Batman is not a Superhero.

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.

  • Jdaniel4smom

    I hadn’t really thought about it, but you are so right.

    • Anonymous

      Just another man in tights…

  • http://twitter.com/AmeenaFalchetto Ameena Falchetto

    Oh wow … thanks for quashing that. Boo. 

    • Anonymous

      Batman is still cool. Just not really as cool as I thought.

  • http://www.fromtracie.com From Tracie

    I agree so much! And I’ve had long in depth conversations with my husband and daughter about this very thought. We are geeks. 

    • Anonymous

      From one geek to another, I’m glad we see eye to eye on this.

  • Anonymous

    With lots of money…you can be anything you want. Or at least that is what seems to work in Gotham…

    • Anonymous

      Really… if I had that kind of money, I’d hightail it out of Gotham City and buy an island. I guess that’s why I’m not a superhero.

  • http://twitter.com/ManOfLaBook Zohar

    My son also loves Batman and we have tons of Batman “stuff” (I recommend the ImagineX line). I have to disagree with you though, Batman is a superhero, he just doesn’t have superpowers which makes him all that more heroic.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

    • Anonymous

      You are the first but not the only to present me with that argument. He’s a hero. I’ll grant him that but I’m kinda thinking he needs superpowers.

      And yes, we have the Imaginext stuff too!

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    I can’t believe it has taken you so long to see that!

    Batman has no super powers so he’s not a ‘super’ hero. He is, maybe, a hero… or a vigilante, depending on how you look at it.

    The Green Hornet is also not a super hero… and there are others which escape me right now.

    • Anonymous

      Now I need to look up the Green Hornet. I don’t really know much about him.

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    Ah, yes, now I remember… IRON MAN!

    He’s just a guy in cool armor.

    This list shows many others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_superheroes_and_villains_without_superpowers

    Some of them I disagree with, and some of them it depends on which version of their history you read….

    • Anonymous

      I like that it lists one of Batman’s special skills, to make up for his lack of superpowers, as “billionaire.” Is that a skill? And yes, after I wrote this I thought about Ironman. But I like him because his special suit makes it seem like he has special powers.

      • Anonymous

        Green Hornet was a millionaire as well, all he had was a gun and an amazing man servant who did all his dirty work. I believe Green Archer has no super powers either,  Technically, HawkGirl and Superman are aliens not super humans. Oh and Captain America was willing created, not an accident or born that way. Why do I know these things???

  • http://unintentionallybrilliant.blogspot.com Roxanne Piskel

    My kid and I are superhero nerds. And I guess it’s true that Batman isn’t a superhero, but I think he is a hero. He’s still fighting crime and standing up for what’s right. So there might not be anything “super” about him, he’s still a hero in my eyes. :)

    • Anonymous

      I know that superhero loyalists are, well, loyal. So I won’t challenge your view of Batman but I’d take Spider-man anyday over him.

      • http://unintentionallybrilliant.blogspot.com Roxanne Piskel

        Spider-Man is one of my favorites. He was my first comic-book love. :)

  • http://www.newmusicmichael.com/ Michael Senchuk

    I’ve heard that argument before; not sure I buy it. The definition of superhero is that he (or she of course) possesses superhuman powers. If you look up the definition of superhuman, it’s simply “having or showing exceptional ability or powers”. Does Batman have exceptional ability or powers? I would argue he does, in that part of those come from his raison d’etre (his parents being killed by a supervillain, similar to Harry Potter); part of those come from his ability to analyze and think faster than most; and part come from, of course, his wealth that allows him to buy really cool gadgets.

    • Anonymous

      It looks like you *might* have put a little more thought into your comment than I did into my entire post. But I sure had fun dissing Batman and waiting to see who would be flabbergasted by it.

      You are definitely in the school of thought that there is a fine line between hero and superhero. I still say he needs more than tights to be superhero.

  • http://www.crazyadventuresinparenting.com/ LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting

    Whomever put Christian Bale in that outfit is my freakin’ superhero. Rawr, baby!

    • Anonymous

      Um, yeah. He probably was the best LOOKING Batman.

  • http://chloeofthemountain.com ChloeJeffreys

    But isn’t Batman embued with Super-Angst? He’s all troubled and dark and stuff. But I guess so is Peter Parker.

    • Anonymous

      The Peter Parker I know and love is full of sarcasm and smart remarks. Hence the reason I love him.

    • Anonymous

      The Peter Parker I know and love is full of sarcasm and smart remarks. Hence the reason I love him.

  • http://squarejawmedia.com/ Brian McDonald

    Holy underwear! Were you drinking at breakfast? Go look at your history books and tell me what two comics started the whole superhero genre.  Go ahead I’ll wait….

    Superman in 1938 and Batman in 1939. Yes that’s right these two started it and have defined it along the way.  All other superheros are based on these two.  There is a reason why they have so many enemies and arch-enemies, because they rock.

    Green Lantern, Spider-Man, whatever.  I love all the comic characters and Stan Lee did a great job in the 60’s creating characters like the Hulk, etc. But they are alternative characters.

    A superhero is not someone with super powers or from another planet.  A superhero is a type of stock character dedicated to protecting the public. 

    I’m not comic nerd either. My comics left my possession when I was like 14.  But I’ll tell you what, Batman is the most kick ass super hero ever for several reasons:

    1. The villans rock, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, list goes on and on.
    2. Robin, the Dynamic Duo, two is better than one.
    3. The Batmobile, nuff said.
    4. The movies, The Dark Knight is one of the best Sci Fi films ever made, Heath Ledger as the Joker is one of the best performances ever.
    5. The 60s TV show. I won’t list all the A list stars that were on the show you can go to IMDB and check it out: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059968/
    6. The fact that he’s a millionaire means nothing to Bruce Wayne, all he wants is his parents, classic Greek tragedy!

    I know that shocking titles get people’s attention but don’t diss Batman.

    • Anonymous

      Okay, I’ll admit. I’m not a huge Batman fan. Although I did grow up watching the show from the 60s and absolutely LOVED it. I know he has his roots in being a darker character than Adam West ever played.

      I’m not trying to diss Batman. He just doesn’t impress me. In my mind, you HAVE to have some sort of special abilities to be considered a superhero. I don’t expect the world to agree with me on that and it pains me to say that by those standards, Ironman is no superhero either. They are kickass crimefighters though.

    • Anonymous

      Okay, I’ll admit. I’m not a huge Batman fan. Although I did grow up watching the show from the 60s and absolutely LOVED it. I know he has his roots in being a darker character than Adam West ever played.

      I’m not trying to diss Batman. He just doesn’t impress me. In my mind, you HAVE to have some sort of special abilities to be considered a superhero. I don’t expect the world to agree with me on that and it pains me to say that by those standards, Ironman is no superhero either. They are kickass crimefighters though.

      • http://squarejawmedia.com/ Brian McDonald

        So by your logic we need to remove Wonder Woman, Daredevil, Thor and several others from the “Superhero” ranks.  No more Justice League they just lost half of their crew!

        I’m not sure how to interpret special abilities.  Utility belt, golden lasso and other tools are not special enough?

    • Anonymous

      Okay, I’ll admit. I’m not a huge Batman fan. Although I did grow up watching the show from the 60s and absolutely LOVED it. I know he has his roots in being a darker character than Adam West ever played.

      I’m not trying to diss Batman. He just doesn’t impress me. In my mind, you HAVE to have some sort of special abilities to be considered a superhero. I don’t expect the world to agree with me on that and it pains me to say that by those standards, Ironman is no superhero either. They are kickass crimefighters though.

  • http://lostandforgotten.wordpress.com/ Marta

    We have so much imaginext stuff, its out of control. We have the batman cave, the pirate ship, the dragon castle, some sort of serpent thing and a million little guys and their little things. A great assortment of chokables for my daughter =)

    (You’re totally right about it, NOT a superhero!!)

  • Sandi

    He can fly. That makes him a superhero in my book. He is my favorite.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve also said that and if you watch the Justice League series batman says he’s not a superhero. He seems to be a-ok with his lack of powers and considers himself the moral compass of the league. 

    Regardless I can’t get enough of Adam West Batman. Its  nightly ritual for me, to watch and giggle at how campy it is. 

  • Jan

    What makes him a superhero is that he does things we only wish we could do. As long as he is out there, in the world, we can feel a little bit safer as he catches the bad guys who want to hurt us. Batman is a superhero to me!!

  • This person

    I love superheroes including Batman! But now reading this I have I had to think about it… And even though I don’t want to admit it… You are so right…. He is not a “superhero” but simply just a normal hero…. Ahhhg that kinda ruined my day, Imma gonna live with it…. But he is still better than Superman!!!!! #batman