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Thoughts on Iron Man and Batman

Thinking about Iron Man and Batman today. They are both popular superheroes who don't have any true superpowers, but do everything with gadgets. They are both orphans. They also both were born into incredible wealth with family-owned corporations. I wonder how they'd have ended up without the money.

Batman I think would definitely be in a different place. He isn't a supergenius. His incredible gadgets were taken from the family corporation's R&D, and his skills were learned traveling the world. If Bruce Wayne was an ordinary orphan with a lesser inheritance, he would have turned out rather different.

Iron Man, though . . . Tony Stark IS a supergenius who actually created his own gadgets. He created his first electromagnet chest piece and Iron Man suit in pretty horrible conditions, in captivity and secrecy when he was supposed to be building something else. I think much of his story could have worked as well without the inherited wealth. Having the family corporation certainly helped him along the way, but it wasn't required to make the story happen. He was a boy genius who went to MIT at 15 and didn't become Iron Man until many years later. It might have been harder or less plausible, but he could have got there on his own.

Are there any major superheroes who don't have either superpowers or inherited riches? I can't think of any.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
I thought Stark build his wealth, initially on investments in weapon design in the Korea/Vietnam era. He became Iron Man because while he was in the field for some kind of R&D trip to Vietnam, he took shrapnel to the chest and needed to build something to keep him alive despite organ failure.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 5th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Um... that was me.
No problem. Unscreened.

As far as I can tell, in all versions of his story, Tony Stark started out pretty similarly to Bruce Wayne - an orphan who inherits a corporation from his father. The difference is that Tony Stark went to MIT and then went to work for that corporation and build it up even larger, whereas Bruce Wayne went travelling around the world and returned to mostly ignore the corporation except to take its technologies for bat-gadgets and to interfere if he doesn't like something it's doing. Though Tony Stark didn't get where he was fully on his own merits, I could imagine him doing so, while I can't imagine the same for Batman.
Jun. 5th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
superheroes without superpowers
The Punisher, the Foolkiller, Jonah Hex. Although Batman does rely upon his mental acuity as well.
Jun. 5th, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: superheroes without superpowers
I guess I haven't thought about the Punisher lately. Though he's not quite as well known as Batman and Iron Man these days, I guess the Punisher qualifies as a major superhero who did not come from wealth and doesn't have superpowers. He is a very different sort of superhero than Batman and Iron Man.

Jonah Hex and Foolkiller are much less popular and well-known, and don't fit the superhero mold very well. I wouldn't call them major superheroes.
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:49 am (UTC)
the tick
Jun. 12th, 2013 06:36 am (UTC)
Superheroes without superpowers or inherited riches is kind of what The Watchmen is about.

Edited at 2013-06-12 06:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I did think of the Watchmen. But my post was more about the really iconic widely-known mainstream superheroes.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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