Batman or Superman?

I never realized what an epic question it is. But ask someone, while being sincerely enthusiastic, and you’ll watch that question become a conversation worthy of a bonfire setting.

Not a question of who’s better, or more popular, or cooler. Just simply:
Superman or Batman? In fact, I’m learning it’s one of the best questions one human being can ask another.

What do both of these superheroes have in common? They both came out at the same time. Respectively, 1938 and 1939. They both were created by Jews. Respectively, Jerry Siegal and Bob Kane. And they both have had several incarnations of television shows and movies in their 70 years so far.

Superman Pro’s:
He can fly. He has a steady love interest. Well-balanced American values. X-ray Vision.

Superman Con’s:

Nerdy alter-ego. He has a boring day job. He’s a not even a human- he’s a freakin’ alien. Must have easy access to telephone booths.

Batman Pro’s:
Intimidating costume. He has a faithful sidekick. Billionaire. Cool gadgets and martial arts training.

Batman Con’s:
Can’t really fly. No X-ray vision. Traumatic childhood. Lives in a cave and seems to like it that way.

Major differences:
*Superman is an alien pretending to be man. Batman is a man pretending to be a bat.
*In the 70 years of existence of both superheroes, Superman tends to be more popular among who were young during the first 35 years (1938-1973), whereas those who were young during the 2nd half of the 70 years (1974-2009).
*Superman has had more positive exposure through TV shows throughout the decades. Batman has had extreme success through several movies in the last 20 years.

My first instinct was to say that Superman is better. Almost seems like the obvious choice. He’s was raised in the rural Midwest by Methodist parents. He embraces the average American image. And has perfect blue/black hair.

But Batman is more of a real person to me. With the murder of his parents when he was a young boy, he had to both deal with that and take over their empire business. (Superman’s parents were murdered too, but he was just a baby when it happened.)

He is dark and mysterious. And intentionally embraces the whole bat theme simply because he thinks it’s creepy. So he knows it will freak out his enemies. Which he has plenty of, unlike Superman.

To many, I’m sure Superman has much allure simply because he is just that- a super man. With super powers.

But I choose the underdog of the two superheroes. Batman is a real man with no special powers. He is a self-trained man who worked hard to get where he is. He just uses cool gadgets and fights in hand-to-hand combat. Oh, and he has a really cool car.

Vote below:

Manspeak, Volume 11: Responsibility

People tend to accept that there is a difference between what is normal in the movies and what is normal in reality, and for the most part we know not to confuse the two. In the world of Hollywood, a 39 year-old playboy bachelor who is “too free-spirited” to get married simply lives for himself in his classic arcade-filled apartment. And he is cool. He is Owen Wilson. Adam Sandler. Vince Vaughn. But in reality, this guy is not cool at all. He’s a guy who needs to grow up.

Because here in reality, we equate responsibility with manhood.

There is of course a false, glamorized idea that a man is defined by his freedom; a lifestyle where he needs to answer to no one. In this unspoken concept the ultimate goal in a man’s life is to win the lottery and never have to change diapers.

But this man is not the kind we truly respect. Instead, we admire a man who while he is still young, gives up his freedom to be become responsible to another human being in marriage. And then of course, within the next few years he is expected to become a father. And an involved father, at that. Responsibility is what helps a man to be normal and have a purpose.

A funny and true proverb I heard a lot in college was this: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” On the same token, men without real responsibilities are rarely respected. So much of life is showing up and participating. And in order to do that, a man must actively become involved in other people’s lives. The closer I get to age 30, the further away I am from being able to relate to what it’s like to be a child, and therefore the more aware I am that I once was an annoying kid.

I think back to all the hours my dad patiently listened to me tell him all the Ninja Turtle trivia I knew. And the way he made sure I had the coolest project in science and social studies class each time. And since he knew I didn’t like sports, he became the leader of a Cub Scouts group to inspire me to be involved in an extracurricular activity I actually enjoyed- being an adventurous boy with my friends. I couldn’t have really known it back then, but his sincere involvement in my life has everything to do with who I have become as an adult.

It’s amazing how much one man’s involvement makes or breaks his child’s life. I was blessed and still am. I still need my dad. I still learn from him.

And now I’m not all that far from being in the position he was in the early 1980’s. I will become the man looking into the googly eyes of a helpless baby, both of us completely clueless. But that’s the way God planned it. No instruction booklet on how to be a parent. Instead, it all comes down to the humility of a man who makes a conscience effort to be responsible.

“My dad’s been dead for more than 20 years. I still want him to be proud of me.” –Dave Matthews, taken from the linear notes from his solo Some Devil album

wild things 2

Manspeak Table of Contents:

Volume 1: Humor http://wp.me/pxqBU-1i
Volume 2: Heroism http://wp.me/pxqBU-1m
Volume 3: Filtration http://wp.me/pxqBU-1p
Volume 4: Stance http://wp.me/pxqBU-1s
Volume 5: Movement http://wp.me/pxqBU-1v
Volume 6: Law http://wp.me/pxqBU-3h
Volume 7: Bromance http://wp.me/pxqBU-3W
Volume 8: Relaxation http://wp.me/pxqBU-6a
Volume 9: Appearance http://wp.me/pxqBU-6f
Volume 10: Exploration http://wp.me/pxqBU-6O
Volume 11: Responsibility http://wp.me/pxqBU-8v