Ever since the rise in popularity over at Marvel, due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems as though DC fans are getting the short end of the stick. For so long it seemed like DC was just trying to rush out films and television shows to stay in competition with their competitor, while also only trying to appeal to the mainstream audience rather than the hardcore comic nerd. This problem has led to many misconceptions about the DC Universe and its characters, so this list has been made to set some of these misconceptions straight.
#10- DC IS DARK WHILE MARVEL IS LIGHT
This is an annoying misconception. Both of these amazing publishers are light and dark, when they need to be. Yes, Batman is known for his brooding over his parents deaths, and Superman is known for his happy go lucky boy scout demeanor, but that doesn’t mean that they are always like that. And Marvel for a fact is not always light-hearted. Spider-Man killed his girlfriend, Gwen Stacey (and he totally did, go look at the panel there isn’t a snap noise until he catches her), and Iron Man has an entire story dedicated to his horrific addiction to alcohol, called “Demon in a Bottle”. Are you trying to tell me that those things sound light hearted?
#9- DC HEROES ARE UNRELATABLE
This is a more frustrating misconception. The thought that DC heroes are unrelatable and Marvel heroes are relatable. This misconception is often times pointed at Superman due to his abilities and basically being a god, which is a point that I will touch upon later. But Superman is just as relatable as each and everyone of us. Tell me, has there been a time in your life where you felt different? Where you felt like you didn’t belong, and you just wish that you had a group of people or an area around you that was just like you? That is what Superman feels every day, he wants to belong but he knows he’s different, he wishes he could be back on his home world with everyone who was just like him, but he can’t because he never even got to know it. If you were him, you would act the same way.
There are many more examples for this one such as John Stewart, aka Green Lantern (one of them at least), suffering from PTSD. Martian Manhunter feeling alone in the world, being that he is the last of his race. And Batman still struggling to get over his parents. That is why he puts on the mask every night, he is trying to make sure that what happened to him never happens to anyone ever again, now that logic isn’t sturdy, but it’s hopeful, it’s flawed just like humans are.
#8- GOTHAM CITY IS BASED ON CHICAGO
This one is just irritating to me personally. I don’t have anything against Chicago or anything, in fact I love the city, but Gotham City is not based on Chicago. I think that thought first started when Christopher Nolan’s Batman films came out, because they were filmed in Chicago. And then the association between the high crime rates often associated with Chicago and Gotam. But let me ask you a question. If Metropolis is set in New York and Gotham City is right across the bay from that, making it a coastal city, then where would that place Gotham? IN NEW JERSEY!
Gotham City is based on New York City anyways. Both Metropolis and Gotham are. One is the high collar tourist attraction that you see in movies, while the other is the dark and seedy underbelly where you hear gun shots go off every time you try to close your eyes in your hotel room. Just like Batman and Superman are two sides of the same coin, Metropolis and Gotham are as well.
#7- SUPERMAN IS TOO POWERFUL AND THAT MAKES HIM BORING
As touched upon earlier in the list, Superman is a relatable character, but one thing that people seem to constantly think about Superman, is that he is too powerful. So, if a character is too powerful that makes them boring right? No. First off Superman is not too powerful, he cannot be everywhere at once, even with his superspeed and ability to fly around the Earth and somehow reverse time (I can’t come up with a defense for that). Superman has lost a lot. If he was ultra powerful like people suggest then the events in “Injustice: Gods Among Us” wouldn’t have even happened because he would’ve been able to stop the nuclear bomb before it even went off.
Yes, the man of steel does have myriad of powers which include: Super strength and speed, flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, super hearing, super sight, and invulnerability. And that doesn’t even include his abilities pre-crisis. I honestly think this idea that he is boring because he is too powerful stems from his invulnerability, and him being unable to die. Well news flash… EVERY SUPERHERO HAS INVULNERABILITY! It’s called the writers and publishers wanting to sell more comics! They’re not going to kill off Spider-Man, boom that makes him invulnerable, and even if they did they would just bring him back. Superman just has a reason in universe to be invulnerable. Besides it seems as though people think he has no weaknesses besides kryptonite. First off, their are multiple forms of kryptonite which all has different effects on him. Green, red, black, gold, pink (which has been retconned because it “turns” Superman gay, you can see why they don’t use that one anymore). And second, his lesser known weaknesses to energy based weapons and magic (he is just as vulnerable to magic as any normal person is). Arguably, DC has more magic based enemies than Marvel does, so that puts Superman at a bit of a risk.
#6- DARKSEID IS A THANOS RIP-OFF
This misconception stems from the fact that Thanos managed to hit the big screen and mainstream audiences first, and that is a bit infuriating to me. Because now, if DC every does release a film with Darkseid (pronounced Dark-Side) as the main antagonist, his exploits will seem second rate to the Mad Titan’s. I often hear people say that the New God is a rip-off of Thanos, when in fact it is the other way around… somewhat. Thanos is a rip-off of Darkseid, well his look is actually. Thanos was actually inspired by two New Gods, the first being Metron (picture down below), but when showing the first illustration of him, the artist was told “if you’re going to copy the New Gods, at least copy the biggest one”, and those Thanos’ design was inspired by Darkseid.
You can still see Metron’s inspiration through Thanos’ genius intellect and the floating throne, which is a blatant rip-off. But when referring to Thanos and the characters he is based off, one has to remember. Thanos is just a man, a very very powerful man, who achieved the power of the gods through the infinity gauntlet. While the other two character, are actually gods! Now, Thanos has his own ideas and schemes that develop his character in ways completely different than that of Metron and Darkseid, but you can’t deny where the inspiration came from.
#5- BATMAN IS THE SMARTEST CHARACTER IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY
This one is just not true, although he is beyond a genius, he is in no way the smartest character to ever grace a comic book’s pages. Batman has gone up against villains that are twenty times smarter than him, for instance Brainiac. And is just, if not exactly, a little smarter than Superman (yes Superman is a genius, he’s built devices that humans couldn’t even imagines. It’s only through television and films that we think he is of average intelligence because it gives his co-stars something to do). Yet, if you put his intelligence up against Reed Richards or Dr. Doom, there might not even be a contest.
#4- HARLEY QUINN AND THE JOKER’S RELATIONSHIP IS ROMANTIC
Okay, let me just get say this immediately. In no way at all is the relationship between Harley and the Joker romantic. Joker is abusive to Harley physically and mentally. He tortures her feelings on a constant basis and makes her feel like she is nothing more than hyena food to him. I know this misconception is derived from the “Suicide Squad” film and it’s awful interpretations of the Joker and his relationship with Harley, but he was still abusive even in the film. He left her to die at the bottom of a river, while he swam out of his car before Batman could even get to them. He is more mentally abusive than anything, making her think that he loves her so she comes running back to him with open arms, not realizing he is only using her for his own nefarious ideas. It’s not romantic, it will never be romantic, so seriously, stop thinking it is.
#3- BATMAN CAN DEFEAT ANYONE WITH ENOUGH PREP TIME
“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is one of my all time favorite stories. At one point pitting an old and grittier Batman, against a still young and just as strong as always Superman. And even though I love this graphic novel, I know this is where the misconception that Batman could beat anyone comes from. Yes, he had prep time and fought Superman tooth and nail, with the help of Green Arrow and his kryptonite arrow. Yet, it seems that people forget… Batman lost the fight. His entire speech about being the man to “beat” Superman was all an act, so he could fake his own death. He knew that if he didn’t somehow end the fight in someway, he wouldn’t beat Superman.
Batman is a master tactician, there is no doubt about that, but saying that if he had enough prep time that he could beat anyone is just dumb. The same can be said about every super hero. Spider-Man has used prep time to create armor that would help him defeat multiple villains at once. Besides, Batman has lost fights. There is one instance where he went up against the entire Justice League (who were brain washed) and he knew he had to just bide his time until he could find a way to un-brainwash them. Because if he didn’t, how could a normal man (normal is used lightly when explaining Batman) go up against an Amazon warrior princess trained from birth in combat and go toe to toe with gods, a speedster so fast he can run through time, a man who has a ring that can literally create whatever he is thinking, and an alien from outer space who, if exposed to sunlight, is basically a god.
Now, granted he does know every superhero in the Justice League’s weaknesses as evident through other famous comic book storylines, but the problem is executing those weaknesses. In “JLA: Tower of Babel“, Ra’s Al Ghul and the likes, only took down the League using Batman’s plans because they were unaware there were any plans in the first place. He is an amazing foe, but he can’t beat everyone. There’s a reason his criminals are super-human at best, and he’s not going up against gods from outer space and the like.
#2- THE JOKER’S ORIGIN STORY AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH BATMAN
Let us start this one off by saying, the Joker doesn’t have an origin story. Plan and simple. The one in “Batman: The Killing Joke” isn’t true, the one in the 1989 “Batman” film isn’t true, and whatever the one in “Suicide Squad” isn’t true. When the character of the Joker was decided upon, it was set up that he will have not one origin story, but every origin story. He has multiple origin stories, and that is just what they are, stories. He lies about his origins, because that is what makes him such a scary villain. The fear of not knowing who you are going up against. He has told multiple origins and everyone of them has been confirmed to be true, while also not true at the same time. We don’t know the true origin of the character, and hopefully it will stay that way. Even DC Comics has said that they don’t know his origin.
As for his relationship with the Batman, he was never meant to be Batman’s arch-nemesis. He wasn’t created with that purpose. In fact, the Joker was missing from Batman comics from 1964 to 1973, yes you read that right. The most famous comic book villain in history (there is no arguing that point) was missing for around 9 years. In fact, he was supposed to die off in Batman #1 way back in the day, but he was deemed to good of a character to kill off (and yes Batman used to kill people, but that is a discussion for another day).
People often think that the Joker hates Batman, when the fact is the opposite actually. The Joker loves Batman and knows he would not exist with out the caped crusader foiling his devious plots. In fact, the Joker was even driven to sanity when Batman disappeared once, and in the “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” he even went into a weird vegetable state, only coming out of it when hearing that the big bad bat was back. The Joker needs Batman, he wants Batman to break his #1 rule (no killing). This can be seen in “The Dark Knight”, with Heath Ledger’s Joker. How he says they need one another. That is the Joker, not a normal criminal trying to kill the Bat, but one who will put the Bat through hell just for fun.
#1- SUPERMAN’S DISGUISE AS CLARK KENT IS STUPID
“How can people not tell Clark Kent is Superman, it’s just a curl and glasses”, this is a common utterance I hear from comic book fans everywhere, even from DC fans. And it just shows that they don’t pay attention to the character of Superman at all. It is not just a curl and some glasses, it’s how the human mind works. First of all, Clark Kent’s glasses change his eye color (sometimes). And there is some distinct differences between the man of steel and the reporter at the daily planet.
I’ll start by asking a question, if you lived in Metropolis with no prior knowledge about the DC Universe, why would you think Clark Kent is Superman? Superman is a god among men in the eyes of average civilians. Superman saves lives and flys around proud and strong. So why would you think Clark Kent is Superman? Clark Kent is a nerd. Clark Kent has bad posture, he stutters over his words like a bumbling idiot. He’s weak. He works for a newspaper. So, if you were living in Metropolis, with no prior knowledge about the DC Universe, why would Superman degrade himself like that? He’s a living god, why would would he make himself look so pathetic? This question was actually thought upon by his arch-enemy, Lex Luthor.
Before the New 52, Lex Luthor deduced Superman’s identity, yet he refused to believe it. He couldn’t imagine a man with the power to fix the world, reducing himself to someone like Clark Kent, the farmboy from Smallville. So, the next time you say something like “Superman’s disguise is so stupid”, then just remember that you have an advantage over the characters in these comics for over 81 years. And don’t you find it strange how in 81 years of publication, very few people have figured out his identity, man Superman must be doing something right.