Tuesday, May 01, 2007
The Rant: Spider-Man vs. Superman
"He (Marvel Comics publisher Martin Goodman) gave me 1,000 reasons why Spider-Man would never work. Nobody likes spiders; it sounds too much like Superman; and how could a teenager be a superhero? Then I told him I wanted the character to be a very human guy, someone who makes mistakes, who worries, who gets acne, has trouble with his girlfriend, things like that. (Goodman replied,) 'He's a hero! He's not an average man!' I said, "No, we make him an average man who happens to have super powers, that's what will make him good'. He told me I was crazy".
-Stan Lee, 1986
I know what you're thinking. Isn't this a video game blog? Not today. Not with a Spidey movie and game coming out this Friday, it brings up too many powerful memories. Spider-Man has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, my friends and I would share Spidey comics and buy them on the cheap from wherever we could. Yard sales, swap meets and flea markets were the best places to find deals. Eventually I managed to get my hands on a compilation book that contained the first few issues that showed how Spidey got his powers, how he dealt with Uncle Ben's death and being an ostracized nerd at his high school in New York. It was addicting stuff then, as it is now, and just for the reasons that Stan Lee listed above. Spider-Man's everyman persona is different from almost every superhero in existence. Spidey is the epitome of the word underdog. A lovable loser who can't catch a break but manages to fight through incredible odds with an amazing combination of determination and heart. Isn't this the kind of person we can all relate to?
This of course leads to the question - who is the best superhero ever? While Batman is certainly in the conversation the debate naturally comes down to Superman and Spider-Man. Sure there are plenty of other great heroes out there who you deserve some love. Almost everyone can relate to the Hulk's blinding rage and I've always found The Flash, Green Lantern, Wolverine and Iron Man fascinating. And while I never read a Wonder Woman comic, I sure did enjoy the TV show with Lynda Carter. Meow! But no one in the history of superheroes compares to the Man of Steel and the Wall Crawler. Which one is better? You already know my stance but allow me to prove it in.
1. Superpowers - Superman is an omnipotent being with boundless powers. He can fly, has heat vision, freeze breath, can move with incredible speed, and is immune to just about everything except pretty green rocks. Spidey on the other hand can only climb walls, has great agility and strength and (in the comics anyway) can make web fluid by mixing chemicals together.
Edge: Spider-Man because eventually one of those radioactive spiders that I have biting me every week is going to work. The chances of me landing on another planet and gaining infinite powers? Zero.
2. Love interest - The Man of Steel has Lois Lane, a fiery newspaper columnist and Lana Lang, a high school cheerleader. Peter Parker has been busy with Gwen Stacy, Betty Brant, Felicia Hardy, and Mary Jane Watson.
Edge: Spider-Man. Even though Kirsten Dunst is an even bigger wet blanket than Margot Kidder, Spidey is a George Clooney sized player compared to the Man of Steel.
3. Backstory - Superman: Alien kid sent here by his parents because his planet was about to blow up. Spider-Man: High school kid bitten by a radioactive spider, driven to be a vigilante after letting the man that eventually would kill his uncle get away during a robbery.
Edge: Spider-Man. The current political regime is against illegal aliens making a living in our country, making Superman a lawbreaker.
4. Biggest nemesis - Superman: Lex Luthor a bald, earthling with no superpowers and daddy issues who happens to be really, really smart. Spider-Man: The Green Goblin, a chemically altered freak with lots of toys. Think Barry Bonds on a hover board.
Edge: Spider-Man. The only bald people who should ever scare you are Sinead O'Connor and the lead singer of Midnight Oil.
5. Biggest weakness - Superman: the aforementioned pretty green rocks. Spidey: Underwear that rides due to overly snug costume.
Edge: Spider-Man. A wedgie is a lot easier to overcome than severe allergies.
6. Movie offerings - Superman: Five movies. Two good ones (Superman I, II), one so-so one (last years Superman Returns) and two that should never see the light of day again (Superman III, IV). Spidey: Two wildly popular movies starring Tobey Maguire that made a combined cagillion dollars.
Edge: Spider-Man. Any movie that can ruin a once great comedians career (Richard Pryor is Superman III) lowers the overall value of the franchise.
So there you have it, when it comes right down to it the Man of Steel is no match for the Web Slinger. Sure Spidey might get his butt kicked in a straight up fight, but when it comes to who is the more likable hero, Spidey comes out on top.