1909 The Little Sage.

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I’m tired and struggling to put thoughts together about what I want to talk about. I asked the discord server & they… Tried their best, bless their hearts.
My favorite comic book villains was suggested. I haven’t really considered that since ranking things in that way isn’t something I generally concern myself with. I was struck by this thought though: Bataman is a more popular hero because he has better enemies than Superman or whoever. The Joker is such a perfect counter to Batman that it makes his stories more compelling while Superman struggles to resonate. That’s true, on some level for all the other heroes in the DC universe even thought they do have good foils in some cases, but they rarely play off of each other in the same way Batman & the Joker do. Lex Luthor is always at a disadvantage when it comes to Superman, which I feel imbalances their relationship whereas Batman & Joker are at least both, essentially, regular humans. All of that said, when written well the feud between Superman and Luthor is exquisite. The best version off all of this has always been in the DCAU in my mind. Lex Luthor wants power and he could have it without worrying about Superman if he chose too. The Joker wants to break Batman in some kind of primal obsession. To show him that the struggle is ultimately pointless & everything is a joke. He’s practically a supernatural force sent to plague Batman. A literal nemesis. Some agent sent to punish Batman for his hubris.

I would say that the nearest Marvel equivalent might be Professor X & Magneto even though they aren’t always enemies. The complexity of their relationship is similar in some ways even though it’s not as black and white as Joker & Batman. It’s harder to pick out the nemesis of some heroes in both universes. Like Wolverine was often pitted against Sabertooth, but my mind doesn’t jump instantly to him as his nemesis. With Spiderman it’s harder to pin down because he always seems to get ganged up on by people who hate him. Doc Oc, Vulture, Electro, Rhino, Green Goblin, Venom… If I had to choose I would say that Norman Osborne is Spiderman’s true nemesis although I think the case could be made that it’s actually Doc Oc. Of course these are all based on the version of these characters from the 80s and 90s, which is basically where my knowledge ends. DC comics tend to skew towards heroes having a clear nemesis more than Marvel.

30 Comments

Great comic as always, sir. I agree with your view of the Batman / Joker relationship. For me, I’m a Spider-Man guy. And for me, he has a great “rogues gallery”/ The way I see it, Spider-Man is basically a showing of the nature vs nurture argument. Here’s a kid with basically no advantages in life, so when he gets his super power, he surrenders to his base nature, trying to use them for profit. But after Uncle Ben dies, his nurture kicks in, and he tries to redeem himself while protecting the city.
His villians are basically reflections of himself. That’s why most of them are animal based OR science based. His enemies basically reinforce the whole “if things were just a little different, I could have ended up like that.” Batman sees his villians as lost causes. Spider-man almost always sees the potential for redemption.

Spiderman is also relatable in a way that few superheroes are.

He isn’t rich, heir to a mystic power, last survivor of an alien world, or any of that crap.
He’s just some kid who got bit by a spider. And now he has to deal with that ON TOP of all the normal life problems of a kid in high school. (When his health teacher said his body would undergo some changes, she had NO IDEA.)

More than just about any superhero, he’s someone the audience can appreciate on a personal level, and it makes him a LOT of people’s favorite.

Yeah, but in every interpretation I’ve ever seen, they just turn him into a whiny twit. That’s fine for right at the beginning, but he never seems to grow and come to terms with his situation. Maybe I’ve just seen the wrong iterations, I dunno.

Also, relatable is not always a desirable trait in a fantasy character. Just saying.

Spidey is one of those heroes who shows you can rise above yourself to do the right thing. He’s like the superhero version of Rocky Balboa–he never gives up. When he is doing what he has to do, you’d have to kill him to stop him.

And that is why Steve “Captain America” Rogers calls him “one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.”

There is also the self-control, intelligence, self-deprecation and a core of insecurity covered in a shell of sarcastic wit.

Unfortunately some of the writers interpret the insecurity as whineyness.
At least he never got the sausage-foot-pouches-everywhere treatment.

Most of the Marvel geniuses are at their levels of knowledge and skill when well into their mature years, with the top ranked being Henry Pymm.
Here is this High-school, then latter on college student, able to not only keep up with them on near any scientific subject but at times surpassing his peers.

As has been commented on by beings from outside the normal meilu of Marvel characters who do more watching than medling, that Spidey has a lot more power at his disposal than even he knows.

I actually think the most similar marvel pairing is probably Thor and Loki. There is more of a jealousy aspect there and thirst for power from Loki. Daredevil vs. Kingpin and Fantastic Four vs Dr. Doom are some additional fun Marvel nemesis relationships. I especially like when they bring in the questions of sovereignty and international law with Dr. Doom.

Except Loki and Thor occasionally work together

Well, traditionally, they have the same Father,… So being brothers makes it an extra-sticky wicket, as they say. The jealousy of Sibling Rivalry is extra tasty rivalry. Not merely drama, but drama with a capital D, or maybe Drama X 10^2, extra,extra drama,… Sans Llama.

Now I’m thinking ahead to Little Old Lady Jo sitting in a rocking chair and advising the young whippersnappers. XD

Maybe sitting in her rocker, on top of a mountain, in front of a cave, dressed in a sari; answering life’s Most Perplexing Questions®. She already has the wisdom of Lukas, Myazaki, Spielberg, Kurazowa, Tati, Lumiere, etc. by the time she’s in her 5th decade she could be a world class Guru– not merely life coach, but a Force Majeure in the world of international relations and diplomacy.

In all honesty, I think Spiderman’s real true nemesis is J. Jonah Jameson. Spiderman manages to defeat most of the villains he fights, in a way that some of them actually appreciate his dedication to protecting New York and his tenacity (Doc Oc often points out how annoying, but admirable, it is that Spiderman doesn’t just give up). But when it comes to Jameson, the man often sets the entire city against Spiderman, and he’s the reason Peter Parker is often poor and not able to cash in on his super hero identity.

While everyone thinks of Magneto as Professor X’s main opponent, they are both actually just trying to figure out how to keep humanity from killing off or enslaving all the mutants on Earth. If Prof X had a real opponent, a real super villain nemesis, its either Mr. Sinister or Apocalypse. These mutants have really terrible agendas.

I don’t think the Joker wants to break Batman, but rather to stop being so serious and to relax. I think this was the most evident in Batman #25 (The war of Jokes and Riddles). Growing up, I was a Spider-Man guy, but as I’ve gotten older, I find I’m more a Nightwing or Ms. Marvel fan.

I’m surprised how everyone here has forgotten Spider-man’s actual arch-nemesis… The enemy that every Spider-man has, in almost every version of the multiverse.

I believe it was Hobgoblin 2099 that told Spider-man “Every Spider-man has one” when asked who he was. Hobgoblin is very similar to the Joker, in that he is a culmination of Spider-man’s past deeds come to haunt him.

The Green Goblin is iconic, and inspires the Hobgoblin in just about every incarnation that the Green Goblin appears in… But the Hobgoblin is always present, and always trying to show Spider-man that the consequences of his actions are not always direct.

Growing up in the 60’s-70’s, my good buddy was a Marvel to my DC. We kept each other apprised of what was happening in each universe. Up until then, I felt that DC comics were the only ones worth reading. But I grew to respect Marvel’s soap opera-like approach to building an integrated world where all their heroes co-existed. DC’s episodic stories — while more “heroic” — rarely acknowledged the existence/exploits of any of the characters outside of specific team-up titles (Brave and the Bold, JLA, etc.) And running story lines were almost unheard-of. Batman was my favorite. The Avengers was his.

That being said, it was my impression that Marvel’s style of storytelling doesn’t lend itself to the creation of nemeses as well as DC’s. As in any good soap opera, Marvel’s heroes are flawed, sometimes reluctant, usually hampered in some way, thereby often making themselves their own worst enemy. DC’s approach, while less “intense,” and often less story-driven, yields heroes of a more traditional nature: bigger than life, with external obstacles to overcome. Rarely would they show any flaws, and their limitations were mostly self-imposed. Marvels call this unrealistic. DC’s call this traditional storytelling.

So up until recently, I’ve been a split attention fan of both Marvel and DC. However, Rebirth is just killing me. The Flash especially – it feels like rehashed territory and nothing I want to really read. The Terrifics is like “Meet new superheroes” and gives me old superheroes just rebranded.

However, Heroes in Crisis, Batman/White Knight and Scarlet have my attention. They are pretty good so far. I HOPE they stay that way.

On the Marvel side, Infinitiy Warped is … something I wasn’t prepared for. Titles such as Soldier Supreme (what if Captain America and the Sorcerer Supreme were the same person), Iron Hammer (Thor and Iron Man), Weapon Hex and Wolverine (being combined with Emma Frost’s power). It’s one of Marvel’s unique series that won’t last long enough, but they do this thing every now and then that makes me drop DC comics for a while to pick up new Marvel comics.

Uh, sell me on something in DC that is good, and I’ll give it a try. I have basically had ten main comics (Batman, Detective Comics, Superman, Flash, Shazam, Wonder Woman, JLA, Green Arrow, Scarlet and Deathstroke) and the new Kingdom Come (yeah, I’m a masochist). I’m dropped KC and JLA for Heroes in Crisis, and Deathstroke for White Knight. And I’m dropping Superman and Flash for the Marvel stuff.

I pretty much dropped both houses for any books back when they all went alternative cover crazy.

If I even think of putting money down for coloured ink on mashed up and flattened dead trees, it was for alternative publishing houses and even that has morphed to patreon and kickstarter for the creators who still publish and now transitioned to self publishing.

Part of it is also that Batman is such a perverse hero — over and over, the Joker escapes, kills innocents, is captured, sent back to Arkham to escape again. I’m sure all readers have thought about a double tap to center body mass, for the sake of the children. But we’re always denied, for a reason that … isn’t moronic, yet isn’t extremely convincing? I guess this keeps the interest up.

Btw, I was just re-reading The Dark Knight Returns. Wow, incredible work on all levels by ole Frank. It made his reputation, and deservedly so. (Even if it broke the Batman rules.)

I think in some ways, Mystique is Dr. X’s nemesis. They grew up as siblings, but she turned to the dark side, and often directly attacks his students and team members.

DC’s villains usually are polar opposites to the heroes. Batman is order, Joker is chaos. Superman is a selfless god that wants to be a man, Luthor is a selfish mortal that wants to be a god.

Marvel’s villains tend to be dark mirrors. And that is REALLY highlighted in their movies. Nearly every MCU movie has featured villains that are dark mirrors of the hero that are born of sins of the past. Iron Man/Iron Monger/Whiplash. Black Panther/Killmonger. Thor/Loki/Hela. Ant-Man/Yellowjacket/Ghost. Cap/Red Skull/Winter Soldier. And like someone mentioned above Professor X/Magneto.

There are exceptions, though. For instance, Spider-man is more similar to a DC rogues gallery, like Batman and Flash. Aquaman is more like Marvel with Black Manta and Oceanmaster.

“I am young and run out of wisdom fast.”

That has definitely gotta be part of a meme or slogan on a T-Shirt.
It just needs a leading statement of some kind.
I lack the caffeine and sugar that my little grey cells require to run creatively.
As a substitute I had tried diluted ethanol in various admixtures but it only creates the fantasy that one is being creative and dehydration.

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