Who’s your favorite superhero?
The other night, Harrison and I had a conversation about our favorite superheroes. He’s only five, and hasn’t been exposed to many, so he’s mainly familiar with the Big Names: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk. None of these are his favorite, though. He has an astronomy book featuring drawings of the Justice League of America, and he likes some of the more obscure members of that group: Plastic Man, J’onn J’onnz. He doesn’t even know these heroes’ stories, he just likes the way they look.
Who’s my favorite superhero? That’s a hard question to answer. It was never Batman or Superman — I always thought Superman was pretty lame: “Oh, look: it’s God in a colored tights. Whee!” I liked Spiderman for a time when I was younger, but that infatuation was short-lived.
I can’t remember having a favorite hero. I always had favorite superhero teams. Though I preferred Marvel comics to DC, it was the DC superhero teams that I liked: Justice League of America, The Legion of Super Heroes, etc. These teams always seemed BIGGER and more important than Marvel’s Avengers or The Fantastic Four.
The one exception, of course, were the X-Men. What kid doesn’t love the X-Men? The answer in the late-seventies was “many kids”. The X-Men were a marginal group with a small but devoted following in the comic world. I came on just as they exploded into popularity, with the Dark Phoenix saga. (Issue #135 was my first X-Men comic.) For six years, the X-Men were my favorite superhero group, and my favorite comic book.
But I didn’t care for Wolverine, everyone’s favorite. I didn’t buy his mini-series. I didn’t like the subplots with his rage and his quest to find himself. I liked Cyclops, the stoic leader of the team. I liked the energy rays that shot from his eyes. I also liked Arial — Kitty Pryde — who had the ability to “phase” through matter, like a ghost. Her powers were lame, but she was my age, and cute. It’s true: I had a crush on a comic book character.
If I were forced to choose a favorite superhero, it would probably be Daredevil, the “man without fear”. He was one of my favorites when I was a boy, and one of my favorites when Frank Miller was in control. I haven’t read any Daredevil since Miller left in the mid-eighties, in fact. But based on what I did read at the time, I liked Daredevil: a blind attorney who works for the poor, whose superhero powers (radar sense, acrobatics, intelligence) are a little unique yet also very plausible. Daredevil’s a good guy. I like him.
I’d rather have flight. I’d love to be able to soar around, to see the world from above, to get away from it all. I’d also like — provided I could fly at a suitable speed — to be able to bypass traffic, to commute by air. I’d like to be able to fly for purely self-indulgent purposes. I would not use my power to fight crime.
Which power would you prefer? (And, once you’ve answered that, if you could choose a single superpower, what would it be? Or, if you have a superpower already, what is it? (For example: my superpower is the Power to Organize Objects. I can sort books or CDs or clothes or cans of soup like nobody’s business. You can’t touch me when it comes to organizing objects.))