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Old December 10 2012, 03:18 PM   #1
Forbin
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Superhero's active working lifespan

Dark Knight Rises got me thinking. Just how long COULD a superhero's career last? Putting aside those who are immortal or have healing powers, of course. Let's take "normal" athletic human superheroes for example, like Batman. How long could such a person, who spends every day fighting and running madly about, leaping off buildings and getting punched in the head, getting very little sleep, expect to keep that up before their health demands they stop?

Say you start your crime fighting career at the age of 21. Would you even make it to 40?
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Old December 10 2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

The average top tennis player can get to about halfway their 30's but they're nowhere near top capability by then anymore so...
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Old December 10 2012, 05:10 PM   #3
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Forbin wrote: View Post
Dark Knight Rises got me thinking. Just how long COULD a superhero's career last? Putting aside those who are immortal or have healing powers, of course. Let's take "normal" athletic human superheroes for example, like Batman. How long could such a person, who spends every day fighting and running madly about, leaping off buildings and getting punched in the head, getting very little sleep, expect to keep that up before their health demands they stop?

Say you start your crime fighting career at the age of 21. Would you even make it to 40?
I think you need to look at athletes in high contact sports, like American Football for example.

This site indicates that a player who makes the Pro Bowl at least once will have an average career length of 11.7 years.

Making a Pro Bowl assumes you are a player always in the action during a regular season. But.. a regular season lasts only four months, with a high contact outing once a week. Our super hero would be going 12 months a year, so 3.9 years, probably less as the stress compounds over the time.

Someone starting at the age of 21 would probably have his/her body ruined by the time he turns 26, if he lived that long.
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Old December 10 2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Super heroes are depicted getting into brutal street fights on an almost daily basis. Six months tops.
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Old December 10 2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

The football player is a great example!

A friend suggested the career of a Navy SEAL would be a good example - he's known some still fit and active into their 50s. But I don't see a SEAL getting his face beat in by Bane!
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Old December 11 2012, 12:26 AM   #6
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Do we have any idea how many missions do Seals do? Is most of it classified until who knows when?
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Old December 11 2012, 04:27 AM   #7
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Someone on another board brought up Chuck Norris. That might be a good analogy - he fought full-contact karate matches, kicking the shit out of opponents and getting the shit kicked out of himself regularly, which seem like a decent parallel to crime fighting. According to IMDB his career lasted 10 years, from 1964 to 74.
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Old December 11 2012, 05:22 AM   #8
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Well, Bruce Wayne in the Nolan series of movies, had several hideous scars along his back and torso, which gives a rough idea about the potential for injury in his line of work.

If you look at it more analytically, you'd have to actually create a risk assessment model that includes risks such as being shot in the spine by Joker (Batgirl), dying as a result of supercharging to defeat a great enemy (Barry Allen), or being murdered by one of your possessed friends/students (Professor X).
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Old December 11 2012, 10:19 AM   #9
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Forbin wrote: View Post
Someone on another board brought up Chuck Norris. That might be a good analogy - he fought full-contact karate matches, kicking the shit out of opponents and getting the shit kicked out of himself regularly, which seem like a decent parallel to crime fighting. According to IMDB his career lasted 10 years, from 1964 to 74.
Did the guys Chuck Norris fight come at him in multiple numbers and carry guns?

I would think that a 'normal' superhero would last a matter of weeks.
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Old December 11 2012, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Forbin wrote: View Post
Someone on another board brought up Chuck Norris. That might be a good analogy - he fought full-contact karate matches, kicking the shit out of opponents and getting the shit kicked out of himself regularly, which seem like a decent parallel to crime fighting. According to IMDB his career lasted 10 years, from 1964 to 74.
Did the guys Chuck Norris fight come at him in multiple numbers and carry guns?
... or freeze rays, or pumpkin bombs...
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Old December 11 2012, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

I was thinking that an MMA fighter maybe a good real world example to go by. They endure a lot of damage throughout their careers. It seems like they are at the top of their game for like 5 to 10 years max. And thats the really great ones like Chuck Lidell.
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Old December 11 2012, 06:24 PM   #12
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

A hockey player might be a better gauge than a football player. Its a longer season with more contact and stress.
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Old December 11 2012, 06:26 PM   #13
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Let's be realistic, superheroes survive falls that would kill even the strongest human beings.
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Old December 11 2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

Average MMA fighter's career is nine years, and that's with about thirty fights. Most of their time is spent training or sparring. A super hero fights on a daily basis well trained and superior armed foes and forces using a variety of techniques and weapons. Chuck Liddell, for example, may be a bad mofo who could kick my ass any day of the week, but the Green Goblin would drop a hand grenade on him and float away laughing. Imagine taking any super tough name MMA fighter and dropping him into the middle of a firefight in any given war zone. How long would he last?
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Old December 11 2012, 06:50 PM   #15
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Re: Superhero's active working lifespan

We have just two famous example of "human" superhero from Marvel (Daredevil) and DC (Batman).

And Daredevil fights with armed opponents (and super villains) just with a club. No Guns. No Armor.

One week top.
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