this is background to the pitch, and you’re keeping the relevant details to yourself, but this is just context, it’s not a story.

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some kid some day will write exactly the same thing about Civil War, JMS’s Spider-Man and the Bendis-era Avengers, all books were the good is greatly outweighed by the subpar, mediocre and outright bad.

Silly rabbit.

Comics aren’t for kids.

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Superfries said on April 4th, 2011 at 10:18 am

Good lord yes. I would read that. I would be all freakin’ over that book. Great concept.

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I… can’t imagine having much interest in something like this, myself. It would basically be a retelling of numerous already told stories, often without the emotional impact from having experienced the context and development leading up to those stories.

More than that, I don’t see any real premise here – just an attempt to cram a mechanical construct (the fluctuating timeline of comics) into a specific framework in order to point out how absurd it all is.

Now, if the premise is simply “A view of the comics universe from the perspective of an ordinary guy, and a realization of how chaotic and shifting and strange it all is”… now, that’s a premise worth pursuing.

Which, of course… Kurt Busiek already has. In Astro City, and Marvels, we get pretty much exactly that approach – without reliance on this entire artificial concept of ‘one year’ which, honestly, takes more away from the premise than it provides.

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Kid Kyoto said on April 5th, 2011 at 9:41 am

Y’know I’m not sure this is would work as a comic, and I can say right out that unless it had Marvels level talent it wouldn’t sell since it’s not ‘important’. Especially from an unknown writer.

BUT it would make a great blog or twitter feed or some other fan project which might get one noticed by Marvel.

Just throwing that out.

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The past fades fast in Marvel. I’ve heard it best explained as “the comics are happening now. Everything that’s happened before then happened an appropriate number of years ago, but NOT at the exact time that they were written.”

I’m really not interested in seeing all those events re-addressed. Before decompression (not that I think decompression has put us in a golden age or anything) SOMETHING biggish had to happen with each issue. As a consequence, a lot of stuff happened at once during the market gluts of the ’80s and early ’90s

I don’t think those events matter as much to today’s readers. I mean, I’m someone who read a whole bunch of that ’80s continuity, and it was “my baseline”, if you will. I’m happier to see things move on from here. I’m MUCH happier to see people write interesting stories – with their own characters, if possible, but finding new wrinkles in our favourites when that’s the idiom in which they work.

Jason Aaron writes a much better Wolverine than Claremont ever did. And he writes Scalped. Reading about Dash is great, reading about Logan, in a bar with Spider Man or fighting the Adamantium Men, is also great. I’d enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy a lot more if it wasn’t snarled in trivial minutiae from the 1980s stories with Vance Astro and whatnot.

So, after all that, would I want to read these stories set into context? I feel like that’s what the early ’90s X-Men cartoon did. And I kind of think it worked okay, though it was deliriously dense. But I think it can go amiss. Efforts to “untangle” the crazed continuity of the ’80s and explain it in ’90s terms are far more likely to wind up like DC’s inane continuity-resetting “crises”. And I’ve really got no interest in a story like that.

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Jamasiel said on April 5th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I could see it being the threads that somehow tie all of these “events in a year” together.
The instant the Brood are kicked back, the heroes are shooped to the Secret Wars, and upon their return, they are teleported into the midst of their next adventure/conflict/crossover. Sleep is a rare thing, a normal day is when they remain on the planet Earth at all, and rehab takes 3 weeks.
I’d pay money for this.

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Black Rabbit said on April 5th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

My corollary ideas:

-Set it in NYC (mostly).

-Viewpoint characters: a rookie Bugle beat reporter, a Sanitation Dept. sewer-worker, a minor City Hall bureaucrat, a bench player for the Yankees, a waitressing single mother whose daughter (no one we know) attends the School For Gifted Youngsters.

-A mini-arc about Owen Reece and Marsha Rosenberg.

-One birth, one wedding, two funerals, several birthdays, and at least one trip to the Moon.

-Recurring background characters: a talkative Russian cabbie, a TV reporter, a bunch of kids in Hell’s Kitchen, Ed Koch, a Warhol-esque hero-worshipping artist, “Marvel Comics” bullpen writers, Damage Control.

-Actually, strike that: Damage Control should be a HUGE part of the book, not merely recurring.

-“52 meets Ex Machina meets Planetary” might be a good description of the writing approach.

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mygif

Just do the whole thing from Wolverine’s perspective. Cast Hugh Jackman. At the end, have a mutilated version of Cyclops with one giant eye be the final antagonist.

PROBLEM SOLVED

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Actually, considering that most characters are published monthly, but usually claim that the time of their last adventure was “a few days ago” (which we’ll round off to a week for ease) Comic Book Time works out at about 1/4 of real time. In other words, it’s been about 12 years since the Fantastic Four re-started the Heroic Age in their world (this is confirmed in an issue of the last THING series). So no, it’s hasn’t been just one year between Kitty’s birthdays. Claremont miscalculated. The birthday she celebrated must have been her 16th or 17th. Which still works out pretty much the same for story purposes.

Still, life in the Marvel Universe really IS hectic (though heroes DO get breaks between adventures- they are just not often mentioned) and a miniseries covering a year’s worth of marvel time would still be about four years of published comic storylines!

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Write this. Pitch it to Joe Q or whoever.
I wanna read it.

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I was thinking about this post today after re-reading Kitty’s first appearances (as part of my ongoing mission to calculate the actual length of time the team has been in existence). Just for the record, Kitty is thirteen and a half during the winter she meets the team, and still hasn’t hit her birthday by the following Christmas, itself over twenty issues before she’s first described as fourteen.

The general (and understandable) difficulty in comics chronology is easy enough to ignore. Claremont couldn’t keep it straight within a single title.

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