Monday, February 16, 2009

10 Lies Comics Make Us Believe (Part 1)

I understand that comic books are never supposed to be taken literally and they aren't real, but there are a few things that stretch credibility a little far. Here's the first five of my favorite ten things comics make you believe.

1. A little piece of cloth can fool a lot of folks.

Ok, I understand a full-body costume like Spider-Man's being able to keep folks from guessing who you are for a few minutes. You'd have to work on the voice and not stick around too long, but it could happen. What I can't imagine, however, is how a tiny mask like Green Lantern's or Robin's could actually fool anyone who knew them for any length of time.

So Hal Jordan works with Carol Ferris all the time. She's got the hots for Green Lantern. Yet for the longest time, she never puts two and two together to figure this out?

Want to see if this works in real life? Grab a Lone Ranger mask and walk up to your wife or girlfriend. Think she'll recognize you? Yeah, she's gonna look at you like you're an idiot if you try to act like a stranger. If she doesn't recognize you, you just might have the makings of a superhero.

2. The same can be said of glasses

So Clark Kent wears glasses and he's a nerd. He takes off those same glasses and suddenly no one on Earth recognizes him?

Again with the girlfriend bit. Lois Lane hates Clark and sees him as a nerd. Clark runs away, Superman suddenly flies in, and Lois Lane--investigative reporter extraordinaire for the Daily Planet--can't figure out this is the same person? Might be time to find a new line of work, Lois. It wasn't until they were about to be married that the truth came out for her.

To be fair, DC tried to explain this situation in a Superman comic in the early 80's, saying that Superman kept moving his face slightly so his features were always a blur to those around him, and that Clark's glasses were made from part of his Kryptonian spaceship that allowed him to "hypnotize" those around him into believing they were seei
ng a frail, skinny guy. Unfortunately, their explanation didn't hold much water and after Superman's reboot later that decade the matter was dropped.

3. Massive doses of radiation can be a good thing.

So an overdose of radiation will kill the average human being, but every once in a while...

Who knows? Maybe it's the type of radiation that hits you. Maybe it's that perfect alignment of radiation and an unstable new secret government chemical that you accidentally get sprayed with as you try to escape. Perhaps a spider gets bombarded by rads and then it bites you. Maybe it's just something special about your genetic makeup. Whatever the case, if you get hit by the same radiation that kills the rest of your group, you just might live through it and gain spectacular powers beyond those of mortal men.

Not really. While I understand that radiation in strictly controlled doses is used by the medical community to help folks, there's no chance whatsoever
a sudden blast of it is going to make you a hero. Kids, stay away from the glowing rocks you find in a field somewhere (or pick them up and you might become a superhero...who knows?).

4. Death is never permanent.

Fear of death is something everyon
e faces...unless you're superhero. If you are, you understand the fact that death is something superheroes do to take a much-needed vacation while someone else jumps into their costume to save the world. Eventually, that whole "death" thing wears off when sales are limping and you get to come back again to save the world!

While there are exceptions to this rule (remember, Bucky Barnes stays dea...never mind), just about any comic book superhero that dies will eventually make a return appearance after while. The same can't be said of real life, of course, but wouldn't it be a wonderful world if it could?

5. There is always somewhere in a city to attach a rope to.

So you ended up a superhero but you can't fly? No problem if you're in the big city! No matter how high you need to get, there's always a conveniently located flagpole to latch that rope onto.

Don't see a flagpole? See that handy fire escape instead? How about a ledge or gargoyle-type statue hanging off the side of that skyscraper?

Ok, so I've never visited Gotham City, but I have been to some other big cities across America, and I have yet to see a way to constantly swing across town on a Bat-rope (and yes, I have looked). Spider-Man's web-shooters I can understand, but Batman and Daredevil have got some mad mojo going on that keeps them moving through the city skies!

Tune in Thursday for the last part of this post!
What about you? What are you favorite superhero reality-stretchers?


Anonymous said...

How about, "Costumed vigilantes can go on patrol all over the city for the entire night and never have to use the restroom." C'mon, does Batman have a bat-catheter inside his suit? If he doesn't, all some villain would have to do is shadow him for a couple of hours, then literally catch him with his pants down (and plug him full of more holes than a block of Swiss cheese).

Another one is: "World-class female athletes all have incredibly large breasts. (And furthermore, they do not need significant bra support while running over rooftops.)" Anybody catch the women gymnasts at the Olympics? In terms of ability, they're about the closest thing to, say, Batgirl or Huntress ... but in terms of body build, they couldn't be more different. Are there any flat-chested superheroines, just for variety's sake? (And yes, I realize why women are drawn that way in comics. I enjoy ogling Power Girl as much as the next guy. But it's hardly realistic. Probably doesn't help increase female readership any, either.)

Okay, one last one: If you're not superpowered, diving into a hail of bullets won't kill you. I mean, wft?? These guys routinely jump into the midst of guys sporting a dozen uzis, and often emerge without a single scratch in their capes. In recent years, they've upped the body armor in the costume, but still, if your head isn't fully enclosed, you'd be toast. I don't care how graceful Dick Grayson, all the hopping around in the world won't prevent a stray shot or ricochet from blowing his skull to fragments. And yet, apart from the occasional flesh wound, that never happens.


Brian said...

Believe it or not, Doc, one of your suggestions is actually on the list! Come back Thursday and see how great minds think alike. :)

Maverick said...

That it's okay to bring a 12-year old kid along while fighting psychos, rapists, murderers, bank robbers, mutants, and an occasional alien here and there. Somebody would have called out Batman on child endangerment in no time if he was real.

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