What’s Up With the Kids?

I remember a time when everyone was concerned about the marquee superhero properties being too old. They froze Superman and Batman at a perpetual 29, and any indication of settling down was shunned.

Now, though, I look around, and suddenly there are kids everywhere! Superman’s got some adopted superkid whose name I don’t recall right now. Batman’s had a son named “Damian”. Hulk’s had a son. Spider-Man’s got an alternate universe daughter in Spider-Girl. Wolverine’s got some kind of clone daughter, as well as Wild Thing in S-G’s world. (I liked her.) Apparently, Daniel Way also just gave him a son named “Daken”.

(It seems that daughters are usually “what if”s, while sons make the main timeline. At least the girls get the superhero costumes and names.)

When did everyone start spawning? And is this an exciting new direction or the last gasp of an exhausted creative machine? Most importantly, when do we get Superkid and Damian teaming up to drive a motorcycle across the US struggling with the big issues of today as they go?

I have to say, none of these characters seem particularly long-lasting or significant to me. Spider-Girl’s the best known, and that’s helped by the merchandisers wanting more girl-friendly Marvel properties. Black Canary’s already had her adopted daughter Sin taken away from her. Can’t have the women be parents — makes it harder to fantasize about them naked.

10 Responses to “What’s Up With the Kids?”

  1. Bill D. Says:

    The funny thing is that the whole “perpetually 29″ thing falls apart if you give it even a moment’s thought, especially in Batman’s case… he not only has a son, but he’s had 4 Robins by now, one of them having since grown to adulthood himself, and he was supposed to have been Batman for 3 years before Dick ever came around. So unless he became Batman in high school, it just doesn’t work.

    It’s funny, too, that they keep trying to freeze Batman’s age, but keep aging Nightwing. At this rate, Dick will end up older than Bruce!

  2. david brothers Says:

    I think that they dropped the perpetually 29 thing a while back, at least for Batman and Superman. The new sliding timeline rule says that Batman and Superman have been crimefighting in the DCU for something like 10-12 years. That gives Dick Grayson ten years of crimefighting (I always figured figure three or four as Robin, the rest as Nightwing, Jason as two years, and Tim as everything since Jason) and doesn’t age Batman past the point of believability.

    I think that Year One says that Batman got his start when he was 25 or 26, and it’s hinted elsewhere that Clark and Bruce are contemporaries as far as age goes. Superman Birthright gives Clark’s start at something like 23 or 24.

    I noticed this same thing a few weeks back. It’s weird! Punisher’s got a daughter now, too, over in Ennis’s MAX book.

    I’d love to see Damian Wayne and Chris Kent teaming up and getting into hijinx.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Chris Kent? No wonder I couldn’t remember it.

    The Punisher has a daughter? Wasn’t his high concept that his whole family was killed?

  4. James Schee Says:

    Yeah the Chris Kent name was a nod by Donner to Christopher Reeves.

    I wonder if its comic creators who have worked through their father issues, and now are trying to work through their “we have kids” issues now?

    Or kids are sort of the in thing again maybe? Seems like lot of young people are having kids these days…

  5. JD Says:

    Johanna : the Punisher’s (second) daughter was born in recent arcs of Punisher MAX. She’s still a baby.

  6. Chuck Says:

    Maybe it’s part of the obsession with “legacy”? I’m grasping at straws, really. I never noticed the thing about daughters being alternate and sons being “real” but i think it holds true. That sucks. One reason i didn’t give the Black Canary mini, or the new BC/GA book a chance is b/c they got rid of Sin. That pisses me off.

  7. Johanna Says:

    James: the celebrities we see have babies, though. Most of these are aged until they can interact as people.

    JD: Who’s the Mom? (A part that’s often de-emphasized when it comes to the heroes and their heirs.)

    Chuck: I don’t think it’s legacy (which for superheroes, more often means staying the same because of merchandise and media) — I think it’s more likely aging creators thinking about these issues in their own lives combined with struggling to find something new to do with these characters.

  8. david brothers Says:

    Punisher’s baby’s mother is dead now, but she was featured heavily in the first story when the MAX series launched, and then again in a couple of stories. She’s the closest the series has to a recurring character, though.

    She was a broken intelligence agent. She had no idea what she was going to do when she was done with her job because all she ever knew was dirty tricks. She died before telling Frank about the baby, though.

  9. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I’m glad the female character got some major exposure before she was killed off. That’s a pleasant change. Now if we could avoid the killing off part… although Punisher probably isn’t the right title to start with for that crusade.

  10. david brothers Says:

    Ennis’s Punisher has been remarkable if only for the fact that almost every major character ends up dead, be they good or bad. Well, especially if they’re bad, but you know what I mean.

    I really liked O’Brien, though. It was an interesting look at what happens when the only thing you know how to do is evil, and what you do when you realize that there’s no life to be found in that. I think at one point she’s like “What am I going to do with myself after I finish this one last mission?”

    Ennis, when he isn’t pumping out the obscene jokes like no tomorrow, is absolutely killer at the quiet interpersonal moments. O’Brien’s death scene was a) a shock and b) touching.

    Between the panels of her second and third (final) meeting with Castle, she gave birth to a daughter and asked her sister to take care of her. The current arc is about Punisher’s recurring nemesis Barracuda (he’s inexplicably survived his last meeting) having kidnapped the daughter and informed Castle of her existence. Suddenly, the guy whose whole gimmick is that his entire family is dead has to worry about a daughter. It’s a very nice twist, and surprisingly natural.




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