As far as the characters themselves go, I slightly prefer Batman because he is one of the few comic heroes to have no superpowers whatsoever. Sure he has a lot of gadgets, but most of the time Batman has to outthink his opponent.
If you’re talking the movies, Superman is a clear winner thanks to the performance of Christopher Reeves. He gave Superman all the virtues we expect of him without making it seem corny. Even though the Batman movies made a lot of money, ALL of them are flawed, including the Tim Burton films. Batman may be tormented, but we still have to care about the character, and there was a vacuum in the center of the first movie. As they added sidekicks and villains, Batman’s screen time was cut deeper and he became even more irrelevant. “Batman” may be the film that pushed Tim Burton into the A-list of directors, but for my money his best film was “Ed Wood.”
But I’m getting off the subject. The biggest weakness of Superman was he didn’t have any. When you have a guy so strong he can move the Earth out of its orbit, only God would be strong enough to give this guy competition. The smartest thing D.C. did was to demote Superman from omnipotence to merely the strongest guy on Earth. Also, although he is probably the squarest guy on Earth, that is O.K. as long as he remains a recognizably human character. I like the fact that D.C. has finally given Clark Kent a real life–he isn’t just a disguise for Superman anymore.
With Batman, you have to strike a delicate balance. He’s a vigilante, but he’s also a fair guy who prefers justice to personal vengeance. (Why else would the Joker still be alive after all these years?) It’s not right that he be the public do-gooder that you saw in the 1966 TV series, but he has to remain a sympathetic character–Batman is not Bernie Goetz.
If any of you are not beneath watching kids cartoons, I highly recommend the Batman/Superman hour on the Kids WB network. That show does justice to both characters.
“Interested in fashion, Harmonica?”
“There were three dusters like these waiting for a train.
Inside the dusters were three men. Inside the men were
–Once Upon A Time In The West