The way I see it, Marvel Comics has a distinct advantage over DC Comics. It’s not in their films or who’s handling them (Nolan or Whedon), it’s just that both companies and their heroes contain inherent differences that, for today’s times, give Marvel the advantage over DC. RIGIDITY The prime difference, from my viewpoint, would be that DC’s superhumans (both heroes and villains) are more rigid and firm than Marvel’s heroes. The word “rigid” has two meanings: in one context it means setting principles and precedents, standing firm and enduring no matter what the world throws at you; in another context it means obstinacy and refusal to compromise. DC began in the early 1930s with heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. These were heroes that could do anything, and thus were committed to setting the standards for not just their readers but for the comic book world. DC’s heroes represent absolutes, the epitome of the best. Superman as an alien child raised on Earth represents the ideal unearthly hero, Batman as a human being at the peak of his mental/physical capabilities represents the ideal earthly hero, and Wonder Woman represents the ideal female hero. DC’s villains follow the same route. The Joker is the ultimate lunatic, Lex Luthor the ultimate villainous businessman, and Doomsday the only being so far that has killed Superman, and so forth. DC specializes in superhumans that go beyond being mere people: their commitment and resolution makes them models of sheer will and determination to their cause (good or evil). In Superman’s case it made him a model character that stood for truth and justice; in Luthor’s case he’s a cunning corporate with bigotry towards superhumans (at least those who stand against him and his practices). Marvel picked up after DC in the early 1960s, and featured superhumans in a different vein. They featured sympathetic villains (Magneto, Silver Surfer), and heroes that possessed a mean streak (Fantastic 4, Wolverine). Marvel’s specialty was characters that were compelling and went beyond the normal black-and-white tales DC had worked on till then; these were characters who could be both villain and hero, and often alternated between them depending on the circumstances or viewpoint of the story/reader. The storylines CIVIL WAR, SCHISM and AVENGERS VS X-MEN are proof of Marvel’s talent at making events that can split heroes and villains and bring them together in a new roster. This doesn’t mean though that DC has less developed characters. When written well, any heroic/villainous character can be appealing and popular. DC just looks at it in a different way, with more black-and-white characters in comparison to Marvel’s gray-shaded characters. PUBLIC RELATIONS Marvel’s heroes have better public relations than DC’s heroes. This simply means that nowadays Marvel has a better reflection of society than DC does. With DC, things are clearly set down; the public in those comics is well aware of who’s the good and bad guys. Unusually, it doesn’t really change a thing; people still work for Lex Luthor. It’s as if there is a kind of divide between what the superhumans do and their impact upon society; it’s as if they were on a different reality beyond what the people in the street could see. The most serious things that could happen is when the public ends up directly involved, as in KINGDOM COME (superheroes start stirring up events) and the Cadmus story arc (Luthor engineered a conspiracy to discredit and bring down the JLU). But for the most part things are kept more or less between the heroes and villains, with the public having little relation or participation. Marvel’s superhumans are more a part of society rather than being separate from it. The heroes come from a variety of social types: a billionaire with armor, a teenager with spider-like powers, a Holocaust survivor who bends metal, and so on. Marvel is more diverse and more varied, and thus more popular since it is able to reach towards a wider range of people, both in its comics and with its readers. And this also means the impact of superhuman actions is stronger: the events of CIVIL WAR (heroes fighting) and DARK REIGN (the Green Goblin takes supreme control) have shaken the Marvel world up immensely, and with many members of the public taking a supporting role in the heroes’ adventures. MOVING WITH THE TIMES Marvel’s heroes are more easily adaptable to contemporary times than DC. With DC, the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn. The only one who’s rather been on the gray area is Batman, whose actions have at times been bordering on villainous behavior. But apart from him, the dedication to the law and doing the right thing is clear and definite. Today things are less clear, and more uncaring. There has been a definite decrease in trust, which is understandable but at the same time regrettably making things harsher and grimmer. Right and wrong have been replaced with order and chaos; we are more interested in doing things to keep our lives intact and ongoing rather than consider if our actions are indeed right or wrong. We tend to look at “upstanding” heroes as being unlikeable, spoilsport “boy-scout” figures; at the same time we find rebellious heroes more appealing (Wolverine, the Punisher) nowadays. Which is where Marvel comes in; its heroes and villains are more shaded, and in keeping with the world as a complex place filled with complex people. The most upstanding hero Marvel has had has been Captain America, and part of that comes from him being a member of the US Army, a more respectable establishment nowadays than the police. Marvel has a better understanding of contemporary times, and has shown this off in its recent comic storylines. DC on the other hand may perhaps be considered a little outdated in its use of right/wrong. I must admit though that the way the new DC has done things has been disappointing, it’s as if they’re trying to copy Marvel’s route, and failing. Superheroes are comparable to a super-special taskforce. They are the guys you call in for trouble with super-powered criminals, invaders from outer space or other dimensions, or rescuers of disaster-hit areas. DC’s heroes takes things more seriously and are more clearly set on protecting the world, while Marvel’s heroes are more trying to fix things and tend to get into fights with each other. Does this make sense? Would you say this was right?