There are two kinds of people in the world: Batman people and Superman people. Erm…and possibly Spider-Man people. Okay, there may be as many as three kinds of people in the world, but I’m only going to write about two of them today.
People who prefer Batman, in my view, see the world as a stygian valley populated with ruthless criminals, and the only way to deal with it is to lurk in the shadows dressed as a bug-eating rodent, scaring the shit out of evildoers and upstanding citizens alike. George W. Bush is a Batman person. (He, however, is not Batman. Though I think Condoleezza Rice may be Batwoman. Has anyone ever seen her and Batwoman at the same time?)
Superman people see the bright lights of Metropolis. Evil still exists there and must be challenged on a daily basis, yet Supermen operate in the open and recognize that nearly-unlimited power is not a mandate to put oneself above petty humanity.
The reason that I have always loved Superman is not just because he has powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. It’s that he has the ability to do virtually anything, yet he chooses to do the right thing. He doesn’t get himself a fat book deal or declare himself Emperor of Time and Space. He puts the power of a god to the service of helping people. And he respects that there must be rules and limitations for his behavior. It would make his life easier to chuck Lex Luthor into the sun, but what would that make him?
I am a Superman person. Not in my strength, nor in my heart. (I know that I would go for the book deal.) But when I think about what I could and should be, I always look up in the sky…