It is probably one of my absolute favorite nerd debates, because it has such depth. I’m writing another piece on superheroes and, on a lark, I posted the question on twitter. The result was a back and forth between myself and the Person Behind the Curtain of @humanplusblog:

PopBioethics: If you consider yourself a nerd you know why this is an important question: Is Batman a superhero? Discuss.

Humanplusblog: @PopBioethics Totally a superhero! In addition to his natural smarts, Batman has shown that humans can transcend “normal” to become “super”

PopBioethics: @humanplusblog but he doesn’t have any “powers.” Even the most pointless mutants in X-men are more “super” than he is. Right?

Humanplusblog: @PopBioethics Pointless mutants were *born* super (arguably), but Batman *made* himself super through applied smarts and willpower.

Humanplusblog: @PopBioethics We might need to take this discussion to the blogs – Twitter is too limiting to contain it!

It is, most definitely. I’m still developing this argument, and I’m hoping a more complete, refined version will appear in the final article, but here is the operating core of my argument: Batman never transcends the limits of his own humanity, either biologically or intellectually. That is not an indictment of him or a statement of his weakness. Batman’s humanity is nearly perfected – there is almost no category of human accomplishment that he has not mastered be it physical, social, political, technological, or intellectual. Despite this he never overcomes the limits of the human. That is, in short, why he is not a superhero, merely a heroic crime fighter.

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