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Old Superhero

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Bikini Bottom's noblest, boldest, oldest superheroes.

"Now it's June, a charity event with several costumed adventurers attending — friendly middle-aged men who like to dress up. I have nothing in common with them."
Doctor Manhattan, Watchmen

Often, in a show, they'll want to parody the 60s Batman-style superhero. However, if they do, the vast majority of the time it'll be a Superhero who was active back then... but now is old, decrepit, and retired.

Usually, they'll still wear their old costume for no apparent reason, which will fit badly over their gone-to-seed bodies. If they had a sidekick, he (this character is almost universally male) will also be there, and still be called "Something Boy" or "Something Lad" despite the fact that he's past middle age. Expect stories of the Glory Days.

The first appearance of this character will usually involve the main characters trying to bring him back into action, either to defeat an also-returned villain or to bring him out of his post-retirement funk.

This can also be applied to WWII-era heroes; the character is nearly the same except for the type of outdated slang he uses.

This character rarely shows up in actual Superhero comics. Instead, Comic-Book Time usually applies; heroes don't age unless the story calls for them to or unless they don't appear in a comic for a while. If one does age, they'll usually still able to hold their own, often having their powers or equipment make up the difference. The original (Jay Garrick) Flash and the (Alan Scott) Green Lantern are major examples of this; they may be in their 90s but between their adventures that led to their physical ages being slowed and their powers, they are respected elders in the The DCU's superhero community. Others become still-active Cool Old Guys — just look at the Justice Society of America.

Prior to 2017, there was a significant chance that said character would be played by Adam West, in reference to his character on the Batman (1966) series.

If this is a recurring character, they're likely to play the role of a mentor, although they can still duke it out with the best from time to time. Although they may complain about their backache and leg injuries once the battle's over.


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  • The commercial for the Sonic Heroes video game features the League of Superheroes. The commissioner rushes to their headquarters and tells them that the city is under attack, only to find that every member of the League of Superheroes is too elderly to do anything heroic. The announcer then says, "It's time for some new heroes."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Super has Toppo, the leader of the Pride Troopers from Universe 11. He loves to make bombastic speeches and preaching about justice, but at the same time, is shown to be a good guy who is worried about the possible erasure of his universe. He is acrofatic, strong enough to fight against a Super Saiyan Blue Goku, and is considered a potential God of Destruction.
  • GUN×SWORD has the El Dora V, a Combining Mecha piloted by a Five-Man Band (well, four- the token girl of the team is dead) of old guys who come out of retirement to protect their town. Their first opponent constantly complains that their methods are obsolete, but they manage to win in the end. The show takes the opportunity to homage all kinds of Super Robot shows from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, including Combattler V and GaoGaiGar.
  • The short manga Mei Company is an somewhat unique take on this trope. The characters are Magical Girls whose powers start to disappear once they reach college age, so they are not technically "old" by normal standards. However, it is similar to other examples in that they have retired from fighting crime and often reminisce about their Glory Days.
  • My Hero Academia has Gran Torino, who was already an advanced age hero when he trained young All Might to become the Symbol of Peace. In the modern day when he trains Deku he's shorter but no less spry, still keeping up with the younger generation with very little complaint. And he shows no signs of having a civilian identity or garments, he even wears his costume (domino mask included) full time when he's at home by himself. Plenty of other active Pro-Heroes from the old days settle down to teach as time advances, but he is easily the definitive example in the world of Academia.
  • One-Punch Man has "Silverfang" Bang, the third-ranked S-Class Hero who's also the oldest at 81 years old. He can still keep up with those youngsters around him with his Supernatural Martial Arts and is still tough enough to shrug off getting smashed through a building and only complain about back and hip pain.
  • Pokémon: The Series had Gligarman, a Batman parody who tried to continue the superheroing business, but was completely useless except in selling his own merchandise. At the end of the episode, he accepted that he was too old for heroics, and let his daughter succeed him as Gli-Girl (which she only did because she'd learned to understand her father's love for the role).
  • Mr Legend from Tiger & Bunny. An unusual variation—rather than being a young, athletic hero who since retired and let himself go, Mr. Legend performed many of his heroics whilst an overweight middle-aged man... and was no less effective for it. Until he lost his powers. Worse, the first time we see him - in a flashback to how a young Kotetsu was inspired to become a hero - Mr Legend bears a certain similarity to, say, Mr. Incredible. And then episode 16 comes around, and we find out just how badly losing his powers affected Mr Legend. Confronted with the reality of his fading powers and the fact that HeroTV stage arrests for him, Legend becomes an abusive alcoholic. Same Old Superhero, two very different sides.
  • Ultimate Muscle: The heroes of the previous series are made painfully aware of their age in their initial (failed) attempt at combating the dMp.
  • Tiger Mask W:
    • Well, Old masked wrestler anyway but Mr. Question unmasks to reveal a wrinkled face and white hair.
    • Big Tiger II is the son of the original Big Tiger-who died in 1971. Big Tiger II is The Juggernaut.

    Comic Books 
  • Animal Man: The Last Days of Animal Man jumps ahead to Exactly What It Says on the Tin, showing Buddy beginning to feel his age alongside losing his powers after 20 some-odd years of crimefighting. Despite this, he manages to take on one last fight as a nearly-powerless Badass Normal, fighting in body armour and with a crowbar.
  • Astro City is rife with examples of this trope, as it establishes a long history of generational superheroes, and the avoidance of Comic-Book Time means characters age and cope accordingly. Some heroes are extraordinarily long-lived (e.g. The Confessor, The Hanged Man, the Gentleman) and remain active, while others have retired (e.g. The Black Badge, Supersonic, Starfighter) or passed away due to natural causes (Noah of the Crossbreed).
    • The oldest known superhero in the mythos is Coyotl, who was presumably a significantly pre-Colonial Native American. The oldest known hero who's still alive is Iron Horse The Human Locomotive, a steam-powered hero who's been active since the 1860s.
    • The Black Rapier is an Empowered Badass Normal who used a rejuvenation serum to prolong his crimefighting career, but eventually retires as even that wasn't sufficient to keep him active.
    • Quarrel and Crackerjack, two non-powered heroes, are in the middle of the process; they don't want to retire, but age is taking its toll.
    • Mister Manta is a villainous example; he's been marooned on a deserted island for so long that when he finally appears during a raid on a cruise ship, nobody recognizes the white-haired long-bearded skinny hermit for the master thief he had been in his heyday. He still manages to kick a prodigious amount of ass, though.
      "Look at this guy! What does he think he is, Geezer Man?"
  • The Authority. In response to the eponymous team staging a bloodless coup, a Big Bad brings back a stable of WW2 superheroes note  who are decrepit and senile in a retirement home. He reverses their aging and turns up their powers and sets them loose to start a revolution. Things go very wrong. Now the leader of the team impales cops on the American flag and anyone who freely chose the Authority religion gets slaughtered.
  • Batman:
    • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns has an old superhero bar. The kicker is, the book is set in the future, so all the superheroes are (in the current continuity) young and active. It's also an old supervillain bar. And, this being a book about the badassery of Batman, if there's one thing that can spoil the mood, it's mentioning the Bat.
    • Back when the eponymous hero of Nightwing still lived in Bludhaven, his downstairs neighbor was a hero from the World War II era, the Tarantula. Even having grown up with superheroes, Nightwing was still fascinated by the man.
    • Batman (Grant Morrison): The Legionary, one of the Club of Heroes in The Black Glove. No older than the other heroes, but he has let his city fall into the hands of Charlie Caligula and has let himself go badly. Instead he spends his time regaling himself on past victories when not stuffing his face or wallowing in misery. Though he does go out heroically.
  • Black Hammer: The Badass Normal hero Abraham Slam started fighting crime in the 40s and kept it up well into the Bronze Age. He eventually realized that he wasn't cut out for this anymore, between the fact that he was getting old and the fact that supervillains with actual superpowers were becoming much more common, so he hung up his costume. Then he came out of retirement in 1986 to help the other surviving heroes fight off Anti-God. In the present day, Abe puts on his old costume to prove to his love interest that he used to be a superhero: she takes one look at this flabby old man in blue spandex and burst out laughing.
  • A Darkwing Duck comic in Disney Adventures featured a villain who stole the masks of other heroes. Gosalyn got some retired heroes whose masks were taken to help out.
  • Rising Sun in The DCU, an over-the-hill hero out of Japan who spends most of his time nowadays criticizing the current super-generation, specifically the Super Young Team. He's become a paunchy alcoholic, a pathetic imitation of the paragon he once was. He eventually gets possessed by a Mr. Mind parasite and becomes the ultimate threat faced by the Super Young Team.
  • Destroyer (Marvel Comics) stars Keen Marlow, a WWII hero who aged into one of the more badass versions of this trope.
  • Carried to extremes in Earth X, which was specifically about these aging heroes in a world that appeared to be passing them by. Particularly egregious cases: Spider-Man (who returned to action in a Halloween costume that could not conceal his spare tire), Mr. Fantastic (bearded, and living as "Dr. Doom" out of guilt), Captain America (still in good shape — time doesn't affect the Super-Soldier Serum, it seems — but bald, despondent, and wearing a tattered American flag as a costume), and Wolverine (a drunken slob married to a disgusted Jean Grey).
  • In Hulk: The End, an elderly Bruce Banner/Hulk is now the last human left alive, centuries after a nuclear war ended the human race.
  • Pretty much one of the things that defines the Justice Society of America is the number of Golden Age superheroes (appropriately aged) that comprise its roster. Even though they've had young heroes like Stargirl and Damage, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about the JSA are the veterans: Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Kent Nelson, Ted Grant and so on, who founded the team during WWII. In a subversion, though, they still display the same degree of physical preparation and badassitude from the time they were created, and those who have lost an edge due to their age have found ways to make up for it. Out of all of them the most impressive has got to be the original Red Tornado who was an old superhero in the 40s.
  • Played straight in Kingdom Come. Enough time has passed that Superman looks like he's in his 50s (greying about the temple, receding hairline), while Batman is downright elderly looking, and uses an exosuit to get around. Notable in that many of the old characters are still badass and everyone has changed their costumes.
  • The Jesus League of America, one of the many things fought by Marshal Law. They're zombies.
  • Old Man Logan is set in a Bad Future where supervillains had united and taken over America. Very few of the old heroes are still around, much less the ones still active like Hawkeye: Wolverine has become a pacifist, Hawkeye is still fighting on despite becoming blind and the Hulk became a corrupt, insane tyrant that governs his own territory in the East Coast with his family of Gamma-hybrid hillbillies.
  • Slingers had the Golden Age character Black Marvel act as a mentor to the team. However, it later turned out that he was just manipulating them into preparing the public for his return, which naturally went disastrously.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The entire premise of Spider-Man: Life Story is to show Spidey (and his contemporaries) aging in real time since they debuted.
    • Spider-Verse has Old Man Spider-Man, which hails from an alternate future.
  • Superman:
    • One comic featured a retirement home for supervillains, who sat around still dressed in their costumes reminiscing about their Glory Days.
    • In Action Comics #270, Superman dreams that he's lost his powers, become old and is retired.
    • In The Immortal Superman flies to the far future, but using a defective Time Bubble which causes him to get older until he looks like an octogenarian (albeit his power hasn't been diminished at all).
    • In Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, Supergirl has been alive for several centuries, and she looks like a wrinkled-faced, grey-haired, sixty years old lady. At this point she's retired from the superhero business and gotten into politics.
    • Kal-L, the Superman of Earth Two, retires to a pocket dimension with his wife Lois Lane at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. He returns in Infinite Crisis having joined Alexander Luthor's scheme to restore the multiverse in an attempt to save Lois, who is dying of old age. When the modern Superman shows up to stop him, Kal-L is able to go toe-to-toe with him until Superboy-Prime shows up.
    • Mention must also be made of Superman: At Earth's End, which features an aging, bearded Superman... who battles twin clones of Adolf Hitler with a MASSIVE gun.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books and cartoon have the Justice Force, a team of old superheroes called back into action when members of the team begin getting kidnapped.
  • Archie Comics' character The Web was a Golden Age hero in the forties, then settled down and got married. In the sixties, the character was revived—twenty-odd years older, a bit out of shape, and with a wife who wasn't exactly thrilled with his return to superheroics. (Though she did eventually give in and took on her own superhero identity.)
  • The comic book series Welcome to Tranquility is based on the idea of a whole town full of old superheroes (and supervillains), more or less retired.
  • One issue of Young Justice introduced "Old Justice", a team of down-on-their-luck Golden Age sidekicks who were desperate not to be forgotten, and harbored a lot of resentment for the young heroes who they claimed lacked experience. They were led by Dan the Dyna-Mite and featured Doiby Dickles, Merry the Gimmick Girl, Dinky Jibbet and Sisty Hunkel-Jibbert and Second Sweep.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter is noticeably out of shape thanks to a diet of junk food even as he continues superheroing into his late 40s. While he clearly isn't at his peak, given how badly he's injured by both Stain and the Prowler, he's still a force to be reckoned with and can mop the floor with most of the C-List Fodder that poses a serious threat to the average Hero in Izuku's universe.

    Films — Animated 
  • Downplayed in The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible is not as old as most of the examples shown here, but fifteen years after his forced retirement, he is noticeably out of shape, and is still holding on to his glory days, even doing superhero work in secret. The scene in which he gets back into shape is entertaining. When an ordinary middle-aged man gets in shape he goes to the gym. When a Nigh Invulnerable middle-aged man with superhuman strength gets in shape... he hits the railroad yard and starts bench- and leg-pressing railroad cars. The sequel Incredibles 2 features an elderly super named Reflux who can spew lava from his mouth. He holds up his own during the last third of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ant-Man, Dr. Hank Pym was an active superhero and SHIELD agent from the 1960s until his retirement in 1987, making him the second oldest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and unlike Captain America, he took The Slow Path to the present day. The film is about Pym, now too old to be the Ant-Man when he's needed, recruiting and training [1] Scott Lang as his successor.
  • In Avengers: Endgame:
    • Downplayed but still there with Tony Stark who is 53 and visibly getting on in years. He's spent 5 years in peaceful retirement and the Time Heist has an air of One Last Job for him as he never expected to go back to being a hero. While his mind is still sharp as ever, in battle Tony is notably weaker than the One-Man Army he normally is.
    • Captain America decides to stay in the past after putting the Infinity Stones back. He reconnects with the rest of the Avengers in modern day as an old man.
  • Big Man Japan's senile grandfather counts, when he turns big again to "relive his glory days" but merely makes a mess.
  • The first few scenes of The Dark Knight Rises shows Bruce Wayne several years on, including the toll that the injuries he's accumulated over the years of fighting crime have taken on his body. He's not old, but definitely feeling it at the start of the movie and needs a high-tech leg brace before he can ditch his walking cane and get back to fighting shape.
  • Burton-verse Bruce Wayne in The Flash (2023).
  • In Kamen Rider 1, Hongo is a septuagenarian. His cyborg body is starting to fail on him after several decades. The main theme is him fighting in spite of his body slowly breaking down. His resurrection seems to have fixed that.
  • Logan is about an old and retired Wolverine, who now serves as a guardian to Professor Xavier, who has grown senile after the X-Men disbanded and there is no one left to care for him due to all the mutants losing their powers. However, he comes out from his retirement to protect a little girl pursued by a sinister organization and bring her to safety, in what its supposed to be his last adventure.
  • The Alan Arkin movie The Return of Captain Invincible is equal parts this trope and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, attempting to play the whole mess for So Bad, It's Good laughs. It vastly overshoots the mark.
  • Chronically unappreciated All-American Boy in Sky High (2005) is the past-his-prime sidekick without the retired superhero. His assigned mentor, The Commander, is still operating at his peak, while All-American Boy is now teaching "hero support" classes in the eponymous hero school. Downplayed as All-American Boy is all but decrepit, and is still able to help the heroes.
  • In Spider-Man: No Way Home, we have The Raimi-Verse Peter Parker, who is a downplayed example here. He's in his 40s, has an up and down relationship with Mary Jane, but he's still fighting the good fight and is able to go toe-to-toe with his contemporaries. He does admit to some problems with his lower back caused by all the web-swinging he's done over the years.

  • When George and Harold invent Captain Underpants, their first comic book issue starts off by saying that all the other superheroes in the world had become too old to fight crime, with a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Superman, Wonder-Woman, and Batman in a nursing home. In a later book, George's great-grandmother and Harold's grandfather drink some super-empowering juice and become Boxer Boy and Great-Granny Girdle.
  • Discworld has Genghiz Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde, a group of barbarian adventurers (and one geography teacher), the youngest of whom is in his eighties (And the oldest is close to a hundred). Other characters assume that their advanced age has left them feeble and incapable, conveniently forgetting that these guys have lived to be octogenarians in a career that kills most people that go into it before they reach age twenty-five. They don't move as quickly as they once did, but they don't have to. Cohen and the Silver Horde are actually upset that they've reached old age since they would have preferred dying young and gloriously. The death of one of their members via choking on a cucumber in his salad drives them to go on one last adventure to get payback on the gods for denying them glory.
  • Going Through the Change has a twist on the usual Puberty Superpower trope—in this world, women get superpowers during menopause instead.
  • In Hero Years, I'm Dead runs on this trope. The main character, Coyote is a retired superhero, and all the superheroes he knew from his glory day are retired as well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Green Termite from The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. The Green Termite was Ben's grandfather Harry who came out of retirement when Ben becomes Captain X. Harry dons his old costume in an attempt to show Ben the superhero ropes.
  • The Flash:
    • In The Flash (1990), Paul Winfield played a retired judge who moonlighted as a vigilante named Nightshade in the late '50s. He came out of retirement to join the Flash in fighting one of his old enemies who had emerged from cryogenic sleep. He returned to help deal with a young upstart who had taken on his persona, but called himself Deadly Nightshade as he killed criminals, which is something the original Nightshade would never do.
    • The Flash (2014) introduces DC's best known one, Jay Garrick, first as a younger man, but he's actually the villainous Zoom posing as the real deal, who proves to be an alternate version of Barry's father, played by John Wesley Shipp, who played the 90's Barry. Shipp even reprises his role as Barry Allen from the 1990 tv show, established to take place on Earth-90, in the crossover events Elseworlds (2018) and Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) with this Barry having been active as a hero for almost thirty years.
  • The French series Hero Corp takes place in a whole village of such retired superheroes. Most of them are not that old, however, but their powers have certainly decreased a lot from their prime.
  • Legends of the Superheroes featured an elderly superhero known as the Scarlet Cyclone. Much to his dismay, he is also addressed as "Retired Man".
  • Saturday Night Live had a few sketches featuring Mike Myers as "Middle-Aged Man," whose superpower was that he was old and thus had more wisdom and experience than young people.
  • The Swedish Advent Calendar series Superhjältejul centres around retired superheroes Stålhenrik (Steel-Henrik) and Supersnällasilversara (Superkindsilversara), telling the story about their first adventure to their grandchildren Vega and Nova.'
  • Dr Ulshade from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger is still a Ranger despite being in his late fifties, bad back and all. His teenage granddaughter takes over the role soon after his first appearance, the bad back being what convinces him to retire.
    • Ulshade's Power Rangers Dino Charge counterpart, Albert Smith, is even older and he also doesn't keep the powers, though not due to age - he'd actually fabricated a lot of his exploits and was in truth a local do-gooder, more about getting cats out of trees than fighting supervillains, who'd never faced actual monsters before until he got on the Big Bad's radar. He chooses to pass the powers on when he learns the situation.
    • The sentai franchise, and its sister series Kamen Rider, have been around long enough that when the earlier members show up for Reunion Shows, they qualify as this. The heroes of the 70s are often approaching their 70s, and it won't stop 'em from kicking monster butt right alongside the new guys. Yes, they do still get unmorphed fight scenes, proving that the actors are tough in reality too, making it look as good as they ever did!
      "My name is Takeshi Hongo. I protect people's freedom to the best of my ability." note 
  • Titans (2018): Bruce Wayne is middle aged and has been active as Batman for decades by the time the show starts, which is highlighted by the fact that Dick Grayson is now in his late twenties.

    Music Videos 
  • The video for the song "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down is about an old retired superhero putting on his costume to rescue a prostitute from her abusive pimp while the band plays in a bar full of old superheroes.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Paco from Anachronox. He's not old, he is a depressed drunkard, but still.
  • In the 1992 game Captain Dynamo* the title character is an octogenarian ex-superhero who must emerge from retirement when his similarly-superannuated nemesis, Austen Von Flyswatter, pulls off the world's biggest diamond heist.
  • Parodied in Earthworm Jim with the Puce Dynamo.
  • A variant of this occurs in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2, where one stage revolves around an elderly version of the Japanese folk hero Momotarō being called out of retirement to once again drive away the oni from Onigashima. He goes and fights them, then convinces them to reform and open a theme park. Seriously.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken has King Midas, who was quite something in his youth but is pretty much washed-up when he joins the League. His inability to properly work his Midas Touch (which turns things into mufflers) is used for both comedy and as a surprising puzzle solution.
  • Super Robot Wars 30 uses the El Dora V team as well, but in a bigger influence towards all the heroes. They were active long before the One Year War, joined the crew of the White Base alongside the crew of the battleship, the Getter Team, the Mazinger Team and GGG and Chizuru had a bigger influence, with the Chizuru of the Battle Team being named after her. Even ten years after those events, the old men are more than happy to aid the younger heroes and even inspire the new faces.
  • Captain Blue in Viewtiful Joe visually matches this trope, but can still fight with the best of them.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In her prime, Maria Calavera was a legendary Huntress (Huntsmen and Huntresses being Remnant's equivalent of superheroes) as well as a Silver-Eyed Warrior. Due to her skill and special power, she became a target by mercenaries (implied to be sent by the Big Bad) and ended up blinded. Despite being given cybernetic eyes, she went into retirement out of fear for her life, a decision that she later regretted as My Greatest Failure. However, she's still capable in her elderly age, best shown when she fights Neopolitan in Volume 8.

  • Are we forgetting Evil, Inc.? Captain Heroic and Evil Atom, for starters.
  • What about The Hero Business which likes playing this a number of ways.
    • Bravado is a retired Hero who seems to be an Expy of Golden Age Superman-esque superheroes, we are informed he's been around almost that long. While his former Arch nemesis turned coworker Dr. Malefactor is clearly showing his age.
      • Throw some random continuity reboots that all the heroes notice, but almost nobody else seems to, and some random old timers reminiscing of the gold and silver ages of superheroes and you got one whacked out world that is just fun to visit

    Web Original 
  • Seemingly half the staff at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Earth Mother, the heavyset woman who used to be Flower Child back in the 60's, Dr. Yablonski the physics teacher who apparently had to retire when he lost an arm and a leg, and most importantly, the headmistress: Elizabeth Carson was the original Miss Champion back in the 1940's, and she is still superheroing. At least she has the 'ages at comic book rates' power too, so she currently looks like she is in her mid-thirties.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "Over the Hill Hero", Captain Rescue is a raccoon who was once a great superhero in his youth. He went into retirement when Sonic became Mobius' new superhero, and has come out of retirement to help Sonic save Hill Top Village from Dr. Robotnik, Scratch, and Grounder. Due to his retirement, Rescue became overweight and out of shape, and his gadgets that he uses to fight crime have malfunctioned, making things more difficult for Sonic. Robotnik tricks Rescue into helping him by convincing him that he has been overshadowed by Sonic, but when Sonic gets captured, Rescue needs to redeem himself by rescuing Sonic and helping him defeat Robotnik.
  • Batman: The Animated Series had a similar character, the Grey Ghost, except that he was a throwback to the pulpy '40s era rather than the '60s superheroes, and he was played as a straight homage rather than a parody. He was voiced by... you guessed it... Adam West.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Bruce Wayne himself is the retired superhero who plays mentor to the new Batman, Terry. Bruce does occasionally join in with a well-timed use of the environment or jab with his cane, though.
    • Batman's former sidekicks as well. Batgirl is retired, although she's gone on to become the commissioner of the Gotham police. Robin is revealed to have retired in The Movie and works as an electrical engineer. Both of them are fairly dismissive of their previous superhero lives and bitter towards Bruce, and it is implied they got off lightly compared to Nightwing.
  • Captain Nemesis, Ben's superhero idol in the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Hero Time", is on the verge of becoming this — something that deeply disturbs him. It really doesn't help that a younger hero like Ben effortlessly upstages him, culminating in his utterly humiliating defeat in a contest of superheroics. While the actress covering the event (who is clearly biased in Ben's favor) describes the setting, a scrapyard for traincars, she mentions that it's the resting place for "rusted out old hulks" — the camera pans to Captain Nemesis at that point. Ouch. Nemesis loses the first event by an embarassingly wide margin. Even after he wins the second event (by cheating), he gets another dose of humiliation after Ben as Rath furiously pins him down and makes him scream in pain. The final event ends with Nemesis falling into a mudpit after losing a tug-of-war. Nemesis has a Face–Heel Turn and becomes Overlord as a result — he'd rather be a new villain than an obsolete hero.
  • Freakazoid! had a short where he visited a deli that was a popular hang-out for retired superheroes.
  • Funpak's The Manly Bee stars a retired bee-themed superhero.
  • Hammerman (Yes, M.C. Hammer as a superhero) played the Mentors angle, with Hammerman's predecessor (Soulman) hanging around to show him the ropes.
  • Timothy North from Kim Possible used to be the Fearless Ferret, and decides to take Ron in and train him to become his successor. However, it ends up being a subversion when it's revealed that North was really an actor who played the Fearless Ferret on an old TV show, and just thinks he used to be a real superhero due to going senile in his old age. Naturally, he was voiced by Adam West.
  • In My Goldfish is Evil, the star of Beanie's favorite show plays a big, strong superhero. When Beanie finally meets him in person, he finds out that the actor is getting on in years, as the show was made in the 1970s and nobody will hire him, due to his age.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes:
    • A frequent reoccurring character is Crinkly Wrinkly, a crotchety were-fox hero who hangs around Lakewood Plaza Turbo, boring people with his tall tales of the old days.
    • "Know Your Mom" has an old supervillains example. In it, KO discovers that his mother was a well-known superhero that quit after he was born. He feels bad that his mother quit because of him and decides to call some of her old supervillains so that she can briefly relieve her glory days. Most of them are either very old or outright dead by now, however the plant-based villain Succulentus is up for a fight. He's since become an old, out-of-shape grandpa. Succulentus puts up a fight and delivers a Villain Song, but he becomes worn out quickly. He and Carol end up sorting things out over coffee instead.
  • The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Youngstar 3" featured an elderly superhero named Old Man, who helped his grandson Youngstar fight crime alongside a Fembot named Shero.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): "Fallen Arches" had Captain Righteous and Lefty, who had split up quite some time ago over a relatively minor squabble. They only came back because the Mayor insisted they were the only ones who could defeat The Ministry Of Pain, their equally-ancient arch-nemeses, who the Girls only held back on because Blossom believed they should be "respectful to one's elders". The whole thing ultimately ends with a bunch of old men that need to be hospitalized, and the news programs blame the girls for not doing anything to stop it. To add insult to injury, the usual closing shot instead features Bubbles and Buttercup glaring angrily down at poor Blossom.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series had a story arc featuring the team of superheroes who'd helped Captain America during World War 2 as old, retired people. Spider-Man had to recruit them to stop a scheme by the Red Skull and figure out ways for them to overcome their fading powers.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants's Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are shining examples of this trope, and provide the page image. After the back-to-action episode, they become Recurrers, their plots usually involving some returned supervillain they used to fight.
  • Static Shock: In the episode "Blast from the Past", Static has to team up with retired superhero Soul Power (an Expy of Black Lightning) after his presumed dead arch-nemesis Professor Menace resurfaces.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In "Superhero For a Day", Gadget Man was once New York City's greatest superhero, but went into retirement when the Ninja Turtles became the city's new superheroes. He comes out of retirement to prove that he's still great, but only ends up making things worse for the Turtles. Shredder tricks Gadget Man into helping him, leading to the Turtles being captured, but Gadget Man manages to redeem himself by rescuing the Turtles and helping them defeat Shredder.
    • If you're feeling deja vu after reading the Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog entry, there's a reason for that; both episodes were written by the same man, Francis Moss.
  • The Tick:
    • "The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account" introduces the Terror, a frail, partially senile centenarian supervillain (his first major crime was punching out Teddy Roosevelt on the White House lawn) who comes out of retirement to conquer the world.
    • In "Grandpa Wore Tights", The Tick meets the Decency Squad, a band of retired Golden Age-type characters who included Captain Decency (a Captain America type), The Visual Eye (who could shoot his eyes out of his head by shouting "Rockets from their sockets!"), Sufra-Jet (a play on 'suffragette', now an old lady with a jetpack), and The Living Doll ("I'm full of tinier men!"). Captain Decency had a few teenage sidekicks over the years (such as "Johnny Polite"), but they're all off on their own. Arthur and the Tick end up having to team up with the Decency Squad to stop the Terror and his son from stealing one of the Terror's old secret weapons, the Desire-O-Vac.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Loose Screw", the dotty old lady Wander and Sylvia are helping out, Stella Starbella, turns out to be a retired intergalactic heroine... who comes out of retirement to fight her equally-elderly old foe Mandrake the Malfeasant.
  • This was the basic premise of the What A Cartoon! Show short "Captain Sturdy: Back in Action". The short was about an elderly superhero coming out of retirement after learning that his pension was cancelled because of the retirement age for superheroes being changed. The [adult swim] follow-up Captain Sturdy: The Originals had Captain Sturdy band together with his retired teammates Elastic Man, Velocity Man, Commander Guts, and Chronos, Master of Time and Space to take on his old enemy Dr. Destructo.
  • Zeroman stars Leslie Nielsen as Les Mutton, a 63-year-old (64 in a few weeks) mailman who transforms into the superhero Zeroman to defend Fair City.


Video Example(s):


Fred's Dad

The Post Credits scene of Big Hero 6 has Fred discover that his millionaire father, played by the Legendary Stan Lee, was actually a superhero and embracing him upon discovery.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheStinger

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