How Old Would Comics Characters Be If They Aged Normally? (And What Would They Be Doing Now?)

We begin with Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who first appeared in 1959, which is 58 years ago.  

Well, the first question we have to answer is, how old was he in 1959?

(Bear in mind, that all of this is based on my admittedly incomplete knowledge of the character. I am open to correction.)


I don't know that an exact age was ever given, if it was, I never heard about it.  I always took him for about 30.  The way he was drawn, he didn't look to me like he could be much younger than that.  Plus, while I don't know much about becoming a test pilot, minutes of internet research has led me to believe that one doesn't simply roll out of flight school and become the sort of test pilot that Hal Jordan was shown to be. I had the impression that he'd been in the USAF, so presumably he did at least a minimal tour of duty, and spent sometime establishing himself as a civilian test pilot, so I figure that 30 is a reasonable estimate.

In that case, Hal Jordan would be 88 now.

So, what would he be doing? I like to think he would have had a long, noteworthy career in the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League of America.  Undoubtedly, he would eventually have been offered a spot in the Guardians; Honor Guard, but it wouldn't surprise me if he turned them down for more active duty.  

I expect he would be retired by now, although I can imagine an older Hal taking a hand in training younger or less experienced Lanterns.  I expect these would be like the children he never had - I just can't see him as the "settling down" type, somehow. Now, he's living somewhere in comfortable solitude, occasionally getting together with Barry and Ollie and maybe some of the others for a beer, and listening as they tell him what their grandkids did.  It's become a custom that when whoever is the current Green Lantern for Sector 2814 is out Earth way, they make it a point to stop by if they can, and fill him in on the latest Corps gossip and scuttlebutt.

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I once read a series of articles a long time ago -- about when one of the pre-Christopher Nolan Batman movies was out -- that tried to look at how superheroes would work in the real world. Like, how much would a real Batmobile cost, that kind of thing.

It presumed that a non-powered superhero would take the kind of physical punishment akin to an Olympic-level athlete who did things like mixed martial arts, boxing, karate, the physical contact sports, because superheroes get into a lot of fights. And it concluded that somebody could do it for ... about five or six years. 

That actually sounds about right to me.  I think that someone like Batman, the minute he realized that he was slowing down even a little, he would quit active "super-heroing", and fight crime in other ways.

A true fanatic like the Punisher would probably go on until someone killed him.

My wife and I were talking the other day about how ridiculous it is that people get shot on TV shows and just grit their teeth and keep going. If you get shot, it's going to do tremendous damage and you're going to fall down and probably go into shock. If you get shot in the leg, you don't wince and keep limping, you fall down and you don't get up. Heck, it's very likely you will never walk again. If you get shot and don't get immediate medical care, it's very likely you will bleed out. If you get shot and it hits an artery, it doesn't matter what help you get, because you'll be dead in a minute or two.

We laughed at that, but then she brought up The Punisher, and the tremendous number of times he got shot in his first season. In one scene he had sepsis from a shoulder wound, but within what seemed a week was doing two-handed pull-ups. He just toughed it out, you see.

It was hard to overlook that once she brought it up. Come on, suspension of disbelief, do your thing!

I seem to recall at least one Punisher comic ("The Beginning", maybe?) which implied that he had semi-consciously done a deal with Death in which it protected him in return for him sending A LOT of business Its way.

That might have been the "Born" miniseries. 

Yeah, that's the one.

It matters a lot where a bullet hits but also how large the caliber is and whether or not it is designed to pancake when it hits, which makes a larger hole. I understand that a slow muzzle velocity will cause a bullet to spin and possibly hit sideways, also making a larger hole. In the Civil War, if a 58-caliber musket ball hit someone's leg that was pretty much a guarantee of amputation.

Also, I always think it's crazy that characters are hit on the head many times with no lasting effect.

Even as a kid, the Li'l Capn wondered how Jim West could get hit over the head in every episode of "Wild, Wild West" and still have all his marbles. As a grown-up the adult Captain knows that if you're hit hard enough in the head to lose consciousness even once, it's a matter of concern. That's always the first question a doctor asks if you get hit in the head.

Maybe Jim West was actually a stooge.

 With The Wild, Wild West being a mash up of western, spy and science fiction perhaps Jim West was an early test subject for the Super (Civil War) Soldier formula.

Richard Willis said:

It matters a lot where a bullet hits but also how large the caliber is and whether or not it is designed to pancake when it hits, which makes a larger hole. I understand that a slow muzzle velocity will cause a bullet to spin and possibly hit sideways, also making a larger hole. In the Civil War, if a 58-caliber musket ball hit someone's leg that was pretty much a guarantee of amputation.

It matters either way, but for different reasons. Small-caliber rounds, of course, don't have the force that bullets fired from large-caliber weapons do, so the small-caliber rounds can ricochet with the body, causing internal damage. The large-caliber rounds can just punch holes through you.

When The Wild, Wild West was on I was grateful for it. It was closer to being a superhero show than the Batman TV show, having less-obviously-campy stories and interesting super-villains.

I originally got into James Bond when Ian Fleming died. The news talked about Dr No and Goldfinger, and I said to myself, "Oh, it has super-villains!"

doc photo said:

 With The Wild, Wild West being a mash up of western, spy and science fiction perhaps Jim West was an early test subject for the Super (Civil War) Soldier formula.

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