Mark Waid, the man who wrote Kingdom Come, Superman: Birthright, Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, is one of the greats in the comic book industry today. Recently he sat down with Voices From Krypton to discuss his thoughts and opinions of the dynamic between The Man of Steel and The Caped Crusader.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: In general, what do you feel are the things that separate these characters from each other — the things that keep them diametrically opposed — and what are the things that draw them together?
MARK WAID: The list of qualities that keep the two characters diametrically opposed is huge. Batman was born from a moment of rage and grief and helplessness. Superman was born from tragedy, as well – but a very emotionally removed tragedy, and one that was ultimately about hope and promise and about the continuance of life. Both characters have secret identities and wear masks, but Bruce Wayne’s mask is Batman while Superman’s mask is Clark Kent – one’s posing as something superhuman while the other is pretending to be absolutely normal. While Batman is all about fear and intimidation, Superman is a very relaxed, open, friendly figure – he deliberately doesn’t wear a mask because he knows he has to earn people’s trust, and when you’re impervious to harm, there’s no reason not to be relaxed in your movements and body language. But what draws them together is a mutual thirst for justice and fairness. Batman is, in his heart of heart, always trying to make sure that what happened to him as a boy never happens to anyone else; Superman was raised with a phenomenal respect for human life and is as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to striking at him through his heart and compassion.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: When they work in tandem, what do you feel that they give to each other? I always think of the original Rocky where Paulie asks Rocky what the attraction to Adrian is and he says, “I dunno. She’s got gaps. I got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.” What “gaps” do you think Superman and Batman fill in each other?
MARK WAID: Superman is largely guileless. He’s honest, he knows that his entire existence and acceptance by mankind as a friend and not an enemy requires him to be trustworthy, and he smiles. Batman realizes that having someone like that on your side, able to work in the sunlight, is an asset – not just because of his powers but because there are moments during a crisis when you don’t want the people you’re trying to help to fear you. And Batman genuinely likes Superman because while their methods differ, Batman respects someone who is as dedicated to the cause of justice as he is, and he respects the depth of personal sacrifice called upon for a Superman. But one of Superman’s natural shortcomings is that he can’t think like a criminal. He just can’t. That doesn’t make him stupid or simple – he just has a natural blind spot when it comes to understanding abnormal,anti-social behavior because he’s so trained in being selfless that he can’t put himself in the shoes of someone whose motives are purely selfish. And while he’s an optimist, he’s a realist, too – he understands that there are many, many dark and corrupted men and women who live in the shadows and prey upon the weak, and it takes someone like Batman to help him comprehend what motivates them, how they think, and how they’ll act next. Superman’s in his element when he’s dealing with in-your-face threats or external cataclysms; Batman’s excels at criminal psychology.
VOICES FROM KRYPTON: You’ve made no secret regarding your feelings on Man of Steel, but what are your thoughts regarding the first live-action pairing up of the characters in the sequel?
MARK WAID: I’m optimistic. I worry that the approach will be too cynical for Superman, but I’m willing to keep an open mind – if for no other reason, the eight-year-old in me is still psyched to see a World’s Finest movie.
Source: Comic Book Movie