If there’s one thing that really pisses off comic book geeks it’s when people who’ve never picked up a comic in their life predicate their knowledge on superheroes and villains solely on what they saw in the movies or television. Many times, people assume that storylines and characters have stayed the course since their inception. Before you smack your ignorant friend across the face with that rolled up issue of Teen Titans, strap them down Clockwork Orange-style and force ‘em to read our list of 10 superhero myths debunked!
Batman Doesn’t Use Guns
The tragic origin of Bruce Wayne’s dedication to crime fighting came in the form of a gunman killing his parents in his youth. However, in the modern age, Batman’s character has been retooled into a superhero who refuses to use guns because of his parent’s death. What a lot of people seem to forget is that Batman’s debut was in Detective Comics, and the cool part about being a detective – at least back in those days – meant carrying a gun and shooting up the bad guys; Batman was no exception. In his earliest escapades, he would often shoot to kill.
While a few elements have been retrained from the Golden Age of Comics, it’s ironic that a character’s erstwhile common trait is now seen as a taboo function of his crime fighting abilities. Though his turn-off is fitting based on his origin, not to mention being much more moral, it’s hard to forget something this bold from Batman’s past.
Aquaman Is Useless Out Of Water
Everybody likes to joke about how Aquaman is the most pathetic superhero of all-time with the misconception that he is absolutely useless out of his kingdom of Atlantis. The truth is that any superhero is not 100% when out of his or her element. How do you think Batman would function in the middle of a dessert with no skyscrapers to latch onto? That doesn’t mean a superhero is completely useless, but consider the fact that Aquaman is someone who could kick your ass underwater using his fists. If he can move effortlessly under such heavy pressure at deep depths, imagine how easily he can move through regular gravity.
Also, his powers DO work on land. True, communicating with sea life can only go so far, but Aquaman also had the ability to create weapons out of water – the most common element on Earth. Heck, if the weather is moist enough, he can make weapons out of thin-air. For a character who has an almost unlimited arsenal of weaponry, it perplexes me how he’s still seen as a lame superhero; it has to be the brightly colored costume. But honestly, if you’re nit-picking costumes, there are FAR worse designs than Aquaman. Just take a look at Tim Burton’s aborted Superman design.
Green Lantern Is Black
For many people who never read the comics, their only introduction to Green Lantern was through the Justice League cartoon. So it’s not surprising that when the first trailer for the theatrical movie debuted many people were thinking “Wait, I thought he was black.” Well, they’re half-right.
The truth is there were multiple Green Lanterns of Earth. There was Hal Jordan, Jon Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner. Jon Stewart is the first African-American inducted into the Green Lantern Corps and the third to actually don the ring. Why wasn’t Hal Jordan, the first Green Lantern, in the Justice League cartoon? Hal died in the 1990s and wasn’t revived until 2005. Since the Justice League cartoon came out in 2001, Hal wouldn’t have been a good choice at the time. And considering how Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner have hogged most of the green spotlight, the creators decided to give Jon Stewart a shot.
There was also a golden age Green Lantern by the name of Alan Scott, but it’d be pretty lame to feature a hero whose weakness is wood (no joke).
Lex Luthor Was Always BaldSuperman’s nemesis is primarily identified by his heaps of cash and bald head. But Lex Luthor wasn’t always bald and I’m not just talking about Gene Hackman’s bad hair-piece in the movies. In the late 80s, Luthor had a receding hairline, but it was still hair nonetheless. And in the early 90s, Luthor not only had luscious red locks, but a thick beard – hey, it was the early 90s. He had to compete with Superman’s lengthy mullet. Thank goodness both Luthor’s hairy head and Superman’s Billy Ray Cyrus cut were short-lived.
Bruce Wayne Has Always Been BatmanWith most superheroes, we’re used to only seeing man or woman behind the cowl. So what were comic book readers treated to after The Dark Knight was released? Bruce Wayne’s death/time-travel journey in Final Crisis. So with no Bruce Wayne there is no Batman, right? Yeah, that will go over well in Gotham. Dick Grayson, originally Robin, decided to step up to the large task of succeeding the mogul in a bat costume.
While it is a perfectly natural progression for the ward to become the hero – as when Kid Flash became the Flash – this angered many coming into the comic hot off The Dark Knight. Since then, however, Bruce has returned and donned the cape and cowl once more. Fear not, newcomers; the status quo is maintained.
Superman Is Too Powerful To Be KilledOne aspect everybody loves to complain about with Superman is his immeasurable strength. How many tons can he actually lift and how long can he actually use his heat vision? Nobody knows exactly and that’s what pisses people off. Some people actually believe he can’t be killed, but he has actually died multiple times.
In “The Death of Superman” Doomsday beats him to death in a bloody punching match. In Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, Superman gives up his life after most of his friends are killed off by super villains. And in “All-Star Superman”, the Man of Steel is poisoned by the sun, dying slowly, but ends up sacrificing his life in the end.
Technically, he has either been revived or killed in a non-canon story to continue the Superman series, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Superman can be killed and not just by shoving Kryptonite up his ass.
There Are No Limits To The Flash’s Speed PowersI remember someone once arguing that the Flash was the greatest superhero because he could manipulate particles at such a speed that he could make pants out of “go-fast.” The Flash does have quite a bit of power with his speed including skipping through time, traveling through dimensions, passing through walls and zipping from continent to continent.
But the rule of having a good superhero is having a weakness and the Flash has one hell of a catch. If the Flash goes way too fast, he can speed up his own particles to a point that he’ll be sucked into the speed force, effectively killing him. This happened to the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, in Crisis on Infinite Earths when he tried to use his powers to destroy the Anti-Monitor. The result was a horrible death in which Barry Allen became trapped between time-streams.
Honestly, of all the weaknesses and negative side-effects from superpowers, the Flash’s seems the worst by far.
Jonah Hex Can Communicate With The DeadAside from being an incomprehensible mess, the 2010 movie based on Jonah Hex was also inaccurate to say the least. In the movie, Jonah Hex has the power to communicate with the dead by touching their dead bodies. There is just one problem with that: Jonah Hex NEVER had superpowers. Period. The whole deal with Jonah Hex was that he was a badass cowboy with a disfigured face. That was about it. How the director of Horton Hears a Who could take such a simple comic and turn it into a complete train-wreck by adding needless supernatural elements is a mystery to me. Especially considering how Warner Bros wants to take a more modern approach to comic book adaptations.
Superman Is The Last Of His Race From KryptonMost people are aware of Superman’s origin as an orphan named Kal-El from the planet Krypton. For a while, it gave the character a sense of loneliness being the last of his race. But over time, for the purpose of expanding Superman’s allies and foes, it was revealed that several Kryptonians survived the planet’s explosion. The most recognizable being the criminal Zod and his companions from the second Superman movie.
Other Kyptonians were soon revealed including Super Girl, Krypto, Jax-Ur, Mala, and Power Girl among others. Even one of Superman’s greatest enemies, Braniac, was part of Kyptonian technology and responsible for the destruction of Kypton. Not to mention there was entire comic series arc called New Krypton in which an entire planet of Kryptonians was created. Of course, such a scenario did not end well for everybody involved, but that goes without saying if Zod is involved.
There Has Only Been One RobinMany of us are accustomed to calling Batman’s ward the Boy Wonder with some homoerotic undertones generated by those shorts (comes with the territory of being a sidekick). But few are aware of Robin’s real name much less Batman’s employment of several Robins with disastrous results.
While Dick Grayson eventually graduated to the role of the independent superhero Nightwing, Jason Todd, the second Robin, was not as fortunate. In fact, Jason Todd was killed by the Joker as requested by comic book readers. Tim Drake, the third Robin, saw his dad murdered in Identity Crisis by Captain Boomerang, leaving him an orphan. Even Bruce Wayne’s son (yep, he had a kid), Damian Wayne, took up the role as Robin as well as Stephanie Brown who would later become Batgirl.
Who will be the next Robin? Possibly someone new or somebody related to the previous holders of the title, like Jason Todd’s long lost illegitimate child or Bruce Wayne’s uncle from another dimension.
Source: Markatz, 10 Myths About Superheroes Debunked, Coed Magazine, 21 March 2011