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Marvel vs. DC

Many have questioned for years which one of these is better, Marvel or DC. Both have iconic heroes, comics, movies, etc…. But which one truly is superior?

May 12, 2022

Drawing made by Mayra and Cole

Marvel

The Case for Marvel Comics: When it comes to the comics, DC and Marvel have a lot in common, but they also have a lot of differences between them. Different heroes and villains, different approaches to similar concepts, different inspirations, and above all, different styles. Now, there are tons and tons of writers who work on different comic series within these companies, but generally, they differ in style. One stand-out aspect of Marvel Comics is that they’re just fun. Batman is a brooding, dark, disturbed man who seeks vengeance and justice throughout a corrupted city. That’s a very cool concept, and it’s very entertaining to read. But all of that darkness can get a bit, y’know, dark. 

  In my opinion, the Marvel so-called equivalent to Batman is Spiderman. They’re both crime-fighters with fairly down to earth powers and abilities. They both experienced trauma related to their family, and it inspired them to make a difference, to try and stop those who would commit crimes like that in the future. Difference is, Spiderman has a bit more fun with it. He makes quips, he cracks jokes, and to add more levity to it, for a majority of the comics, he’s a kid. He’s a high school student, balancing his school life with his crime-fighting side hobby. That’s a fun time, and Stan Lee and Jack Kriby lean into it. It’s similar to the awesome action, thrilling chases, and wacky villains that you’d get in a Batman comic, but it’s just more fun.

  Another element of Marvel is just the pure scope of things. DC goes to places like Atlantis with Aquaman, Olympus with Wonder Woman, and way far out in the galaxy with the Lantern Corps. You get metahumans, you get vigilantes, you get incredible, nearly invincible aliens. It all feels very big. Marvel gets big too. I mean, you have stories about the conception of our planet, of entire galaxies with the Eternals, you’ve got the entire scope of time with the X-Men, and you’ve got the whole multiverse, the largest possible expanse of, well, anything and everything, with America Chavez. On the other hand, a lot of Marvel’s stories are very grounded. Characters like Captain America, Daredevil, Hawkeye, and Black Widow are all very down to earth. Their stories take place on a very simple, fairly small scale. Supervillains attempting to destroy the earth are fun, but so is a simple street level mafia boss or lunatic bank robber. You get some of that with Batman and Robin and all of them, but I just don’t feel like you see much of that once you get out of Gotham. You see it in every corner of the world with Marvel. They kinda just have it all.


The Case for Marvel Movies: The movie debate is simple. Nobody can deny that Marvel, on a consistent basis, cranks out good content. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has quite literally revolutionized the modern cinematic landscape of the present. Traditionally, in big franchises, the story is told in a linear fashion. The Fast and the Furious was followed by 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Toy Story was followed by Toy Story 2. That was the standard: direct sequels. Marvel tried their hand at a relatively unexplored concept; crossovers. Over the course of five initial movies, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, the foundation was set for what would become, at the time of its release, the third highest grossing film in history: The Avengers. This concept, a “cinematic universe”, was a carefully meticulated process. It took years of planning, years of establishing characters, years of taking risks. It was a gamble. But because they had put all of that time, all of that work and effort, and all of that general respect for creators into these movies, it worked. This process would soon after be replicated with diminishing returns by several franchises.
The Conjuring, a movie that I maintain didn’t even deserve a sequel, was granted an entire expanded franchise, debuting spin-off movies based around Annabelle, The Nun, and La LLorona. Godzilla and King Kong were thrust into a developing shared world of kaiju that had been popularized over the past 60 years. These two franchises have faced a difficult uphill battle, and though they persist, can rarely be called successful franchises. Both cinematic universes are owned by Warner Brothers. But perhaps Warner Brothers’ hardest battle has been the start-up of the Detective Comics Expanded Universe.

  So why didn’t it work for DC? It’s simple. Marvel had won the race before DC even knew it was competing. It was so far behind in the cinematic universe game that, in order to catch-up, it had to skip a few frankly important steps. All of that set-up, all of those independent movies devoted to establishing characters? Eh, let’s put out Man of Steel and call it good. It put them on the map. This was DC’s equivalent to the first Iron Man. Issue was, they didn’t spend time on another few movies. In chronological order, the DCEU has released Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. Only two of those movies had ties to the events of Justice League, and neither were… good. All of the charm and charisma that Jon Favreau brought to the screen was gone, replaced with dry, boring scenery, dull lighting, and more edgy action. Zack Snyder has a certain vibe that he brings to the screen, and it works for a lot of things, and a lot of those things are not these movies. Not to mention, Suicide Squad, a bad acid trip of a movie, is widely regarded as one of the worst superhero movies of all time. 

  Now, the fault for these failures does not fully lay on the directors. The DCEU’s biggest struggle is studio interference. Often, Warner Brothers executives interfere with the production of a film, corrupting the vision of the director, which results in a muddled mix of tones throughout the movies. Although this is less of an issue presently, the beginning of the franchise had a very rough start due to studio interference. The DCEU post 2019 has been pretty good. I’m not gonna sit here and try to tell you that The Suicide Squad wasn’t amazing, because frankly it was. Birds of Prey, Peacemaker, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League are all legitimately good films. They just have nothing on the 27 movies, ranging from merely mediocre to downright fantastic, that have been produced by Marvel Studios.

  And all of this goes without mentioning that Avengers: Endgame is the second highest grossing film of all time. Out of the top ten highest grossing films of all time, spot number five, six, and nine are occupied by Avengers: Infinity War, Spiderman: No Way Home, and Avengers. Additionally, in the top ten highest grossing R-rated movies, spots number two, three, and seven are occupied by Deadpool 2, Deadpool, and Logan, all properties of Marvel. The numbers don’t lie. Marvel is dominating the superhero cinema-scape in every area. There is just no competition.

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DC

DC has iconic characters that Marvel can not compete against. The most popular and loved character is Batman. Nobody can beat The Dark Knight as a character. Batman is super intelligent, plus physically and mentally strong. He is one of the most complex superheroes out there.

DC also has the strongest superhero, Superman. The man of steel is the strongest hero  of all, including Marvel heroes. Not only is he strong, but he has a wonderful personality that is always shown through the comics, movies, and shows.

Wonder Woman is another big superhero icon that lots of people love. She is selfless, a team player, physically and mentaly strong, does not conform to gender stereotypes, etc… DC’s warrior princess really stands out against other heroes because of her personality.

These characters are pretty awesome, especially in the comics. DC is well known for their variety of comics filled with action and wonderful story lines that entertain many readers. They have a lot of genres, so a lot of readers have more options to choose from compared to marvel comics. Many heroes have their own comics, with their own worlds and timelines that later on can lead up to other superheroes to make cameos or just meet up to make a bigger and exciting story.

A very well known and loved comic to many Batman fans and Joker fans is Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. The Killing Joke (1988) is the story of Batman’s biggest nemesis The Joker and how he became the “Clown prince of crime”. This story is very well written, illustrated, and is one of the most popular comics out there.

Another iconic DC comic that has a wonderful narrative and origin story would be Batman: Year One (1988). The story does not only focus on Batman’s origin story, it also follows James Gordon, one of Batman and The Justice League’s closest allies, and how he started out as a policeman in Gotham City. It also has Selena Kyle (Catwoman) in it, making a couple appearances through the comic. She, along with The Dark Knight and James Gordon, is starting out her role as Catwoman.

The comics have really amazing stories and awesome art styles that give characters life. Movies are also a great way to make characters come to life on the big screen. Whether it is live action or animated, DC has a long list of movies that show multiple popular characters.

A really good animated DC movie would be Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013) heavily inspired by Flashpoint (2011)a comic book story line that rebooted the whole DC universe. The movie has a consistent story that keeps viewers hooked. It has multiple characters such as The Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and others. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% and has an audience score of 93%. The movie can be watched on HBO max.

Wonder Woman (2017) is a spectacular live action movie that really shows Wonder Woman’s origin story well. The movie contains not only action, but drama and comedy as well. It has great cinematography and is on the upper part of the list of best DC movies that have been made so far. It got a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% and has an audience score of 83%. The movie really made an impact on how superheroes movies are made, because of how many super hero tropes were tossed out the window.

DC as a whole is a great franchise with wonderful characters, movies, and stories that attracts a lot of people in. Characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and many others have a special place in the hearts of many as it brings alot of nostalgia and alot of enjoyment.

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