Cyclops' eye blasts are an extreme example of the type of adaptationist genetics that has come to be "genetics" in the public eye. No matter how much DNA might twist and turn, having it encode a protein that would turn normal, ambient, ATP supplied chemical energy into enough photons to blow down a concrete wall is impossible. It goes against laws of biology and physics.

But I am not here to talk about Cyclops' eyeblasts. I just bring that up as an introductory way to point out that I realize that looking for lack of realism in comic books is not a hard thing to do, and there are many different places to look, all of which doesn't really net the eagle eyed comic book reader that many benefits. And yet, there is one issue that has been bothering me since I was a wee lad, reading comic books. And that is that super heroes have time budgeting issues that would make their lives difficult if not impossible. There is actually three super-hero time scales: the day-to-day, the month-to-month, and the long range. The long range has already been discussed internally and externally as a matter of great confusion, and we have just come to accept that Superman's Kryptonian physiology, Captain America's journey in a block of ice, and periodic revisions of chronology happen. But what really bothers me is the short range: how super-heroes find the hours in a day to fit in their activities.

Consider Spider-Man, a popular hero who is always put-upon and at loose ends. Spider-Man is perhaps not the best example, because his writers usually acknowledge him as being late on time, not being able to show up for things, etc. But Spider-Man, in his civilian identity as Peter Parker, almost always has a day job. He is often in school. He has a wife, at times. And he does other things. The reader can probably sympathize, because they probably have a similar schedule. But then Spider-Man has to come out and go on patrol, breaking up muggings and hijackings every night. If the reader considers their own life stressful, add about four or five hours of low-level combat every night, and see if they could make it work. And this, of course, is only for the normal activities. Can the reader imagine that if on top of those four or five hours a night, there was also periodic interdimensional or intergalactic trips? It just doesn't add up, especially when you consider the periodic team-ups and guest spots that less popular super-heroes need you to do to keep their circulation afloat. Also, there is the necessity to take part in super-team business. I will shift to a different universe, and consider Batman. Batman is a billionaire socialite, with company business and an active social life, who then goes up and beats up muggers all night every night. By themselves, these things would seem to take up 24 hours a day. But Batman is also part of the Justice League of America, and quite apart from fighting intergalactic invasions, he has to do something called "Monitor Duty". Since there are usually about 7 members of the JLA, that means that each one of them must use up 24 hours a week to sit in a chair on the moon and watch security camera videos from all over the planet. Where do they find the time?

If there is one time scale where things might conceivably be okay, it is the monthly time scale. Super-Hero comics only come out once a month, so if we take that to be a month of "real time", we can imagine that super-heroes only get in really impressive adventures about once a month. So if Spider-Man has to go and fight Thanos, or Batman has to go and fight Darkseid, that is only one weekend a month. You could conceivably pass that off to your friends as just having had a really weird bender or reclusive episode. Unless you are a popular super-hero with three or four titles, then this stuff happens every week.

So the chronology of how super-heroes fit all those adventures in their days is one more thing to think about obsessively while reading your monthly dose of sequential art metanarrative goodness. Or try to not think about it at all. In fact, if you have read this far, just do a continuity reboot and never have read this writeup at all.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.