Knight in Shining Armor

Superheroes are sometimes called modern-age knights. One of Batman’s many monikers is “The Dark Knight,” and he is often compared to Iron Man of the Marvel universe, who literally has shining armor.

And for good reason – they are both “genius billionaire playboy philanthropists.” They are both orphans who could have used their family wealth to settle into the lap of luxury as upper class twits, but instead chose to use their gifts to make their worlds better. Batman’s orphaning was the result of a violent crime, so he chose to take more direct, street-level action and to focus on Gotham City. Iron Man’s parents were lost in an accident, and he chose to continue his family’s work on a worldwide scale.

So if the two of them are so similar, why is this blog “Batman To Be” and not “Iron Man To Be” ? I will admit, I grew up following DC comics and Batman in particular, so I am biased. There’s the minutia of their respective personalities and Rogues’ Galleries. (I put Batman ahead on both of those counts, but it is purely a matter of personal preference.) But I think the deeper reason is that Batman is more “iconic,” to borrow Scott McCloud‘s comics vocabulary. Another way to put it is “universality.” On some level, anyone reading a Batman story will think to himself, “I could do that. I could train my body and mind into the perfect crime-fighter.” It is more difficult to read an Iron Man story and think to yourself, “I could build a weaponized flying suit of armor.”

In my fraternity, a pledge class was named after me and they picked Iron Man as their class mascot. Since Batman was already taken by a previous pledge class, I figured this was the best possible alternative. (I have always liked Iron Man, I just like Batman more.) Now I spam their Facebook group daily with Iron Man stuff, but no matter how many arguments you throw at me, I will probably still like Batman more.

But you are welcome to try to change my mind.

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8 thoughts on “Knight in Shining Armor

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