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Aging and life expectancy

26 Jun 2022 07:38 #74800 by Thefirstone
Aging and life expectancy was created by Thefirstone
How would you say it makes sense for extreme age (which would probably be centuries, if not millennia, but still) to effect a race of Kryptonian-level supers?  What effects would it have on their power, and how exactly would “death by natural causes” work for them?

And obviously, eternal life raises other questions.  I’m reminded of RWBY, where the primary overarching villainess is an immortal woman who, as far as we know so far, is working to bring about the apocalypse so she can finally die.  Would the trope of eternal life getting old really be the only sensible way to handle something like that?
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26 Jun 2022 08:12 #74801 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Aging and life expectancy
Great questions!

Brantley Thompson Elkins' excellent handling of this in the Empress of the Dawn trilogy is one of the things that really hooked me on the Aurora Universe. As Shadar has mentioned, AU is a variation on the Kryptonian mythology of Supergirl, changed enough to make it its own thing and avoid copyright issues.
BTE's series is near the bottom of this page: www.brightempire.com/storyindex.htm

I had a reference to it in Part 2 of Genesis of the Bih'Zah'Ro, a transcript of a training session:
"You’ve been using that look on me for 82 years now. You’re almost a hundred, kid, time to start acting like it. I can’t have that disruptive bratty stuff here. (muffled talk) No, that's not true at all. Look at Annabeth. She just turned 500 and nobody accuses her of a being an old fuddy-duddy!"
 

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26 Jun 2022 14:52 #74803 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Aging and life expectancy
For a long time I had this scene in my head about an old Clark Kent (roughly 110) explaining that contrary to popular belief he's not going to live forever, because the same yellow sun radiations that gave him powers are slowly killing him. Sure he might look great given his age, but that doesn't mean that everything is ok "under the hood".

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26 Jun 2022 15:44 - 26 Jun 2022 15:49 #74805 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Aging and life expectancy
Agree that immortal doesn't work for me. Jut very long lived. Many centuries. Maybe a thousand years.

Yet all the while maintaining a vivacious and largely unchanged youthful attitude and personality for all that time, enough that anyone meeting them would guess they were in their early 20's, or younger, yet with an ever-increasing sense of wisdom that they gain from experience. But unlike humans, that wisdom don't show it on the surface or in their mannerisms, which remain delightfully youthful. Which is easy to do when you are invulnerable and superstrong. 

This is one the most alien aspects of Velorians, at least as I see it. Their ability to never get worn down, depressed, cynical, tired or seemingly "wise and mature" while in fact they are becoming more skillful and accomplished all the time. To never become the curmudgeon. To never bend under the weight of experience, both good and bad.

I lack the skill to properly portray that in stories, at least with any nuance, because it's simply not human to behave that way.

To greet every new relationship, for hundreds of years, with the same innocent enthusiasm and profound emotion that we remember from our first loves. Yet every Velorian feels and behaves this way, each new relationship like the first one, even while they are warriors who defend worlds and fight terrible battles.

This is part of the tweaking the Galen did to make their perfect Procreators forever desirable and willing, but which manifests in so many more ways than they could ever have imagined, especially when living among ordinary humans, and not the closer-to-immortal Galens.

It is also very much a superpower, and I like to think it's my unique contribution to the genre.

As an old person myself, it's also the most powerful superhuman ability I can imagine, simply because it's so impossible, physically or mentally to remain wide-eyed and innocent and ever eager and optimistic as one grows old.

Shadar
Last edit: 26 Jun 2022 15:49 by shadar.
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26 Jun 2022 23:58 - 27 Jun 2022 00:03 #74810 by Monty
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I seem to remember the case where Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Lynda Carter, was around three hundred years old.

Such youthful vigour from her made her character's age all the more interesting, much to Steve Trevor's astonishment, and Diana Prince's smile at his astonishment at the fact.
Last edit: 27 Jun 2022 00:03 by Monty.
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27 Jun 2022 02:52 #74811 by willow
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An extremely old Superman (or Superwoman) having all their powers at peak performance while suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's would be terrifying. However, it could make a pretty interesting horror as the world struggles to stop an ultra-powerful and highly confused Superman slowly going insane. Lex Luther and Lois Lane have been dead for a millenia but Superman is tearing apart Metropolis desperately trying to "find and save her" without realizing she is dust.

Generally, I argue that Kryptonian powers peak and then decline much in the same way that the human body peaks and declines as it enters older to extreme ages. Now that will likely take hundreds, possibly thousands, of years for a Kryptonian. Just about every comic, film, and TV show has them living extremely long. I don't go for the Superman is immortal line but more extremely long-lived by a thousand or more years.

However, over those centuries or millennia, I think Superman (and Superwoman) slowly but surely find themselves not being able to run as fast or lift as much. At first, it is not really noticeable but becomes unavoidable over the next several centuries. At some point, that either gets them killed by some enemy or their superpowers become so weak that they effectively become a normal human. They might still linger for a few more decades or centuries but ultimately die of "natural causes" where the body just shuts down. There is an interesting question whether exposure to Kryptonite radiation as their powers weaken may given Superman or Superwomen a form of Kryptonian cancer. That the only thing protecting them from such situation now is their powers of superhuman regeneration but as that weakens it takes them longer to heal and recover from being exposed to Kryptonite.

To me, the more interesting question has always been "If his children and grandchildren will inherit Superman's powers, then what does the world look like in 1,000 years with multiple generations of half-human/Kryptonian children flying around with Superman's abilities?" Personally, I always liked the ending to Red Son where the wormhole Superman enters as a baby travels through time rather than space. So, Kryptonians are actually hyper-evolved, maybe genetically-enhanced, humans thousands upon thousands of years in the future.
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27 Jun 2022 06:45 #74814 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Aging and life expectancy

I seem to remember the case where Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Lynda Carter, was around three hundred years old.

Such youthful vigour from her made her character's age all the more interesting, much to Steve Trevor's astonishment, and Diana Prince's smile at his astonishment at the fact.
 
I was pretty young when the show was on. I remember the vibe, but not specific episodes. Did the show toss out the comic book's premise that Diana was from the ancient days, and move her character biography up to the Renaissance or something?

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27 Jun 2022 06:49 #74815 by AUphoric
Replied by AUphoric on topic Aging and life expectancy

An extremely old Superman (or Superwoman) having all their powers at peak performance while suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's would be terrifying. However, it could make a pretty interesting horror as the world struggles to stop an ultra-powerful and highly confused Superman slowly going insane. Lex Luther and Lois Lane have been dead for a millenia but Superman is tearing apart Metropolis desperately trying to "find and save her" without realizing she is dust.

Generally, I argue that Kryptonian powers peak and then decline much in the same way that the human body peaks and declines as it enters older to extreme ages. Now that will likely take hundreds, possibly thousands, of years for a Kryptonian. Just about every comic, film, and TV show has them living extremely long. I don't go for the Superman is immortal line but more extremely long-lived by a thousand or more years.

However, over those centuries or millennia, I think Superman (and Superwoman) slowly but surely find themselves not being able to run as fast or lift as much. At first, it is not really noticeable but becomes unavoidable over the next several centuries. At some point, that either gets them killed by some enemy or their superpowers become so weak that they effectively become a normal human. They might still linger for a few more decades or centuries but ultimately die of "natural causes" where the body just shuts down. There is an interesting question whether exposure to Kryptonite radiation as their powers weaken may given Superman or Superwomen a form of Kryptonian cancer. That the only thing protecting them from such situation now is their powers of superhuman regeneration but as that weakens it takes them longer to heal and recover from being exposed to Kryptonite.

To me, the more interesting question has always been "If his children and grandchildren will inherit Superman's powers, then what does the world look like in 1,000 years with multiple generations of half-human/Kryptonian children flying around with Superman's abilities?" Personally, I always liked the ending to Red Son where the wormhole Superman enters as a baby travels through time rather than space. So, Kryptonians are actually hyper-evolved, maybe genetically-enhanced, humans thousands upon thousands of years in the future.
 
Do you know if anyone's done a "Superman's lost it!" storyline? That definitely would be terrifying for humanity. Injustice showed, "What if Superman gave up on justice?" but I think he was lucid, just morally unhinged. I didn't see Batman vs. Superman but my impression was that the premise was, Batman's trying to get ready to shut down a rogue Superman, if needed!

I also missed Red Son. That seems like a Dr. Who, timey-wimey kind of impossibility loop.

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27 Jun 2022 06:52 #74816 by fats
Replied by fats on topic Aging and life expectancy
cancer is a case of "if not when" as it was said to me by an oncologist that if you lived long enough you would get cancer, it's not a case of environmental but mathematical reasons behind it.

Fats

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27 Jun 2022 07:45 #74818 by willow
Replied by willow on topic Aging and life expectancy

Do you know if anyone's done a "Superman's lost it!" storyline? That definitely would be terrifying for humanity. Injustice showed, "What if Superman gave up on justice?" but I think he was lucid, just morally unhinged. I didn't see Batman vs. Superman but my impression was that the premise was, Batman's trying to get ready to shut down a rogue Superman, if needed!

I also missed Red Son. That seems like a Dr. Who, timey-wimey kind of impossibility loop.
 
I cannot think of any. There have been some comedy sketches of older superheroes in old folks homes. The comic series Irredeemable comes pretty close with their Superman-like character just losing it. Homelander from The Boys is another good example of when Superman just goes crazy. Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen is a good example of how godlike powers can cause what used to be a human being to become disassociated from the rest of humanity. Similar thing happens with the character SuperShock from the Powers comic, specifically The Sellouts arc. However, I cannot think of any comic that dealt with Superman or similar character causing massive destruction and chaos as they were losing their minds due to old age. The closest you might get is the older Batman stuff (i.e. Dark Knight) where Batman has gotten a lot less patient and more violent as decades of his previous tactics proved ineffective in saving Gotham. Similar theme in the Kingdom Come comic arc between the old and new generations of heroes.

Batman vs. Superman was a good idea with terrible execution. In Man of Steel, Superman and Zod fighting in Metropolis killed thousands of people, injured thousands more, and almost destroyed the city. The fear that Batman had of Superman causing more death and destruction, or blowing up the entire planet, is probably justified. Batman's rogue gallery is full of somewhat normal people who had "one very bad day" and snapped to become murderous supervillains. We are talking about someone could fly into space and burn the entire planet to cinders with his heat vision or actually push the entire planet into the Sun.

As for Red Son, it is possible but the future of an Earth turned Krypton has to be thousands upon thousands, maybe millions, of years in the future. All the continents will have shifted making Earth unrecognizable. The sun will be a lot older and redder. Civilizations will have risen and fallen multiple times. Language will have completely changed and there might not be many surviving records of ancient civilizations (i.e. 20th Century Earth). Keep in mind that if you as an English speaker traveled back in time in England, your English language skills would allow you to understand the locals back to about the 12th or 13th century. If you traveled 2,000 years into the past, then you would need to know Latin or Ancient Greek to speak with the locals in the Roman Empire. Now imagine that situation just 10,000 years from now in the future.

In the end of Red Son, the descendants of Lex Luthor eventually form the House of Lex (or Luthor) that over the next thousands of years becomes the House of El. So, Superman in fighting Lex Luthor was effectively fighting a great ancestor. I always thought it as a neat twist. And it does not hurt that I am a big fan of Classic Doctor Who.
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27 Jun 2022 07:52 #74819 by willow
Replied by willow on topic Aging and life expectancy

Do you know if anyone's done a "Superman's lost it!" storyline? That definitely would be terrifying for humanity. Injustice showed, "What if Superman gave up on justice?" but I think he was lucid, just morally unhinged. I didn't see Batman vs. Superman but my impression was that the premise was, Batman's trying to get ready to shut down a rogue Superman, if needed!

I also missed Red Son. That seems like a Dr. Who, timey-wimey kind of impossibility loop.
 

Just remembered. The closest story that I can think of would be Professor X from the film Logan. In that film, he pretty much has to be sedated as he is losing his ability to control his mental powers, which affects people in a large area. In the film, it is stated that this loss of control led to the death of multiple X-Men members. However, I don't think the details of that event are explicitly given. Even Logan is starting to have trouble healing from his wounds and using his claws is intensely painful. Overall, an excellent film.
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27 Jun 2022 08:16 #74820 by Thefirstone
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Wasn’t there a villain named Kancer who evolved from a tumor present-day (at the time it was written) Superman had or something?

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27 Jun 2022 08:51 #74821 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Aging and life expectancy

I seem to remember the case where Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Lynda Carter, was around three hundred years old.

Such youthful vigour from her made her character's age all the more interesting, much to Steve Trevor's astonishment, and Diana Prince's smile at his astonishment at the fact.
 
The official on-screen age was 2575 years old in 1977, which would put Diana's birthday in the 551 BC.
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27 Jun 2022 16:14 #74822 by MackTheMouse2
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An extremely old Superman (or Superwoman) having all their powers at peak performance while suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's would be terrifying. However, it could make a pretty interesting horror as the world struggles to stop an ultra-powerful and highly confused Superman slowly going insane. 
Season 2 of the TV show of "Powers" had this for a plot line. Most powerful hero in the world going crazy from dementia. It was pretty terrifying.

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27 Jun 2022 17:32 #74823 by willow
Replied by willow on topic Aging and life expectancy

Season 2 of the TV show of "Powers" had this for a plot line. Most powerful hero in the world going crazy from dementia. It was pretty terrifying.
 
That's true. I had forgotten about that. That show changed a lot from the comics and never had the hard edge that The Boys has tried to keep. In the original comic, SuperShock was basically going Dr. Manhattan's route where his powers have made him feel above humanity. He even declares himself a king over all mankind before he is killed. Along those lines, he burns the Vatican and the Pope then destroys various religious sites in Israel to emphasize to whom humans should be worshiping. There is a great confrontation where the main female cop confronts SuperShock about killing millions and telling him that he can't do that. SuperShock just looks back with this blank, thousand yard stare and asks something like "Why not?" Like he is so far removed at this point from humanity that we are little more than insects to him.

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28 Jun 2022 20:12 #74838 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Aging and life expectancy
There's the Star Trek episode "Who mourns for Adonis" where they encounter "Apollo" but don't really explore what happened to the other Greek Gods.  It could take some care in conversation to avoid referencing historical events that happened before people were born.
 
Usually a giveaway is the skin and hair imperfections, Even with unchanging physical appearance and lack of decay, what kind of mind would be possible?   Would a super mind include instant photographic recall of  their entire life existence?   How would they avoid getting jaded by the many generations of mortals they saw come and go. Possibly with super speed able to perceive see and move much faster than mortals.  The patience needed for that would be superhuman.

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29 Jun 2022 00:33 - 29 Jun 2022 00:35 #74840 by Kamelmann
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Do you know if anyone's done a "Superman's lost it!" storyline? That definitely would be terrifying for humanity. Injustice showed, "What if Superman gave up on justice?" but I think he was lucid, just morally unhinged. I didn't see Batman vs. Superman but my impression was that the premise was, Batman's trying to get ready to shut down a rogue Superman, if needed!

I also missed Red Son. That seems like a Dr. Who, timey-wimey kind of impossibility loop.
The closest I can think off would be the Dark Multiverse where superman died at the hands of Doomsday, and Lois Lane combined with the Eradicator to become a new kryptonian. The comic is pretty short but the ending basically goes that route. I've included that final panel in the spoiler below (if i've done it right). She's genuinely scary, and I wish they would do an expanded take on it (but I'm a superwoman horror fan

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03 Jul 2022 17:41 #74894 by AUphoric
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Remember that the movie Highlander, and the follow up TV series, dealt with this theme.

(Ignore the awful, awful other movies in the series. There can only be one.)

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03 Jul 2022 20:02 #74902 by Thefirstone
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Never seen it.

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03 Jul 2022 20:06 #74903 by YAGS
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Remember that the movie Highlander, and the follow up TV series, dealt with this theme.

(Ignore the awful, awful other movies in the series. There can only be one.)
 
There can be only one. May it be Duncan MacLeod.

I love how people always go out of their way to ignore the followup movies, but ignore the second TV series, because they truly don't know or forgot that it existed. I actually just rewatched the Highlander movie and TV shows earlier this year. Still good stuff. The second TV show (Highlander: The Raven) starts out truly awful, but recovers surprisingly well. By the second half of the season, it's on the same level as the first season or two of its predecessor TV show, though still not as good as Duncan's show at its peak (seasons 3-5). By the end, I was disappointed that it got canceled, so we never got a second season to see where they would go with the big end of season plot twist.
 
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03 Jul 2022 21:10 #74906 by AUphoric
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Never seen it.
 
It's an all-time great fantasy movie. It has original, brilliant visual storytelling. A little disorienting at first but then it all fits together as the story is revealed. No superwomen, but it does have sword fights in ancient and modern settings, Jack Kirby style magic energy bursts crackling thru the air, Sean Connery as an Egyptian Spaniard or something, and a totally bitchin' soundtrack by the band Queen. A whole lot of fun. I think most people on this forum would like the film.

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04 Jul 2022 05:24 #74914 by YAGS
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Never seen it.

 

It's an all-time great fantasy movie. It has original, brilliant visual storytelling. A little disorienting at first but then it all fits together as the story is revealed. No superwomen, but it does have sword fights in ancient and modern settings, Jack Kirby style magic energy bursts crackling thru the air, Sean Connery as an Egyptian Spaniard or something, and a totally bitchin' soundtrack by the band Queen. A whole lot of fun. I think most people on this forum would like the film.


While the film was pretty good, the followup TV show was MUCH better.  A little slow getting started in season 1, but definitely great once it hit its stride.  
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04 Jul 2022 09:49 #74922 by willow
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It's an all-time great fantasy movie. It has original, brilliant visual storytelling. A little disorienting at first but then it all fits together as the story is revealed. No superwomen, but it does have sword fights in ancient and modern settings, Jack Kirby style magic energy bursts crackling thru the air, Sean Connery as an Egyptian Spaniard or something, and a totally bitchin' soundtrack by the band Queen. A whole lot of fun. I think most people on this forum would like the film.
 
Film also has some great low budget camera tricks before the days of drones and computer graphics. For example, in the final fight of the film, there is a great shot where the camera pans over as the two characters battle it out. All done by strapping the camera to an office chair and rolling it to the other side of the room. Or the special camera rig they setup in the opening shot of the film at the wrestling event where the camera flies over the crowd. Clancy Brown also makes a great villain as the Kurgan. You can tell he is having a blast in the role. Also, the soundtrack by Queen is amazing.

"I have something to say! It's better to burn out than fade away!"
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04 Jul 2022 11:37 #74923 by Monty
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Being immortal may not be what it is all cracked up to be, even if you are Superhuman! Wouldn't you get bored after a while with the knowledge that you are indestructible? What would happen at Armageddon? (Sorry if that has put a downer on the topic.)
 

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04 Jul 2022 19:33 #74933 by willow
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Being immortal may not be what it is all cracked up to be, even if you are Superhuman! Wouldn't you get bored after a while with the knowledge that you are indestructible? What would happen at Armageddon? (Sorry if that has put a downer on the topic.)
 
That is a common theme among tales of immortality. That eventually all pleasures begin to lose their edge, which pushes the person to more and more extremes and depravity until eventually nothing really does anything for them. The other theme being that immortal beings tend to get "stuck" in time and cannot relate to a changing world. You see this in a lot of vampire films and shows where the vampires are still wearing clothes considered fashionable decades or even centuries earlier. The show What We Do in the Shadows is a great example of that.

On the flip side, there have been a few stories that take the idea that the brain can only hold so much information. So, an immortal being's memory might only go back 100 years at a time. They may have flashes of important events from the distant past, like how you might remember certain events from your childhood, but the rest is largely forgotten without the use of journals. This could help them adapt to a changing world but also force them to repeat many of the same mistakes over and over every century.
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