Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making heroes super since childhood

This post was also published here for The Chess Hammer - 50% more damage than the Chess Club

The topic of Superheros came up at work. And namely, if a light-sabre can cut through anything except other light-sabres, and Superman can only be weakened by kryptonite, what would happen if we hit Superman with a light-sabre?

Superman never really did it for me, because as a hero he has it easy; he can punch all his problems into the sun.

Look out! That man has a gun!

Boof! Into the sun!

Here comes Lex Luther!

Boof! Into the sun!

How come we never go out anymore? You go out, you save the world, you come home and you sit your arse on that couch! Why don’t you take me flying anymore? You never take me anywhere! Why did I leave Clark Kent for you Superman?

Boof! Lois into the sun! And that’s why Superman is a bullshit superhero. Not because he hits women, but because he is boring. (The “hitting women” thing is not cool either. And maybe made up by me for educational purposes. I do have it on good authority that he gets a little punchy when he’s drinking whiskey though)

I did not want to be a superhero growing up. I loved what they stood for, but did not want to be one for two reasons

1.      I'm allergic to taking punches to the face (I break out in swelling), and
2.      My favourite superhero was The Phantom, and even as a child I knew the social consequences of looking for fights in purple tights. See reason 1.

For those who had normal childhoods, The Phantom is “the Ghosts who walks”. He is not really one man but 21 of them over the course of history. It has been a family business for 400 years, and father passes on the responsibility to their son so that the rest of the world thinks of him as immortal. He has no super powers, but he can shoot the guns out of your hands and deliver whopping punches to the face. He is a man who trained hard to be who he was, and he fought for good. The Phantom is a fine moral compass to any young man finding his place in the world.

When the time comes for the new Phantom he would swear an oath on the skull of his forefathers and the symbol of his mission, “I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”. This pledge happened more than 400 years ago when piracy was piracy and his mortal enemy was the pirates the Singh Brotherhood. Not some knob from New Zealand who changed his surname to DotCom.

Is that the face of piracy today? People who host peer to peer sites? Piracy is certainly getting rounder in the face and more acne. There are the attacks on ships along the coast of Somalia I guess, but they are not rocking the skull and crossbones either. At least they get the point, but I digress...

What would happen if you hit Superman with a light-sabre?

Nerd forums explode. That’s your answer.


  1. I truly love the lunacy of these types of discussions. Another of my favorites is what is your favorite weapon to kill zombies? (yes, they are already dead, but hardly the point)

    I loved the Phantom growing up as well. I think the legend had it that if he hit you with the skull ring, the mark stayed forever? I never liked Superman either and I lambasted him in one of my posts a while back. I mean, the guy isn't super on his own planet, why should I consider him to be on ours?

    The Somali pirates are no joke while Captain Jack is unfortunately.

    WG Out

  2. A woman moves into an apartment in Chicago's Sears Tower. After moving everything in, she decides she's bored, but doesn't know anyone. So she heads up to the 96th floor where there is a bar. When she gets there, there is a bartender and one man sitting at the bar.

    As she sits down, she says, "Hi" to the man. "How are you doing?" The man looks up and says, "I'm fine. Just sitting here, drinking my magical beer." Oh, boy, thinks the woman, we've got a nut on our hands. But there is no one else in the bar, and she is lonely, so she asks, "What makes that a magical beer?"

    The man says, "If I drink the rest of this beer, it will give me the power to fly." When the woman rolls her eyes, he says, "No, really! Watch!" He chugs the beer, walks over to a window, which he opens, hops out and flies seven times around the building before coming back in and settling on his bar stool.

    "That's amazing!" the woman says. "Will that work for me?" "Sure!" says the man. So the woman looks at the bartender and says, "I'll have what he's having!" She takes the beer, slams it down, walks over to the window and hops out, plummeting 96 floors to her death.

    The bartender looks over at the man and says, "Superman, you are a fucking asshole when you're drunk."

  3. Yes, the "Evil Ring" of the Phantom, forever marking evil doers for the rest of their lives, no matter how much they want to repent.

    A friend of mine asked why the evil mark, to mark evil doers, was a skull. Would a tattoo of a unicorn be better? He believes in punishment through humiliation. If that is the case, why stop there? Why does it have to be a ring on his finger? Why not a body piercing?

    If *that* was the case then, (get ready Phantom fans, here's crude joke about to prove that there is no such thing as "niche" on the Internet) Diana Palmer would have several skull marks on her chin.

  4. The Phantom sounds absolutely amazing. But what do I know? I read graphic novels without superheroes. A regular hero was good enough for me. I suppose Neil Gaiman's Morpheus was sort of a superhero.

    1. The Phantom was a regular hero, who just had power of suggestion ;)

      Do you recommend The Sandman?

  5. I was a big fan of the LOBO comics. The Intergalactic bounty hunter. He once traveled to Earth because he had heard of the indestructible Superman and wanted to have a go at him. The only reason Superman survived was by projecting a hologram of his own dead body to make LOBO think he was dead and leave.

    And this happened in a Superman comic.

    1. I think that is what annoys me most about most superheroes: continuity.

      Early in Superman's career, when he could leap tall buildings in a single bound, was because of the Earth's gravitational field being weaker than krypton. Similar to to the source of Aquaman's super-ness.

      Then there are creations with super breath, heat vision, x-ray vision, 4 in 1 remote control vision, the vulnerabilities to types of kryptonite, can be offset by others, etc. The list of powers Superman had at one stage or another is mind boggling.

  6. When you said you were allergic to punches in the face and would make a terrible superhero, all I could think of was this.

    His costume is kinda purple... that's not the Phantom, is it?

    1. Gold, no that's not The Phantom.

      The Phantom doesn't have a cape :p

  7. Pfft! Superman doesn't get affected by alcohol! Maybe back on Krypton, a bottle of Jagermeister would have some use, but here he would just use it as mouthwash.

    Also, who says a lightsaber can cut through anything? There might be other things that are impervious to them.

    1. There is other things light-sabres can't cut through

      But they are more dense than George Lucas' ability to ruin his own movies.

      I think this is one for Nick.