Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Let Batman Age!

In honor of the fact that I've officially hit 23 years old today, (Shameless plug!), I decided to post one of my favorite rants. This one'll be relatively short for one of my rants.

Why can't they let Batman age?! Superman too for that matter, but as Superman doesn't have a steady progression of aging sidekicks to keep perpetually and noticeably under 25 while their former teammates age without them, I don't mind/notice so much. But Batman, christ, they've already retconned it in Nightwing, I'm told, that Tim Drake was six at Haley's Circus instead of three, conveniently keeping Dick Grayson under the age of 25, so Bruce Wayne's youthful vigor can stay safe. (Nope, not working for me: Dick's ten years older than Tim, it's a nice even number, allowing for a quick shorthand "Robin generation gap". You can keep trying to change that, but I read A Lonely Place of Dying First, so in my head, that little freak saw the circus at age 3 and remembered the special somersault six years later. :-) Sorry, Dick should be at *least* 26 by now. And I'm sticking to that. :-P)

Anyway though, it doesn't really make any difference to Dick's character if he's 24 or 26, but the older Dick is, the harder it is to keep Bruce on the sunnier side of 40.

But *why* does Bruce need to be on the sunnier side of 40 anyway?! It's not like hitting the big 4-0 suddenly makes you not kick ass. Chuck Norris turned 40 three years before I was *born*, (technically two years and 11 months, according to IMDB but who's counting?

If Chuck Norris can continue to kick ass in his 50s and 60s, you're telling me *Bruce Wayne* couldn't at 40? You're telling me that *Batman* is less kickass than Chuck Norris?!

Besides, as Batman Beyond proves, an *octogenarian* Bruce Wayne could kick more villain ass in a minute than many young sprats could do in a day. You think he seriously needs that cane?! Maybe he does, after all a life of the physical punishment he's taken would certainly make the joints ache when it rains. But more likely he just has it to hit idiot kids with.

I want a cane for the same reason, but it'd look pretty weird. Maybe in four decades. I'll put it on my list.

Regardless, it's not like Bruce would need to look any different. Men age better than women (bastards), and a 40 year old Bruce Wayne would doubtlessly look as disgustingly dashing and handsome as ever. It'd just be a nice character moment. And maybe then Dick can finally hit 28. And Tim Drake will *finally* be legal and I can stop feeling guilty for leering at choice panels.

Anyway, yeah, I'm not asking for a big change. I'm not asking for heroes to age in real time like the rest of us. That'd be pretty fucking silly. I just think it's about time for Bruce Wayne to hit 40.

And then he can stay like *that* for another 60 years. :-)


  • At February 07, 2006 2:25 AM, Blogger Hale of Angelthorne said…

    I hate to say too much nice about John Byrne and his continuity fetish, but Generations I & II did show that letting heroes age normally could still allow for and even help create very dynamic storytelling (unless, of course, as in that case, the writing sucks, but you get the idea).

  • At February 07, 2006 2:34 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    *nod* Really though, you have to be careful about aging them too quickly. After all, comics only come out once a month, and there's no way to feasibly put a year's worth of events into twelve issues. Especially with cliff-hangers and continuing plotlines, you don't want your heroes hitting retirement age when you're not yet finished telling teenage-plotline stories about him/her.

    But a little aging can be a good thing. Especially if it wouldn't really impede any storyline possibilities.

    (I have a love/hate relationship with Byrne myself. I really enjoyed Blood of the Demon, for example. But not so much his Wonder Woman)

  • At February 07, 2006 7:53 AM, Blogger Melchior del DariĆ©n said…

    Happy Birthday, K.!

    I agree; the uneven aging of Bruce and his side-kick does stretch belief, at times. However, we also don't want these people to age in real time, either, since this will serve as an unwelcome reminder of our own march towards decrepitude...

  • At February 07, 2006 8:21 AM, Anonymous green means wheelpower said…

    Bruce had a cane in 'beyond because he was a pimpin' bad ass! :) Hell Bruce kicked ass well nearly paraplegic in 'Crusade! ( from a wheelchair, even more pimp!!) And lest we forget batman returns (miller's not movie)

    changing the guard for the Cape and Cowl Must be epic when it comes. Dare I say Death in the Family.

  • At February 07, 2006 9:20 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    The excuse used to be readership turnover, and that younger readers in particular wanted a Batman who didn't age in the same way that Bugs Bunny and other timeless characters don't age. I must confess, I'll put up a fuss over Batman not aging the day I see other people put up a fuss over Bugs not aging. :)

  • At February 07, 2006 9:20 AM, Anonymous Jer said…

    Character aging is one of those old debates that comes up periodically. I've been on both sides myself, but I'm pretty solidly in the "no aging" camp right now - at least for the "big guns" like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This is mainly due to the fact that the characters are elastic - any change made to them eventually reverts back to some permutation of their "iconic" state. The somersaults they would perform to make them younger again would not be pretty ( I predict line-wide crossover ending with reboot, but I'm just cynical that way...)

    On top of that, time in the comic-book world is pretty elastic itself - its what the writers generally need it to be. I don't really have much of a problem with the timeline until people either write stories where it suddenly becomes important that such-and-such an event was 10 years ago when Dick Grayson was 12, or until I start working on statting folks up for an RPG session and see the discrepencies. As long as they keep them under the mat and don't make a big deal out of them, I'm okay with it.

  • At February 07, 2006 10:54 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Melchior: Thanks!

    Green: Yep!

    Elayne and Jer, my only problem with keeping Batman young is really because of the Robins. (And Superman because he should, in my head, stay contemporary with Batman). Now if they find some way to artificially keep him young, that's okay, but really Dick and Tim should have the chance to grow up. At least a little. When there was just Dick as Robin, it was easy to keep status quo, but now that there's been a succession, well, there has to be time allotted for that succession.

    Otherwise we'll end up with some sort of ridiculous retcon with all of them 13 at the same time. :-P

    Okay, that's an exaggeration. :-) I'm actually in the primarily not aging camp too, but I'd like to keep Bruce not-aging at 40 for a while. 40s not as old as it used to be and it would make him old enough to lend some plausibility (if stretched) to all of his experience, while still being largely physically young.

  • At February 07, 2006 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I will have to side with the no aging camp, even if one would love to see the heroes age as we do, we owe it to the next generation to leave the toys in pristine condition. :)
    By the way, Happy Birthday Kalinara!!!!!!!!!! :D

  • At February 07, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    anon: :-P I don't wanna! Besides, we've finally got a Super, Wonder-Brat and Robin around the same age. They could *inherit* some day. Batman Beyond proved, if nothing else, that Batman doesn't have to be synonymous with Bruce Wayne.

    And for the old-school fanboys, that may mean bringing back Helena Wayne. :-P

    And thanks!!! :-)

  • At February 07, 2006 7:52 PM, Blogger Centurion said…

    First off, Happy Birthday, Kal.

    I personally feel fine with Bruce at least being in his late 30s, if not 40s. I actually tend to slip into the mindset that his is anyway, and get jerked back into the fact of his 'real' age.

    To me, it just makes more sense that Bruce/Batman would be that old considering how much story has gone on with his comics. Supes isn't a human, so doesn't age the same way, and I could accept a similar argument for Diana, but Bruce is natural born human and should age normally along with the rest of his crew as long as they live.

  • At February 07, 2006 10:03 PM, Blogger Hale of Angelthorne said…

    I definately agree that superheroes shouldn't age "in real time." Spider-Man loses his charm pretty quick as Pete hits 50. However, the other problem with neveraging heroes is that you either have to keep them completely divorced from reality (did 9-11 happen in the DCU? 'cause I've seen it both ways now) or you have all kinds of anachronisms (my favorite being Jarvis talking to President Jimmy Carter from Avengers Mansion at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix saga, making Cyclops late 40's at the youngest). But if you are completely divorced from reality, then you miss all sorts of opportunities to talk about real life social issues, like AIDs for example, or the war on terror, etc. Also, neveraging heroes lose the ability to grow and evolve. After he debuted in 1961, Peter Parker doesn't graduate college until PPTSSM #32 in 1979! How much teenage angst can you take?

  • At February 08, 2006 12:20 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's definitely tricky. I don't mind time working differently in the DCU, or suspending disbelief. It's just if the OYL thing proves nothing else, it shows that a judicious use of actual time passing can be a very good idea.

  • At February 09, 2006 12:32 PM, Anonymous Monkey In A Blender said…

    my only problem with keeping Batman young is really because of the Robins.

    Screw the Robins. Stick 'em on a bus and throw it over a cliff. They're all disposable. Batman is the main attraction; we don't need no freakin' Robins.

  • At February 09, 2006 1:35 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    *rolls up sleeves* Them's fightin' words! :-)

    Honestly, I like the Robins infinitely more than I like Batman (and for all my complaining I *do* actually like Bruce).

    Dick Grayson's not interchangeable anyway, he's been around only one year less than Bruce himself has. The others also play a very important role for Bruce's development that shouldn't be canceled out. Especially Todd's death, but also Tim's existance.

    :-) Besides, they're more fun anyway. And actually much better at skulking/hiding in shadows than Batman himself. Anyone can hide in black, those kids managed in red, green and *yellow*.

  • At December 16, 2009 1:43 AM, Anonymous thanes said…

    You should check out Frank Miller's Batman, from I think 1990 or 89. A sixty year old Bruce who drives race cars and a new robin, a young girl, as the old robin died. The world has gone crazy, gangs rule the streets, and batman comes out of retirement. I began reading it when I was a teenager, completely changed batman for me. Oldie but goody. Miller did 300 too if you need any other recommendation.


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