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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Today, I was thinking about Archie Andrews. The character was introduced in 1941. If we assume he was 16 years old at the time, then he would be turning 93 this year.

What would he be doing now? To an extent, that depends on how light or dark you want to go, I suppose. Not to be morbid, but a very likely answer is that he would be dead by now. 

Assuming he was still alive, how would I imagine that his life would have gone?

Well, he would have been 18 in 1943. I don't know much about the actual mechanics of the draft, but I imagine it's possible that he (and Reggie and Jughead, etc.) would have either been drafted or enlisted, and served in the Second World War.

After the war, he would have come home and married Betty and started a family, probably gone to school on the GI Bill.  He would have lived a mundane life, punctuated by typical Archiesque hilarious incidents.  

By now, Archie would be a great-grandfather. Assuming Betty was still alive, then depending on their health. they'd probably be living with some member of their extended family, or perhaps in an assisted living facility. 

Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy would be long gone, but doubtless their spiritual "descendants" would still be working at Riverdale High, maybe even dealing with the antics of some actual descendant of their legendary Archie Andrews.

In the very first story he and Betty look like early adolescents or younger: it's a boy-gets-into-trouble story rather than a teen story. But they aged rapidly.

It doesn't help that there are so few siblings in Archie Comics.

As far as I remember, Archie, Veronica and Reggie were all only children. Betty was until 1962, when older sister Polly was introduced (and 1963, even older brother Chic). Jughead only had a nephew (or cousin?) Souphead, but gained little sister Jellybean in 1993. In the new, rebooted Archie. Moose is the oldest in a huge family, so he's got a lot of siblings now -- but I don't remember any before 2015. Dilton doesn't seem to have any siblings sneaking into his lab. 

There are the Blossom twins. When did they come along -- 1990s?

Alexander and Alexandra Cabot, despite the names, weren't twins in Josie and the Pussycats, but they were siblings. I don't recall Josie, Valerie or Melody having any siblings.

This always struck me as odd in the 1960s reading Archie Comics, because I was at the end of the Baby Boom, and everybody had brothers and sisters.

Anyway, when the Archie gang hits their 90s they won't have any "youngsters" in the family in their 80s! (Well, except Jellybean.)

How about Billy Batson? How old would he be now? And would Captain Marvel age accordingly?

Good question.  Billy first appeared in 1939. How old was he supposed to be? Thirteen.? that would put him at 92, chronologically.  How he and Captain Marvel would age gets into the whole question of what you think the relationship is between the two of them.  Captain Marvel was always called the "World's Mightiest Mortal", wasn't he? I guess that means Cap would age, but maybe not at a normal rate.

The Wizard Shazam was mortal yet had an extended lifespan. when "The Power of Shazam" passed to Billy Batson, I assume the same would be true for hin as well. That's the tacj Jerry Ordway took.

When Black Adam transformed back to his mortal self in the original comics, he turned to dust -- his mortal body had aged thousands of years while the Black Adam body did not (or not noticeably, at any rate). 

Hpw old various Avengers might be if they aged normally (and weren't killed by Dr. Doom or Thanos or whoever):

  1. Iron Man (Tony Stark) – Say he was around 32 when he was first seen in 1963, he’d be turning 91 this year, but with his heart issues, he’d probably be dead by now.
  2. Thor – immortal, probably on his fourth generation of Avengers by now.
  3. Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) – Say she was about 25 when she first appeared in 1963, she’d be turning 84 this year, she’d possibly be dead by now.
  4. Ant-Man (Henry Pym) – Say he was around 32 when he first appeared in 1962, he’d be turning 92 this year, he’d possibly be dead by now.
  5. Captain America (Steve Rogers) - Say he was 25 when he was frozen in 1945, he’d be literally 102 this year. If you take out the years that he was frozen, he’d be about 83 now.  Even if the Super-Soldier formula slowed his aging process, he’d probably be retired from heroing by now.  I could see him as the Avengers’ martial arts coach.
  6. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) – Say he was about 30 when he first appeared in 1964. He’d be turning 88 this year, possibly dead by now.
  7. Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) – Say he was about 17 when he first appeared in 1964, he’d be turning 75 this year, probably still alive.
  8. The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) – Pretty much the same as Pietro.
  9. Hercules – immortal, similar to Thor.
  10. The Black Panther (T’Challa) – Say was about 28 when he first appeared in 1966, he’d be turning 84 this year, possibly still alive.
  11. The Vision – As a “synthezoid”, who knows? Possibly functionally immortal, as long as he can get the parts, and there’s someone around who can do the maintenance.
  12. The Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) – This one’s tricky, because she probably ought to be pushing 90, but her continuity’s been re-jigged enough that she’s now one of these long-lived/functionally immortal types.
  13. The Beast (Henry McCoy) – Say he was about 17 when he first appeared in 1963, he’d be turning 76 this year. With his super-human physiology, he might be a good deal younger physically, and maybe even still active in heroing.
  14. Wonder Man (Simon Williams) – At least one on-line site says he’s immortal now. He’s certainly not a normal human.
  15. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) – Assuming she was about 30 when she first appeared in 1968, she’d be turning 84 this year, but given her super-human physiology, she’s probably still quite vigorous and active.
  16. The Falcon (Sam Wilson) – Assuming he was about 27 when he first appeared in 1969, he’d be turning 80 this year, probably still alive.
  17. Tigra (Greer Grant Nelson) – Say she was about 25 when she first appeared in 1972, she’d be turning 75 this year. Given her super-human physiology, she might well still be quite vigorous and active.
  18. The She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) - Say she was about 27 when she first appeared in 1980, she’d be turning 69 this year, but if she was in She-Hulk form full-time, she might be another one that’s possibly extremely long-lived, borderline immortal.
  19. Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) - She’d be pushing 70 now, but apparently, she’s an immortal energy being.
  20. Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse) – Say she was about 30 when she first appeared in 1971, she’d be turning 81 this year, and possibly still alive.
  21. War Machine (James Rhodes) – Say he was about 30 when he first appeared in 1979, he’d be turning 73 this year, and probably still alive.
  22. Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) – Say he was about 21 when he first appeared in 1978, he’d be turning 65 this year. I’m a little sketchy about the limits of the Quantum Bands, so I don’t know if he could have used them to keep himself young.
  23. Sersi -I’m pretty sure that Eternals are, well, “eternal”.
  24. Spider-Man (Peter Parker) -Say he was 16 when he first appeared in 1962, he’d be turning 76 this year. Another one whose super-human physiology might keep him vigorous into old age.
  25. Machine Man (Aaron Stack) – As a robot, would be another “functionally immortal” type.
  26. Crystal (Crystalia Maximoff) – The character’s been around for 57 years, but since she’s an Inhuman, I suspect that she probably doesn’t age so quickly as mundanes do.
  27. Firestar (Angelica Jones) – Say she was about 17 when she first appeared in 1981, she’d be turning 58 this year. Probably still alive, most likely retired from active heroing.
  28. Ant-Man (Scott Lang) – Say he was about 30 when he first appeared in 1979, he’d be turning 73 this year. Probably still alive but retired.
  29. Luke Cage – Say he was about 30 when he first appeared, he’d be turning 80 this year. Another one whose super-human physiology has probably kept him quite vigorous.
  30. Wolverine (James Howlett) – We know he’s extremely long-lived, so presumably he’d still be alive and active.
  31. Stature (Cassandra Lang) – Say she was about 8 when she first appeared in 1979, she’d be turning 51 this year, probably retired from active heroing by now.
  32. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) – Say she was about 18 when she first appeared in 1979, she’d be turning 63 this year, although with her super-human physiology, she’d probably still be fairly vigorous.
  33. Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) – Say he was about 50 when he first appeared in 1963, he’d be turning 109 this year. Of course, he’s a wizard, so who knows how long he could live?
  34. Storm (Ororo Munroe) - Say she was about 18 when she first appeared in 1975, she’d be turning 65 this year, and most likely retired from active heroing by now.
  35. Nova (Sam Alexander) – Say he was about 13 when he first appeared in 2011, he’d be turning 24 this year.
  36. Marvel (Kamala Khan) – Say she was about 16 when she first appeared in 2013, she’d be turning 25 this year.
  37. Spider-Man (Miles Morales) – Say he was about 16 when he first appeared in 2011, he’d be turning 27 this year.
  38. The Wasp (Nadia Van Dyne) – Say she was about 18 when she first appeared in 2016, she’d be turning 24 this year.

I'm pretty sure it has been established in continuity that Sub-Mariner was born in 1921, but he is an Atlantean hybrid which, in addition to the wings on his ankles, makes him extremely long-lived and has been shown in multiple alternate future stories. I am similarly "pretty sure" that Steve Rogers was born in 1922. I know for a fact that Janet Van Dyne turned 23 in Avengers #43 because that's when she came into her inheritance. 

The "House of M" crossover showed Steve Rogers at his true age at the time.

Older (alternate universe) version of the original Defenders here"

Most of these were guesses on my part, and I'm open to correction.  I was originally gonna do every Avenger ever, but even if you exclude the "unofficial" Avengers teams, there's still over a hundred of them.

"Most of these were guesses on my part.."

Sure.

It's funny to think the original "Days of Future Past" took place in the far-flung year of 2013.

I'm going to stop posting covers now, but there have been many series which have shown (alternate versions, I guess) of how super-heroes age, including Future Imperfect (Hulk/Maestro) and the various "The End" one-shots. And let us not forget the so-called "Iron Man of 2020" from Machine Man (1984). 

Didn't they bring Iron Man 2020 into continuity when 2020 arrived?  Also, remember wyen Deahtlok was from the far-flung future of 1990?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Most of these were guesses on my part.."

. And let us not forget the so-called "Iron Man of 2020" from Machine Man (1984). 

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