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Off My Mind: Should Superheroes Ever Quit?

Fighting evil is a never-ending battle but how long can heroes keep it up?

Heroes by nature, give it their all. They are driven by their unselfish desire to do their best. Their number one goal is to make the world a better place and to make it safe for the innocent. Heroes spend their time training to meet take on incredible obstacles and always manage to beat the odds.

Because fighting evil is a never-ending battle, how long can they truly keep it up? As heroes, are they expected to constantly continue to fight every single day, knowing their job will never come to an end? They are not in it for the fame or glory but how long can they keep taking the punches to try to do what they believe in?

== TEASER ==

Again, by the nature and essence of a superhero, there is no giving up. They strongly and absolutely believe in what they are doing. As good as they may be, they may often find themselves alone in the fight. There may be new heroes popping up each day but for every new hero or problem, a half dozen new ones show up as well.

Heroes rarely get a moment's rest. They can't afford the luxury of going on vacation. Some might say they are obsessive compulsive but they know a lot is riding on what they do. Sure they aren't the only ones capable of doing the job but there never seems to be enough help when it comes down to it. When they're good at what they do and when they truly believe in it, it's hard for them to hold back. Regardless what a hero might be doing in their spare time, if the call goes out, if they are needed, they will drop what they are doing in order to be a hero.

But what happens to their personal life? Many superheroes have had to constantly make sacrifices. They've lost family and loved ones in the process. That might serve to make them work harder as a hero. If they fail at personal relationships or civilian jobs, they may adopt the view that being a superhero is the only thing they're really good at. That is great for the countless innocent civilians that often fall prey to the villains and people get a kick out of seeing their heroes in action, but being on duty all the time isn't healthy. What happens if the hero gets frustrated or tired of all the hassles and responsibilities while they don't necessarily get any thanks?

Heroes shouldn't have to do it all by themselves. There should be others that could fight by their side or take over to allow them to take a vacation to a tropical island. That just never really seems to happen. Something always pulls the hero back in. If some tragedy should occur while the hero was away, the blame would fall on their shoulder.

If heroes don't ever get time away, they become disillusioned. They may lose the desire to continue what they do. The essence of a hero says they can never call it quits. But there may come a time when enough is enough. Should that ever happen, hopefully there will be someone around to take their place. Otherwise that would mean the villains win.

(Note: I intentionally left out the typical "___ No More" images. You're welcome.)

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Posted by Danial79

I think it's their right to quit, but how guilty would Batman feel if he quit and then heard that the Joker had committed some heinous crime.

Posted by NightFang

Once a hero, always a hero.

Posted by Shazam78

Sometimes yes. Old age, can be a factor. Some times some heroes can be over shadowed by other heroes.  However the best heroes never quit for long even death can't stop most heroes.  Most heroes are human or at least have human emotion. They're not perfect, they make mistakes(which can lead to quitting) and if they have the civilian life they get tired of the conflict or the constant danger. They don't want to risk family and friends. It's not always letting the villains win sometimes they just know their limits or just leaving in the hands of other heroes they trust and may have also trained to get it done.

Posted by Paracelsus

Hard to say- in as much as being a hero/heroine is not what they DO- it's what they ARE. But as even soldiers in wartime get leave or police officers are compulsorily retired(or at least restricted to desk duty) after a certain period, it would be cruel and unrealistic not to give heroes some "down time" occassionally.


Posted by saoakden

Being a superhero can be really stressful from what I've seen in the movies or read in the comics. Spider-Man 2, Peter wanted a chance at a normal life but his responsiblities as Spidey prevented him from doing that. Superman 2 shows Superman wanting to be with Lois without having to worry about fighting crime.

Two things: 1. I can imagine that a hero can get tired of doing the same thing over and over again and want to do something else like being normal. But they have a responsibility to protect the people. BUT they're could be one fight with a villain that can drive them over the edge and might make them want to quit. Like if Spider-Man had a big fight with Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Venom, Carnage, Sinister Six, etc. and they almost kill MJ or his aunt, he might want to quit so he doesn't put them in danger. 2. Is it me or when a hero gets their own movie on the big screen, they start to show some doubt about being a hero like the two I mentioned and when Iron Man in Iron Man 2 started to drink a lot and do stupid things with his suit without considering the consequnces of his actions.

Posted by GothamRed

you can take the man out of the costume but you can never take the costume out of the man.

Posted by DarthShap

Some heroes can. It made sense in Starman because it never really was his passion, more like a legacy he had grown to enjoy for a time.

But Batman could never stop. Crime-fighting is the only thing he has in his life. In Year One, he would rather let himself bleed to death, effectively committing suicide, rather than not being able to fight crime. That is his sole purpose. As explained in The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum and Ego, after his "bad day", he went crazy and somewhat transformed himself into a spirit of vengeance. Kingdom Come got it right, he would be the last to retire. The only good retirement story he ever got was Batman Beyond because the trauma of his "birth" was echoed through the use of that gun, as he saw himself become the very evil he was fighting.

That is one of the biggest problems I have with Nolan's Batman, that he is just nothing like the comic book character, way too realistic and human and so much so that he does not seem to have the slightest problem with retiring and letting Harvey Dent take over so that he, Bruce, could get Rachel back.

Posted by Eyz

Superhero-ing is all about overcoming great trials and whatnot. I can't really imagine any of them simply quitting. Temporary retiring, learning a lesson, to finally go back into the game - sure!

Posted by TDK_1997

If they quit it should be perminent but once a hero always a hero.They should die as the heroes they are.

Posted by perry_411

@Danial79: As bad as he normally feels, shrugging off another heinous act. Actually, Joker probably retires if Batman does.

Posted by longbowhunter

I liked it when Jack Knight hung up his rod and goggles to raise his rape baby.

Posted by intothetempest

Sometimes they absolutely can. I think teenage heroes especially should be able to live a normal life before actively engaging in heroism 24/7. However a hero like Batman can never quit, the world needs him to damn much, whether it be in his own city or saving the planet in a global crisis. So yes and no, depending on circumstance

Posted by moywar700

no because dc will lose alot of money if batman quit for good and did nothing.

Posted by tximinoman

Yes, when they get old and that.

Posted by clemj

there is a limit psyschically, I mean, after fighting criminals on and on, especially the joker, I can understand batman quitting but I can't understand him watching his adventures in TV

Posted by revbucky

@NightFang said:

Once a hero, always a hero.

My thoughts exactly!

Posted by whiteknight67

The "super" heroes shouldn't quit but if they did very bad things may happen and they will be sad, mad etc...So no they shouldn't quit

Posted by SteveRodgers

i think when they are unable to fight anymore, they need to retire. we shouldn't force them to fight forever.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

Starman was a excellent example of how superheroes should decide for themselves when it's time to quit, and the old T.H.U.N.D.E.R. hero Lightning was an example of how it's not a good idea to keep working despite getting advice to leave before it's too late. I think it would be like being in the military, after so many years in service the hero has to think it over and decide whether to keep going or give civilian life a chance, especially if he/she has a family.

Posted by Crash_Recovery


Being a hero is a duty that carries a lot of responsibility akin to a fireman, cop or soldier. If someone's incapable of carrying out those duties in a safe and professional manner, then they're acting irresponsibly and are a danger to the very public they're trying to serve.

Posted by wdchefdave

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow quit when he accidentally killed with a bad shot. Shaved his hair off and joined a monastery. But, that was the '70s... and he is still around somewhere in the DC universe shooting arrows and stuff!

Batman and Superman will never quit... but, Spider-man has done it about once per decade!

Some of the Justice Society had gone into "retirement"... yet, that's not the same as quitting.

If you are called to be a hero, then the job is never done!

And they will hear the call forever!

Posted by pspin

Since they never appear to age past 30 or 35 they never really have to

Posted by blacksuperman4eva

It should totally be up to the superhero if he/she wanted to quit. They are human after all well most of them lol but if they wanted to quit they could and would have the right. But in comics usually they'll be brought back cuz of something that causes them to come back. The hero can choose to stay retired or not after that.

Posted by AskaniSon295

The shouldn't quit or die. Those storylines have been done and overdone. superheroes only really die or quit when they no longer appear in books. X-O Manowar has been dead or quit since the Valiant comics ended now he has come back to life. You know what would be interesting is someone did a series like Fables but with Dc Superheroes.

Posted by ArkhamInmate

@GothamRed said:

you can take the man out of the costume but you can never take the costume out of the man.

That's deep... And you're totally right!

Posted by Solarflare32

Batman could never quit while the joker is alive he would feel to guilty if that man struck

Posted by brownbearmm

Superheroes should be able to quit. Why? Well for starters there's is always another hero ready to rise up and take the mantle. Why not train up someone to take your mantle then quit have a family and leave a quiet regular life.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

I am going to take a guess and say those are all covers and they never quit, I am surprised in a topic about quitting you use pics that have no bases in any actual story line, when you could have used when Firestar quit over the Registration Act or the more important when Spider Man quit being Spider Man.

That being said, I think heroes should be able to leave it all behind if they want too. But like any job you can always get another one. Like the above two mentioned did after taking a "brake".

Posted by WaveMotionCannon
@Danial79 Lol. He'd feel like an ass when he's realizes he should have killed the Joker years ago.
Posted by Lvenger

@TDK_1997 said:

If they quit it should be perminent but once a hero always a hero.They should die as the heroes they are.


Posted by The Impersonator

@NightFang said:

Once a hero, always a hero.

Posted by PhoenixoftheTides

Absolutely; once they can no longer maintain the level of fitness and training necessary to be effective, it becomes counter-productive to continue being a super-hero. Eventually, a new generation needs to be trained to take over the responsibilities of the job and mission.

Posted by Joe Venom

.....Rainbow Dash wouldn't quit, so I don't see how a person that would present themselves as a superhero could just "Quit". Sure we know they save people, but their main purpose is to inspire people to be a better person, quitting just should never cross their mind.

Posted by Sammo21

Even when Bane broke Batman he was still doling out justice as a crippled Bruce Wayne. Even when they quit they typically realize exactly what would happen if they did and they come back. Even Jessica Jones donned her costume again at some point.

Posted by mewmdude77

The pictures in this article are horrible examples. The Silver Age DC comics are kind of iffy ones, since a large percentage of Superman and Batman were one issue story lines...

Spider-Man quitting would be a better example. Like in Issue Fifty, or something.

Posted by Kairan1979

When the hero feels that his body is failing him, he should think of retirement and finding the replacement. Because if he keeps fighting ignoring the warning signals sent by his body, his pride could cost innocent lives.

Posted by Primmaster64

Where's that Superman panel from?

Posted by mattwing87

My main concern is what happens when they get old? Spider-man has been around for 50 years and Batman has been around for 73 years and I know in their universe Peter Parker is in his early 30's and Bruce Wayne is in his late 30's. So when Batman reaches his 100 year anniversary maybe Terry McGinnis will take over and Miguel O'Hara will take over? I know they already had their own series but who knows?

Posted by Tyrisis

I personally think that the heroes lives should progress a bit. Everyone is using Batman as the example. A lot of people really enjoyed Dick Grayson as Batman while Bruce Wayne was "away". A lot of people also enjoy the Batman Beyond line where Bruce is elderly and handles Terry McGinnis remotely. This is proof that the characters can progress and retire, and still be an integral part of something special. How cool would it be if Superman organized a group of heroes with similar powers and he trained them in all he had learned - both with powers and compassion? A Superboy and Supergirl teamup under Superman's tutelage would be an awesome story line that would give them the ability to focus more on his humanity as well.

Posted by RedOwl_1

@brownbearmm said:

Superheroes should be able to quit. Why? Well for starters there's is always another hero ready to rise up and take the mantle. Why not train up someone to take your mantle then quit have a family and leave a quiet regular life.

I remember that happened in a The Brave and The Bold episode, was very coool, a very good idea I think

Posted by McClintick

Quiting would be fine in some situations, if not quit certinaly a break.

Posted by Darkmount1

Maybe they should plan ahead for a point in life where they hang up the cape and continue to fight injustice through other avenues.

Posted by KidSupreme

Yes they should quit .. and not come back for some hero`s not all but some. it would create interesting plots for other characters to pick up the slack left behind now.

Posted by Xtremeperson

Batman Beyond anyone?

Posted by Suprman

No I don't think Heroes should ever quit. Most of them can't stay out of the uniform for very long, Spider-man quit and went back in less than one issue. In the case of Batman, if he ever really did quit, Gotham would collapse to crime. Look at what happened in Battle For the Cowl, the city almost fell into complete chaos. However I also think of what happened in Batman Beyond. When Bruce retired in that universe, organized crime invaded every level of society and even though Crime was off the streets, to a large degree, Criminals controlled a large percentage of things that happened in Gotham, almost like how it was before Batman took to fighting crime. Even though getting rid of crime entirely may seem next to impossible, Heroes still do it because they realize that they are a symbol. A symbol to the people that crime will not be tolerated, you take that symbol away then what stops the crime?

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

It is totally their own prerogative if superheroes should decide to quit or not. Yes, what they do is for the greater good but it was completely a volunteer effort on their part. Neither Superman nor Batman were drafted into the life of doing the right thing and therefore it should be their decision and theirs alone whether they want to quit or not. Superheroism implies can't just FORCE someone to be a Good Samaritan, for in my opinion it defeats the purpose. So yes, I do believe they should have the right to quit. It may be unpopular, but that is their right.

Posted by Jawshco

I love it when Superheroes step aside to let others have a chance to pick up the mantle. Dick has been Batman twice and did pretty great both times. As for Spider-man, Miles is a very interesting take on the character that I like a lot. When the characters start to become stale, it seems like a hiatus is just what they need.

Posted by lykopis

Some have taken time off (Like Rogue and Gambit) and some chose not to continue on as mutants (Cecilia Reyes) but they came back into the fold. There was Major Maple Leaf (?) who technically retired I guess - had a family etc -- and made a brief appearance in Alpha Flight when Northstar came out of the "closet" and AIDS was dealt with.

I like the idea of superheroes retiring. They can be called upon should the need arise, but just like us -- they get older and newer ones can step up to the plate.

Posted by wildcardcomics

I happen to love fake characters as much as I love my own friends, I know that's a loser thing to say but whatever that's what I like. I think good writers should give us glimpses of a hero on his time off. I'd hope, for my favorite characters to live a happy long lasting life somewhere out there. Because we all know that guy that never stop the party life, it really wears you down, and that is just sad to witness. There is this great book about what it would take to be a real life Batman, I am not sure but I think it said it would take a top Athlete and would only last for 5 years being Batman full time, after that the body really wears down and most likely an accident or injury would place our hero in jeopardy. And if you have super powers, the psychological damage might be worst. I think the writers should make the characters interesting enough so we enjoy reading them "post mask", like Kevin Conroy's awesome Batman in Batman Beyond, his cool character was still bad ass even as an old man.

Posted by cbishop

In a world where characters don't age, there's no reason for them to quit. In a world with continuity that includes aging, generational characters, then they should absolutely quit at some point. They'd have to. This would naturally be bittersweet for readers, to see their favorite character(s) come to the end of their run, but I think a story with an ending is always better than the never-ending soap opera.

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