3 Reasons Why King Kong vs Godzilla is a Terrible Idea

There are a ton of rumors about the sequel to the 2014 Godzilla movie, one of which being that King Kong will step up to face him.  As a cynic, I have a few problems with this fight.

Before I say anything, I have to admit that I love all types of monster movies.  I grew up watching the Godzilla movies from the 1960s and 1970s.  The original King Kong movie was amazing.  Even the recent remake was pretty good.  I’m looking forward to more films like those and Pacific Rim in the future.

I just have some issues with this specific fight.

#1 Size Matters

King Kong ranged in height from 18 to 60 feet.  In their first meeting, King Kong had to be swelled to a massive 150 feet just to meet Godzilla eye to eye.  The modern King Kong from Legendary Pictures is back to his 60-foot stature.

The original Godzilla was about 50 meters (approx. 164 feet) tall.  The one from the most recent film is considerably taller, approaching 150 meters (approx. 492 feet) in height.    fb4fe81ffed1bd2f72b91b7d9c89534dKing Kong would have a long way to go if he were going to get that tall.  If not, then the fight would look something like this.GodzillavsKingKong

#2 Abilities

According to Wikizilla, Godzilla’s abilities include:

  1. Atomic Breath
  2. Nuclear Pulse and Magnetic Powers
  3. Durability and Regeneration
  4. Immense Strength
  5. Other powers, such as Flight, Laser Beams, Intelligence, and Amphibiousness (The quote from the page is “Though not an amphibian, Godzilla has an amphibious lifestyle,” whatever that means.) are lesser known but relevant.

Again, according to Wikizilla, King Kong’s abilities are:

  1. Immense Strength
  2. Acute Intelligence
  3. Agility
  4. Immunity to Electricity

Even if they were to be the same height, the comparison still doesn’t seem to line up in King Kong’s favor.

#3 Story

Yeah, I know that I shouldn’t be worried about story in a monster movie, but I’d like to enjoy the action without injuring myself from rolling my eyes too often.  The best way to set this up that I’ve heard came from a YouTube video.  Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

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Are We Doomed to Live Out Our Horrific Fantasy Futures?

Is it just me or are there a ton more articles about our imminent demise lately?

It could be an organized campaign to keep us clicking on these and related links, but I can’t help but I think that there may be something to it.

Earth ‘entering new extinction phase’ – US study (Regarding the unfolding Sixth Mass Extinction.)

Big Five mass extinction events (In case you were wondering what the first five were all about.)

Okay, so we’re done.  It’s been a hell of a ride, but what happens on our way out?  Unlike the dinosaurs, we’re not expected to die off right away.  What does our slow death as a species look like?

The History Channel made a documentary called Life After People (followed by a series with the same title).  The original documentary is embedded below, but the timeline of the collapse of our bridges, buildings and achievements is pretty clear.  Between one and three hundred years, most of our steel and concrete icons are gone.  After 1000 years without consistent and organized upkeep, there would be very little evidence that we existed.

That’s the thing about this.  The structural decay and neglect described in the documentary would happen even if mankind wasn’t totally wiped out.  The rapid loss of 85% of our population due to hunger and mass murder would destabilize governments and throw us into anarchy.  I doubt that people would be concerned with maintaining bridges and buildings while they are foraging for food and picking each other’s bones clean.

0-300 Years After Our Fall

A REVOLUTION/MAD MAX/THE WALKING DEAD/DIVERGENT/HUNGER GAMES style world will happen pretty quickly.  Nations will break up into territories.  Roving bands of survivors will scrape along, dying off one by one.  Psychopaths and their cults have a grand old time hoarding resources and killing everyone they come across.  But our buildings are still there.  People tell stories of our culture and our history.

Chicago in DIVERGENT looks to be in pretty good shape, maybe under 100 years without upkeep.

Chicago in DIVERGENT looks to be in pretty good shape, maybe under 100 years without upkeep.

10,000+ Years After Our Fall

As terrible as it would be, think of life as it is shown in GAME OF THRONES as our best case scenario.

Ignore the magic and dragons and White Walkers for a minute and follow me on this.  (Those could all be remnants of whatever scientific advances in genetics and self-replicating nanotechnology we make between now and our fall anyway.)

All structures and physical markers of the past are gone and a new “ancient” history is being recorded.  Whichever bands of humans survive create fiefdoms and monetary systems.  War is everywhere, which is a sure sign that we’re not done killing ourselves yet.

Most importantly, the GAME OF THRONES world features a global climate that is in a constant state of change.  As a point of reference, this environment that we live in currently is different in air composition and seasonal makeup than the environment the dinosaurs thrived in 100 million years ago.  Perhaps whatever environmental shifts that nearly wipe us out in the Sixth Mass Extinction are still in the process of changing 10,000 years from now.

We live on.  I’m just glad that I won’t live long enough to witness any of it.  Good luck.

SUPERMAN IS DUE FOR A LOSS

Superman is like Floyd Mayweather.  He never loses.  And much like the undefeated boxer, there are many who would like to see Superman knocked on his cape.

But who is going to make it happen?

Superman vs the DC Universe

Batman4511210-6299223343-Batsu

Let’s start with the first hero on everyone’s mind.  Superman and Batman have had a long history together.  However, in spite of recent hype, they are more often seen working together than at each other’s throats.

There were many tense moments between these two heroes and they have fought at times.  Batman tried to attack Superman without much success until he started carrying Kryptonite with him everywhere he went. This evened things up, but not always.

Batman vs Superman2826167-1443200_bat_vs_supse_super4494097-9711140097-41448static1.squarespace

In the end, these two are best friends. One’s strengths balances out the other’s weaknesses.  Besides, Batman even admitted in Hush that, despite having Kryptonite and a plan, “He (Superman) can’t be stopped. But he can be stunned.”

This may be why they settled their differences, at least until the next marketing push. 1374342468_bats_supes

Wonder WomanGalleryComics_1920x1080_20141119_WW_Cv36_5452787849e291.60244249

The iconic Amazon Princess is often seen as Superman’s equal in physical strength.  Depending on which story you are reading, she has one of two origin stories.

Option One: Hippolyta wanted a child so badly that she created one out of clay.  Hera blessed it with life and that child grew to be Wonder Woman.

Option Two: Hippolyta was one of Zeus’s conquests and Wonder Woman is the demigod child of that union.

Either way, she is divine in birth and trained in war.  She has defeated Hercules and Ares on several occasions.  Her fights with Superman are epic.

c54-44454454839-8207223665-378311246586-wonder_woman_v2__219___page_2018lrl49hwe7pejpg

They have knocked each other out and even nearly killed one another in fits of rage.  Superman has the edge in the number of victories, however, and is considered to be slightly stronger and faster than she is.

Again, these two are great friends and seem to have found a way to get along.superman_wonder_woman

Captain Marvel (SHAZAM)GalleryChar_1900x900_JL0_var_52ab9027a66018.51207574

Billy Baston is a young orphan who is granted the powers of the gods so that he could be their champion.  He says “SHAZAM” out loud and is transformed into Captain Marvel.  Each letter in the name SHAZAM represents one divine gift.  S – The wisdom of Solomon. H – The strength of Hercules. A – The stamina of Atlas. Z – The power of Zeus. A – The courage of Achilles. M – The speed of Mercury.

He and Superman have had wars, so many that it came to the point in which he and Superman decided it would be best to determine who was the strongest in an arm wrestling match.

4515583-7856484125-366264005098-1745778140-capta

Superman and Captain Marvel don’t like each other.  It may be out of mutual jealousy that their powers and station in the DC Universe are so similar.  It could also be that there are just some people who don’t get along.  Everybody gets one.  The Hero Envy blog has a full tally of their fights here.

Gods in the DC UniverseGodwave001

Superman has beaten men, monsters, and demigods.  So how does he fare against actual deities in the DC Universe?

Pretty damn well.

In War of the Gods, Superman defeats the Aztec God, Quetzalcoatl.

tumblr_njocik8iZ31sat64io1_500tumblr_inline_njoexcPssN1qgjgsbtumblr_inline_njoljdLLTi1qgjgsb

Atlas and Samson challenge Superman to an arm wrestling match in All Star Superman.  He accepts both of their challenges at the same time.

superman-arm-wrestle-o

Superman’s biggest victory in the god division is over Darkseid.  There are many, many fights between these two characters as Darkseid has quickly become Superman’s #1 adversary (even over Luthor, who can’t seem to get the job done after nearly seventy years).

Darseid is one of the New Gods, a race of beings that make up the top pantheon in the DC Universe.  His power is on par with Zeus, Odin, and other chief gods of their realms.  He is the architect of so many horrible things that he has earned his place as the ultimate evil in the DC Universe.  He has beaten Superman in their early meetings, but not lately.  Superman has grown beyond even Darseid’s ability to defeat.

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So what happens when the hero of your universe has overcome all challenges, godly or otherwise?  The same thing that happens when you are the champion of your division, he starts taking challenges from the other league.

Superman vs the Marvel Universe

Think of it like the Superbowl or the World Series.  The top teams are already champions where they come from.  Now it is time to determine who is the overall best of the best.  The same is true for comics characters.

The first one up to bat…

Spider-Man

After Lex Luthor blasted Spider-Man with a power-boosting ray, he was doing pretty well against Superman.  Then the effects wore off and “The Battle of the Century” turned out to be a dud.  Sound familiar, boxing fans?

250px-SupermanvsSpider-Man1976Superman vs Spiderman copy

Just because you are the most popular character in your company doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to fight the most popular character in the other company.  Maybe try to find someone in your weight class next time.

The Incredible Hulk

The hype was out of control over whether the Hulk was stronger than Superman.  It culminated in a fight in book three of the Marvel Versus DC collection in which Superman put the green monster down.

Marvel_Versus_DC_Vol_1_3Superman vs Hulk004 copy

Some argue that this fight shouldn’t count because the winner was voted on by the fans.  I disagree.  Who better to decide these type of arguments than those who are invested in keeping the characters alive and thriving as a part of our culture?  These two have fought a few more times and the Hero Envy blog has those listed here as well.

The Mighty Thor

Marvel’s resident god of thunder has it all:  strength, toughness, magic, centuries of hardened combat experience.  Again, the comic world was hyped for a huge showdown between Thor and Superman.

It finally happened in Avengers vs. Justice League #2.  Both teams were in a “capture the flag” style competition and were busy fighting each other for the various prizes.  At one point, Superman and Thor found each other on the battlefield and went at it without holding back.

JLA_Avengers_Vol_1_2Superman vs Thor001 copy

As usual, it ends with Superman standing over his challenger as the clear winner.  Many, many Marvel fans were upset.

Why Does Superman Always Win?

This is a hard question to answer.  My guess is that it has to do with the combination of his powers.  His faster-than-light-speed movement and planet-crushing strength are just too much to overcome when used together.  Most characters are either strong or fast, not both and usually not at his level.

So Who’s It Going To Be?

Someone has to be the one to put Superman down.  It happens to all great champions eventually.  There is just that one guy who has your number.

Tito Ortiz took out Ken Shamrock.

Buster Douglas took out Mike Tyson.

___________ will take out Superman.

As of right now, the top contenders are…

Son Goku Goku-Wallpaper-hd-for-PC-1

With his ultra fast martial arts, mountain-crushing punches, and planet-destroying energy blasts, Son Goku is a famous Manga and Anime character who is a much-debated challenger to the Man of Steel.

The gaming company, ScrewAttack, came out with a video detailing and predicting this fight.  Although they use a good deal of math to come to their conclusion, the video seemed to create more controversy than already existed before its release.

The Silver Surfersilver_surfer_wallpaper_by_nickhrh-d5sx3ng

The Silver Surfer is a herald of Galactus, a world-devouring cosmic being.  He travels at speeds well beyond light, is incredibly strong, and manipulates energy.  It is that last part that makes him dangerous to Superman.

Superman absorbs solar radiation as food and uses that energy to power his abilities.   The Silver Surfer can manipulate all types of energy, including solar and kryptonite radiation.  Even if the Silver Surfer is not as strong or as fast as Superman (which he may not be considering his losses to Thor), he potentially has the ability to drain Superman of his power source, weakening him to a manageable level.

The problem is pulling this off before catching a beating and waking up a statistic on Superman’s bout sheet.

SUPERMAN IS DUE FOR A LOSS

The question is:  Who is going to be the one to do it?

More By Cynical Sci-Fi

Why did Batman have to go so dark?  Answer: We became cynical.

An (Overly Simple) Explanation of the Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy

Proof that Peter Pan is an Abusive, Child-Murdering Sociopath

An (Overly Simple) Explanation of the Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy

I had a conversation with an author friend of mine about this yesterday.  There are differences between science fiction and fantasy, but few understand how to explain those differences.

Definitions

Dictionary.com defines Science Fiction as “a form of fiction that draws imaginatively on scientific knowledge and speculation in its plot, setting, theme, etc.”

Meanwhile, Wikipedia states that “Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting.”

Both definitions are adequate enough.  However, the most important factor in distinguishing the difference between the two is also the simplest.

The (Overly Simple) Explanation

It is all in how the author explains the characters and the situations.

Don’t believe me?  Try this…

519a0-hulk-scatena-la-sua-rabbia-in-una-scena-del-film-l-incredibile-hulk-61199Hulk steps out onto a street and throws a car.  He can do this because his cells are juiced with gamma radiation.  He’s a science fiction character.

Thor_Lifts_BoulderThor steps out onto the same street and throws an equally heavy boulder.  He can do this because he is a powerful god of thunder.  As long as he is a god, he is a fantasy character.  If you start calling him an alien, he’ll slip into science fiction just as easily.

wondy_car_lift_by_georgel_mcawesomeWonder Woman follows the two of them out and throws a different car.  Depending on which origin you are reading, she is either a clay baby made by Hippolyta and blessed by Hera or the demigod child of Hippolyta and Zeus.  Either way, she’s a fantasy character doing the same work as the boys.

In Conclusion

There is no real difference, not in storytelling or in the abilities of the characters themselves.  The line between Fantasy and Science Fiction takes place in the author’s explanation of why his or her characters can do the things that are beyond our abilities.

More Posts By Cynical Sci-Fi

Why did Batman have to go so dark? Answer: We became cynical.

One of Us

Batman and Robin in the Batmobile

Batman and Robin in the Batmobile

As the only pure human, Batman represents us in a world of superpeople.  So why does he need to go so dark to do what he needs to do?  Moreover, what does it say about us that he needs to be so dark for us to accept him as a relevant hero?

The Batman of the ’60s didn’t have armor.  He wore bright clothing and drove around in a convertible with his teenage sidekick.  He made jokes.  He spent his money on expensive cars and state-of-the-art technology like Shark Repellant.

Shark Repellant

Shark Repellant

He didn’t need any help winning fights.  Going dark didn’t help with that.  It’s probably the opposite.  Try convincing someone today that the modern Batman could take down the Hulk.

Batman beats the Hulk

Old School Batman beats the Hulk

So What Changed?

We did.  The last fifty years has shown us some pretty harsh truths about our world.  Wars.  International Terrorism.  Pervasive Economic Greed and Instability.  All of these things existed before, but are now a daily part of our lives thanks to the global network of cameras and information that are nearly impossible to ignore.

Somewhere along the line we stopped believing in Shark Repellant.  The convertible Batmobile was fine until snipers rose out of solely military use and into our collective awareness.  Soon, a man in grey and blue tights looked small compared to the problems we saw.

So Because We Changed, Batman Changed Too.

Dark Knight Returns

Dark Knight Returns

First came Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns (1986), the story of an aging Bruce Wayne and how he deals with the way the world is turning out.  This story didn’t take place in the regular Batman world.  It was a possible future, one way that the character could turn out.

We liked it.  It changed our view of Batman.  He became colder and more detached.  We liked it so much that we began to take things from him, most notably Robin.  A Death in the Family (1988-1989) gave us the chance to tear a piece off of Batman and we took it with glee.  DC let fans vote whether to kill off the current Robin.  We did, permanently darkening Batman.

Tim Burton's Batman

Tim Burton’s Batman

Also in 1989, Tim Burton directed the first Batman feature film since Adam West wore the costume.  The tone was dark and Batman was in an all black armored suit.  He was a fierce and humorless fighter and we couldn’t get enough of it.

The Jokes were gone.  Batman became an overworked and under supported shell of himself.  Even after training a new Robin, he was still driving himself past his limits.  One villain caught on to this and exploited his weakness.  In Knightfall (1993-1994), Bane broke the Batman we knew once and for all.

Bane Confronts Batman

Bane Confronts Batman

Bane Breaks Batman

Bane Breaks Batman

He came back as something different.  Batman is now someone who we consider believable.  He is aggressive.  He is armored.  He is unwilling (or unable) to make friends.  He drives a tank and has extensive training.  He has access to technology that keeps him ahead of his friends and foes.

The Modern Batman

The Modern Batman

He’s More Cynical, Like Us.

The weird part is that we like him better this way.

Why Pavel Chekov Deserves to Outlive His Crewmates

Star Trek: Renegades is a web series on Kickstarter that is due to start up soon and features many familiar faces.  The one that caught my eye as the most odd was Admiral Pavel Chekov.  To be clear, this series is set ten years after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, which is a century after Chekov’s Enterprise went on its five year mission.

So why does the accident-prone punching bag of the franchise live to be 143 years old?

Because he deserves it.

As an ensign, he’s been shot, beaten, slapped into unconsciousness, converted into a baseball-sized cube, possessed, blinded, tempted by deadly robot sex slaves, and driven insane.

Chekov Shot

Chekov Shot

Chekov beaten

Chekov Beaten

Chekov Insane

Chekov Insane

After being promoted to lieutenant, his hands were burnt from a console feedback.

Chekov Unconscious

Chekov Unconscious

As commander, he was infested with mind-controlling ear worms and treated for severe head trauma after falling off of the deck of a battleship while traveling into the past to save whales.

Chekov Beaten (Again)

Chekov Beaten (Again)

Ear Worms

Ear Worms

Head Trauma

Head Trauma

Pavel Chekov watched Jim Kirk “die” saving the Enterprise B from the Nexus, then heard that Kirk returned 80 years later to die saving the Enterprise D.  Spock got himself stuck in some parallel dimension escaping from a Romulan mining ship.  Scotty trapped himself in a transporter for seventy years, but is now dead.  McCoy’s gone.  We don’t know about Sulu and Uhura for sure, but they are most likely dead.

Yet through all of this, Pavel Chekov was loyal to Starfleet, its mission, and his crewmates.  He had earned their respect and friendship and, to be honest, I can’t imagine a better person from the original cast to have the last word.

Admiral Chekov

Admiral Chekov

How Peter Pan Treats the Lost Boys, Wendy, and Tinkerbell

Many claim to know the story of Peter Pan, but here’s a short recap if it’s been some time since you read it:   Peter Pan takes Wendy and her brothers to Neverland, where they meet the Lost Boys, fairies, and other magical creatures.   They have a few adventures while they are there until they are kidnapped by the evil pirates under the command of Captain Hook.  Peter rescues the group and returns Wendy and her brothers to their home.

For the purposes of this post, I am only drawing from the original novel by J. M. Barrie because the cleaned-up movies from our childhoods overlook much of Pan’s darker side.

We all know that Peter Pan kills pirates.  I get it, they’re the bad guys.  That’s not up for discussion.  Instead, let’s take a closer look at how Peter Pan treats those closest to him:  The Lost Boys, Wendy, and Tinker Bell.


 

The Lost Boys

"... and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out." - PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

“… and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out.” – PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

Peter’s Lost Boys are his troop of soldiers and playmates.  Like any general, Peter Pan makes rules for them to follow, albeit far weirder and harsher than most people know.

Appearance

They are forbidden by Peter to look in the least like him. (Chapter 5)

Knowledge

Peter never quite knew what twins were, and his band were not allowed to know anything he did not know, so these two were always vague about themselves, and did their best to give satisfaction by keeping close together in an apologetic sort of way. (Chapter 5)

Speech

It was only in Peter’s absence that they could speak of mothers, the subject being forbidden by him as silly. (Chapter 5)

Play

The difference between him [Peter] and the other boys at such a time was that they knew it was make-believe, while to him make-believe and true were exactly the same thing. This sometimes troubled them, as when they had to make-believe that they had had their dinners.  If they broke down in their make-believe he rapped them on the knuckles. (Chapter 6)

Thins Them Out

A rap on the knuckles wasn’t the worst form of punishment that Peter handed down on his Lost Boys.  There are several sections in the book that suggest that he routinely killed Lost Boys, or at least maimed them.

All wanted blood except the boys, who liked it as a rule, but to-night were out to greet their captain. The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two. (Chapter 5)

The “thins them out” quote is a common reference.  Some feel that it means that he brings Lost Boys back to where they came from, but other quotes suggest simpler solutions.  The best example of this is when Tootles shot Wendy with an arrow because he mistook her for a bird (and because Tinker Bell tricked him and Peter didn’t escort Wendy to the island safely).  Peter discovered Wendy’s supposedly dead body and raised an arrow to stab Tootles out of anger.

“Oh, dastard hand,” Peter said, and he raised the arrow to use it as a dagger.

Tootles did not flinch. He bared his breast. “Strike, Peter,” he said firmly, “strike true.”

Twice did Peter raise the arrow, and twice did his hand fall. “I cannot strike,” he said with awe, “there is something stays my hand.”

All looked at him in wonder, save Nibs, who fortunately looked at Wendy. (Chapter 6)

The wild part is that all of the Lost Boys are shocked that Peter didn’t kill him.  Even Peter is surprised that he didn’t stab Tootles to death.  This quote, more than any other, suggests that it was common practice for Peter Pan to kill the children who depended on him for survival.

You Simply Must Fit

Horrors come in all forms and this next one is called callous mutilation.  The trees that Peter and the Lost Boys use to slide into their hideout are hollow and each child has his or her own tree.  That, in itself, is not a problem.  The horror comes when a child doesn’t fit their tree.

But you simply must fit, and Peter measures you for your tree as carefully as for a suit of clothes: the only difference being that the clothes are made to fit you, while you have to be made to fit the tree. Usually it is done quite easily, as by your wearing too many garments or too few, but if you are bumpy in awkward places or the only available tree is an odd shape, Peter does some things to you, and after that you fit. Once you fit, great care must be taken to go on fitting, and this, as Wendy was to discover to her delight, keeps a whole family in perfect condition. (Chapter 7)

Some will argue that the “perfect condition” phrase means that they are working out to stay in shape.  If some kids need to lose weight to fit a tighter tree, that would be fine.  But that isn’t what is written and no amount of exercise is going to fit your “awkward places” into a tree with an “odd shape.”


 

Peter and Wendy

"The awful thing was that Peter thought this funny." - PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

“The awful thing was that Peter thought this funny.” – PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

The romance between Wendy and Peter Pan is a one-sided lie.  It is true that Peter said that “one girl is worth twenty boys,” but he only said this to convince her to join him in Neverland.  He intrigued her by saying that she can do motherly things for him and his Lost Boys like tucking them in and telling them stories.  Once her told her what she wanted to hear, she was his.

“Oh, the stories I could tell to the boys!” she cried, and then Peter gripped her and began to draw her toward the window. (Chapter 3)

Not only did he not protect her well when she was in Neverland (remember the arrow to the chest and the kidnapping?), he didn’t even watch out for her on the way to Neverland.  While leading Wendy and her brothers to Neverland, Peter would fly off to have other side adventures.  He’d return to them, having already forgotten who they were.

Indeed, sometimes when he returned he did not remember them, at least not well. Wendy was sure of it. She saw recognition come into his eyes as he was about to pass them the time of day and go on; once even she had to call him by name. (Chapter 4)

Worse yet, Peter had little regard for their safety as they flew beside him.  When one of them would fall asleep, he’d make a game out of catching them before they died.

Certainly they did not pretend to be sleepy, they were sleepy; and that was a danger, for the moment they popped off, down they fell. The awful thing was that Peter thought this funny.

“There he goes again!” he would cry gleefully, as Michael suddenly dropped like a stone.

“Save him, save him!” cried Wendy, looking with horror at the cruel sea far below. Eventually Peter would dive through the air, and catch Michael just before he could strike the sea, and it was lovely the way he did it; but he always waited till the last moment, and you felt it was his cleverness that interested him and not the saving of human life. Also he was fond of variety, and the sport that engrossed him one moment would suddenly cease to engage him, so there was always the possibility that the next time you fell he would let you go.  (Chapter 4)


 

Tinker Bell

So Peter Pan had little regard for human life.  What about his permanent sidekick, Tinker Bell?  They were inseparable for so long that he had to care about her, right?  Wrong.  After Peter Pan begrudgingly brought Wendy and her brothers home, he promised to take her back to Neverland every spring so that she can clean his house.  She was oddly happy about this and looked forward to catching up with him.  However, by the very next year, Peter Pan had forgotten both Captain Hook and Tinker Bell completely.

She [Wendy] had looked forward to thrilling talks with him about old times, but new adventures had crowded the old ones from his mind.

“Who is Captain Hook?” he asked with interest when she spoke of the arch enemy.

“Don’t you remember,” she asked, amazed, “how you killed him and saved all our lives?”

“I forget them after I kill them,” he replied carelessly.

When she expressed a doubtful hope that Tinker Bell would be glad to see her he said, “Who is Tinker Bell?”

“O Peter,” she said, shocked; but even when she explained he could not remember.

“There are such a lot of them,” he said. “I expect she is no more.”  (Chapter 17)


 

Is Peter Pan a Sociopath?

"They dared not express their wishes to him.  Instant obedience was the only safe thing." - PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

“They dared not express their wishes to him. Instant obedience was the only safe thing.” – PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

This, of course, is the big question.  Assuming he would sit still for observation, let’s run through the six qualifying traits for diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder as listed on the md-health.com site.

According to ICD-10 criteria, presence of 3 or more of the following qualifies for the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (~sociopathy):

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration, a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalization for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Even though all he needed was “3 or more” of the traits on that list to qualify, there is evidence in J. M. Barrie’s original novel for each of the six.  However, there are problems with diagnosing this fictional character.

  1. I am not a professional in the field of psychology, nor do I claim to be.
  2. Peter Pan doesn’t age but may still qualify as a juvenile.

In children and teenagers (age <18 years), the “sociopathy traits” are diagnosed as conduct disorder. Conduct disorder diagnosis is changed to antisocial personality disorder if the traits persist even after attaining the age of 18 years. (md-health.com, 2015)

Peter Pan could very well be over one hundred years old, but is still a child for all intents and purposes.  Fortunately (unfortunately?) there are warning signs of deeper psychological issues aside from the disregard for and killing of others.

Peter Pan’s Night Terrors

Sometimes, though not often, he had dreams, and they were more painful than the dreams of other boys. For hours he could not be separated from these dreams, though he wailed piteously in them. (Chapter 13)

Although the quote includes the phrase “not often,” he has another episode two chapters later.

He [Peter] fell asleep by the side of Long Tom. He had one of his dreams that night, and cried in his sleep for a long time, and Wendy held him tightly. (Chapter 15)

These events sound quite a bit like night terrors, and the fact that they are recurring could signal larger issues.

A post by Claire Jones on ScienceBasedMedicine.org describes night terrors in the following way:  “The child appears to be sleeping soundly when suddenly they begin screaming. They are red faced and sweat profusely, reflecting the increase in autonomic nervous system activity. Their hearts are racing. They may even jump out of bed as if fleeing from some invisible monster and they are inconsolable or very confused and disoriented if awakened.”

James Gallagher, Health and Science reporter for BBC News, wrote an article in March of 2014 reviewing research by the University of Warwick that suggested a “long-term problem with nightmares and terrors was linked to a higher risk of mental health problems.”  He concludes that the link between night terrors and psychoses is “not clear,” but that “nightmares may act as an early warning sign of future, more serious, problems.”


 

The Curse of Peter Pan

"She started up with a cry, and saw the boy, and somehow she knew at once that he was Peter Pan." PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

“She started up with a cry, and saw the boy, and somehow she knew at once that he was Peter Pan.” PETER PAN, J. M. Barrie

When I first read Peter Pan as a child, I was swept away by how fun it would be to join the Lost Boys in Neverland.  Playing games and fighting bad guys all day seemed like the ideal way to spend a childhood.  Twenty years and one child later, I read it again and found that I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It was suggested that the Lost Boys were unwanted in some way, but Wendy and her brothers had loving parents who were devastated by the disappearance of their children.  Wanted or not, these children deserved a better caretaker than the abusive, child-murdering, potentially sociopathic Peter Pan.

It was with all this in mind that I wrote my first book, Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan.  Along with my co-author, I wanted to pull back the curtain on this much-loved character and show the world how dangerous he truly is.  I am happy with our successes, as this darker perspective has taken root in many written and visual re-imaginings since our book’s publication in June of 2012.


 

Why So Cynical?

It never hurts to take a critical look at what you see everyday.  You may find new ways to understand what you believe you already know so well.  Share or comment below with your thoughts.


 

References


Author’s Note

I was recently made aware that a different blogger posted an article on this topic two months prior to the publication of this one.  These articles are disturbingly similar and I will state plainly that I in no way saw this article prior to writing my post.  What is written above comes directly from my my old notebooks and emails that I shared with my writing partner to justify my rationale for Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan, a book that we published in 2012.  At the time, I was doing a few interviews and wanted to refer people back to my thoughts in print.  In spite of not having any connection to the other article, I have edited my post’s original title and will paste the link to that post here: Proof that Peter Pan is a Sociopath  Happy Reading!