Superheroes are the modern equivalents of Zeus, Hercules, and other mythical figures of the ancient world. They fulfill the same need as their older counterparts to portray mankind as the greatest creation in all of existence, capable of reducing a mountaintop to rubble with a single blow or flying to the distant corners of the world with a single leap.
That is why it is difficult to imagine Superheroes ever growing old or decrepit. Who would want to follow the adventures of an arthiritic Captain America? Who would look forward to comic books starring Thor wearing an adult diaper? In the past, several issues of comic books have revealed glimpses of possible futures where the heroes of today have become the elderly statesmen of tomorrow.
But these stories have been few and far, and the focus has always come back to the younger versions of the heroes. It was then left up to the imagination of the fans who've grown up with these heroes to come up with new ways of looking at a Superhero's final years.
The fans rose to the challenge with great enthusiasm. Fan drawings relating to superheroes are flung far and wide across the internet. Some of these photos take comic canon seriously, while other artists are more interested in presenting an entirely unique and personal spin on well-known characters. We'll let you decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. We present to you 25 pictures of Marvel characters in their old age.
24 Old Coot Iron Man
We start off with an Iron Man who's had it with all these darned supervillains playing on his front lawn. The Man of Iron has had age take its toll on his body. And that also means his Iron Man armor had to be reconfigured to allow for his new body shape.
So the new Iron Man armor leaves room for a pronounced gut that we can't help but feel is a nod to Tony's abiding issues. His arms and legs are much thinner and weaker now. Also, don't miss the walking stick part of the armor.
Art by Arthur Gimaldinov.
23 Still Patriotic Captain America
The thing about Captain America is that he is already technically an old geezer. He's pushing 70 in normal biological terms, even if he still looks like a guy in his thirties. In this picture, age has finally caught up to Cap.
But it doesn't seem to have dampened his ardor to serve his country.
This version of the Captain has lost the awe-inspiring physique that was the most noticeable gift of the super soldier serum project. His bulging belly and wrinkled skin make it unlikely that his presence will still strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of America.
22 Grumpy Old Hulk
The one most recognizable characteristic of the Hulk is that he is always mad. Rage is pretty much what drives his transformation into a green behemoth. The imagination boggles at just how cranky the Hulk would be in his old age.
We get some idea of such a future in this piece of fan art. The Hulk is now sporting whitened hair, and his body isn't as tight as it used to be. You also get the feeling that grandpa Hulk would rather be asleep in a rocking chair then going all 'Hulk smash!' on that wall.
21 Wheezy Old Iron Man
Iron Man again, and once again, old age seems to have done a number on his famous armor. We have to wonder why Tony still insists on zooming around inside his suit fighting crime. It can't be good for his heart, or really any part of his aging physique.
Anyway, the Iron Man of the future seems to have a really bent back. The Iron Helmet seems to be designed to accommodate a double or maybe even a triple chin. And the flying pose isn't as dramatic as it used to be in his youth.
20 Thor Is Summoning His Nurse
Considering that Thor is already several thousand years old while looking like a 30-year-old earthling, one has to wonder just how far into the future this image is to make Thor into the human equivalent of a 90-year-old kicker.
Whatever the timeframe here, Thor still seems to be in control of his lightning powers.
Even though it's clearly taking much more out of him than it used to. He also seems to retain his fondness for a good drink. We wonder why he's summoning lightning when he's clearly on a break? Is he summoning his helper nurse?...
19 Granny Widow Can Still Kick Your Behind
Black Widow is the single ray of hope for the MCU in terms of a standalone female superhero. At least until Captain Marvel hits theaters. Her spinning kicks and twelve round pistol might not be much use against the infinity gauntlet, but hey, at least her weapons belong to this century, unlike Hawkeye's.
Anyway, Black Widow in her golden years is still ready for a throwdown, we assumed against the sinister forces at her retirement home who keep hiding her glasses. Sadly, the black leotard doesn't fit as snugly as it used to.
18 The Spectacular Spider-Pappy
Peter Parker can't stay the perennial teenager forever. At some point down the line, the young hero has to succumb to the ravages of time, just like the rest of us. In this picture, Spidey has opted to swing closer to the ground than he used to, which is probably a more practical choice.
His pants don't stay up as well as they used to, and his core strength clearly isn't what it used to be. We've got a feeling Peter Parker won't get a lot of money selling pictures of this geezer to the Daily Bugle.
17 Iron Man Enjoying His Golden Years
Here we find an Iron Man who appears to have retired from a life of fighting crime. He is enjoying a day out in the sun with a brisk round of golf. What's interesting is that he is still wearing his armor.
Even though it needs to be hooked up to a generator at all times.
The glean in his visor clearly shows that Tony is still just as fond of the good things in life, even if they're bad for your health. Let's just hope he set up his fellow Avengers with equally cushy retirement plans as well.
16 Galactus Is Hungry... For Some Rest
Galactus is a cosmic being. He is believed to have existed since the start of the universe. So it is difficult to imagine a being who doesn't age becoming a toothless old codger with reading glasses and spittle dribbling down his chin. But that's what the best kind of art does: It forces you to imagine things better left unimagined.
The Silver Surfer isn't holding up too well either. He needs a respirator to get around and rides his surfboard with the help of a handy railing. Still a better cosmic team than the movie version.
15 Spidey On His Last Legs
We actually feel bad talking trash about this version of Spidey, because life has clearly gotten hard for him. After surviving encounters with countless villains, Spidey has finally succumbed to the same reality as the rest of us: A failing eyesight and loss of control over your bladder.
We're not sure what is going on with the fluid coming out of his wrist. Is that how his body produces the webbing at this point, or has he simply forgotten the right formula for creating his web fluid? Or did someone at the hospital play a prank on the elderly wall-crawler?...
14 Daredevil Needs Another Pair Of Eyes
Daredevil is known as the 'Man without fear.' But old age has a habit of turning you into the 'Man with plenty to fear.' You become wary of loud noises, strangers, people you've met before and strong gusts of wind.
So it's natural that Daredevil would totter into his golden years with a trusty new companion to help him.
His physique isn't what it used to be, but at least he's found good use for those extra-long Nunchuk things he used to wield. Let us just hope standing in broad daylight in his costume won't compromise his safety.
13 Doc Ock Feels The Many Burdens
Doctor Otto Octavius used to be a formidable enemy for Spider-Man. But having a bunch of extra mechanical arms won't make your old age any easier. In fact, carrying all that extra weight around has to do a number on your back.
Maybe that is why we see Doc Ock stooping heavily while carrying home his groceries. Sure, the extra arms are good for carrying the bags, but it seems like they prevent him from using a car to get around. Maybe a bit of walking isn't a bad thing for the dangerously obese villain, or his dog.
12 Thor Let Himself Go
The one hero that pretty much every other character comments on for his good looks is the mighty Thor. Being a tall, heavily muscled Norse God means you've pretty much aced the gene pool. With all that going for you, it's going to take the power of the hammer Mjolnir to keep all the women throwing themselves at you away.
But old age seems to have made Thor stop caring. His famed abs have been replaced by a bulging gut. His red face, grumpy expression, and the thing in his hand all point towards a problem.
11 Captain America Turns To Comfort Food
It's a lonely life to spend as Steve Rogers. You are a man lost in time, having the external appearance of a 30-year-old, but the mental state of a man who was born in the 1930s. It's difficult under such circumstances to find someone to relate to.
Especially if all your free time is devoted to saving the world.
Cap seems to have taken the easy way out by turning to food for comfort. It's not doing his body any favors, but judging by the expression on his face, he clearly doesn't care anymore.
10 Spidey's Comfortable New Hobby
Everything about this scene is so cozy we can't even bring ourselves to make fun of it. The hero of countless deadly battles has finally retired and taken up a new hobby that is as far removed from his life as a crime fighter as the Human Torch is from gas stations.
The scene is the very picture of domesticity, and old Spidey seems to have a natural affinity for knitting after all his previous work with webs. In fact, we think he might be fashioning the clothes out of his own webbing. Sticky, sticky clothes.
9 Strange Chess Buddies
It must be tiring work being the Sorcerer Supreme. You have to spend all your time fighting magical threats to the planet, and you live a closed-off life from the rest of the world.
No wonder Dr. Strange has to resort to finding new friends in the magical realm.
The Genie is actually the exact opposite of Dr. Strange, nature-wise. But the two appear to have struck up a comfortable friendship, even playing chess in their old age. The Genie is clearly winning, and Strange is having none of it. Imagine the same match between Strange and Iron Man.
8 A Day Out At The Park For The Captain
Another very sweet take on Captain America in his twilight years. We're not sure if the lady sitting next to him is the actual Snow White or a performer dressed as her. But we love the gallant way the Captain is using his shield to protect her from the rain.
As in the other iterations, old age has clearly made Captain lose the perfect physique he was famous for. But it hasn't dampened his spirit. Here's hoping for a happy ending for the two old lovebirds caught out in the rain.
7 Meanwhile, At The Mansion
Nothing about this scene is surprising for us. Tony Stark, well into his twilight years, still likes to surround himself with beautiful women and the good life. You can totally imagine Iron Man living the life of Hef right up until the very end.
Just one question, where is Pepper in all of this? The love Tony shared with Pepper was true and enduring, which means there's probably a tragic reason for her absence. Could Tony be trying to block out her memory by surrounding himself with so much excess, like Jay Gatsby?...
6 Deadpool Still Up To His Tricks
Deadpool is the anti-hero with the heart of a child, and the imagination of... well, also of a child. He dismembers criminals like an 8-year old having spirited battles with his action figures and takes great glee in disrupting the other hero's work just for the heck of it.
Old man Deadpool still appears to adhere to these principles.
Even if his aging body has forced him to change his tactics to something less strenuous. We're pretty sure even Iron Man wouldn't mind this harmless old guy having a bit of fun at the expense of his poster.
5 Thor Finds New Use For His Hammer
Mjolnir, the Hammer of Thor, is one of the most powerful magical objects in all of Marvel Comics. It is a weapon of awesome power and is wielded by a god from Norse legends who also happens to be an unaging alien.
But in this picture, Mjolnir is nothing more than a work tool for an aging Thor. Judging by the blonde hair of the kid next to him, we're guessing that is his grandson. It's nice to see Thor has found some less destructive hobbies now. But he better be really, really careful while swinging that hammer.
4 Out Of Commission Heroes
This is one of the grimmest entries in this list of heroes in their twilight years. Both DC and Marvel heroes make an appearance in what appears to be a medical facility for old superheroes. We have Superman using a walker. Hulk is in a wheelchair. Mr. Fantastic can no longer control his limbs, and Captain America might be on life support.
We have to wonder what happened to render these once mighty mortals so completely helpless. We're guessing the artist was making a point about how society treats its old once they have outlived their purpose.
3 Iron Man Ready For Action
The fan-made photos of Iron Man that we have seen thus far showed him in a comical or a carefree light. But you know that the Avenger with one of the sharpest minds in history is unlikely to be taking it easy, no matter what his age.
This picture shows us an elderly Iron Man who is still raring to leap into action.
The arc light in his chest that powers his suit appears to have added a bunch of mini batteries, meaning this Iron Man armor is likely more powerful than ever. And judging by Tony's expression, he's determined to use that power to destroy whoever is making him look so angry right now.
2 Logan And His Daughter
The Oscar-nominated film Logan took one of the most popular Wolverine storylines in the comics, Old Man Logan, and made it into a fitting farewell to Hugh Jackman's take on the character. In this piece of fan art inspired by the movie, Logan watches on as his daughter reveals her mutant powers and fighting spirit.
Logan looks anything but happy as he watches what his daughter can do. He's spent his whole life trying to outrun the demons drawn to him because of his powers, and now he finds out he passed on those powers to his daughter. No wonder he looks worried and uncertain.
1 The Crossover Of Our Dreams
Recently, people in charge of the MCU hinted that it is very likely that the X-Men will be making an appearance in the Avengers universe. Fans rejoiced, and the immediate clamor was for Wolverine to be the first of the X-Men to appear in the MCU.
In this piece of fan art, we imagine an Old Man Logan movie with The Avengers in it as well. Hawkeye has become a very old man, but still appears ready for action. Captain America is... the Red Skull now. Okay. Hulk is bald and sporting a bulging belly. There's Spider-Girl and also a dinosaur. Sure, why not. At least Iron Man seems the same as ever.