One of the biggest issues to plague Marvel Comics throughout its history is the passage of time. While a good chunk of the most popular characters have origin stories not rooted in a specific time frame, Iron Man and Punisher among others first started their stories around real-life wars. To remedy this in the latest issue of the series History of the Marvel Universe, writers Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez have created a fictional war that will perpetually hang roughly 15 years in the past.
"By far my favorite thing so far is finding the perfect space for the Siancong War, which is brand-new, created for this book," the writers explained. "The Punisher's origin, for instance, was originally tied to Vietnam, but the longer it's anchored specifically there, the stranger it gets that Frank Castle isn't 70 years old. Likewise, over the years, we've moved Iron Man's origin from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf War and so forth to keep Tony Stark from being over 80, and it's time we found it a permanent home."
By doing this, the characters won't have to be rooted to real-life wars. "Now and forevermore, those characters, along with veterans like Rhodey, Reed Richards, and Ben Grimm will be said to have fought in the Siancong War, a single conflict that will hang perpetually about 15 years behind current continuity," they added.
History of the Marvel Universe sees the creators instating a unified timeline with some of the most famous stories in its history. Siancong, where the fictional war took place over decades, first appeared in 1965's Avengers No. 18. As Marvel Comics continues, the origin stories will be brought forward in time to explain why characters haven't aged as much as they would have otherwise.