I was watching a countdown on teh YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T2UJBpiOcg about the top DC superheroes. This particular list chooses Batman over Superman. Of the two, who would be your favorite?

Personally, I know Superman doesn't quite resonate so much with today's society as he did back in the 1930's, but there's a lot of value there. he's a character that inspires a great deal of hope, he's empowering to the downtrodden, he's just the best that there is in terms of the archetype of the superhero.

Batman, on the other hand, gets a lot of respect from the current generation. It's easy to understand his motivations, seemingly born out of anger and a sense of injustice. He also has a much better rogues gallery and supporting cast, IMO.

For me, I'm giving a slight edge to Batman here, but I'd love to hear people prove me wrong.

Views: 3131

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I choose Superman, but I can't prove you wrong because I don't think you are wrong... for you.

I was going to write that Superman is the more original character, since Batman was preceded by the Shadow and other pulp heroes, the Green Hornet, the Phantom and the Crimson Avenger. But arguably Superman was closely modelled after Hugo Danner, although I understand Jerry Siegel denied having read Gladiator.

Superman’s feature provides greater opportunities for flights of sheer imagination. But the writers have often failed to take advantage of them. Perhaps only in the Silver Age did they consistently do so. He could have mind-blowing adventures in space all the time, if the writers were up to the challenge of writing them.

Batman is easier to put in danger, physically challenge, and physically match. But Superman can be depicted as using his powers in imaginative ways, and the action in his strip can be exciting. There were many good action sequences in the strip in the 70s.

The early Superman was aggressive and enjoyed using his strength against his opponents. But DC apparently took a decision to take violence out of the strip, which is one of the reasons the strip could be dull in the 50s. He was either stolid, blandly cheerful or worried all the time, and the only things he wanted were to preserve his secret ID and avoid marriage. His emotional range increased coming into the Silver Age. I think Superman is more interesting when he's smart, has interests, and gets to use his strength aggressively and to be mischievous. Batman has suffered less from this deficient characterisation problem, I suppose because what he wants is so clear. I like him most when he's using his intellect to improvise a solution or deduce.

I agree Batman has the better rogues’ gallery. But which feature had the better supporting cast depends on the period.  The Silver Age Superman was at least competitive with Batman (Perry White, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and the extended Superman Family vs Robin, Alfred [or Aunt Harriet], Commissioner Gordon and the Batman Family until the New Look), and in the Bronze Age he slaughters him (Morgan Edge, Steve Lombard, Perry, Lois, Josh Coyle, Lola Barnett [temporarily], late-70s Lana and sometimes Jimmy vs Gordon, Alfred and late-70s Selina Kyle).

I've read many more really good Batman stories from the 40s/50s than Superman ones. I think one has to say "Batman" was just better-written in that period. For most of the Silver Age it was the other way around. (I think there was an improvement in the Bat-books in the late 60s and a drop-off in the quality of the Super-ones.) I don't know I can choose between the features in the 70s. I've read much more 70s "Superman". "Batman" was at times more adult but "Superman" may have been more consistent



Luke Blanchard said:

I was going to write that Superman is the more original character, since Batman was preceded by the Shadow and other pulp heroes, the Green Hornet, the Phantom and the Crimson Avenger. But arguably Superman was closely modelled after Hugo Danner, although I understand Jerry Siegel denied having read Gladiator.

To my mind, you could argue that these "types" of characters go back at least as far as Hercules (the man of great physical power) and Odysseus (the man of great mental acuity).

I've always thought of Superman as the pre-Watergate/Vietnam archetypal hero and Batman as the post-Watergate/Vietnam archetype. I think there was a shift in the way people felt about heroes and authority figures after the events of that era.

If I have to choose between the two, I will choose Superman every single time.  

Then again, I don't aprove of the reasons for Batman's popularity anyway.  Batman lost his way since Miller first wrote him.  

But I must admit that I stopped reading Superman about ten or fifteen years ago (and Batman about five years before that).

Ever increasingly I find myself thinking of DC in terms of what it used to be decades past.

One antecedent for Superman not mentioned so far is Doc Savage. His first name was Clark, too, and he had a Fortress of Solitude.

I cant change your mind, as I vote for Batman myself. I haven't regularly read a Superman title in, geez, 20 years?

Usually when I pick-up a Superman back issue it is some sort of team-up those have always interested me more.

I think part of the problem is that it is harder to write a compelling Superman story that I want to read over Batman.

Luke Blanchard said:

I was going to write that Superman is the more original character, since Batman was preceded by the Shadow and other pulp heroes, the Green Hornet, the Phantom and the Crimson Avenger. But arguably Superman was closely modelled after Hugo Danner, although I understand Jerry Siegel denied having read Gladiator.

According to Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones, Jerry Siegel reviewed Gladiator in his fanzine Science Fiction, which he wrote and published while in high school. The following issue he printed his own story "The Reign of the Superman," with art by Joe Shuster. The story is in many way similar to the Danner story. When Philip Wylie sued for plagiarism in 1940 Jerry began to adamantly deny he had ever read Gladiator and even signed a sworn affidavit.

Batman is easier to put in danger, physically challenge, and physically match. But Superman can be depicted as using his powers in imaginative ways, and the action in his strip can be exciting. There were many good action sequences in the strip in the 70s.

I greatly enjoyed the Superman stories of the mid-50s to 1960, with the many supporting characters. The problem was that you always had to have kryptonite or magic to create any danger for him. With three to four stories a month (one in Action, two or three in Superman, plus more in Superboy, Adventure, Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane), the stories would get repetitive. I read a lesser quantity of Batman stories at that time and didn't really enjoy him until the New Look.

The early Superman was aggressive and enjoyed using his strength against his opponents. But DC apparently took a decision to take violence out of the strip, which is one of the reasons the strip could be dull in the 50s.

Also according to Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones, before Seduction of the Innocent, back in the 1940s there was significant vocal opposition against comics books from schools, churches and citizen's groups, and even comic book burnings. Except for a few, the comic book companies started establishing their own internal codes to take the heat off. Even though superheroes weren't selling like they had been, Jack Leibowitz wanted to build for the future. This ultimately led to the Superman TV show.

Captain Comics said:

One antecedent for Superman not mentioned so far is Doc Savage. His first name was Clark, too, and he had a Fortress of Solitude.

Supposedly Siegel got the idea for his character's name from this ad in The Shadow's magazine:

Richard Willis said:

.

Supposedly Siegel got the idea for his character's name from this ad in The Shadow's magazine . . . .

I'm afraid that's urban legend, sir. In an interview, Julius Schwartz stated that he once asked Jerry Siegel how he came up with the name "Clark Kent".  Siegel told him that it came from two actors---Clark Gable and Kent Taylor (who happened to be his wife's brother-in-law).

I was referring to the name "Superman." I've read the same thing about Clark Gable and Kent Taylor about the Clark Kent name.

Commander Benson said:

Richard Willis said:

.

Supposedly Siegel got the idea for his character's name from this ad in The Shadow's magazine . . . .

I'm afraid that's urban legend, sir. In an interview, Julius Schwartz stated that he once asked Jerry Siegel how he came up with the name "Clark Kent".  Siegel told him that it came from two actors---Clark Gable and Kent Taylor (who happened to be his wife's brother-in-law).

Batman, _particularly_ in the current "demigod" model, is IMO a fairly boring character, almost full satire.

Superman has not been consistently well written for decades, but at his best (which IMO means by taking full advantage of his sci-fi elements and putting full attention in his supporting cast) he is a far better vehicle for engaging stories than Batman could ever be.  Some of the best emphasize his nature as an utterly ethical alien.

Granted, I don't think the current market has much of a taste for what I see as prime Superman material.  Nor do I really see how one could avoid becoming repetitive when pressed for publishing dozens of Superman stories every year.

But then again, I don't think anyone managed any better with Batman, either.  And boy, does it show.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2019   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service