Batman is Texas’ favorite superhero; Austin could have told you that

11:00 p.m Saturday, March 4, 2017 Austin360
Batman has big fans in Texas. American-Statesman 2008

This star’s a Knight, and he’s big and bright: Batman lives deep in the hearts of Texans, according to a new list ranking each state’s favorite superhero.

Using Google search data, online property-selling service Decluttr said that they figured out what crime-fighter drives the most people batty across the country. Texas saved the day (and their search history) for orphaned playboy Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, landing him the coveted title of the Lone Star State’s favorite superhero.

Batman came in second place for the entire country overall, also nabbing the top spots in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Not to brag, but it feels like Austin really led the way here. Our fair burg, home to the world’s largest urban bat colony, is also known as “Bat City” thanks to 1.5 million flying friends. That’s what they say, anyway. I’ve never personally heard anyone call it that, but I’m not opposed to it. The dome ceilings of Central Texas’ caves (and that of a certain bridge just a hop, skip and wing-flap away from where this article is being written) trap heat, a great nesting ground for mom bats before fall migration. So what I’m saying is that the Austin American-Statesman building is essentially Wayne Manor.

But back to capes and tights. The most popular hero in the U.S., according to Decluttr, is Spider-Man, which is so little of a shock that it would never set off Peter Parker’s spider sense. Tobey Maguire’s chief meal ticket swings to Google victory in Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and New York.

Wonder Woman, Deadpool and the Flash took a joint third place in states across America, which would be surprising if not for an upcoming, history-making feature film, a smash box office hit and a pretty fun TV show on the CW, respectively. Superman and Iron Man only flew to victory in three states apiece. Dotting the map here and there are Wolverine, Captain America, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Green Lantern and the Incredibles, which mostly goes to show that Americans are probably just looking for something to watch.

But let’s not take the shine away from Batman’s big moment. If there’s anything that says “Texas,” it’s a billionaire who’s really good in a fistfight.

Cool runnings

Austin is weird. Austin is the best capital city to live in, according to U.S. News and World Report. Austin’s restaurants land on many year-end “best-of” lists. Austin is one of America’s most generous cities, according to GoFundMe.

And now, a new list from Expedia ranks Austin as the “coolest U.S. city.”

The travel company ranked 21 cities, giving points based on attributes like the availability of a Lyft ride, the number of farmers markets in the city, low crime rating, music/arts/food/drink festivals and population age.

Austin was the only Texas city to make the cut. It scored a 26 out of a possible 28 points by Expedia’s scale, and the company found plenty to like about the Lone Star State’s capital city.

“The only uncool thing about Austin can be the weather, and it takes care of that with awesome watering holes (ahem, Barton Springs), cool places to crash (hotels like Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt), and killer cold treats (Lick Ice Cream, anyone?),” Austin’s description on the list reads.

Other highlights of living in Austin, according to Expedia:

On the other hand, there’s always the traffic, which any longtime Austinite will blame on the rapid influx of Californian transplants.

— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff

Spring fling

If you still don’t have travel plans for spring break, it’s OK — you’re living in one of the six places on the New York Times’ “Where to go for Spring Break” list.

Austin got a much-not-needed spring break tourism boost from the paper last week when it was listed among six destinations perfect “for last-minute bookers.” Of the other five, only two are in America, and one is all of Europe.

In its reasoning, the New York Times cites Austin’s food trucks, wildflowers and, of course, its urban bat colony as reasons to visit. It also suggests doing so after South by Southwest’s “affluent crowd of techies, celebrity artists and their fans” vacate the city. If you can’t handle us at our most crowded … we get it, we really do.

Visitors might be in for a sweaty surprise, however, when they’re met not by the 60-70 degree temperatures promised by the New York Times but a spring whose preceding “winter” included 26 days of 80-degree-plus-temperatures.

Go to a beach, y’all.

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

Press on

Ever since President Donald Trump declared the media the “enemy of the American people” in a tweet last month, the phrase has taken on a life of its own.

The editor of the Dallas Morning News wrote a rebuttal to the claim, detailing the lives and work of the newspaper’s employees and showcasing the work they do. The Washington Post took a similar approach, mentioning a decorated war veteran who now works for the paper. Journalists everywhere reacted to the tweet using the hashtag #NotTheEnemy and pointing out members of the press who lost their lives or put themselves in grave danger while on the job.

Texas Student Media, the group that oversees student media organizations at the University of Texas, is taking the phrase to the next level, emblazoning it across T-shirts and tank tops as a fundraiser for the organization.

“Enemy of the American people since 1791,” the shirts read.

Robert Quigley, a senior lecturer in UT’s School of Journalism, came up with the design for the shirt. (Quigley is also a former American-Statesman editor, and his wife is currently an assistant features editor.) He said he was “just playing around” on a T-shirt website and decided to share the design with his Facebook friends, and Texas Student Media director Gerald Johnson messaged him about the shirt, wondering if he was going to sell it.

“I told him he could have it,” Quigley said.

Johnson’s team at Texas Student Media built a website to sell the shirts and decided to use the proceeds as a fundraiser for the organization. At least seven other universities have shown an interest in participating in the fundraiser, Johnson said, and representatives from those universities are set to discuss a plan to begin selling the shirts.

— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff

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