Sunday, 18 April 2010

My Favourite Superhero: Bruce Wayne

a.k.a Batman. Obviously.

While I might not be wildly obsessed with them, and I couldn't quote you every single line and character detail, I've always loved superheroes. Lots of people do. I like watching Spiderman go spinning around skyscrapers (oooh, alliteration) and I like it when a bullet crumples upon meeting Superman's eye. It makes me feel cool by osmosis. I think 'yes, I shall now crawl up this tall, sheer building. I too shall perch in a dramatic, gothic and totally cool way upon the edge of a cathedral'. Fortunately, I also know not to do these things, but that doesn't kill the voyeuristic thrill that shoots through me when I watch these heroes at work. I love the X-Men. And lest anyone think that I only go for the male heroes, let me say that Storm was always the X-Person I liked best. She was so tough, and clever, and mysterious, and she could fly. Who doesn't want to do that?

But my favourite superhero, always, was Batman. Being a young'un, my recollections of the comics and the TV series with the sound effects in clouds are quite dim, so when I think of Batman, I really think of Val Kilmer's portrayal, George Clooney's, and Christian Bale's. Still, Batman. My favourite. 

Why? Well, really, because he wasn't quite so 'super'. 

Batman is one of the few superheroes who doesn't actually have any special powers. He's human, like me. Like you (unless, of course, you aren't, in which case, tell me more). To me, Batman was always, essentially, Bruce Wayne. He was a man who had cool gadgets, a cool car, an outstandingly cool butler (ah, Alfred) and a slightly uncool sidekick, and this somehow made him more exciting to me. He was human. He could be real.

In a way, Batman was, to me, the descendant of Robin Hood, another favourite of mine. A mysterious man, publicly denounced, generally feared, did things the unconventional way, flawed, good.

I think the 'flawed' part matters most. For me, that's the character that works. The hero who fails. Who falls. Who makes mistakes and does stupid things and sometimes you want to hit him on the head. Because that's so much more easily identifiable to me (who makes mistakes and does stupid things) than a golden hero who never puts a foot wrong, and even when he does make mistakes, everything turns out okay because, well, he's the hero. One of the most moving cinematic scenes I ever watched was the end of The Dark Knight, when-


-Bruce nobly shoulders Harvey's crimes and flees the dogs and the police, because everyone thinks he's a murderer. A lot of that came down to the mistakes Bruce/Batman made, in both incarnations. Yet he takes what he has to, because he's good. He pays the price.

These are the characters I love to read about, or watch. These are the ones I try to write. The ones who make mistakes, and give up, but who rise in the end and face what they have to. I don't know if I do this justice in my writing, but I do believe these are the characters that linger in your head after the book's been read and the film is over. They're the ones I think people love the most. 

That's my set of musings on character for today. Any thoughts? Who are your favourite superheroes/heroines and characters?


  1. My favorite is definitely Batman, for the reasons you mentioned. He is a ninja, which is cool. My least favorite is Superman, because he's so annoyingly perfect.

  2. Yes! I forgot about the ninja part. Definitely earns cool points.