On Spiderman

Superman vs. the Amazing Spiderman

By Keith R. A. DeCandido

Everyone always wants to know who’d win in a fight. Could the Hulk beat the Thing?1 Could Batman beat Super-man?2 Could Superman beat Flash in a foot race?3 And then you go between universes–can Thor beat Superman?4 Can Batman beat Captain America?5 Can Superman beat Spider-Man?6

But it’s not the fight that interests me, but rather the representation of the respective characters in the pantheon of heroes. After all, the symbol of DC Comics is Superman, and the symbol of Marvel Comics is Spider-Man. Yes, there are arguments to be made for Batman and the X-Men, but ultimately it’s Supes and Spidey that are first in line in the mass consciousness for superherodom. It’s no coincidence that the first ever team-up comic between Marvel and DC featured these two, back in 1976.7

The question of who would win in a fight is of less interest, beyond the chatting-over-a-beer stage, simply because fights are volatile things. There are so many elements that factor into who would win a fight beyond simple raw skill set that it’s impossible to predict. Sure, Superman probably would win in a fight against Spider-Man, but there are several circumstances under which Spider-Man could win the fight. In the aforementioned 1976 team-up comic, Spider-Man was surreptitiously zapped with a red-sun blast by Lex Luthor, enabling him to (temporarily) wipe the floor with Superman. Heck, all things being equal, Superman would make mulch out of Batman, yet Frank Miller wrote a quite convincing defeat of Superman by Batman,  …

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