1. Which (or what sort of) superheroes/superheroines appeal the most to you, and why?
As a kid, I had a bit of a crush on the Adam West Batman-an upright guy who had a fun life in a fun universe and was clearly enjoying himself, but never let any of that get in the way of being a gentleman or being a crimefighter, as the situation required.
I like the Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man because he’s fun and funny and brilliant and has all the toys, but the films acknowledge that he’s pretty messed up in a lot of ways. I also read a lot of Arthurian knight stories growing up, and so the idea of this dysfunctional man who puts on armor to try and save the day and hold himself to a higher standard than before spoke to that side of me.
I tend to be pretty tolerant of out-and-out vigilante crimefighters fighting mundane criminals, just because I understand the fears that led people to create heroes and anti-heroes like that. I was in my teens, commuting to high school on a train in a large, not-hugely-safe city in another country, the first time I saw the Dirty Harry movies. I’d love to see a rogue-vigilante movie starring the Anne Hathaway Catwoman.
The recent Thor, Captain America, and Batman movies were all cases where I didn’t feel that strongly about the main character but enjoyed the universes they inhabited and the points the filmmakers were trying to make.
2. Which (or what sort of) superheroes/superheroines turn you off, and why?
Social activist/social allegory superheroes. I’m here for the escapism, not to be preached at. I liked Wonder Woman better when she was Lynda Carter fighting Nazis/1970s mundanes with some sympathetic military guy loafing around in the background than when she’s living among the Amazons and the fans are hyping the latter as some kind of feminist utopia (or are being annoyed at the writers for not portraying it that way). I tolerate the X-Men because they offset the preaching with alot of pure unadulterated superhero weirdness and soap opera.
I don’t like “superhero vs the military” storylines (unless you’re the Ang Lee Hulk, featuring Sam Elliott as the world’s most nuanced take on Gen. Ross), for reasons that are not appropriate to discuss on this forum.
3. What sort of things do you look for in a superhero/ine? Is appearance everything to you, or how ‘badass’ s/he is (as in how good s/he is against his/her foes), or the kind of person s/he is (morally impeccable like Superman, or bad-tempered like the Hulk, or arrogant like Namor etc), or the concept of the superhero/ine (whether s/he’s a mutant, magic-based, uses all sorts of futuristic gadgets, is a god/dess etc), or a bit of all these?
Entertainment value, really. I was only a moderate comics reader at best, but I’ve seen most of the mainstream superhero movies at the cheap theater (and sometimes the expensive theater) since Batman Forever. If the good guys are likable, the bad guys are bad, and the spectacles are spectacular, I go home happy. Appearance only matters if their outfits are some kind of power armor (which I like) or are vulgar enough (Batman and Robin, Halle Berry Catwoman) to where I’m uncomfortable watching them. I prefer that they not be too self-righteous, because while the old school of actors were fairly good at portraying people who were earnest and well-intentioned and generally decent without being overly pompous (George Reeves, Adam West, Lynda Carter, Bill Bixby), the new school are generally *not*.
4. If YOU could have FOUR superpowers, what would they be?
Iron Man’s resources (brains, money, connections, trusted associates) plus Invisibility, plus a controllable form of the Hulkout (including the superjump/pseudoflight thing, and whatever it is that keeps the Hulk from actually killing innocent bystanders), plus magic hulk-resistant wardrobe.
Yeah, I have to agree with the escapism idea. I hate it when writers change characters to espouse their personal beliefs. Animal Man becoming vegeterian is one that sticks out in my mind at the moment. The escapism was also hard to explain to coworkers who just don’t get why I read fantasy & s-f, rather than ‘realistic’ novels. I live in the real world, at home, on the job, and everywhere else. I don’t want my entertainment to just be more of that; I want something different. They don’t get why I would spend two weeks at Pennsic, wearing Medieval garb, either. I doubt they would understand any explanation I could give them.
As far as the Hulk-proof wardrobe, I seem to recall (at least in the older comics, I haven’t read any in years) that no matter what color Bruce Banner’s clothes were, after his transformation the Hulk’s ripped pants were alway purple. A side effect of the gamma rays, perhaps?