Vantage point

Thursday, May 30, 2002


I have always been a keen comic-keeda and this current hype regarding Spiderman, the movie, has set the analy-wheels rolling in my head. So here's a critique of various superheroes encountered by Gaurav Sabnis.

In all fairness, let's start with Spiderman. One of my all time favourites. The whole concept of those gadgets around his wrists is really amazing. I hear they don't have those wrist thing in the movie. That's real sad. I loved the way he would crawl on walls and especially the way he jumped from building to building in that strange pose. Sort of the pose you have when you play leapfrog or something. That is a real cool pose. And what is even more fantastic is the mask. Only eyes. No nose, no mouth, nothing. Just those white patches that go for the eyes. Anotehr thing that makes Spiderman amazing is the fact that he is a pariah. Everyone is suspicious of him, he doesn't get the credit he deserves, he is just like one of those vigilantes who, even if they do a good thing, get only flak. He is not in that goody-goody popular Superman mould.

Speaking of Superman, well, who doesn't like Superman. He's a classic character. The whole story idea, the characterisation, everything is so unique. The kryptonite funda is so cool, sort of like an Achilles heel analogy, or Samson's hair. The invincible man with a fatal weakness. It can be and has been used as a very fitting metaphor in day to day life. And the love triangle!! I think that was probably the first time I came across a love triangle. Archie cam much later. The superman movies added to that magic.

One guy I have never been impressed with is Batman. What is the deal with this guy? He can't fly, can't shoot webs, can't do anything. Just has a wierd car and a puny sidekick and a stupid butler. I mean come on, Gotham City, you can do better than that !! He should atleast be able to do some magic like Mandrake or ride horses and rule the jungle like the Phantom. Nahh, just that silly grey-black outfit and away he goes. I think Batman's popularity is an example of the success of marketing.

There have been others. More recently The Mask on Cartoon Network used to be funny until they dubbed it into Hindi. Captain Planet is something only someone with a single digit age can enjoy.

So anyway, what is it about superheroes that fascinates us? Do we try to live through the character a life which we may never be capable of? Is there a deeper significance to the success of Superheroes? Or is it just fun and entertainment? I think a bit of both