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I know Batman, sir… and you are no Batman.

13 November 2012

I had a conversation with an old friend last night, and, as we usually do, we talked for a couple of hours. Among other things, we lamented how out of shape we’ve both gotten over the last year. But then he mentioned that us being out of shape wasn’t as big a deal as it could be, as we both work in offices, and ninja attacks at offices seem to be at an all-time low.

That got me thinking about Batman (though, to be fair, it’s not hard to get me thinking about Batman). Part of Batman’s appeal to his audience is that he’s just a regular guy — no superpowers, no alien power ring, no mutation. I will point out that he’s a regular guy with enormous free time and a nearly unlimited budget, but at his core, he’s a normal, unaltered human being. That alone makes his audience think you know, I could be Batman.

Truth is, comic readership has been skewing older for a few years now. Most guys who read Batman are my age or thereabouts — we’re past the point where we could be Batman. We still could be a character from the DC Universe, but it’s not who you’d want to be.

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At 35, no amount of training will turn you into the Dark Knight — it’s just not going to happen. And that’s probably a good thing, as vigilantism is against the law.

So now that Batman is out of the running (according to the rules I’ve just made up), who is the most relatable character in comics? And, apart from that, who’s your favorite?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Nate permalink
    13 November 2012 0841

    Well, I suppose you have to make the argument for Iron Man. He has a lot of parallels to Bruce Wayne/Batman, and I would guess that his exploding popularity has a lot to do with folks imaging themselves in the Mark VII armor. The movies made that character a lot more accessible.

    Beyond that, I’ve always dug Captain America. Despite his super-soldier attributes, he’s almost always outgunned by his allies and his enemies. Even so, he’s always the first into the breach. Not out of arrogance or inflated bravado, but out of loyalty.

    Beyond that, I’d want to be the Hulk because smash.

    • 13 November 2012 1334

      Good point on Cap. Hulk was always my favorite when I was a kid — but I think most dudes who have survived their teens can sort of identify with him, too.

  2. 13 November 2012 1312

    Most relatable would be Spider-Man for me. I think so many guys who are geeky can relate to Parker and all he deals with. Not to mention, strength and climbing and swinging would be cool. So yeah, Spidey is most relatable for me. Or maybe the latest version of Starman.

    Favorite? Man, that’s tough. Animal Man is cool, but Swamp Thing gets the edge. Thinking of characters I like more than Swamp Thing…Martian Manhunter? Nope! Ambush Bug? Nope! Blue Beetle, Rocketeer, or hell, even The TIck? Nope! Hellboy? Hmmm…maybe.

    But really, for me, the answer is Daredevil. Daredevil is the character who really got me hooked on comic books. Sure, I like Batman, Spider-man, and some of the other biggies, but Daredevil is it for me. And that’s even more than Swamp Thing and Hellboy (maybe even combined).

    Course I also like quirky heroes who aren’t really heroes, like Timothy Hunter from Books of Magic and Yorick, from Y, the Last Man.

    Dammit, Shawn, now I want to go blow a bunch of money in a comic book shop!

    • 13 November 2012 1336

      Swamp Thing vs. Batman was epic.

      And I’m on the payroll of the Comic Merchants of America — this blog post was planned specifically to make you (you specifically, Christopher!) go drop a bunch of money on comics.

      I still need to find the perfect Darkseid figure, so I might stop by my local, too…

      • 13 November 2012 1926

        I’m an old school comic dude (My collection is from early 70s to now – including lots of the old Gold-Key Star Trek comics).

        What about Man-thing (Marvel) vs. Swamp Thing (DC) ?

        Back to your original premise, I’d say Nova (The highschool kid who got super powers from an alien’s space suit) and still, even more than Spiderman had to deal with still being a kid,

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