Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Face-Off: The Batcave vs. The Fortress of Solitude
Karen: OK, we've discussed team headquarters recently. But I promised we'd get to solo hero HQs. I realized though, that there aren't that many great ones. Sure, Dr. Strange has his sanctum sanctorum, but that's really just his house. The only two hideaways really worth discussing belong to the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader. So weigh in: Batcave or Fortress?
Karen: Let's look at the Batcave first. Of course, it's just packed with coolness. You've got all the gear -cars, planes, boats, the massive computer system. I don't know if Batman still uses a nuclear reactor to power the place, but I always thought that was darned cool. Besides all the practical stuff, he also keeps his trophies here. The most famous of these are probably the giant penny, the (mechanical?) Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the giant Joker playing card. But being such a successful crime-fighter, Bats has a bunch of other nifty stuff too. On top of all this, it's a real cave! There are honest to goodness bats and it's dank...it's kind of spooky, exactly the image the Darknight Detective wants to project.
Doug: If I could be so bold as to butt in for a moment, I wanted to add some artwork. Several years ago I had the true pleasure of meeting Golden Age Batman artist Dick Sprang at the Chicago Comicon (these were the days before Wizard took over the show). He was the most wonderful man, really an engaging personality. He was set up at a vendor's booth, hawking a print that he'd been commissioned to draw. He said that he wasn't allowed to sign autographs except on the print; while thoroughly disappointed, I understood, and wished I'd had enough cash to purchase the art. Anyway, it's right below, and should enlarge to a see-able proportion when you click on it. OK, Karen -- back to you!
Karen: Of course, Superman is no slouch either in the HQ department. His fortress is a pretty amazing place. First off, he used to have this big giant key he kept outside the place. It was like he was daring somebody to break in. Of course, he's about the only person who could lift the thing.
Karen: Nowadays most people probably think of the movie version of the Fortress (which is also the version Smallville uses), with its crystalline structures and stark looks. I think they've adapted this somewhat to the comics as well, although I'm not a follower of Superman. But regardless of the appearance of the Fortress, Superman has been known to keep all sorts of amazing super-scientific gizmos there, some of Kryptonian origin. The Phantom Zone projector and the bottle city of Kandor are also to be found here. Kal-El honors his Kryptonian heritage with statues of his birth parents, Jor-El and Lara. He also had a zoo that was made up of creatures from all across the universe. Supes could kick back and relax as his vast army of Superman robots took care of the place.
Karen: Personally, although I dig them both, I have to go with the Batcave. I love all of Batman's toys. But what do you think?