Sunday, July 13, 2008

Superman or Batman? The Choice is Yours!

Greetings to all my fellow friends, bloggers, and readers around the world. First things first, bat-knowledgements to some of my friends:

First, to Mr. B-Hernz, Esq. for his admission to U of I Law
School. St. Funs still lives on in Chambana! Second, let me send props to the loveliest, most amazing woman... my girlfriend! Finally, I;ll start promoting my friends' blogs when I know about them. Here's the first ad for my friend Yupin: If you have a blog and would like the provocateur himself to advertise it, just drop me a line!

No update on the twins this week either. Next week's blog is all about them!

So now, on to the main event!

Superman or Batman? Choose Wisely, for Ye Shalt be Judged upon Thy Choice!

Well, the Blog Knight, the Caped Blogger, the World's Greatest Blogger is back upon us! (by now, we already established I'm geeked about the new Batman flick, right!) This blog is partly about Batman, partly about the kind of person you are. Your choice of comics will say a lot!

This discussion is actually inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. In one of the conversations between Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta), Mia asks Vincent whether he is an Elvis guy or a Beatles guy. That's where this Superman or Batman discussion stems from. Granted, in most of my thoughts I don't believe in binary oppositions (hence my conceptual disagreements with French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure), but I'll make allowance here since the binary opposition more than serves my purpose. Choosing between Superman and Batman is one of the big dilemmas of some hardcore and less fervient fans.

The question, then is, why Batman and not Superman? Here are my two reasons:

1. Superman is actually a condescending prick!

Here allow me to quote directly on a man whose persona of Kwai Chang Caine is a lot wiser than me, David Carradine as Bill. From Kill Bill 2:

"As you know, l'm quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology... The mythology is not only great, it's unique. Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."


I agree with this. Whereas Batman represents a man's resilience in overcoming his fears (to the dark, to bats, etc.) and using them to fuel his cause for justice, Superman believes he is inherently better than us and therefore needs to make fun of our fears since we wouldn't be able to overcome them without his almighty self. Pompous SOB, I say!

2. Batman is a self-made superhero.

To the best of my knowledge, and I kindly ask comic book buffs to throw me a bone here, I can only recall three superheroes that made themselves as such in a combination of technology, resources (as in a crapload of money in Mr. Wayne's and Mr. Stark's cases!), skill, training, and sheer human ingenuity: Iron Man (aka Tony Stark), The Punisher (aka Frank Castle) and the aforementioned Caped Crusader. What about the others? Well, here's a brief summary: (Note: This is extracted and edited from a Skype conversation between my girlfriend and me... and then you wonder why I love this woman?)

Superman came from another planet and had his strength increased by the yellow sun;Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Thor are demigod-like characters born with their powers; Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider, which gave him superhuman strength (but, duly noted, not the ability to shoot spider webs); Green Lantern was given his powers by an alien police force who bestowed upon him a super ring; Flash, The Fantastic Four, and the Incredible Hulk, obtained his superpowers from an experiment gone awry; the X-Men were born with mutant superpowers; Hawkman and Martian Manhunter are superpowered soldiers from another planet; Hellboy was the son of the Prince of Darkness himself; Spawn was a former special ops whose powers were given, again, by the Prince of Darkness himself;... and those are the ones off the top of my head...

Now, let's look at Batman (and the other two I mentioned)...

True, Bruce Wayne is
the son of a billionaire, but the death of his parents pushed him to the edge of vengeance first and justice later. After getting extensive physical and tactical training, he used his resources to create gadgets and devices that would aid him in his quest. The Punisher was a former agent whose family was killed. So, he starts chasing bad guys, using his training in weapons, fighting, and counter terrorism to defeat them. Iron Man is the creation of yet another billionaire. Tony Stark, after getting captured after an explosion creates an armor to escape and with all the resources available to him, creates a super-armor fueled by the electromagnet on his chest which was devised to prevent the shrapnel from the explosion of which he was a victim to puncture his heart.

As you can see, Batman is the example of how people use their ingenuity and resilience to overcome obstacles. Batman doesn't have any special built-in powers. His strength? Let's just say that Batman is the original Mixed Martial Artist. His weapons? Created by himself or a decent team of engineers who gave him the famous utility belt. No crazy DNA, weird science or voodoo stuff here, folks! That's why Batman is the real goods!

So there you have it! Who will you ultimately be rooting for? Some dude from outer space with the perfect hair who thinks he's much better than us, lives in a vanilla city like Metropolis, and is overly condescending upon us? Or an Earth dude who is an example of intelligence, resources, and motivation to save Gotham, a city as light and dark as our actual cities? It's up to you... Me, I already gave my endorsement to Batman as Head Superhero in Charge!

That's it for now. Till my next blog, I bid farewell!

The Blogger, the Thinker, the Provocateur...
Raúl A. (El Patrón)

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