Alex Bab 3/2/09
American Ways: Graphic Novels The Ideal and The Real
OK, so here is my second go at a prospectus, and I admit, that my ideas certainly need some fine-tuning...the type of fine tuning that only extensive research can provide. But here it goes.
Ever since I was a little kid, one of the most important questions I would always ask people when I was determining whether or not we could have any form of meaningful friendship was "Who is better, Batman or Superman?" Now, I do not have a correct answer to this question: what always mattered to me ultimately was how the individual I was asking justified their response. Myself, I always have been and always will be a Batman man, because I have a dark outlook on the world. And I think that ultimately thats what the dichotmoy between these two titans of comics speaks to...worldviews.
In my paper I want to explore the history and mythology of both Batman and Superman, and how their individual universes depict different views of the world. In my opinoin, Superman depicts man at his ideal...a romanticized version of the hero. Just look at the setting he takes place in: Metropolis-the ulitmate city on the planet it would seem: a Metroplolis depicted constantly in the day. Meanwhile, you can also enter (In the DC Universe) Gotham, a city that is much dirtier, grittier, and rarely portrayed at any time other than night. Ultimately, how do we see the world: are we the "Superman" transcending above the human muck and flying over the world? Or do we see it as Batman: a dark and depraved world that we must delve into to understand, and require a mask for the protection of our individual selves?
I will do my best to keep this paper from going to far into a "who would win in a fight?" type of debate (and besides, its a no-brainer: Batman wins every time). My overall goal here is to explore the two characters as acrhetypes for readers mapping themselves onto them. How do we see the world: A sunny Metropolis or a dark Gotham? I see some potential to bring in theoretical arguments about the movements of nautral realism and romanticism, and I can already tell my topic will evolve as I write.