6 Comic Book Life Stories I Want to Read Next

I just finished reading Fantastic Four: Life Story this past weekend and I rather enjoyed the comic. It accomplishes exactly what it sets out to accomplish, and has some fun along the way. I also enjoyed Spider-Man: Life Story a couple of years ago. I really like this comic book concept overall and I want to see it used more.

As classic as it gets

The Life Story concept, used at Marvel Comics, takes our favorite comic book characters and ages them in real time through real decades of American history. For example, Spider-Man got his powers as a teenager in the 1960s, and then each issue tells Spider-Man’s life story through the decades, where he’s a young adult in the ’70s, an adult in the ’80s, middle-aged in the ’90s and so on, up to the present day when he’s an old man. And each decade is highlighted by the actual comics of that decade. For example, Venom doesn’t show up until the 1980s, and it’s a middle-aged Spider-Man dealing with the Clone Saga in the ’90s. And Miles Morales doesn’t show up until he did in the real world in the 2010s, when Peter Parker is an old man.

It’s a neat concept, putting these fantastic characters into more realistic, real-world settings and events, while telling a larger story about their life and their impact on the world. Fantastic Four: Life Story was all about family, the sacrifices we make for them, and what we sacrifice about them in our lives, knowingly or unknowingly. I don’t know if Marvel has any other plans for future Life Story comics, but join me after the jump for the heroes I would like to see featured.

6. Captain America

Never out of fashion

Captain America would be interesting because you could do so much with American history and Cap’s immediate reaction to it. Plus you could have fun with that frozen through time thing. Obviously you start out in the 1940s, with Cap getting his powers and at war. But when does he get unfrozen? In the 1960s? Does he only spend 20 years on ice? It’s an important decision to make. But then you have Cap react to Nixon. Have Cap react to the end of the Cold War. Have Cap react to modern presidents. Maybe the Super Soldier Serum delays his aging, so he’s not an old man in the 21st century, or maybe he is. There’s a lot you can do with Captain America as he reacts to history in real time.

5. The Punisher

Very fashionable

As far as I’m concerned, the greatest Punisher stories are already written. Garth Ennis’s Punisher MAX series is perfection and will likely never be matched. And he keeps returning to the character and his history in new stories from time to time. They’re always great. And these various comics already feature Frank Castle at various points in his life. But what if we told Punisher’s story over time, with him growing old? He fights in Vietnam in the 1960s, but he made his comic book debut in the 1970s, so that’s where Life Story would pick up. Then just follow an aging Frank through the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. He’s got some major stories in all of those periods that could be touched upon. He was an angel at one point. A frankenstein. An old man. Explore Frank Castle’s tragic life in a long run. Should be fun.

4. Any villain

His story is dying to be told

Villains are characters too, and a lot of them have been around since the heroes. What’s the life story of the Shocker? Street thug just trying to use his crazy villain tools to steal some money. In and out of prison. Maybe there’s some life lessons. Or someone bigger, like Doctor Doom? What’s it like ruling a nation for decades upon end, through all the political turmoil of the past 60 years? The 1960s saw the debut of a ton of bad guys, and many of them are ripe for a life story. Doctor Octopus? J. Jonah Jameson? Norman Osborn? There are plenty of options.

3. Iron Man

Anybody else really enjoy the Iron Man cartoon from the 90s?

I think Iron Man through the decades would be really fascinating when you factor in the growth of technology and all its changes. How does Iron Man react to the growth and expansion of the Military Industrial Complex in real time? If he starts as Iron Man in the 1960s, how does he react to home computers in the 80s? To the internet in the 90s? To the sleekness of Apple products in the 2000s? How would something like Iron Man realistically alter technology through the decades? How far ahead would the world be if someone like Tony Stark actually existed? I think that would be a really fun through-line for Iron Man: Life Story.

2. Batman

Where would Terry McGinnis show up?

Life Story is a Marvel thing, but DC and Marvel steal from each other all the time. I think a Batman: Life Story would be really fascinating! Between all the villains who have come along over the years, between all the sidekicks and allies that show up, and with stuff like Batman Beyond, a series that tracks Bruce Wayne and his allies aging in real time would be pretty darn cool! Of course, it could get pretty complicated. Batman debuted in 1939, so you’d perhaps start with the 40s to begin with. Batman in World War II? Dick Grayson shows up shortly thereafter. But then you’d have Bruce and Dick alone until Batgirl shows up in the 1960s. Jason Todd and Tim Drake are both from the 1980s. So there would be some complications, but it could and should be done. There’s just too much ground to cover, too much to work out, too much to enjoy to not give it a try!

1. The X-Men

Jubilee for the 90s, obviously

If Marvel never makes The X-Men: Life Story, that would be a damn shame. This is the comic idea that inspired this list, and the one I most want to see! Each decade of X-Men comics is already so strongly defined, it would make for an awesome comic. The X-Men roster is always changing, but what would it look like if you used only those new characters that debuted in that decade? With the exception of the slowly aging Wolverine, you’d have a new team of new mutants each decade! How fun would a team of only X-Men who debuted in the 2000s be?

And then you’ve got the New Mutants in the 1980s, teams like X-Force and the government-sponsored X-Factor in the 90s. The overall story could track race relations and Civil Rights through the decades, exploring how each decade has dealt with minority rights. How do the legacies of Professor X and Magneto stand up if they’re allowed to age and die like real people? How will they see the world when they’re revived on Krakoa in the 2010s? Because this comic would definitely go there!



About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on February 1, 2023, in Comics, Lists of Six!, Marvel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. No X-Factor?

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