February 28, 2011

Dark Knight Vs. Gaslight

This morning, while perusing the feeds on my Google Reader account, I came across an item on the Baker Street Blog, which is the best blog about Sherlock Holmes on the planet.

(Seriously - it does for Holmes what Mike Sterling does for Swamp Thing)

But this item caught my attention because it discusses the comparison of Sherlock Holmes to Batman. Driven by a comic movie-based website poll comparing the two characters, the author was amazed that Holmes was...well, losing to Batman.

And I share that blogger's concern.

On the one hand, it would be tempting to counter that poll with snark - it's comparing the recent movie versions of both characters, and I've stated my dislike of the Robert Downey Jr. Holmes movie publicly. However, it does speak to something I had alluded to in talking about Holmes on my other blog - a tendency towards a lack of critical thinking, and that because someone doesn't like something, that it somehow makes it less valid.

Despite Downey's interpretation, the character of Holmes has greater staying power. Both Batman and Sherlock Holmes are about the ultimate "super power" of rationality and intelligence. Holmes has a greater edge in that...well, he came first. If it was not for him, Batman would just be an interestingly clad gentleman with a multitude of cool gadgets.

But even in a fannish discussion of prowess? I would have to say Holmes. Simply put, Holmes did not (seemingly) have the benefit of wealth, power, or a childhood trauma. For those who would argue in favor of the Downey version of Holmes, might I suggest first reading the original "canon", as it were - then, you might get a sense of how Downey could do better.

(And if you wanted to head to comicbookmovie.com's poll and flood it with Holmes answers, I won't stop you)

But for me, given recent events, a more accurate poll would be....Batman Vs. Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Who is the tougher character?

Now that is worth discussing.

1 comment:

Richard Bensam said...

But as you say, there's more than one Batman…and there was only one Brigadier. Any competition would first have to establish which Batman would face Lethbridge-Stewart.

(That said, the Brigadier and Commissioner Gordon joining forces during the Auton Invasion of Gotham City? Now there's a team.)