Superhero roulette means Ironman’s number might be up

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in.You can e-mail him at

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

Superman is a has-been.

Batman is an afterthought.

Spider-Man is so 5 minutes ago.

Ty goes through superheroes like actors go through girlfriends.

I think Superman was the first. There was something about that red cape that grabbed my little boy’s attention.

But then Ty discovered masks, specifically those cheap plastic ones that come with Halloween costumes, so Superman was out.

No mask. No love.

Along the way he had a quick obsession with Batman and a longer one with Spider-Man, but they were eventually replaced by his current favorite – Ironman.

And I’m not sure why.

He’s never seen the movies, so I know he’s not a Robert Downey Jr. fan. I don’t think he sneaks into the den and watches “Tropic Thunder” when we’re not looking. And I think the only iron he’s familiar with is the one he sees on the rare occasions we actually try to remove the wrinkles from our clothes.

Somehow, at some point, Ironman flew his way into Ty’s mind and hasn’t left.

He has an Ironman costume with cheap mask that he wanted to wear to church, the gym, Publix and just about everywhere else. He also has an upgraded mask made of nicer plastic with an adjustable headband – thanks to grandma – Ironman action figures, Ironman tennis shoes, Ironman T-shirts, Ironman puzzles, Ironman swimming trunks and even an Ironman kickboard for the pool. When he plays his favorite game, one of those where you match things, he always has to find Ironman, obsessing over the same spot until he finds its match.

Ty only colors the Ironman pictures in his Superhero Squad coloring book, leaving me with Thor, Captain America, Thing and the rest of the gang.

I have a feeling, though, that Ironman’s time is waning in my son’s short attention span mind. He said something the other day about liking Cyclops and Hulk and voiced an interest in coloring Hawkeye.

I wonder how long it will be before he discovers Wonder Woman.

Does your kid have an obsession with superheroes? Who is their favorite?

What’s the most obscure item they have that’s associated with their favorite superhero?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

15 comments Add your comment


June 30th, 2011
1:37 pm

My son was a batman fan for quite a while, but he just likes to costume in general. He doesn’t just wear a costume, he becomes the character. He’s been into the superhero PJs since he was 2, but we took him to DragonCon one year & he fell in love with the whole costuming craze. We go every year on Saturday now, so he can show off his costume & act out his character. He is a particularly gifted Jedi!!!


June 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

My son is 4 and is a HUGE Ghostbuster fan. He loves the movies and I found the old Real Ghostbuster cartoons on DVD and he watches those all the time. He sings the Ghosbuster song all through the house and he was a Ghostbuster for last Halloween.

I was a fan in my day too, but my son is much more hardcore than I was. I wish they would bring back the toys. I had the Ecto1 car….that thing was sweet. They don’t make toys like that anymore.


June 30th, 2011
1:48 pm

Ironman is the superhero in our house. Since Lighting McQueen is not a superhero, I’m saying its Ironman. Not knowing what the movies were like, we showed our 4 year old Ironman 2. needless to say, he got in trouble for saying kill, bomb, whatnot at daycare. Cars 2 wasn’t helping either… the new “in” word is bomb. umm… trouble all around.

My boys haven’t shown any interest in superman. Spiderman is cool because he has a mask and does cool things with his hand.. sticky stuff is cool stuff :). They rarely watch TV but they are always into superheros when they see them. Even without seeing transformer movie, they are into it. Not sure where they get all this information from.

But, they aren’t obsessed with these superheros. the only one they are obsessed with is Lightning McQueen.


June 30th, 2011
2:00 pm

We don’t have superhero’s in our house..My (9 yr.old today) is into Titanic..Sorta like ManOfTeals son and Ghostbuster, the boy in our house is a die hard Titanic fanatic (sp)..We have been to the exhibit in TN twice, we have seen the movie goodness knows how many times..We have replicas of it, pretty much you name it, we have it…

Neither one of my two have ever really been into a whole lot of dress up..Not sure why this is, unless it’s just that my husband watches a lot of older movies and that what the kids seem to like..


June 30th, 2011
2:52 pm

Oh – I sooo knew where this was going with the costume obsession. I would say we’re between batman and ironman here as well. Although he saw 5 minutes of star wars and started fighting with his legos “Dark Vader” :)


June 30th, 2011
6:28 pm

Ty’s mother’s superhero was wonder woman. She had the costume provided by her mother. Ty’s continuing affection for Iron man could be his mother’s Iron Woman (not to be confused with Iron Maiden) costume? Maybe another questin should be How Many Moms Support Their Children’s Attachments by Dressing up as a super hero companion?

Tad Jackson

June 30th, 2011
8:07 pm

Does Tom Regan in “Miller’s Crossing” count?


June 30th, 2011
8:33 pm

My boys like most of the superheroes. I think Batman is the only one they don’t really seem to like (although Robin is fine). We have action figures and props from many of the different superheroes.

I think my youngest likes Spiderman best. Probably Captain America for the eldest who is really looking forward to the upcoming movie.

There are so many other things they are into that I don’t think standard superheroes are always high on their list. Bionicles, Sonic, Zelda, Pokemon all compete for their fascination.


June 30th, 2011
11:46 pm

My nephews went thru a “All Spiderman All the Time” phase for YEARS and to the point that it annoyed ME and I live 8 hours away. They never stayed into Superman or Batman long enough for it to get on a birthday or Christmas wish list if at all.They are now into wrestling with the same intensity but they’re older now so they don’t tell ME all about Jon Cena and the rest of them every time we talk. (Thank God for small things like boys being too cool to talk to their aunt!)


July 1st, 2011
9:03 am

No comment, no boys in my family, except my brother, and he’s just a bit too old for superheros. But in our eyes, He IS a superhero, as he is a U.S. Marshall. We are SO proud!!!!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!!!!


July 1st, 2011
9:57 am

Good topic but I have a daughter so doesn’t apply to me. I was hoping “Ironman” was going to be a discussion about the triathlon. As far as I’m concerned, the most under-rated athletes of all time. Swin 1.4 miles, bike 120, THEN run a marathon. And they do each activity in world class time. I’ve been a runner for 20 years now, have finished in the top 700 in Peachtree 8 times and these guys whip my a** AFTER doing the first two. Amazing athletes.

Just realized I’m the person I hate that comandeers an issue. Sorry.

For those of you regulars, have a happy and safe holiday; MJG, cat lady, tiger, shaggy, JJ, FCM, and the rest, you individuals are awesome and give me hope that there are still amazing people out there in my “search”.

An NO, I haven’t hit the bottle hard before 10am. Lol.


July 1st, 2011
11:07 am

We are deeply immersed in superheroes at our house! Two little boys and even though the youngest is only two, he has taken his brother’s lead. For the oldest, there was a Spiderman phase and he still loves Spidey, but that was before Batman came along! Oh how we love Batman! He and his brother were a very cute Batman and Robin last Halloween. The youngest likes Batman, but he swears allegiance to Spiderman and does this wonderful Spiderman dance that looks a whole lot like Elvis trying to shoot webs out of his wrists. The oldest has always liked Ironman as well, and he has several dress up options including a full helmet for Ironman, but it all takes a backseat to Batman. We have multiple costumes, capes and even the full raingear set in Batman. Batman beach towels and a large bat symbol wall sconce -but a Spiderman blanket he’s attached to. I have a feeling from some things I’ve heard that the Hulk may be on the horizon though! And for all of the little bits Spidey love, Scooby Doo occupies a large portion of his heart!

If you want to read a great book and one of the most touching inclusions of superhero worship ever, read, “Little Bee.” That little fellow in his Batman suit tore me up!


July 1st, 2011
2:02 pm

@Rebecca—our son used to call him “Darthavator”, like elevator. LOL


July 1st, 2011
6:43 pm

My son, who is now 6, has been into costuming since the age of 2, when he began to imitate the outfits of workers he saw, such as the lawn care worker who lives down the street. Ever since, he has a knack for finding scarves and other pieces of clothing and things around the house that he pieces together as a costume. He wears multiple costumes, pretty much every day of the year for the past four years. Because he wears them so frequently, if we buy a costume, I make sure it is a durable one that can be washed in the washing machine, as they are worn hundreds of times. I also pick up an occasional one the week after Halloween, when the prices drop.

He has some superhero costumes that we have bought and others that he makes with found objects, but his interest goes way beyond superhero costumes. He’ll dress up like a UPS delivery person, Fritz from the Nutcracker, Hibachi chef, cowboys, and tons of other characters. He has not seen any superhero movies, but he sees the characters in stores. The most interesting costume he did that was superhero related was when he took a green Hulk mask and pieced it together with a black cap, broom, and witches hat, to be the green faced witch from the Wizard of Oz. The hulk mask made the witch quite menacing and funny. He also has an Elvis jumpsuit that he puts on to perform Elvis tunes, so it’s fun to watch the performances. Some kids are really into this type of dress up play and some are not. He loves it when his friends, both boys and girls, play along and dress up in costumes with him.

Longtime Educator

July 3rd, 2011
5:16 pm

Ann, it sounds like your son may need to explore the drama club in high school. Perhaps acting may be his thing!