MBTI: DC characters are hard to type
You might have noticed the amount of Marvel characters over DC (or any other company) on this site. There are a few reasons for that. One is that I grew up with Marvel and I’m much more familiar with them. So it’s natural to do more research on top of what I already know to definitively (or at least confidently) type their characters.
But that’s not really it. It has more to do with the style of the way the characters are written, and what sets them apart from other companies in the same industry.
I’ve got posts on Superman, Batman, Joker, and several other Batman-related characters. So I’ve got some of the big ones down. But past that Superman and Batman’s rogues (which offer plenty of interesting content, psychologically), I can’t get a bead on many others. Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Green Lanterns. Why not? They’ve been around long enough, surely they’ve accumulated enough base characteristics to go off of and properly type, right?
A major difference between two companies like Marvel and DC (There are other great ones of course, but sticking with the big two), is that while they both write superheroes and all things pertaining to, their stories still aren’t the same. Yeah, we’ll get crossovers, “coincidences” in storylines/characters, etc; there’s a lot they have in common. But while Marvel has been known for creating characters you “relate” to, DC characters are the ones you aspire to be like.
I’m not the first one to say this, and if you’re a Marvel fan, stop shaking your head and disagreeing. Hear me out.
Marvel’s appeal to readers is not only what anyone could be attracted to- the art, the story, the fights, so on and so forth. And for DC, it’s the same. But where they draw a major line is that Marvel’s characters are great either in spite or despite of their flaws. Wolverine’s got a horrible past. Spider-Man, of course, is an awkward nerd. Professor X, the world’s most powerful telepath, is in a wheelchair, while sharing his race with one much of the world despises.
DC characters seem to fall more in line with the idea of “humanity perfected.” It’s not that the characters never fail or never doubt themselves, but they’re the best of the best for a reason. It’s a challenge for villains to come up with anything that might distract Superman, much less harm him in some way. Batman has got the plot on his side and will always win. He’s Batman, c’mon. But more than that, these characters aren’t really flawed and that’s the point. That is, unless Frank Miller is writing them.
But the overall ideas we have in mind for these DC characters will be one of moral soundness. If you devoted yourself to destroying crime, this is what you could do. If you were nicer to everyone, this could be the way the world is instead of a fantasy in a comic book.
Pretty interesting difference. On one hand you’ve got the superheroes whose flaws are a main aspect of their character, giving the reader a way to feel empowered in some way that this widely known, celebrity of a superhero has qualities similar to their own. At the same time, comics have a tendency to repeat themselves and after a while, we can easily find stories where writers have dismantled all the progress another writer has made with a character by giving them anger issues again (or something).
And with DC, we can understand that if you don’t reach higher, so to speak, than where you are now, you’ll always stay in the place. If you’re not trying to better yourself, you’re not doing anything at all. You have to do more than you thought you could. You won’t be Batman, but closer than you are if you don’t do anything.
And from DC’s themes (and the fact that they got the superhero thing going), we get iconic characters. Characters that have people who don’t even read the comics getting tattoos of them on their arms. It’s not only an image of what we associate with that character, but an idea. And what works for DC often doesn’t work for Marvel and vice versa. If DC has a character that’s meant to have problems, they end up going off the rails and he’ll end up raping a couple people and peeing on himself before the Justice League finds him. It’s Watchmen repackaged as the Justice League, with a subtle hint of Human Centipede (okay not that stupid).
And Marvel’s strength of flawed characters comes into play when they try and introduce insanely powerful characters. Nobody cares about them and they’re so powerful, the writes don’t know what to do with them so they just get tossed to the side. They don’t even become bad guys, they just stay bland good guys.
But this post is titled “DC characters are hard to type” and I’ve only been talking about the differences between them and Marvel.
Well, with Marvel’s characters and all their problems, they’ve become characters with personalities we, again, relate to. Sometimes they’re written poorly of course, but there’s enough meat there to sink out teeth into.
With DC on the other hand, it’s almost as though we’re reading modern day mythology, where the characters and what they stand for are seared into our brains and no matter what the writer has them do/makes them become, they’ll still always be the same to us. This is somewhat how comics are anyway but with DC, seeing as how their characters are known for being near perfect (Yes, that’s how I’m choosing to word it), this makes for a character of an untouchable status. An icon, an idea, all on canvas in a sense. They’re personalities are meant to be more broad because their personality is “The Hero” who’s also funny. Or really intense. Whatever the case, they always fall back on being a hero.
Marvel’s trek with each character is more “Can I BE the hero this time?”
This isn’t to say Marvel is better or that DC is weak, but that there’s less definition to DC and that’s really how you would make for a hero we aspire to. But from this is a character whose quirks, deficiencies, and any other thing that makes you a normal ol’ human…are gone. It’s not that the Justice League comes off as a bunch of robots, but they’re just all so…perfect. As I type this, I’m remembering a post I wrote about Wonder Woman being an ENFJ…in the sense that a lot of ENFJs are typed as that because they’re written as the “perfect” woman.
“We didn’t really know how to write the wife character- but she’s smart and supportive!” -Writers everywhere.
What I’m saying isn’t that DC characters don’t have much of a personality but rather their personalities are more akin to archetypes which have certain personality traits…that can be attributed to most types, give or take, and this makes it harder to pinpoint a specific personality.
I’ve got more to say but comment and let me know what you think, how wrong I am, whatever. What makes Barry Allen more ENFJ than ESTP? What makes Kyle Rayner ISFP instead of…whatever Kyle Rayner is? I wanna hear it!