Which had a bigger impact on the culture of superheroes, the Batman tv show or the Superman tv show?

  I'm still going through my old vhs collection and putting it onto dvd and I came across a couple of Batman episodes from when the Scifi channel ran them.  As I watched the Superman serial last week I thought of the later tv show and realized that they were really different shows with different impacts, but Superman lasted from 1952 to 1958 while Batman ran only from 1966 to 1968.  They both impacted how the culture thinks about superheroes but Superman played it straight and Batman didn't, Superman didn't use his comic book rogues and Batman couldn't have survived without them, Superman didn't bring in Supergirl but Batman brought in Batgirl.  So many differences but for many around in the 1960's and 1970's these were the two superhero shows that created the impressions of what superheroes were.  Hard to say which of them had the greater impact, even though Batman was flashier.

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I remember a reprint of one of the newspaper strips that had Superman swim across the Atlantic to stop the war between Germany and Russia by grabbing Stalin and Hitler and forcing them to fight in front of their troops.

I think Peter Pan flew without wings or gliders etc. before Superman, unless you count pixie dust & happy thoughts as flight gear.

It's fun to speculate how things might have developed had they made a black-and-white Batman series in 1952, one with dark and sinister plots by mortal criminals, rather like the early Adventures of Superman.  Maybe with George Reeves as Bruce Wayne.

They might haved Superman for the colorful, wacky 1960s with the flamboyant menaces.

Oops! Make that "have saved Superman" ...

Ah, I forgot about Peter Pan and the pixie dust!
 
Dave Elyea said:

I think Peter Pan flew without wings or gliders etc. before Superman, unless you count pixie dust & happy thoughts as flight gear.

Superman may have had a great deal of indirect influence. The success of his show might have helped encourage DC to try reviving Flash in Showcase#4.

While he played a different character every time he appeared, the balding middle-aged guy with the squeaky voice that was always the crime boss when he appeared would have made a great Luthor. Better than Hickman.  

Funny that Superman and his particular set up as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, working for the Daily Planet with Lois Lane, is pretty much THE superhero that is most familiar to the general public, but I think the style of art most associated with superheroes is that of Jack Kirby.  At least that's my perception, but maybe that's no longer the case with so many mega-hit films featuring Batman and a variety of Marvel heroes.  Certainly 45 years ago Superman and Batman were about equal, with Wonder Woman and Spider-Man gaining iconic status but not quite at the level of Supes & Bats, but now Spider-Man has certainly reached their level and the Hulk, Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America & Thor are all closing in.  I think simply because he was the first and he's been that much more world-wide famous far more longer, Superman will always have the edge, but it's been a long time since he's had the mountaintop to himself.

Ron M. said:

While he played a different character every time he appeared, the balding middle-aged guy with the squeaky voice that was always the crime boss when he appeared would have made a great Luthor. Better than Hickman.

When the first Christopher Reeve movie was made the studio was afraid no one would go to see a big screen superhero movie. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando were seen as "bankable" stars who would put as##s in the seats. Other than his supposed refusal to shave his head, Hackman could have turned in a credible Luthor if he wasn't dealing with a campy script.

the style of art most associated with superheroes is that of Jack Kirby. 

That's hard to say, given our own knowledge. Determining what the public thinks isn't easy.

Spider-Man's image is pretty much drawn by John Romita for most people, since his version (or those copying him) dominated the merchandising for so many years. Likewise, I'd say most people think of Superman as drawn by Curt Swan or possibly Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, as those are the artists featured on most merchandising. Neal Adams' versions, especially of Batman, also are big in merchandising.

Kirby's biggest characters, Cap, FF, Thor, Hulk, are often merchandised, but the images are from throughout their histories, so tying them to Kirby is harder. Certainly, his style influenced Marvel all through the SA right up to today, so it's possible he's associated with superheroes in general without it actually being his drawing.

I'm always reminded of the TV report on a guy who claimed to be "Spider-Man's Biggest Fan" by showing off his huge collection of merchandise. Except comics--he'd never read a Spider-Man comic. Knowing what image is best associated with superheroes for the general public is a tough call.

-- MSA

Y'see, being a DC fan I always thought the slick art style of the '60s was the most associated with super-heroes. To my eyes, Kirby looked too blocky and black to be classic super-hero art. I guess it comes down to who the inkers were. I associate Kirby with comics that contradicted the classic super-hero model. Thor is so out there that he doesn't fit the usual role of the super-hero--he exists in a Teutonic fantasy realm. The Hulk is the anti-super-hero. I guess early Simon and Kirby art was slicker and therefore what I'd associate with super-heroes. But to my eyes Jim Steranko's version of Captain America was closer to the slick model than what Kirby was doing by that point. The Fantastic Four are so against playing the usual super-hero roles that they refuse to wear gaudy costumes or adopt secret identities.

I've seen Hickman do some superb evil acting, but he didn't take Luthor seriously as a part or really seem to want to. Of course, that's difficult to do when you're yelling that you want to be king of Australia.
 
Richard Willis said:

 

When the first Christopher Reeve movie was made the studio was afraid no one would go to see a big screen superhero movie. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando were seen as "bankable" stars who would put as##s in the seats. Other than his supposed refusal to shave his head, Hackman could have turned in a credible Luthor if he wasn't dealing with a campy script.

The influences of the "masters" is still there, although sometimes it's a generation or two removed. Look closely enough at MacFarlane and you can see Ditko. Look closely at Frank Miller and you can see Gil Kane.
 
Mr. Silver Age said:

the style of art most associated with superheroes is that of Jack Kirby. 

That's hard to say, given our own knowledge. Determining what the public thinks isn't easy.

Spider-Man's image is pretty much drawn by John Romita for most people, since his version (or those copying him) dominated the merchandising for so many years. Likewise, I'd say most people think of Superman as drawn by Curt Swan or possibly Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, as those are the artists featured on most merchandising. Neal Adams' versions, especially of Batman, also are big in merchandising.

Kirby's biggest characters, Cap, FF, Thor, Hulk, are often merchandised, but the images are from throughout their histories, so tying them to Kirby is harder. Certainly, his style influenced Marvel all through the SA right up to today, so it's possible he's associated with superheroes in general without it actually being his drawing.

I'm always reminded of the TV report on a guy who claimed to be "Spider-Man's Biggest Fan" by showing off his huge collection of merchandise. Except comics--he'd never read a Spider-Man comic. Knowing what image is best associated with superheroes for the general public is a tough call.

-- MSA

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