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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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July 23 2008

Buffy makes it to the title match in Redeye's Best Superhero Ever Tournament. Buffy defeated Superman and moves into the title match.

Buffy had a rough start in this tournament of Superheroes. She faced off against Thor in the first match and was outvoted almost the entire time, until delivering a surprise boost of votes at the end to move on to the 2nd round. There, she was pitted against Batman and was predicted to lose. But in the biggest upset of the tournament, Buffy crushed Batman and moved into the next round against The Silver Surfer. Once again stacked against the odds, Buffy fans moved into full force and handily defeated The Silver Surfer. And in the semifinal match, it was old versus new when Buffy faced the legendary Superman. In a battle of epic proportions, Buffy fans lead her to victory once again. Now, in the final battle to decide who is the BEST SUPERHERO ever, it is Buffy the Vampire Slayer against Spider-Man. Two heroes walk in, one hero walks out.

*glares at platinumtlc* You beat me in posting this! *grumble* That's what I get for reviewing my spelling... ;)
:D hehehe vote vote vote!
That's just frakkin' awesome! I knew our Buffster had it in her. Never doubted for a moment.
And the insults for Buffy begin, reminding us once again why fanboys are sometimes worse than fangirls. I mean on the infinite Scale of Annoying, I personally think squeeing is tossed off the scale by childish (and you just wait for them -crude) insults.

Alas, where had all the honest clean polling gone?
Alas, where had all the honest clean polling gone?

When did it start?
Sometimes Whedonesque is a tool used for evil.
Yes! I scream with glee. :-)
That site won't let me vote. Fixed! It's rigged!

Eh. Actually, I'm more torn between these two. Spider-Man was one of my favorites as a kid. Him and Batman, which is odd since I hate both spiders and bats. Hmmm. So, you all will have to vote for me.
You might have to clear your cookies and vote again. Unless you plan to vote for Spiderman, then you can't vote. :P
Now, in the final battle to decide who is the BEST SUPERHERO ever, it is Buffy the Vampire Slayer against Spiderman. Two heroes walk in, one hero walks out.

WOW! My second dream this week! Join me, GVH, in giving this a woot!

Man, this is a toughie. Question: Is it Joss-Spidey, or just regular-Spidey pitted against Buffy? Because that may tip the odds. :)

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket, with this sort of luck. I wonder if I'm going to die soon... if so, this is a great way to go out! (For combined reasons, not just Buffy vs. Spiderman.)
Wow, I thought that Buffy had lost ground to Superman and had lost that bout. But now she faces Spiderman, who I think is much more popular that Superman.... However it is no problem for me, I love the Buffster!
Buffy made it? Who would've thought?

Join me, GVH, in giving this a woot!


But, man, this is one hard decission. Spider-Man is probably my favorite comic book superhero of all time, while Buffy is the main character on one of my favorite television shows of all time. So, who's the better superhero? Well, jeez, I don't know :). If measured by "time spent in fandom", it'd have to be Buffy by a long-shot. Favorite? Don't know. As a character, Buffy is not persť my favorite of the show (although I do like her a lot). Spider-Man? Pretty great character right there too.

This might just make my head explode.
Eh, she should have lost to Batman, really. Of all the oldest superheroes, Batman has had the longest, most sustained popularity, and for good reason. Overall, Buffy resonates with a lot of people, but Batman has two generations headstart.
Is that true, jclemens? If I'd had to have guessed, I'd say the list of Most Popular Superheroes Of All Time would look like:

1. Superman
2. The X-Men
3. Batman
4. Spider-Man

With maybe, The X-Men and Batman reversed. Is there a way to quantify this?
Total comics sold maybe ? I know that 'Batman' sells quite steadily, which is why it's used as the benchmark for comic sales indices but I also know that at one point in the mid 60s, Julie Schwartz was given 6 months to turn the title around or it was being cancelled due to low sales so whether it's consistently sold well, i'm not convinced. But even then, nowadays, if you compare sales, 'Batman' is normally around 70k per month (it's doing better at the moment because of the 'R.I.P.' storyline) which is less than e.g. Buffy's pulling in and quite a bit lower than the #1 spot.

Superman's the oldest though, by a few months on Batman, both of whom could legally drink in America by the time Spidey or the X-Men showed up ;).
I would care a lot more about this contest if the people who were running it and the people who voting it in, had some clear consensual understanding of what the contest was actually supposed to be. But they don't.

I know if we were talking about who is the best dentist, or plummer, or accountant, that most people would have a fairly good understanding of what criteria was appropriate. Change it to superhero though, and people see it all very differently.

My view is simple. If you like having you supervillians locked in special supervillian prisons, plotting their escape and further evil plans to destroy the world in the next thrilling installment, then you should call for Batman/Spiderman/Superman etc, when there is trouble.

But if you like your supervillians freekin dead and buried, then you call the SLAYER.
How great would it be if Buffy actually won it all? Maybe next time the tournament will include other heroes deserving of wider recognition rather than catering to ones who arrived on the scene first. Maybe if they tossed in a few names that not as many people recognize, it could generate new interest in the indie titles. Let's see Cassie Hack, John Simon (Poet) and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac on the list next time.

Oh, And AlanD, I completely agree with you. It's why I voted for Buffy.

[ edited by zohrael on 2008-07-23 22:22 ]
If someone wanted Batman to win so much, they should have voted more for him.

[ edited by platinumtlc on 2008-07-23 22:22 ]
Well, AlanD, Buffy does only kill demons. And most of the adversaries of comic book superheroes are human. So I'd say that that's a moot point :).

ETA: Saje, yeah, sales number would be a good way to see. But given the amount of Spider-Man titles and X-Men titles, and the way in which X-titles have been selling for quite a few years, I'd say that just being around longer does not necessarily equal having sold more comics. (But then again, I have no clue what the numbers are, so there's that).

[ edited by GVH on 2008-07-23 22:33 ]
This decision was easy for me. The only superhero who would get my vote above Buffy would be Captain Hammer.
Very random thought just entered my head. This may be totally off topic, but Captain Planet should have been in the contest.
Yeah I agree GVH (I think it's still true that the biggest selling individual issue ever was X-Men #1 in the 90s. That was during the speculator bubble for comics and sold in the millions) and jclemens claim was about consistency anyway so you'd really need a more detailed break-down, month by month preferably, maybe with standard deviations and all sorts. It'd be a whole thing ;).

Well, AlanD, Buffy does only kill demons. And most of the adversaries of comic book superheroes are human. So I'd say that that's a moot point :).

Of course it is. Buffy had the luxury of killing most of her enemies, other heroes have the burden of not being able to. And I say most because of course the one enemy that posed the biggest threat to all of reality (Ben/Glory - wait, am I saying there's some kind of ... ;) had to be killed by Giles.

If someone wanted Batman to win so much, they should have voted more for him.

I'd be genuinely interested to see the results corrected for individual IP addresses. No idea how it'd pan out (either side can ballot stuff) but it would be interesting.
I actually rather like the vagueness of the head to head contests. It would be boring if the criteria were defines (who would win in a fight, who's more popular, who's a better character, etc.). There's kind of a tradition of straight-up undefined "who's better?" contests online. And I like that Buffy's kicking ass in this one.

(For instance, maybe Buffy's winning because she's the superhero with the best TV presence, or the one who has the most fun friends. Everyone can vote for whatever criteria matter to them.)
Can't. Vote. Hurts.

You left Gilgamesh and Odysseus off your list, GVH. They have big time advantages.
I refuse to vote on this one. I can't choose.
I voted for Buffy because I think it would be great if Buffy won - I'm a simple person. ;-)
where are the current total votes shown?
True, Sunfire. But there were less people and certainly less books in the olden days and I don't think those guys are big sellers these days. Still, they certainly have been around a while ;).

Saje, am I a total geek if I'd very much like to browse that data if it were available? ;)

Still haven't voted. Argh.
It would have been a tough decision, if I hadn't recalled how annoyed I was at Marvel for recent Spiderman storylines. So, Buffy gets the vote.
It is a tough call between Spider-Man and Buffy for me, just like everyone else, but it's about who's the best superhero, not the strongest, not the best-selling, or the one with the most big-budget feature films.

Now, both heroes have family issues, struggle with finances, have to make difficult moral and ethical choices, and have ideals that are tough to live up to.

For every advantage I can think of that Spider-Man has over Buffy, I can think of a converse advantage the Slayer has over the Wall-Crawler.

In the end, though, I want Buffy to win (since a dead-even tie is pretty unlikely), because Buffy became an icon against longer odds than did Spider-Man. Joss Whedon had to really knock himself out to get Buffy going, whereas Stan Lee (and I love Stan Lee, seriously, please, I beg you, don't get me wrong about this) didn't get much resistance when he pitched Spider-Man to Marvel, from what I understand. A few issues into the comic, and they knew Spider-Man was a hit.

Stan Lee has admitted that he created Spider-Man and moved on, like he did with a lot of the other heroes he created. Joss, on the other hand, forged Buffy out of his own soul. Okay, that's a little dramatic, sorry.

[ edited by Jim in Buffalo on 2008-07-24 01:06 ]
If it's a human that neither hero would kill, then fine, maybe that's a saw-off (although I suspect Buffy would lay such a whup-ass beating on them that they wouldn't be coming back for more anytime soon). But if Spiderman went up against, say, the Master or Adam, would he kill them, or would he leave them web-bound and hanging from a street-light, with a friendly note to the police?

I just don't see Buffy having a bunch of arch-nemeses who she fights battle after battle with, year after year, like your standard superheros do. The girl gets it done.
I'm just happy to see Buffy defeated Boy Scout.
Wow, just wow... I had given up hope, but Buffy pulled through... This reminds me of a season finale or something! lol
You know, for the sake of my own sanity, I should really try to better ignore misspellings on the internet, especially of a semi-understandable nature, such as when people misspell "Spider-Man". But, I really do find it hard to understand, when the linked thread and at least half of the posters in the comments spell it correctly, why "Spiderman" keeps happening. I just don't get it.

Shall I start typing the names as "Zander" and, even more to the point, "Wesley Wyndampryce" from now on?

As far as the tournament - somehow, I don't think of Buffy as a "super hero", just as a hero, so the whole poll has felt a little apples and oranges to me. If I were to vote based on which character is most significant in my life... well, yes, Buffy wins :)
A really meticulous comic book fans would beg for the headline to read "Buffy versus Spider-man".
Buffy Win = Buffy Movie?

Almost certainly not, but a victory would send a signal to movie execs (and SMG) that there's lots of demand out there for more BtVS stories! We're obviously in a time period where the studio execs see comics as lucrative film material. Why would they not want to base a new movie on the superhero voted most popular?
Wow there is something severely stuck up LKW's ass. SPIDERMAN SPIDERMAN SPIDERMAN. ROTFL.

Maybe I should have done a reference sheet and an introduction page? Double spaced and 12 pt font, right? Oh Professor Broom Up My Ass, what else did I do wrong? I must get an A for my post or else I'll end up like Zander and end up getting stuck in construction.

[ edited by platinumtlc on 2008-07-24 03:14 ]
For me the decision has been easy throughout. I read comics growing up - not so much now - and I like a lot of the characters in this tournament. But I never cared about any of them like I care about Buffy. I know it's absurd - she's just a fictional character - but I want Buffy to win.
platinumtic, two things. First, whatever you think the problem is, don't hurl insults at other members. Next time, you get suspended. Second, the name happens to be Spider-Man, whether you think it's pedantic to insist or not. Kinda like how we don't get to spell other people's names however we want. Misspelling Spidey's name by accident is one thing - I've done it myself. But to be proud of getting it wrong?
Well, this has all been a lark, but I'm baffled by all the jubilation/vitriol. What, if anything, does this poll prove, exactly?

If I had to hazard a guess, it's simply that Buffy fans are a more vocal and better mobilized force than the fans of any other comic book character...
I guess LKW's condescending attitude isn't a problem either? I can play that game too. :) Spiderman wouldn't stand for this.
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You've the patience of a saint so you have ;).

I just don't see Buffy having a bunch of arch-nemeses who she fights battle after battle with, year after year, like your standard superheros do. The girl gets it done.

I think this is more a meta-textual point AlanD but it's an interesting one. The reason of course that Buffy can kill even her arch-nemesisisis is, the show was designed to move, the characters age, some of them die - "things" in general progress. Joss didn't need to keep e.g. Glory around because next season he'd come up with a new big bad and everyone would accept that as fine, it's part of the grammar of television. That's not true for comics wherein you have many, many more stories than BtVS will ever tell but except in narrowly defined ways, the heroes don't age, the "world" doesn't move on (I dunno if anyone's ever done it but if you added up all the nights Batman's gone on patrol, i'd wager you'd end up closer to his "true" age, i.e. about 70, than his comics one - which in the mainline continuity is probably mid-late 30s or maybe early 40s).

And interestingly, in the very first comic "episodes" of "season 8", we see an old enemy brought back for Buffy to fight.

(must admit, textually I do find it a bit harsh that heroes are being criticised for not killing and for respecting the rule of law - aren't those, y'know, good qualities, generally speaking ?)

Well, this has all been a lark, but I'm baffled by all the jubilation/vitriol. What, if anything, does this poll prove, exactly?

If I had to hazard a guess, it's simply that Buffy fans are a more vocal and better mobilized force than the fans of any other comic book character...

Well, quite. There're a lot of Buffy sites but arguably also a few (e.g. here) that're ideally placed to spread the word because they're well known, even among non-members. I think the other super-hero fandoms are probably scattered across various fora arguably without a "central" point to rally the troops around.

Must admit, the vitriol is slightly irritating but for me the main point that strikes me is, most people aren't playing the game. The idea of these 'vs' polls/contests is to have a laugh talking bollocks about your favourite super-heroes' powers and weaknesses, triumphs and disasters - apart from one or two people, no-one on here's been doing that, it's just been a stream of "X is dumb, yay Buffy !" style comments. Seeing these polls as some sort of end in themselves is utterly baffling to me.
I'm curious as to what you (and by you I mean all those who rush off to vote in a poll you never would have bothered with, on a site you don't visit) aim to achieve? Telling the world how great Buffy is? Surely that's hardly the end result. I highly doubt anyone comes away from this thinking, ooh, Buffy beat Spider-man, she must be REALLY cool. Rather than, say, oh, the Whedon fans are out in force again, someone must have posted this poll on Whedonesque. Which is what I tend to think.
Actually, in fairness, the last time we stuffed a ballot *cough* won one of these polls (and placed 'Serenity' as the best sci-fi movie of all time on an SFX poll. Yep, you read that right, "of all time" ;) there was interest from (the online arms of) major media outlets like the Beeb and the Guardian IIRC (and there may even have been a slight upwards blip in DVD sales).

So it can definitely raise awareness. Whether most voters (on either "side") are thinking that strategically, I wouldn't like to comment. OK, no they're not IMO ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-07-24 11:30 ]
I may be alone here, but I voted for Buffy.

It's not Spidey's fault. He didn't have 7 seasons worth of fantastic TV to make me love him so. Yes, there were all the comics, but... but if you'd ever seen SMG cry, you'd understand, Spidey.
I'm with you, Saje the whole point of these threads is to "have a laugh talking bollocks about your favourite super-heroes' powers and weaknesses, triumphs and disasters". That's also a direct answer to your question, spooforbrains. We (or, at least, I) vote because it's fun to discuss things like this and then make a decission. I've very much enjoyed the other threads on this poll/contest and learned more about why people like Superman or Batman (hey again, Saje ;)), for instance. Which, to me, is fun :).

And on that note: I've finally decided and voted for Buffy. Spur-of-the-moment thing based on my active involvement with this fandom, because really, I can't think of much to seperate the two otherwise. Plus, she's more of an underdog in this kind of tournament, which - while a silly reason - added to the fandom thing and made my doubt disappear for just long enough to vote. Because now I'm already wondering if I shouldn't have voted for Spidey after all ;)
You're not alone, dispatch. So far the Buffster's winning, at about 88%. I will hazard that Whedonesque are good, but we ain't THAT good. (Perhaps it's just everyone but US is at/on the way to Comic-Con and hasn't had a chance to vote yet!)

This was a toughie for me, as Buffy and Spidey are very similar in many ways- teenagers who awake one day to find themselves with superpowers, and the inherent responsibilities that come with these. Plus, they're both quite 'punny' and bring the sledging to their enemies when facing off.

But in the end I went for Buff because stretch lycra? SO over!
I'm curious as to what you (and by you I mean all those who rush off to vote in a poll you never would have bothered with, on a site you don't visit) aim to achieve?
World domination, of course! It's just a silly internet poll. I have to laugh at the sense of outrage some people are exhibiting over Buffy beating their favorites. That alone is enough to make me "rush off" (that is, click the mouse twice and type 5 letters) and vote for Buffy.
This is why Whedon lunatics should not be allowed to vote. Like, EVER.

Seriously, how much crack are you guys on to think that Buffy is anywhere near as cool as Batman, Thor, Superman, Silver Surfer, or Spider-Man?

*rolls eyes*

Then again, I think Firefly is a better sci-fi show than BSG, so who am I to talk, eh?
Well this thread seems to be hitting wank bottom quicker than I thought. Posters are again notified that if general insults are hurled about the place, they will get warned and then suspended if they carry on regardless.

And in regards to fan campaigning, I did notice that Dark Horse Comics sent out a bulletin on Myspace yesterday urging to make Buffy the Champion in this particular poll.
Ah, Simon, they did? Guess they're hoping for more publicity by winning this thing and beating out all the Big Sellers[tm]. Although, as a comic book company, I probably wouldn't have taken this thing as serious enough to send out a bulletin over. Fun? Sure. Serious? Not-so-much :).
Buffy is, right at the the moment, winning the poll by a landslide. Did Spider-Man's fans give up in frustration?

More than anything, though, if Buffy does win this poll, and it looks like she almost certainly will, what will RedEye say about it? Will it be, "Well, Whedon's army of lunatic fans came and ruined our poll," or something like, "The Internet Has Spoken"? Maybe a little of both?
Don't worry, LKW. You're not the only one that can't stand to see Spider-Man's name written as Spiderman. I actually mentioned it myself in the previous Redeye related thread.

There was a story years ago where Spidey catches a kid spraying "Spiderman SUX!" or something to that effect on a wall and Spidey jokingly makes a big deal out of it, saying something along the lines of "Why is it that no-one ever remembers the hyphen?" and since reading that it's kinda been stuck in my head to spell it correctly. Don't want to be pissing Spidey off. ;)

Although I'm pretty much doing exactly that regarding this poll because I've voted Buffy. To be honest the last time I checked the Buffy versus Superman poll she was getting slaughtered so I really didn't expect to even have to make this choice. Also, I kinda thought Wolverine would beat Spidey and we'd be looking at a Wolverine/Superman final. I guess I should be happy that at least it wasn't a Buffy/Wolverine final because then I really would have been unable to choose.

Oh, and "wank bottom" may be the single funniest phrase I've read on the internet in many weeks. Cheers for that, Simon. :D
I got to reading the comments and this one made me just stop reading:

142. Waaaah. Vote for Spiderman! Why are you being such losers? It's not like Buffy is even a real superhero. I mean cuz she has BREASTS.
Submitted by: Fanboy

Ok. General guesses on how old (either physically or mentally) this "Fanboy" is? So wrong on so many levels.

I really didn’t think much of this poll… voted in one poll, you’ve voted in ‘em all. But, now, I really want Buffy to win.

I also hope that the end result is positive rather than "oooh, Buffy has a stronger fan base than 'we' have" which, well, really isn't insulting *grin* unless they phrase it more... um, insulting like ;)
Mirage - I saw that post. I think it's a parody written by a Buffy supporter.
If we misunderstand and mock a parody written by one of our own, does that mean we pwn ourselves and Spider-man wins?
Only in a just universe. We're probably safe ;).
Buffy won in a landslide: 85% - 15%
I do feel that I should acknowledge that I do regret a poor word choice in my post above. I was honestly curious as to why the people - and there were several, and I never singled out any of them in particular - who were doing the misspelling were continuing to do so - if they thought both spellings were acceptable, if they really just didn't notice, if they didn't care.... But, I should have said something like "It's the equivalent of spelling it 'Zander' or, even more to the point, 'Wyndampryce' - not hugely consequential, but still incorrect, you know?" - in retrospect, I do see how my phrasing in that paragraph could have come off poorly. (I did try to keep things light in the closing paragraph, but not well enough, I guess.) Sorry for the mess, everyone.

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