If we were to choose: I’m Batman, and my wife is Superman.
In the first “Batman versus Superman” graphic novel, I thought it was brilliant how the writer showed the differences between the two heroes.
Superman was flying high on a cloudless day, talking about his love of sunshine and helping people. Batman, on the other hand, was digging up a grave in the pitch black night, a rainstorm turning dirt to mud. He was waist-deep in sludge and dead bodies, and loved it.
Two heroes, both having dedicated their lives to helping others. Both fighting for justice, even willing to give their lives for it, yet carrying out their missions in very different ways.
My wife is Superman: she’s nearly always smiling and laughing, whereas I’m more sullen. She’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. She’s amazingly positive, and her smile lights up a room, whereas my scowl is more likely to empty out the same room. She pulls her energy from being with others, whereas being around a great number of people drains me of energy. She prefers crowds, yet I’d much rather be alone.
I’m definitely more Batman. I prefer darkness over light (not spiritually, you see, but LITERAL darkness), whereas she wants every shade in the house OPEN. I’m happier in the dark, for some reason, and can go all day with the shades drawn, stumbling around in the shadows. She wants all the sun and light she can soak up. Personality-wise, I’m more somber and cynical, and that’s not to say I’m a jerk at all, just more withdrawn. I’m more likely to scowl than smile, while her electric personality shimmers and glows.
Let’s put it this way: her idea of the perfect movie theater experience is being in the middle of a packed house of boisterous fans, whooping it up through the whole film. My perfect movie would be one where the two of us are literally the only ones in the theater.
Yet we’ve been together for 37 years and on May 16 celebrated 35 years of marriage. Sure we have disagreements, like every couple, but we’re deliriously happy, and are one of the few couples who could work together 24/7 without killing each other.
Despite what some think, neither personality is better than the other. Many would say I’m “too dark” and hers is more the ideal emotional type, but I disagree.
Because of my decades-long battles with pain and dark emotions, I can minister to people she can’t. The flipside of that coin is she encourages people I cannot.
Neither is better, just different.
We both work for the Lord, serving faithfully and full-time in our respective ministries, but couldn’t be more different.
Here are some qualities of our two aforementioned heroes which show their varying personality types:
Superman: Optimistic, hopeful, gentle, kindhearted, selfless, strong moral convictions & pursuit of truth, prefers daytime/sunshine, strong belief in justice, righteous, simple belief in right and wrong, never-ending battle for truth, seeks to emphasize the strengths in humanity rather than concentrate on its flaws, and finally, has a passionate love for his city and people in general. His drive seems to be more to save people than to fight crime. He also had/has (depending on what story you’re in) positive and loving parents, as well as a well-adjusted, loving and small town upbringing.
Batman: intelligent, obsessively passionate, dark & haunted, pessimistic, suspicious, prefers dark/night, stubborn, determined, loves his city, hates those who seek to destroy it. His drive seems to be more to fight crime and crush evil than help people (although he obviously does that, too). He can be bossy, aloof, vengeful, cynical, arrogant, distrustful, and is not often in a good mood. He very rarely smiles and tries to make a point of being as serious as he can be. The struggle keeps him impassive; others have a harder time reading him, as he keeps himself as straight-faced as possible at all times. He manipulates the laws, standing on the edge of being a villain (an “antihero,” you might say). It is safe to say Batman takes laws into his hands, and is a risk-taker in that regard. Some say these traits are proofs of his tendencies of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Much of this stems from seeing his parents gunned down when he was a child.
As an adult, Batman seems to operate in the same shadows which cloaked him as a kid, as he grew up with the haunting memory of the murder of his mother and father.
My very good friend Jerrod (quoted in my last blog about chronic pain and anger) said, “For Clark Kent, his disguise is Superman. Batman, however IS Batman. Bruce Wayne is the disguise, the affected persona. Nothing about public Bruce is who Batman truly is.”
So who are you, positive, upbeat, sun-and-fun-loving Supes, or brooding, darkness-inhabiting Bats?
Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle; some kind of “Super-Bat” hybrid. I know many people who have bits and pieces of both types, and that’s ok, too.
Both types can get the job done, and one is not better than the other. Like my wife and I, they’re just different.
To wrap up this fascinating study (at least to me), I present this poem, which is the best example I have of my dark-side personality:
“I Bleed Dark”
By Rob Weddle
“Yes, I confess: my hardcore sagas of war pour forth from a tortured core
So please don’t moan in shock and woe…I know where this conversation goes
I’m predisposed to the decomposed, while your pros are composed of roses and bows
Brother Larry and Sister Mary Sunshine whine and dine on divine rhymes
But I was born of a fated bloodline…my spine misaligned, resolved to decline
Thus, somewhere along the line I resigned my mind to a more ghostly design
From sinister regions I whisper tales of dark legions, heavy metal demons
And all those damned Hell-dwellers…screamin’
When pressed to dress for success, I confess:
I pull my motorcycle vest a little tighter ‘round my chest
I’ve tried in vain to explain, but now refrain, complaining NOT of my crippling pain
(Which, by the way, can drive a man insane)
Yet it’s on these rugged waters I embark
When it comes to my art, I cry from the heart
I bleed dark
“Dear Savior, revive the accused! Strangle untruths with a sanctified noose
Let my tales amuse and confuse those who choose a nefarious ruse
May the flight appear black as night!
As long as the white-hot, blood-red light of Christ shines through, and leads to You”
All of this hullabaloo?
Eh, it’s nothing new
Life’s a deranged amusement park in need of a lightning spark
Chosen to be set apart, I’m a seething burn mark…I bleed cold and dark
I suppose I could apologize
From my “crypt” arise
But to profess such would be lies
For it is you, not I, who sees through blinded eyes
So, if an admission of guilt is what you seek, I’m afraid the outlook is bleak
If you charge that my art is too dark, as slivers of charred oak bark
My discourse too scarred, too avant-garde, my words too hard
Please, don’t scribble a note to e-mail me later
Just take it up with my Creator.
I’m not a traitor, I’m merely the translator”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I did putting it together. And remember, no matter the color of your cape, let’s use our gifts to change the world.
(Thanks to https://www.cbr.com/, and my buddies Joe and Jerrod, for helping me with character traits for Supes and Bats )