Here at, we’re celebrating Superman all month long. However, one has to wonder how Batman is celebrating. Is the Dark Knight commemorating the occasion, or sulking because it’s not Batman month? Or maybe he’s ignoring it all together, preferring to concentrate on protecting Gotham. To truly answer this question, we need to explore how Batman truly feels about Superman.

Like most of the Dark Knight’s relationships, this one is full of contradictions. Some people might see Batman and Superman as bitter rivals, based on the various times they’ve sparred. The Dark Knight Returns and the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice feature iconic battles between the two heroes that have permeated pop culture and led to the impression that Bruce and Clark are constantly at odds.

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that, since there is lots of evidence to support that theory. Comic books such as John Byrne’s The Man of Steel #3 and the 2011 Justice League series present them as characters that don’t play well together. In some cases, it seems like they can’t stand each other. When you read Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman run, the narration boxes play with the contrast between the two men.

So, Batman and Superman are uneasy work acquaintances, case closed? Not quite. The two of them might spar from time to time, but that’s because they’re both complicated individuals. The truth is far more nuanced. Batman and Superman are best friends, although the two would never admit it.

Now, I realize some of you might cite Nightwing, Alfred or Jim Gordon as Bruce’s closest confidant, but those are all different situations. Alfred is a surrogate father to Bruce and Dick is his son. Although Batman has a great relationship with Jim Gordon, the inability to discuss his secret identity has put up some boundaries in their friendship. Superman is another story. Don’t forget that in Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Nightwing vs. Hush #1 Bruce chooses Clark to be his best man.

If they’re best friends, then what’s with all the fighting? The easy answer is it sells, but we can go deeper than that. Bruce trusts Clark and strives to follow his example, even if he doesn’t show it. If you ever stumble across 1998’s Superman: Secret Files and Origins #1 in your back issue bins, make sure you pick it up. This one-shot is an interesting character study on Bruce and Clark’s relationship.

Hoping to gain a better understanding of Superman, Bruce disguises himself as one of Clark’s old college friends. He then journeys to Smallville, where he has a long chat with Jonathan and Martha Kent about Superman’s childhood. Yes, this is an absolutely crazy thing to do. To his credit, thought, Superman reacts with a lot more patience than most of us would have been able to muster.

“I had to know why we’re so different,” Bruce explains to Clark. “You grew up with the life I craved. We’re the end products of our childhood, Clark. Makes you wonder what would have happened if our roles were reversed.”

Instead of berating Bruce for the invasion of privacy, Clark sits down to have a talk with him, hoping they could understand one another better.

This comic, which doesn't get brought up as often as it should, reveals a lot about how Bruce sees Clark. He’s drawn to the Man of Steel and wants to understand him more. In fact, he’s even willing to spend some time away from Gotham to do it, and we all know how hard it is to get Batman to take time off.

Superman might put up a good front, but he cares about Batman’s opinion more than he’ll ever admit. In Infinite Crisis #1, Bruce seeks to wound Clark’s ego by telling him, “The last time you really inspired anyone was when you were dead.”

In 2006’s Superman #225, we learn just how much the comment wounded Clark. The Man of Steel silently broods about Bruce’s words and Lois comforts him.

The point is Clark cares about Bruce’s opinion. Batman is one of the few people he feels like he needs to impress. The reverse is true as well, despite any protests Bruce might make. In 2017’s Batman #36, Bruce is afraid to tell Clark that he’s engaged. Not because he’s ashamed of Selina, but because Clark’s opinion is important to him and he feels like he doesn’t measure up. Naturally, it takes an entire issue for Selina to coax this information out of Bruce.

For what it’s worth, Lois and Clark have a similar conversation in the same comic. Both men are stubborn and neither one of them does a very good job at communicating about their friendship. This is why they battle, and this is why Batman impersonates Clark’s college roommate to chat with Clark’s parents (so weird).

If you’re reading Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, you know that they’re getting better at it. Yes, there are some bits of tension and disagreements, but fundamentally, it’s a comic about two heroes who trust one another and know how to get the best out of each other. In other words, the world’s finest team.

So how is Batman celebrating Superman Month? He’s probably pretending that he isn’t observing it, but secretly doing things to honor Clark. Maybe Batman is being a bit less frightening and trying harder to inspire others. It’s what Clark would want. He’s probably telling Damian and Alfred stories about his favorite team-ups with Superman. Alfred and Damian have heard these stories dozens of times, but they’re letting Bruce prattle on because he’s so happy when he talks about Clark.

Batman and Superman’s friendship is a complicated one. It’s full of contradictions and confrontations, but what friendship isn’t? Bruce Wayne is a better person because Clark is in his life and that’s extraordinary.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.