Here at State-Lines there has been debate amongst my fellow contributors as to who the best superhero is. My friend Jason Sowell feels that the best superhero ever is Batman. While my friend Daniel Cura thinks the best superhero ever is Wolverine.
They both have written incredibly good articles and make very convincing arguments (for the record I’m with my boy Jason on this one), but I’m writing this article today because of a conversation and subsequent question that was spawned from this debate.
What qualifies someone as a superhero?
Now, I have lived most of my life not thinking very deeply about this issue. I just freaking love superheros, comic books, and all the movies and tv shows that have come from these characters (shoot, I even enjoyed Ang Lee’s Hulk movie….. but only a little bit).
However when showing support for Jason’s article on Facebook, I was met with criticism for the very notion that Batman could be considered a “superhero.” Nobody disagreed that Batman is awesome (Even Daniel Cura gave props in his article), just that anything about him qualified as “super.”
One side of this question would say that a superhero is traditionally defined purely as someone who through some form or another has contracted extraordinary powers, and thus has capabilities that no normal human being has.
To them, guys like Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are just superhero wannabe’s.
Then there are those who would absolutely include Tony Stark & Bruce Wayne as superheros because of how they developed skills and used resources that no one else had to conquer evil in their respective story-lines. They technically remained very human, but they became symbols and legends.
So how do we make sense of this mess?
Batman and Ironman absolutely qualify as superheros, just as Superman, Spiderman, Dr. Manhattan, The Hulk, Thor, Green Lantern, etc… qualify as superheros.
What guys like Batman and Ironman are not is superhuman.
The way I see it, all of our beloved comic book heros absolutely fit under the category of a superhero. A superhero is simply a hero with extraordinary capabilities. Guys like The Hulk fall in that sub-category of superhumans, because superhumans are above and beyond what is human and they possess greater powers than any human could have.
This dude is superduper human:
We need not get tripped up on whose origin story included toxic waste exposure, crazy science experiments, a radioactive spider, or billions of dollars and awesome kung-fu abilities.
The point is that these guys (and gals) are amazingly incredible. We love them so much because they represent the best in this world. They defeat evil, fight for good, and entertain us all while doing it. We relate to their inner turmoil, riding the emotional roller coaster with ever great victory and tragic loss.
We normal humans live vicariously through these heroes. Let’s celebrate them.
Besides, one thing we can all agree on is the terribleness of Aquaman.