I’ve not been well recently and that means that I’ve been watching too much daytime TV.
Still it’s given me a chance to catch up with the Batman of my childhood and the latest incarnation of Superman.
Sure both wear capes and their underpants over their tights but Batman and Superman are clearly differentiated so one isn’t a pale imitation of the other.
Try the three words test.
Think Batman and what do you get?
Robin? The batmobile? Gotham City? Cool technology in the bat cave?
Think Superman and you get different answers.
Lois Lane. Man of steel. Faster than a speeding bullet? Metropolis?
Batman is strangely vulnerable for a superhero but Superman is invincible unless the baddies know about Kryptonite.
Even their alter egos are different.
Bruce Wayne is a multi-millionaire benefactor while Clark Kent is a mild-mannered, meek news reporter.
And the baddies.
While Batman deals with the Joker, the Penguin and the Riddler, Superman battles with Lex Luther.
I’ve always preferred Superman but I think that’s because I’d rather spend my time with Lois than Robin.
Or what about Spider-Man?
While Batman chose to be a superhero and Superman was an alien sent to Earth, poor Peter Parker was bitten by a spider. Just a kid about Robin’s age, he is expected to do it all.
It’s not just superheroes on their own who have to be different to capture attention.
The Fantastic Four had different skills – Mr Fantastic with the stretchy body, Sue Storm who could make herself invisible, Johnny Storm as the human torch and Thing with enormous strength.
Or the X men with Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops etc.
It is the differences which make the superheroes interesting and create a connection.
If they were all super in every way, without flaws and vulnerabilities then they’d be much less popular.