I’m not a comic book nerd but I could easily play one. You see, I have a little boy. And I made the mistake of introducing that little boy to one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.”
(Did you notice I even spelled Spider-Man correctly? It’s not Spiderman or Spider-man. It’s Spider-Man. Stan Lee would be proud.)
It seems that sometime after that, he became obsessed with superheroes. Not obsessed in the really-nerdy-and-he’s-lacking-social-skills kind of way. More like superheroes-are-super-cool kind of way. And I inadvertently became schooled on most of them.
My little 4 year old genius isn’t content to know that Spidey has spiderlike abilities. He needs to know that Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. He then needs to know what radioactive means. He wants to know what has happened to Peter’s parents and why he lives with Aunt May.
I’m fine with that. I also watched the live action Spider-Man series back in the 70s and I even remember Spidey making an appearance on The Electric Company. I mean, we all kind of know where he got his powers from, right? And if you weren’t a Spider-Man nerd, you probably at least got the gist of the story from those awful Tobey Maguire movies.
But this kid also wants to know how Iceman became Iceman and how Firestar became Firestar. He wants to know what’s up with the Silver Surfer. He wants to hear about the super evil Galactus who once ruled the Silver Surfer.
And I answer all of these questions through the magic of Wikipedia. Thank GOD for Wikipedia. You can find pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about every single superhero that ever existed on Wikipedia. Read about their powers and abilities. Read about their family history and their personal biography.
Keep reading and you’ll start questioning if these guys are real. Yes, their biographies are that detailed.
So I’d like to think I’m pretty up to speed on most of the superhero dudes. I know a few supervillains too.
Being the mother of one little boy who loves superheroes, I tend to indulge his whims and we have a lot of action figures in the house. Our main collection came compliments of McDonald’s (and yes, we had to learn the back story for every single figure). But we also have other sets, including the Imaginext DC Super Friends Batcave and The Joker’s Fun House.
We also have 3 different Batmans (blue, black, and arctic), 1 Robin, 2 Jokers, 1 Penguin, 1 Riddler, 1 Green Lantern, 1 Mr. Freeze, 1 Two-Face, the Batmobile, the Batcycle, and more. I’m cool with all of that. I grew up watching the old Adam West series and I even enjoyed some of the Batman movies.
But something occurred to me the other day. We were sitting around the table eating a late breakfast and it just burst out of my mouth.
Batman is not a superhero.
You heard me right. Think about it. He’s not from another planet that gives him special powers here on Earth like Superman. He didn’t gain his powers from a freak accident like Spider-Man and the Hulk. He wasn’t bombarded with cosmic rays like the Fantastic Four. He wasn’t born a mutant like Wolverine and the other X-Men.
No. Batman is simply a rich guy who decided to fight crime in a fancy costume. Sure, he has fancy gadgets and a really cool hideout. But really, is he a superhero?
I feel like I’ve been duped all these years.