Where I determine my favorite super hero
The other day, my son asked me a pretty simple question, and, well, I couldn’t answer. I really couldn’t even come close to answering him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to . . . but I’m finding that this question was just as difficult for me to answer as “what’s your favorite song1“. I don’t think my son realizes just how good he has it to be growing up in an era of superhero movies.
So I’m left trying to answer him.
So I’ve been debating the merits of the Super Heroes that I know, in an attempt to answer.
I should note that I’m not looking up any facts as I write this, so I don’t know when I’m referencing a movie, or a comic book, or a TV show, or my own faulty memory in detailing what I enjoy, don’t-enjoy about a certain character. Everything below should be read with a big giant “not checked for factual consistency” sic.
Part of me wants to answer Iron Man: a super-rich, super-smart, hard-drinking misogynist who seemingly has the ability to alter time so that he can build his Iron Man suits and protect the world from evil and bang hot chicks. Seriously, he kind-of defines what bachelor-John wishes he were (minus the “spent time being tortured in the desert” and having to have an electromagnet operating to keep shrapnel from stopping his heart stuff).
But, the truth is that, until the first of the movies? I knew Iron Man only as a Black Sabbath song – and Black Sabbath was one of those heavy metal bands that I wasn’t supposed to listen to, as a kid, because some kids were freebasing crack and trying to listen to the record in reverse and decided that Ozzy was saying bad things to them.
So I discounted Iron Man.
Superman is a bit too perfect. Seriously, he feels like Cartman in the ninja-episode of South Park, where, when someone needs a new super power, well, Superman gets that power. Heat Vision? Cold Breath? X-Ray Vision? Super Strong? Ability to fly? Ability to revise history? Super farts? No, there’s too much in Superman.
I know the quote belongs to the next superhero I’m going to evaluate, but “with great power comes great responsibility,” and, well, there’s too much responsibility with Superman.
Spiders, honestly, freak me out a little bit. And, while I know “family is what we make of it,” well, I am a family guy. Someone who has lost so many of his family members and seems to always see those family members that he hasn’t lost placed in danger . . . that’s just too much for me.
Batman, honestly, is how I wanted to answer, originally. I remember watching the old Adam West Batman episodes each & every day, when I got home from school, on Nickelodeon. At least, I think it was on Nickelodeon. Anyway, I truly enjoyed that show, and I really like Batman: unbelievably smart, unbelievably rich, unbelievably powerful, takes care of his body, has a great set of friends to call upon to help him.
But my son? He loves Batman above most any other character . . . I, happily, play the Robin to his caped crusader. I don’t want to make him feel that he’s sharing the character.
The Other Justice League Members
Wonder Woman may be the most under-appreciated superhero out there. But, I know incredibly little of her backstory.
I remember being painfully upset when I watched an episode of Super Friends & Aquaman wasn’t featured. Seriously, I got irrationally mad when this happened (not like the disappointment I felt when watching an Adam West Batman & Batgirl wasn’t featured . . . I liked Batgirl’s motorcycle, a lot, but that was just disappointment when she wasn’t there. Aquaman, I got angry that he played a minor role).
That said, I don’t know all that much about him – Aquaman was just a dude that I hoped I’d see on a television show I watched. I don’t know that I ever really envied him.
I remember having a Captain America thermos, or something, and cherishing any site that I saw of him — but I was never a “comic book kid,” so, as I grew up in the 80’s, there was very little Captain America that crossed by me.
I loved Voltron as a kid . . . but, sadly, I don’t know that I can name much in the way of details or character names, aside from the big robot that saved the day only when the five cat-robot-things worked together.
Wise, strong, always trying to ensure that good is being done, always looking out for his own. Seriously, Optimus Prime should, probably, be whom I base my parenting on. That said, I had an Optimus Prime toy as a kid, and it broke nearly as soon as I put it together. And then I got a new one, and it broke in the same way. So fuck Optimus Prime.
The leader of the Thundercats gets serious consideration. The Sword of Omens is a great weapon. But, while he had a, truly, kick-ass ensemble of sidekicks, from what I remember, Lion-O either found himself needing to be saved by someone else, or needing to save his friends/family because of something stupid someone did. Maybe my memory is especially faulty, but it seems that the Thundercats’ biggest enemy was their own stupidity, just amplified by Mumm-Rah.
I really, really disliked how whiny Prince Adam was, when he wasn’t his bulky alter-ego.
Here we go with, again, someone that I would chose as a bachelor. As a kid, I marveled at his claws, but, when I watched the X-Men, it was all about:
Here we have Superman’s laser/heat vision without the “you must constantly be saving the world, all the time” thing. But, when push comes to shove? He’s kind of a dick.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If these hit their prime sooner, I’d have been all over them . . . as it stands, though? They were a “kid toy” when I was trying to delude myself into thinking that toys were for “little kids2.”
So, we’re left with one, single character, that I can recall from childhood that I’d say “yep, that’s my favorite.”
The Incredible Hulk
I remember watching the Lou Ferrigno series as a kid, and, even now, can distinctly remember being awed that there was a character who was always trying to “do right,” even though people from all sides were trying to mess with him. The Hulk maintained the ability to look through what had happened and see the path that he should take. At least, from my little boy memory, he seemed to be the most moralistic superhero (at least he was among the non-self-righteous superheros).
Though I’m trying to remember if there were entire episodes where Bruce Banner never changed into the Hulk, or if I would just get bored whenever the green fella wasn’t on the screen.
Now? He’s built like no one else — I’ll often tell myself, when talking myself out of lying back down after walking Benji “no way you’re going to be like the green guy if you don’t do your pull-ups right now”. On top of that? He’s, like a meditation master. And keeping my mind grounded? It’s something that I need to focus on, more.
On top of all of that? One of the toys that survived my childhood? A Hulk action figure that CJ absolutely cherished being able to play with. When he first received it, it was the first time I actually felt that he sensed that his dad was, once, a kid, just like him.
So, CJ? Who is my favorite super hero? We’re going to go with the Hulk.