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"To coin a popular Sunnydale phrase, 'duh'!"
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July 21 2008

Buffy vs Superman. Buffy defeated the Silver Surfer (60% to 40%) and moves into the semi-finals.

Our girl currently has 87%, but there are only ~160 votes.

I would think that a battle between Silver Surfer and Buffy would be a politeness match, "You go first" "No, you" "Ladies first" ... and then the actual fighting might begin.

Superman is easy, he runs out of energy in the dark.
Buffy VS Superman? Hmmm... Can Buffy use a Kryptonite stake?
Remember, this is best superhero, not who would win in a fight.
And in the same vein can Superman use, err, any of his powers ?

Hey, she beat Batman and Batman beat Superman so ... [/faulty logic].
Oh, I got no problem voting against Superman. I've always found him to be an exceptionally bland character.

If Buffy comes out on top, though? Ouch. I'm a big fan of both Wolverine and Spiderman, so Buffy'll have some competition in the finals.
Remember, this is best superhero, not who would win in a fight.

But Buffy vs. Spider-man. Think of the puns.
I think for the purposes of my blood pressure, they should define "best" a bit more clearly.
However you want, Saje. It's an internet poll without a lot of safeguards, so its margin of error is at least 100%.
She kills vampires with a wooden stake that she affectionately nicknamed 'Mr. Pointy.'


I thought she got Mr. Pointy from Kendra.
Yep, that's been wrong all along.

However you want, Saje. It's an internet poll without a lot of safeguards, so its margin of error is at least 100%.

Yay, Batman actually won then ! ;-)

I like this world, the bees scratch your itches, honey has minus calories and the sky is a pretty colour !

[ edited by Saje on 2008-07-21 21:25 ]
I like this world too. It lets me vote 6 or 7 times every time Buffy's in a poll. I don't trust your strange bees though.
Dude, Buffy would totally win in a fight. She took down a GOD.

If it's a degree on who's the best... still Buffy. She takes her weaknesses and turns them into strengths. What has Superman done with his Kryptonite?

And, as for Buffy vs. Spiderman, I can't wait to see that! Puns all around! And, as mentioned on the Astonishing X-Men threads, Spiderman is like a male-version of Buffy... so she'd be fighting herself? Who would win that one???

Unfortunately, Spidy is losing to Wolverine (which I totally don't get; if anything, Spidy would re-locate to a height out of W's reach and figure out a way to take the maniac down). Wolverine uses anger, with no plans... while Spidy at leats takes in the consequences and thinks up puns. Spidy would win.
Superman is the most overrated superhero of all time. Buffy hands down.
Dude, Buffy would totally win in a fight. She took down a GOD.

Dude, can Buffy dodge speeding bullets ? Then what makes you think she can dodge someone faster than a speeding bullet ? To standardise, i'd suggest naked X vs naked Y partly because i'm all about the pleasing Pointy (and his super-shipping extravaganza's ;) and partly because then we can discount Willow's help, Spike's help, Xander(and a wrecking ball)'s help, magic troll hammer help etc. etc. Superman could (if he did that sort of thing) kill Buffy from orbit. He could KO her before she even knew she'd been hit. I love that tiny seemingly frail blonde woman as much as anyone but c'mon, let's be realistic - in a one-on-one, unprepared fight Superman is gonna win (just like Buffy would beat Batman in those circumstances).

Who's "best" though ? That's totally up for grabs (partly cos, strange bees apart, I don't even know what it means). Most self-sacrificing ? Well, Buffy's died more times. Most selfless ? Debatable. She was called but didn't have to answer, he could do anything he wanted (nearly) and chooses to help others. Most moral ? Superman i'd say. Most relatable and well-rounded ? Buffy IMO.
For "best" *I'm* going with "which one I like more".
I'd call that "favourite" but it's as good an interpretation as any ;).
I honestly don't see how there can be any truly objective criteria for deciding who's the "best" superhero. For me, it's a matter of which character I care about the most, and that's Buffy by a long, long way.
Most like a classic archeypal superhero? Well, in that case it would probably be Superman, I suppose.
If Superman had to fight Buffy, I don't think he'd use all his power, since he's never been the kind of guy to use excessive force on a non-superpowered person, right? Meanwhile, if Buffy absolutely HAD to take Superman down, she'd probably do everything in her power to make sure he goes down for the count. So fight-wise, I'm thinking she'll wail on the guy with kryptonite weapons and he'll do his best to defend himself without hurting her. Advantage to Buffy, I say.

Character-wise, Superman has kryptonite for his largest flaw, but Buffy has a ton of flaws -- and STILL manages to save the world a few times over as a (fairly sort of) normal human. Again, I say advantage to Buffy.

I'm heavily biased, though... I like Marvel superheroes better. :P
Alright, I don't want to make a new post for this, so I'll try to make it relevant here. Check out the solicit for October's issue of Wonder Woman:
"Who wouldn't want to see their name in lights? Wonder Woman, that's who, and she's now hell bent on putting a stop to the Wonder Woman movie. At least she is until she realizes the impact she has on young women and girls, and must decide what's more important to her - her sanity or her conscience?"
Very weird idea for an actual issue of a Wonder Woman comic. But it sounds very allegorical to the real world.

Anyway, Superman beat Wonder Woman to get to the final four position. So in a way, Buffy beats WW. Whatever, it's cool that ranks so high with long-lasting cultural classics as Superman, Spider-man, and Wolverine. I just don't know if it's a fair match-up. Wolverine and Superman are practically invincible. Spider-man and Buffy are young, power-enhanced, conflicted characters.
I have favorites who are by no means the best. Aquaman, for example. Or Dr. Horrible, who's not a very good villain but is very entertaining to watch.
Sorry, that Wonder Woman solicit is up at ComicBookResources.com, which also has up this week's Rich Johnson's "Lying in the Gutters" column, which tells how Doktor Steel fans are planning to sabbotage the Dr. Horrible panel at San Diego.
http://comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17322
Yeah, that's how I see it too Sunfire i.e. if that's what they meant then "favourite" is a better, more precise word. Of Batman vs Superman, Bats is my "favourite" for instance, but by my own list of possible criteria he's probably not the "best".

I honestly don't see how there can be any truly objective criteria for deciding who's the "best" superhero.

On one hand, I basically agree (and am really knackered and so going to bed soon ;) but on the other, I think the most straightforward reading is either "most effective" (i.e. "best saver of people") OR "favourite". Most effective you could probably objectify (i'd say probably Superman here but mainly because he's been around longer - they've both saved the world. A lot ;) - favourite you can only really justify though. They're both perfectly valid ways of looking at it though I reckon.

Meanwhile, if Buffy absolutely HAD to take Superman down, she'd probably do everything in her power to make sure he goes down for the count.

Probably true. He's not human after all, that pretty much means Buffy has carte blanche ;). However, that idea does what nearly everyone here keeps doing in the fight scenario i.e. it gives Buffy all the "powers" of her entire gang and it gives her time to prepare. Tracking down Kryptonite ? Fashioning weapons from it ? Finding out in the first place that that's his weakness ? Once you broaden it out to the Scoobs, you have to allow the same for Superman (so maybe give him, y'know, the JLA ;). And obviously if they fight when they first meet, he's just going to win (cos she's not going to have what she needs to beat him).
Superman wears his underwear on the outside of his tights. Now that's something Buffy wouldn't let go without a comment. Then he would get all flustered about being teased,'cause he always polite, and the advatage would go to Buffy. Buffy is just more interesting, and Superman has that wierd hair thing going. I could go on...

Spiderman vs. Wolverine is a tough call, but in the end I voted for my remaining childhood hero, seeing as Wonder Woman didn't make it to the final four. *sigh*

ETA: Buffy would wear stylish, but affordable Kryptonite earings and thus win the day.

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-07-21 22:42 ]

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-07-21 22:44 ]
Remember, this is best superhero, not who would win in a fight.

If that's the case, Buffy would win in my book. Hands down. No contest.
There's an amazing scene in one of the "Sinestro Corps War" one-shots where Superman and his cousin take down Superboy Prime. It's just a panel of them in the dark with their eyes glowing and it's so bloody chilling. Handled right Superman is a god who walks amongst us but very few writers have managed to do that in the last few years.
Yep, agreed. I said on the Buffy vs Batman thread that Superman was actually more godlike than Glory in all but name. In fact, probably one of the reasons I generally prefer DC is the way the big hitters are usually more easily tied into mythology - makes them feel more like what they are IMO (not a new idea to me by any stretch though) i.e. our equivalent of myths and legends.
Um, Saje, are you saying Buffy isn't tied into a mythology? (And don't forget about those Kryptonite earings.
I generally prefer DC is the way the big hitters are usually more easily tied into mythology


Are you reading Final Crisis? Morrison's really tapping into that. I'm loving it, it's the most intelligent summer comic book event I've ever read.
No, i'm not Simon, I decided to wait for the trades after buying a load of 'Infinite Crisis' stuff that really didn't rock my world (I also wasn't impressed by DC not providing a "bare essentials" list for that, pretty cynical IMO). Can I just read the actual mini and still get everything I need from it ? Cos Morrison does that stuff about as well as anyone (maybe barring Moore) and it'd suit me better not to have to wait.

Um, Saje, are you saying Buffy isn't tied into a mythology?

No Mysticslug, i'm saying she isn't tied into mythology (no "a"). What you might call the mythology (i.e. ours, and largely 'classical' at that).

Superman = Hercules
Batman = Hades
The Flash = Mercury/Hermes
Wonder Woman = Diana (literally and figuratively - though spoiled slightly because there actually is an Artemis in her world too)
Buffy = ??

And kidding aside, she'd need to know she was going to fight Superman to wear the earrings (otherwise she might wear her hoops ;).
Dude, can Buffy dodge speeding bullets ? Then what makes you think she can dodge someone faster than a speeding bullet ?


You know, Saje, I save my "dude" exclamations for only the top threads. ;)

What if you did this: strip Buffy & Superman of their powers. Who would win then? Buffy has a way of coming up against the odds (crazy vampire with holy water). Any time I see Superman on the big screen with Kryptonite, (i.e., no powers), he's a weak little kitten. Still think Buffy, in any respect, hands down.

CaptainB, I'm very disturbed that Doctor Whats-His-Face is planning on sabotaging my fangirl glee. I am hurt and astonished and feel I may go dark. This should be a separate thread.
Kryptonite doesn't strip him of his powers per se korkster (or the green type you're probably thinking of doesn't anyway) it actually makes him sick (it's intensely radioactive to him).

So if we strip them both of their powers (and, presumably, any weapons), we're left with a big guy, 6' 3-4" tall, about 220 pounds vs a small woman 5' 2-3" tall that may or may not know tae-kwon-do and various close quarters combat tactics (depending on what you mean by powers). Pretty even match but i'd probably give it to Buffy if she keeps her martial arts and Clark/Superman if not.

But of course, strip them both of their powers and you don't have Buffy vs Superman so it's a moot point.
I'm going to have to vote for Buffy, as I'm going with the 'favorite' explanation. Superman is a more typical DC character: larger than life and usually perfect, morally, he doesn't get to me as - say - Spider-Man does. Having said that, I do like what Superman represents and in smaller dosages - like in a movie - it works a charm. It's just that in the long run, such a character is not intersting to keep following. Buffy, on the other hand, is.

Also: I want that Buffy/Spider-Man finale (only to completely not know what to do :))
"And kidding aside, she'd need to know she was going to fight Superman to wear the earrings (otherwise she might wear her hoops" -Saje

She'd know. She'd dream it, Giles would explain it and Willow would track down the Kryptonite. (I've got he whole episode worked out in my head. :)

But the mythology is an intersting question. Maybe we would have to look outside of the classic Greek/Roman mythology? I keep thinking there's something in my head about it somewhere, but it's late. I'm tired and someone's pulling on my brain so I think I'm off to bed to sleep on it.
This can't be a discussion can it?

Who would win in a fight? Superman. Far from being the meat head Frank Miller would have you believe, he is a wonderfully intelligent man, and in the best portrayals from the comics, he is not only a world class investigitive journalist, but also a scientist like his Dad. He is not going to be duped by Buffy, and he would swiftly, and painlessly, confine her.

Who is the better superhero? Superman. Everything come from the big blue. Whether you're inspired by him or rebelling against him, it's all down to that 1938 issue that changed the face of everything we know in genre superheroes. He is the most moral person of all time, and where he could enslave the human race and bend us to his will, he instead straps on the crest of his home and risks his life to show us that there can be a better way. He doesn't even preach, he simply allows his example to stir others into action. He is Jesus without the demand of worship. He protects the entire world tirelessly and selflessly. He's the ultimate defender. How can anyone say this isn't a rich, interesting and complex character?

GVH, you want to talk long run? 70 years isn't long enough for you? I'm telling you, there have been so many incarnatins of this character I think you must not have seen most of them to label him disinteresting. Superman is one of the most effective prisms with which to examine this human condition. Superman has been examined and re-taken a thousand times. He was rendered during the second world war, cold war and now this post 9/11 phase. He is as relevant today as in the great depression because as well as being a rich character in his own right, he is hope, the ultimate immigrant, everything America aspires to be. He was built to do this, and Buffy, much as I adore the character, just can't compete with that. Where do you think Buffy will be in 70 years? A beloved and praised feminist icon to be sure, but she'll never be able to match Superman's influence or iconography.

Sadly, his fanbase is so broad that this poll is unlikely to focus his fans the way Whedonesque tends to and she'll win the vote.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2008-07-21 23:41 ]
Well spoken Andy Dufresne.
Thanks Saje,

And to reference the martial arts, strip them both of their powers and you must remember that whatever Buffy knows, Clark knows more. After leaving high school he travels the world to learn as much as possible. He learns a whole bunch of martial arts in this period, so yeah, little Buffy would still have to deal with the older, wiser, six-four beefcake, who - to borrow a phrase - knows kung-fu.
Still voted for Buffy. Mainly for GVH's reasons:

Also: I want that Buffy/Spider-Man finale (only to completely not know what to do :))

Buffy would kick Superman's ASS!!!

:)
Easy... fight is in LA, and OOPS the Beast just blotted out the sun. And since it is a magical blot, Supes powers down immediately. Even if you don't do that, since the Slayer's power is magical/demon in nature, we can decide that Supes invulnerability is bypassed.

On a side note, who is more heroic: nearly invincible dude with the resources of an entire advanced civilization (who still spends most of his time chatting at the office water cooler), or nearly broke girl who still manages to save the world?

Do the "Batman always wins" arguments remind other people of the SNL skit set in a Chicago bar? Chicago versus the whole Persian army from "300"... Bears 65, Persians 0.
Saje - it would definitely be favourite (and definitely with the British 'u' in there) - except in internet polls, where "best" clearly never means "best". :P

Buffy's just cooler, at this point in time, and yes - Sups should definitely complain to the honchos about cleaning out the muck in his image. Perhaps even making a *real* origin movie.

BTW, I thought this Dr. Steele thing had died a nice quiet zeitgeist-facilitated fade-into-nothingness. Is that how *we* appear to the outside world, due to that nutty part of our fanbase? And if so, can we have shirts made saying "I'm not one of *those* sorts of fans"?
Andy Dufresne: I guess I wasn't clear enough. I was not saying that Superman isn't interesting (in fact, his long run and popularity as an icon even today, is so staggering that I'd be quite silly to try to defend that opinion :)). What I was saying, however, is that Superman, as a character, is not that interesting to me, in the long run :).

I like my characters more human and approachable, with recognisable flaws they have to overcome and try to cope with. This makes for fiction that's interesting to me. Also: I need the combination of humor and drama. It's how I approach every day life and tackle problems. If I stopped laughing, I'd surely be (feel) dead. And so it's the angsty quips of Spider-Man and Buffy that attract me to these characters. Superman is larger than life, a perfect beacon of morality for us all to aspire to. In smaller dosage, that speaks to me. On a regular basis, it gets tiresome and I find comfort in more regular heroes, real people I'd hang out with, fictional characters I can identify with. That, for me, is why a character like Buffy will hold my heart and will make me feel. Superman has lifted me up on numerous occassions, sure, and the original Superman movie (and Bryan Singer's almost-remake) stand the test of time and show that the world does in fact still need a hero like Supes. It's just that Superman has not, and probably never will, make me cry, send shivers down my spine, be meaningfull and resonate with my everyday life, like Buffy has. I will not be frequenting a superman-equivalent of Whedonesque any time soon. And that's, why to me Buffy is not only the "better" superhero, but the "better" character. The way she's set up speaks to me on a much deeper level than Superman ever could.

korkster, we seem to be agreeing a lot lately ;)
Hmmm, superhero who had me hooked on her show for seven whole seasons after watching just the pilot episode or superhero who has failed to remotely interest me in 25 years of being a comic book fan.

Not difficult, this one. ;)

The next round is going to be a lot trickier for me, should Buffy make it through. I'm a big fan of Spidey and an even bigger Wolverine fan, so I'm going to be torn either way. Went for Logan in this round though.
Someone made a comment in a previous round saying this isn't about who would win a fight, or who you think is best, it's about fan mobilization and devotion. Superman fans can vote for him just as much as we Buffy fans are voting for Buffy, but they aren't. Just like in the Batman round, nothing was stopping Batman fans from stuffing the ballot, but none of them cared enough to do it> Buffy fans cared enough to put her on top every single time, and it's the same Buffy fans who will carry her to the end.
Andy Dufresne, I followed riiiiight up until: He is Jesus without the demand of worship. Suffice to say, I have a lot of problems with that statement, but I'll keep this to Buffy vs Superman and not Superman vs Jesus. It's too late at night here to be writing essays, anyway. ;)

The only Superman I was ever truly interested in was the one in the Lois & Clark series, in which he wasn't Superman pretending to be Clark but Clark pretending to be Superman. THAT Clark -- not so much the romantic comedy series, but the character himself -- was a man I could identify with because his morals weren't squeaky and perfect, but he was trying hard to reach that anyway. I personally find that much more compelling than the typical portrayal of Superman as a god amongst men; there's a certain disconnect between him and the human race, even WITH Lois as his metaphoric go-between.

Buffy, on the other hand, is herself the go-between, in the middle of gods and men and attempting, in her slightly-more-than-human way, to keep that balance. And it makes her more identifiable to have the Scoobies aid her, since they're less a group of gods than they are a ragtag group combining their forces around her for various reasons that usually don't include "because it's the right and moral thing to do" as the primary drive. Maybe sometimes when the world is at stake, but the job of saving the world wasn't something any of them took because they absolutely wanted to at first.

I personally think Buffy teaches something about humans being able to do something for themselves, moreso than the idea of a god wanting to be a shining example for the humans. Not that I don't like Superman at all, but Buffy connects to me more than gods do. (Which, touching on that one line, is also one reason why I think Jesus was a pretty cool guy too. Seemingly regular guy who gets told his destiny is to save the world and has disciple-scoobies... I wonder why they haven't made a series yet.) Anyway, that's why I'd vote Buffy. I'd ramble more but late night, yadda yadda.

Although... if it was Kingdom Come Superman? It would be a draw.
Buffy = Athena (wikipedia: ...is the shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavour.)
Superman was pretty, but boring. And I wish I had Buffy's wardrobe- but in my size of course. Obviously.
So, she gets my vote. (Literally.)
GVH: I like my characters more human and approachable, with recognisable flaws they have to overcome and try to cope with. This makes for fiction that's interesting to me. Also: I need the combination of humor and drama.

I think this is a common complaint about Superman (it's certainly how I felt before I read more of the books) but it maybe shows a lack of familiarity with varying portrayals more than anything. 'Secret Identity' by Kurt Busiek is a comic/graphic novel that i'd highly recommend to open-minded Superman non-fans, it's one of the most emotive, grounded, true Superman stories i've read. And (technically) it doesn't even have Superman in it ;). Or, if you don't mind a big chunk of meta in your fiction, "It's a bird ..." is about an/the author struggling to write a Superman story and in the process, meditating on what he means to him personally and us as a culture (there's a big dollop of fathers & sons stuff in there too).

As Andy Dufresne says, this is a guy that could become overlord of the whole planet (and in several "what if ?" style stories, does) but instead freely chooses to, in the words of the Crash Test Dummies song, get changed in "dirty old phonebooths" to help us, for no reason other than he can and it's better to help people than not. Buffy's got it hard being the "one girl in all the world" but he's also alone. And unlike Buffy (since he's so much more powerful) he also has the burden of all the people he doesn't save weighing on him.

I personally think Buffy teaches something about humans being able to do something for themselves, moreso than the idea of a god wanting to be a shining example for the humans.

And that's one reason I prefer Batman to Superman. In his world all these super-heroes flying around with immense power can and do go rogue and start laying waste. He stands between, representin' for the good old Mk I Human Being. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?" Batman, that's who ;).

(Which, touching on that one line, is also one reason why I think Jesus was a pretty cool guy too. Seemingly regular guy who gets told his destiny is to save the world and has disciple-scoobies... I wonder why they haven't made a series yet.)

Err, were wise men bearing gifts SOP for every birth back then ? ;) And wasn't he saving people even as a child (or is that from one of the un-official gospels) ?
Saje, thanks for the tips! :). I'll certainly give them a try (as soon as I have some of this thing I've heard people refer to as 'money''). I still hold to my previously stated opinion, though, as these seem like one-ofs (Is that the correct spelling? Damn you, english-not-being-my-first-language!). To me, Superman can certainly inspire, but not on the long run, and I'd need special-like incarnations or twists-on-the-usual to make it work on a more emotional level. So I'm still guessing that reading the regular comic book probably isn't for me. But that's okay :)
Yep, each to their own ;). I would say though that even single graphic novels round out the character and make you think about it in more detail (i.e. what would it actually be like to be the last of your species ? Or to have immense power and yet still sometimes watch those you care about die ? Or to grow old and start to lose your faculties when you used to be able to fly and carry locomotives ?). Considering these questions was what gave me a greater appreciation for the guy (it's kind of like the difference between seeing one episode of Buffy and seeing her struggle "day" in and out for 7 years - you really get a much better feeling for what she's sacrificing and how selfless and heroic she really is).

(it's 'one-offs' BTW even though on paper 'one-of' actually makes as much - if not more - sense. Wouldn't worry though GVH, that's the sort of mistake - along with e.g. 'have to' and 'half to' that native speakers make all the time. I'm constantly impressed by the non-native English speakers on here, no messing)
Agreed, Saje. It's obvious that learning more about a character would make your apreciation grow (if it's at all an interesting character, that is ;)). But then again, I was never saying Superman couldn't have depth or struggle with things (well, maybe I was implying that last bit, re-reading my previous post), but it's the fundamental set-up that would - I think - make me relate more to Buffy's problems, than Superman's. In the same way that you prefer Batman to Superman :).

And thanks. *scribbles down "one-off"*. I know my English isn't bad at all, it's just that I know I make - minor - mistakes in my written English that would annoy me if I knew I was making them ;). In Dutch, I'm pretty much a spelling and grammer nazi, these days which, given my chosen profession (journalism) isn't very surprising. And the way one spells and writes, reflects on what (intelligent) people will think of you, after all.
Here's apparently why it's 'off' and not 'of'. Warning: Site may leech dangerous amounts of your life away ! ;)

(jeez, it's quiet at work today ;)
Sorry if I offended Lili, I just wanted to illustrate the Superman does not preach. As said in the '78 movie he simply allows his example to stir others into action "They could be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way." Superman shows the way through his selflessness. That's always struck a cord with me.
ALright (Dr. Horrible's "ALright"), I've read the comments, and both Saje & Andy Dufresne make good arguments on Superman's behalf.

However, I would like to tackle the impression one hero gives to the community versus the other. As you said, Superman is like a god among men. He always saves the day, and chooses to of his own free will. Very heroic, and nice of him. BUT, unlike Buffy & Spiderman, I don't see the people he's saving clamoring to help Superman in any way. Like Batman, when trouble begins, people just wait for the hero to show up.

For Buffy & Spiderman, it's true, they save the world. A lot. But, as pointed out as one of Buffy's weaknesses, she has people who help her. Of thier own free will. When Willow has a chance to go to an Ivy league school, she stays in Sunnydale because she wants to fight the good fight. The Scoobies know their place, but they are inspired by their heroes to help save the world. Even Xander admits as much in Season 4: "You're my hero, Buffy". Buffy & Spiderman are integrated into the societies that they've sworn to protect, while Batman & Superman are detached- they have to assume another identity to mix among the community.

I think it's this honesty and vulnerability shown to the masses that makes Buffy & Spiderman stronger- the groups will rally to help them (and themselves) while the others are just by-standers.
Spider-Man, not Spiderman.

Just sayin', is all... ;)
Saje, that was interesting! It actually makes sense now :).

korkster, while I agree with you on Buffy's count, I don't think the distinction's as strong with Spider-Man vs. Superman or Batman. Yes, we've seen New Yorkers respond to Spider-Man in the past and he's very much a "hero of the people", but he doesn't have the same group behind him as Buffy has. He also has a secret identity (for, partly, the same reasons Superman and Batman do). But what is true, is that he's less isolated as Peter Parker as these others characters. He's both Spider-Man and Peter Parker, while Clark Kent is not Superman and Batman's only his true self when he's being the caped crusader, not when he's being Bruce Wayne.

Also, as far as support-groups go: Superman and Batman have the JLA. But, then again, those people are more like their 'workbuddies' than their actual close, personal friends. Plus, the dynamic is vastly different.

I feel like there's a bigger argument in there somewhere, about why the one character appeals to me more than the others, combining all the elements that we have talked about so far, but it escapes me at the moment :).

[ edited by GVH on 2008-07-22 16:33 ]
But what is true, is that he's less isolated as Peter Parker as these others characters.

I think this is partly textual and partly meta-textual (in that Stan Lee's heroes were almost a direct response to the aloofness of the DC line-up). But textually Peter grew up a normal guy (albeit a bit of a nerdy misfit) and suffered his traumatic experience (Uncle Ben dying) and transformation when he was at least a teenager whereas Superman has been apart his entire life, always hiding who he is and what he can do, seemingly one of us but never actually one of us. Batman similarly was set apart a) by his family's wealth and b) by suffering his trauma at an early age. So it stands to reason they'd be less "integrated" IMO.

Re: crowds rallying, when Superman is actually hurt, people turn out by the thousands to support him (e.g. in 'Superman Returns' or from the comics in the 'Death of Superman' story arc) it's just that he doesn't get publicly hurt as often and WRT helping him, well, I think that's more a matter of scale - often the villains he fights are just too big for ordinary people to make a difference, they really are bystanders in a conflict between "gods".

Batman conversely depends (for his life) on appearing invulnerable, on seeming to be an unstoppable mythical being, so again, it makes sense that he wouldn't want to appear to need help from the public (though if we're talking "Scooby gang" then Batman has Alfred, Robin, Nightwing, Oracle etc. etc. all of whom are also "normal" humans fighting the good fight of their own free-will). Additionally, he uses fear and his own legend as a weapon more than either Superman, Spider-man or Buffy so he's less approachable. But in most incarnations there's an element of "people's champion" to his character, it's just not as overt as with the others. He's less a people person than Buffy ;).
Superman now is winning.
I might've paused a second or two with Bats, but Superman? Pshht... Buffy wins for me in all counts.

43.0%
Superman (3395 responses)

57.0%
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (4497 responses)

She's winning now. Let's hope she hangs on till closing!
She beat Super-man! Now she will CRUSH SPIDERMAN!!!

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