T Nation

Comic Book Character Help


Quick questions:

Have y'all noticed a correlation between comic book character's bodies and how cerebral they are? In other words, are the big guys more reliant on braun and the smaller guys depend more on their smarts? Has this changed over time?

Any examples would be welcomed.


No. Batman is jacked up (evidenced by his workout as well as how he's drawn) and Bruce Wayne has near genius qualities.

Tony Stark is an actual genius, and he's still in pretty good shape.

Superman is intelligent.

edit - Charles Xavier is super-intelligent AND is in a wheel chair, and they still draw his upper body as impressively developed.

Your observation has more applicability to villains. Joker and Ridder, for example, are more thin and wiry, and I'd call them "cerebral" villains.


I think originally, that was the underlying premise, whether intentional or not (how often does this stereotype prevail in real life?). The past decade or so, I've noticed that pretty much everyone in comicbooks is jacked to some degree. Right when I stopped reading most titles with any regularity, I remember just shaking my head when a cab driver in 2 panels of an X-Men comic had forearms sporting veins and measuring at least 18" -lol.



Bruce Wayne is considered either the 1st or 2nd most intelligent character in DC - the other in the top 2 is Lex "I invented the basis for 'super-science'" Luthor.

Who's also in good shape.


There is are several theories (some based on stereotypical representations) about the body that would suggest the separation of brains and braun. I was wondering if/where these stereotypes are replicated or challenged in comic books. I am looking at starting some research along the lines of how the male body is images, especially over time.


Why do you think there was this change?


Was Luthor originally in good shape or has this changed more recently?


BANE, he is super intelligent.

BEAST, pretty intelligent too.


Yes and no.

Rarely do you see a giant brainy dude. For example Strong Man, Colossus, and Juggernaught are all super huge guys with superstrength/invulnerability powers. None of them have genius level intellects though. The only big genius I can think of is Professor Hulk (Hulk's body, Banner's mind) from the '80s, but that didn't last.

Most geniuses on the hero's side have fairly normal human proportions, though usually well built and ripped. Mr Fantastic, Tony Stark, Ted Knight, Batman, Mr. Terrific, Ted Kord, 1/2 of Firestorm. However Bruce Banner and Peter Parker have been getting shafted over he last 10 years or so. Banner went from a normal 5'10"/180lbs to a 95lb weakling. Ever since Tobey McGuire was cast as Spider-Man, the comics seem to show Peter Parker as a smaller, weaker, nerdier guy.

The evil geniuses tend to be more deformed or smaller physically. Dr Sivana or the Leader are prime examples, while others like MODOK and Hector Hammond are the super deformed types.


He's quite big indeed, but I wouldn't call him "super deformed" unless he has messed up his diet lately.


The real Change as far as a visual one came around the time the Asian or Japanamation craze came into play. Everyone even the guy on the street became Super Huge. Its like every decade the characters get bigger or smaller or more average Joe size depending on the way the average Amercian sees him or herself or would like to.

As far as the Heros depending on power vs the Heros depending on Tech. That divide is becoming smaller every year. The Hulk goes from UG UG smash to physics quite often these days.


That's pretty deformed.


And again.


Sorry, I was making a joke, since there's an username in T-Nation called MODOK.


Superman has super intelligence. I know that in at least one story line (I think Red Son), Lex Luthor was angry about Big Blue beating Luthor in chess.


Depends on the era. Originally he was normal to well built. Then he got turned into a fat mafia don. Then he got jacked, so his body and mind were balanced. With the new 52 he seems back to angry skinny fat nerd.


Yeah Superman is way beyond intelligent. He's a super-genius and I think that gets glossed over a lot because of all those pussies whining about how "unrelatable" he is. He's built toys in his fortress that Batman hasn't even imagined yet.

I've never seen bionic arms on the Batjet. Supes used to have a whole slew of super android doppelgangers powerful enough that one of them could take on the Teen Titans. One of the things I liked about All Star Superman was that Morrison showcased Supes' intelligence along with his physical strength.


Were the 'average Joe on the street' pretty much average before this point? being not that big, not that tall? Has the average Joe and Jane gotten correspondingly fatter as well (following cultural trends)?

I could see how if the guy on the street got bigger the heroes would need to as well.


Are there any heroes or villians that do not have some sort of supernatural (for lack of a better term) back story? The only ones I al familiar with are Superman (from another planet), Spiderman (radioactive spider), and Batman (who has a load of money and anger). Captain America drinks some sort of elixir, correct? (I am surprised I did not see C.A. encourages steroid use headlines). Incredible Hulk was some sort of experiment side effect?


A lot of he guys in he DC Universe have very little in the way of origin stories. Ted Kord/Blue Beetle pretty much just decided to take on the Blue Beetle role when the original BB died. Ted Knight/Starman developed tech that allowed him to fly and shoot ray beams. He decided to fight crime just because. The original Atom (Al Pratt) was a short guy that got beat up a lot. He started training with a pro boxer and became a short little ass kicker.

If he was in a bank when robbers came in he would kick their ass, go home, and change into his costume. Then he would track the robbers to their hideout, and kick their asses all over again. Wiki the Golden Age Justice Society members, most of those guys were average fellas that decided to take on crime fighting for little to no reasons at all.