January 24, 2013 at 2:15 am (Icepick)

Washing dishes tonight I started wondering about Batman/Bruce Wayne. Specifically, is Batman the only superhero whose real-life identity is better than his secret identity?

For example, you’ve got Peter Parker/Spiderman. Being Spiderman is just SO much better than being Peter Parker. It’s a wonder Peter doesn’t abandon his old identity to just be Spiderman.

Or think about Clark Kent/Superman. If you could choose to be mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent or Superman, which would you choose? I’m choosing Supes every single time! Note that we actually have three identities tugging at this guy: Clark Kent, midwestern farm boy; Superman, fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way (and the chicks dig him); or Kal-El, last son of Krypton. But I’d rather be Superman than Kal-El. For one thing, Superman is Superman, and he can do all kinds of cool stuff. (Do I really need to mention that he can fly?) Kal-El is the last (sorta, kinda) member not just of his species, but of his entire bio-sphere – heavy, man! And if Krypton hadn’t met an unfortunate doom, then he’d just be another mopey Kryptonian teenager worried about pimples and who to ask to prom.

Plus, as Kal-El he would have another problem, namely that his dad is Marlon Brando. MARLON BRANDO IS HIS DAD! How could you ever live up to that? How could you ever live it down? Just imagine if that knowledge became public – he’d never hear the end of it! Every where he went people would be asking for his Dad’s autograph. Every time Supes tussled with Mister Mxyzptlk he’d have to watch the imp do the “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody!” shtick. Brainiac would do the “Stella!” yell till we were all sick of it. Bruno Mannheim and Lex Luthor would start gang wars over who got to do the Vito Corleone stuff from “The Godfather”. I’m tellin’ ya, being Kal-El would be no picnic!

Would you rather be the tormented Bruce Banner, or The Incredible Hulk? Hulk smash! Noooo contest.

But think about Batman/Bruce Wayne. One is a superhero who has no superpowers, and has to rely on smarts, training, gadgets and luck to not get killed every time he leaves his cave. The other is a billionaire playboy, the most eligible bachelor in town. Now one can say that Wayne is a tortured soul, but he will be that in either incarnation. One can claim that as the Batman, Wayne can do good. But being a billionaire allows one to have all kinds of control over events. Frankly, if I’m Bruce Wayne, I never even think about going to the cave. What about the car? I’m a BILLIONAIRE, baby, with a capital “B” –  I’ll just spend a few million and buy myself a cool hot rod!

Can anyone else think of any superhero types where the real identity trumps the secret identity? (Characters whose backgrounds are known to the public don’t count.)


  1. mockturtle said,

    Maybe it’s time to start using a dishwasher. ;-)

  2. Icepick said,

    Yeah, just as soon as I win the lottery and can afford to redo the kitchen….

  3. mockturtle said,

    Please pardon my feeble stab at sarcastic humor. :-) The only time I use the dishwasher is when I have company. They are overrated, IMHO.

  4. Icepick said,

    Dishwashers are the second best invention after indoor toilets. Especially if you’ve got lots of molded plastic stuff that’s impossible to dry effectively by hand. And with a two year-old around I’ve got lots of that stuff.

  5. karen said,

    I’m w/u, ice. I hate to say this, but i am lazy in the house. I’m HERE- on the ‘puter- neglecting my dishes- and man, can we go thru dishes. So, i load up the washer- normal cycle because i do rinse them off- and take them out in the a.m.- clean and good to go.

    I’m remembering a show where the guy says ~ShaZAM~- what was that show? And, WonderWoman, Sheer beauty- w/the suit or in plain Jane clothes.

    I watched a lot of shows when i was a kid- i miss the Waltons.

  6. Donna B. said,

    shazam… that was Gomer Pyle, wasn’t it?

  7. Icepick said,

    Donna, Gomer liked saying “SHAZAM!” which was the work used by the boy Billy Batson to transform into Captain Marvel. Karen probably means the TV show from the 1970s. And just in case you don’t know, Captain Marvel has been known to beat up Superman on occasion. Tough dude, and fortunately one of the good guys.

  8. Icepick said,

    Incidentally, Captain Marvel did NOT beat up Superman where it really matters, which is in the US legal system.

  9. mockturtle said,

    Does anyone here remember Captain Midnight?

  10. Donna B. said,

    I did not know which superhero said ‘shazam’ or what the word did for him, so thanks for explaining it. I am sadly ignorant in certain subjects. But I do get a kick out of thinking of Gomer as a superhero!

  11. Dave Schuler said,

    Oliver Queen is better than Green Arrow in exactly the same way as Bruce Wayne is better than Batman.

  12. Dave Schuler said,

    How about Tony Stark?

  13. Icepick said,

    I’ll have to take your word on Green Arrow. (I’m not big on comic books, but other than the top two or three characters I’m really not conversant with the DC universe.)

    As for Tony Stark I’m not sure on two counts. First, in at least a few versions his identity is public knowledge, so he doesn’t count for my purpose on that front. Secondly, I believe Stark may have problems with drugs or alcohol in some versions. I’d need to look into both of those points to be sure, but I don’t think I care enough to do so!

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