In the Marvel Universe, ever since Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #1, the stories are almost always set in the present year that the comics are printed. For the first several years of publication, time passed in the Marvel Universe just as fast as in the real world. Peter Parker completed a year of school every 12 issues, Johnny Storm graduated High School on schedule and took a year off between high school and college, and so on.
The problem with characters aging in real time is that superheroes would start becoming old, and some of Marvel’s initial crop of heroes weren’t exactly young to start with (Reed Richards is likely in his early 40s in FF#1). Starting in 1967 (and simultaneous with a change in ownership of Marvel), Marvel began to retard the rate at which time passed. Thus, relative to real life, the characters age very slowly. In order to keep current stories in the present day, Marvel Time instead makes it so older stories happen more recently than would be expected by publication date.
Time is a helluva drug…
The article makes mention of the problem of Magneto’s origins relative to this timeline’s constantly advancing start point, and one or more editors contributed the statement “Magneto’s ties to WW2 are unbreakable. There hasn’t been another tragedy of the same nature perpetuated on such a scale since (and hopefully never will be). Disconnecting Magneto from WW2 would take all the power of his personality from him.”
That kind of ignores all the other genocides and mass murders that have occurred since, in my view. Now I’m pondering the possibility of a “Post-Millennial” reboot AU, where Magneto is an African man who survived the Rwandan Genocide as a teen or young adult, now in his late thirties.
My favorite example of this is the comic where Spider-Man goes to a broadcast of Saturday Night Live, and it’s the immediately-post Chevy Chase era.
Now, if all Marvel stories happen within a couple years of right-now, then the SNL cast that Spidey actually met has changed over time. At one point Spidey must have Partied On with Wayne & Garth, at another point, we got to see Robert Downey Jr. play a drunken Tony Stark on Celebrity Jeopardy!, etc etc etc.
Unfortunately, given the established nature of the Silver Samurai, he’s locked in there, as opposed to some other villain who coincidentally resembles an SNL bit.
"Moynihan, no! That Drunk Uncle’s for real!"