Tuesday, July 13, 2010

spiderman VS batman. who?

no, this is not a post where i fanboy pontificate on who would win in a battle royale between 2 of my favorite superheroes (let's be clear, Green Lantern, the Flash, the Fantastic Four, Invincible, and Scott Pilgrim all make the cut into such a complex round robin/bracketing system akin to the World Cup). rather, view this post as a complex character study, where we make some elegant compare/contrasts.

but first let's get the basics info out of the way (for sheer entertainment value, as it really provides no useful context for the more interesting discussion below). assuming you live under a rock, let's first answer, who are they?

BATMAN  (a.k.a. "the Bat," "the Caped Crusader," "the Dark Knight," "the world's greatest detective")

  • first appearance: Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)
  • secret identity: Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy/philanthropist
  • main squeeze: Robin (j/k, as Bruce he's a pimp and can't be held down by any one lady, though he fancies Catwoman and/or Talia, daughter of arch-nemesis Ra's Al Ghul
  • buddies: Robin, Alfred, Nightwing (the original Robin), Commissioner Gordon
  • inspiration: dead parents, bats, ninjas
  • powers: none. he's just a slightly obsessive guy in peak physical/mental condition, who's trained to be the best at everything - fighting, ninja-stuff, detectiving. also has a ton of gadgets, cars, planes, etc with a bat-prefix ("where does he get those wonderful  toys?")
  • notable media: 60s TV show (holy Adam West!), 60s movie based on TV-show, some Tim Burton movies, 2 crap-tastic Joel Schumacher movies (shudder), a few awesome cartoons ("the Animated Series," and "Batman Beyond"), 2 more recent awesome Chris Nolan movies, and even a musical

SPIDER-MAN (a.k.a. Spidey, Wallcrawler, Webhead, "Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man," "Threat or Menace?")

  • first appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
  • secret identity: Peter Parker, freelance photographer, closet scientist, sometimes schoolteacher
  • main squeeze: Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey (deceased), 
  • buddies: Harry Osborn, Johnny Storm, Luke Cage, Wolverine
  • inspiration: dead uncle (Ben), pro-wrestlers
  • powers: does whatever a spider can (sticks to walls, a "spider sense"); spins a web, any size (web-shooters), catches thieves just like flies; Is he strong? Listen bud; He's got radioactive blood (and thus the proportionate strength of a spider)
  • notable media: 1975 rock album, 1977 TV show, 1978 Japanese TV show, 80s cartoon, 1995 Ramone's theme song cover, an awesome 2003MTV CGI-animated series (with Neil Patrick Harris as the voice of Spidey!), a few other so-so cartoons, 3 Sam Raimi films starring Tobey Macguire (the first 2/3 of which were really good), and an upcoming musical.

so what's the deal with these 2 (a.k.a. why am i bothering to write this post) pinnacles of super-awesomeness? it's about

...who are they really?

Bats is just a [war-on-crime obsessed] guy (with LOTS of money). his fanaticism stems from the childhood trauma of having his parents gunned down in front of him by a common criminal. but still just a guy (who dresses up at night and runs around in tights and a cape). to strike fear into the heart of criminals ("a cowardly, superstitious lot"), he has BECOME a symbol of fear and terror - or more specifically, a bat. but it doesn't end by simply putting on the pointy ears. Bruce Wayne IS Batman. and Bruce Wayne is just a mask that he wears to blend in around the rest of us.

Spidey is the everyman. as Peter Parker, he has hopes, dreams, lame low-paying jobs (with jackass boss), limited success with the ladies (though he DID wind up marrying a super-model, so maybe there's an aspirational element to it), and an uncomfortable amount of guilt. he just happend to ALSO be randomly bitten by a radioactive spider (it could have happened to any of us), got powers, and decided to make some cash with it. by shirking his responsibilities to use those powers for good, his father-figure uncle was gunned down by a petty thief Peter could have stopped (and thus the lesson that "with great power comes great responsibility"). and to this day PETER carries that guilt around with him. so everything Spider-Man says and does is really Peter (even those cracks he makes wise with the bad-guys, which is really what he WANTS to say to everyone else mean from his "real" life)

so there you have it: 
    Bruce Wayne is really Batman.
          Spider Man is really Peter Parker.

your welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:29 PM

    i kinda just stumbled upon this, but it is a pretty awesome little analysis you've done here. way to go.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...