Monday, June 15, 2015

Batman VS Superman

by Arnie Fenner

During Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4, John Fleskes sponsored master photographer Greg Preston to take artist portraits during the show.  It was a lot of fun and the results were wonderful—and a good story came out of one session which inspired today's post.

On her Facebook page Karla Ortiz wrote about the photo of Iain McCaig. "I was behind the camera asking Iain why he thought Batman was way better than Superman! I think that picture perfectly captured the moment he realizes Batman is INDEED better than Superman. Seriously that's the picture. He's all like ' Well of course Batman is better! I've been so wrong!!! '"

Above: Iain McCaig and Karla Ortiz. Photos taken by Greg Preston at SFAL4.

To which Iain quickly replied in the comments section, "Batman better than Superman? Ye Gods, Karla--methinks Greg's flash bulbs have addled your brains!"

So considering that next year will see the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice I naturally have to ask the burning question

Who is "better?"

Batman? [Art by Bob Kane & Jerry Robinson.]

Or Superman? [Art by Joe Shuster & Jack Adler.]

Batman? [Warner Bros/Bruce Timm.]

Or Superman? [Max Fleischer Studio.]

Batman? [Adam West.]

Or Superman? [George Reeves.]

Batman? [Art by Frank Miller & Lynn Varley.]

Or Superman? [Art by Alex Ross.]

Batman? [Michael Keaton.]

Or Superman? [Christopher Reeve.]

Batman? [Neal Adams.]

Or Superman? [Neal Adams.]

Batman? [Christian Bale.]

Or Superman? [Henry Cavill.]

So who do you think is "better?" The Caped Crusader or the Man of Steel? Discuss.


  1. Ooh, this is hard. I'd have to say Superman wins all of them, barring the Adam West/George Reeves one, where Adam West is so, so much better, and the animated one, where I think they're tied.

    1. Love you, man, but you're so wrong here.

  2. covers: Action Comics. The introduction of a character that sets the standard of any to follow. Inspired so many, including the great Spider-Man intro.
    Animated: BTAS. Fleischer is great, and the inspiration for BTAS I'm sure. But ... BTAS is the best animation ever.
    Human1: Adam West. Completely got it. How he did that straight I'll never know.
    Human2: Christopher Reeves. Personified it. Personal story afterward only magnifies this. Keaton, better actor and acting, though, and Birdman is a great epilogue.
    Neal Adams: Batman. So good.
    Human3: Bale. Better material, better acting, better toys.
    Total: Batman 4 - Superman 2
    My bias may be showing.

    1. Really? The Action Comics cover didn't really inspire much, other than hundreds of parodies. It was Detective Comics No. 27 that inspired Spider-Man.
      Also, BTAS was good, I agree, but that original Superman cartoon had such great animation, voice acting, and originality.

  3. Arnie, your dork is showing.

  4. Batman, pretty much hands down on all fronts. From the very first cover -- which is so much more dynamic and graphic than the original Superman cover -- all the way through to Bale vs Cavill, I have to give it to Batman. Batman's look is consistently more engaging than Superman in all the examples. The Cavill version makes him (finally) look sort of cool, but Superman is always hamstrung by the initial ridiculous costume design. The Ross Superman comes close to winning, but that Miller/Varley Batman is just too good.

    But I've never liked Superman and never understood his appeal, so my prejudices are probably leaking over.

  5. Winners: Action Comic #1, Max Fleischer Studios, George Reeves, Who cares? (Keaton vs. Reeves), Neil Adams Batman. Christian Bale.

  6. Why must we ask the question? I'm partial to the unique juxtaposition that BOTH characters fill. It's like chocolate and vanilla: You cannot understand the wonderful taste of one without the other to compare it to. Batman is the human lust for vengeance-held in check by a basic but thin honoring of human law and decency. On the other side of the coin is The Blue Boy Scout. In the incredible graphic novel series JUSTICE by Jim Krueger and the incomparable Alex Ross, Batman discusses Superman's transparency concerning his abilities:
    " Is that the reason you do interviews and tell everyone that you can see through walls? Is that the reason you let everyone know about you? When you do, you take the power out of the shadows. You steal away a criminal's safety in the dark. You make them afraid."

    And then comes the admiration: " And people say I'm the smart one."

    You can't have the gothic detective and his darkness without the other shining like a blue and red beacon of Truth and Justice. The uneasy bond that both have for the protection of humanity keep them allies. We need both and one cannot shine without the other. So why can't we just be friends?

    (for the record: I usually wear an S if I had the choice. Though Michael Keaton's Batman holds some awesome memories for me. Both Cartoons are amazing for their respective times but NO ONE can outdo Alex Ross's interpretation of the MAN of STEEL !)

    1. Wow. I agree with everything you said. (I'm glad that there's one other intelligent person out there).

  7. The Batman. Why? Because he could be me or you. Just a dude with tons of guts and cool toys trying to do right by the citizens of the city he loves. No quasi-immortality, no super powers, just a regular guy that might die if he ever makes a wrong move. Gotta love Batman.

  8. This is much to broad of a question. If we look at the entire history of each character as a whole, Superman would probably win. But the question that was asked leave the interpretation up to the person answering the question. Anyone who is willing to answer that question is simply going to answer based on who that character is to them personally. And while I am a Batman fan for over 30 years, I can honestly say that it is not because I could be Batman, but the fact that Batman made a choice to do good and follow his moral compass. While is may be easy to point the finger at him being simply a character of fiction, we don't often make that choice.
    I think my Attention span left me
    My answer is Batman.
    And stuff.

  9. From KILL BILL Vol 2:

    Bill: 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.
    The Bride: [who still has a needle in her leg] How long does this shit take to go into effect?
    Bill: About two minutes, just long enough for me to finish my point. 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. Sorta like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plimpton.

    Just adding to the conversation. :-)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. When you're 8 - it's Superman.
    When you're 18 - it's Batman.
    When you're 28 and older - it's the Dark Knight.


    1. And when you're over 50 it's Fiberman.

  12. Personally, I'd always had a soft spot for the Blue Boy Scout because of Christopher Reeve's portrayal. Superman Earth One isn't making my heart any easier.


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