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Superhero or Not? | Roundtable Discussion

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|by The Comic Book Underground Collective|

Actor/writer and big time comics geek Kevin Grievoux said the other day on his Facebook page that he doesn’t consider Blade as a superhero. Many of the followers on his page disagreed. Naturally, once the subject was presented to the CBU we had our own discussion about it, expanding it into what actually defines a super/hero. It went like this . . .


Brandon Rucker Blade has super abilities and does heroic things and originates from a superhero universe. Break it down however you want but he qualifies in this movie cinematic category, at least halfway. Two different things can be true at the same time.

Stephane Trahan Totally agree . . . If the creation is/was used in a shared super-hero universe it can be/should be considered super-hero/super-villain/super-monster. You can also consider Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, Werewolf by night, Man-thing, Ghost Rider and other such creatures in that ‘ambiguous’ category since they all shared adventures with Marvel heroes at one point or another.

Michael Tennant If Batman can be considered a superhero then why not Blade. I just wonder what criteria they had for excluding Blade.

Brandon Rucker Yep, was gonna make the Batman point.

Michael Tennant A superhero needs not be defined by his powers, but by his heroics . . . that is where the ‘super’ comes in.

Steve Damm I dont know. It seems to me that if your motive is to eradicate vampires for personal reasons then know. At that point the good you do becomes a by-product not the focus. I have always seen Blade as an anti-hero with very little proclivity toward self-sacrifice. Much like Punisher I dont consider him a hero. Im gonna have to say no to the hero part.

Sean McPhillimy Taylor Super hero genre, yes. More anti-hero, yes.

Daryll Benjamin I’m on the same wave as Steve. His mission is more vengeance than noble. It is that one track mindedness that makes him an anti-hero more than a superhero for me.

Brandon Rucker I think that’s focusing too much on the personal of it rather than the actuality of it. Whether your heroic acts are intentional or premeditated, or if your heroic acts are accidental or circumstantial, the end result is still heroic — especially to the recipient of that heroic act. That’s just the simple math of it. Whether intentional hero or reluctant hero, it’s still a hero. And if an antihero wasn’t a producer of heroic acts then we wouldn’t call them a hero, we’d call them a villain. It’s a gray term to be sure, but if operating on a white/black level, again, the term is antiHERO, not villain.

Sean McPhillimy Taylor Brandon, I agree with your points and that strictly speaking, all or nothing, he is a hero. I also happen to agree that if we go nuanced, Steve makes a good case as to why Blade is more like Punisher and an anti-hero. Yes, ultimately he still wants to save people.

Vince London II Blade is a superhero. A dark hero to say the least. His methods would be unorthodox to the typical superhero archetype but I feel he fights an evil on a plane that many normal humans unassociated with the undead. Causing him to use ways others would see heroic. He’s still a superhero by my standards.

John Razumich I agree with Steve and Daryll.

Joe Gardner My limited knowledge of the character sees him as a hero, maybe anti-hero. Seems he is limited to fighting vampires, but that’s still heroic. Now, should he ever succumb to his vampiric side, this could be a different discussion.

Mark Hughey Is John Constantine a superhero? If so, then yes, Blade’s a superhero. I’ve always found both of those to be a little bit of a stretch, but there it is. If you can comfortably classify one, you can’t really preclude the other.

The term, though, sometimes has layers, like an onion. I often times mentally separate Batman and his family, GA and the like (and their similar types from other books/publishers) from “superhero” just because I’ve long equated ‘superhero’ to having para-, meta- or superhuman abilities. Is he (Are they) part of the superhero genre? Sure. Is he a superhero? He’s lump-classified most often, but in my mind I sometimes balk at being able to put the more human vigilante sorts into that same bin. Even if it’s the pinnacle of human ability, his abilities are human or at least humanesque, Given the right circumstances, training, equipment, and means– in other words– someone could conceivably become a Batman. Someone couldn’t suddenly sprout heat vision or an innate ability to fly, or the ability to stretch absurd lengths, or anything like that.


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The CBU is serious about super-heroics!

The Comic Book Underground is a rather passionate and outspoken collective of fans-turned-Fifth Estate journalists who do not shrink at publicly expressing their unsolicited commentary and flagrant opinions on all things comics and popular culture. Join the conversation!

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