What does the Marvel Universe continuity suggest happened between the WW2 heroes and the modern age?

In DC, HUAC sent the JSA underground. It wasn’t until Superman and the Justice League came onto the scene that things returned. (I think there was something concocted about the Justice Experience to fill the gap that time has placed between the 50’s and the modern age).

What is Marvel’s continuity in this era? Were there heroes? Marvel hasn’t had a “Crisis” moment that I know of, and their continuity never seemed as significant because they had no “multiverse” problems.

Just curious!

Well, Captain America got frozen in a block of ice. Prince Namor (Submariner) got his memory temporarily wiped and lived as a derelict until Johnny Storm found him. The Mad Thinker found the original Human Torch somewhere.

That was all 1960s continuity. I haven’t kept up in many years. I think Bucky (who was supposed to have been blown up by a buzz bomb or something) turned up alive or reconstituted or something.

In the marvel world I thought it was pretty much Scary stories, Millie the model and cowboys.

The Agents of ATLAS were active in the 50s, as were (non-costumed) Wolverine, the Winter Soldier (as a Soviet assassin) and Nick Fury, CIA. In current continuity, the FF and the explosion of Marvel superheroes occurred maybe 20 years ago, and the Kree-Skrull War occurred maybe 17 years ago (judging from the ages of the Young Avengers, who were all conceived then or shortly thereafter).

A series called Marvel: The Lost Generation tried to fill in the blanks of what happened between the 50s and FF #1, but the series was not popular and has not, to my knowledge, been referenced by any subsequent writers or stories.

The Penance Council, a team of WWII and legacy heroes led by Roger “Mighty Destroyer” Aubrey with some involvement by Nathaniel Richards and Howard Stark, was continually active during this period in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. Keen Marlow, another hero with the same “Mighty Destroyer” costume and identity, has also been shown to be continually active from WWII to the present with a different Black Ops group.

Basically, there has been continual superhero activity on a much smaller scale during the interim period of 1955-1989.

Not quite. Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, got frozen in a block of ice. But Captain America is a role, not an identity; it was created by the American government for both strategic and propagandistic purposes. When Rogers disappeared, the government appointed several successors during the late 40s and early 50s, as was obviously its prerogative. Clearly there hadn’t been one for several years before the FF came onto the scene, but there had nonetheless but others.

As I said, that’s the 1960s continuity. AFAIK, any Marvel mythology about the Korean War Captain America (he did have a resurgence then) wasn’t addressed. There’s been plemnty of time to wank it since the sixties.

My point is that Marvel’s current (and always risible) continuity is that there were Captains America between Steve Rogers first and second terms in the role. Though I also suspect that, given that the FF currently began around '97 or so, that there was a long period in which the role lay fallow.

I remember the 50’s Cap(s). Wasn’t one of them some kind of bad guy?

It’s easier for Marvel to jettison the past than DC. Other than Cap, who is easily explained away, they have very little tying them to the past. DC’s history is so wrapped up in WW2 era that there is always that link. DC keeps having to figure out ways to keep the old guard and their spouses alive despite the fact that they would now be long dead or very elderly.

One of the funnier bits concerning the lapse in time between the “Timely” and “Marvel” eras occurred in “the Sensational She-Hulk.” Back in the late 1940s, Timely (a.k.a. Marvel) Comics produced a short-lived series starring a heroine called the Blonde Phantom. She never came close to the popularity of Cap, Subby or the Torch so was pretty much forgotten about for decades.

Then in 89/90, the Blonde Phantom (or rather her retired civilian alter ego) became a supporting character in Shulkie’s book. The conceit of “the Sensational She-Hulk” was that the characters knew they were simply comic book characters. “Blondie” took the job because she was aware that comic book characters never age, except when they are not featured in an ongoing series for a long stretch of time. Because she had been gone for a while, Blondie had aged to late middle-age, but didn’t want to get older.

As an example, just take Captain America. Sure, he was placed in suspended animation at the close of WWII, but he got thawed out in 1963! Even he was still in the condition of a 20-something when he got de-iced, that was 46 years ago! He, as well as all the early Avengers (with the exception perhaps of Thor) ought to be pushing 70!

Likewise Nick Fury, old enough to be an NCO during WWII, and went on to head SHIELD and a splinter organization. He has to be in his eighties.

In The Official History of the Marvel Universe, Fury takes some kind of eternal youth potion called the Infinity Formula that maintains him in peak condition. I think that is the idea with Captain American as well, that the Super-Soldier formula gives him an enormously extended lifespan.


That, unfortunately, doesn’t explain the vast majority of Marvel Comic’s superstar characters who have all been around since at least the late 70s, and many from the early - mid 60s, who still appear to be in the 25-35 years age category. Okay, Wolverine’s healing factor makes him effectively immortal - but how is it that the FF, Spidey, Bruce Banner, Daredevil, the Punisher, and dozens & dozens of X-Men & Avengers are still in prime condition after 35+ years?

FTM, same goes for a whole lot of DC characters. Even if the original “Crisis” reset the clock for everybody, that means they’ve still been fighting the good fight for 23 years.

You’d think that such a physically demanding, high pressure gig as superheroing would cause people to age prematurely faster than a pro-football linebacker. But instead, it seems to grant virtual immortality - just don’t get kicked off your regular book!

Maybe they should just accept the anachronisms without comment. For example, having a hero state that he’s now 35 years old and started his career when he was 25- back during the Vietnam War. And no one in-universe sees anything contradictory about that.

My understanding is that they get around this by maintaining that (with certain exceptions) the characters didn’t become superheros at a particular year, but a particular number of years ago. Spiderman’s been crime fighting for, say, five years. Every year of the comic, that moves his first year of crime fighting up a year. In some places, this gets really weird. See, for example, Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow resurrection story/continuity porn, where GA fondly remembers the time he and Green Lantern drove across country, personally witnessing the racial problems and social inequities that were besetting the nation in that tumultous period of cultural upheaval: the early 1990s.

I’ve been suggesting for a while now that the best way to avoid this is to have each universe do a hard reboot every five to ten years. That way, you can have genuine character growth without breaking the characters. Bruce Wayne’s been struggling with the death of his parents for sixty years now. It’d be nice if he could finally get over it and move on, except that ruins the central concept of Batman. But if you start with Batman: Year One, run him through Batman: Year Ten, and then just end it, you can have a real character arc for him. Then, start over with Batman: Year One again, and do the same arc again, but without being bogged down by any of the old continuity. Do this for the entire DC/Marvel universe. You can also finally start killing off major characters and have it mean something. Imagine the Death of Superman where he actually stays dead. That would bear some actual emotional weight, even if you know that they’re going to start a new Superman universe next month that’s not related to the series you just finished.

I’ll do you one better : French comic book character Buck Danny started his career the day of Pearl Harbour - he was a 20something engineer on the base when the bombs started to fall. Back in the States, he joins the Navy, and ends up in the cockpit of a TBF Avenger. On the carrier, he meets the people who will become his sidekicks : older, reliable Tumbler and young kid who lied about his age Sonny Tuckson. They kill Japs.

Let’s do the Time Warp.

Buck Danny is now a Colonel (IIRC his last promotion happened during the Korean War. He never got promoted further because it’s the last rank where you get to fly planes rather than a desk). Sonny, however, is still a Captain. They fly F-18s and F-22s now. They still haven’t aged.

Hilariously, in one of their latest adventures they are invited to an air show featuring warbirds : restored WW2 airplanes. The three have a nostalgia attack and reminisce a bit, savoring the opportunity to fly their old mounts before they have to get back to their carrier.

MOST of the old heroes, who were canonically active in the 40s (IE, they aren’t 40s era characters whose canon history is modern) ARE either long dead or very elderly.

Uncle Sam (not a mortal being), the first Flash (kept youngish by the Speed Force), Green Lantern (kept young by the internalized power of the ring), Wildcat (kept young by being cursed with 9 lives - he’s currently on his last one), and Hourman (time travel is involved) are the only ones I can think of who are currently alive and not physically octogenarians or nonagenarians (and they appear to be very fit 60 year olds, on the whole). The original Hawkman was, until recently, alive, and young (late 30s, early 40s, I would guess), too.

For the most part, however, the old character have either been retconned into modern characters, died and been replaced with newer versions*, or are old and retired - the first Phantom Lady, for instance, most recently appeared as a supporting character in the book of her granddaughter, the current Manhunter.

  • Some of these are starting to get a little strained, though - The current Black Canary (permanently in her 30s) is the daughter of the original…who was active in the 40s and 50s. Meaning, Dinah the Elder could have been as old as her late 50s when she had Dinah the Younger, depending on just how you guess their ages - putting Dinah Drake in her late teens early 20s during her heyday and Dinah Laurel in her late 30s now makes it more reasonable than having them both in their mid-30s.

I think the current Hourman is the son of the original, although there is in fact some time travel involved with his backstory.

Trickle down economics, rodney king, and grunge just doesn’t have the same ring?:wink:

But what about the spouses? The last time I looked, Jay Garrick’s wife was still alive and well.

Dealing with those 6…

I’m not 100% sure, but I think Joan Garrick has been stated to benefit from the same Speed Force side-effect as Jay, by being near him. Like Jay she appears to be in her 50s or 60s.

Alan Scott’s first wife (Rose Canton, AKA Rose and Thorn) is dead (committed suicide sometime after the birth of the twins). His second, Molly Mayne (AKA Harlequin), I’m not familiar enough with to know exactly what’s going on, but she was deaged (and subsequently reaged) during Underworld Unleashed, and I’m under the impression that she was somewhat younger than Alan to begin with. (Alan apparently has a thing for super-villainesses)

I have no idea of what might be going on with Mrs Tyler…but, when you have a time traveller on your side…

Shayera Hall died years ago. (She was kept in play by having her spirit migrate to the body of her niece who had just attempted suicide.)

Uncle Sam and Wildcat avoided the problem by never having had long-term relationships that needed to keep pace with them (Ted and Catwoman apparently had a thing not long before I started reading her book, in fact).

I agree with this, but last I heard the “official” explaination is that the modern age of heroes (the FF’s rocketship launching) always!!! took place 10 years ago.

So…Bill Clinton was president when Peter Parker was born, the FF sent their rocket-ship up (somewhere) about the same time that Monica’s blue dress was the hot news story and Iron Man stepped on that land mine…(actually this one kinda works) around the time of 9/11.

This rule really fucked up Iron Man and Black Widow in the late '90s. Ten years earlier the Soviet Union was disintigrating so the Black Widow* was a slinky Russian spy working for…um…Hydra? And Tony stepped on that land mine during the Falkland Islands thing. What Wong Chu, and Dr. Ho Yinsen were doing in the falkland islands wasn’t really addressed.

For that matter, by this rule, Peter Parker put on that costume right before 9/11.

I hate this rule and it doesn’t seem like it’s being enforced all that much any more, but there was a period where it was really screwing things up for writers.
*Rememeber–she’s the (grand?)daughter of Anastasia Romanoff

There was a story in All Star Squadron (an annual, IIRC) where Per Degaton kidnapped all the spouses/loved ones of the JSA/All Star Squad. In the big fight scene at the end, Degaton’s Time Machine (or whatever gizmo) blew up and irradiated everyone in the room–spouses, kids*, the heroes, some villains, etc. Everyone in that room who was irradiated had really, really, realllllllly slow aging as a side-effect. I think that story survived the Crisis–it came out within a year or two.

Before that, back when there was an “Earth-S”, the reason all the Marvel Family and their supporting cast was so young was that Sivania lured everyone connected with the Marvel Family (including Billy Batson’s boss, etc. EVERYONE) to a picnic (or something) and lured bad-guys there too (IIRC). Then he made a bubble of “Suspendium” around them and put them in suspended animation…but got caught in the bubble himself with his family. The bubble floated (in space?) for 25 years or so until something happend (a meteor?) and Cap broke free and returned everyone to Earth. This being Earth-S where things were generally happier, no-one much minded having missed out on 25-30 years of history and it was pretty much not mentioned again (as opposed to Captain America who got 15 years of story from his wangst about being “a man out of time” until finally some writer said “Get OVER it already” :wink: )
*Johnny Thunder’s adopted neice or whatever Peachy Pet was