A couple days ago I felt the need to dork out for a little bit. My instincts pushed me in the way of a comic book collection that I have acquired from friends, elder brothers, and my own exploits. Grabbing one of my favorites I flipped open the Batman miniseries Knightfall. Five minutes into it I was hit over the head with an idea, Batman, Bat…man.
“Why? Why do we invent these superheroes with animals in there names?” As we all know the list is huge. For starters there’s Wolverine, Spiderman, Batman, Catwoman, and The Penguin. Diving even further there’s Animalman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, and of course Hawkman. What is it about animals that trigger this fascination?
I know each character has a certain connection with the animal he or she named themselves after. Spiderman had the whole spider bite thing. Batman has a minor fear of bats. Wolverine acts like a giant weasel. The Penguin bares a remarkable resemblance to the creature. Catwoman is indeed bona-fide a catlady. But to just restate, why are we interested? Why do writers make these characters?
I see there are multiple reasons, and here I list, so that future generations don’t need to dig through fat, heavy, and beautifully written paragraphs… :
1. We all have an animal inside, and it’s pretty cool to see humans that act like ones
2. We like looking at people dressed as animals (usually in too much spandex)
3. We feel it is a way for us to connect back to nature
4. We like to be clever with references to old Mythology
Choose your favorite and I’m sure you’ll find someone who agrees. But all in all I just think it is interesting that we started up these characters with animals linked to them. The great part is that there are so many reasons to explain why.