We all wonder what it would be like if we were comic book super heroes from time to time, our own parental hero status notwithstanding. Sometimes we envision being Thor, others
Aquaman Mr. Incredible. Even still, there are times we let our imagination run wild and we’re a spectacular combination of brute strength, spidey sense, nifty gadgets, and charming wit all rolled into one. But have you ever considered which superhero you are as a father? Check out these character profiles to find your super hero counterpart.
The Caped Crusader is a wealthy businessman by day and a crime fighter by night. Dark Knight dads go do the 9-5 thing, whether it be the office or the warehouse, and then instead of kicking back in the recliner while catching the highlights on Sports Center, immediately prepare for an adventurous night getting their hands dirty. Between changing diapers, building forts, attending tea parties, and reading bedtime stories, you’re left exhausted, yet proud of the good work you’ve done for the people of Gotham.
Bruce Wayne gets the Batmobile; you get the minivan. He spends his down time in the ultra-high-tech Batcave. Everywhere you look, you see gadgets that appear as if they’ve leaped right out of a sci-fi novel. You spend yours in a playroom with enough toys to choke an elephant. Your high-tech gadget of choice is the $700 iPad on which your three-year-old is reading Moo, Baa, La La La. It may not stop anyone from robbing banks, but it will prevent a nuclear meltdown in the backseat on a family road trip.
What you lack in powers you more than make up for with your indomitable will and genius-level intellect. Okay, so maybe I’m embellishing that last part just a bit, but you get the point. Most men would be driven mad and committed to Arkham Asylum if they were required to host a play date or chaperone a 2nd grade field trip to the zoo. But not you. There’s something intangible that makes you the superhero that you are.
Ah, good ole Captain America. The man literally symbolizes the American spirit. Depending on what generation you grew up in, there’s a good chance you aspired to be Steve Rogers – taking names and kicking tail. Capt. America excels at (much like most popular superheroes of his time) virtually everything: shooting, fighting, and strategics. What sets him apart from the rest of the pack is how he became what he is today. His is a tail of rags to riches, where most other superheroes were bumped from the middle class.
Dads who identify with Captain America are the ones who started from nothing – no positive role model, no mentor, nothing that would help him do anything great as a father. Rogers was injected with the Super-Soldier Serum and was transformed from a puny little runt who couldn’t even get his name on the Army’s papers during wartime. You more than likely realized you and your spouse were expecting when out of nowhere an insatiable thirst for knowledge about being a great dad. You went from not knowing how to change a diaper to feeding, burping, and bathing the little guy while mommy enjoys a much needed (and deserved) soak in the tub.
Without those miracle elements – super soldier serum or the epiphany – neither of you would be the image of hope and awesomeness that you are today.
The duality of the Incredible Hulk’s ethos is perplexing. On one hand, you have the brilliant nuclear physicist Dr. Bruce Banner (Happy Dad), who is deliberate, reserved, and otherwise “normal” in every regard. On the other hand, however, you have the loud, short-tempered, intimidating monster with superhuman abilities that often leaves a pile of debris in his wake (Angry Dad).
You and the not-so-jolly green giant are both well-meaning men of integrity… when things are running smoothly, the kids are behaving well, and Chitauri isn’t attacking the Earth. Everything changes as soon as the road gets a little bumpy. Those close to you know to run for cover before you “hulk out,” which makes for an uncomfortable situation for all involved. When you’re known to team up with people just as often as you fight them, it’s hard to have you around. Just ask your son… or the next guy on our list.
Wolverine, also referred to as Weapon X, is the lone wolf of the X-Men. His rough-around-the-edges exterior and no non-sense attitude are betrayed by the emotion displayed when you bring up “the one that got away,” Jean Grey. Despite his lone wolf persona, his friends know they can count on him when the need him the most.
Dads that identify most with Logan are the single-fathers of our community. Your agility and stamina help you juggle numerous responsibilities without coming to a crashing halt. When the other mutants are getting together to enjoy the fruits of their labor, Wolverine is often still on a mission – one that only he can pull off. Guys like you are virtually indestructible; no matter how many times that kid sneezes in your face when you’re tying his shoes, you never get sick.
Regarded by most as the quintessential man, superhero or otherwise, Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman is the fictitious character most revered by men across the world. Seemingly, “The Last Son of Krypton” has it all: muscular body, supernatural strength, and the ability to fly. All of us have a different vision of what the perfect dad looks like (stay-at-home-dad or works outside the home but is actively involved), but there are a few constants no matter who you ask.
Super dads possess enough strength to give all three of his kids a piggyback ride at the same time or to carry 27 bags of groceries in a single trip from the van. His hearing and sense of smell is able to discern the cry of his own baby in a room full of newborns and track down a messy toddler from three hopscotch grids away. While superdads lack the ability to fly, they can see right through the “I didn’t do its” and “She started its” without fail. But what about his glaring weakness? Kryptonite can bring the Man of Steel to his knees with only a tiny fragment.
It’s only fair that if you’re lucky enough to have that many super powers that you have an egregious weakness. Your Kryptonite comes in the form of pride. Sometimes your pride allows you to get so upset that things didn’t go the way you planned that you yell at your kids. Other times your pride rears its ugly head when you are excessively critical of the way others parent their children. Worst of all, your pride can cause you to push your kids too hard, to the point of ignoring them completely, doing irreparable damage to the relationship. Thankfully, more times than not, Superman avoids the cause of such a great weakness and is all the better for it.
As one of the youngest superheroes in the Marvel Universe, it should come as no surprise to you that spider-dads are the child rearing guys in their twenties. Peter Parker goes to school, holds down a freelance gig at The Daily Bugle, and has an ongoing relationship with the lovely Mary Jane. But that’s just one side of the web slinger. The other part of his identity is that of a crime fighter – and it is often interrupting every facet of Parker’s life.
Young fathers dig their daddy duties don’t give much thought to disappearing in the middle of the day when their “daddy sense” starts to tingle. These modern dads bug out from the office at 3:30 in the afternoon to catch a t-ball game, skip class for dance recital, and pass on the party at the club because it’s family movie night. Parker’s friends and co-workers don’t know why he goes missing at the most inopportune times, but yours do – and chances are they don’t get it either.
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man scales New York City’s skyscrapers, swings from place to place, and shoots webs at Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin. Spider-Dad builds scaled down versions of the same buildings with Legos (possibly his, but the kid can have them when he’s older), swings at the park with his six-year-old, and shoots Nerf guns at the monsters under the bed and in the closet. I wonder if, in a different reality, they would be friends.
You could look at the Iron Man character in one of two ways. On one side of the coin, you have Tony Stark the eccentric, billionaire playboy who just happens to be an international arms dealer with a strong business acumen and a penchant to drink his problems away. On the other, you have Iron Man, leader of The Avengers and Head of S.H.I.E.L.D., who has dedicated his life fighting evildoers all across the Marvel Universe. However, as Stark once said, “The suit and I are one.”
Fathers who fall into this category are possibly, but not necessarily, affluent, intelligent, well dressed, and above all… they totally dig being a dad. I mean, they revel in such a sweet gig – sometimes a bit too much. But hey, who can blame them. Iron Dad’s J.A.R.V.I.S. consists of a combination of a bluetooth on his ear, tablet in hand, and a pair of Google Glasses. These certainly come in handy when safely scheduling birthday parties while on the way to Jiu Jitsu class or helping your kids learn how to read on a road trip, but it leaves you almost defenseless when it’s time to recharge. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done for these great men and their dependence on electrical devices.
So guys, whose mythos matches up best with your archetype? Are you more of a team player or a loner? Are you high-tech and dependent or supernaturally gifted and fatally flawed? Or, dare I suggest, have you let your imagination run wild thus becoming a spectacular combination of brute strength, daddy sense, nifty gadgets, and charming wit all rolled into one?