EDITORIAL: Age the Heroes?

Can we allow our heroes to age with us as we age reading them? I started reading comics when I was 5. 25 years later, most of the characters seem to be the same age. I know I am not.

Follow Johnny:
By Johnny Williams - 7/11/2012
Let’s address the elephant in the room: our heroes and their age timelines. Spiderman is celebrating an anniversary.. and they rebooted his comic so he was free of his model wife (done by a deal with the devil), and rebooted his movies to have him be back in high school again.

When they rebooted his comic, they actually made the excuse, they had written him into a corner. With the whole universe out there, with billions of storylines to go with, they actually said they wrote him into a corner? [blinks]

When Frank Miller did his Dark Knight, I loved it. Why? Because it showed a reality for one of our heroes. But it was a future reality.

Both Marvel and DC have done future possibilities… that are really What IF’s. Bendis is gearing up for a Daredevil one.

The Ultimate Universe decided since they were over there, they could kill their heroes whenever they wished, and had a field day.

Now, back to the elephant. Why can’t our heroes get older? Honestly. Why? By now, Peter should be in his 40’s or 50’s. We are keeping him in his 20’s or teens.



Stark doesn’t age. Nighthawk aged from Robin. In fact… all the Robins age… but Batman stays “around” the same-ish.

I know Thor, Captain America, Superman, and Wonder Woman shouldn’t age much.. if they do, it should be slowly.

But the rest of the Avengers and Justice League should be getting older. That would be a GREAT Dynamic to have in the group and to play off of!

It should hurt some of the people to put on their gear, or to fight. It seems nobody ever addresses the pain. Or age.

I would LOVE for Peter Parker to get older. He can still be a wise ass. Groucho and WC Fields NEVER stopped being sarcastic, or funny. Even as they got older.

You may not agree with me at all. But, just being a hero doesn’t mean you lose your humanity. I know we want them to be more than human, being what we can’t be, and doing what we can’t do.. for us.

What think?
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25 Comments
comiccow6 - 7/11/2012, 8:28 AM
We could have a mini-series showcasing hat these heroes could be when they age, but it should never happen in a mainstream comic. It's a cool idea, but should never be permanent.
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 9:28 AM
In alternate timelines or out of continuity stories, sure. But what you're suggesting is that characters age realistically, which means they would also all eventually die of old age and never be back in the comics.

Why would anyone want that?

The thing you're forgetting is that time moves at a much different pace in the comics. Hell, in Marvel, they talk about the Infinity Gauntlet like it only happened a couple years ago.

If you do the research and base the timeline off of Kitty Pride (because when she first appeared, she mentioned she was 13, then years later during another story (don't remember which one) she mentioned turning 14. In that one year, The Phoenix Saga, both Secret Wars, Days of Future Past, Infinity Gauntlet, and many other popular stories all happened.

Again, time does not move like normal. It isn't that the characters are not aging, its that comic time is not the same as our time.
CrowPirate1 - 7/11/2012, 9:33 AM
@CorndogBurglar

Whoa.. I never did the Kitty Pride test of time. Good test. that would be one f-ed up year. lol

But I would love, like ComicCow suggested to see a cool miniseries.... but then.. everyone, everywhere, has miniseries ideas.
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 9:36 AM
http://marvel.wikia.com/Marvel_Time

YOU MUST READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS A MUST.
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 9:37 AM
@ Crowpirate

Yeah man, there was an article online that i read a while back that had every single Marvel story that all happened while Kitty was 13. It was very interesting.

You would be staggered at how many stories all happened in that time.
CrowPirate1 - 7/11/2012, 10:06 AM
I know.. like the whole year when we read the prisoners escaped from the raft.. and the new Avengers formed after the Avengers self destructed.. and it was only like a week or weekend.

So I always have to remind myself of that. I sometimes get caught up in reading.. I forget timelines.

Remember the fun run of Justice League when Batman decked Guy with one punch? the timeline for that was way short, yet i thought it was waay longer too. lol
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 10:08 AM
@ crowpirate

Dude, when Batman punched Guy Gardner, that was one of the greatest moments in comics history as fa as I'm concerned. So classic.

I hate Guy though...
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 10:09 AM
I'll research it some more and do an article about Kitty at age 13 tonight.

Its too interesting to not do it.
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 10:18 AM
Awesome editorial! You are absolutely right! Time should pass in the comics. And then, every decade or so, start the whole thing over again. That'll keep the stories and the characters fresh. And every time they start a new "Universe", it can be a different volume. I mean look at how many times DC and Marvel have rebooted or relaunched their books anyway! At least this way they can do it in a way that makes sense. And if a few books are selling well, then keep those volumes or stories going even after a new one has launched. Each volume can be part of the "multi-verse".

I think Comics would be SO much better! Imagine it. Characters can REALLY die in one volume(universe) and instead of having to do some stupid plot, just relaunch the character with the new volume. Events can have truly LASTING EFFECTS. Characters can CHANGE over time. New heroes can come up as the classics age. Our beloved heroes can have endings to their stories...
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 10:21 AM
@CorndogBurglar - Do it, man! I'll read it bro!
CrowPirate1 - 7/11/2012, 10:52 AM
@MoonDoggyX

One of the things I just hated about the Mary Jane ending was.. They killed Gwen... and he finally found love. So instead of having him mature, and seeing Pete gain experience, get older, wiser, cooler, and be alone without ANY parent... like "I" have to do.. and so many others...

they kill his maturity and his love... make him single again just to save his aunt who should be dead by now anyways.

I am not trying to say let's kill her off. But, between her and the love of my life.. it's time to go, and be with Uncle Ben. he's been waiting for you!!

ralfinader - 7/11/2012, 11:12 AM
The sliding timescale works for me. I have no desire to see charactors age in real time, or even fractional time (a year of publications equals a month in comicbook land for example). I have been reading comics since like '76 or '77, and the maturing of Greyson, Pryde, or Drake were more than enough and got them to the ageless state tha Parker, Wayne, and so on enjoy. I like alternate timeline tales and one-shots that go there, but for the mainstream, I would rather see minimal changes to the charactors ages 30 years from now. (maybe Reed will be completely grey by then)
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 11:40 AM
@CrowPirate1 - Exactly! Why do we need 2-4 Spidey, Bats or Supes, etc comics with the characters at the same age. It be easier to have a "Volume 2" running with a mature, married parker, and then start "Volume 3" with a young spidey again...? Best of both worlds!

@ralfinader - "Marvel Time" would be awesome, if it were consistent. As it is now, its just Marvel's excuse to write however is convenient for them at the time. Did you read the bottom of the article with all of the problems that their sliding timescale represents...?
Zarog - 7/11/2012, 12:18 PM
So, nobody's heard of Old Man Logan? Or Hulk: The End? Some stories are set in a future where some of the characters have aged.
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 12:24 PM
And those comics are awesome! Kingdom Come is still my favorite book EVER!
CorndogBurglar - 7/11/2012, 12:44 PM
@ Moondoggy

I definately will, it won't be up until later tonight though. :)
Tainted87 - 7/11/2012, 4:14 PM
This was my biggest issue before I saw TASM (didn't care when I saw it, but when the subject is on the table and ready for discussion...)...

Peter has no future. In the comics, he's moved up to teaching classes, unless they de-aged him when I stopped reading. Now he's back in high school in TASM, supposedly learning important life lessons on responsibility and selflessness. He's going to be selling pictures of himself to the Daily Bugle like some pencil-thin girl who likes to take pictures of herself half-naked and post them on Facebook every day/week. Because of him, Gwen is going to get killed. Flash is going to get beaten up or killed dressing up like Spider-man.

And when that gets tired, he'll be rebooted back to the 11th grade.
BANE5000 - 7/11/2012, 7:16 PM
Nighthawk aged from Robin...Who's Nighthawk???
marvelguy - 7/11/2012, 8:22 PM
John Byrne once said that the Marvel Universe aged one year for every seven to ten in reality. This allowed for Franklin Richards to be born and eventually join Power Pack around age five or six. Kitty Pryde has aged somewhere between four and six years. And Peter Parker has aged four to five--moving him from high school to college/grad school.

That said, it is not in anyone's best interest to have the ongoing universe(s) transpire in real time. They tried it with the New Universe in the 1980's. The appeal wasn't there. More importantly, as stated above, some heroes would have to die or--in the very least--watch his relatives and friends age and die naturally.

You would incur a variety of problems. The solution would be obvious: every fifteen to twenty, they would re-start the universe. How tired would that become? That answer is obvious as we ponder Marvel NOW! and DC's New 52.
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 10:10 PM
@marvelguy - reboots and retcons happen either way. Whether its a Crisis event, heroes reborn, new 52, marvel now, etc, etc, etc... Why not do it in a way that has a little consistancy instead of having to have a stupid plot device to negate decades of continuity? And just because a new continuty ends, doesn't mean that the one before has to get cut off. I mean we already about half a dozen books for spidey bats and supes. Why not publish multiple universes or timelines at once? Writers and creator won't have to as bound by past continuity nor negate it.

I do agree, though, that comics should not be in real time, but should still pass. Consistantly. I just think that comics should have a few more rules. Steady time flow or even the laws fo physics would make the stories a lot more interesting. You know, a little more sci-fi and a little less fantasy. I mean, its sad when death means NOTHING anymore in comics. Even hard core fans don't take it seriously anymore. When bats and cap died, who honestly didn't know they'd be back soon. How can you have good adventure stories without being able to sell a sense of danger...?

Of course dc and marvel will never permanently kill off their characters. But with multiple timelines, maybe death is the end of bruce waynes story in volume 3. You can still have volumes or timelines 1 and 2 bats alive and restart the character again with volume 4. In timeline 3 bat death is real and final, yet the character isn't permenantly killed off at the same time...
MoonDoggyX - 7/11/2012, 10:20 PM
...and comics NEEDS the laws pf physics! It is the best solution to over-powered characters instead of selectively 'nerfing' characters like supes and thor depending on the needs of the story...

That was the one thing superman returns actually got right. God-like superman stopping a crashing plane, boring! In the comics he couls literally do it with one hand behind his back. But superman trying to stop a falling 747 without ripping it apart or tearing through it, that's a lot more interesting...
CrowPirate1 - 7/12/2012, 4:18 AM
@BANE5000

Doh... Nightwing. lol I owned that Honda motorcycle.. and I was typing too fast. apologies. I need more coffee.
AC1 - 7/12/2012, 9:23 AM
Actually Spider-Man would be 65 if he aged in real time (He became Spider-Man at the age of 15 in the comics, and he's celebrating his 50th anniversary this year).

The fact is, no matter how hard comic book companies try, they can never make new characters who are as iconic as the older, classic characters. I think the most memorable character to have been created in comics recently is probably Deadpool (for Marvel) or Bane (for DC), and they're both about 20 years old. Even those characters are no where near as well known as classic heroes, Deadpool is more of a cult-classic character, while Bane is well known to Batman fans but not the general public. The fact is, no one is ever going to create a new superhero who is as highly regarded as Spider-Man, or Superman, or Batman, or any other classic hero from the Silver Age of comics (Bats, Supes, and Captain America are the most successful and well known Golden Age heroes, the others are only known to comic fans, silver age heroes are better known to the public).

That's also why so many characters are brought back to life after they die in comics - because they're so classic and beloved.

Plus hasn't it been established that it's not a true sliding time scale? That the characters do age, but incredibly slowly? Like, 50 years ago in real world time was 10 years ago in comic book time?

If you think about it, each story arc lasts multiple issues, which are released once per month. But those stories generally don't span months in the comics, they're usually set across a time span of a few days, or a couple of weeks. We aren't experiencing months of comic book stories each month. We might be experiencing a day, or even a couple of hours, per issue.

So here's an example. If The Amazing Spider-Man comics are now at issue 689, and we say, for arguement's sake, that each issue spans one day. That means 689 days of adventures. Then we assume that Spider-Man does have quite a bit of time off between adventures, say two or three weeks? So in simple maths, we double the number of days (the number of days being equal to the number of issues) - 689 doubled is 1378 days. That means it could be written that the 50 year run of The Amazing Spider-Man comics made up less than 4 years in the comic world. As it is, Marvel have actually sped up the amount of time the comic stories span to almost 10 years instead of under 4.
CrowPirate1 - 7/12/2012, 10:37 AM
@Firg

Yeah I owned that Honda Nighthawk motorcycle.. and I was typing too fast. apologies. I need more coffee.

@ACira

I understand... but.. even in a miniseries.. just to see some maturity happening and not have the characters stiffled and stuck in a certain age/era. Look at the points Tainted87 says about Peter. It brings my case about Spiderman. I liked the alternate time lines MoonDoggyX is saying that could be.. maybe a few books .. one showing a maturer Pete... bringing back Mary Jane...

Would it KILL marvel or his fan base having him mature ion his powers and happy in his life being in love?
sikwon - 7/12/2012, 4:33 PM
the problem with doing comics in volums is the origins. i have no desire to re-read origin storys like ground hog day. they could change origins but for many characters thats half of their appeal. i mean look at how split opinioins are over the amazing spidermans origin changes, and they arent even huge, xmen first class type changes. im all for the old man logan storys from time to time. days of futures past, those sorts of things. what writers should be aware of is the life altering decisions in a characters life. for example will peter ever marry gwen? that should have been decided 15 years ago, sort of like a frame work or character time(life?) line. have bench mark events thought out well in advance (of course creativity would allow for flexability). my point being that these events alter a character, for better or worse or whatever, but they are still important and should be planned/accounted for. not written into a character in one arc that another writer will have to deal with 2 years later. i like the decelerated aging.

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