Batman vs. Superman

March 6th, 2009 38 Comments

From Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" series

From Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" series

Here comes a topic for a Friday.

I try to torture my wife with this nerdy debate, but she consistently rises above the argument.  So, I’m coming to the ‘tubes to get some real discussion.

This class comic book nerd debate is really Batman or Superman, not vs. which suggests they’re fighting. It’s styled as vs. because the camps on either side may end up slapping each other in a geek fight as they disagree and tempers flare. Suffice to say that opinions are held as facts in this case, much like they are in Kirk vs. Picard or other similarly impossible, yet fascinating arguments.

I use the term fascinating loosely.

Anyway, the debate is simple; make a case for which superhero is better and why. Point and counter-point.

Or shake your head and walk away trying not to laugh.

Here goes.

Batman, and here’s why in easy to consume bullet form:

There are more, but I’m laughing at myself now.

Your turn. Find the comments to agree or disagree with me. Or to pick another superhero.

If you made it to here, you know you want to jump in, which is the beauty of this argument.

Update: Thanks to the beauty of the intertubes, some random person posted a video on YouTube, agreeing with me. Sweet.


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38 Responses to “Batman vs. Superman”

  1. Dan Norris Says:

    Didn't think about it until I noticed the graphic you included, but Batman's blue-ish theme makes him a bit IBM-like and Superman, with the red cape, has a more Oracle-friendly feel. Not that I'm really into what they're wearing. But not like there would be anything wrong with that if I were.

    Oh, nevermind.

  2. brad Says:

    Batman
    - His bat cave is the ultimate “man” cave (i.e. garage)

    Superman
    - XRay vision — we are guys right??
    - He can fly backwards around the earth and turn back time

    The real winner is the hulk … at least he gets to wear jeans instead of tights.

  3. Bob Rhubart Says:

    Batman, because he's the ultimate gear-head techno-geek.

    And let's face it, where is Superman going to find a phone booth these days? And does he even own a car?

  4. Jake Says:

    Lots of tech companies have predominantly blue logos: MSFT, IBM, SAP, PSFT did, Siebel did, Intel.

    I can only think of one big one with a red logo.

    FWIW

  5. Jake Says:

    I did forget the Batcave, which is sweet.

    Superman's an alien. I can never attain his ex-ray vision or his ability to fly. At least Batman is just a dude, maybe a super rich dude who's highly trained, but still, a dude.

    Hulk falls into the altered-human bucket with Spiderman and all those mutants. BTW kudos to that last Hulk movie (with Ed Norton) for finally addressing the tailoring issues of his pants. No way those are jeans.

  6. Jake Says:

    Heh, I just saw a phone yesterday, at a Circle K no less. We stopped to look for George Carlin's ghost.

    Good points though. Superman is a product of the 50s who needs to get with the times.

  7. joel garry Says:

    Superman – 1932
    Batman – 1939

    Fortress of solitude way better than batcave.

    But Howard the Duck – now there's a character I can relate to.

    UCSD Round Table Pizza place has a bunch of Tardis – Tardisses – Tardi?

  8. Jake Says:

    Age makes Superman better? If anything, Batman, spawned by unrest in Europe, impending war and a prolonged depression should get credit for kicking ass when it mattered most.

    While I do like the Fortress of Solitude, it doesn't have the gadgets that the Batcave does. Plus, it's only accessible by air, making it yet another thing that we regular schmoes can't aspire to because we're not human.

    Howard the Duck is a good call. Solid.

  9. Jim Says:

    Looking at The Incredibles, it seems like both superheroes would be doomed, because they've both got capes! Remember the bit where Edna is designing the costumes, and rules out capes, and goes through the history of all those superheroes who had capes. Just look what happened to Syndrome!
    Sorry, a bit off topic.

  10. Jake Says:

    Sure, I remember. This is one area where Superman would have an advantage, since getting sucked into a jet engine wouldn't faze him. I seem to recall the cape problem being addressed by Batman's toys at one point, e.g. tearaway.

    Funny that anything is off topic here, not like this was a serious post :0

  11. Jason K. Says:

    I had always been more of a Superman fan, but I've been more of a Batman fan as of late.

    Batman is more interesting because he's trying to be human while scarred by tragedy and the other realities of life. I would argue that he's more than just a tough dude, however: he's a world-class inventor, detective, athlete, and hand-to-hand combatant. Plus, he's filthy rich.

    Superman's problem is that he's so powerful that it's hard to come up with interesting challenges for him. He amongst the strongest, fastest, and most invulnerable heroes. He can fly, has super hearing, x-ray vision, heat vision, super breath, intelligence, and who knows what else. A super hero among super heroes. Where's the fun in that? There are only so many problems on a cosmic or moral level before they start getting repetitive.

    Personally, Spider-man's always been my favorite. Struggles with problems from the mundane to the otherworldly, but at the core deals with them as a human — not a superhero. Plus, he has a very cool combination of powers.

  12. Jake Says:

    Good summary.

    Batman's a badass, which to me means most of what you listed :)

    Supes is boring. I guess I didn't really think about his lack of challenges though. He never had a Joker, IMO.

    Spiderman-Batman is more interesting, but that whole bitten by a radioactive spider thing is sketchy to me. Still, he's more believable.

  13. joeyrosas Says:

    superman is the absolute best comic book hero:
    *Batman is a slap across the face to your average guy, HE IS FAR FROM AVERAGE. No one is that rich, and what, just because he can afford all those toys gives him the right to go out and be a vigilante of “justice” (the concept of justice can be put up for debate, justice for one man is not just for another, the money and toys gives him the right to judge what is just? that's ridiculous, it's ideas like that that put our government where it is, the rich do not have the right to rule over anyone, real city or not). Superman does what is good, always. He could destroy everything if he wanted to yet still choses to protect instead. ofcourse he isnt human, humans suck, it's our nature, why would you want your protector to have all the same imperfections as you and your neighbor and as everyone. batman is some rich jackass with a huge ego trying to compensate for something by pushing his “justice” on everyone. Superman could destroy batman if batman didnt have time before the fight to get help from some butler, which btw is the brains, batman is just the brawn, so really those who choose batman over superman because batman is supposedly smarter, think again, he is nothing more than a beefed up meat head who has to take advice from a butler, that's how stupid he is. Superman could work alone, lone crusader status. Superman Huzzah!

  14. joeyrosas Says:

    and btw, the chances of being bit by a radioactive spider and #1 surviving and #2 getting cool powers genetically spliced to your dna are alot smaller than the chances of there being aliens in the vast universe.

  15. Jake Says:

    I'm not in love with the idea of relying on an alien with superhuman powers to serve up his opinion of what is right and good. Just because Superman *could* destroy everything, doesn't mean he won't.

  16. Jake Says:

    Superman is an alien.

  17. joeyrosas Says:

    oh man, you're good. lol. no sarcasm. i think it's best to agree that we are arguing over superheros, which are about as real as fairies and unicorns, so there are obviously going to be weird ass variables that really could never be solved. basically, batman is as real as superman….

  18. Jake Says:

    But that's why it's so much fun :) BTW, unicorns pwn fairies.

  19. Tom L Says:

    That picture of Superman reeling from a punch by Batman just ain't gonna happen (unless the Bat has Kryptonite hidden in his glove!)

  20. Jake Says:

    Can't recall the exact scenario. It's been many years since I read the Dark Knight, which is awesome BTW. Anyway, maybe he did have Kryptonite in his gloves.

  21. j0nnymac Says:

    Love this discussion…kudos!

    For me, Bat's will always be superior. Here's why…

    1. He wasnt just “given” his skills..he has had to earn them (i do accept he was given wealth – but there are lots of v wealthy people who dont fight crime)

    2. He is a man. He is i think, what all of us could aspire to be with focus and commitment. Sure, unlikely that we will all be running multibillion corp' and designing batmobiles. However with the will to do it, many of us could be very fit, trained, and knowledgable. As for the gadgets, check out the awesome “Electronics/Gadgets/ for the Evil Genius” range of DIY books….some quite awesome stuff in there which can be built with very everday objects. In theory….he is what everyone of us could aspire to be.

    3. He is flawed. Like the vast majority of people, Bat's has come through tragedy in his life and it has shaped him. He has used this tragedy and turned it to a positive effect for others. Something laudable which i guess most people would want to achieve

    I guess given the above, Bats feels more “real” to me than Superman…he is a much sympathetic character.
    Superman, seems like an alright chap, but he is very hard to relate to in the same way.

    Oh and Superman vs Batman….definately Batman..

  22. Jake Says:

    Excellent points, especially the flawed bit, which creates the sympathetic character. Maybe Bats won't win every (or any) fights w/Supes, but he won't play it stupid and go strength vs. strength.

  23. Seb Says:

    – That picture of Superman reeling from a punch by Batman just ain't gonna happen (unless the Bat has Kryptonite hidden in his glove!) –

    Actually it's pretty possible, because Superman is not that fresh at the time the picture is taken from : Robin (Carrie) has shot him with a tank rocket(!), which tank is more or less the batmobile in this comic, but well… After that he was shot with a “sonic gun” from Batman (which even make him bleed from the nose. Woa.), and then he was just struck by more or less all the electric power of the whole city. That's it.

    So I'm thinking that ,at that point, taking a punch from Batman is, yes, not so surprising.

    Note: the kriptonic-topped explosive arrow comes right after that… and that's basically the end of it.

  24. Jake Says:

    The Dark Knight is a fantastic series. Even though I enjoyed the movie, I wish they had chosen a different name, since it has nothing to do with the original arc.

  25. Seb Says:

    – That picture of Superman reeling from a punch by Batman just ain't gonna happen (unless the Bat has Kryptonite hidden in his glove!) –

    Actually it's pretty possible, because Superman is not that fresh at the time the picture is taken from : Robin (Carrie) has shot him with a tank rocket(!), which tank is more or less the batmobile in this comic, but well… After that he was shot with a “sonic gun” from Batman (which even make him bleed from the nose. Woa.), and then he was just struck by more or less all the electric power of the whole city. That's it.

    So I'm thinking that ,at that point, taking a punch from Batman is, yes, not so surprising.

    Note: the kriptonic-topped explosive arrow comes right after that… and that's basically the end of it.

  26. Jake Says:

    The Dark Knight is a fantastic series. Even though I enjoyed the movie, I wish they had chosen a different name, since it has nothing to do with the original arc.

  27. Mini P. Says:

    Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,, na, na, na, na, Batman! Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman! Batman, Batman, Batman!

  28. Alexander Sol Says:

    I choose Batman all the way! http://coolometer.org/batman-vs-superman

  29. DCGirl Says:

    Batman all the way! i love this debate. i wrote an easy on it in my college english class. I wrote about how Batman is a better person for kids to look up to then Superman. Superman is something they can never be. Batman on the other hand tells kids that they all can be heros and that they dont need super powers to make a difference in the world. Like someone said earlier he uses his brain not his brawl. 
    Batman is better. it can be brought down to one simple fact, Batman has a better story behind him. Which is why the Batman movies have always been better than the Superman movie. Superman’s doesnt have enough challenges in his life. Yes he is from another planet and doesnt know his real family but he was raised but some very nice people who loved him just the same. Plus he has every super power a person can think of. which i think makes the story boring and lazy writing at least in my eyes. not enough challenges in his life. Batman has had loads of challenges. plus his reason for fighting crime are much stronger then Superman’s. I could never get over the fact that all Superman does to hide his identity is put on glasses. 

    Superman may be stronger physically but Batman is stronger mentally. Joeyrosas: (Superman could destroy batman if batman didnt have time before the fight to get help from some butler, which btw is the brains, batman is just the brawn)…im sorry joey but i dont think you have read many Batman comics. Joeyrosas i forget the issues number but they had a JLA series deal with Batman having secret plans on how to kill everyone in the JLA. Just in case they were to go bad. Batman thinks ahead. He plan for problem before they happen. Plus if for some reason they did get in a fight, Batman is known to carry around kryptonite in his belt.

    other people brought other super heros, a lot of marvel superheros of which i have no opinion. always been more of a DC girl myself. 

  30. Jake Says:

    Interesting points. I think the two have evolved into characters that fit the differences of their fans. 

    Superman is the magic elixir that people all wish for at times that fixes problems we don’t feel strong enough to tackle on our own. He’s the strength of a higher power that makes everything better.

    Batman is the hard work, perseverance, ingenuity and courage that everyone wishes to achieve to tackle those very same problems on our own. He is an embodiment of the human condition.

    Superman appeals to human weakness. Batman appeals to human strength. We all have periods of both, which is why these two have coexisted in pop culture for decades and will continue to do so for generations to come. 

  31. Matt Says:

    http://showinglogic.blogspot.com/2011/11/sure-batman-is-totally-realistic.html

  32. joel garry Says:

    How about Batman v. Larry… I mean, Iron Man?

  33. Jake Says:

    It’s not realism, it’s empathy. You can’t relate to Superman bc he’s not anything like you. Batman has real problems other people share, and he faces real human challenges. 

    Superman is the magic elixir you drink to make all the problems go away, no effort required.

  34. Jake Says:

    Isn’t Iron Man Marvel’s Batman?

  35. joel garry Says:

    lol, I put your answer into google, found a marvel bbs with a comparo, one post of which pointed out “The difference is that Batman is out-thinking Joker’s latest plan to gas
    an orphanage, while Stark is out-thinking The Mandarin’s latest plan to
    magically destroy all technology on the entire planet and conquer it.”

    What with the Oracle sailboat in the paper every day, I have billionaire technoweenies on the brain. 
    “What did the Oracle crew do after the win? Crack open champagne, even
    though the next race was in a few minutes. Got to love sailors.

    In Race 2, Sweden’s Artemis, captained by American Terry Hutchinson,
    sailed away with it. Oracle Coutts, perhaps feeling the spoils of
    champagne, finished eighth. The third went to France’s Energy by many
    meters, with the other Oracle — Spithill — second.”- Nick Canepa

  36. Jake Says:

    That comparison seems to bolster my point :)

  37. Larry Longstreth Says:

    If you can’t relate to somebody because they’re too different, it means your empathy skills are weak.  

    Superman’s stories go beyond being those of “how will the underdog hero beat the all-powerful villain?”   They are about having power… almost too much of it.   They are about how hard it is (pretty much impossible) to always do the right things and to always be a beacon of white light in a gray world.    Superman is the ultimate lesson that being a superhero and having all the power in the world isn’t enough to make people behave.   It can’t be forced through physical means.   It has to be inspired.   It’s not about how much power you have.   It’s about how you use it.  And trust me, MOST people with Supes’ powers would be monsters.   That’s the point.   Superman is awesome.

  38. Jake Says:

    So, you can relate to Superman then? You must be a very interesting man.

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