The site has been a bit heavy of late and likely will be again. I thought it would be good to take a breather and look at something a little lighter. Now what could be lighter than talking about superheroes?
My favourite superhero is Batman and I don’t even need to think twice when asked. I have a Batman tattoo, see below, and so many t-shirts that I have started to double up. The idea of a superhero does sound trivial but to many Superheros are an examples to live up to.
To me superheroes are about a world of right and wrong, where good wins out in the end. No matter how bad it looks, good will win out. There is a comfort in that, particularly if you don’t feel that in your real life. To have a space of certainty in the good nature of people is refreshing.
To me there is only one that encapsulates the human struggle and the way to manage through it. Only one that recognises the complexity and does not shy away from the dark. The man, the myth, the bat…
Here are the 3 Reasons why Batman is the greatest superhero:
1. He’s Human.
While you could choose an alien who was sent to earth, Superman, or a person bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider-Man. It is rare to have a superhero that is human with the absence of super powers. His superpower is not a quirk of nature, or an extra-terrestrial gift. Batman’s superpower is harnessing the best aspects of humanity (and money but lets not muddy the water).
The fact that he is absent of super human power, gives a view as to what we can achieve. Again this isn’t always literal but he doesn’t win because he can fly of his own accord. He needs to work at a problem, using brains and brawn to overcome challenges that are often out of this world.
Batman puts his mind to the problem and solves it with smarts. Now you can understand why someone who trades solely on smarts would like this. True he uses technology that only money, extreme amounts, can buy. Though you can’t ignore the fact that he needs to be incredibly intelligent to solve the problems that come his way.
Batman is also fallible, he can be broken and mentally beaten. This may seem like an odd benefit but it shows us that being knocked down is not the end. The lesson is around how you recover, take onboard your scars and come out of it. I can’t tell you how many times this has held me in good stead. If Batman can take a broken back and fight on, my shitty day at work can’t stop me.
Being human and fallible is a powerful message. We see images all day about the “perfect” person but that person doesn’t exist. The world knocks everyone down, and will continue to do so. How we respond is what is important.
How would Batman respond?
2. He Has a Realistic View of the World.
Superman is the idealistic superhero and this is why Batman and Superman work together so well. Please let’s not argue about the movie, it was 30 mins too long and way to sappy but had promise.
Batman is the anti Superman in terms of his view of the world. He lives in a dark city, he sees the crimes and the depravity. Batman is covered in black as reflection of the world he lives in. The stories that Batman exists in don’t shy away from looking at the grit.
It is Batman’s response that is most important, to persevere. I feel he is the character whose world most represents reality. It is the fact that he is willing to do something even when it seems impossible. To try even when the darkens of humanity is on display. He is willing to be the bad guy if that brings out the best in his community.
This could not be more important than the world we live in now. It would be easy to give up, with so much hurt and hatred in the world but it’s not what Batman would do. It’s also important in my personal life, when things seem the darkness there is always a light to go toward.
This quote from the Dark Knight, follow a question from Commissioner Gordon’s son about why Batman runs. Why he takes the blame even though he did nothing wrong.
Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.
Batman does what is right, taking into account the problems with humanity. He doesn’t want to be a hero, he wants things to be better.
I wonder what Batman would do when facing someone like Trump, and no matter what Trump says he’s not richer than Bruce Wayne. My guess is he would act, do something to change what he viewed as wrong. That’s a message we could all stand to hear.
3. He has a strong ethical sense.
Batman’s ethics are stronger than the urges he may feel. When faced with ending the life of a villain, he chooses not to. He is an example for what good can do. He will work harder to be ethical rather than take the easy route.
Doing what is right is difficult to teach because right is complicated. One way that I developed what I thought was right was to watch Batman. Through his stories serious questions are asked and he provides an example.
The idea that doing what is right is what makes you a hero could be no more important. Doing what is right even when it is difficult is hard to demonstrate. Batman is able to show this to children, he did to me, and it is a powerful lesson that I learned.
While I think ethics should be taught in school, the teaching of it is difficult. Ethics as a subject is boring on its own and I can’t imagine that kids would be excited to learn it. Batman is a way to teach ethics, that kids may actually pay attention to. I know I did.
There are many superheroes that have one or more of Batman’s traits but non like Batman. It is funny how something like a comic can make a difference in the life of a kid. It’s one of the reasons why I write.
Batman made a difference in my life growing up. When I was sad because I felt like the world was a bad place, I watched a Batman cartoon and it made me feel better. It made me feel like no matter how bad what happened in my life was, that good would win out. I could imagine growing up and being like Batman, being a good person who makes a difference. I try to live up to his ideals every day and so should you.
I’d love to know who your favourite superhero is and why.