Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Where does Superman work out?

Alternate title: Why does Superman have big muscles?

I've long wondered about this. You get big muscles by lifting big weights many, many times. In his normal life, nothing represents a heavy weight for Supes, so he'd have to put in the hours in a gym, like other musceley fellows. But where is this gym? On Jupiter? It couldn't be on Earth, or we'd be aware of the gravitational attraction of the plates.

What are the weights made of? What kind of bench could support him and the bar he'd be using for presses or the dumbbells he'd be using for flyes?

And look at those lats! Man, you could fly with those things! Oh, wait, he does. Anyway, I'd like to see the pulldown machine he uses to get those lats.

I suppose that the heavy-duty musculature of superheroes is the outward manifestation of their superheroness, rather than something they all coincidentally happen to work to get. The rest of us have to sweat and strain for muscular development, but those darned superheroes just have it because they're superheroes.

Superheroines don't tend to be extremely muscular, in comics or on the screen, but they do tend to be beautiful and sexy. (Lynda Carter says that Eliza Dushku should be Wonder Woman, and who in his right mind would argue with that, or with any reason to see Dushku on the big screen? In a bikini?) So I assume that their beauty and sexiness is the outward manifestation of their superheroineness.

All of this might well make the rest of us feel inferior. Positively mortal!


TGirsch said...

To be non-PC for a moment, Eliza Dushku lacks Lynda Carter's unique, err, "qualifications" for the role.

(So did Cathy Lee Crosby, who was actually Wonder Woman before Carter was.)

As for where Superman works out, that's so far down the list of "things about Superman that are stupid and don't make sense" that I doubt it would even appear on the first two pages of that list.

David said...

As I remember, Cathy Lee Crosby was in fairly good shape. But it was a long time ago, and I'd have to try Google images to make sure. Maybe I'll do that, in the interests of science.

Those twin Carter qualifications are negatives for me. Dushku is much more to my taste. It would be nice to see an actual impressive brunette athlete in the role, but perhaps the audiences wouldn't go for that.

It's not just Superman, though. Even Batman, an entirely mortal hero, has such big muscles that they'd be noticeable when he's in his run-of-the-mill multizillionaire suits. You'd think someone would notice and put two and two together. At least there's no mystery about how he gets those muscles. Presumably he works out in the bat gym, using perfectly ordinary bat weights.

TGirsch said...

Best I could do on short notice...

Dushku also strikes me as too young for the role, somehow. But I forget that you prefer the athletic figure to the more traditionally feminine one. I'm an hourglass kind of guy all the way.

But you realize that you've contradicted yourself here: on the one hand complaining about how unrealistic it is that super heroes should even have ripped physiques, while pining for a Wonder Woman with a ripped physique. :)

As to Batman, at least in the more modern incarnations, the suit is made to look more muscular than Batman actually is. And in the 60's, he even had a beer gut, which was kind of cool. I can't speak to the Frank Miller stuff, having never "read" it, though...

TGirsch said...

Everything you never wanted to know about Wonder Woman on TV. (Debra Winger? Really?)

David said...

How could I have forgotten Debra Winger?

I'd forgotten that in the movies, the bat suit has the muscles. Different from the comics, at least the ones I remember from my boyhood, back in the days when Batman raced to the scene of a crime in the Batcarriage.

As for the contradiction, you're right. That's the result of disconnect between my brain and, er, my other brain.

TGirsch said...

I forgot to mention:

"Batcarriage" -- great joke. :)

Lahdeedah said...

They don't really lift weights.

They do pilates.

On a planet with a heavier atmosphere so just stretching increases your muscles.

Or something.

Lynda Carter was my hero growing up. She was my Wonder Woman and I always wanted to be just like her.... funny, she was the only female superhero role model I can recall.

Kristen said...

I loved the Bionic Woman.

I guess she wasn't a superhero, though...

David said...

As I remember, Superman's physical prowess was originally explained by his coming from a planet with heavier gravity. So he was jumping, not flying - "Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound!" Why Kryptonians were shaped just like us Earth people wasn't explained.

At some point, all of that was forgotten. Now, at least onscreen, his abilities are due to the light of a yellow sun. Uh huh.

David said...

I liked both the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, but it always bothered me that they shows didn't deal with the problem of the stress on their biological parts.

E.g., Steve Austin (or Steel Awesome, as Mad Magazine parodied him) could jump off a high building, and his bionic parts could deal with the landing without any trouble. But what about his organs? And the skin and flesh covering the bionic feet?