By Betsy Towner | AARP Bulletin
Happy 50th, Superheroes!
1963 was a banner year for American crusaders. “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic book first hit newsstands in the spring, and the X-Men and the Avengers debuted that autumn. Here, we remember classic heroes who qualify for their very own AARP memberships.
Debut: Created a year earlier, Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man earned his own comic book in 1963. Spider-Man, aka bookworm teen Peter Parker, got his unique ability when a radioactive arachnid bit him. First featured in “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15, Spidey was a huge hit with readers, and he’s been a Marvel A-lister ever since.
Debut: “The Avengers” No. 1, 1963
Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor and Iron Man formed the original band of diverse superheroes, who convene at the cry “Avengers assemble!” to stamp out threats not even the mightiest warrior can conquer alone.
Debut: “The X-Men” No. 1, 1963
Marvel’s band of mutant crime fighters has evolved and grown from six in 1963 (Marvel Girl, Angel, Professor Xavier, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman) to legions today. Last year, openly gay X-Man Northstar married his longtime beau—not only the first same-sex marriage in comics, but also the first mutant-human one.
Other heroes are well beyond 50 (Superman, 75!) and prime for encore careers.
Superman (1938): Return to mild-mannered reporting, using your powers to save newspapers everywhere.
Batman (1939): Trade mask and tripped-out bat gear for a low-key life designing man caves.
Wonder Woman (1941): Enter airline industry and sell invisible jets. Use slogan “We love to fly and it doesn’t show.”
Captain America (1941): Head up an Avengers All-Star USO Tour. Fire up troops with your inexhaustible patriotism.
What encore careers should out heroic boomers pursue? Read what we think at aarp.org/comicheroes.