Although Superman may be seemingly perfect, the man's day-to-day lifestyle is actually far more relatable than Batman's.
Monday through Friday, the Man of Steel, aka Clark Kent, is just one of us, trying to survive through the drudgery of the workweek and the pressures of his boss in a job as an investigative reporter at The Daily Planet. Meanwhile, Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, lives the grand life as the boss at Wayne Enterprises, a large corporation within the DC Comics universe.
Audiences don't yet know much about the tussle between the two superheroes in the upcoming "Batman v Superman," which debuts March 25. But digging through the archives, it's maybe reasonable to believe that the underlying (and unstated) tensions between the lowly reporter and the business magnate might be one of the most common ones in human history: Employee vs. Boss.
As forgotten as it might be in the annals of superhero history, Batman actually owned The Daily Planet and was Superman's boss -- and might still be. Who isn't, at least, occasionally annoyed by their boss?
In 2000, DC Comics published an issue called "Help!" from the second volume of its ongoing "Superman" series. Although the comic is centered around Kent, Wayne makes a brief appearance to announce he has quietly bought the The Daily Planet, the newspaper that employs not only Kent, but fellow Planet reporter Lois Lane and photographer Jimmy Olsen, too.
Neil Cole, who back in 1998 founded the Superman Super Site, a fan-run news organization centered around the superhero, shared the largely forgotten image of Bruce Wayne's announcement with The Huffington Post. In it, The Daily Planet's Editor-in-Chief Perry White excitedly shares the news that Wayne "has been running the financial end of things," keeping the newspaper "in the black."
"I just thought it would be fun to run a newspaper," Wayne replies.
Let's not miss the significance here. Ignoring the details surrounding the depressing reality of media financials, Batman became Superman's boss.
Cole explained the genesis of this moment to HuffPost, saying that Lex Luthor, the villainous billionaire businessman who is typically obsessed with killing Superman, had previously acquired the paper. But after becoming the President of the United States, the villain decided he wanted to dump The Planet.
"Basically, Lex wanted to sell the newspaper after coming to the conclusion that it had become too much of a tabloid publication," Cole said in an email. "[Luthor] agreed to sell [The Daily Planet] to Bruce Wayne for $1.00 after arranging a secret agreement with Lois Lane where she would strike one article about Lex (now President) with no questions asked."
Both Wayne and Kent know the truth about each other's alter egos by the period when Wayne purchased The Daily Planet, so we can guess this was certainly some sort of power move by Batman. Perhaps Wayne's main motivation for buying the The Daily Planet was to save the paper from Luthor, but let's be real about these fictional superheroes, there's no way ego wasn't a part of his calculation.
How much influence Wayne has had over the publication's reporting remains unclear. Presumably, Wayne had a few tips on dimly lit, tall building ledges for the crime beat reporter. But unfortunately, "Help!" writer Jeph Loeb was unavailable to clarify the motives of the characters, as he now works as the executive vice president of Marvel Television.
Details and speculation aside, the big question now becomes, did Batman remain Superman's boss? Even if the answer is "no" in the live-action superhero movies, which traditionally exist within their own world, a solid amount of evidence points to the answer being "yes" in the comic books.
Cole, for one, claims that Wayne still owns The Daily Planet in the current continuity of the storyline, even if his involvement is rarely mentioned. He wasn't sure if the third volume of the "Superman" series mentions Wayne's involvement, but the fan Wikia for The Daily Planet still lists Wayne as the owner. In a 2003 issue from the first volume of the "Batman" comic series, Wayne does check in on his investment.
Wayne's influence over Kent's life extends beyond the office, too. Apparently in a 1996 "Superman" comic series offshoot called "The Wedding Album," Wayne gifts the newlywed Kent and fellow reporter Lane with an apartment. Perhaps Kent's true kryptonite is the same as so many other journalists: a crippling need for a savings account and some financial stability.
As Kent is a notoriously skilled reporter (even in the Marvel universe), it would be viable if the Krypton-native desired to speed-run away from the Planet in search of a new gig. As long as he doesn't become a Man of Steal (plagiarism is a terrible media crime), don't be surprised if by the end of "Batman v Superman," Kent has a new writing gig.
UPDATE: In "Batman v Superman," Bruce Wayne refers to the Daily Planet as if he owns the newspaper. Mystery solved.