Weekend Roundtable: I Believe I Can Fly

The dream of flight has fascinated mankind practically since we first rose up out of the muck. Eventually, we conquered the skies with airplanes and helicopters, yet the wish that any one of us could simply launch into the air and fly away under our own power like Peter Pan remains a potent fantasy. Sadly, it remains the stuff of fiction for now. This week, we look at some of our favorite characters with the power of flight.

Luke Hickman

I’ve especially taken to Superman over the last several years, but with that answer being too easy, I’ll give you one that’s always stayed with me. Do you remember the old television series ‘The Greatest America Hero‘? The lead character was an unlikely superhero with powers, only he was clumsy and not very good at them. He could fly but could never stick the landing. Because of this show, when I was a kid and had the occasional flying dream, my ability to do so was much like his – not that great. Every once in a while, I’ll still have those dreams. I have to run really fast to get off the ground, but once airborne, it’s only a matter of time before I wreck. I’m certain that because of that series, I’ve never been great at staying in flight in my dreams.

Brian Hoss

Going back to the original cartoon, the fact that the Transformers can fly (however inconsistently) is a big part of what made the premise work. Being able to show up anywhere on Earth quickly in force without having to plod over or convoy (again inconsistently) helped to make the Transformers seem like an anytime/anywhere force of giant robots. I imagine that whenever a giant robot character or fiction is created, there must be a temptation to make it fly just for the sake of the narrative.

M. Enois Duarte

One of my all-time favorite TV characters is Ralph Hinkley, the bumbling but good-hearted superhero of the short-lived series ‘The Greatest American Hero‘. His ability to fly comes not from the rays of the sun or by some man-made mechanical contraption, but thanks to alien technology. It was a hilarious show – for me, at least – with a fun, wacky premise, especially when English teacher Ralph struggles with learning how to control the suit every time he springs into heroic action.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’ll always have a soft spot for the Human Torch. When my interest in comics evolved beyond grabbing something from the convenience store or at the local used book shop, he was one of the first superheroes I really latched onto. I’d dig through back issue bins seeking out anything with the Human Torch on the cover, and the very first sketch at the very first comic convention I went to (by Jim Sanders III in Valdosta, GA in 1989!) was of the Torch in flight.

More than a quarter-century later, I still get all warm and fuzzy inside whenever Johnny Storm bellows “Flame on!” and takes to the skies. Just don’t tell me he can fly because he gets lighter than air when engulfed in flames. I won’t have any of that.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

I think my favorite flying guy would have to be Superman. And my favorite scene related to him flying is when he rescues Lois Lane after she falls from a helicopter in ‘Superman: The Movie‘.

“I’ve got you, ma’am.”
“You’ve got me? Who’s got you?”

Gets me every time.

I also like Peter Pan. I was reminded of this when I saw the NYC premiere of ‘Pan’ this week. He’s a plucky young lad with a healthy disrespect of authority. I enjoyed seeing how he came to be the Boy Who Could Fly. Also, Hugh Jackman makes a great Blackbeard and Rooney Mara an intriguing Tiger Lily. Is it just me or does Rooney Mara look like a hotter, younger Frances McDormand?

Josh Zyber

My favorite flying character is Dwight Schrute from ‘The Office‘. “What are you talking about?” you may ask. “Dwight Schrute can’t fly.” Ah, but you forget about this:

Tell us your favorite flying character (from movies, TV, comics, whatever) in the Comments.


  1. charles contreras

    The original Captain Marvel (aka Shazam to some of you), the 1941 serial was terrific, for its time they knew how to pull off the flying effects. And of course there was the Saturday morning show of Shazam which aired in the mid-seventies. They made the most of it with the effects, considering that the show was made on a low budget. The tv ratings were off the hook at the time.

    And, yes, the first Superman movie was an absolute thrill to see on the big screen. The success of the movie was dependant on how well the flying effects were done. I can truly say that the first time that we see Superman fly when he leaves the Fortress of Solitude was a miracle of modern special effects, and to me it was absolutely breathtaking.

    Also, I’ll give a nod to The Rocketeer. Who wouldn’t want to strap on the rocket to his back and take off? That’s one way to beat rush hour traffic!

  2. Bolo

    Mothra has my support. I know she’s widely regarded as the lame kaiju because she’s fuzzy and doesn’t have a badass look, but I’ve always been a Mothra fan because of her how non-threatening look causes you to underestimate her. You wouldn’t think she could go ten rounds with Godzilla, but then she does. Also, her theme song is pretty hypnotic.

    Tetsuo in ‘Akira’ wasn’t a good guy, but a great film character who could fly.

    I’ll also throw in the Wicked Witch of the West and her monkeys.

  3. Shannon Nutt

    Great to see all the love for The Greatest American Hero from my colleagues. I’ve been re-watching the series on Con.TV, and while the F/X haven’t held up (hey, they weren’t even that good in 1981), the acting sure does. William Katt is making a con appearance here in Pittsburgh in December, and I’m looking forward to meeting him.

  4. Scott H

    I always liked Captain Planet. But i would have to say Iron Giant is my favorite. But speaking of flying dreams, when Smallville was on, i used to dream about flying quite alot.

  5. William Henley

    Well, right now I am loving Teen Titans Go!, so I guess two of my favorite superheros capable of flight are Starfire and Raven

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