Post-Cold War

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The future is [almost] now!

"In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past."

– Alan Moore's Watchmen

"The Future Is now, old man."

– Dewey, Malcom in the Middle

You are here.

After the end of the communist regimes and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 ended almost half a century of Cold War. The ideological, political and economical clashes between different ideologies that had had its apex during World War II had finally ended, taken a new form or gone underground depending who you ask.

The New Cold War[edit]

"History repeats, first as a tragedy, then as a farce."

– Karl Marx

After the collapse of the USSR in the 90s, the general feeling in the West and the rest was one of semi-cautious optimism. At long last liberal democracy and capitalism had won the day, the ˝evil empire˝ was gone, and we have reached the end of history according to Francis Fukuyama, things were on the up swing it seemed as the USA was left as the only true superpower in the world.

However, this merry period was not to last long, after the 90s which are now ironically seen as somewhat of the last hurrah before the increasing shitstorm of the following century the USA got a series of rude surprises. First was the infamous 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks which saw the first significant attack on American soil by foreign combatants in a century, and a grimly spectacular one at that with close to 3,000 people killed, 25,000 wounded, to say nothing of the damage to infrastructure and collective American psyche. This directly led to America embroiling itself in a series of wars in the Middle East that soon turned into quagmires with no clear winner, with many parallels being drawn to Vietnam. Seven years later the Great Recession of 2008/9 rolled around to further mess up the first decade of M3.

While this was going on and with America's attention arguably focused elsewhere, Russia and China were slowly growing in power and prominence. China was gradually thundering on ever since the late 90s, slowly surpassing Japan after the latter crashed and burned in 1991. By becoming the next ˝workshop of the world˝ China managed to accrue immense global economic influence and achieve economic growth that was nothing short of meteoric. Russia meanwhile was going through their own Age of Strife as the former USSR splintered into a dozen independent republics with all the economic and social turmoil that entails (exacerbated even worse by the rise of a new class of oligarchs hell-bent on plundering it for all it was worth), the ˝˝Russian 90s˝ still evoke fear and horror as young Russians were desperate to get into the universities of all things in order to avoid the poverty of everyday life or the military where one could get gang-raped among other things, all while the total lack of support from the West reminded a lot of Russians about why exactly they had opposed the US in the first place. Russia's GDP fell by more than 3/5ths between 1991 and 1998 and it would take until 2004 for it to recover to soviet levels. This all changed with Vladimir Putin, who managed to pull the country out of the gutter and started to build up its power again. All the while even though Communism had fallen in Russia Authoritarianism persisted under the new banner.

Arguably, the first signs that something was not quite right came in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the still ongoing war in Ukraine, something that was considered impossible in the prior decade (and ended 207-year-old Swiss neutrality). Additionally, while the Arab Spring saw the fall of many dictators from Libya to Egypt and Tunisia, in Syria the Assad dynasty managed to not only hold its own but push back the "moderate Islamists"(mainly Sunni Arabs who want to kill/rob/rape Shi'ites), ISIS/ISIL (Salafists trying to bring back the Islamic caliphates of old), and people who just don't want to be ruled by a despot, with no small amount of help from Russia (though this holding out is probably going the way of the dodo courtesy of Turkey due to dramatic developments in 2022). China meanwhile was acting far more subtly in exerting its geopolitical influence, making huge loans to other countries and its corporations branching out into all sorts of sectors in Africa, Australia and Asia all the while partnering up with Russia in a general though not overtly belligerent counter-western stance.

The sum of all of this is that as of the third decade of M3 the world is no longer unipolar with USA having to contend with resurgent Russia and China, whose imperial ambitions are seemingly once again stirring. While the three powers are not directly inimical to one another, they each are trying to exert their geopolitical interests and being less and less obliged to ask the USA for an opinion.

Cold War II: Electric Boogaloo was likely locked in as of February 2022 with the escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict into a full scale war with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While we won't elaborate on details due to contemporary news being the most Skubby part of history, the responses afterwards seem to have drawn a line. One thing we have to note however, is the abysmal Russian performance (especially in logistics) with stories ranging from leadership incompetence in the field, difficulty coordinating waves of untrained recruits and even more humiliating logistical mistakes such as entire armored companies grinding to a halt outside invasion points because they ran out of fuel. Completely overturning wargaming with regards to post-Soviet competence (verdict: quite lackluster for a former superpower) and also demonstrating the horrific effectiveness of guided missiles used on both sides and especially drones like the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone. Not to mention the fucktons of NATO equipment being poured into Ukraine giving the country a true fighting chance against its bigger neighbor through a far superior military supply line. Based on available information current Russian victories are appear to be achieved through a combination of overwhelming force on key cities and targets with coordinated artillery/air-strikes with armored tank assaults' along with good old fashioned overwhelming numbers, Nevermind that most of these troops are minorities from poor and rural regions. While moderately effective it is a highly inefficient strategy especially with the Ukrainians far more effective use of strategic missile strikes and less wasteful offensive tactics being bolstered by tremendous material support from Europe. This had led to reports of poor morale from Russian conscripts and even field commanders. Unless the Russians improve their tactics or logistical infrastructure any quick victory seems to be out of the question. For the moment, this has made any future hot war essentially suicidal without overwhelming numbers if enemy smart weapons aren't disabled first while reminding everyone just how important supply lines and morale are in any warfare (along with actually having a legitimate long-term plan to begin with). After all, what is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Then Ukraine started launching their own counter offensives, which have been far more effective than Russia's, accomplishing in days what took the Russians months to do during the initial invasion.

On another note more than few political and Military scientists have opinioned that this conflict may yet give insight on how major powers will have to counter modern tactics and capabilities. As open conflict with relatively first world nations has been quite rare in recent decades. Advances in the disabling of drone and guided missile technology will likely be a major point of interest for global powers, along with satellite recon and signal jamming. And has opened the door to new leaders in the field arms supply in the future (Germany in particular has stepped up its game on military expenditure not seen in generations in response to renewed Russian aggression). Along with the emboldening of other powers such as China. The lines in a future cold war may well start to draw themselves in the near future.

It should be noted that people have been yelling about Cold War II for the past 20+ years, and the term itself is controversial among political scientists and government officials. The former because they don't think we're there yet, the latter because it would inflame tensions with other countries. Leaving aside the significant differing details.

Other Regions[edit]

Asia[edit]

While China's rise has been commented on, it was not the only East Asian country to see a considerable change in fortune at the tail end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong have all emerged as prominent players on the world economy, with a rapid rise in standards of living and economic influence (though increasing political interference from China has negatively affected Hong Kong and Taiwan in that regard).

Notably, India has emerged as a major player on the world scene, particularly with food exports.

Europe[edit]

The biggest trend of Post Cold War Europe has been a push towards integration. The process had begun in the 1950s after WWII in which A: hard-line militarized nationalism was not popular for some fairly obvious reasons and B: economic cooperation was seen as a better way to achieve and maintain peace and prosperity. Eastern Europe was added to the mix after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The eventual result of which was the European Union. In 1995 the EU introduced the Euro as a Common Currency, which was widely adopted by 1999.

Of course, there has been opposition to the EU and pushback by various localist movements. Most notably Brexit.

Africa[edit]

Within the past few centuries there have been widespread problems across the continent of Africa lingering even after the Cold War. Most of this can be traced back to European Colonialism which involved building plantations, mines and railways to support plantations and mines with white guys doing as much of the technical work as possible (and with the native inhabitants being deliberately kept uneducated and untrained lest they become able to use all that infrastructure by themselves). At the same time, it was a common practice to exacerbate existing tribal conflicts (and sometimes they even created new ones!) in order to keep their subjects too busy squabbling with each other to join forces against their overlords.

This dependence on a colonial regime running everything combined with the elimination of pre-colonial social structures led to power vacuums when the various foreigners left, which were often filled by authoritarian strong-men. Various nations also used countries of Africa as a dumping ground for obsolete weapons after the Cold War, which were eagerly seized by governments and warlords seeking to establish control over their newly seized domains. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a series of conflicts and civil wars, notably the Rwandan Genocide. Despite that, there has been a gradual rise in standards of living in many countries of Africa, including stable economies. Algeria and Tunisia, for example, has made significant improvements with their GDP and literacy rates. Several nations of Africa are also the world's leading exporters of various goods - for example, Nigeria has seen considerable GDP growth and industrial development over the last three decades.

That being said, in many cases Western countries retain disproportionate influence over much of Africa via economic and cultural means (e.g., multinational corporations exploiting cheap labor while reducing countries' access to their own natural resources), which has led some observers to view them as practicing what has been dubbed "neocolonialism" to retain control over their former colonies without open use of military force. In this view, the aforementioned exporting is less of a sign of economic progress and more of an indication of their continuing role in extracting resources on the behalf of their former colonizers. This phenomenon is not unique to Africa, and has been observed in India and other regions of the world formerly held as European colonies.

Technology[edit]

"We're living in the age of cellphone cameras. Fuckups ain't tolerated!"

– Smiling Jack, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines

Storytelling, especially settings placed in a contemporary or "modern" era hit a major hurdle in the 90s and especially early 00s as this newfangled thing called "Internet" arose out of a USA government/military project to link computer systems the states and world-over in order to maintain communication after a hypothetical nuclear war. Thing is, once this was released to the general public the network expanded rapidly until it became a new paradigm of human existence, influencing everything from society, politics, economics, the arts, religion - you name it. Story-wise this made any masquerade or hidden "other world" that much more difficult to maintain as now a schmuck who saw that they shouldn't could blurp it out to thousands of other people. Irl-wise the internet revolutionised /tg/ as a community by...enabling /tg/ to exist in the first place by bringing all the isolated groups of fa/tg/uys and ca/tg/irls together weather on 4chan, 1d4chan (shameless plug, suck it) or dozens of other dedicated forums AND enabling them access to mountains of materials for their chosen hobbies.

The mass popularity of smartphones has made it increasingly difficult to write a plot that cuts characters off from the outside world. This has forced such plots to be moved further and further from civilization (which fights an uphill battle with ever increasing coverage), into massive disasters where cell phone coverage is disrupted and help won’t be coming anyways, or just straight up adding in supernatural disruption of communications.

The rise of mass CCTV and cellphone cameras of increasingly high quality and the ability to post the works taken with them on social media has made it increasingly implausible to keep a Masquerade going. The original World of Darkness just ends dramatically in 2004, the year before YouTube launched. The MCB of Monster Hunter International has all the resources of most of the worlds governments working together to censor the supernatural, but even then those in charge consider exposure an inevitability. Pretty much any conspiracy will be an open-secret, although it might still be popularly viewed as a conspiracy theory depending on how believable it seems. Paradoxically, in an era of limitless access to knowledge, what knowledge the individual chooses to subscribe to has itself become factionalized, and that can be a tool to uphold a Masquerade in itself. The rise of the "Fake News" paradigm means that a person can be looking at a vampire gouging a throat out of some poor bastard and going "meh" as it must be either CGI or somesuch, and woe betide any intrepid journalist if they don't have at least a good quality video as anything less will get the "photoshopped!" treatment.

Aside from the media and communications , other technological branches are seeing tentative emergence or applications beyond the lab. As of the New 10s (2010-2019) remotely controlled and autonomous UAVs and RPVs popularized as 'drones' have entered commercial usage alongside with multi-pedal robots able to walk, run and perform simple manual tasks while the militaries around the world are actively using aerial combat drones with land and sea variants in development. On another front virtual reality has become a viable entertainment and educational medium due to miniaturization of screens and processors though it still has ways to go in terms of improvement. Artificial intelligence (or rather a set of very adaptive and heuristic algorithms) are also making splashes with the most visible examples being AI capable of emulating speech to varying degrees and art AI capable of creating truly gorgeous and unique pieces of art, likely eventually giving rise to "Expert-Systems" predicted by many sci-fi works.

After the Information Revolution of the late 90s and early 00s biotech is set to become the next big thing. With the Human Genome project completed in 2003 the rate of tech advancement has lowered the costs of individual genomic sequencing from ~100 million USD in 2001 to around 1000 USD making individual genetic screening viable with a popular commercial application being the identification of one's genetic heritage and disease risk. Later during the 2010s a method for targeted genetic editing in-vivo called CRISPR caused a stir among the scientific community as now scientist could genetically modify organisms at any stage of development, not just before birth.

There also has been an increased awareness of humanity's impact on the climate. Co2 emissions, resource depletion and destruction of wilderness are increasingly pressing concerns. With them has come a push - especially from younger generations - towards sustainable development, decarbonization and other efforts to reduce humanity's collective footprint. Solar Panels and Wind Farms have become a lot more common, electric cars have come onto the scene along with a pushback against car dependent development, there is renewed interest in nuclear power (both in terms of small-scale fission reactors and promising developments into nuclear fusion) and coal power has been on the decline, among other things. Of course those who profit from said industries have also been fighting against the response, and there's a real chance that a full shift away from fossil fuels might not happen before the effects of said environmental destruction become irreversible. It might not be enough to end human existence outright, but the projections of how climate change will affect the world suggest that it'll screw over a LOT of people in very nasty ways. In the worst case scenario, we'll be unceremoniously driven back into the Stone Age- and since we used up nearly all the easily acquired ores and other natural resources on Earth the first time around we won't be advancing out of it again if that happens.

If the War in Ukraine is an indicator, things start to devolve a bit, at least on the symmetrical side of things. Artillery, combined with precision-guided ammo and reconnaissance via drones, again becomes the supreme weapon on the ground, as satellite intelligence and effective communications showcase how important it is for battalions to remain cohesive in the fog of war; that and Missiles and Shells fired with pinpoint accuracy nullify drawbacks of previous incarnations of artillery (such as an incredible volume of firepower required to destroy any given target, the logistical hassle of supplying a gun battery with enough ammo, in itself an art form, and the requirement to have a rough idea where the target you want to hit from 20 km away without any visual contact on the ground or a live feed of information like drones provide) making them much safer and more cost-efficient than airstrikes or ground assaults as a result. Electronic Warfare will probably become central to any given military operation, as blocking surveillance, radar systems and guidance systems have become ever more important. At it's core, Ukraine and the reignited Karabakh War shows that anyone facing smart weapons with Cold War shit is going to get butchered like sheep. Unmanned systems are the defining 21st century paradigm shift in military science, while battles will mostly be resolved between smaller reconnaissance-in-force detachments seeking out concealed defenders in vague contested zones.

Lastly - commercial space endeavors are picking up steam as private companies like Space-X, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are seeing wealthy tourists and corpo brass sent to space. Government initiatives are also getting in on the action with Artemis Accords updating the UN Outer Space Treaty and aiming to return humans to the Moon by 2024, China has begun the construction and assembly of it's Tiangong space station which will be their equivalent of the russian Mir and finally the James Webb telescope launched early in 2021 is set to eclipse Hubble in both size and capability. Improved launch vehicles mean that the cost of launching payloads into orbit per kilogram has significantly gone down. It is possible that we are seeing the beginning of a full fledged Second Space Race and the fulfillment of many of the promises of the last one.

Society[edit]

"The great paradox of the 21st century is that, in this age of powerful technology, the biggest problems we face internationally are problems of the human soul."

– Ralph Peters
The internet brought alien communities into contact with each other...

While technology has generally advanced in fits and bursts along the lines predicted by most sci-fi works (major exceptions being AI, mass genetic engineering, widespread cybernetics and space colonisation), society has become somewhat of a mix between prior trends and predictions made by said sci-fi.

The predictions that the world will become more united and liberal in addition to the waning of nations in favor of corporations or some other modes of society were only partially realized. Globalization has indeed made the planet more interconnected but the onus of international relations still rests on the state. Corporate entities have become more powerful and wealthy but they still cooperate with governments (if not slowly merging with them due to intertwining of corporate and political interests) while in places like China and Russia the corpos are merely another arm of the government altogether.

The trend towards social liberalism has held partially true with the increase in LGBTQ+ acceptance and diminishment of racism in some places. Political liberalization has however entered something of a slump with the traditional left in EU and USA being relatively dormant though grassroots left is seeing something of a revival in the 2020s. On the other hand Russia and China have moved more towards autocracy and their increasing strength has presented an uncomfortable alternative to the supposedly singularly viable liberal-democratic order, especially with Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Europe has also seen a resurgence of populist, if not hard-right political parties like the french Front Nationale or German Alternative Fur Deutschland with some countries like Hungary and Poland taking on an increasingly right-y colors. In short - politics be skub as usual.

Politically, it seemed that while the triumphant capitalist-liberal-democratic order was considered the ˝end of history˝, it left many people unfulfilled. Worse, it started showing flaws that were overlooked during the ideological fight against the USSR (hence the Russian joke how 'almost everything we were told about communism was a lie, and almost everything we were told about capitalism was true'). To not get too deep into the political theory of the whole thing, suffice it to say that the guy who predicted the triumph of this system (Francis Fukuyama) also noted that the people may get so bored of it that they may intentionally choose to 'restart the wheel of history'.

... And the results were hiliarious.

Related to the above, the collapse of the cold war order has left many societies with somewhat of a need for soul-searching, leading to several things. One of the most notable was - ironically, given the term "soul searching" - a large spike in Western secularism and anti-religious sentiment. This was mainly in response to acts of religious extremism (most often Islamic ones such as 9/11), failures of various religious leaders and ideological campaigns focusing on empiricism and subjectivism. A new wave of religious apologetics emerged in response to this, and the debates are ongoing (more on the issue here). This shift in attitudes towards religion either coincided with or influenced various other socio-political issues listed above and below.

On a more interpersonal scale, the rise of Internet in general and social media in particular has transformed society to a great degree. The ability to connect with people world over and find hundreds or thousands of people with similar interests has lead to formation of digital communities that can be not only as powerful as the ones irl but sometimes even supersede them to a great degree, for good and ill. This has also made how one behaves online as important if not more so than offline - if you take a dump on a city street at most a few dozen people will see it and forget it in a year without a reminder, if you take a proverbial dump online it has potential to be seen by tens of thousands of people and potentially stay there forever, just look at Chris-chan for example. *BLAM* This heresy shall not be tolerated here!

On a final note, the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in the late 2019 also had an unintentional effect of forcing vast segments of society to adopt online business and communication models. What this means is that instead of working in a typical cubicle-monkey office one could work from anywhere there was internet - a beach, cafe or a public toilet. While things seem to have calmed down in the latter half of 2022, the ˝work-from-home˝ model is now all but standard for many service jobs, a leap that redefines how a job is perceived before and after the New 10s.

Conclusion & Mineability[edit]

The Post-Cold war era is a strange one since it directly succeeds a period of history defined by a clear if at times clandestine fight between two superpowers who were politically and ideologically opposed with plenty of history and cultural distinction for each to have it's own strong flavor. A two-pole world collapsed into a unipolar one which is evolving into a multipolar with no clear ideological struggle to really differentiate the sides.

However, this also provides plenty of opportunities to introduce plots and conflicts that are unburdened by vast preset ideologies and factions. Political intrigues between modern state, corporate or even NGO actors, dissolution of countries or formation of new ones upon the collapse of the old order, global terrorism and radicalism, technological, sociological, environmental or neo-ideological struggles and positioning in order to build 'your' faction's or even personal vision of the future!

Admittedly the more exotic genres that lend themselves best to the age are Urban Fantasy, post-apocalyptic scenarios and '20 minutes into the future' science fiction. You can also go down the route of Shadowrun and have some sort of event return magic to the world though depending on the intensity, it may radically change the setting into something no longer resembling modern world. There is also a somewhat neglected genre of New Weird/Weirdpunk which allows for a variety of historical settings, including modern ones, while having a potential for being truly unique (for example see such works as the comic Shutter, Dysco Elysium, Persona 4/5, Psychonauts...).

Impact on /tg/[edit]

/tg/ is, traditionally, a very low tech hobby. Despite this, it still has managed to incorporate some of the new technologies of the era.

One big thing is the rise of e-books. Rather than have a big stack of massive heavy books, you can keep all your books on a small, handy, e-reader. One particular advantage of an electronic book is that the contents can be searched through to quickly get answers to rule questions. The low cost of electronic publishing also means many small groups can easily publish a book and sell it, but this comes at the cost of electronic storefronts being flooded with low effort, poorly written garbage. Electronics also, in theory, lower the need for wasted paper and dice. In practice however, many groups find including any electronics at the table a major distraction and disruptive of play, while many players refuse to trust electronic RNG. Acceptance of computer RNG is actually worse among players into video games due to that medium's documented history of RNG cheating via uneven RNG, poorly randomized number generation, and being easily manipulated. Another issue with electronic books is that some companies are Luddites, and refuse to release PDF versions of their books, while others are hamstrung by the IP holder's retarded prior licensing agreements made with the devil and legally can’t, or just plain old don't exist anymore and can't do a PDF re-release, but we have a solution to all those problems.

Another nifty creation has been 3D printers that can create a variety of objects desired from scratch for cheap. Currently 3d printers are only able to print small, inanimate, plastic things (unless you have a very expensive and large one that can do weak metal) and are a far cry from Replicator technology everyone panicking about "ghost guns" thinks they are. Fortunately the hobby has substantial use for small, inanimate, plastic things. Eventually there will be a reckoning for the entire minifigure gaming industry over the full implications of 3d printing, but for now the technology still remains a wee bit too bothersome if not expensive for the average user to churn out a thousand point army. However if you have the means and patience to experiment, your imagination is the only limit on what you can do for figure customization.

The appeal of Post-Cold War world[edit]

Do you want something which you could imagine yourself in? Not as some surrogate who was born in a castle or a Victorian slum or on a colony in Alpha Centauri IV or whatever, but You as an individual. Maybe some larger than life events roll through your door to spur you into action from your normal day-by-day routine and possibly you are idealized, but the person who's now running for their life and forced to deal with whatever outlandish thing has come your way is You.

Do you like stories of special force operators going on incredibly risky missions to take down terrorists, insurgents, and radicals of any ideological or religious flavor? Then this setting might be right for you, due to the prevalence of the Global War on Terror and the almost-extensive use of special forces such as the Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Spetznaz, SAS, and so on. Their chief foe is a new enemy that has largely replaced the Soviet Union in the minds of many in the West - the radical Islamic "jihadist" organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or ISIS and its branches (such as the West African branch, Boko Haram). Their goals range from either kicking all foreign influence out of their country to establishing a global caliphate. The current increasingly polarizing culture war can also be used as inspiration for stories regarding insurgents and radicals of any ideological flavor, albeit something where "handle with care" very much applies for risk of coming across as preachy or adding fuel to the fire.

Other potential foes can be found in the world of technology, serving as fertile ground for near future sci-fi stories. This era is (currently) as close as we can get to cyberpunk, which lends itself well to the genre. The concept of A.I. as threats or the fear of society undergoing a technological collapse can also find inspiration from here, given the Y2K problem at the turn of the millennium. Big-tech companies getting trigger-happy with censorship from the 2010's onwards also lends itself well to references and themes in cyberpunk stories.

Wargame wise, there is some appeal in recreating the various, drawn-out conflicts such as in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan (to date the longest war in American history at over 17 years if one doesn't count the Korean War, which the US never officially declared war during and has spent most of its existence cold.), pitting the well-equipped, organized, and disciplined forces of the Western powers against the zealotry, tenaciousness, and cunning of the various insurgent and terrorist groups that plague the region. Due to the rather asymmetric nature of these wars, as well as the murkiness that comes with it, it's not as popular as the more conventionally focused, more-or-less Black-And-White morality of World War 2 setting. Similarly, the COVID-19 Pandemic can also be used as inspiration for various types of stories regarding pandemics, especially if one wants to up the stakes with things such as a zombie virus.

Urban Fantasy and Superheroes are often set in the current Post-Cold War era. By making fictional, fantastical threats one avoids the question of what the hell is there left to fight. It also benefits from being a world that's largely prebuilt and known to players, allowing writers to focus exclusively on what's different. Specifically in regards to superheroes, note how every two decades or so a gigantic cosmic retcon storm hits and resets the universe by pushing a catalyst point (Superman's arrival and Captain America being pulled out of the ice, simultaneously pushing the births of/major influencing events on characters or reemergence of old powers to the modern world equally long) forward by some years, allowing contemporary stories to be explored without retconning old stories completely, through saying that they happened but no longer matter as big gigantic cosmic event reset the universe, and not indirectly locking new audiences out of continuity by constantly having to read older stuff, allowing anyone to pickup new series issue 1 and read older stuff at leisure.

Historical Time Periods
Deep Time: Prehistory
Premodern: Stone Age - Bronze Age - Classical Period - Dark Age - High Middle Ages - Renaissance
Modern: Age of Enlightenment - Industrial Revolution - The World Wars - The Cold War - Post-Cold War