from the "too much time on my hands" file, comes this incredibly cool site-in-progress, mapping out the locations of events and significant sites in the Marvel comics universe. The Marvel Atlas Project (note the clever arrangement of initials into "M.A.P.") was founded by someone named Sean Kleefeld, and handed off to someone named as "The Beetle". Significance lost on me. Although it is still in progress, you can get to some cool sites with it. You start with the map of the world (above) and click through continent, country and region to find a list of significant sites. Like The Avengers West Compound (below), which gets into even more detail if you click on it, to show you floorplans of the main building. How cool is that? In a previous post I noted an ongoing project to timeline significant events in fictional films. Then there's that recent Orwell quote about the "false map of the world" we create in our heads from books. But I think Orwell was referring to map of how to move through the socialities and necessities of the world, not a literal map of land or space in the head. But all of this makes sense -- so much sense. As the globe gets smaller, we get more and more of a handle on its dimensions -- we have more and more of a map inside our heads of what ground we are walking on and how it relates, spatially, to other ground. We have become extremely sophisticated at physical mapping. The new GIS services are a result of this sophistication, not the cause. So it's only natural that in the arts we are taking great pleasure in using the map and chart as a formal construct; and it then only makes sense that we try -- all over, everywhere -- to map out the fictional landscapes that form our romance -- our ideal worlds -- in real space. For years -- for as long as there has been tourism -- there have been literary walking tours, where people see the locations where someone who never existed died of tuberculosis, or said yes to her man, or realized that nothing was ever going to be right again ... ever. A direct interaction between the imagination and space. Why not a middle man? Maps are the intermediary between the idea of space, and the space itself. So why not an intermediary between fictional spaces and real spaces?