As I was watching Queen Elizabeth's funeral procession, my thoughts drifted to her "Silver Jubilee" celebration (February 6, 1977) as depicted in Captain Britain #39 (week ending July 6, 1977).
That got me thinking about contemporary events tied to specific dates as depicted in comic books. In long-running superhero "universes" time is often depicted on a sliding scale, but I'm thinking of events that cannot be changed without altering a significant point of the story. I'm not looking for flashbacks or "historical" stories written long-after the event; no "Pearl Harbor" in Invaders or "D-Day" in Sgt. Fury. Here are a few that occurred to me off the top of my head.
Nov. 9, 1965 - New York City Blackout - Strange Tales #160-161
July 20, 1969 - Moon Landing - Fantastic Four #98
July 4, 1976 - American Bicentennial - Captain America #200
Feb. 6, 1977 - Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee - Captain Britain #39
July 28, 1984 - Opening Ceremonies, Olympic Games - Jon Sable, Freelance #18
Sep. 11, 2001 - World Trade Center - Amazing Spider-Man #36
Jan. 20, 2009 - President Obama's Inauguration - Amazing Spider-Man #583
Can you think of any others?
Most of the stories above were written after the fact. A notable exception is "Deadly Games" (Jon Sable #17-18) which was written to coincide with the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic games. (#17 was released in June and #18 in July of that year.) It was tricky for Mike Grell to coordinate because the identity of the runner who lit the torch was concealed until the ceremony itself. (It was Rafer Johnson, BTW.)
Superman Family #182 (April 1977) has a Supergirl story tied to Viking 1 making its way to Mars. Historically that means some point between August 1975 and July 1976.
Hmm... even though that story is not tied to a specific date, it's historic enough to be considered "fixed." I'll accept it.
Roy Thomas wrote Secret Origins #5, which establishes that Lee Travis' decision to become the Crimson Avenger happens a very short time after the 1938 broadcast of Orson Welles "War of the Worlds".
Marvel's Comet Man's origin is strongly tied to the year 1986, because that is when Halley's Comet came near Earth for the first time since 1910.
Since the story specified the Tokyo Olympics (I don't recall that it actually said 1964 or if I just assumed it did), I believed it was more of a "fixed point" than the vague Olympic Games where DC heroes like Rita Farr from the Doom Patrol or Rocky Davis from the Challengers of the Unknown earned their medals, which could have taken place anywhere in the past 60 years or so.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
I would classify that as "fuzzy" because there's no historical event to "fix" it to 1964. The reason I included Jon Sable #17-18 but not Batman & the Outsiders #14-15 is because, although both took place against a backdrop of the 1984 Olympics, the former took place behind-the-scenes of the opening ceremonies of that particular Olympics and no other, and also was released more or less concurrently with the event itself.
I found another "semi-fixed" one today myself: Giant-Size Defenders #4 opens at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on January 4, 1975 but, although specific, it's not really fixed.
In Fantastic Four #178, dated for Jan 1977, the Frightful Four hold the FF for ransom and Mayor Beame rings up an unnamed Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Carter says he won't be able to do anything "till aftah ah'm elected next week". According to Mike's Amazing World the issue went on sale Oct 26 1976. That year's election was Nov 2, so the line appears timed to match the release date. (Reagan calls himself a defeated presidential candidate. That places the sequence after the 1976 Republican convention, which Wikipedia tells me was in August.)
Nova #19 introduced Blackout. Nova is flying over New York when everything suddenly goes black. He thinks "It's like the big blackout--only worse."
My recollection is Marv Wolfman said in FOOM he wrote the line with the blackout of 1965 in mind, forgetting that Nova was too young to really remember it, but because of the recent blackout (Jul 1977) the line now made sense. This doesn't match your criteria, though, as there's nothing in his thought to show it happened recently.
Mike's Amazing World says the issue went on sale in Feb 1978. If I'm remembering right that indicates Wolfman scripted the issue over half a year before it appeared, which surprises me.
"Kill Captain America!" from Men's Adventures #28 is set just after the Korean War. It opens with Steve and Bucky escorting released American prisoners of war. The net tells me most American POWs were released in Aug. 1953. The issue is dated for Jul 1954. Mike's Amazing World says it went on sale Mar.
Military Comics became Modern Comics with #44. This was dated for Nov 1945, but went on sale in Sep, making it the first issue after the Japanese surrender.
The Blackhawk stories in #44 and #45 are clearly set during the war. #46's is set post-war - the splash page has a blurb "Wipe out the tyrants NOW---- Save the world from ANOTHER WAR! Thus speaks Blackhawk!", and Blackhawk calls the enemy "Jap renegades" p.2. - but it's likely it was created as a war story and altered.
#47's involves Axis fugitives and can be taken as post-war, but it's not completely clear. The splash of #48's celebrates the end of the war, and the story opens with the Blackhawks celebrating the victory. They're disheartened by the thought of disbanding and at the end of the story decide to remain together. The issue was dated for Apr 1946 and went on sale in Feb.
The Boy Commandos story in Detective Comics #109 is clearly set during the war. The one in #110 opens with them making their farewells after they've been demobilised. Like Modern Comics #48 the issue was dated for Apr 1946 and on sale in Feb.
What most of these suggestions lack is a specific date.
Many of the of the historic events are fuzzy and "retconable" (to coin a phrase).
I considered the Beatles example initially and, had it been The Ed Sullivan Show, I would have accepted it. This event could be easily retconned to be "Beatlemania" or another tribute band.
Ok, I promise, this is the last time I beat this dead horse--in that Titans story, Speedy is specifically taking part in the opening ceremonies of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. That would give us a specific date of October 10, 1964.
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