An Introduction to the New Universe
The New Universe was Marvel's way of celebrating their 25th anniversary in 1986. Jim Shooter came up with the idea of creating a new universe to honor the creation of the Marvel Universe. This New Universe would start as "the world outside your window." No superheroes, no aliens, no mythological gods, no demons, no ancient hidden races, and so on. Just the White Event, which causes a small percentage of the world population to start developing paranormal powers.
The most innovative thing about the New Universe, however, was that events would happen in real time. For every year the passed in the real world, a year would also pass for the characters in the New Universe. Some writers chose to have a month occur between each book. Others chose to let stories continue from one month to another and then put in appropriate breaks elsewhere to have a year pass per publishing year.
Unfortunately, the the New Universe was an idea ahead of it's time. After one year, half the line was canceled. At this point, the writers decided to shake things up and destroyed a major American city, which led to some of the New Universe's most interesting stories. It did not, however, generate enough interest to save the line, and after 32 months has passed since their launch, the remaining titles were canceled. A final limited series wrapped up the New Universe, and that was almost the last that was heard of it. Almost.
For more information, check out the New Universe Publishing History.