EXCLUSIVE: Exploring the SUPERMAN/BATMAN Dynamic With Mark Waid

Despite disappointment that Man of Steel 2 has been pushed back to 2016, fascination with the characters of Superman and Batman continues. The dynamic between those two characters is explored via this exclusive interview with writer Mark Waid.

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By EdGross - 1/19/2014
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Voices From Krypton
continues its exploration of the Superman/Batman dynamic, and what it is about those characters that draw them together and create differences - all in anticipation for 2016's Man of Steel 2 and part of the celebrations of the characters' 75th anniversary (Superman's last year and Batman's this year). Things kicked off with our exclusive interview with writer Greg Pak, and continue now with this brief, exclusive chat with Mark Waid.

Waid, currently writer of Marvel's Daredevil and The Indestructible Hulk, owner of the digital comics site Thrillbent.com, and seemingly non-stop writing machine, has a long history in comics that includes many stories featuring Superman and Batman (indeed, his first sale to DC was an eight-page Superman story). Among those are JLA, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary). VFK was able to pry Waid away from his keyboard long enough to answer a couple of questions regarding the Superman/Batman dynamic.

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.

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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.

kingdom come supermanbatman2

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.

To read an extensive 20,000 + word running Q&A with Mark Waid regarding Superman: Birthright, as well as his original pitch and outline for the maxi-series, just click on the image below to order the ebook.

vfk cbm1

For our exclusive interview with Greg Pak regarding the Superman/Batman dynamic, click HERE.
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Jollem - 1/19/2014, 8:57 AM
"and he smiles." lol

great interview
SuperCat - 1/19/2014, 9:05 AM
Good interview. F@ck you, WB!
charlie2094 - 1/19/2014, 9:06 AM
Great interview, completely agree with a lot what he said, hoping the movie will really explore all this and have a good dynamic between the two of them, not just forced together for the sake of it...

Shame about the delay, but hopefully it works out for the best
Minato - 1/19/2014, 9:08 AM

Jollem - 1/19/2014, 9:11 AM
SuperCat - 1/19/2014, 9:12 AM
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 1/19/2014, 9:13 AM
SuperCat
LMAO
SuperCat - 1/19/2014, 9:13 AM
dckizzle - 1/19/2014, 9:14 AM
I'm so excited for this movie and it will be awesome even to haters
Ranger14 - 1/19/2014, 9:16 AM
"Superman is a very relaxed, open, friendly figure"

Which I really hope we get to see in the sequel...or whatever they end up referring to it as.

"I worry that the approach will be too cynical for Superman"

One of my worries as well. I would really like to see a positive and vibrant Superman and I am skeptical as to whether we will get that or not. Time will tell..,

TheBaroness89 - 1/19/2014, 9:17 AM
Hopefully Ben Affleck can bring the Batman that we want to see on screen *cough*cough* see Arkham Asylum Arkham City and Arkham Origins...
Bale's version of Batman or really Nolan's vision- the gloomy non detective barely fighting sobbing quitter doesn't really fit in Man of Steel universe.
ALmight - 1/19/2014, 9:18 AM
Perhaps Snider should be consulting Waid over Miller for BvS... but then again perhaps Snider was not too keen about the "Disaster Porn" comment.
revloveR - 1/19/2014, 9:18 AM
they're not making batman vs superman. they've scrapped that and are just going full blown justice league. that's the reason for the delay.
MercwithMouth - 1/19/2014, 9:19 AM
Superman's a [frick]ing Boy Scout. Batman's a badass.

It's kinda like the nerdy kid looking up to the kid in the leather jacket that has girls hanging off his arm.

I think they both aspire to be what the other is. Batman isn't the optimist that Superman is, but wishes he could be.

Superman isn't the intelligent, realistic man that Batman is, but wishes he could be.

Nevertheless, Superman sucks. Batman is the [frick]ing man! I hope in the movie they let Batman take down Superman, show him that for all his strength, intelligence can win.
ScorpioRisin - 1/19/2014, 9:19 AM
Can't take this guy seriously after being such a crybaby over MoS.
acidbath - 1/19/2014, 9:20 AM
Trollolol jollem
YoDawg - 1/19/2014, 9:21 AM
@Jollem

Real men buy Marvel and DC. COME AT ME BRO
pointman - 1/19/2014, 9:22 AM
The studios pushing movies back just makes the whole project loose it's oomph, ala' star trek. That scene they posted between Clark and Bruce is one of the best things ever put to print. It totally defines who they are.
revloveR - 1/19/2014, 9:23 AM

they're not interested in a build up because they're afraid solo's from wondy, flash and gl won't make a billion dollars. they're not interested in investing time and money because they think the GA are supposed to fall in love with these characters instantly.

people talk about fans being inpatient, as if WB isn't.
MsDarkPhoenix - 1/19/2014, 9:24 AM
I just love WB right now! They are like 'Come on Marvel, will you leave Dr. Strange or Black Panther compete our *almost* Justice League movie?? Lol no you won't bitches'. 10 bucks says Marvel will change the release date of the untitled movie, and if they won't, well, then I guess they do have some guts!! And Fox is just staying in the back watching like 'Hey we have Quicksilver trololol, we'll make an Apocalypse movie!!'

The Marvel/DC Comics war may be stupid, but the Warner Bros/Marvel Studios war is so on! Someone should bring pop corn!!
YoDawg - 1/19/2014, 9:24 AM
But yeah I was hyped to really see their dynamic and shit but [frick] man I found out it got delayed after I refreshed the page 26 times to make sure I was reading it right and my computer wasn't just [frick]ing up.
Prime - 1/19/2014, 9:26 AM
Batman can go [frick] himself and so can WB.
MercwithMouth - 1/19/2014, 9:28 AM
@Phoenix

It's an interesting theory isn't it?

Although I would look at WB pulling BvS away from Age of Ultron. Who would want to compete with the highest grossing CBM ever?

As much as I hate Superman, I am looking forward to this movie. I love Batman, and I want to see what Snyder's take on the Bat is, and what Affleck can bring to it. Also, I'm curious what Snyder saw in Gal Gadot to cast her as Wonder Woman. Snyder's been good with casting, so he must've seen something that we don't understand yet.
GliderMan - 1/19/2014, 9:28 AM
She's talking to angels, counting the stars
Making a wish on a passing car
She's dancing with strangers, falling apart
Waiting for Superman to pick her up..
In his arms, yeah
In his arms, yeah
Waiting for Superman
MercwithMouth - 1/19/2014, 9:29 AM
**the sequel to the highest grossing...**
ALmight - 1/19/2014, 9:30 AM
@ScorpioRisin-The guy has written some of the best Superman stories ever told, and he was technically Superman's historian for DC for many years. I think that alone not only entitles him to his opinion but also makes them valid.
Prime - 1/19/2014, 9:31 AM
Seems I won't see a solo Superman movie for a while. [frick] this shit WB.
ELgUaSoN - 1/19/2014, 9:32 AM

lmfao

ELgUaSoN - 1/19/2014, 9:32 AM
OwenWilsonsNose - 1/19/2014, 9:34 AM
He cried about cod killing superm
Prime - 1/19/2014, 9:35 AM
@ Owen who?
kevberg - 1/19/2014, 9:38 AM
Yeah @Jollem--

Sean Penn...a d@ckless peice of sh@t that is wife beater, owns a stock pile of guns ( hypocrite) and a communist coke head.

Real man?... maybe in your tiny world.
Jollem - 1/19/2014, 9:39 AM
chill out, guys
MsDarkPhoenix - 1/19/2014, 9:39 AM
@MercwithMouth I think that they could deal with AoU. Both movies would do great even if they were just a month away! But they know better at WB. They realized that they should go against a solo Marvel movie. And they know that Marvel won't risk it, so they'll move the release date and then everyone in WB is going to laugh about it.

But I'd like to see Marvel not changing the release date... If they don't, I'm telling you, I'll go see the Marvel film instead!! But they won't risk it, I remember that Catching Fire had the same release date with TDW and they moved it, there is no way they are going to challenge BvS!!
Knightrider - 1/19/2014, 9:45 AM
Seems like WB can't win. People said they were rushing, so now the movie has been pushed back...so people complain that they are taking their time.

I hate that whole "I don't kill, it is my one rule" it isn't! He flat out executed Zod in one storyline, and if want a prime example: 'Doomsday'. I guess can argue they both came back to life, but he wasn't to know that when he killed them.

Superman never wants to take a life, but if he has too he will.

I love Birthright, it is a great take on the Superman origin, but if an alien is about to destroy to planet. You bet your mortage Superman kills that so-of-a-gun.
MercwithMouth - 1/19/2014, 9:45 AM
@Phoenix

Oh, don't worry , I see the genius in delaying it. There's no point in competing with a monster like Avengers. And yes, I do think Marvel will move whatever they have upcoming. It's smart business on both sides. They are competitors, but they also need to leave each other space for their biggest franchises to succeed. It's good for the genre if both succeed.
ScorpioRisin - 1/19/2014, 9:47 AM
@ALmight
He's not the only person that has written Superman though and he's entitled to his opinion alright. I don't give him shit for disliking MoS, I give him shit for crying in the theater and making a fuss over ONE adaptation of Superman, one that is not even relevant to the comics. He's a grown adult for [frick]'s sake. I get the whole "emotionally connected to the character" angle, but give me a break.
TheBlackNerd - 1/19/2014, 9:48 AM
You know, I've been watching the Justice League series on Netflix and I really don't see why so many people argue about Superman being this friendly fellow walking around smiling and fighting for all positive manners. Even within the show Superman is pushed beyond his limits at times to where he almost loses his character and there are members on the team that actually do keep him humble. I think his character has a LOT of room left to grow as this franchise expands.
Knightrider - 1/19/2014, 9:50 AM
@BlackNerd Exactly, he made mistakes, got angry, would lose control from time to time. A lot of people seem to still have the 80's over powered version of the character in their heads.
MsDarkPhoenix - 1/19/2014, 9:51 AM
@Merc That's right! Anyway, I'm still interested to see which one will make more, AoU or BvS?? On the one hand people love Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman but the Avengers have gained many fans lately! 2015 and 2016 will be interesting... BRING IT ON!!
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