Superman vs. Batman: Who’s Better At Managing His Finances?

Posted: March 25, 2011 in comic books, Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , , ,

Poor DC Comics. All it wanted to do was host a discussion thread on who was faster, Superman or Flash. Y’know, like the old days of hanging around comics shops and getting into arguments with fat ugly strangers you’re pretty sure you’re better and smarter than.

But with the helpful veil of anonymity and complete lack of tonal recognition that we like to call the Internet.

And that’s…well, okay, it’s to be totally expected, but it’s still a shame, because if you can’t have THAT never-ending discussion on the DC Comics Message Board, well where the hell CAN you? (Other than back at your local comics shop, but there you have to look at people in the eye, and recognizing an essential human brotherhood might weaken your resolve to hope their transsexual mother dies of cancerAIDS.) 

What bums me out is that this argument keeps going despite the fact that, like one’s propensity for Almond Joy over Mounds, the answers can be fleeting, contradictory and based on nothing more than personal preference at that moment.

In other words: I like The Flash better than Superman, by and large. And so if I’m reading The Flash – or JLA, or a big crossover – then of course the Flash has to run faster, because that’s what he’s there to do.

On the other hand, if I’m reading a book where Superman is the star, then he is the best at everything, even if you don’t come right out and say it, because in Superman’s stories he is there to be the best at everything.

And thus, we have the dilemma of the shared universe. Lots of comics fans have made their peace with the fact that there will never be a definitive answer to the Who’s Faster question, because there’s no way to empirically measure the magical abilities of nonexistent people.

Unfortunately, the internet is full of people who refuse to accept this, and by god if they have to shout louder and LOUDER to make their point clear, well then by god that’s what they’re gonna do.

The shame of it is, as long as we’re having arguments that can never be solved…why are we sticking to questions as vanilla as who’s stronger/faster/smarter?

Let’s really get into it:

Who’s the better archer: Superman or Green Arrow?
My answer: You’d think, given my above statements, I’d say, “Green Arrow because that’s what he is there to be best at,” but…come on. Now you’re just being contrarian. Just take targeting! Even if Oliver Queen had 20/20 vision on the best day of his life, he is also a man in his 40’s and Superman has SUPER VISION.

On TOP of this, as a veteran city reporter, Clark Kent probably has a better grasp of politics than Mr. “Once I lost my fortune I really got in touch with the little guy” Queen. But if it’s any consolation, there’s one thing he can do better than Superman ever can dream of: wear a snazzy goatee.

Who’s got a better handle on their finances, Superman or Batman?
My Answer: Batman might seem to be an obvious choice, but…have you SEEN Clark Kent’s apartment? That is an apartment in the center of the city, on a reporter’s salary. And it is the size of a fricking airplane hanger. He’s doing something right. I think he’s claiming his glasses as dependents.

Who’s the weirder first date: Hawkman or Aquaman?
See, this one feels like the gift that keeps on giving. Either way, ladies? Avoid provoking an argument too early, and just order the pork loin.

  1. braak says:

    Here’s a good question: why is it that if Superman is the best at everything, he seems incapable of growing a magnificent beard?

    Aquaman has a better beard, Green Arrow has a better beard. When Batman got sent back in time to Caveman Days, HE had a better beard.

    Superman must shave, right? Probably using his heat vision or a chainsaw. But why would he do that, when by all rights he ought to have a SUPER-BEARD?

  2. braak says:

    Superman should have a beard like fucking Moses coming down from Mount Sinai.

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    Superman “shaves” by reflecting his heat-vision back onto his whiskers using a piece of the shuttle that brought him from Krypton.

    So I’m assuming that even though TECHNICALLY if he grew out the beard it would be able to beat up the beards of Green Arrow, Aquaman and CaveBatman combined, the moment he wanted to shave it off, it would be a HUGE production requiring the help of a STAR Labs laser and some kind of space-mirror.

    Also, for some reason Superman is the only hero for whom a full beard signifies that he has become a hobo, or otherwise neglected by Metropolis.

  4. braak says:

    I think Batman is better at managing his finances, though, and here’s why: when Superman needs money, he can just get some charcoal and crush it into diamonds, and then sell those diamonds to DeBeers, or something. That’s not really money “management”, that’s just having a huge source of income.

    But Batman MUST be an amazing financial manager, because not only is he always spending a billion dollars on a car that has rockets and can use a grappling hook to drive up walls, and another TRILLION dollars building a nuclear-powered space station with a cafeteria, but somehow he’s still rich.

    I guess it helps that Wayne Industries’ major comeptitor — LexCorp — also routinely blows a trillion dollars on insane space-robot mind-control projects that eventually get punched by Superman.

  5. braak says:

    Remember in JLA One Million, when Superman spent a thousand years as a space hobo at the edges of the galaxy, and he came back with basically a five o’clock shadow?

  6. Jeff Holland says:

    How DOES one apply to be the Justice League’s lunchlady, anyway?

  7. Jeff Holland says:

    This brings up another good question: Which company has the shittier employee bonuses because its CEO is blowing billions on his personal hobbies?

  8. Moff says:

    That would be a great arc: Superman is in a coma for a few months, during which time his beard and hair grow so wildly that once he awakes, shaving and cutting them have become a major problem. Because he can’t go back to work as Clark Kent if he doesn’t get rid of the beard.

  9. braak says:

    “Hey, Clark! I almost didn’t recognize you…huh, that’s funny. Doesn’t Superman ALSO wear a gigantic beard these days? Are…are you…?

    Oh, nevermind. What am I even thinking? You wear glasses.”

  10. Moff says:

    “How was your unannounced sabbatical that just happened to coincide with Superman’s being pummeled into unconsciousness?”

  11. Jeff Holland says:

    Now I need to dig into the 60’s comics to see if there’s a story about “THE DEADLY PERIL OF THE SUPER-BEARD OF STEEL: A NOVEL IN THREE PARTS!”

  12. braak says:

    “Superman! You have to find a way to cut your invincible beard! You must shave it off by tonight…or I’ll die!”

    “Sorry, Jimmy, but the swinging ladies of Metropolis find it irresistable!”

  13. Jeff Holland says:

    I want to go home and draw now.

  14. braak says:

    In this story, incidentally, alien men who are jealous of Earth’s copious shaving technologies, use a red-Kryptonite BEARD RAY in order to give Superman a beard, which humanity would then have to destroy all of its razors on in trying to eliminate.

    They are eventually vanquished by the Beard Society, who have reformed from their evil bearding ways, and only want humanity to love the TRUE beard.

  15. w/r/t Lexcorp and Wayne Industries bonuses
    if either Luthor or Wayne have halfway decent lawyers their adventuring budgets are tied into some kind of tax shelter. Batman’s shit has got to all be secret defense contract R&D. Bonuses are prolly ok at Wayne Industries. Luthor doesnt seem like the type who gives anyone bonuses, just ebcause hes a dick like that.

    also, whose to say the watchtower wasnt funded by Superman heat vision princess cut diamonds and simply contracted to Wayne Industries as a way to offset batman’s adventuring expenditures.

    What happens to tax laws if Wayne Industries is technically based out of Themyscira?

  16. braak says:

    All good questions.

    I was just thinking about what it means for WayneTech and LexCorp to be competing for defense contracts, when Batman has the secret edge of knowing that all of LexCorp’s designs are probably going to get free and then have to be punched into space by Superman.

  17. Maureen says:

    For times when Superman grows a beard (like, in a coma) and then needs to shave it off, wouldn’t it just be easier for Clark to keep a small sample of Kryptonite under massive amounts of lead shielding in his apartment and then, when he needs to get rid of the Super-Beard, have Lois take it out, put it close enough to him where he scores human-average on strength tests, and then Lois can shave him? At that point the Kryptonite should weaken his hair follicles to the point where they can be cut by a Mach 3.

  18. Jeff Holland says:

    Well, see, Kryptonite hurts him. I don’t know if there’s a precise distance where it kicks in, but usually there’s not much middle ground between “Oh, I feel fine,” and “GAAAAH I AM WRITHING AROUND ON THE GROUND IN IMMENSE PAIN GAAAAH.”

    So it’s probably an option, but not at the top of the list. It’s probably plan C or lower.

    As for bonuses at LexCorp, I think Luthor probably gives out some pretty sweet bonuses, but only to people he thinks it might be funny to then fire for no good reason. The John Byrne version of Luthor at least. He was all about elaborate acts of petty assholery.

  19. braak says:

    I don’t know. I generally think of Lex Luthor as the kind of Godfather-like boss who always rewards good employees really well. Probably at the same time he throws his bad employees into a pit full of robot alligators.

    “Milton, excellent, you received your bonus check. I want you to know how much I appreciate your work in our accounting department. Screaming? What screaming…? Oh, you mean Bob. He used a sick day for personal time, a clear violation of LexCorp vacation policy.”

    I imagine Lex would also do that if there was ever any suggestion that you might be better at spreadsheets than he was.

  20. Luthor though always comes across as a super driven dude. “By the power of will alone I conquer the universe” type of cat. Thusly, anyone he sees as not driven he has great disdain for. Not everyone at LexCorp is going to be a genius of some sort, so, most employees probably get shafted pretty hard. I feel like even with his superman killing hobby taking so much time, he’d probably be a micromanager, screaming on that entry level engineer for not realizing his design for the new LexCorp mech wasted .003% of it’s power resources on “safety features”

  21. Moff says:

    I can’t see him ever using spreadsheets. “Do the math in your head, you buffoon!”

  22. Jeff Holland says:

    Aaaand now I’m just picturing Doctor Doom using Excel.

    “All right, and now I just…input the dates – wait, why does it keep changing them to hashtags? I only want to…RIIIIIIIICHAAAAAARDS!!!!!”

  23. “This file has not been saved. Are you sure you want to close it?”
    Doom, does not wish to be chided by a mere machine! Automaton, your impudence insults Doom, prepare to be annihilated!

  24. braak says:

    Latverian programmers work overtime to rewrite Excel to be sufficiently subservient to the will of Doom.

  25. Erin says:

    Who’s better at managing finances? Well, one of them is the richest man in the world, and the other… wears a Batsuit and pays his taxes. Didn’t I cover this a week ago?

  26. Its not a question of strict wealth. Clearly Superman can make money in the palm of his hand (no crack sales). The issue here is who’se better at managing the funds they have. Superman is wildly fiscally conservative because of his middle american upbringing. I think that’s the real issue to be discussed here. Also, is Superman a white hat Republican?

  27. braak says:

    I think Superman probably has to take a pretty firm “I’m staying out of politics stance”, in order to avoid the intense and muddy complications of getting involved in American politics.

  28. Nah im not talking about his voting allegiance. More his ideological beliefs and actions. With his love of America and alliance with the American gov’t he feels more ideologically Republican. While Batman is clearly more or less a facist.

  29. Erin says:

    Superman, a symbol of the American immigrant, ideologically Republican? Look, Ray. I like The Dark Knight Returns, too. That doesn’t mean Frank Miller understood Superman.

  30. braak says:

    Well, the thing is, the idea that Republicans love America more than Democrats is kind of illusory. FDR didn’t set up Social Security because he hated America, and Lyndon Johnson didn’t set up Medicare because he wished he lived in France. I think if Superman had to come down, he’d probably–like Captain America–turn out to be a New Deal Democrat. Or at least a Bull Moose Republican.

    Besides, there’s no WAY he would ever seriously come down against gay marriage.

  31. Jeff Holland says:

    As evidenced by the 2000 story arc where Lex Luthor became president, Superman does have a pretty strict “no politics” stance, which in that instance meant having faith that the American people could make up their own minds without him imposing his own will upon them.

    Turns out this was a bad call, but it did make for a quirky year or two where Lex Luthor was the DC Universe’s president.

    (Batman, meanwhile, took a “When the time comes to take him down, we’ll take him down” stance – so please let the record show that according to Jeph Loeb and Greg Rucka, Batman’s perfectly willing to remove a sitting president from office if he feels within his rights.)

    And as Erin points out, the only “Ideologue Republican” Superman we’ve ever seen was the Reagan-stooge from DKR – and even Frank Miller said that if he’d been writing a Superman story, rather than a Batman story, Superman would’ve been played entirely differently.

    Granted, that was 1986 Miller, and who knows what that guy’s idea of Superman was like at that point. I would HOPE it wasn’t the guy who showed up in “Dark Knight Strikes Again,” but that thing just gives me a headache if I think about it for more than 30 seconds.

    Anyway, you can boil down Superman’s political leanings to his defining traits: compassion for his fellow man, and an intolerance for “might makes right” – so as Clark Kent, he certainly wouldn’t vote for any party for whom social welfare wasn’t a chief priority.

  32. braak says:

    To be fair to Frank Miller–and this is the one time that I’m going to do that–Superman’s politics in DKR I always felt was a little more complicated than that. It was less that Superman supported the neocon Reagan hologram ideologically, and more that, because of his “I can’t force America to believe what I want it to,” he’d decided to support the existing authority because it still gave him the opportunity to help people. It definitely did not feel like Superman saying, “I’m going to work for Ronald Reagan because I support his political platform.”

  33. Jeff Holland says:

    Yes, good to clarify that.

  34. Hsiang says:

    Bearded Superman will not shave until the Metropolis Monarchs make the division playoffs.

  35. Raheem says:

    To braak way above….uh…perhaps Superman doesn’t WANT a beard at all? that’d be the only reason the magnificent Man of Steel wouldn’t grow one to beat Oliver Queen’s.

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