Sher and I are dedicated PottHeads. Is that what people who love Harry Potter call themselves? Now that I read that, probably not. Is it Potter Heads? Potterites? Harryites? Wizard Lovers? Hogwartsians? Whatever it is, we love Harry Potter.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Iron Man, too – who doesn’t love Iron Man? And The Avengers? Come on! Brilliant. But still, no wands. No polyjuice potion, quidditch, port keys or bigger-on-the-inside tents and definitely no Hogwarts. Over the holidays, my husband and I had a very heated discussion on whether or not, if given the chance, we would rather be part of Jo Rowling’s world or Stan Lee’s. For Matt, it was a no brainer: he would want to be in the comic-verse. And while I can respect his choice, I also understand that it’s totally motivated by gender. As a grown man, he thinks magic is kind of lame. I tried to point out that if we were getting down to brass tacks, the world of Harry Potter is less cheesy than Thor’s Valhalla. Then, he actually laughed when I suggested that if one were to pit Shield or The X-Men up against the Order of the Phoenix, the comics would lose, badly. I attempted many, many arguments that make the point quite handily as to why Harry Potter reigns supreme, but it was like he stopped listening for some reason. I know this because his eyes glazed over and he got up to go to the bathroom. I also know that you, my fellow Potter-whatevers, will appreciate the points I make below, so I will not continue to waste my time trying to get my DH to see reason.
BTW- I should mention that I am talking mainstream comics here and not the darker adult only comics, a la Walking Dead.
- You are born a witch or wizard and then you are surrounded by a supportive community as you learn and hone your craft over a period of years. Just like life, hard work and dedication can and will increase your abilities. Comic book characters generally attain their powers by accident. It’s some experiment gone wrong, genetic mutation, outer space… Often, comic book characters can’t handle the burden of their powers and they freak out and even the good guys get all dark and moody. Yes, I know there is the X-Men school for gifted children, but who in their right mind would choose that place over Hogwarts?
- There is true equality in Jo Rowling’s world between the genders. If you are a lady super hero/villain, eventually, you will always take a back seat to the dudes.
- While its true that fashion in the HP world can be old timey and Victorian (bad thing?), at least they aren’t wearing spandex and tights. Comic book fashion is way more emasculating for men than anything in Harry Potter’s world (apart from Ron’s dress robes, maybe). Not to mention the stripper-like quality of the female garb. Besides, long, flowy clothes are comfortable. You can eat a big meal and not have to worry about sucking in.
- A witch or wizard in Harry’s world has access to a variety of powers and the ability to create an infinite variety of magical tools. A comic book character is stuck with the ability they have. Period. And that ability could be just fighting, like Batman or the token Avenger chick.
- Let’s just talk magic for a minute. Magic is awesome and cool and philosophical. There is so much you can do with magic. A house can be made to clean itself, you can go back in time, turn into a cat, talk to a cat, travel without moving, store memories to look at later and yes, okay, kill people. But superheroes and villains just do what they can do and usually they are fighting whilst doing it. Superman may be able to fly, but when he’s home, he’s alone. No sweaters are making themselves on magic knitting needles, no friends are sending messages with owls. Comic book heroes are lonely and misunderstood. Witches and wizards are fun and happy when they aren’t Death Eaters.
- I will admit that witches and wizards have to maintain a shroud of secrecy around their world from non magical people, or muggles. But, there are so many witches and wizards that it’s not likely they would ever feel ashamed or that they were leading a double life. Superheroes are few and far between. There is no real way to be themselves openly unless they are saving the planet, and even then it’s their hero persona that gets the credit. Basically, they exist in the closet. Talk about identity issues. Tony Stark is, of course, the exception to this rule, but you can’t tell me that he’s not conflicted.
- Comic book characters are only relevant when they are fighting. A person born in Rowling’s world can live their entire happy lives with the wonder of magic and not fight a single baddie. Superheroes and villains are always on defense or offense. It must be very stressful.
- As the title of my article suggests, The Order of the Phoenix would basically annihilate any superhero or villain in the comic book world. Spells are infinite and can be altered quickly by a gifted witch or wizard to counter any powers a character may have (the one exception to this may be the big naked blue guy from The Watchmen, but that’s not really a mainstream comic). I would also argue that while Harry Potter is a children’s series, Lord Voldemort, as silly as his name may be, is the biggest baddie of all. He will happily kill and torture children, babies even. You won’t see Lex Luthor going there (in print, anyway). As high as the stakes are in The Avengers, Loki is not as truly evil as Voldemort.
- Basically, what I am trying to say, is that one can choose to live an idyllic life in the English countryside using magic, or one can choose to be an Auror and be the hero. There are options in Rowling’s world. There’s only one option in the comics: spandex and loneliness punctured by extremely tense life or death situations. Boo. I’ll take Hogwarts.
Join us this week at the Heatley Cliff, where for the last show of the season, we talk about how awesome it is to be a chick, even without superpowers.
Image via Harry Potter Wikia