Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Stupid Questions

So tomorrow morning, I begin my internship leading to a very brief temporary attempt at diurnality (Is that a word? Oh well, it is now) which I'm very displeased about.

It does look like it'll be interesting. I'm working in Elder Law and it actually sounds like I'll be able to actually help people. Which is kind of a cool and scary thought.

Anyway, it got me thinking some more silly age-related thoughts in comics.

How do age related membership groups and legal things work in the DCU? I mean, between the speed force, starheart, careless mentor experiments and Ian Karkull it does seem like there are a lot of folks considerably younger than their chronological ages running around.

I suppose that's not a big deal for Jay, who appears in his fifties, or even Alan, who's age seems to fluctuate with artist's whim and presumably his own mood. But is Sanderson Hawkins eligable for the AARP?

Does it effect social security benefits or insurance premiums (which I'd imagine are high anyway for the superhero types...)

(tangentially: can a superhero with a secret identity be denied coverage after a hero related accident for misrepresentation?)

I wonder if they card for senior discounts.

I wonder how they measure age at all in the DCU. A chronological basis only doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially with characters from the future or hyperaged characters. (For that matter, would a time traveler's age be measured from birth or from how long they lived?) Do they use a physical test of some sort? That'd seem more practical, but also, thanks to Karkull and others, prone to some odd sudden status changes. (And it'd suck for the immortal type characters. Imagine being eternally two years shy of being able to legally buy alcohol.) Also, it'd kind of suck for some of the immortal type characters. Do they have a telepath scan for mental/emotional maturity?

Carbon dating?


  • At May 09, 2008 1:47 AM, Blogger Tom Foss said…

    In "Birds of Prey," Zinda was recently complaining that bars wouldn't take her senior discount.

  • At May 09, 2008 4:04 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Which makes a cute joke, but how many bars OFFER a senior discount?

    Given what a small percentage of the population "odd" aged characters are, I'd guess groups like AARP just ignore them. And I guess Batman problem has some portion of WayneCo insuring the rest...

  • At May 09, 2008 6:51 AM, Blogger running42k said…

    You are really reading a lot of your law into these comics. I'm an accountant and I have to admit, I don't think whether the heroes have filed their taxes when I read.

  • At May 09, 2008 7:11 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    running42k: Yeah, but taxes are boring.

    Law is interesting. :-)

  • At May 09, 2008 8:42 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I don't know about interesting. Maybe if all judges had to open court by shouting "I AM DA LAW!" in their best Stallone...

    Or if all objections had to be made with bathlets!

  • At May 09, 2008 8:46 AM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said…

    Well, let's see. Based on the ages characters supposedly were during the years they made their debuts ...

    Peter Parker should be 61 years old (assuming he was 16 in 1963).

    Dick Grayson should be 81 years old (assuming he was 13 in 1940) ... and Billy Batson should be close to the same age.

    All of the adult superheroes from WWII should be about my grandpa's age -- well into their 90s ...

    (Let's face it -- Batman should be DEAD, especially with all the punishment he's taken since 1939).

    Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner should be 71 years old (assuming Hal was 22 in 1959 -- and Guy is supposedly the same age).

    Kyle Rayner should be 32 years old (assuming he was 18 in 1994).

    Geez, whatta mess!

  • At May 09, 2008 9:41 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thanks, but I'm actually referring to internal timeline ages. So date of creation doesn't apply since DC time doesn't move like ours. The only characters this really applies to is characters like the JSA who are explicitly and permanently tied to WWII and thus aging.

    Batman, Spiderman, Hal and Guy (who doing the math and logical analysis is about 5-10 years younger than Hal, who'd have likely had to be about 30 when he got the ring anyway, given his rank in the military and training required) are immaterial as they have floating ages. It's silly(er) to try to apply this sort of thing to them since they aren't senior citizens by DCU/Marvel standards. :-)

  • At May 09, 2008 9:50 AM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    I was thinking about that recently, in the context of Jay Garrick getting all paternal about Stargirl and Captain Marvel, and Stargirl trying to explain how its really not cradle robbing without giving away Billy's secret identity.

    She's dropping all these hints, and Jay is completely not getting it, which just struck me as stupid for a guy with aging issues himself.

    I think the answer to your question, though, is that there is no concept of "retirement" in the DCU -- or rather, it is not a concept that is tied to the period "age 65 until death." Commissioner Gordon can "retire," be out a few years, and then come back for a whole new career. "Retirement" in the DCU = "Sabbatical" in our world.

    The stages of life in the DCU are:
    1. Baby-hood
    2. Teen Titan Aged
    3. Adult -- working aged
    4. Decrepitly old, in a rocking chair, telling some youngster that you only have a few more minutes to live, but you have something important to tell them.
    5. Dead.

    There's no need for Social Security or AARP, because Stage Four never lasts for more than 3 or 4 pages worth of panels.

  • At May 09, 2008 11:11 AM, Blogger Dave Carter said…

    Of course, those five stages don't necessarily have to happen in that order ;)

  • At May 09, 2008 11:15 AM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said…

    Ah. Good point(s)! :-)

  • At May 09, 2008 5:59 PM, Blogger Patrick C said…

    You'd have to add another stage in for the original Titans. Nightwing/Arsenal/Donna Troy/Cyborg all of them are kind of in between the Teen Titans and Batman/Superman.

    I keep thinking of Impulse and Superboy (RIP for both of them) and the fact that they appeared to be between 16 and 18 but were really only 2 or 3.


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