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Why Comic Book Heroes are Un-Relatable…

Posted by on September 11, 2013

For years I’ve been criticized for being a DC Comics fan.

I’ve heard the phrase “marvel heroes are more relatable” far too many times. People say Superman is too strong, too super. I’ve heard the only good character is Batman because people can relate to him.

I can’t.

I don’t doubt that there are some people out there who have lost loved ones…maybe even both their parents right before their eyes to senseless violence. But they probably aren’t billionaires who exact revenge by donning the monicker of a bat and beating up criminals.

Let this not diminish what makes Batman special. He’s a guy with no powers going toe-to-toe with Superman. As readers it’s far easier to imagine our selves in the role of Batman, because we aren’t aliens from a dead planet, therefore making it harder to imagine we’re Superman. That still doesn’t make Batman MORE relatable, it just means he’s suffered through real-life experiences, but so has Superman.


Superman went through the death of his father, but do we relate to the solar-powered alien? Not really, we sympathize with him, just as we would with any character.

Lets move to Marvel heroes, since I’ve heard how they exhibit so much more humanity. The mutants are all out, yes they’ve gone through discrimination, but not because the color of their skin. It was because they were dangerous, they could bend metal with their minds, go invisible, and even shoot lasers out of their eyes.

Captain America is a good choice. He was a normal man who wanted nothing more than to serve his country, but couldn’t because he was so small. There are tons of people who suffer from their own inadequacies that could relate to a guy like Steve Rogers, only he’s now a super soldier who throws a shield into criminals faces, I guess that’s out.

There’s Iron Man who once suffered through alcoholism, that’s extremely relatable. Except when he overcame his addiction he went back to being a super hero and not a guy who works 9 to 5 in a cubicle.

Superheroes aren’t relatable. If anything they show us what we could never hope to be. We will never be a teenager whose father used space age technology to save our lives ┬áthus turning us into a Cyborg. We will never have a skeleton made out of adamantium. And we will never be a man who avenges the death of his parents by dressing like a Bat. We will remain the people who suffer loss, self-consciousness, and addictions — but when and if we overcome those things, we will still be regular people.

Does it suck that I believe that these timeless icons are un-relatable? No. Because I still find these characters interesting, and as long as they have fun and interesting stories to tell, then I’ll still be there.


2 Responses to Why Comic Book Heroes are Un-Relatable…

  1. Chuck Haga

    I’ve always been inclined to imagine myself Bugs Bunny or the Roadrunner … though I usually fall short and more closely resemble Elmer Fudd or Wiley Coyote.