The Great Debates: Superman vs. Batman

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It’s a debate that’s been around for decades upon decades, thanks to the comics, and with Superman putting a new movie into the mix this weekend, I felt it was the perfect time to hold a discussion here and see how FMR visitors felt.

Who do you choose? Superman or Batman?

Click through to read the tale of the tape!

Superman

SupermanFirst Appearance: Action Comics #1 (1938)

TV Series: Adventures of Superman (1951), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993) Smallville (2001)

Movies: Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Superman Returns (2006), Man of Steel (2013)

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Superman came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. He has since used those abilities not only to protect truth justice and the American way, but to serve as a symbol of hope and inspiration.


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Batman

BatmanFirst Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (1939)

TV Series: Batman (1966)

Movies: Batman: The Movie (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Batman has no super powers, merely abilities that arduous training can provide. Heir to billions when his parents were killed, he eschewed the playboy lifestyle and instead trained to become an instrument of justice. Ever since, he has struck fear into the heart of criminals!

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Well, there you have it folks! Two of the greatest superheroes of all time!

Who do you choose? Why?

Let us hear it!!

Daniel Fogarty

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149 thoughts on “The Great Debates: Superman vs. Batman

  1. Unquestionably Batman, he is far more interesting character that has baggage issues and has to do more with less than superhuman capability. Superman on the other is a boring milquetoast of a character that has insane over the top skills and abilities and could never seem to make me really care about him at all.

  2. I’m going to come back tomorrow after I have actually seen a superman movie :)
    If I had to choose right now though, I’d pick batman. Why? Because he’s batman!

      • Well, I just got back from Man of Steel and I have to go with Batman. Mainly because I like Nolan’s movies better. Those were the first superhero movies I saw though, so that’s a giant asset to Batman right there.
        I do have to say I like the alien origins of Superman though, I thought that was pretty cool. However, I think I like Batman’s present day superhero self better. Especially his Clint Eastwood voice. And I like the difference between Bruce Wayne and Batman better because it seems greater. That could very well be because I’ve only seen Man of Steel though and he didn’t put on his nerdy reporter disguise until the end. Lois is way cooler than Rachel in the Batman movies though. I hated her. Was not even sorry when she got killed off. Superman has a better girlfriend, I’ll give him that as well. Other than her though, I think I like the supporting characters in Batman better. Like Gordon and Alfred and so on.
        It really is a tough call though; I feel like it would have been way harder if I had been more exposed to Superman (which I will try to get). I am happy that it looks like I’ll finally be on the winning side this time though!

      • LOL. Yeah, Batman’s running away with this one a bit. He still also holds the hands down advantage in terms of movies, no doubt about it (I caught MoS today too) :(

        Thanks for voting, Hunter! :D

  3. Batman. Based on the last two movies alone. They were just great movies and Superman hasn’t had a “great” movie in 30 years. Maybe because batman has no superpowers allows the movies to be more expansive in subject matter. No flying, xraying things, lifting heavier and heavier objects, that sort of thing. The new Superman movie has a hard time ahead trying to beat the new Batman!

    • I’m with you in terms of the movies – for the most part. I’m not the hugest fan of The Dark Knight Rises, but even without that, the Batman canon is vastly superior to the Superman canon.

      In terms of super powers though, a Superman fan could easily flip that comment and say that HAVING those super powers makes things more exciting!

  4. Had to go with Batman because I was 8 when Tim Burton’s Batman came out and that movie changed everything for me.

    I love the original Superman and Donner’s cut of the sequel, but I struggle with Kal-El’s relevance today. I’ve got my tickets for Man of Steel already but I’m tempering my expectations.

    I think Superman has some similar issues to Hulk. It’s just SO hard to make them believable and live up to the expectations left from prior franchises.

    Batman, however, plays very well in a (somewhat) real world.

    • It’s an issue that’s on the filmmakers more than the character. I think Superman could easily have a place in today’s world, if the filmmakers would just step up and deliver a good film!

      Hopefully “Man of Steel” is that movie, but the Rotten Tomatoes score scares me. :(

  5. Easy one for me, Batman for sure! I’ve never really been exposed to much Superman, except for when I was too young to remember or that TV show Lois&Clark. I didn’t really see the appeal. Batman rules!

  6. I think you know where I stand in this one Fogs… I don’t care if I’m in the minority :D To those who says Supes is boring, woe to you!! :D

    • I cant see you being in a minority overall Ruth. lot of love for Superman, he represents everything that is good. I still love Bats more but because it appeals to my darker side but it’s very close indeed for me. I love Superman in a different way; more like a god, a high protector sort of thing?

      • Well that’s just it. People claim they love Supes but compared to Batman, he’ll likely be on losing ground. Now, I see this question as more about the character itself, not the cinematic adaptations, and on that front, I vote for Superman. I think my post on ‘Superman & Me’ pretty much covers why I feel that way ;)

      • :D I try to leave these poll questions open ended so that people can bring their own criteria ;)

        I hate when people point to Superman’s invincibility as a detraction. Frist off, he’s only as invincible as the movies choose to make him. Kryptonians aren’t immortal… secondly, what Batman’s NOT invincible? A movie is going to have Batman lose? Or die? Cmon. So, they beat Batman up a little more in his movies, big deal. I hate those scenes where Batman has to recuperate anyways. :(

        As to the light/dark thing… both can have their appeal, I just can tell already that Man of Steel is going to be “Superman Dark” :roll:

  7. I said Superman for the simple reason….he doesn’t need fancy weapons, cars, or a partner to get the job done.

  8. I couldn’t vote because I like both of them. I think that they are two sides of the same coin.

  9. I want “Man of Steel” to be awesome, but considering it’s coming from the director of “Sucker Punch”, I have my doubts.

    In any case, I’ve always preferred Batman.

    • Yup, I have a number of reasons to be skeptical, and that’s one of them. Snyder’s latest WAS pretty laughable, unfortunately. :(

      Thank you for voting… your little logo there almost seems like it could be related to Batman. I’m Brikman LOL

  10. My vote is for Batman. He is relatable and human, whereas Superman is a god among men.

    And though I voted for Batman, I’m not one of those fans that think he can actually beat Superman–because they are out there.

      • Which is why I love the fight sequence in Batman: Brave And The Bold. Despite wearing the suit from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, Batman actually loses the fight and is seconds away from heading his head crushed. Bruce was gambling hard that the effects of the red kryptonite would wear off before Superman killed him.

      • I’m not up-to-date w/ current comics, but to the best of my knowledge they’ve only fought in the “Dark Night Rises”, and Batman created the contingency plan to take out Superman in the “Tower of Babel” story line. Both of which are based on a use of a type of kryptonite.

        But in the “Kingdom Come” storyline Superman is no longer vulnerable to it. So what is Batman going to do now?

      • I don’t know. It would be nice if they took that crutch away from Batman though.

        I know they fight more often than you’ve cited, its usually under the guise of some kind of mind control or whatnot though. I know in the “Hush” arc they fought, with Superman under the control of Poison Ivy, for example.

        Again, Kryptonite :roll:

  11. Superman. Always Superman.

    Well, except for the dorkly phase when you’re an awkward teenager, but c’mon! Superman! He’s so awesome!

    My wife and I talked about this once. (She’s a Superman fan herself, and doesn’t really like the Bat. The Bat’s OK, but overplayed I think.) Why do we prefer Superman over Batman? It comes to this. Bruce Wayne’s parents get gunned down, and that becomes his number one motivation to fighting crime all over the city. His huge thing is his mopiness.

    Superman, though… his whole friggin’ planet below up. He entire heritage. He’ll never really get to know his real father, even with that weirdo hologram factored in. He grew up as an adopted kid knowing that he’s different from everyone. And that doesn’t get him down. No, he goes around saving kittens from trees and suicide leapers from balconies and planes from falling around from the sky because — gosh darn it — he’s motherflippin’ Superman. He does all this because he genuinely loves everyone.

    Even Lex Luthor. While you get the sense that if it wasn’t for Batman’s samurai code, he would’ve totally murder Joker. Superman, though? I think he genuinely pities Lex and believes that he can truly change for the good. (Which was his downfall in one of the Silver Age comics. He trusted Lex so much that it was the opening Lex needed to kill him.)

    In his book, “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography,” Glen Whedon posits that no matter the incarnation there’s two things that have always been true about Superman:

    1.) He puts the needs of others over those of himself, and
    2.) He never gives up.

    And goddammit that makes it impossible not to love the Big Blue Boy Scout. It doesn’t really make him a God, really… just absolutely human. In that Silver Age issue, before Superman dies he writes his final message out on the moon: “Do Good To Others, And Every Man Can Be A Superman.” Right on, Supes.

    So there you go. Batman, you’re an OK dude… but man, I’ll always have a spot in my heart for Superman.

    • I agree, I think Superman’s positivity is a big selling point. I’m all for the dark and dreary as part of the mosaic, but let’s get over it already and mix it up. I’m sick of the dark and dreary Batman tone already.

      I swear though Santo, I think they’re trying to spread it over to Superman in Man of Steel. Those trailers have that dark look to them :(

      I hope one day we get a Superman movie that can embody all the positivity you mention, buddy, I’m a fan of it too. :D

    • I think El Santo has said pretty much everything I would have said, barring one thing:

      Those who think that Superman is boring, unrelatable, or no longer relevant in today’s climate don’t understand Superman… and only think they understand Batman. Batman’s as much about hope and virtue as Superman. But between the two, I have to pick Superman as the better superhero character. He is, after all, the inspiration for all the others.

      • Good grief, THANK you for counterbalancing the “boring” avalanche. SO sick of hearing that!

        In fairness, Superman’s movies have been rather dull. However, all you have to do is expand one step further into comics or cartoons, or even television and he’s no longer boring at all!

        And you’re right, too, he should get some credit for starting it all! 8O

  12. This is really no contest, Batman all the way. Supes is just boring. The only version of him I could actually get behind was in Holy Musical Batman, and even then it’s partly because they emphasize just how unlikeable a character he’s been and really strive to get people to feel for him. But Batman’s always been pretty fascinating, so this is an easy choice for him.

    • Well, that’s sad, really. I’ve never found Superman to be boring, although I have to acknowledge he’s had some pretty bad movies. :( He’s a great character in the comics, I just wish they could find the right way to bring him to the big screen!

  13. Curse you and your open-ended criteria!!! Just kiddin Fogs. Lots of angles to take explore this one. In a fight: Superman. By the movies: Batman. Best ability: Superman (flight). Best alter-ego: Batman. Both have daddy-issues. Both have “rules” in administering justice. One has a humble upbringing, the other a lavish one. One uses his natural abilities while the other must innovate, design and build.

    Boy oh boy… my scale tips to Superman. He is the icon of superheroes, he relates to the good heart in us he can do what we can only dream of. In a sense anyone can be Batman, which makes him appealing in that way, but Superman not only sets himself apart in his action, he also just IS set apart.

    Great one Fogs, very fitting for this week. Me and the writers at LTBM are always arguing stuff like this :) We’re basically split down the middle.

    • Muah hah ha ha!! LOL ;) I don’t like to make these easy on people, Gene, what would be the fun in that?

      I think this debate IS a really great one, I know it’s been going on forever, so… just seemed like a good time to break it out, what with a Superman movie coming out tomorrow. ;)

      Superman IS iconic, but in fairness, so is Batman now. They don’t get much bigger than these two guys! :o

  14. Batman is just some dude whose only superpower is having the money to fight crime. And that makes him so much more relatable. (granted, I can’t relate to being a billionaire playboy but I can definitely relate to being human)

    I can’t relate at all to being able to fly and having superhuman strength and being almost invincible and being an alien.

    Oh, and as if all of that wasn’t enough… Superman is from Kansas, which is pretty much the worst place on earth.

    • I love how people always cite Batman’s relatability. LOL At least you acknowledge that it’s not like everyone is a millionaire playboy who devoted his life to fighting crime :roll:

      That’s the kind of comment where at least I hope you’re FROM Kansas when you say it. LOL

  15. Batman.

    Because he has a backstory that is more interestig.

    Because he has actual character flaws that define him as a hero.

    Because his villains aren’t aliens or otherworldly gods.

    Because his course to becoming Batman has been and will continue to be filled with tragedy (Jason Todd/Barbera Gordon/Damian Wayne)

    But really, the most important reason why Batman is better than Superman?

    Batman kicked the sh*t out of Superman.

    Boom. Suck on that ya big Blue Boy Scout.

    • Hm. I don’t know that is backstory is more interesting, but I will easily hand you that he has better villains. Batman’s villains CRUSH Supermans. They’re sooooo much better.

      I’m pretty sure Batman always cheats in his fights when he wins though. I wish the comics creators would smarten Superman up. :roll: he should be wasting Batman when they fight.

      • I don’t know. I personally think the tragic death of Bruce’s parents which led to the years upon years of continuous training in both physical AND mental arenas is way better then “I’m an alien. on my home planet I’m a normal dude. But with your yellow sun I become super.”

        There’s no drive there to make himself a better person. All he has is his superpowers and some podcast recordings of his old man sayin “make the humans not be stupid”.

        The wife has a good reason for not liking Superman though. His x-ray vision. “The guy is basically a flying peeping tom. What a creeper.” Hah!

      • It’s true about the Rogue’s Gallery. Superman’s is pretty pathetic. Though my personal favorite? Probably the Flash’s. I love how those guys all seem to have a bit of a grudging respect for their nemesis. Deep down, they don’t want the Flash to die because they know that the city needs The Flash. :)

        However, if Batman is a police officer, I always thought of Superman being more a firefighter. And a firefighter doesn’t really have an enemy — except fires. And in this case it would be Lex Luthor. (Also Darkseid. He totally counts since he debuted in the pages of Jimmy Olsen, a Superman comic.)

        But the main attraction of Superman isn’t punching out villains (he really didn’t do much of that in the 60′s), but rather his feats of strength (lifting ships, planes, stopping earthquakes, etc.) So when you think of it in that respect, Superman doesn’t need a rogue’s gallery. Just feats!

      • LOVE the Flash’s Rogues. Those are some cool villains right there. :D Grodd alone is worth the price of admission. Of course, I still think Batman’s are better.

        You have a valid point about Batman’s self improvement drive as a positive attribute, but just because Superman was given his strength doesn’t mean he needs to be a force for good… he could basically take over the planet if he wanted! The fact that he uses his powers for good (and not as some peeping tom for example) is much to his credit. ;)

  16. Batman. I’ve always been drawn to the anti-heroes. Superman has a much too, larger than life, holier than though, best of the best, god amoung men persona. Batman is deeply flawed. Christopher Reeve was the only actor to make Superman seem like a person. Reeve made Clark Kent seem like the person and Superman the disguise. On the whole, it’s Batman’s flaws that make him more real.

    • Batman’s a straight up hero. Just saying. An anti-hero is a protagonist who doesn’t do heroic things, they may actually even be evil, but they’re the center of the story anyhow. Think Mel Gibson in Payback. Batman is a dark hero, but not an anti-hero. There’s no doubt the things he does are heroic.

      Reeve was great as Superman, almost too great. Still waiting for someone to come along and pick up that mantle :(

      • Have to disagree. Mel Gibson in payback wasn’t an anti-hero. I was expecting that but was totally disappointed in that angle for Payback and felt like the movie totally let me down. Dark hero seems to be a newer term in an attempt to classify anti-heroes into categories. Batman has often been used as a classic example of the anti-hero because of his deeply flawed nature, his unlikable public face to keep people from getting to close, and his motivations for fighting crime come from personal vendetta and how you sometimes get the feeling that he is just THAT close to taking out the villains himself and but he manages to reign himself in and turn them over to the police. With the exception of the 1960′s version in the t.v. show which was probably the most light-hearted version of Batman ever done.

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